New Social Compact: Deregulation and Universal Basic Income

Two people shake hands
Two people shake hands (Pixabay)

I believe that to shrink the culture gap in Western democracies — between generally well-educated “globalists” and those who feel left behind — we need a new social compact.

The twentieth century’s was built on strong trade unions, lifetime employment and health and pension benefits tied to salaried jobs. The economy, and people’s expectations, have changed in such a way that this is no longer sustainable. But we haven’t come up with a replacement yet.

The American Enterprise Institute’s Dalibor Rohac may be onto something. He calls for a “grand bargain”: serious deregulation coupled with the introduction of a universal basic income. Read more

Italy’s Salvini Commits to Right-Wing Pact, Asks Same of Berlusconi

Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy's Northern League, gives a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, March 15
Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s Northern League, gives a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, March 15 (European Parliament)

Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s anti-immigrant Northern League, has ruled out reneging on a right-wing pact and asked Silvio Berlusconi, the leader of the mainstream conservatives, to do the same.

Both parties get around 15 percent support in recent surveys. In combination with smaller right-wing parties, they might just reach the 40 percent needed to form a government.

If they fall short, Salvini could theoretically team up with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which is polling at 26-28 percent.

Salvini and the Five Stars share views on Europe and political reform, but they come at it from opposite ends of the political spectrum.

Both have ruled out an alliance. Read more

What Happens Next in Catalonia?

View of the Palau Nacional in Barcelona, Spain, December 29, 2013
View of the Palau Nacional in Barcelona, Spain, December 29, 2013 (CucombreLibre)

Separatist parties defended their majority in Catalonia’s regional parliament on Thursday, but only by a whisker. The parties that want to secede from Spain won seventy out of 135 seats against 57 for the unionists.

Catalonia in Common, a left-wing party that rejects both independence and Spain’s suspension of Catalan home rule, won the remaining eight seats. Read more

What You Need to Know About the Republican Tax Plan

View of the United States Capitol at dusk, December 8, 2011
View of the United States Capitol at dusk, December 8, 2011 (Architect of the Capitol)

Republicans in the United States have enacted the final version of their tax plan.

The reforms cut corporate and income tax by a magnitude of $1.5 trillion, with the biggest gains going to the highest incomes.

Included is a repeal of the individual mandate from Obamacare, which could throw millions of Americans off health insurance.

Here are the most important things you need to know about the changes. Read more

Macron Bounces Back in Polls. Does It Matter?

French president Emmanuel Macron chats with a guard at the Elysée Palace in Paris, December 19
French president Emmanuel Macron chats with a guard at the Elysée Palace in Paris, December 19 (Elysée/Ghislain Mariette)

When French president Emmanuel Macron’s popularity was down earlier this year, I cautioned against reading too much into it.

Macron has four years left until he must face voters again. His party has a comfortable majority in the National Assembly and he enjoys the support of both businesses and the largest trade unions for economic reforms.

Now that his approval rating is up — from around 30 percent, which corresponds with the support he got in the first presidential voting round, to over 50 percent — I can hardly argue it is more significant. Read more

Our Catalan Election Day Live Blog and Reading List

View of the Palau Nacional in Barcelona, Spain, March 17, 2011
View of the Palau Nacional in Barcelona, Spain, March 17, 2011 (Mark Turner)

On Thursday, the Atlantic Sentinel will be providing live analysis and commentary of the election in Catalonia.

In addition to updating you on the results, our focus will be on analysis and opinion. We’ll be reading the local, European and international coverage of the election and share (and where necessary translate) interesting takes for you.

I hope you’ll join us! We’ll kick off around noon Central European Time. Read more

Young Italians Blame EU, But Their Problems Are Homegrown

View of the Piazza del Duomo in Milan, Italy, November 24, 2009
View of the Piazza del Duomo in Milan, Italy, November 24, 2009 (Bjørn Giesenbauer)

In most European countries, young people are more supportive of the EU than their elders.

In Italy, Politico reports, the trend is reversed.

If a referendum on EU membership were held, one in two Italians under the age of 45 would vote to leave. Only a quarter of those over 45 would do the same.

Younger voters’ unhappiness with the EU came from a sense that what’s good for the bloc comes at Italy’s expense. Strong majorities among the young said that the migrant crisis showed the EU could not be counted on to help Italy with its biggest challenges.

Hence support for the Euroskeptic Five Star Movement and Northern League, which are polling at a combined 40 percent. Read more