Here's a round-up of some particularly good fodder for practical progressives in the news recently:
- Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus is continuing to develop as a thoughtful centrist heir to David Broder and she really hit the mark with her recent commentary (headlined in the Star Tribune, "If taxes never go up, we go down''). Marcus nailed Gov. Tim Pawlenty for his recent statement implying that the U.S. has higher taxes than most other nations, pointing out that our overall effective federal tax rate is much lower than it was a decade ago, and lower than all but Mexico, Turkey and South Korea among the 30 major world economies. Marcus skewered conservatives for continuing to claim that tax cuts actually produce more revenue and for their perennial complaint that "whatever level taxes are at, they are too high.'' Just a couple weeks ago, Marcus took on liberals and Democrats for refusing to acknowledge that some entitlement programs might have to be trimmed.
- One of the most refreshing "good that government does'' stories in recent memory landed on the St. Paul Pioneer Press front page over the weekend. An article headlined "Minnesota air pollution: It's not as bad as you think,'' emphasized the rather astounding good news that since the landmark Clean Air Act of 1970, emissions from industrial polluters and vehicles have been slashed by 62 percent nationally and by half in Minnesota.
- Refuting a lot of conservative anti-Europe propaganda recently, author Steven Hill placed an op-ed in the Star Tribune pointing out that Japan and Europe and their more egalitarian market economies are doing quite well compared to the United States. Hill is the author of "Europe's Promise: Why the European Way is the Best Hope in an Insecure Age.''
- Finally, we think we offered a strong rebuttal to the false claim by some conservatives that government can't create jobs, or more broadly, that government is a net drain on the economy and can only consume wealth. Our Star Tribune "Counterpoint'' piece reviewed a long history of business-building investment and job creation in the U.S. and Minnesota.
— Dane Smith