Daily Digest - July 9: America's Workers Need a Vacation

Jul 9, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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America Gets Summer Vacation All Wrong (U.S. News & World Report)

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America Gets Summer Vacation All Wrong (U.S. News & World Report)

Pat Garofalo points out the dissonance between long summer vacations for students, which lead to learning losses, and the United States' lack of paid vacation time for workers.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Director of Operations Sarah Pfeifer Vandekerckhove and Policy Intern Candace Richardson look at possible solutions to low-income students' summer learning losses.

Buying a Home: The American Dream That Won’t Die (MSNBC)

Suzy Khimm looks at post-housing crisis options for low-income would-be homeowners. Opportunities are limited, and there is continued discrimination against minorities seeking mortgages.

Democrats Push Bill to Reverse Supreme Court Ruling on Contraceptives (NYT)

The bill could hit the Senate floor as early as next week, reports Robert Pear, but it faces long odds in the House, since Speaker Boehner approves of the Hobby Lobby decision.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Fellow Andrea Flynn explains how the Hobby Lobby and McCullen rulings increase the barriers to women accessing health care.

Corporate Tax Scam Watch: The 'Inversion' Craze (LA Times)

Michael Hiltzik explains why companies look to "inversions," corporate restructuring in a foreign country, to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, and considers possible remedies.

NFL Cheerleaders Got An Early Advantage In Their Lawsuit Against The Buffalo Bills (Business Insider)

A judge said the evidence supports the Buffalo cheerleaders' claim that they are employees of the NFL team, reports Allan Smith, which allows their wage theft case to move forward.

New on Next New Deal

Detroit's Revitalization Funds Could Re-Empower Residents, Too

Roosevelt Summer Academy Fellow Dominic Rushe lays out one way Detroit could introduce participatory budgeting, allowing citizens to help decide where community development funds are most needed.

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Daily Digest - June 23: Weak Labor, Low Wages Feed Unstable Housing Market

Jun 23, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Housing Market Falters Amid Rising Prices, Lower-Paying Jobs (Bloomberg)

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Housing Market Falters Amid Rising Prices, Lower-Paying Jobs (Bloomberg)

Kathleen M. Howley reports on new, weaker forecasts for the housing market, and blames slow labor growth, which is primarily in low-wage jobs, and stagnant wages.

Poll: Fewer Americans Blame Poverty on the Poor (NBC News)

A new poll shows a major shift in how Americans perceive the causes of poverty since 1995, writes Seth Freed Wessler. Nearly half of respondents today blame structural causes.

The Economic Argument for Raising Women's Pay (Political Research Associates)

Mariya Strauss assesses the economic benefits of pay equity, which include increased economic growth and tax revenues, as well as a reduced need for public assistance programs.

Republicans Finally Admit Why They Really Hate Obamacare (NY Mag)

As the predictions of Obamacare skeptics are steadily debunked, Jonathan Chait says conservatives are forced to admit they just don't like transfer programs to help the poor.

The Big Lobotomy (Washington Monthly)

Paul Glastris and Haley Sweetland Edwards look at how Republicans in Congress have cut the Congressional workforce, reducing expertise and capacity as well as limiting their own effectiveness.

Why Inequality Might Make Kids Drop Out of High School (WaPo)

A new study suggests that the "economic despair" caused by increased inequality is the reason for higher dropout rates, reports Matt O'Brien.

Finally! Big Investors Declare War on Big Banks (The Fiscal Times)

David Dayen reports on a new front in the post-financial crisis legal battle:  a group of investors sues the trustee banks that assembled mortgage bonds for abandoning quality standards.

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Daily Digest - May 23: How to Pop a Housing Bubble Before It Starts

May 23, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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There will not be a new Daily Digest on Monday, May 26, in observance of Memorial Day. The Daily Digest will return on Tuesday, May 27.

The Shared-Responsibility Mortgage Could Help Bubbleproof the Housing Market (Bloomberg Businessweek)

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There will not be a new Daily Digest on Monday, May 26, in observance of Memorial Day. The Daily Digest will return on Tuesday, May 27.

The Shared-Responsibility Mortgage Could Help Bubbleproof the Housing Market (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Peter Coy looks at Atif Mian and Amir Sufi's bold suggestion for a new, safer mortgage structure in House of Debt, which would tie the cost of loan repayment to local housing prices.

It Wasn't Household Debt That Caused the Great Recession (The Atlantic)

Heather Boushey praises House of Debt for bringing in hard data to prove that banks targeting poorer communities for bad mortgages led to the recession, not general household debt.

Cutting Off Emergency Unemployment Benefits Hasn’t Pushed People Back to Work (Five Thirty Eight)

Most unemployed workers who no longer receive benefits are still struggling to find jobs, writes Ben Casselman, and nearly a quarter have dropped out of the labor force entirely.

McDonald's CEO Insists Fast-Food Giant Pays 'Fair Wages' as Protesters Rally (The Guardian)

Dominic Rushe reports on McDonald's chief executive Don Thompson's statement as protests against the company's pay practices continued outside its annual shareholder meeting.

Paul Ryan Now Wants to Solve Poverty with 'Love' and 'Eye to Eye' Contact. Don't Let Him. (The Week)

Elizabeth Stoker argues that Ryan's tough-love strategy of cutting aid programs won't actually help the poor, and that a truly loving approach would maintain government's obligation to all citizens.

A Progressive Alternative to Obamacare (MSNBC)

Geoffrey Cawley reports on Vermont's plan to implement single-payer health care as soon as 2017. This would be a step beyond the Affordable Care Act, though there are logistical hurdles.

Financial Crisis, Over and Already Forgotten (NYT)

Attacks on the Financial Stability Oversight Council demonstrate how quickly Washington has forgotten the source of the Great Recession, says Floyd Norris.

  • Roosevelt Take: "An Unfinished Mission," a report from the Roosevelt Institute and Americans for Financial Reform, lays out suggestions for the next phase of fixing the financial sector.

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Daily Digest - May 22: The Real Story of the Recession is About Housing

May 22, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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How Timothy Geithner Failed His Stress Test (AJAM)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal reviews Geithner's memoir and Atif Mian and Amir Sufi's House of Debt, raising questions about Geithner's focus on banks instead of the housing bubble.

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How Timothy Geithner Failed His Stress Test (AJAM)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal reviews Geithner's memoir and Atif Mian and Amir Sufi's House of Debt, raising questions about Geithner's focus on banks instead of the housing bubble.

Larry Summers: Student Debt Is Slowing the U.S. Housing Recovery (WSJ)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz concurred with Summers, calling the cost of higher education a crisis that is holding back the economy, reports Josh Mitchell.

Fed Panel Has Begun to Address How to Gradually Raise Rates (NYT)

Nelson D. Schwartz writes that the Fed is keeping its options open for tightening monetary policy amid concerns that inflation is still below target and the housing sector remains weak.

100 Arrested Near McDonald's Headquarters in Protest Over Low Pay (The Guardian)

Yesterday's protest of more than 2,000 people was met by police in riot gear, reports Dominic Rushe, and led to the shutdown of one building on the McDonald's corporate campus.

Republicans and Democrats Just Wrote Some Actual Legislation Together (Vox)

The legislation, which reorganizes federal jobs training programs, isn't exactly groundbreaking, says Libby Nelson, but it's still nice to see actual bipartisan action.

In Yesterday's Primaries, It Was Money That Mattered (TAP)

Paul Waldman points out that in the five major contested races on Tuesday, all of the results, including margins of victory, could be predicted by looking at fundraising.

U.S. Corporations Are Exploiting a Huge Tax Loophole, but the GOP Doesn't Want to Close It (TNR)

Proposed legislation would make it harder for U.S. companies to avoid taxes by merging with foreign firms, says Danny Vinik, but with no GOP support it isn't going anywhere.

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Daily Digest - May 14: A Victory for Workers in Vermont

May 14, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Vermont to Set Highest State Minimum Wage in the U.S. (MSNBC)

Ned Resnikoff reports that the Vermont legislature has voted to raise the state's minimum wage to $10.50 an hour, and the governor is expected to sign the bill soon.

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Vermont to Set Highest State Minimum Wage in the U.S. (MSNBC)

Ned Resnikoff reports that the Vermont legislature has voted to raise the state's minimum wage to $10.50 an hour, and the governor is expected to sign the bill soon.

I Like Jane Austen's Novels, But I Certainly Don't Want to Live Like That (HuffPo)

Heather Boushey writes that Thomas Piketty's prognosis for the economy is of particular concern for women, because if success depends on inheritance, gender equity will suffer.

Fannie-Freddie Overseer Easing Loan Buybacks (Bloomberg News)

Melvin L. Watt, head of the Federal Housing Authority, has announced new rules intended to stimulate the housing market by encouraging lending, reports Clea Benson.

SEC Peeks Under Private Equity Rug, Finds 'Remarkable' Corruption (LA Times)

Corruption in private equity firms isn't just a problem for the very rich, says Michael Hiltzik, since pension funds are among private equity's big clients.

Rebellious Economics Students Have a Point (New Yorker)

John Cassidy writes that the lack of real-world perspective in today's economics classrooms is a problem. He's particularly interested in bringing back economic history and organization.

Tim Geithner and the Paradox Behind the Government’s Crisis Response (WaPo)

In his review of the former Treasury Secretary's new book, Zachary Goldfarb considers the difficult balance between winning over public opinion and saving collapsing systems.

New on Next New Deal

Why Are Courts Allowing Redefinitions of Emergency Contraception?

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Andrea Flynn decries the misinformation about emergency contraception that's being accepted as fact in court cases over the contraception mandate.

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Daily Digest - May 12: Walmart Sets the Wrong Example for a Progressive Future

May 12, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Did Obama Make a Mistake by Touting Solar Power at Walmart? (All In with Chris Hayes)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren says this speech rewarded a company that is failing on the environment and on inequality, which makes it a confusing political choice.

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Did Obama Make a Mistake by Touting Solar Power at Walmart? (All In with Chris Hayes)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren says this speech rewarded a company that is failing on the environment and on inequality, which makes it a confusing political choice.

Thousands in Pierce County Trapped in Underwater Mortgages (Tacoma News Tribune)

Kathleen Cooper speaks to Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal, who says these mortgages slow economic growth because homeowners spend so much on debt payments.

Making Ends Meet at Walmart (NYT)

When Walmart reviewed its financials to determine performance pay for executives, it made adjustments to ensure larger bonuses despite a rough year, reports Gretchen Morgenson.

Undocumented NYC Domestic Workers Clean Up with Collective (AJAM)

Forming an environmentally friendly cleaning co-op has ensured fair wages, steady income, and safety for some undocumented workers, writes Kaelyn Forde.

Heller May Try to Attach Unemployment Extension to Tax Cut Bill (Roll Call)

Humberto Sanchez reports that an upcoming set of corporate tax breaks with bipartisan support could be key to a deal that would renew unemployment benefits.

FCC Head to Revise Broadband-Rules Plan (WSJ)

Gautham Nagesh says FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is trying to address public backlash with this latest revision of rules, which could be a good thing for net neutrality.

New on Next New Deal

For U.S. Mothers, Conservative Policies Can Be Deadly

Maternal mortality rates have increased in the U.S., and Roosevelt Institute Fellow Andrea Flynn argues that conservative policies like refusing Medicaid expansion make things worse.

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Daily Digest - March 26: Worker Misclassification Leads to Missing Wages

Mar 26, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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The Death of an Employer Scam (TAP)

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The Death of an Employer Scam (TAP)

Workers who are misclassified as independent contractors lose out on wages, benefits, and workplace protections - but Harold Meyerson says recent crackdowns could signal the end of industry-wide misclassification.

Unemployed, and Heading Toward Foreclosure (MSNBC)

More than half of the long-term unemployed live in owner-occupied homes, reports Suzy Khimm, and now they're struggling to keep their homes with no income and less-than-successful safety net programs.

America's Class System Across The Life Cycle (PolicyShop)

Matt Bruenig borrows charts from a wide variety of sources to look at how income inequality effects full lives, from childhood stress levels, to college completion rates, to age of death.

The Right's New "Welfare Queens": The Middle Class (The New Yorker)

George Packer says that Republican Senators at a recent committee hearing preferred to pin the economy's problem on adults choosing not to work instead of income inequality.

Democrats, as Part of Midterm Strategy, to Schedule Votes on Pocketbook Issues (NYT)

Jeremy W. Peters and Michael D. Shear report that the Senate Democrats' goals are less about passing legislation to fight inequality than getting Republicans on record opposing these bills.

U.S. Banks Enjoy 'Too-Big-to-Fail' Advantage: Fed Study (Reuters)

Emily Stephenson and Jonathan Spicer report on a new series of research papers by Federal Reserve economists that confirm that "too big to fail" advantages continued into 2009, after the financial crisis.

Will a For-Profit Degree Help You Get a Job? (The Atlantic)

Graduates of 72 percent of for-profit college career programs earn less than high school dropouts, reports Sophie Quinton. That's led to concerns that such schools waste federal financial aid, and calls for tighter standards.

New on Next New Deal

How the Weakening of American Labor Led to the Shrinking of America’s Middle Class

In the second post in his series describing his new report on labor organizing reform, Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch looks at the era in which corporations began to shift profits away from workers.

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Daily Digest - March 11: What is the GDP of the Internet?

Mar 11, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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The Benefits of Internet Innovation are Hard to Spot in GDP Statistics (The Guardian)

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The Benefits of Internet Innovation are Hard to Spot in GDP Statistics (The Guardian)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz explains why technological innovation has little effect on measurements of economic success, even though most agree that it improves quality of life.

This is What a Job in the U.S.’s New Manufacturing Industry Looks Like (WaPo)

Lydia DePillis profiles one of the rising number of temp workers at factories in Tennessee, for whom the return of manufacturing hasn't meant the return of solid middle-class jobs.

Finding Home: Voices of the Baltimore Housing Mobility Program (The Century Foundation)

Stefanie DeLuca and Jessi Stafford examine the program's successes in moving families from low- to high-opportunity neighborhoods through two families' stories. They suggest this could break the cycle of poverty.

Let Them Eat Dignity (TAP)

Republicans think that accepting government handouts harms the soul, says Paul Waldman – but only if you're poor. No one talks about the lack of dignity in the mortgage interest deduction.

More Evidence That SNAP Caseloads Have Started Falling (Off The Charts)

For the fourth straight month, Dottie Rosenbaum reports, food stamps have dropped compared to the previous year. Critics can stop worrying about out-of-control safety net spending.

Schools Across the Country Offering Universal Free Lunch (MSNBC)

Ned Resnikoff reports on districts adopting community eligibility for school lunch: if over 40 percent of students qualify, then the entire district can get rid of the paperwork and give every student free lunch.

No, Americans Are Not All To Blame for the Financial Crisis (TNR)

Subprime mortgage holders shouldn't be blamed for today's economy, writes Dean Starkman. He places all the fault with Wall Street and the culture of profit above all.

When the 1 Percent Opposes Long-Term Economic Growth (The Week)

Ryan Cooper suggests that the wealthy care about long-term growth only as far as it helps them. When pro-growth policies would probably mean higher inflation, they don't see an urgent need for growth.

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Daily Digest - March 10: Main Street Pays Rent to Wall Street

Mar 10, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Could a Wall Street Firm be Your Landlord? (Melissa Harris-Perry)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren points out the possibility that new rental-backed securities from Wall Street could pose a civil rights problem if they capitalize on communities of color.

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Could a Wall Street Firm be Your Landlord? (Melissa Harris-Perry)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren points out the possibility that new rental-backed securities from Wall Street could pose a civil rights problem if they capitalize on communities of color.

US Postal Service Inspector General Proposes Launching Low-Fee Public Bank (Real News Network)

Postal banking would aim to help low-income Americans who are currently unbanked, says Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal, without the predatory fees they would face at traditional banks.

The Real Story Behind the Detroit Pension Fight and What it Means to America's Future (Alternet)

Lynn Stuart Parramore speaks to Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Rob Johnson about the so-called pensions crisis. The key takeaway: cutting pensions is a choice, one that will cause harm for generations.

More on CBO and the Limits of Economic Analysis (On The Economy)

Jared Bernstein responds to a critique from Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Jeff Madrick, arguing that what needs to change isn't the Congressional Budget Office's analyses, but our lack of skepticism.

Unemployment in February Remains Elevated Across the Board (Working Economics)

Heidi Shierholz compares February's jobs report to pre-recession numbers, and argues that the sustained high unemployment across the board is proof that the jobs crisis comes from a lack of demand.

Why Americans Should Take August Off (The Nation)

Vacationing isn't a sign of laziness, writes Bryce Covert; it boosts spending and productivity, both of which would be great for the U.S. economy.

New on Next New Deal

What Les Misérables Can Teach Us About Paul Ryan's Poverty Plan

"Honest work, just reward" is a central conceit in GOP anti-poverty plans, but Nell Abernathy, Program Manager for the Roosevelt Institute's Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative, says this ignores the realities of low-income work.

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Daily Digest - February 19: The Misleading Math on the Minimum Wage

Feb 19, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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In Its Minimum-Wage Report, the CBO Places Its Thumb on the Scale (TNR)

The new report, which predicts a $10.10 minimum wage could cost as many as 1 million jobs, overstates the potential downside and understates the benefits, argues Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal.

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In Its Minimum-Wage Report, the CBO Places Its Thumb on the Scale (TNR)

The new report, which predicts a $10.10 minimum wage could cost as many as 1 million jobs, overstates the potential downside and understates the benefits, argues Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal.

Student Debt May Hurt Housing Recovery by Hampering First-Time Buyers (WaPo)

Dina ElBoghdady reports that new rules could be keeping young would-be homeowners with student loans out of the market, and that has implications for the housing market and the broader economy.

Businesses Are Swimming in Money: Profit Protection Will Not Help With Economic Recovery (Pacific Standard)

Martin Hart-Landsberg uses charts to demonstrate just how much money businesses are sitting on today. He says this data shows that pro-business policy won't speed up the recovery for everyone else.

New on Next New Deal

In VW Vote, Republicans Fight the Really Radical Idea that Workers Should Have a Voice in Business

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch explains how the GOP influenced the United Auto Workers' loss at Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant, even though the company wasn't opposed to the union.

Finding Affordable Housing Solutions in Boston

Gavin O'Brien, a member of the Greater Boston chapter of Roosevelt Institute | Pipeline, lays out possible policy solutions to the soaring cost of living in Boston, from cooperative arrangements to affordable housing trusts.

Snowed Under: When Keeping Schools Open Puts Low-Income Students Further Behind

Attendance data doesn't support the claim that NYC schools needed to stay open during last week's snowstorm so kids could eat, says Sarah Pfeifer Vandekerckhove, the Roosevelt Institute's Director of Programmatic Operations.

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