Jeff Faux

Jeff Faux was the founder, and is now Distinguished Fellow, of the Economic Policy Institute.

Recent Articles

Breaking Out of the Democrats’ Paralysis on Immigration

Democrats need more than compassionate policies for refugees. They need a policy to deal with the immigrant flow itself.

Trump has signaled that he will make immigration a major—if not the major—theme of his re-election campaign. He could not even resist the temptation to immigrant-bash in his supposed consolation tour of El Paso and Dayton. He is backed by a huge war chest and a thuggish Republican attack apparatus with a successful track record in dirty politics—think Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queen” trope in 1980; George H.W. Bush’s smear of Michael Dukakis over the prison furlough of convicted murderer Willie Horton in 1988; the GOP’s shameless assault on the war record of John Kerry in 2004 to win a second term for Bush’s draft-dodger son. Expect social media to be flooded with images of migrants throwing rocks at the Border Patrol and rushing to scale the fences, fake stories of immigrants getting better health care than military veterans, and mug shots of immigrant rapists. The MS-13 gang might well become the Willie Horton of the 2020 election...

AMLO’s Gamble

Mexico’s decidedly leftist new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is taking on the business-political-criminal elite that has dominated his nation, and drenched it in bloodshed, for the past 40 years.

This article is a preview of the Spring issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . In early January, one month into his six-year term, Mexico’s new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), went to war against the vast network of criminal gangs, politicians, and businesses that had been looting the national oil company Pemex at the rate of more than 60,000 barrels of gasoline a day. He shut down illegally tapped pipelines, sent in the army to stop gas trucks from delivering to the black market, sent auditors to seize the fraudulent books, and began bringing criminal charges against corrupt managers. It was a risky move. Gas supplies suddenly dropped across the country, frustrated motorists could not fill their tanks, freight shipments were delayed, and tourism plunged. The Mexican and international media screamed that AMLO was destroying the economy. Yet the polls showed that 75 to 80 percent of the country was behind him. “The gas...

Mexico’s Hopeful New President

López Obrador’s victory ousted Mexico’s establishment. If U.S. and Canadian progressives work with him, they just might create a more democratic continent.

(AP Images)
This article appears in the Fall 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . The election of the left populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador as president of Mexico is a historic breakthrough for progressives there. It could also offer progressives in the United States a path out of their own political stalemate on immigration and trade. In his third run for president, 64-year-old “AMLO” broke open the piñata of Mexican politics that had been tightly sealed by neoliberal oligarchs since the early 1980s. He won 31 of the 32 Mexican states, taking 53 percent of the total vote. His coalition, led by the political party he organized just four years ago, swept to control in both houses of the Mexican Congress. As in his past campaigns, López Obrador was demonized in most of the media as a Latin American caudillo like Hugo Chavez, who would bring Venezuela-type chaos, or the Mexican version of the despised Donald Trump. The comparisons...

How What We Do There Drives Central Americans Here

It’s the United States that has unleashed the chain of violence that has forced thousands of refugees to seek asylum here.

(AP Photo/Hans-Maximo Musielik)
The “caravan” of some 200 Central American refugees at our southern border has given Donald Trump another opportunity to inflame the already incendiary debate over immigration from the south. Tweeting that “our country is being stolen,” he called out the National Guard to defend us from the huddled groups of tired and poor that the Statue of Liberty beckons to our shores. But even without this president’s vile demagoguery, Americans are divided— among and within themselves—over immigration policy. The compassionate side argues that we are morally obligated to shelter refugees from violence and natural disaster. And as a nation built by immigrants, we should continue to welcome new ones. In this spirit, polls report that a majority favor some path to citizenship for those here illegally who have worked and paid taxes—especially for those who came here as children. The other side stresses “law and order,” notwithstanding the...

Lesson for Democrats: Back to Class

It was the party’s neoliberalism that did it in.

Lionel Hahn/ via AP Images
According to President Obama, the election that gave Donald Trump and the Republicans full control of the federal government and their greatest dominance at the state level since the Civil War had nothing to do with his policies. We Democrats have “better ideas,” he insisted to the press. “But I also believe that good ideas don’t matter if people don’t hear them.” Hillary, one might conclude from Obama’s remarks, just didn’t work hard enough. The president’s argument echoes through much of the Democrats’ gloomy post-mortem. The problem was Hillary’s schedule, or not enough “get-out-the-vote organizing, or James Comey’s interventions. And, of course, the racist and sexist voters in fly-over America, who are too stupid to understand their own interest. There is some truth to all of that. But the consoling claim that it wasn’t our product that failed but merely our marketing leads to a dangerous...