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Books: Take Back Our Party, Economism, 13 Bankers, White House Burning. Professor, @UConnLaw. Chair, @southerncenter. Co-founder, @Guidewire_PandC.

Now that Joe Biden has won, I can tell you what I’ve been saying to my friends but promised not to say in public until the election was over: This was not the most important election of our lifetimes.

The most important election of our lifetimes was four years ago. And we lost.

Photo by 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee

Of course it matters that Biden won or, more to the point, that Donald Trump lost. But fascism is not defeated so easily. I was less panicked than most of my friends about this year’s election for two reasons.

First, the real damage to democracy has already…

Photo by Bryan Angelo on Unsplash

A few days ago, the Washington Post published my review of Fulfillment, Alex MacGillis’s cleverly-titled new book about Amazon. Like many people, I’m sure, my views of Amazon have changed a lot over the past two decades.

In the early days, the company seemed to be doing something that was, if not revolutionary, at least really, really useful. Everyone knows that Jeff Bezos chose books as the initial category because an online catalog backed by a big warehouse could offer orders of magnitude more books than any brick-and-mortar shop, which was extremely helpful to people who like books. The customer…

This is more than a minimum wage worker makes per hour today (before taxes). Photo by Emilio Takas on Unsplash

After years of rallies and lobbying, the $15 national minimum wage is in sight, although it took a heavy procedural blow from the Senate parliamentarian yesterday. I’ve written about the minimum wage debate before—it takes up half of a chapter of Economism, and that half was excerpted by The Atlantic—so I won’t repeat myself too much. Last week I did an interview on the topic with Julie Rose for Top of Mind, which triggered a few more thoughts.

To recap for those who haven’t read the book: The minimum wage, like the top marginal tax rate, is one of those…

Photo by David Mark

At the beginning of this semester, I spent some time talking to students about how they could have done better on their exams last semester. Although some of the advice I gave was specific to individual students, a lot of it applies generally, so I’m sharing it here.

Major caveats! This article applies only to one type of law school exam—albeit the most common type in the first-year doctrinal classes that cause students the most anxiety. In addition, anything I say about how professors read and grade exams is only guaranteed to be accurate about me (and a couple of…

Remember him? (public domain)

Today Prospect Magazine published my response to Larry Summers and others who think that the $1.9 trillion emergency aid bill being pushed by President Biden and Democrats in Congress is “too much stimulus” that will “overheat” the economy. For the macroeconomics, go read the article. Here I want to add a word about the politics.

Since the late 1980s, the Democratic establishment has been laboring under a self-imposed mandate to be “fiscally responsible.” As I discuss in Chapter 1 of Take Back Our Party, the centrists of the Democratic Leadership Council (including most prominently Bill Clinton) wanted to dissociate the…

Photo by By Jérémy-Günther-Heinz Jähnick, CC BY-SA 3.0

There are many things that President Biden and the Democratic majorities in Congress should spend money on. A partial list includes vaccines and vaccine rollout, nationwide testing infrastructure (you didn’t think the virus would just vanish, did you?), expanded unemployment benefits, direct aid to state and local governments whose tax revenues have been crippled by the pandemic, affordable housing construction, student loan forgiveness, universal public pre-K, Medicare for All, and a Green New Deal. …

Often at the beginning of the fall semester I give my students my standard interviewing advice, the product of hundreds of interviews of would-be management consultants, software consultants and salespeople, senior executives, law professors, and Harvard undergraduates. I don’t give the talk to first-year students because they should be focused on things other than getting jobs. But I’ve learned from talking to a few that interviews for summer jobs are going on now, so here it is.

Image from Pixabay

Most people find the experience of being interviewed for a job awkward and unpleasant. Most don’t think about the interview much beforehand, show…

Yesterday The Washington Post published my latest article, about how the reality of voter suppression has been completely swamped by Donald Trump’s fantasy of a vast international conspiracy to steal the 2020 presidential election.

Image by John Mounsey

The basic idea is this: For years, the battle for American democracy has centered on Republican voter suppression campaigns (and related efforts such as gerrymandering). Republicans in state government dilute the vote of racial minorities, the poor, and other Democratic-leaning groups; Democrats fight back through community organizing and lawsuits. In a matter of weeks, however, President Trump has completely changed the conversation: while Republican voter suppression…

One of Congress’s top priorities this week and next is to pass some kind of funding bill that will keep the federal government operating past December 11. There are basically two ways this could happen. Option A is that Congress could pass a continuing resolution that maintains funding at current levels until, say, the end of January-that is, when we’ll have a new Congress and a new administration. Option B is to pass an omnibus fiscal year 2021 spending bill that determines discretionary spending levels through September of next year when the federal government’s fiscal year ends.

Photo by 1778011 from Pixabay

The Democratic leadership…

I think it’s highly likely that the dust will clear eventually and that our economy will come back to life at some point in the next two or three years. I know there are certain disaster scenarios that can’t be ruled out, but I think they are unlikely. I’m not going to guess when things will return to a semblance of normal. Really, no one knows.

Photo by Free-Photos from Pixabay

The question for now is: what will that economy look like?

A few things, I think, are clear. The economy will not grow back up to its trend line prior to the pandemic. This…

James Kwak

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