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November 09, 2005

Gene Sperling's New Book, "The Pro-Growth Progressive"

Gene Sperling writes about his excellent new book: Gene Sperling (2005), The Pro-Growth Progressive: An Economic Strategy for Shared Prosperity (New York: Simon and Schuster: 0743237536) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/0743237536/braddelong00.:

TPMCafe || The Pro-Growth Progressive: I felt frustrated by the view - often from both sides - that there was an inherent conflict between promoting progressive values and being hard-headed about the power of markets incentives, the law of unintended consequences and the inevitability of globalization.

What do I mean by progressive?.... A belief in economic dignity for those who take responsibility... the opportunity for upward mobility... life's outcome should not be determined by the accident of your birth.... [W]e best promote the three values above when we seek policies that are focused on both raising the tide and lifting all boats.... [An] agenda that focuses on personal savings and wealth creation, as well as a laying a foundation for private sector growth, can be completely consistent with progressive values if we make our test not only whether we are raising the tide, but lifting all boats. I push hard for progressives to champion an expansive Universal 401 K and a Flat Tax Incentive where everyone gets a 30% refundable credit for savings.... Democrats need to not only have these policies on the shelf - we need to move them to the front of our policy agenda if we are to show Americans we not only a party that is there for you when your down, but a party that wants to see you reach your highest economic aspirations.

[T]he reigning conservative assumption that all expansions of government are anti-growth and interfere with markets is just as unfounded.... [T]here are a host of powerful public policies that because they flow directly to workers... are progressive, pro-growth and in no way interfere with markets or restrict employers. The EITC.... A quality 0-5 education program.... Yes, it is an expansion of government, but how exactly is that anti-growth?...

[T]here was nothing I struggled with and agonized about more than the sections on a new progressive compact on globalization. These are the most difficult issues we face... while our nation benefits enormously from the innovation, low-prices and competition that open markets bring... we still have little means to prevent or cope with the unacceptable degree of economic devastation this openness brings for some workers and families both here and abroad.... [T]hose seeking to restrict trade too often have no vision of the future, while those pressing for open markets have no vision for the present.... [P]rogressives on both sides of the trade debate should be more open in recognizing the exaggerations and flaws in their arguments.... I do support the labor standards we put in the Jordan Free Trade agreement, [but] progressives have to understand that poor nations often see our approach as punitive, and that we should be looking for to add to labor standards a broader array of tools from positive partnerships and incentives....

I realize that by standing by President Clinton's effort... I... have perfectly positioned myself to draw fire from all sides....

While many of us may agree that President Bush has been the worst fiscal President in our nation's history, I imagine there will be more lively disagreement on where progressives should go from here....

I eagerly await the discussion to come and thank the excellent array of commentators that Josh has pulled together for this book forum for agreeing to participate.

Posted by DeLong at November 9, 2005 02:52 PM