Monthly Archives: April 2016

How Hillary Clinton’s positions have changed while running against Bernie Sanders

By Max Ehrenfreund

Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters in Philadelphia on Tuesday. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters
in Philadelphia on Tuesday. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign is letting hundreds of staffers go this week, all but conceding the Democratic primary race to Hillary Clinton, and raising the question of whether she will change her electoral strategy now that she is effectively running unopposed .

In the course of fending off Sanders’s challenge, Clinton appears to have conceded to him on a couple of major economic policy issues. The former U.S. senator and secretary of state has abandoned the centrist positions she previously held on trade and Social Security and taken stances closer to Sanders’s views.

Once presidential candidates have beaten out other primary contenders, they sometimes shift their positions and rhetoric to appeal to voters outside the party. On the other hand, there’s some reason to think that Clinton might not revert to her previous positions on economic issues in the general election. Sanders wasn’t the only force pushing her to the left.

Democrats, in general, have become much more willing to embrace liberal policies over the past couple of decades. One clear indicator of this trend is the steady increase in the number of Democrats who describe themselves as liberal — and who became the largest group within the party for the first time last year, according to the Pew Research Center.

2300 (84)

Pew’s data shows that this shift isn’t just demographic. White Democrats have become more likely to identify as liberal, even more so than Democrats of color, and more Democrats put themselves in this category regardless of their age group.

In a more detailed analysis, Pew also confirmed that the shift isn’t just a question of nomenclature. The center asked Americans a set of 10 questions about race, poverty, business, regulation, immigration, homosexuality and foreign …read more


For one group of women, the gender wage gap keeps getting worse

By Danielle Paquette

(AP Photo/Northwest Florida Daily, Nick Tomecek)

(Nick Tomecek/Northwest Florida Daily via AP)

Pay disparities between men and women start earlier in their careers than frequently assumed and have significantly widened for young workers in the past year, according to a report from the Economic Policy Institute.

Paychecks for young female college graduates are about 79 percent as large as those of their male peers, the think tank found — a serious drop from 84 percent last year.

The sudden change follows a more gradual shift. In 2000, women ages 21 to 24 with college degrees earned 92 percent of their male counterparts’ wages on average, which was unchanged from 1990.

Regardless of their education, young women typically earn less money than young men in the United States. Female high-school graduates, ages 21 to 24, now earn an average of 92 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts.

Allow EPI to chart it out:


Some have argued that the wage gap, at any stage of a woman’s life, starts with her choices. Women are more likely than men to scale back at work when they start a family, for instance. (Employers are also more likely to reward fathers and penalize mothers.) But EPI’s data shows that the gender wage gap cracks open right after college graduation, well before decisions like maternity leave can affect women’s earnings.

The gender wage gap in the broader labor force has steadily declined since the 1980s.

“It is noteworthy that stark wage disparities between men and women occur even at this early part of their careers,” the researchers wrote, “when they have fairly comparable labor market experience.”

[At this rate, American women won’t see …read more


Obama is defending his record on Wall Street against Bernie Sanders

By Max Ehrenfreund

President Obama walks outside the White House on March 14. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Obama walks outside the White House on March 14. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

It might not be surprising that President Obama thinks that Wall Street watchdogs have done a better job on his watch. All the same, this point of view puts him at odds with Bernie Sanders, one of the candidates vying for the nomination of Obama’s party to replace him in office.

In an interview published Thursday in the New York Times, Obama offered measured criticism of the senator from Vermont, implying that Sanders’s proposals were unrealistic. The senator from Vermont has called for dissolving the major banks, whether through new legislation that would divorce their Wall Street and Main Street businesses, or by declaring them a risk to the economy under existing law.

“It is true that we have not dismantled the financial system, and in that sense, Bernie Sanders’s critique is correct,” Obama said. “But one of the things that I’ve consistently tried to remind myself during the course of my presidency is that the economy is not an abstraction. It’s not something that you can just redesign and break up and put back together again without consequences.”

Obama’s comments were an unusual rebuke from a sitting president directed at a major presidential candidate in the same party, and a reminder that the government’s response to the financial crisis still divides Democrats bitterly, almost eight years later.

The Obama administration, together with independent federal regulators and Congress, imposed strict new rules on the financial system with the Dodd-Frank financial reform in 2010 and other policies. Among other things, these rules required banks to insure themselves by holding more capital, giving up profits for the sake of stability. Investors were required to trade derivatives in public exchanges, and banks were barred (at least on paper) from using their customers’ federally …read more