Faced with do-nothing Republican government, states take the lead
The Progressive States Network recently sent out a piece noting an article in Forbes magazine noting the concern of big business who have controlled D.C. for years over progressive actions at the state level.
Forbes: "The real action will be at the state level"
Forbes knows it:
Raise the minimum wage. Attack global warming. Negotiate lower prescription drug prices. Extend health coverage to the uninsured. Protect consumers from identity theft. A to-do list for Democrats taking over Congress? Nope, a sample of what states are up to.
If you're the type who prefers that government do as little as possible, you might be heartened by the prospect of a divided Washington that will likely gridlock on significant issues. But watch your back.
The real action will be at the state level, already a hotbed of interventionism that is likely to grow more so now that Washington is split and Democrats have firmer control in state capitals.
Janet Novack, the author of the piece, goes on to note a handful of key areas where business is already being alerted to state leadership:
- Global Warming - California and Northeastern states have taken the lead. Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts is expected to do more and there is talk of big action in the Rocky Mountain West, an area likely to be hit hard by climate change.
- Privacy and Identity Theft - The financial services industry is hoping the federal government will preempt state privacy laws, for fear that big states will force banks and others to protect privacy nationwide. Oh, the horror!
- Prescription Drugs - States have been major leaders. Novack describes California's recent bill "should have pharmaceutical executives reaching for Valium."
- Health Insurance - States have already been leading and they aren't going to wait for Washington to continue sitting on its laurels.
- Minimum Wage - In the last year, numerous legislatures raised the minimum wage and six more states followed suit through ballot measures. The momentum is predicted to continue to expand to more states in the near future.
All of this is great news for progressives. But something else here is key: Both BusinessWeek and Forbes are recognizing states as the key policy battlegrounds for the next two years.
Will progressives realize what the corporate readership of these two mags already have?
Hopefully, they will -- and they'll get on board with PSN's "Building a Progressive Majority in the States" Agenda.
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