Brookings – Elaine Kamarck / Congress in 2019: The challenge of left-behind places
- As Democrats take back control of the US Congress they will confront a 21st-century economic reality that consists of two Americas: one with jobs, one without.
- In 2008, employment rates in the US did not vary by the size of the community. During the recession, of course, employment rates everywhere went down. But starting in 2013, US cities with populations over 1 million have flourished, accounting for 72% of employment growth since the financial crisis.
- Low levels of digital skills in smaller communities combined with sky-rocketing housing prices in big communities have stifled mobility. Moreover, many of the “left-behind” places lack the access to capital, transportation infrastructure, and broadband infrastructure that could create new economic opportunities in situ.
- As Belle Sawhill points out in The Forgotten Americans, “Joblessness or (perhaps even the fear of it) undermines human dignity and self-worth. Policies that simply redistribute income do nothing to counter that fact.” This may be a reason why Democrats, the defenders of the social safety net, don’t often get much credit from the very voters they are helping.
The Guardian – Peter Walker / Most Labour members believe Corbyn should back second Brexit vote
- Labour members are significantly more opposed to Brexit than Jeremy Corbyn is, with 72% of them thinking their leader should fully support a second referendum, according to a study of attitudes in the party.
- If a new referendum was held, 88% of members would back remain, both in a two-way vote against either May’s plan or no deal, or in a three-way poll between all of them.
- Official Labour policy is that a second referendum could potentially be considered if there is not a general election. However, Corbyn is publicly lukewarm on the idea.
- Asked why they felt Corbyn had not campaigned for a second referendum, 23% of those asked said it was because the Labour leader backed leaving the EU. Another 34% put the decision down to not wanting to alienate Labour voters.
The Economist / What to make of Brazil’s new firebrand president, Jair Bolsonaro
- Brazilians are strikingly optimistic as Jair Bolsonaro takes office as the country’s new president. Three-quarters say the incoming government is on the right course, according to the pollster Ibope.
- Unlike his predecessors, Bolsonaro has not handed out ministerial jobs to political grandees in order to win their parties’ support for his programme. Instead, he has assembled a cabinet composed of technocrats, ideologues and military men. Much will depend on how they interact with each other, and with congress, where Bolsonaro’s Social Liberal Party holds less than a tenth of the seats.
- The case for optimism rests mainly on two “superministers”. Paulo Guedes will be the economy tsar, leading a ministry that will absorb those of finance, planning and industry. And the new justice minister, Sérgio Moro, is supposed to deal with the two other maladies Bolsonaro has identified: corruption and crime. As a judge, Moro was responsible for the jailing of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
- The new Brazilian foreign minister is Ernesto Araújo, a hitherto-obscure diplomat who regards action against climate change as a globalist plot and advocates a Christian alliance among Brazil, the United States and Russia. Both Bolsonaro and Araújo are suspicious of China, with the new president accusing Beijing of wanting to “buy Brazil”.
- The Guardian – Dom Phillips / Jair Bolsonaro launches assault on Amazon rainforest protections
What to expect in 2019:
- Financial Times / Forecasting the world in 2019
- International Crisis Group – Robert Malley / 10 conflicts to watch in 2019
- The Economist / The fastest growers and biggest shrinkers of 2019
The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.