The key part of this conversation with Chuck Schumer, to me, is the way his thinking on the median voter has changed.…
He used to think they were skeptical of big government, resentful that they paid taxes and it helped everyone but them.

That pushed Democrats to target programs tightly, and keep price tags down. Clinton era reflects this.
Now he thinks these voters, "Joe and Eileen Bailey," just want government to help them, and they don't care who else it helps. And so the political path for Democrats is to do anything and everything so these voters feeling helped by the government, right now.
That's aligned with the Biden administration's thinking in a lot of respects, but as Schumer explains to me, there's one big place they differ right now: He thinks it's an obvious, no-brainer idea for Biden to cancel student debt up to $50,000. The Biden admin doesn't.

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More from @ezraklein

26 Apr
I think the path followed by electric cars over the past decade are a good way of thinking about this stupid debate about meat, and about the policy that will get us to a good outcome here.
Biden isn't going to ban meat.

He's so not going to ban meat and will be so afraid of being caricatured otherwise that I worry Democrats will err on the wrong side of this and ignore all emissions from animal agriculture, which would be devastating for climate goals.
So let's talk about electric cars. Go back a decade and there's a similar culture war. Real 'Muricans drive Hummers and weeny liberals drive Priuses and Volts and if Democrats win they're going to take your cool cars.
Read 17 tweets
23 Apr
I love this @AnnieLowrey jeremiad against the term "low-skill jobs." Those jobs aren't low-skill. They're low-wage, and calling them low-skill is a way of blaming often exploited workers for inequality and unemployment.…
The idea that a 23-year-old at McKinsey is a high-skill worker while a home healthcare aide with 30 years of experience is low-skill is risible.

The latter may be paid more, but they're not more skilled. And the language of skills recasts that pay gap as natural, even virtuous.
As Annie writes, the point isn't that we shouldn't learn different skills as the economy changes. The point is the language of low and high-skilled jobs obscures the realities of power and policy operating behind this debate.
Read 5 tweets
21 Apr
There's some interesting ideas in here, but the underlying phenomena seems much more clearly explained by the sharp rise in age and educational polarization, not an asymmetry in how much liberals and conservatives care about politics.…
*Why* there's been such a sharp rise in age and educational polarization is important, and I don't think there's one dominant explanation. But once that polarization happens, it's going to drive institutions sharply to whichever side is dominating among the young and educated.
Take age. Republicans win retirees. Democrats win the young, by huge margins. Corporations and culture makers worry a lot more the young, who'll consume for decades and whose patterns aren't yet set, then seniors. That alone explains a lot of institutional tilt.
Read 4 tweets
20 Apr
I'm an anxious person. Always have been.

It's a weird, frustrating way to live: There is so much to wonder at or truly fear, and instead I can't stop ruminating over some nonsense from 3 years ago, or worrying about something far in the future.
I know I have better things to be thinking about. I know I should spend the time in gratitude for all that I have. Or I should be worrying about the right problems.

But as the Buddhists say: my thoughts think themselves. So I'm anxious AND annoyed at myself for it.
And then came the pandemic. Reality was objectively terrifying, and many of us were trapped inside, severed from social connection and routine, with acres of time to fret.

It was a bad mix. I know a lot of people who didn't have an anxiety problem before, but do now.
Read 4 tweets
19 Apr
One fun thing about having a toddler is how relentlessly they point out all public services in eyesight at any given moment.

Mail trucks! Fire engines! Playgrounds! Buses! Libraries! Bridges! Ambulances!

And they're right! Public goods are amazing.
It's like walking around with a small @rortybomb, all the time.
Oh my god how could I have forgotten garbage trucks. Garbage trucks! Toddlers treat them with the sense of complete wonder they deserve.
Read 4 tweets
19 Apr
Part of the reason I find the "cancel culture" debate frustrating is it's never clear what the ask is, or who it's being made of.

But if you look at the employer and media incentives that lead to people getting mobbed and then fired, it gets clearer.…
A lot of the problems right now aren't a speech "culture." They're driven by economics, and the key actors are social media companies, search giants and employers who really could change the decisions they make in ways that would lead to a better speech climate.
One thing that's buried in the column but I want to pull out: I see a lot of people on this here web site who've made being anti-cancel culture their core political identity but they spend their time doing the things that lead to people getting cancelled and harassed.
Read 5 tweets

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