Sunday Open Thread [6.15.14]

Filed in Open Thread by on June 15, 2014

Happy Father’s Day!

Earlier this month, we talked about how to transform the discussion of drug abuse to one of compassion instead of law enforcement. From the WaPo article that launched that post:

Last month, NBC News ran a series of stories about the United States’ “growing heroin epidemic.” Two things stand out in the reports: One is their sympathetic tone; the other is that almost everyone depicted is white.

Drug users and their families aren’t vilified; there is no panicked call for police enforcement. Instead, and appropriately, there is a call for treatment and rehabilitation. Parents of drug addicts express love for their children, and everyone agrees they need support to get clean.

This Sunday’s NJ has a great series on the heroin problem in Delaware which is the perfect study in how the community most affected by an addiction changes the terms of the discussion of that drug. I read that series (and I don’t have a critique of it) and wondered all the way through how this would be addressed if they were talking about crack cocaine. The thing that is important to know is that our drug problem — all of them — is primarily a public health problem and we should be working at this level of sympathy and concern for community for all drug problems, not just heroin.

The NYT has an illuminating article on how Cantor’s loss affects the business community he was really representing:

While he was often an adversary to both the Tea Party and Democrats in Congress, Mr. Cantor, a Republican and the House majority leader, was also a powerful ally of business big and small, from giants like Boeing to the many independently owned manufacturers and wholesalers that rely on the federal government for financial support. […]
Mr. Cantor’s loss is much more than just symbolism. He has been one of Wall Street’s most reliable benefactors in Congress. And Mr. Brat used that fact to deride the majority leader as someone who had rigged the financial system. In one recent speech, he accused lawmakers like Mr. Cantor of favoring “special tax credits to billionaires instead of taking care of us, the normal folks.” […]
“Cantor was the hub for finance, the hub for a host of big corporations that could trust him to get things done,” said Sean West, the head of United States analysis for the Eurasia Group, which advises corporations about political risk. “He was the one standing between the conservative pitchforks and the business community on a whole host of issues.”[…]
Beyond their priorities in Congress, what has unsettled business executives is what they sense as a growing anger over the “corporate welfare” and “crony capitalism” among many associated with the Tea Party.[…]

The thing that is true is that there is a majority in Congress — both houses — who can be described as utterly attached to crony capitalism and unattached to the genuine issues facing the people they keep asking to vote for them. The fact that Cantor was a creature of the Chamber of Commerce isn’t a surprise — but that he was so reckless in playing with the teajhadi fire. Cantor was key in blocking Obama’s Grand Bargain plans — a bargain the Chamber would have been delighted with. If Brat’s election (and the rush by Chamber types to bolder Thad Cochran) is a signal, I wonder if the window is really opening to take on crony capitalism and a Congress that is way more interested in making sure that their funders are taken care of at the expense of the people they ask to vote for them. Cantor’s loss as a loss for the Chamber is a formulation that works for me, although I have no doubt that whoever takes his place will also be a creature of the Chamber. Still, now would be a great time to start working at the small wound crony capitalism got his week.

What interests you today?

About the Author ()

"You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas." -Shirley Chisholm