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Seriously? New York Times Calls Wall Street Front Group "Center-Left"

Like every Pete Peterson front group, Third Way is dedicated to shredding the safety net and self-destructive austerity.

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The Democratic Party has been far more supportive of providing young, sexually-active women with free contraceptives and education on how and why to use contraceptives effectively.  This has helped substantially reduce unwed teenage births.

Democrats have frequently acted very badly by failing to make it a priority to end the crack v. powder cocaine sentencing disparities and the barbaric mandatory minimum sentences for drugs, but Republicans have been far worse.  One of the best pro-family policies America could adopt would be to end anti-drug prohibition.  Democrats are more likely to support that policy than are Republicans.

Democrats are more likely to support family and paternity leave policies for mothers and fathers.  Autor’s article concludes that many parents feel overwhelmed.

Autor's Work Demonstrate's that Third Way's Policies Harm the Middle-Class

Autor makes the obvious, but vitally important, points that the U.S. has the most shameful record for children living in poverty of any highly developed nation and that this is harmful to the family in general and poor children in particular (pp. 38-40).  Third Way is a leading proponent of the austerity policies, that have denied the funding to remove tens of millions of children from poverty.

We can now evaluate the validity of the points, that Third Way was quoted making in the NYT article (without any critical analysis by the reporter).

“Conservatives have long argued that society should encourage stable parental relationships. Liberals have tended to argue that the government should focus instead on improving economic opportunities. Jonathan Cowan, the president of Third Way, said the paper underscored that addressing social problems was a means to improve economic opportunities.

‘If Democrats have as their goal being the party of the middle class, they have to come to the realization that they’re not going to be able to get there solely through their standard explanations,’ said Mr. Cowan, a veteran of the Clinton administration. ‘We need to ask, ‘How can we get these fathers back involved in their children’s lives?’”

Autor’s research demonstrates that the best way to “encourage stable parental relationships” is to “focus … on improving economic opportunities.”  Indeed, Autor cites the example of how job and skill training through a school “Career Academies” program led to increased education, increased employment, and “more stable parental relationships” (p. 31).  Cowan, the Pete Peterson protégé, simply implies falsely that Autor’s specific suggestion for “addressing social problems” did not “focus … on improving economic opportunities.”  Career Academies are precisely the kinds of programs Democratic Party policies have long supported.  They are also the kind of programs, that would be cut or eliminated if Third Way succeeded in inflicting austerity on the Nation.

Autor’s study identifies another successful program for strengthening families — the Earned Income Tax Credit ( EITC) — a program strongly supported by the Democratic Party and savagely attacked by many Republicans.  Citizens to Enact Simpson-Bowles, for example, propose to eliminate entirely the EITC — pushing millions of Americans into poverty and, based on the studies Autor finds reliable, greatly harming families and, in particular, their male children (p. 43).

Note that Cowan then plants a red-herring — talking about the middle-class.  The white middle-class overwhelmingly has fathers “involved in their children’s lives” — and Democratic Party policies strongly encourage that and have helped bring down substantially divorce rates.  It turns out that Autor’s study confirmed that the Democrat’s “standard explanations” — the intersection of race and low social class, was correct, that the Democratic Party’s pro-family policies are correct, and that Third Way’s policies are disastrous for the groups in which it is the norm that fathers are only episodically and inconsistently “involved in their children’s lives.”