Daily Digest - July 2: Staying in Small Town, USA

Jul 2, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Roosevelt’s Legacy, Burning Brightly (NYT)

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Roosevelt’s Legacy, Burning Brightly (NYT)

Edward Rothstein reports on the newly renovated Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, NY. The overhaul, the first since FDR dedicated the library in 1941, has been open to the public since Sunday.

Bright Kids, Small City (TAP)

Roosevelt Institute | Pipeline Fellow Nona Willis Aronowitz speaks to Millennials who have chosen to live in Harrisburg, PA on why they are staying in the Rust Belt, reversing a fifty-year trend of young people moving away. A risk-averse approach to money is central to that decision.

Washington Shrugs as Student Loan Rates Double (MSNBC)

Suzy Khimm explains why no one in Congress seems to be doing anything about yesterday's student loan interest rate hike. Congress feels no urgency when the next set of loans won't be taken out until August, so they’re taking a break for the holiday instead.

We Must Hate Our Children (Salon)

Joan Walsh can't come up with any other reason that we would accept the idea that incurring massive amounts of debt for school is a necessary part of starting out in life.

Don't Blame Unemployment Insurance for Our Jobs Crisis (The Atlantic)

Matthew O'Brien looks at a study that shows that the labor market is just broken, and collecting unemployment insurance doesn't stop people from looking for jobs. Cutting benefits just keeps people from being able to pay their bills, which doesn't exactly help the economy.

War on the Unemployed (NYT)

Paul Krugman questions why the benefit cuts in North Carolina and other actions against the unemployed aren't getting more attention. Punishing the unemployed won't increase economic growth, which means it won't help anyone get a new job faster.

Non-Union Federally-Contracted Workers Will Stage Second Strike Today (The Nation)

Josh Eidelson continues to report on the strikes organized by Good Jobs Nation to pressure the federal government to raise labor standards for federal contractors. Strikers report violations of minimum wage and overtime laws by contractors who work in federal buildings.

The Truth About Immigration Reform and the Economy (Robert Reich)

Robert Reich counters three myths about how immigration reform will affect the economy. Our economic struggles, both short-term and long-term, could actually be nicely solved by a large increase in young workers paying into the system.

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Daily Digest - July 1: New Pot Industry, New Pot Regulations

Jul 1, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Legalizing Marijuana is Hard. Regulating a Pot Industry is Even Harder. (WaPo)

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Legalizing Marijuana is Hard. Regulating a Pot Industry is Even Harder. (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal looks at the questions surrounding the new legal marijuana market in Washington state, which is regulated by the Liquor Control Board. The challenges are numerous, and the state's priorities for regulation are still unclear.

Limits to Growth – of What? (TripleCrisis)

James K. Boyce sees growth of national income as a poor measure of national prosperity, because everything from the BP oil spill to the prison system contributes to growth. He thinks policy goals need to shift from pro-growth to growing the good and shrinking the bad.

Signed, Sealed, Deposited (Pacific Standard)

David Dayen suggests that we save the Postal Service by returning to postal banking, which would not only bring in new income but also offer simple inexpensive banking services to the millions of unbanked and underbanked Americans.

Paid via Card, Workers Feel Sting of Fees (NYT)

Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Stephanie Clifford reveal the hidden costs of being paid via payroll cards. The fees for withdrawls, statements, inactivity, and more can result in employees who functionally make less than minimum wage.

North Carolina Axes Benefits for Long-Term Unemployed (MSNBC)

Ned Resnikoff reports that because they cut their maximum benefit, North Carolina is ineligible for federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation. They've also cut the timeline, so where other Americans can collect unemployment for up to 99 weeks, North Carolinians will be limited to 19.

44% of Young College Grads Are Underemployed (and That's Good News) (The Atlantic)

Jordan Weissmann looks at 23 years of recent college graduate unemployment and underemployment, and it's clear that things haven't changed much: unemployment remains in step with all working adults, and underemployment hasn't changed much either.

It’s Not Just the Interest Rate: How Congress Can Help Students (The Nation)

Zoë Carpenter examines other changes Congress could make to the student loan system, even as they've failed to stop the interest rate increase. Her suggestions, such as better income based repayment options, would have far more effect on current debtors.

New from the Roosevelt Institute

Are Less Visible Taxes Really the Answer?

Roosevelt Institute | Pipeline Fellow Elizabeth Pearson makes the case that public opinion about taxation is malleable and that progressives should focus on raising awareness of the purpose of taxation and the benefits taxes will produce.

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Daily Digest - June 28: Crossing the Border to a Better Economy

Jun 28, 2013Tim Price

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Will Immigration Reform Work for the U.S. Economy? (HuffPo)

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Will Immigration Reform Work for the U.S. Economy? (HuffPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Annette Bernhardt and Haeyoung Yoon argue that comprehensive immigration reform is not only the right thing to do, but a road to citizenship, worker protections, and smart integration of future immigrants would also provide huge economic benefits.

Cyprus Fiasco Could Undermine the Euro Zone (INET)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Rob Johnson writes that the "bail-in" that rescued Cyprus proved the euro zone nations still suffer from a fear of commitment, and it showed depositors across Europe that when their countries are in trouble, so are their bank accounts.

The Supreme Court: Corporate America's Employees of the Month (Businessweek)

Most Americans might have mixed feelings about the Supreme Court after recent rulings that gutted voting rights but advanced gay rights, but Paul Barrett notes that when it comes to cases that involve corporate liability, the good news for CEOs just keeps on coming.

Mandatory Federal Cuts Hurt Private Sector, Too (NYT)

Catherine Rampell reports that the $85 billion gouged out of the economy by sequestration has led to tough times for private sector companies that rely on federal funds, ranging from military suppliers to custodial services. Maybe Congress will fix it once the plumbing goes.

Time is running out before student loan rates double (MSNBC)

Suzy Khimm writes that the July 1 deadline for Congress to act on Stafford loans is just around the corner, but even though the House, Senate, and White House all agree the interest rates shouldn't spike, none of them can agree on a plan to keep that from happening.

Forced to Work Sick? That's Fine With Disney, Red Lobster, and Their Friends at ALEC (MoJo)

Stephanie Mencimer points out that the U.S. is one of the few industrialized nations that doesn't provide mandatory paid sick leave, and notorious corporate front group ALEC is pushing state-level laws to ensure that your ailing co-workers keep coughing all over you.

The Expendables: How the Temps Who Power Corporate Giants Are Getting Crushed (ProPublica)

Michael Grabell writes that the June jobs report showed that the U.S. economy includes more temp workers than ever before, but while the work they're doing may be temporary, the poverty and bad working conditions they experience have proved to be anything but.

When Fed Transparency Fails, Go Zen (NYT)

Jared Bernstein argues that since the Federal Reserve's attempts at clearer communications have led confused investors to overreact and left Ben Bernanke tongue-tied over what it is he actually plans to do, this may be a case where less is more.

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Daily Digest - June 27: The Economy After DOMA

Jun 27, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Why Marriage Equality Is Good For The Economy And The Budget (ThinkProgress)

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Why Marriage Equality Is Good For The Economy And The Budget (ThinkProgress)

Bryce Covert brings back a 2004 CBO study of what it would mean for the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage. The study says it could reduce the incidence of same-sex couples living in poverty and generate an increase in tax revenues.

The DOMA Decision on Gay Marriage Could Speed up Employment Protection for Gays and Lesbians Too (Quartz)

Tim Fernholz thinks that the Supreme Court's decision on DOMA could mean easier passage for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which already has bipartisan support. Marriage and ENDA could dramatically change the status of LBGT people in our economy.

The Class-Based Future of Affirmative Action (TAP)

Richard Kahlenberg suggests that with the Supreme Court's ruling on Fisher v. University of Texas, progressives should call Republicans' bluff and put their support behind class-based affirmative action, which will still help substantial numbers of minority applicants.

Congrats, CEOs! You’re Making 273 Times the Pay of the Average Worker. (WaPo)

Lydia DePillis breaks down the major points in the Economic Policy Institute's new white paper on CEO compensation. The data is compelling evidence in the discussion of the continued growth of income inequality.

Ixnay on ‘Say on Pay’ (ProPublica)

Jesse Eisinger sees the say-on-pay provision of Dodd Frank as a failure: shareholders are voting on the pay packages of top executives, but they are approving compensation that is higher than ever before, which was not the goal.

The Economy Is Even More Sluggish Than We Thought (MoJo)

Kevin Drum reports that after revising their announcement of GDP for the first quarter of 2013 down already, from 2.5% to 2.4%, the Bureau of Economic Analysis has released a further revision to 1.8%, proving that this isn't much of a recovery.

Which States Are Winning the Recovery? (The Atlantic)

Jordan Weissmann looks at research from the New York Federal Reserve that shows that the jobs crisis is still worst in the states hit hardest in 2009. The states that are succeeding are the ones with natural resources, plus New York and Wall Street.

Who Frets Most About Student Debt (NYT)

Annie Lowrey looks at new data from the Urban Institute that shows who is most worried about paying off their student loans. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the strongest indicators of concern about repaying are employment status and income.

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Daily Digest - June 26: The Costs of Climate Change

Jun 26, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Helping the Economic Climate (U.S. News & World Report)

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Helping the Economic Climate (U.S. News & World Report)

David Brodwin disagrees with those who argue that we cannot "afford" to fight climate change. There are immense money-saving options built into climate change plans, and a broad-based carbon tax could be the best solution.

  • Roosevelt Take: Former EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson was honored at this month's Roosevelt Institute Distinguished Public Service Awards for her work on climate change in the Obama Administration. Watch our video honoring her here.

Grayson Announces Bill to Let Workers Personally Sue Bosses Who Retaliate (The Nation)

Josh Eidelson explains how Congressman Grayson's bill addresses weaknesses in the National Labor Relations Act, expanding workers' legal recourse to include civil cases against the individual instead of the corporation and significantly increasing related fines.

Employers Still Dodging Minimum Wage Law 75 Years After Its Passage (HuffPo)

According to Saki Knafo, 26% of low-wage workers report being paid less than minimum wage, and 76% report being denied overtime pay, primarily due to incorrect classification as contractors. These violations are so widespread that the Department of Labor can't handle all the cases.

The Best Argument for Studying English? The Employment Numbers (The Atlantic)

Jordan Weissmann suggests that people are too hard on humanities majors when they say such degrees are useless for finding a job, because English and history majors have unemployment rates that are on-par with other fields that are not pre-professional.

Paul Ryan Focusing More on Hurting the Poor (NY Mag)

Jonathan Chait lays out Paul Ryan's strategy for poverty these days: cutting benefits wherever possible. Ryan seems to think that the best way to help the un- and underemployed is to cut their food stamps, because hunger is a great motivator.

Spielberg Test: Why the One Percenters Don’t Deserve Twice as Much (MSNBC)

Timothy Noah argues that if even Steven Spielberg's market value has not consistently increased over the past forty years, then there is no reason to assume that the 1% inherently deserve their doubled income share in that time.

Foreclosure settlement a billion-dollar bust (USA Today)

Julie Schmit reports on the inadequacy of a recent settlement orchestrated by the government for victims of foreclosure abuse. Two-thirds of the payouts are only $300, which is clearly not sufficient to make up for the lose of a house.

New on Next New Deal

Can the Taper Matter? Revisiting a Wonkish 2012 Debate

As Ben Bernanke tests the waters for changes to the Fed's stimulus policies, Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal argues that monetary policy is about more than just expectations.

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Daily Digest - June 25: Who Needs Telecom Regulations?

Jun 25, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Highway Robbery for High-Speed Internet (TAP)

Paul Waldman quotes Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford on why telecom companies can get away with charging whatever they please. Until telecom monopolies and duopolies are more tightly regulated, broadband won't get cheaper.

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Highway Robbery for High-Speed Internet (TAP)

Paul Waldman quotes Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford on why telecom companies can get away with charging whatever they please. Until telecom monopolies and duopolies are more tightly regulated, broadband won't get cheaper.

One of the Worst Patents Ever Just Got Upheld in Court (WaPo)

Timothy Lee reports that the Federal Circuit ruled that there was nothing abstract about Ultramercial's patent on the concept of showing a customer an ad instead of charging for content.

Republican Harvard Economist Writes Terrible Defense of the One Percent (NY Mag)

Jonathan Chait critiques an essay by Gregory Mankiw that consistently equates "rich" and "productive," ignoring those who earn vast amounts of money while supplying little productive good to society. But where would we be without pseudo-celebrities being paid for nightclub appearances?

6 Mind-Blowing Stats on How 1 Percent of the 1 Percent Now Dominate Our Elections (MoJo)

Andy Kroll lays out six charts that make it clear that 31,385 Americans are making the bulk of political donations, to the point where he thinks they are controlling who is able to enter a race, who wins, and their actions in office.

The Future of Fair Labor (NYT)

Jefferson Cowie argues for a new commitment to the Fair Labor Standards Act. With recent lawsuits on unpaid internships, an over-reliance on 1099 contractors, and the explosion of lawsuits for back pay by misclassified nonexempt employees, the need is clear.

How Workplace Harassers Won Big (Salon)

Irin Carmon reports that two Supreme Court decisions released yesterday vastly limit workplace discrimination lawsuits. This could make it even less likely that a harassed employee will be protected, and courts already tend to favor employers in Title VII cases.

Americans Support Job Creation To Fix Crumbling Infrastructure (ThinkProgress)

Bryce Covert breaks down a new Gallup poll that shows that Americans care more about the potential new jobs than the necessary increase in government spending for such a program. In short, the American people support stimulus to end the unemployment crisis.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Jeff Madrick wrote on our Jobs Emergency conference, where a panel on the government's role in the crisis made similar suggestions.

Why Wall Street Doesn't Trust the Fed (Bloomberg)

Evan Soltas writes that even Wall Street is unhappy with the Fed's discussion of tapering off their monetary stimulus last week. He suggests that the Fed should consider adding additional factors, such as growth rates, to their decision about when to taper.

 

 

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Daily Digest - June 24: The Crises' Common Threads

Jun 24, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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A Wall Street Regulator’s Race Against Time (WaPo)

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A Wall Street Regulator’s Race Against Time (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal writes on Commodities Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler's most important goal: regulating derivative trades that go through foreign affiliates. Such trades were a common thread in many recent financial crises and bailouts.

By Pivoting Away From Stimulus, Is The Federal Reserve Making the Same Mistake as Congress? (On The Economy)

Jared Bernstein is concerned that the Fed, which was the last group of policy makers speaking out on unemployment, is moving towards focusing on the budget deficit just like everyone else in Washington.

Et Tu, Bernanke? (NYT)

Paul Krugman also thinks that the Fed needs to spend more time on unemployment instead of the deficit. He worries that Bernanke’s talk of "tapering" will just serve to keep us in a low-grade depression for even longer.

3 Dangerous Myths About 'Revenue-Neutral' Tax Reform (The Fiscal Times)

Andrew Fieldhouse argues that revenue-neutral tax reform, which broadens the tax base and lowers rates, won't solve our problems. He wants to see reform that pushes back against income inequality and raises revenues to protect the social safety net.

John Boehner Is Dangerously Clueless About Economics (The Atlantic)

Matthew O'Brien thinks that the Speaker of the House prefers to ignore the empirical evidence against his favored economic policies. Boehner's continued call to immediately reign in the deficit goes against all the data that shows that austerity is limiting economic growth.

The Minimum-Wage Stimulus (Reuters)

Felix Salmon explains why we should implement Nick Hanauer's recent suggestion to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. He says it will be a win-win-win, and even better, it will be an effective stimulus to improve employment rates right now.

In All But Six States, You Can Be Fired For Being A Victim Of Domestic Violence (ThinkProgress)

Bryce Covert reports on the lack of protections for victims of domestic violence in the workplace, following a recent case in California where a teacher was fired after her abuser violated his restraining order by showing up at her school. He's in jail; she's out of a job.

Rowboats for Retirement (NYT)

Nancy Folbre supports recent proposals that we move towards some version of a federally defined pension plan, because the current system of 401(k)s and IRAs is not viable for low-income households. Individual accounts only work when you can afford to contribute.

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Daily Digest - June 21: Changing Definitions, Unchanging Realities for Workers

Jun 21, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Is it Time to Tweak Obamacare? Sen. Joe Donnelly Thinks So. (WaPo)

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Is it Time to Tweak Obamacare? Sen. Joe Donnelly Thinks So. (WaPo)

Sarah Kliff speaks to the Senator, who wants to change the definition of full-time hours in the Affordable Care Act from 30 to 40. He wants to prevent part-time workers from getting their hours cut due to employers who don’t want to offer health insurance.

Who Killed Equality? (Bloomberg)

Ezra Klein says that the usual arguments on economic inequality ignore the power of government to set the rulebook, drawing on the work of Dean Baker. The current set of rules exacerbate income inequality, but they don't have to stay on the books.

The Economy Can’t Recover If the Workers Don’t (Campaign for America's Future)

Robert Borosage is concerned by the Fed's changing tone on the economic crisis and recovery, because as far as most Americans are concerned, we're still in the middle of the crisis. Stock market improvements are not average worker recovery.

Cutting Wages Won’t Create Jobs (The Hill)

Jack Temple argues that when we don't raise the minimum wage, we're effectively cutting it due to inflation, and that isn't helping unemployment. In fact, an increase in the minimum wage would serve as a major stimulus for the economy.

The Unpaid Internship Racket (MSNBC)

Timothy Noah considers the moral failings of unpaid internships, which go alongside their frequent illegality as shown by last week's ruling against Fox Searchlight. Beyond the inequality and abuse, there's the simple formulation that interns are workers, and workers get paid.

Profits Without Production (NYT)

Paul Krugman suggests that the biggest difference between today's economy and the past's is the growth of monopoly rents, or profits tied primarily to market dominance. This depresses perceived return on investments and wages, contributing to our weak recovery.

Bank of America Whistleblowers Allege Rot at the Core of the Mortgage Industrial Complex (HuffPo)

Ray Brescia reports on some of the most serious charges revealed in affidavits filed in litigation against Bank of America. If this is Bank of America's way of reforming its foreclosure practices, then it is clear that more oversight is necessary.

New on Next New Deal

One More Day for Women's Equality in New York

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Andrea Flynn writes on New York Governor Cuomo's Women's Equality Act, which contains one of the most progressive pieces of abortion legislation in the country. But the legislative session ends today, and the State Senate seems unwilling to take a vote on the issue.

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Daily Digest - June 20: Doing the Dishes

Jun 20, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Why Forks in Your Office Kitchen Keep Disappearing (Marketplace)

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Why Forks in Your Office Kitchen Keep Disappearing (Marketplace)

Audrey Quinn speaks to Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal about why office support positions are being cut in the recession. Mike says technology made some tasks, like booking travel, much simpler, but someone still needs to wash dirty coffee mugs.

Republican Staffer ‘Beats’ Food Stamp Challenge (MSNBC)

Ned Resnikoff reports that a Republican staffer claims to have "beaten" the challenge that 26 Democrats took on last week. Of course, he didn’t eat any fresh fruits or vegetables all week, which is probably not sustainable for people living this way.

GOPers Want to Keep Food Stamps From People Who Have a Cheap Car or $2,000 in Savings (MoJo)

Erika Eichelberger is angry at Republican congressmen who introduced assets tests as a federal requirement for SNAP. They are concerned that people become dependent on handouts, but it’s the inability to save for an emergency that keeps people in poverty.

RIP, American Dream? Why It's So Hard for the Poor to Get Ahead Today (The Atlantic)

Matthew O'Brien is concerned by data that shows that education cannot solve income inequality: a person born wealthy who does not go to college is 2.5 times as likely to end up wealthy as a person born poor with a degree.

U.S. Wages Fall Amid Overseas Pressure (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

John Schmid says that the Bureau of Labor and Statistics is reporting year-over-year declines in average weekly wages in the U.S. Some of his sources call this a "normal adjustment period," but that doesn't help people whose bills are rising.

The Capitalist’s Case for a $15 Minimum Wage (Bloomberg)

Nick Hanauer argues that entrepreneurs and businessmen like him should all support a higher minimum wage, because at the current minimum wage many people cannot buy their products. Accepting lower profits in the short-term would boost demand and sales over time.

This Graph Shows How Bad the Fed is at Predicting the Future (WaPo)

Dylan Matthews examines five years of June forecasts from the Fed and finds that they are quite inaccurate. Despite revising the predictions down from year to year, the final growth rates consistently fall behind the projections.

What You Need to Know About Immigration and the Deficit (Slate)

Matt Yglesias explains why we can trust the CBO scoring of the Gang of 8 immigration bill, which says that immigration reform will reduce the deficit by nearly $200 billion over the next ten years.

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Daily Digest - June 19: No Grocery Money, No Problem?

Jun 19, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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What Congress and the Media Are Missing in the Food Stamp Debate (The Nation)

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What Congress and the Media Are Missing in the Food Stamp Debate (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann asks why we are talking about everything except the state of hunger in the U.S. when we talk about cutting SNAP benefits. There are people in this country who cannot afford enough food for themselves and their families: as he sees it, nothing else should be considered.

Kansas Bleeds the Middle Class (TAP)

Monica Potts visits Johnson County, Kansas, where she finds that suburban poverty is growing and there are no middle-class jobs available. This low-wage economy is a constant struggle, and there don't seem to be any escape routes in place.

Welfare reform took people off the rolls. It might have also shortened their lives. (WaPo)

Dylan Matthews reports on a new study on a Floridian precursor to federal welfare-to-work programs, which shows a troubling statistically significant difference in the mortality rate of the work program participants. More research is necessary, but it's possible welfare-to-work created new health problems.

Unelected Emergency Manager Preparing To Break Detroit’s Pension Promises (ThinkProgress)

Alan Pyke explains how bankruptcy proceedings would allow the emergency manager to put paying investors who gave the city loans before paying retirees. Investments are supposed to come with risks, but fixed-income seniors are apparently less important than debt.

The Chart That Eviscerates Five Terrible Talking Points About Taxes (Business Insider)

Josh Barros uses this chart on the progressivity of our tax system to remind us to think about how the whole system fits together, particularly when considering issues like the so-called "47% percent” or the progressivity of specific taxes.

We Need a New Deal For Millennials (HuffPo)

Richard Eskow argues that Millennials need to run far away from the politics-as-usual that is destroying their future. Instead, he would see a return to real values in politics, starting with the Millennials running for office themselves.

Guitar Center: Prices So Low, Employees Can't Survive on Wages (The Nation)

Allison Kilkenny reports that the 57 retail workers at Guitar Center's flagship in Manhattan have overwhelmingly voted to form a union. Their demands are pretty reasonable: a living wage, with a commission structure that makes sense in the Internet age.

Former intern sues Atlantic Records (Salon)

Christopher Zara explains this lawsuit, in which a former intern is suing to recover minimum wage and overtime with the help of the organization Intern Justice. This follows last week's ruling that some Fox Searchlight internships are illegal.

 

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