Here are a few great reads from the past week that help to bring the bigger picture of our political problems into focus.
- Race: Has Obama’s election (twice) helped race relations, or set them back? A must-read.
- Inequality’s Costs: Just how bad are things for the bulk of Americans, and how unequal is the balance between worker and corporate power? Lousy, and very, very unequal.
- Government’s Proper Size/Role: A pathbreaking way of thinking about (pdf) of what’s wrong with American government. Hint: Government isn’t isn’t too big; it’s too complicated. But, not for the reasons you might think.
- Our Biggest Problem: The extreme, hyperpartisan outlier that is the House of Representatives is the problem that most is ruining our politics. A must read in which the authors make four arguments:
First, House elections today have a fundamental partisan skew against both Democratic and moderate candidates. Second, that partisan skew creates perverse incentives for how Republicans approach policymaking and helps explain the Republican Party’s poor performance in the presidential elections since the 1980s. Third, while partisan gerrymandering is abhorrent, the real problem is one of districting, not redistricting. Establishing independent redistricting commissions is not enough. Fourth, it’s easier to fix these problems than much of what ails our politics, as voting alternatives to winner-take-all elections offer a straightforward statutory approach grounded in our own electoral traditions…