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A Political Education at Harvard

Informed and impassioned speakers, invigorating discussion and debate, clear analysis and tangible goals were all on display at the ADA Education Fund’s symposium on the midterm elections, held at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government the weekend before Thanksgiving.  U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey, economist James Galbraith, and former Congressman and current anti-war activist Tom Andrews were among the dozen participants on four panels who explored the challenging election results from multiple perspectives (political, economic, historical) and prescribed steps for liberal progress in Washington’s difficult new terrain.

Even those far from the Cambridge campus could join in, through a live streaming feed, as well as through frequent Twitter and Facebook updates. A podcast of the day’s activities will be available soon.  Many thanks to all who participated in a great event!

This Lame Duck Could Still Fly

With the new Congress not convening till January, the current one still has an opportunity to accomplish some important—even historic—tasks.

•    Extend Unemployment Compensation:  With real unemployment in double digits, five applicants for every job, and the holidays fast approaching, it’s not only humane but smart economics to extend benefits for the millions of unemployed who will otherwise be left in the cold starting tomorrow, since every dollar of the modest benefits will be quickly spent, boosting the economy.
•    Repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:  Cruel and counterproductive, DADT has already ruined thousands of brave young military careers while wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and weakening our military.  The Senate can join the House in rejecting this failed policy by passing the Defense Appropriations bill that includes a DADT repeal amendment.
•    Ratify the New START Treaty:  Endorsed by scores of current and former defense and diplomatic officials from both parties, New START will ratchet down the nuclear threat while allowing the maintenance and modernization of our national defense.
•    Pass the DREAM Act:  It would allow undocumented immigrants, 35 and younger, who were brought into the U.S. before age 16 and have finished high school, to earn the right to stay by serving in the military or attending college for two years.  A good first step in a comprehensive immigration overhaul.

Letters to the editor can push all these issues forwad.  Visit the ADA website for sample letters and tips on submission to local papers. We also have a petition on the front page of our site to urge extension of unemployment insurance.

A Deficit of Good Ideas

The federal deficit commission is scheduled to release its recommendations for closing the government’s budget gap on Wednesday, December 1, and none of the sneak previews so far have been encouraging.  In his testimony for the commission on behalf of ADA, noted economist and ADA Vice President James Galbraith outlined the many faults in the panel’s construction and approach.

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