David Coates

Political Blogger and Author of Answering Back and Making the Progressive Case

Pursuing the Progressive Case
Who is David Coates?
September 8, 2012

A Tale of Two Conventions

    Charles Dickens came to mind again this week – his opening to A Tale of Two Cities – his intriguing contrast between “the best of times….the worst of times…the age of wisdom…the age of foolishness.” His cities were London and Paris. Ours were Tampa and Charlotte, but the contrasts remain the same. As […] read more »
September 5, 2012

The Romney Pitch – Melissa Harris-Perry MSNBC

I was privileged to join Melissa Harris-Perry and her other guests in the New York studios of MSNBC on the Saturday morning after the Republican convention in Tampa. Melissa was keen to explore with us why so many of the statements made by leading Republicans at the convention failed to pass the ‘fact-checker’ test. She […] read more »
August 24, 2012

Finding Private Ryan: Pushing Back the Republican Tide

 Unless the Republican convention in Tampa is swept away by hurricane force winds – itself a fascinating prospect for a party, so many of whose activists claim to be in regular and direct contact with the Almighty – the media will make next week an entirely R week. read more »
August 10, 2012

Why Promising to Save the Middle Class May Just Not Be Enough!

This is the lull before the storm, the final moments within which to settle the character of the presidential campaign of 2012. Even in the lull, however, the likely lines-of-march are already clear – lines that, if unaltered, should give far more comfort to conservatives than they do right now to progressives. read more »
July 10, 2012

The Unfinished Business of the Obama Administration: The Foreclosure Crisis

  Administrations are invariably criticized for things they do right, for things they do wrong, and for things they fail to do at all. They are invariably criticized for doing too much and criticized for doing too little. Conservative critics of the current Administration tend to do the former. Liberal, by contrast, would do well […] read more »
June 12, 2012

The Unfinished Business of the Obama Administration: Bank Reform

  As the big five American banks await the downgrading of their credit ratings by Moody’s Investors Service – a downgrading that is apparently due any day now[1] – it  is worth asking: after more than three years of the Obama Administration, where exactly are we on the substance of bank reform? Has it happened? […] read more »
May 30, 2012

Olympic Lessons for an Imperial America

  The Olympics loom. American eyes will turn to London, hoping for Olympic gold. As they do so, it will be worth remembering that this will be London’s second post-World War II Olympic Games, not the first, and that there are also medals to be won by comparing the condition of the U.K. on the […] read more »
May 11, 2012

The Unfinished Business of the Obama Administration: Poverty & Unemployment

The Obama Administration has unfinished business: lots of it, actually. The President will no doubt seek re-election in November by emphasizing policy successes. He would do well, however, to seek re-election by also recognizing policy failures: recognizing them and committing his Administration to do better. To win re-election, that recognition will need to be honest […] read more »
April 24, 2012

Taking the Republicans to Task: (5) On Industrial Policy

  The Republican Party likes to pretend (even to itself) that it doesn’t have an industrial policy. It also likes to pretend that the U.S. economy is currently in such deep trouble because the Democratic Party does. Not so. Both parties have industrial policies whether they acknowledge them or not. The American economy is in […] read more »
April 9, 2012

Taking the Republicans to Task: (4) On Health Care Reform

              As we await the verdict of nine Supreme Court Justices on the constitutionality of all or part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it is worth asking what the remaining Republican Presidential nominees would create in its place. We know that they would have to create something, because each is committed to the […] read more »
March 26, 2012

The White House and Your House: Policy Inertia and Organizational Resistance in the On-going Crisis of American Housing

  Ask any of the  Republican presidential hopefuls in this long and drawn out primary season what in general is wrong with the economic policies of the Obama Administration, and they will each tell you that the economy is under-performing now because the current Administration intervenes in its workings too frequently and too heavily. They […] read more »
March 8, 2012

Taking the Republicans to Task: (3) on Smaller Government, Smaller Deficits

              The current frontrunners in the fight for the Republican presidential nomination vary far more in their personalities and leadership styles than they do in their problem analysis and policy prescription. Ron Paul apart, their explanation of what is going wrong in contemporary America, and what therefore needs to be done to put things […] read more »
February 23, 2012

Taking the Republicans to Task: (2) On the Regulation of Business and Labor

            In the standard trilogy of core commitments currently being made by Republican presidential candidates, the cutting of taxes and the pruning of government is invariably accompanied by the promise to deregulate business – and indeed to re-regulate labor. The Obama administration stands condemned, not simply for its tax-and-spend propensities, but also for its subordination […] read more »
February 13, 2012

Taking the Republican Candidates to Task: (1) on Taxes

  One consequence of the Republican Party’s current propensity to select its presidential nominee by the political equivalent of American Idol is that we are regularly exposed to sound-bite answers designed to differentiate one candidate from another. read more »
January 29, 2012

Republican Truth and Real Truth: GSEs and the Housing Bubble

  In any wars of words in an election season, truth is often an early casualty. The war of words between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich is no exception. read more »
January 17, 2012

Republican Politics and the Unemployment Conundrum

  In Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the world discovered by Alice was one in which every aspect of reality was inverted. Big things were small. Small things grew big. The Cheshire cat faded into a grin. read more »
January 2, 2012

Time to Choose, America!

It is likely that 2012 will be long remembered as a watershed year in America politics. It certainly needs to be. read more »
December 12, 2011

Calling Progressive Economists into the Public Square

  “At many stages in the advance of humanity, this conflict between men who possess more than they have earned and the men who have earned more than they possess is the central condition of progress” (Theodore Roosevelt, 1910)[1] Economists are the new public intellectuals of the age. read more »
November 18, 2011

Banker power trumping Democratic Power: the crisis on two continents

  We live in troubled and ironic times. The times are certainly troubled. The IMF’s Managing Director has recently spoken with some justification of a looming “lost decade” for the global economy read more »
October 31, 2011

Poverty Amid Plenty – America’s Continuing Shame

  The current wave of mass protest against Wall Street excess has completely reframed the public conversation in the United States.  The “deficit problem” with which Washington was consumed in the first half of 2011 has not vanished from the political agenda, read more »
October 12, 2011

Trade Policy: Countering the Walmart Effect

  Bipartisanship in Washington is rare these days, but it does occasionally surface. It did this week, when the Senate passed the “Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act”(S.1619) – the one sponsored by Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown and co-sponsored by 22 other Senators, including five Republicans.[1] read more »
October 12, 2011

David Coates on the Kathleen Dunn Show

David Coates speaks about Making the Progressive Case Towards a Stronger U.S. Economy on the Kathleen Dunn Show. Click the link above to open the media player. One the great pleasures, and indeed privileges, of being a guest on the Kathleen Dunn Show is the quality of the questions that Kathleen asks and the seriousness […] read more »
September 28, 2011

Helping Obama Rediscover His Groove

  Thus far 2011 has not been a good year for progressives. The daily sight of the White House seeking elusive accommodations with Tea Party-inspired Congressional Republicans has not been an edifying one. Prior to and during the debt ceiling crisis, all the drive, all the issue framing, all the assertiveness in the pursuit of […] read more »
September 22, 2011

Making the Progressive Case

Making the Progressive Case - A three part video lecture read more »
September 21, 2011

David Coates on the WFMY Good Morning Show

It’s late September 2011. The debt-ceiling crisis of the summer is now behind us, and a more strident President Obama has summoned Congress to hear his call for a new stimulus package – an American Jobs Act. Everything in his list of proposals was once acceptable on both sides of the aisle. But no longer. […] read more »
September 14, 2011

Doing Two Things at Once: Jobs and Housing as Routes Out of Recession?

  Maybe it’s because of what I see every morning from my kitchen window– the view over coffee of my former neighbor’s foreclosed and rapidly deteriorating home – that the Obama Administration’s housing policy so depresses me. Or maybe what depresses me is the housing policy itself. read more »
August 29, 2011

Defending Trade Unions As Labor Day Approaches

  Labor Day looms, and with it the official end of summer.[1] Labor Day – the day we celebrate the strength and importance of American labor. But in truth, on this Labor Day what will there be to celebrate – certainly not the strength and importance of American labor. Things, after all, are not good […] read more »
August 26, 2011

Immigration Policy: August 2011 Update

Three sets of numbers frame recent developments in immigration policy: numbers of the foreign-born in the latest U.S. census data; numbers on the impact of the recession on immigrant employment; and numbers on the size and trajectory of the undocumented population. read more »
August 11, 2011

Eight Things to Tell a Republican

With Congress in recess and our lawmakers now back in their districts, there is presumably a slight chance of meeting one of them in the street. If, like me, your representative in the House is not of your political persuasion – mine, Virginia Foxx, most definitely is not – read more »
July 29, 2011

Washington Woes and the Problem of the Parrot

In the famous Monty Python parrot sketch, John Cleese’s understandable outrage at being sold a Norwegian Blue that was actually “stone dead” as he put it, does not get him a new bird. What it does get him – from the Michael Palin character who originally sold it to him – is a barrage of […] read more »
July 14, 2011

The Dangers of Obama’s Centrism

    Wednesday’s London Guardian newspaper carried a full report under the banner heading “Barack Obama battles left and right for debt ceiling agreement,” documenting the manner in which he was playing the role of “mediator in direct talks to prevent government bills going unpaid, interest rates soaring and US stocks plummeting.”[1] read more »
July 1, 2011

Celebrating Independence by Seeking to Regain It

  The signers of The Declaration of Independence combined political courage with intellectual honesty. Indeed for them, the first was entirely rooted in the second. read more »
June 15, 2011

Not Working in America: People and Public Policy

  The job figures for May were truly ghastly. In a month in which the economy needed to add 150,000 jobs simply to keep pace with the growth in the labor force, the private sector created 83,000 jobs and the public sector actually lost 29,000. Nearly 14 million Americans remain involuntarily unemployed. read more »
June 15, 2011

Free Trade/Fair Trade: An update for Chapter 3

The unalloyed advantages of free trade are among the most unquestioned premises of the age. On both sides of the political divide here in the United States, all but a few isolated voices subscribe to the view that free trade is necessarily good for all the parties associated with it: read more »
June 15, 2011

Green Politics in the Wake of the November Mid-Term: Updating Chapter 4

  When Making the Progressive Case went off to the publisher in late December 2010, the green agenda in the United States had already stalled; and since then the gap between the U.S. and the best of the rest has continued to widen. Three developments have been  particularly striking in the intervening six months; read more »
June 15, 2011

The War on Terror: An Update

    In one critical respect, the Obama Administration had a “good” first half of 2011 in their inherited war on terror. On May 1st a team of navy seals found and killed Osama bin Laden. The release of that news prompted some fairly distasteful domestic demonstrations of American jingoism. read more »
May 26, 2011

Punishment or Pushback: Financial Regulation in the Midst of Recession

  Nearly one American in two is currently “financially fragile” – unable, that is, to come up with $2000 dollars in 30 days to deal with an unexpected emergency.[1] That fragility presumably does not stretch out to the fortunate few employed by Goldman Sachs, collectively the recipients of the reportedly $15.4 billion set aside by […] read more »
May 12, 2011

Laying-Off Teachers To Demonstrate How Much They Are Appreciated

    When the President came to Winston-Salem in North Carolina last December, and first laid out his “sputnik moment” analysis of our contemporary situation, the whole emphasis of his address that day was on the need to strengthen our educational base in order to compete effectively in the global economy of the twenty-first century. read more »
April 29, 2011

The Strengths and Weaknesses of American Exceptionalism

  The Center for American Progress issued a fascinating and important PolicyLink paper early in April 2011: Prosperity 2050: Is Equity the Superior Growth Model?[1] Written by Sarah Treuhaft and David Madland, both its content and its title raised a central question of our time: whether it is “possible that the traditional assumption that there […] read more »
April 13, 2011

The Danger of Losing the Plot So Early in the Play

  If it is true that those whom the gods would destroy they first send mad, then currently we are in serious trouble in Washington DC. For in the political theatre we have just witnessed – around the shutdown of the federal government – there has been madness aplenty: read more »
March 24, 2011

Reframing the Deficit Debate

The dominant discourse in national American politics these days is a discourse on deficits. The leadership of the Republican Party, emboldened by their mid-term capture of the House, regularly informs us that “we are broke, and that we need to do something about it.”  read more »
March 7, 2011

Turning Down the Radio, Slice by Budgetary Slice

These are frenzied days in Washington DC. They are also particularly dangerous ones for publicly-supported institutions that Republican politicians happen to dislike. With the threat of a complete government shut-down as their ultimate weapon, House Republicans are entering this year’s budget round with some very clear targets in mind. read more »
February 27, 2011

Diluting the Tea Party: The Importance of Supping With a Long Spoon

Elections happen very quickly when they come, but they are not won, or indeed lost, simply in the moment of voting. Winning and losing elections is the business of the space between elections. We are in such a space now; and if we are not careful, the business we are now in will prove to […] read more »
February 13, 2011

Obama and Housing – Is Anybody Home?

You may not know it, if you watch only Washington beltway politics, but we are currently in the midst of a housing crisis of monumental proportions. read more »
February 4, 2011

Appendix 2: The Economics in Play

(Appendix outline) A faith in efficient markets The fallibility of efficient markets Keynes’ second coming (Extract) …one thing at least is certain in this age of uncertainty. It is that this debate between schools of economists will inevitably go on. One side will go on telling us (indeed they now do so daily in the […] read more »
February 4, 2011

Appendix 1: The Causes of the Meltdown: An Update on the Debate

(Appendix outline) THE REVAMPED CONSERVATIVE ARGUMENT A LIBERAL RESPONSE Housing Policy: Pattern and Role Fannie, Freddie and Ginnie – The role of the GSE’s Regulation or De-regulation: Which was it? Guilty Finance A FINAL NOTE ON LEVELS OF ANALYSIS (Extract) As we saw in Chapter 6, quite where you break off your explanation of the […] read more »
February 4, 2011

Conclusion

(Chapter outline) THE SCALE OF THE TASK BEFORE US Mighty Finance The Lightness of Labor Deindustrialization and the Weakness of Industrial Capital WHAT THAT SCALE TELLS US No Going Back External Constraints Internal Reform GETTING FROM HERE TO THERE Housing Banking Poverty Wages Trade Industry Empire THE POLITICS OF WINNING (Extract) There are other things […] read more »
February 4, 2011

Making the Case for a Reform of the American Model

(Chapter outline) THE CASE FOR AMERICAN SUPERIORITY American exceptionalism Economic Superiority The Home of the Brave and the Land of the Free A Beacon for the World Corrosive Forces THE CASE FOR RETHINKING THE AMERICAN MODEL Revisiting the claims about US “exceptionalism” Cherry picking your way to glory. Writing labor out of the US story […] read more »
February 4, 2011

Making the Case for a Green Economy

(Chapter outline) GREEN POLITICS AND THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION THE CASE AGAINST GOING GREEN Global Warming as a Manufactured Issue Global Warming as an Exaggerated Issue Global Warming as a Hyped Issue Global Warming as an Excuse for Bad Policy Market Solutions to Global Warming THE CASE FOR GOING GREEN Climate Change is No Hoax “Seven […] read more »
February 4, 2011

Making the Case for Managed Trade

(Chapter Outline) THE CASE FOR GLOBAL FREE TRADE Exploiting comparative advantage The many benefits of untrammeled free trade Any costs associated with of free trade are temporary, slight and focused, whilst its benefits are permanent, substantial and general Free trade is unambiguously good for America Free Trade is good for the “South” as well as […] read more »

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