The President’s proposed defense budget has been criticized for shrinking the military at a time when the world is getting more dangerous. This argument is simply wrong. The simple fact is that President Obama is giving more money to the military than Ronald Reagan ever did.
In their latest policy memo, Ben Freeman and Mieke Eoyang explain how the President’s defense budget is a step in the right direction. By investing in 21st century weapons—not Cold War relics—and by cutting the bloated Pentagon bureaucracy, this budget will prepare America for the conflicts of the future, not the past.
Is Paul Ryan the key to passing ENDA? In an interview with The Washington Blade Lanae Erickson Hatalsky argues that the defeat of SB 1062 in Arizona demonstrated the importance of having Republicans, businesses, and faith leaders on board.
The Misery Index was devised in the 1960s by economist Arthur Okun, who was chairman of President Lyndon Johnson’s Council of Economic Advisers. It is simply the sum of the unemployment rate and the inflation rate: unemployment plus inflation equals misery.
How does the Misery Index over the first five years of the Obama Administration compare with his predecessors’ records, beginning with JFK?
The current Misery Index is at 8.2. That’s a bit lower than it was when Obama took office in 2009 (8.5). Unemployment has declined from over 8% in February 2009 to less than 7% in January 2014, but the inflation rate is slightly higher. Inflation was negligible in 2009, when the country was in the throes of the Great Recession.
Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter and the first Bush all had the burden of double-digit misery indexes. The index was a disastrous 20.2 when Carter lost his bid for re-election in 1980. President Obama has managed to avoid double-digit misery for most of his tenure. Nevertheless, the improvement in the economy under Obama (misery down 0.3) is not nearly as striking as it was for Presidents Reagan (down 9.3) or Clinton (down 3.0).
At least the Misery Index has not gone up under Obama. That’s what helped bring down Johnson, Nixon, Carter, and both Presidents Bush: things got worse.
This piece is from the February 2014 edition of Bill Schneider’s Inside Politics Newsletter.
Surveillance Costs: The NSA’s Impact on The Economy, Information Security, and Internet Freedom
There’s a debate raging in DC and around the world about the extensive National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs that were first revealed this past summer. This week, Mieke Eoyang, Director of Third Way’s National Security program, sat down with the New America Foundation for a panel discussion about the costs of the NSA programs, including not only the direct cost to the American taxpayer, but also the cost to the American Internet industry (by some estimates over $180 billion within the next few years), the cost to America’s foreign relations and its work to promote "Internet Freedom" globally, and finally, the cost to Internet security itself.
The panel also featured representatives from the Internet industry and the Internet security community, a legal advocate in the surveillance and privacy world, along with security policy experts from the left and right, including:
- Anne-Marie Slaughter, President & CEO, New America Foundation;
- Kevin Bankston, Policy Director, New America Foundation, Open Technology Institute;
- Daniel Castro, Senior Analyst, The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF);
- Richard Fontaine, President, The Center for a New American Security (CNAS);
- Ross Schulman, Public Policy and Regulatory Counsel, The Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA); and
- Micah Sherr, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Georgetown University
New Pentagon Budget Proposal Shrinks Army And Benefits
Wisconsin Public Radio • February 24, 2014
LISTEN: This week, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the latest Pentagon budget, which would shrink the size of the United States Army to its smallest size since World War II and cut military pay and benefits. Mieke Eoyang, Director of Third Way’s National Security program spoke to Wisconsin Public Radio and explained how these proposals might be received by Congress, which has to approve the military budget.
Thirty percent of the country now lives in a state where gay couples can marry, and Americans’ views are warming faster than ever. But the shrinking group of politicians who still oppose allowing gay couples to marry often argues that doing so would infringe on the religious liberty of marriage opponents.
Third Way and the Human Rights Campaign joined forces to field a national poll to find out where the country currently stands on marriage, non-discrimination laws, and proposals which would allow businesses like restaurants, florists, photographers, and bakers to turn away gay people and couples. The results are clear:
- Americans know that our laws and Constitution already robustly protect religious liberty, and they do not think marriage or non-discrimination laws threaten religious beliefs or practices.
- Voters oppose new proposals which would allow government employees, businesses, or individuals who oppose marriage on religious grounds to deny services to gay people or couples.
- When it comes to religious exemptions, voters are clear that they should be limited to places like churches and synagogues and people like pastors, priests, and rabbis.
READ THE REPORT FOR MORE.
“When John Dingell steps out of the Well of the House of Representatives for the last time next year, it will draw to a close one of the most extraordinary tenures of public service in this nation’s history. His retirement after 58 years caps a career that is unprecedented not only in its longevity but also in its influence. Congressman Dingell embodies everything we envision a public servant to be: an honorable, talented man, deeply devoted to the betterment of our nation. He served our country in uniform in the Army in World War II and as a forest ranger, and out of uniform as the longest-serving Member in House history. He had a hand in shaping virtually every major piece of health, safety, environmental, and energy legislation in the last five decades, leaving a remarkable legacy of progress and achievement.
He will be missed not only as an exceptional public servant, but also as an invaluable leader for Third Way. It has been our honor to have him serve as an Honorary Co-Chair, and we wish him and his wife Debbie all of the best in their next steps. Congressman Dingell will leave the House far better for his having served in it, and we hope that his example will guide future congressional leaders on how to serve one’s constituents and the nation with such enormous distinction and grace.”
To learn more, watch this video honoring John Dingell as the longest serving Member of Congress:
By Aki Peritz
What happens when you’re the meanest player on a team with a history of violence (say, the Philadelphia Flyers from the 1970s), but you disobey the coach too many times? No matter how good on the field, pitch or ice you may be, the head office has no choice but to cut you from the roster.
This happened recently in the world of international terrorism, where al-Qaida Central became fed up with one of its franchises and disavowed the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, or ISIS. This is the first time al-Qaida cut ties with one of its regional groups — surprisingly so since ISIS has been successfully driving the jihadist agenda in the heart of the Middle East.
This split is good news for the U.S. and its allies. Here’s why:
Can Hillary Clinton unite liberals and moderates?
Last night, Third Way co-founder Matt Bennett and Salon’s Joan Walsh appeared on Hardballwith Chris Matthews to discuss Hillary’s potential bid for President, as well as if the populist trend in the Democratic Party is viable beyond places like Massachusetts and New York City.
By Ben Freeman, Ph.D
The Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship, or LCS, program was dealt a death blow last month when the Pentagon advised the Navy to purchase only 32 of the small, fast and much maligned ships that were originally designed to combat three distinct threats — submarines, mines and groups of small boats.
This was absolutely the right move for at least three reasons.
Support for allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry has risen dramatically in the past decade. One often-cited reason for the change is that younger voters with more accepting views are replacing older voters in the population. The more important reason, though, is that Americans in every political, religious, and age group across the country are changing their minds on this issue.
Learn more about The Big Shift or visit Third Way’s Commitment Campaign for additional resources.