Daily Resource Highlight - 08/08/2022

Posted by on August 08, 2022 at 1:51 PM

Below are the highlights and featured resources of this past week’s Daily* Resource.

August 2, 2022 - AllSides and The FlipSide Talk Recession, NFRPP and CRFB Talk Inflation

The U.S. economy has apparently contracted over the last two quarters (AllSides). Does that mean we’re in a recession? Is the “two consecutive quarters” (2Q) definition valid? Does it matter?

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Recession? Depends Who You Ask

Now, back to the economy. As you can see from the AllSides article, left-leaning outlets are leaning away from the 2Q definition, while right-leaning outlets say the Biden administration is spinning a bad situation. The FlipSide shows a similar story, with progressive voices pointing to reasons for optimism and conservatives saying the Democratic approach to the economy has failed.

So which is it? For those who self-identify as a Democrat or Republican, the answer may seem clear enough, since party identification correlates strongly with whether you think a given media outlet is “intentionally misleading” or “making a good faith effort.” (AllSides). Republicans tend to strongly distrust outlets like CNN, NPR, and MSNBC, while Democrats tend to give them credit for at least trying to get the story right. Interestingly, only a bare majority of Republicans rated FoxNews well (51%), and the same for Democrats with NPR (51%).

Inflation? Definitely.

Regardless of whether we’re technically in a recession or not, though, it’s clear that the economy is shaky. We have a low unemployment rate, but inflation is dragging almost everybody down. In their latest panel discussion, NFRPP tries to bring clarity to the situation

And the CRFB argues that we should prioritize reducing inflation, which it believes can be accomplished in part by passing the Inflation Reduction Act. If you don’t know what that is, you might know it as the Manchin-Schumer Deal (The FlipSide), which aims to “increase corporate taxes, reduce the national debt, invest in energy technologies and lower the cost of prescription drugs.”

August 4, 2022 - National Civic League Winners; Up To Us Winner; and Self-Governance Winners

Back in high school, I was part of a Model U.N. subcommittee with my friend Becky. We were given our countries and a crisis, and told to find a solution. Most of the time, the result in these simulations is that kids break into factions and one faction asserts its will over the others and “wins.” Becky and a few others in that subcommittee defied that thinking, negotiating throughout the week and ending with an agreement that benefitted everybody.

Becky’s commitment to mutually beneficial policy making should be our default approach. And National Civic League’s 2022 All-America City Award winners are proof that “everybody wins” solutions can happen anywhere and everywhere, regardless of geography, population size, or partisan leanings.

All-America City Award Winners

In cities across the country, community members came together to take care of their residents, with initiatives like the Palacios Hub (serving Palacios, TX); the Sacramento Promize Zone; and Portland ConnectED (serving Portland, ME). These innovative programs helped families of all backgrounds recover from the pandemic and promoted “equitable learning recovery” for kids who missed out on essential learning opportunities.

Up To Us Campus Competition

Meanwhile, students at Stony Brook – led by Julia Brandenstein – won It’s Up To Us’ annual Campus Competition. Julia and her peers raised awareness of America’s fiscal future, and worked with local legislators to develop “innovative policy solutions that would transcend partisanship.” In recognition of their tremendous work, Up To Us awarded them a $10k prize and a trip to Washington, D.C. to discuss fiscal policy with members of Congress.

More Winners of Democracy

Finally, while Cleveland didn’t win an award for its efforts, they did give yet another example of the power of mutually beneficial solution making. The 60 participants in Civic Genius and Convergence’s It’s Your America initiative overcame differences and were able to come to an agreement on various issues involving social media and education.

Cleveland’s experience is consistent with the results produced by other deliberative democracy efforts, including the various projects of Convergence and Participatory Budgeting Project. We know that when well-intentioned people come together with an open mind and a commitment to meeting each other’s needs, we can come up with awesome solutions.