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Michael Wolraich's picture

What's the Matter With Mormons?

Last week, blogger MuddyPolitics wrote a piece that took a swipe at Mitt Romney for his Mormon faith. The article provoked a passionate debate, one that is likely being repeated in various forms across the country this election season.

The question is this: Should we consider Romney's religious beliefs when assessing his fitness for the presidency?

Michael Wolraich's picture

The Capitalist and the Zombie: Romney's Threat to the GOP

A number of Republican presidential hopefuls and not so hopefuls have attacked Mitt Romney as a heartless capitalist who destroyed jobs while a partner at Bain Capital. Newt Gingrich compared Romney to a looter. Rick Perry called him a vulture. Jon Huntsman suggested that Romney likes firing people.

The anti-Romney offensive has raised the ire of many Republican leaders, who have condemned the charges as disrespectful to heartless capitalism. Their concern is understandable. Heartless capitalism is the very soul of Republican Party. Without it, the party would resemble some toothless decomposing zombie that blunders haplessly into disgusted voters while gurgling about taking back the country.

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Michael Wolraich's picture

Class Over Race: The New Old Progressive Agenda

In the beginning, racial equality was not a progressive ideal. Early progressives rarely paid much attention to persecuted minorities such as blacks, Jews, American Indians, or Irish and Chinese immigrants. They focused instead on defending an oppressed majority--farmers and workers--from a predatory minority--industry titans and bankers.

When progressives in the early 20th century did address minority rights, their positions tended to reflect party affiliation rather than progressive ideology. In those days, race politics split at the party line with Republicans supporting racial equality and Democrats opposing. Class politics, on the other hand, produced internal divisions within each party.

As a result, Republican progressives tended to be concerned about racial oppression, while Democratic progressives ignored or even condoned it. When the moderately progressive Republican president Teddy Roosevelt shocked the nation by inviting Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House, William Jennings Bryan, a radically progressive Democrat, publicly denounced him.

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Michael Wolraich's picture

Creative Assistance, Anyone?

Hello dag readers and assorted creative geniuses. I'm under deadline for a title for my new book proposal and struggling to come up with one that "pops" in my agent's words. She offered examples of other non-fiction titles like Founding Brothers, Team of Rivals, The Professor and the Madman, and The Devil in the White City.

Below the fold, please find a blurb that describes the book, a popular history of politics in the early 1900s. I'm looking for something provocative but not overtly partisan. All serious suggestions are welcome (and yes, Quinn, the emphasis is meant for you).

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Michael Wolraich's picture

Germany's Bold Plan to Rescue Europe

As Italy and Spain go tumbling after Greece into an abyss of insolvency, Germany has at last found the will to act boldly in defense of the European Union.

According to the New York Times, Chancellor Angela Merkel has launched a courageous effort to bail out Germany's struggling neighbors...with the International Monetary Fund's money.

Not that she's shirking responsibility. After all, Germany contributes a full six percent of the IMF pool.

And really, why should Germany be any more responsible for bailing out European debtors than the United States (17 percent) and the other 159 non-European members (60 percent). So Germany and Italy share the same currency, what of it?

Michael Wolraich's picture

Rethinking Income Inequality: A New Kind of Payroll Tax

How do you alleviate economic inequality in America? It's easy to complain about greed and extravagance but much more difficult to come up with practical policies that would make a real difference in the long run.

The default proposal these days is to increase tax rates on top income brackets, starting with an elimination of the Bush tax cuts. That may help a bit, but as you can see from the following graph, the trend toward income concentration did not begin with Bush's presidency, and it would take radical tax increases to get back to 1970s levels. The government would have to strip an additional 30 percent from the incomes of the top ten percent and somehow put that money into everyone else's pockets.

Michael Wolraich's picture

A Real, Real Alternative for President(s)

There has been much heated discussion in these pages over whether liberals should support President Obama in the 2012 elections or embrace an independent candidate. In the absence of any credible challenger, these debates have been largely hypothetical. That is about to change.

I am happy to introduce two exciting new candidates who have emerged from the political muck like avenging swamp monsters from outer space. What they lack in experience, charisma, good judgment, and the semblance of any political agenda, they more than make up for in the intangible quality that some call panache, some call chutzpah, and some aren't quite sure what to call. I give you Kat Nove and Jeni Decker.

Michael Wolraich's picture

The Trouble with Banks

It's hard out there for a bank. Last year, retail banks lost a major revenue source when the government regulated overdraft charges. This year, they took another hit when the government capped the debit card fees. And amidst an anemic credit market, they're having trouble finding investment opportunities for their deposits.

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Michael Wolraich's picture

Racism in Paradise

Yesterday,  I received an email from Adam Falk, president of Williams College, a liberal arts college in western Massachusetts. Mr. Falk had written to inform me--and every other alumnus on the mailing list--about an incident of racist hate speech on campus. Someone had scrawled, "All N****** Must Die," on a dormitory wall.

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Biography

Michael Wolraich is a non-fiction writer in New York City. He co-founded dagblog and has contributed  to the Atlantic, the Daily Beast, New York Magazine, CNN.com, TalkingPointsMemo.com, Reuters, and Pando Daily.

Books:

Wolraich is also the computer genius who maintains dagblog's state-of-the-art software, but he denies responsibility for technical glitches and advises users to "quit sniveling." In his spare time, Wolraich raises peach mold and performs live impressions of the law of gravity.

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