Reaching for a New Deal: Ambitious Governance, Economic Meltdown, and Polarized Politics in Obama's First Two Years

Russell Sage Foundation
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During his winning presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to counter rising economic inequality and revitalize America's middle-class through a series of wide-ranging reforms. His transformational agenda sought to ensure affordable healthcare; reform the nation's schools and make college more affordable; promote clean and renewable energy; reform labor laws and immigration; and redistribute the tax burden from the middle class to wealthier citizens. The Wall Street crisis and economic downturn that erupted as Obama took office also put U.S. financial regulation on the agenda. By the middle of President Obama's first term in office, he had succeeded in advancing major reforms by legislative and administrative means. But a sluggish economic recovery from the deep recession of 2009, accompanied by polarized politics and governmental deadlock in Washington, DC, have raised questions about how far Obama's promised transformations can go. Reaching for a New Deal analyzes both the ambitious domestic policy of Obama's first two years and the consequent political backlash—up to and including the 2010 midterm elections. Reaching for a New Deal opens by assessing how the Obama administration overcame intense partisan struggles to achieve legislative victories in three areas—health care reform, federal higher education loans and grants, and financial regulation. Lawrence Jacobs and Theda Skocpol examine the landmark health care bill, signed into law in spring 2010, which extended affordable health benefits to millions of uninsured Americans after nearly 100 years of failed legislative attempts to do so. Suzanne Mettler explains how Obama succeeded in reorienting higher education policy by shifting loan administration from lenders to the federal government and extending generous tax tuition credits. Reaching for a New Deal also examines the domains in which Obama has used administrative action to further reforms in schools and labor law. The book concludes with examinations of three areas—energy, immigration, and taxes—where Obama's efforts at legislative compromises made little headway. Reaching for a New Deal combines probing analyses of Obama's domestic policy achievements with a big picture look at his change-oriented presidency. The book uses struggles over policy changes as a window into the larger dynamics of American politics and situates the current political era in relation to earlier pivotal junctures in U.S. government and public policy. It offers invaluable lessons about unfolding political transformations in the United States.
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About the author

THEDA SKOCPOL is Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University. LAWRENCE R. JACOBS is the Walter F. and Joan Mondale Chair for Political Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance in the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute and Department of Political Science at the University of Minnesota.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Russell Sage Foundation
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Published on
Jun 24, 2011
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Pages
456
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ISBN
9781610447119
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / General
Political Science / Political Process / General
Political Science / Political Process / Political Parties
Social Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed by President Obama in March 2010 is a landmark in U.S. social legislation, and the Supreme Court's recent decision upholding the Act has ensured that it will remain the law of the land. The new law extends health insurance to nearly all Americans, fulfilling a century-long quest and bringing the United States to parity with other industrial nations. Affordable Care aims to control rapidly rising health care costs and promises to make the United States more equal, reversing four decades of rising disparities between the very rich and everyone else. Millions of people of modest means will gain new benefits and protections from insurance company abuses - and the tab will be paid by privileged corporations and the very rich. How did such a bold reform effort pass in a polity wracked by partisan divisions and intense lobbying by special interests? What does Affordable Care mean-and what comes next? In this updated edition of Health Care Reform and American Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know®, Lawrence R. Jacobs and Theda Skocpol-two of the nation's leading experts on politics and health care policy-provide a concise and accessible overview. They explain the political battles of 2009 and 2010, highlighting White House strategies, the deals Democrats cut with interest groups, and the impact of agitation by Tea Partiers and progressives. Jacobs and Skocpol spell out what the new law can do for everyday Americans, what it will cost, and who will pay. In a new section, they also analyze the impact the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the law. Above all, they explain what comes next, as critical yet often behind-the-scenes battles rage over implementing reform nationally and in the fifty states. Affordable Care still faces challenges at the state level despite the Court ruling. But, like Social Security and Medicare, it could also gain strength and popularity as the majority of Americans learn what it can do for them. What Everyone Needs to Know® is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press.

Everyone has an opinion about whether or not Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. The number of actors involved is staggering, the events are complicated, and it’s hard to know who or what to believe. Spygate bypasses opinion and brings facts together to expose the greatest political scandal in American history.

 

Former Secret Service agent and NYPD police officer Dan Bongino joins forces with journalist D.C. McAllister to clear away fake news and show you how Trump’s political opponents, both foreign and domestic, tried to sabotage his campaign and delegitimize his presidency. By following the names and connections of significant actors, the authors reveal:

 

•      Why the Obama administration sent a spy connected to the Deep State into the Trump campaign 

•      How Russians were connected to the opposition research firm hired by the Clinton campaign to find dirt on Trump

•      How the FBI failed to examine DNC computers after they were hacked, relying instead on the findings of a private company connected to the DNC and the Obama administraton

•      Why British intelligence played a role in building the collusion narrative

•      What role Ukrainians played in legitimizing the perception that Trump was conspiring with the Russians

•      How foreign players in the two events that kickstarted the Trump-Russia collusion investigation were connected to the Clinton Foundation, and 

•      What motivated the major actors who sought to frame the Trump campaign and secure a win for Hillary Clinton

In a riveting account based on new documents and interviews with more than 400 sources on both sides of the aisle, award-winning reporter Michael Grunwald reveals the vivid story behind President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus bill, one of the most important and least understood pieces of legislation in the history of the country. Grunwald’s meticulous reporting shows how the stimulus, though reviled on the right and the left, helped prevent a depression while jump-starting the president’s agenda for lasting change. As ambitious and far-reaching as FDR’s New Deal, the Recovery Act is a down payment on the nation’s economic and environmental future, the purest distillation of change in the Obama era.

The stimulus has launched a transition to a clean-energy economy, doubled our renewable power, and financed unprecedented investments in energy efficiency, a smarter grid, electric cars, advanced biofuels, and green manufacturing. It is computerizing America’s pen-and-paper medical system. Its Race to the Top is the boldest education reform in U.S. history. It has put in place the biggest middle-class tax cuts in a generation, the largest research investments ever, and the most extensive infrastructure investments since Eisenhower’s interstate highway system. It includes the largest expansion of antipoverty programs since the Great Society, lifting millions of Americans above the poverty line, reducing homelessness, and modernizing unemployment insurance. Like the first New Deal, Obama’s stimulus has created legacies that last: the world’s largest wind and solar projects, a new battery industry, a fledgling high-speed rail network, and the world’s highest-speed Internet network.

Michael Grunwald goes behind the scenes—sitting in on cabinet meetings, as well as recounting the secret strategy sessions where Republicans devised their resistance to Obama—to show how the stimulus was born, how it fueled a resurgence on the right, and how it is changing America. The New New Deal shatters the conventional Washington narrative and it will redefine the way Obama’s first term is perceived.
In the twentieth century, the United States ended some of its most flagrant inequalities. The "rights revolution" ended statutory prohibitions against women's suffrage and opened the doors of voting booths to African Americans. Yet a more insidious form of inequality has emerged since the 1970s—economic inequality—which appears to have stalled and, in some arenas, reversed progress toward realizing American ideals of democracy. In Inequality and American Democracy, editors Lawrence Jacobs and Theda Skocpol headline a distinguished group of political scientists in assessing whether rising economic inequality now threatens hard-won victories in the long struggle to achieve political equality in the United States. Inequality and American Democracy addresses disparities at all levels of the political and policy-making process. Kay Lehman Scholzman, Benjamin Page, Sidney Verba, and Morris Fiorina demonstrate that political participation is highly unequal and strongly related to social class. They show that while economic inequality and the decreasing reliance on volunteers in political campaigns serve to diminish their voice, middle class and working Americans lag behind the rich even in protest activity, long considered the political weapon of the disadvantaged. Larry Bartels, Hugh Heclo, Rodney Hero, and Lawrence Jacobs marshal evidence that the U.S. political system may be disproportionately responsive to the opinions of wealthy constituents and business. They argue that the rapid growth of interest groups and the increasingly strict party-line voting in Congress imperils efforts at enacting policies that are responsive to the preferences of broad publics and to their interests in legislation that extends economic and social opportunity. Jacob Hacker, Suzanne Mettler, and Dianne Pinderhughes demonstrate the feedbacks of government policy on political participation and inequality. In short supply today are inclusive public policies like the G.I. Bill, Social Security legislation, the War on Poverty, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that changed the American political climate, mobilized interest groups, and altered the prospect for initiatives to stem inequality in the last fifty years. Inequality and American Democracy tackles the complex relationships between economic, social, and political inequality with authoritative insight, showcases a new generation of critical studies of American democracy, and highlights an issue of growing concern for the future of our democratic society.
Mark R. Levin has made the case, in numerous bestselling books that the principles undergirding our society and governmental system are unraveling. In The Liberty Amendments, he turns to the founding fathers and the constitution itself for guidance in restoring the American republic.

The delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention and the delegates to each state’s ratification convention foresaw a time when the Federal government might breach the Constitution’s limits and begin oppressing the people. Agencies such as the IRS and EPA and programs such as Obamacare demonstrate that the Framers’ fear was prescient. Therefore, the Framers provided two methods for amending the Constitution. The second was intended for our current circumstances—empowering the states to bypass Congress and call a convention for the purpose of amending the Constitution. Levin argues that we, the people, can avoid a perilous outcome by seeking recourse, using the method called for in the Constitution itself.

The Framers adopted ten constitutional amendments, called the Bill of Rights, that would preserve individual rights and state authority. Levin lays forth eleven specific prescriptions for restoring our founding principles, ones that are consistent with the Framers’ design. His proposals—such as term limits for members of Congress and Supreme Court justices and limits on federal taxing and spending—are pure common sense, ideas shared by many. They draw on the wisdom of the Founding Fathers—including James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and numerous lesser-known but crucially important men—in their content and in the method for applying them to the current state of the nation.

Now is the time for the American people to take the first step toward reclaiming what belongs to them. The task is daunting, but it is imperative if we are to be truly free.
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