A Few Thoughts on the Mid-Term Elections

As we prepare to brace a Republican-controlled House after today’s elections, below are a few thoughts on how IPS is positioning itself in this new political landscape. We’d love to hear what else you all are thinking:

1. We are in for 2 years of stalemate at the national level. This new balance of power in Washington will not allow all much of anything positive to pass, and it won’t allow the government to put money into stimulating the economy and creating jobs. So, the economy is likely to remain in stagnation, with high unemployment, and a lot of suffering. With more Republicans in power, the rhetoric of cutting government spending will gain more and more traction, especially in social safety net programs like social security, unemployment insurance and SNAP.

We need to fight for the jobs programs and the safety net programs, and we will be engaged in the battles to ensure the funding of existing safety net programs.

2. In this context of fiscal austerity, there is a big space to talk about what the government should cut. We have two big categories at IPS: the defense/war budgets, and the subsidies to big oil and big corporations. However, as we all know, cuts alone won’t be able to balance our budget. We propose to not only allow the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy to expire, but we also strongly encourage politicians to introduce and support new taxes like a progressive estate tax, a financial speculation tax and a currency transaction levy.

3. In this period of stalemate at the national government level, there are big spaces to advance things at the state and local level, where progressives run most big cities, and progressive governments will be in place in many states, like Maryland, California, New York, Maine, Hawaii, and Oregon. We will be pushing for Domestic Workers Bills of Rights in all states, while also working on solutions that will take us closer to a New Economy, like creating state banks in places like Maryland, and encouraging Cleveland’s government to use its procurement powers to support worker-owned coops. We’ll be utilizing our inside-outside strategies here, working with both activists and State Senators and city council members.