Wandering Eye: Why Hillary Clinton could benefit from Martin O'Malley, 'Trickle-Down Gentrification,' and more

Jacobin Magazine's "Trickle-Down Gentrification" makes the larger point that for some reason needs constant repetition: that building lots and lots of luxury condos does not actually make life better—or housing cheaper—for most of us. But right up near the beginning there is a small point, a passing, throwaway comment, really, that should be pondered and repeated far more than it is. "Affordable housing, often built by community development corporations like the one I work at, has largely supplanted government-funded public housing since the 1970s," Karen Narefsky, a community organizer based in Somerville, Massachusetts, writes. "Many units are paid for by Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), while some are covered by project-based Section 8 vouchers and other subsidies. But while public housing is home to people with incomes below 30 percent of the median, LIHTC units typically use 30 percent of median income as a floor. This means that while affordable housing is affordable to certain low- and moderate-income people, and plays an important role in allowing those people to remain in gentrifying cities, it is often unaffordable to the working poor." Catch that? "Affordable," in subsidized-housing speak, no longer means "affordable to the poor." Rich people get huge tax breaks for funding housing that used to be called "market rate." But, nowadays, "market rate" means "luxury; unaffordable to all but the 1 percent." Things that ought to make you go hmmmm. (Edward Ericson Jr.)


David Corn writes in Mother Jones that Hillary Clinton should welcome a battle with former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley in the Democrats' presidential primary. O'Malley "would make a good sparring partner," Corn writes, because "he's a smart guy with sass, but he's not a slasher who could inflict long-lasting political damage," and "at the moment he seems the possible contender with the most oomph." In addition to that, "a primary fight that makes Clinton earn—not inherit—the nomination would cast her in a different role," Corn writes. "She'd be a fighter, not a dynastic queen," and "the press and the public would have something to ponder beyond just Clinton herself." (Van Smith)


Abraham Lincoln died at 7:22 a.m. 150 years ago today. Just about every president since then, as The New York Times points out, has tried to emulate the man who steered the country during the Civil War. "There's no president I've interviewed — Ford, Carter, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43 — who hasn't said that it was Lincoln that they thought of first and foremost as an inspiration during the most trying days of their presidencies." says Mark K. Updegrove, director of the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum. "He is unquestionably the standard." Count Barack Obama as a fan. In addition to launching his campaign from Lincoln's hometown, Obama "admires Lincoln's grace and largeness of spirit, the willingness to subjugate his own ego and embrace former opponents and even enemies to put the greater good first," according to longtime adviser David Axelrod. There's some great details in the story about other presidents' relationships with Lincoln, from Theodore Roosevelt keeping a lock of the slain president's hair to Harry S. Truman, in a struggle with Gen. Douglas MacArthur, having an aide research how Lincoln canned Gen. George B. McClellan. (Brandon Weigel)

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