Saturday, January 10, 2015

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

Reaching for a New Deal

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

Publication Date: June 2011, Pages: 456
eISBN: 978-1-61044-711-9
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Social Sciences - Political Science, Sociology
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Book Description
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... (read more)

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Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages: i-iv
  2. Table of Contents
    Pages: v-vi
  3. Contributors
    Pages: vii-viii
  4. Chapter 1Reaching for a New Deal: Ambitious Governance, Economic Meltdown, and Polarized Politics
    Pages: 1-50
    “TheNewNew Deal—What Barack Obama can learn from F.D.R.—and what Democrats need to do” was the feature story in theTimemagazine of November 24, 2008, which hit the newsstands soon after the historic 2008 elections. The striking cover portrayed a grinning Obama wearing a fedora and riding in an open car, a cigarette in a long silver holder jutting from his lips. The image nicely suggested that the newly elected president might be able to propel a shift in U.S. governance and politics comparable to that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first New Deal in the 1930s....
  5. PART I: Legislative Landmarks
  6. Chapter 2Hard-Fought Legacy: Obama, Congressional Democrats, and the Struggle for Comprehensive Health Care Reform
    Pages: 53-104
    The words were those of Barack Obama, junior senator from Illinois, delivered at a Las Vegas issues forum early in the prolonged Democratic Party primary process of the 2008 presidential election (Obama 2007, 18). The forum was cosponsored by the Service Employees International Union, a key blue-collar organization, and the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank preparing plans for the next Democratic president—underlining that health care reform is a long-running Democratic priority for elites and grass roots alike.
    Starting with Harry Truman’s crusade for “compulsory” universal health insurance at the end of World War II, Democratic presidents...
  7. Chapter 3Eliminating the Market Middle-Man: Redirecting and Expanding Support for College Students
    Pages: 105-138
    “Throughout our history, education has been at the heart of a bargain this nation has made with its citizens: If you work hard and take responsibility, you’ll have a chance for a better life.” Writing these words in his bookThe Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama asserted that investments in education offer the most promising way the United States can grow more competitive in the global economy and “modernize and rebuild the social compact that FDR first stitched together in the middle of the last century” (2006, 159). Throughout the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama continually stressed the need to make...
  8. Chapter 4The Contest of Lobbies and Disciplines: Financial Politics and Regulatory Reform
    Pages: 139-188
    On July 21, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Dodd-Frank Act—so named after its two congressional cosponsors, Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd and Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank—represents the most sweeping overhaul of financial regulations in the United States since the New Deal. More so than the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the so-called stimulus package, the Dodd-Frank Act represents the Obama administration’s main structural attack on the financial crisis of 2008 and the Great Recession that followed it. And, compared with Obama’s health care reform package, the...
  9. PART II: Change through Regulation and Administrative Action
  10. Chapter 5The Unsurprising Failure of Labor Law Reform and the Turn to Administrative Action
    Pages: 191-229
    In late April 2010 the giant banner adorning the corner of the AFL-CIO headquarters that faces the White House was abruptly taken down.¹ The banner supporting organized labor’s most important legislative priority—labor law reform known as the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)—had been up since the January 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama as president, a little over a year.² Of course, the labor movement’s long-time organizational nemesis, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, cheerily noted the banner’s removal (U.S. Chamber of Commerce 2010a).³ This unfurling of the EFCA banner symbolized the failure, yet again, of the American labor movement...
  11. Chapter 6Surprising Momentum: Spurring Education Reform in States and Localities
    Pages: 230-270
    The federal government, as the junior partner with neither constitutional authority for elementary and secondary education nor a major role in its financing, has increasingly leveraged its limited resources by requiring that states and local school districts move in particular policy directions to obtain federal funds. The Obama administration has strengthened that leverage to an unprecedented level by including consistency with federal priorities as a basis for ranking states in the competition for education stimulus funds. With no assurance that they would receive any Race to the Top funding, seventeen states changed their laws to allow student test scores to...
  12. PART III: Failed Bargains and Intensifying Conflict
  13. Chapter 7Obama’s Immigration Reform: A Tough Sell for a Grand Bargain
    Pages: 273-320
    The United States has always been a nation of immigrants, but in the twenty-first century, the policy debate is about becoming a nation of illegal immigrants. President Obama promised “comprehensive immigration reform,” but he will be judged on how he handled illegal immigration. The challenge is a daunting one. Members of Congress thought they had successfully dealt with it a quarter of a century ago, but the demographic statistics—as well as the legislative record since then—tell a very different story.
    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates that about 10.8 million foreigners live in the United States without...
  14. Chapter 8Cold Front: How the Recession Stalled Obama’s Clean-Energy Agenda
    Pages: 321-385
    In January 2009 President Obama took office promising to restore prosperity and reduce American dependence on foreign oil by converting the United States from a fossil-fuel to a clean-energy economy. In many respects, the country appeared ripe for such a transformation: Obama was extraordinarily popular; public support for addressing energy and climate change was strong; environmentalists were unified; industry was divided and many prominent CEOs advocated limits on greenhouse-gas emissions; and the conservative opposition was beleaguered. Initially, at least, events seem to bear out the predictions of optimistic pundits: following a frenzied push by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi,...
  15. Chapter 9Paying America’s Way: The Fraught Politics of Taxes, Investments, and Budgetary Responsibility
    Pages: 386-422
    Candidate Barack Obama made startling and politically courageous promises to reorient taxing and spending in the United States. He sought to turn Republican tax politics on its head, raising taxes on the politically powerful affluent and devoting the money to enhanced economic security for ordinary Americans, such as health care reform, and to greater investments in human and physical capital, such as education and infrastructure. And taxes were due on the agenda, thanks to the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. Between Obama’s great popularity and apparent public support for raising taxes on the wealthy, the boldest plans in decades...

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