Seriously? New York Times Calls Wall Street Front Group "Center-Left"
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With no sense of irony, Wall Street (via its Third Way lobbyists), purports to instruct the Democratic Party on how to become the Party of the middle class. Third Way implies that the Democratic Party is the enemy of the middle class and that Wall Street is its great supporter. Third Way represents the maximization of Wall Street cynicism and duplicity. I will also show that the “provocative” study Third Way sought to “challenge” Democratic Party policies does not address the middle class or support Third Way’s disdain for Democratic Party policies. Indeed, a close examination shows that Third Way has it exactly wrong. The Democratic Party’s policies are far more supportive of middle-class families, are perceived by middle-class families as superior to that of the Republican Party, and the policies Wall Street seeks to inflict on the Nation through its Third Way lobbyists are profoundly hostile to the interests of middle-class, working-class, and poor families.
David H. Autor, the scholar, that Third Way sponsored to conduct this study, is very far from “center-left.” He self-describes his principal affiliations as “MIT-NBER.” NBER is an exceptionally conservative economics group. Yes, it has several famous “center-left” economists associated with it, but the NBER’s philanthropic funding has come heavily from ultra-far-right organizations.
“Between 1985 and 2001, the [NBER] received $9,963,301 in 73 grants from only four foundations:
- John M. Olin Foundation, Inc.
- Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
- Scaife Foundations (Sarah Mellon Scaife)
- Smith Richardson Foundation”
Each of these foundations is among the most extreme right-wing donor groups in existence.
Autor’s prior work is very far from “center-left.” His best-known causes include warning that Social Security disability payments need to be cut sharply. “The Unsustainable Rise of the Disability Rolls in the United States: Causes, Consequences, and Policy Options.”
Autor’s articles pushing for cuts to Social Security disability payments were music to the ears of Wall Street lobbyists, such as Third Way. Autor’s efforts to cut disability payments were all the more revealing when viewed in conjunction with his research findings about the impact of globalization on U.S. workers. “Trade Adjustment: Worker Level Evidence.”
Autor’s study on trade found that cuts in disability payments would have a particularly harsh effect on those most in need because disability was often the only source of income available to the U.S. workers harmed the worst by imports.
“We find that workers who in 1991 were employed in industries that experienced high subsequent levels of import growth garner lower cumulative earnings over the subsequent sixteen years (1992 through 2007) and are at substantially elevated risk of obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance benefits as the only recorded source of income in a given year.”
Autor wrote to criticize policies strongly supported by the center-left, that protect workers from unjust terminations in an article entitled: “ The Cost of Wrongful-Discharge Laws.”
The paper was prepared for the Yale Law School’s “John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy.” The Olin foundation grants, that created this and many similar centers, were created for the express purpose of making theoclassical economics and law and economics dominant. The foundation successfully sought out scholars to run these centers who despised U.S. governments and thought that regulation was a plague. Autor’s paper argued that employers reacted to certain forms of prohibitions on unjust terminations by cutting back hiring.
Autor is also known for his work arguing that the federal minimum wage has little effect in reducing inequality. Again, his position is the opposite of center-left scholars.