It's not really about bagels
I don’t think we’ll get as many comments today as we have the last few days, so today’s piece may not be seen as performing as well at driving engagement. But in my view, this is Yglesias at his best: clearly and plainly teasing out issues of policy and politics in a way that makes this generally-reflexive-Democratic-partisan develop a deeper and more nuanced view of the issues at hand
5 out of 5 slices.
Politically backing down over student loan forgiveness isn't really an option.
Besides, getting SCOTUS to strike it down for them really is brilliant. And since I'm not a fan of the program but I worry a fair bit about unconstrained executive discretion (eg Trump's border wall funding) this is a triple win. Biden doesn't bear the costs of the program, he gets to blame the conservatives for it not happening and the court commits to a relatively expansive view about standing to challenge agency spending/forgiveness that will make it harder to swat away challenges to executive action by the next republican president.
In the long term there may be costs to making the court do the dirty work but as long as it doesn't become a regular thing.
This is MY at his best and possibly his most important role: basically addressing WH staffers directly and shaking them out of their groupthink. Our subscription money well spent !
I think people just don't like thinking about trade offs, because they induce cognitive dissonance. Natural gas causes climate change but also lets people heat their homes. People don't like thinking about that conundrum.
The 'everything bagel' situation is going to result in a significant volume of capital and labour getting wasted. The effort is less about delivering goods and services for the right price, and more about delivering 'jobs'. What goods and services are going to be delivered when the objectives are simultaneously 'climate action', 'racial and economic equity', 'US made', and 'union jobs'? I suspect you will see underqualified and overpaid people making poor quality and expensive solar panels and wind turbines. 'Climate action' is therefore going to suffer, unless yet more money is squandered.
Our failure to prioritize stems from our broad coalition with many disjoint interests. Historically, leaders from our different factions would negotiate out a cogent and realistic agenda in private (ie, smoke-filled rooms). Each would understand the need to at times defer some of their goals as part of the broader plan and long-term success. Further, these leaders could sell this approach to their constituents by highlighting previous victories achieved through our coalition and ongoing commitment to the faction’s enduring objectives.
Yet that is impossible today, primarily due to social media and the fragmented media and policy space. For example, if a formal labor leader attempted to pitch this approach to their members, they’d be crucified across social media, particularly by amateur journalists and NGOs. This is a concrete example from Nov 2022 in, “Railroad unions struggle to get rebellious workers to ‘yes’ on contracts.” 
I’m becoming increasingly concerned about our looming resolution to this unstable arrangement. Particularly as each group comes to see their supposed victories as nothing more than cheap messaging. Eg, when the child care stipulations added to CHIPS Act funding are no longer seen as a success from the policy groups pushing it when they discover that it accomplishes so little. Generalize this trend across all groups and each will become increasingly frustrated with our coalition. That could lead to even more inflammatory rhetoric and even less willingness to negotiate.
My fear is that groups and their constituents will become increasingly disillusioned and disengaged with the political process. We already have some of that from former Bernie supporters that now just attack Biden and the Democratic party, while espousing cynicism with the American political system. We do not need more of that!
I think that the everything bagel approach is sort of a natural consequence of a political system where
A: the only viable mechanism for passing any remotely contentious legislation is budget reconciliation
B: Thermostatic midterm dynamics give every president basically two years to do anything
C: You have two big but weak political parties who need to rely on organized interest groups to turn out votes, raise funds, and craft policy.
Fix these issues, and we probably won’t have so much Everything Bagel.
I think that Democratic electeds currently have the most agency over point C— they can work on building a more permanent and party-controlled set of policymaking and voter-mobilizing institutions— under leadership elected by party members or appointed by elected officials— to reduce their dependence on the nonprofit-industrial complex.
I started off against student loan forgiveness, but now my daughter has some. So.... forgiving loans would be good. Except my other daughter is about to start college, so what about her.
Man... even with scholarships and in-state tuition, college is expensive.
I’m 53, and my youngest is 12. Last night I figured out that I will be working until 63 at least. They are going to have to have wheelchair access up to the deck of the power plants. So I think the lesson here is have kids younger.
Anyway, I wasn’t exactly sure of the central point of Matt’s article, not because it’s bad, but mainly because I’m a bit groggy. But I never let comprehension stop me from rambling on about whatever I feel like.
Matt doesn't say it, but I will. Ezra wrote a good and important column but blew it by framing around a terrible metaphor.
People like everything bagels - they're the best bagels! To understand that he's saying "Everything Bagel Liberalism" is bad, the audience has to have seen Everything Everywhere AO, remember the relevant scene, and note that Ezra's referencing this, and not just everything-bagels-the-delicious-food.
It provides such an obvious, lowest-common-denominator response ("I like Everything bagels!" or "here's a picture on twitter of me eating an everything bagel") that it basically rebuts itself.
I am not sure that climate/industrial/Union/equity is the Democrats biggest everything bagel problem.
If I were a Democrat, I’d be more concerned about catering to their various demographic groups. White College graduates, black men and women, LGBTQ supporters, Hispanics, the Poor, while maintaining coherent policies.
Republicans have the same problems. They are increasingly building their support among working class of all Races while trying to cater to the Rich (who socially are increasingly liberal).
Where Republicans have an advantage is they don’t pretend to offer the working class any concrete benefits but instead concentrate on social issues in which their are fewer financial trade offs, allowing them to continue to cut spending and lower taxes.
Democrats have a much more difficult needle to thread.
The current economic trajectory creates a strong possibility Donald Trump will be running for President in 2024 with a recession buttressing his campaign. I'm pretty sure the Fed has never raised rates as much as it has in the last 12m without a recession following, and they're not even done hiking.
Democrats are meant to be aware that keeping Trump out of the White House is important and that a recession in 2024 will not help that. Supply side reform that helps the economy at least mitigate the damage should be an absolute top priority.
"He made no effort to reform retirement programs or the health care system."
I'm sorry, are you at this point just trying to gaslight us? GOP got within one vote of repealing ACA. If McCain or Rand Paul (of all people) hadn't decided to go dare I say maverick, ACA repeal would have gone through. At any time, Trump could have stopped ACA repeal in its tracks. Instead, because he's Trump, he was watching cable news all day and tweeting his rage anytime the teevee said something mean about him.
By the way, I think you (rightly) point out that DeSantis has a very clear record of trying to slash social security, Medicare and Medicaid, but it's absolutely fair to say that Trump will try again to slash entitlements when he is President. He said he'd come up with something better than ACA and clearly was lying (surprise surprise). I mean honestly, what indication do we have he will conduct himself any differently than he did last time. In fact, it will likely be worse as he'll be surrounded even more by sycophants. Which basically means the Freedom Caucus and Leonard Leo are going to guide the ship when it comes to policy.
Not the point of this Substack post, but as soon as I read this bullet point I just sort started blinking rapidly and had to address it.
“Every one of the requirements — or they’re not really requirements — nudges are for criteria or factors we think relate directly to the effectiveness of the project,” she told me. “You want to build a new fab that will require between 7,000 and 9,000 workers. The unemployment rate in the building trades is basically zero. If you don’t find a way to attract women to become builders and pipe fitters and welders, you will not be successful. So you have to be thinking about child care.”
This is a good example of the frustration I have with the technocracy from 10k feet of so many Democratic officials. The logic here doesn't work in the real world. The notion that central planning via "nudges" at the federal level via strings tied to appropriations will be the secret sauce to creating employees for new fabs is just bonkers. There is no cohort of women dreaming to become pipe fitters and welders if only there were slightly better child care options. There are a lot of other things the federal government could do that would be more effective at getting fabs built and staffed in the US. Not coincidentally, some of those are counter to the political interests of the Democratic party.
This type of technocracy isn't policy analysis, it's policy delusion or policy wishful thinking. More cynically, perhaps this isn't a serious argument she's making and instead it is just a scheme to get more dollars for child care by tying it to something else.
Fundamentally the notion that the federal government can achieve specific outcomes via appropriations that allocate money with the right strings attached at the micro level is just flawed. There's a reason that we in the US get such poor value for tax dollars spent whether it's construction, major projects, education or health care compared to peer countries. It's not because we lack the kind of attempts at technocratic dial-turning that Gina Raimondo explained in this case, it's because our government systems and processes are sclerotic and corrupt. The present situation is great for consultants and lawyers, but not much good at getting actual stuff accomplished. <rant over>
NJ/NY weed roll out trying to maximize for equity. As a result almost no legal ones open with thousands of black market ones...
EEAAO was a fun movie but it's become so hilariously overrated.
Has any major politician built or cemented a coalition through supply side reforms? Don’t say Reagan, the tax cuts and deficits just increased aggregate demand.