Mark Levinson Responds

Mark Levinson Responds

When I read Jeff Isaac I fell into depression. Twenty years of my life—and thousands of others’—wasted! In the depth of my despair, however, I had a revelation. Isaac was right. “A new `activist public policy,’ centered around the problem of a post-industrial economy and the decline of middle-class living standards . . . is anachronistic . . . Democrats who wish to address the serious problems confronting American liberal democracy” need to think, and act, “in a different way.” This was no time to be depressed.

There were so many people who didn’t recognize the “fallacies” on which their beliefs were based. Surely if they knew of Isaac’s argument, they would not waste their time trying to build a progressive movement. They would work on local projects. It became my mission to spread Isaac’s word.

I went to a local union meeting. A group of workers were discussing how to organize a coalition to support a program of low interest rates, stronger economic growth, public investment, a jobs program, labor-law reform, an increase in the minimum wage. The workers thought this would begin to reverse twenty years of declining wages and increasing inequality.