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Let’s learn from the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis

We are going to bail out Student Debt one way or another. What’s left is the Ws: who, what, when/where, why, and how.

Remember the 2007 subprime mortgage debt crisis? Predatory lenders had targeted people who had struggled to afford a home, and saddled them with higher interest rates. They told them it would be worth it in the long run, because owning a home was the best investment you could make in your future. They didn’t care if people could ever pay off the debt, as long as they could make monthly payments.

In 2019, we’re facing much the same problem, but with student debt instead. Predatory lenders have targeted people who would have struggled to afford college, and saddled them with higher interest rates. They told them it would be worth it in the long run, because a college degree was the best investment you could make in your future. …


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“Business Portraiture” by Andy Le Gresley is licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0

As Long as the Democratic Nominee Runs on a Republican Platform

My name’s probably Brent, and I’m a lifelong Republican (although really, I like to consider myself more of a centrist, and I really considered voting for Obama in 2008). If you don’t know what a centrist is, it means I’m way more enlightened than most people. Instead of forming opinions of my own, like some extremist ideologue, I like to figure out the exact middle ground between the positions of most of the people I know, and stick my flag right there.


Meet Alex. She’s not very well drawn, but don’t blame her for that. That one’s on me.

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Alex is thinking about having children.


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Pete Buttigieg finally has a platform, after facing many long weeks of critique over having not a single policy up on his website. And you know what? It’s not bad, nor is it all that great. What is notable is the way he wants to reclaim values that Democrats have historically ceded to Republicans — Freedom and Security — as well as stressing a third value: Democracy. He sorts his platform between those three values, and the way he centers the issues highlights just how white-centric his political perspective is.

The War on Drugs and mass incarceration, for example, have been absolutely devastating to the freedom of black communities, with blacks 5 times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. And it’s had a huge impact on democracy, with many of those voters unable to vote while incarcerated, and some still unable to vote even after they have served time (varies from state to state). …


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If Biden is the next nominee, Republicans have won the political debate, because even when they lose, Democrats will push their beliefs for them. On almost every major issue that Democrats should care about, Biden has been on the wrong side of that issue throughout his career, and at least one of the other Democratic candidates has been on the right side of that issue.

If during the era of #MeToo we choose another man who can’t keep his hands off of women who haven’t consented to his touch (and then who jokes about it) who says (of Roe v…


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Young people — like Violet, Klaus, and Sunny — want to save their future. But the adults in the room just aren’t listening.

“The adults in the room” is an expression which refers to an expectation that adults behave responsibly, while it is children and teenagers who behave irresponsibly. Here that expression is used ironically, because it is largely Millennials and now Gen Z advocating for the responsible actions required to avert climate catastrophe, while “the adults in the room” are failing to react responsibly at all.

A Series of Unfortunate Events is a young adult book series published around the same time as Harry Potter, and read by the same audience: millennials coming of age in a world changing for the worse. …


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In 2014 Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote The Case for Reparations in The Atlantic. Five years later, David Brooks writes The Case for Reparations for the New York Times. Two articles with the same title and different articles, connected across a span of half a decade. Two dramatically different meanings.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is an ideologue, an author whose body of work can largely be connected to an overarching philosophy, a framework into which all of his writings fit. To simplify dramatically, Coates is a race pessimist, somebody who sees America’s racial disparities as linked to the nation’s founding character. When Coates wrote “The Case for Reparations”, it wasn’t a policy proposal. It was a cataloguing of the iniquities — both historic and present — visited upon black America. …


Every candidate who is backing reparations right now is bullshitting you.

Let’s start with the first backer: Marianne Williamson, who proposed $100 billion. That comes out to about $2500 per black person in the United States. That’s about one month’s labor at $15/hr.

That ain’t a reparations plan. It’s an “alleviate white guilt” plan. Backpay alone for the unpaid wages of slavery comes to about 6.5 trillion dollars, which would be about $162,500 per black person in the United States, and that’s *just* looking at slavery and ignoring the next 150 years of racism.

That’s ignoring wage discrimination from 1865 until now. That’s ignoring the many hours spent fighting for equality, for the pain and suffering inflicted upon black Americans who did stand up for their rights. That’s ignoring redlining. That’s ignoring “coloreds only” and “back of the bus”. That’s ignoring mass incarceration and the War on Drugs. …


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Political Platitudes Are Not Enough

Reparations — the notion that America owes black Americans compensation for slavery and other discriminatory injustices — is a political issue which has long been dismissed to the fringe of American politics. The most notable recent iteration followed Ta-Nehisi Coates’ article in The Atlantic: The Case for Reparations. His own article was light on policy suggestions, and instead hinged on the notion that Congress had failed to even consider the issue (evidenced by the fact that they wouldn’t even pass a bill which would investigate reparations).


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When people are enthusiastic about politicians, they vote. When people vote, the left wins. Our only job as the left is to make sure that our policies are good for working class people — and that working class people believe that enthusiastically.

For some time now, Democrats have failed at that task. There have been a few charismatic individuals (mostly talking about Barack Obama) who have kept the Party alive, but even during the Obama years, Democrats lost over a thousand seats in Congress and state legislatures.

Now, it’s not nearly so simple as “Democrats lost.” There has been a massive effort to gerrymander Democrats out of electoral viability, specifically by clustering as many Democrats into several districts, while leaving many marginally competitive districts with Republican majorities. This process has been further exacerbated by an increased tendency for Democratic constituencies to naturally cluster by living predominantly in cities — particularly in the cases of people of color and young people. …

About

Mattias Lehman

Democratic Party Delegate, Black Lives Matter, Proud Social Democrat, Aggressive Progressive — https://www.patreon.com/mattias_lehman

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