Mike Mathieu: Big Data is Watching You

Jul 25, 2014

The Next American Economy project brought together 30 experts from various disciplines to envision tomorrow's economic and political challenges and develop today's solutions. Their assignment: be bold, and leave the conventional wisdom -- and their own opinions -- behind. In today's video, tech entrepreneur Mike Mathieu imagines what happens when data-mining is done directly to the human brain.

The Next American Economy project brought together 30 experts from various disciplines to envision tomorrow's economic and political challenges and develop today's solutions. Their assignment: be bold, and leave the conventional wisdom -- and their own opinions -- behind. In today's video, tech entrepreneur Mike Mathieu imagines what happens when data-mining is done directly to the human brain.

Mike Mathieu, entrepreneur and founder of high-tech business incubator Front Seat, speculates on the future of technology, imagining a 100-million-fold increase in computer power that leads to a revolution in data and the "sensor-fication" of the entire world. By 2040, he says, we can wire computers directly to the brain to capture data. The economy grows, but some suggest "data becomes America's Dutch Disease." In a darker turn, we begin to see a loss of human freedoms as behavior is increasingly predicted, tracked, and incentivized according to data models.

Share This

Daily Digest - July 24: All the Performance Pay, None of the Performance

Jul 24, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

Click here to subscribe to Roosevelt First, our weekday morning email featuring the Daily Digest.

The Pay-for-Performance Myth (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Click here to subscribe to Roosevelt First, our weekday morning email featuring the Daily Digest.

The Pay-for-Performance Myth (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Eric Chemi and Ariana Giorgi report on a new analysis of data on the relationship between company performance and CEO pay, which shows no relationship between the two factors.

  • Roosevelt Take: In his white paper, William Lazonick explains how stock-based performance pay incentivizes CEOs toward business practices that manipulate stock prices.

Elizabeth Warren to Help Propose Senate Bill to Tackle Part-Time Schedules (The Guardian)

Jana Kasperkevic writes that the Schedules That Work Act would establish a right to request a predictable schedule, payment for cancelled shifts, and two weeks' notice of schedule changes.

Technology, Aided by Recession, Is Polarizing the Work World (NYT)

Claire Cain Miller says a new study explains how the recession has accelerated the loss of "routine" jobs, which follow well-defined procedures and used to go primarily to men and people with less education.

Even After Open Enrollment, Activity Remains Unexpectedly High on Federal Health Insurance Exchange (ProPublica)

There have been nearly 1 million transactions on the federal exchange since the April 19 enrollment deadline, writes Charles Ornstein, as people continue to sign up for and switch insurance plans.

Paul Ryan's Anti-Poverty Plan Should Support Minimum-Wage Hike, But Don't Count on It (The Hill)

Raising the minimum wage is one of the best ways to fight poverty today, writes Shawn Fremstad, but Paul Ryan ignores research that shows higher wages wouldn't impact employment.

Highway to Hell (The Economist)

The Economist says Congress's solution to funding the Highway Trust Fund through budget tricks around pensions creates risk of greater costs on taxpayers if those underfunded pensions go bust.

New on Next New Deal

The Future Economy Will Pit Man vs. Machine

Andy Stern, president emeritus of the SEIU, presents a speculation on the future for the Next American Economy project in which technology replaces the vast majority of jobs.

Share This

Andy Stern: The Future Economy Will Pit Man vs. Machine

Jul 24, 2014

The Next American Economy project brought together 30 experts from various disciplines to envision tomorrow's economic and political challenges and develop today's solutions. Their assignment: be bold, and leave the conventional wisdom -- and their own opinions -- behind. In today's video, SEIU's Andy Stern offers a darker take on a future in which continued technological innovation has had a devastating impact on the job market.

The Next American Economy project brought together 30 experts from various disciplines to envision tomorrow's economic and political challenges and develop today's solutions. Their assignment: be bold, and leave the conventional wisdom -- and their own opinions -- behind. In today's video, SEIU's Andy Stern offers a darker take on a future in which continued technological innovation has had a devastating impact on the job market.

Andy Stern, president emeritus of SEIU, speculates that by 2040 technological advancement will have unleashed a tsunami of job loss. "The intellectuals who long served up education, entrepreurial tendencies, and innovation as the answer to all our job problems joined the union leaders, market fundamentalists, and the conservative economists in the Flat Earth Society," says Stern.

But in the 2042 election, a new coalition will rise, securing the policies needed for us to live in a future defined by abundance and equality.

Share This

Carl Camden: Full-Time Employment May Give Way to a Free Agent Economy

Jul 23, 2014

The Next American Economy project brought together 30 experts from various disciplines to envision tomorrow's economic and political challenges and develop today's solutions. Their assignment: be bold, and leave the conventional wisdom -- and their own opinions -- behind. In today's video, Kelly Services CEO Carl Camden speculates about a future workforce dominated by temporary employees.

The Next American Economy project brought together 30 experts from various disciplines to envision tomorrow's economic and political challenges and develop today's solutions. Their assignment: be bold, and leave the conventional wisdom -- and their own opinions -- behind. In today's video, Kelly Services CEO Carl Camden speculates about a future workforce dominated by temporary employees.

The CEO of employment firm Kelly Services speculates that in 20 years, less than a third of the American workforce will be directly employed by corporations or governments. Rather, the majority of the population will work as free agents. Kelly Services placed 540,000 temporary employees in 2013, and can serve as a model for human resources firms of the future. In place of government or full-time employers, firms like Kelly Services will become the purveyor of social services on behalf of the freelancers they represent, including insurance, education, and retirement benefits.

Share This

Althea Erickson: What if the Etsy Economy Prevails?

Jul 22, 2014

The Next American Economy project brought together 30 experts from various disciplines to envision tomorrow's economic and political challenges and develop today's solutions. Their assignment: be bold, and leave the conventional wisdom -- and their own opinions -- behind. Their goal: not to provide a researched analysis, but to stimulate debate on critical questions.

The Next American Economy project brought together 30 experts from various disciplines to envision tomorrow's economic and political challenges and develop today's solutions. Their assignment: be bold, and leave the conventional wisdom -- and their own opinions -- behind. Their goal: not to provide a researched analysis, but to stimulate debate on critical questions. In today's video, Etsy Public Policy Director Althea Erickson imagines a future economy based on digital entrepreneurship.

Althea Erickson, Public Policy Director for Etsy, describes a possible future in which the "Etsy economy prevails." Over the next 20 years, she says, as the costs of entrepreneurship decline, more and more people will leave low-wage jobs for the gig economy. After an initial period of intensive price competition on market platforms like TaskRabbit and Etsy, the platforms will start serving as organizing institutions and will drive incomes up. Eventually, market platforms will begin to provide services to reduce the economic uncertainty of the gig economy -- the kind of benefits once offered by steady employers, such as retirement savings, health care options, training opportunities, and so on.

"Overall, we will live in the utopian dream of a micro-gig economy where people are self-actualized," Erickson speculates.

Share This

Port Drivers Take on Low Wages in an Industry Built on a Lie

Jul 14, 2014Richard Kirsch

Port truck drivers aren't indepedent contractors: they're employees of companies that pay them too little for long hours, with no benefits or worker protections.

It’s a David and Goliath story, only in this case there are 120 Davids taking on a hidden Goliath of an industry that every day touches everyone who is reading this in hundreds of ways. The port trucking industry is built on an illegal fiction, designed to rip off the 120 drivers who went on strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach this week.

Port truck drivers aren't indepedent contractors: they're employees of companies that pay them too little for long hours, with no benefits or worker protections.

It’s a David and Goliath story, only in this case there are 120 Davids taking on a hidden Goliath of an industry that every day touches everyone who is reading this in hundreds of ways. The port trucking industry is built on an illegal fiction, designed to rip off the 120 drivers who went on strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach this week.

They are not alone; 49,000 port truck drivers around the country work long hours at low pay with no benefits or basic worker protections like unemployment insurance or workers compensation, because the industry misclassifies them as independent contractors. The drivers’ courageous action is one more facet of a surging labor and community movement, which is starting to take on the captains of America’s low-wage economy.

Virtually everything you are wearing now that was made overseas came through our nation’s ports. So did every imported item in your office or home. Port truck drivers transported those goods from ship terminals to rail yards and warehouse centers, for distribution to stores around the country. Starting more than 30 years ago, when the trucking industry was deregulated during the Carter administration, the industry was taken over by firms with a business model based on driving down drivers’ incomes by treating them as independent contractors instead of employees.

The new model was based on a lie. The drivers weren’t really independent truck drivers, with their own rigs. They still worked for one distribution company, which totally controlled everything about their work – their hours, their shipments, the rates they were paid. The company supplied the trucks they drove. But by insisting the drivers accept the new arrangement if they wanted to work, the companies avoided paying payroll taxes, workers compensation, and unemployment benefits, let alone health or retirement benefits. The drivers were forced to pay to lease, fuel and maintain the trucks out of their own paychecks.

The result of this scam has been high profits for the companies, lower wages and no workplace protections for the drivers, plus big losses to the social insurance funds. This arrangement put employers who complied with the law by continuing to treat their workers as employees at a competitive disadvantage.

The port drivers' story is emblematic of the forces that crushed America’s middle class. Good paying, often union jobs were replaced by low wage, no-benefit jobs. "Manufactured in the U.S." was displaced by foreign goods, sold to consumers through the Wal-Marts and Home Depots and other giant retailers that perch at the end of global supply chains. Government, stripped of resources and will by corporate lobbyists and their wholly-owned elected officials, sat by while the law was violated and social insurance programs were weakened. And corporate profits soared.

But times are beginning to change. The strike in Southern California carries with it all the elements and power of the new movement of low-wage workers and their allies to create a good jobs economy. The foundation of the strategy is the willingness of low-wages workers to risk their jobs to fight back. The strategy is driven by strategic, legal, and financial assistance supplied by labor unions, partnerships with community groups, and public campaigns against big brand names.

The strikers, like many other port drivers, are mostly immigrants who often don’t speak English. Only recently did they become aware that their rights were being violated, after a free legal clinic was set up by two community groups at the port. Since then, drivers have filed more than 400 claims against companies under California’s wage and hour laws. The first 19 rulings resulted in an average award of $66,240, largely for wage and hour violations and illegal paycheck deductions for items like truck leases.

The claims are part of an aggressive legal strategy, which includes filings under California’s wage and hour laws, class action suits, and claims that the companies are violating federal labor laws. The goal is for the firms to face such an onslaught of fines and court orders that they will begin to realize it would be better to abide by the law, rather than continue to defend their practices in court. California Attorney General Kamala Harris could be hugely helpful here if she used the growing number of cases to insist on an industry wide compliance settlement.

The companies are fighting back. “It’s all out war,” an attorney for two workers who were fired for both supporting a union and pressing wage claims, told me. Green Fleet, the company that fired the workers and one of the companies being picketed, is using the full arsenal of union-busting tactics, including firing workers who are leading union efforts and hiring union busters who threaten workers. The company’s goal is to terrify other workers, so that they won’t support forming a union or file wage claims.

The NLRB ruled in the workers' favor, establishing that they are employees, not independent contractors, but Green Fleet is appealing in order to delay any relief. The fired workers’ attorneys are asking a federal judge to immediately order the companies to rehire the workers who were fired and to inform all the workers of their right to form a union and protest unfair labor practices.

In the face of this illegal harassment, the 120 drivers at Green Fleet and other firms walked off the job. They want to join the Teamsters union, which is providing key strategic support to their efforts through their Justice for Port Drivers campaign. Many drivers recently saw the benefits of unionization when drivers won union representation at Toll Global Holdings, an Australian based company, which is unionized in their home country. The unionized drivers actually get paid for the hours they spend waiting to pick up merchandise, and receive better wages and benefits.

Los Angeles’ well-organized community-labor coalition, led by LAANE, has turned out hundreds of picketers to join the drivers. The picketers block company trucks driven by drivers who have not joined the strike. The pickets create even longer lines of trucks at the marine terminals, where ships arrive with containers full of goods. This is one way that the strikers can exercise the economic power to get the companies to settle. The Teamsters report that already some terminals have told the companies being struck to stop picking up goods in order to clear the blockade.

Another weapon in the campaign is public pressure on the big brands that are the ultimate beneficiaries of the low-wages paid to the port drivers. All of Skechers shoes are delivered by Green Fleet. Protestors attended Skechers’ annual shareholder meetings, have leafleted stores, and this week had a plane fly over the company’s flagship L.A. store with a banner that read, “Skechers – laced with misery”. As LAANE’s Danny Feingold points out, unlike some other retailers, such as Nike, Skechers has refused to sign a code of conduct with labor standards for its contractors.

Another element in the port drivers' campaign, as in low-wage workers' campaigns nationally, is a push to change public policy. There are some 75,000 port drivers around the country, of whom 49,000 are misclassified as independent contractors. The New York and New Jersey legislatures both passed bills in the last year toughening standards and enforcement for misclassification of port truck drivers. While New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie vetoed that state’s bill, the New York legislation signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo includes strict standards and most importantly, civil and criminal penalties.

There is a new movement growing in America, comprised of courageous low-wage workers and backed by unions, community groups, and activists to take on the huge companies that drive the low-wage economy. From fast food, to Wal-Mart, to workers who make car seats and immigrants who wash cars, the movement is learning a new strategy, based on mobilizing workers and the public. The twin goals of this movement are to enable workers to organize unions and to enact new public policy to rebuild the middle class. You can support the movement now, and lend a hand to port drivers who are on strike, by making with a contribution to the Justice for Drivers Hardship Fund. Remember, the device on which you are reading this now was delivered by a port driver.  

Richard Kirsch is a Senior Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, a Senior Adviser to USAction, and the author of Fighting for Our Health. He was National Campaign Manager of Health Care for America Now during the legislative battle to pass reform.

Share This

Daily Digest - July 10: Communities Need a Better Kind of Banking

Jul 10, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

Click here to subscribe to Roosevelt First, our weekday morning email featuring the Daily Digest.

Banks that Actually Serve Communities, What a Novel Idea (Philanthropy New York)

Click here to subscribe to Roosevelt First, our weekday morning email featuring the Daily Digest.

Banks that Actually Serve Communities, What a Novel Idea (Philanthropy New York)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Saqib Bhatti explains how community banks, unlike their national Wall Street-based counterparts, keep profits and funds in the community, where they support growth.

Port Truckers’ Strike Sends Ripples Through Labor World (MSNBC)

Ned Resnikoff looks at why the small port truckers' strike in Los Angeles is getting so much attention. He cites research from Roosevelt Institute Fellow Annette Bernhardt on worker misclassification.

SCOTUS’ Quiet Expansion of Harris (In These Times)

The Court's order in Schlaud v. Snyder could lead to a dramatic reversal in labor law, which would assume those who did not vote for a union are against it, writes Moshe Marvit.

Report: NY Tax Breaks Don’t Do Much to Create Jobs (The Journal News)

Joseph Spector says a new report from the state Authorities Budget Office shows that special tax breaks from local development authorities appear to have little effect on generating jobs.

Study: States That Raised Minimum Wage Had Stronger Job Growth (USA Today)

Paul Davidson reports on a new study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, which shows a higher increase in payrolls over 10 months in states that increased their minimum wage.

Thomas Perez On Lawmakers Who Dis The Jobless: 'I Wanna Punch 'Em' (HuffPo)

In a meeting with the press about labor data, the Labor Secretary made harsh comments about lawmakers who still aren't helping the long-term unemployed, writes Arthur Delaney.

Jobs Are Staying Vacant Longer Than Ever (WaPo)

The average duration of job vacancies has hit a new high of 25.1 days, writes Catherine Rampell, but the evidence does not suggest there is a skills mismatch holding back hiring.

Share This

Daily Digest - June 18: Is High CEO Pay a Reward for Failure?

Jun 18, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

Study: The Higher the Pay, the Worse the CEO (Vocativ)

Daniel Edward Rosen looks at a study from the University of Utah, which shows that companies that pay CEOs more than $20 million a year have average annual losses over $1 billion.

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

Study: The Higher the Pay, the Worse the CEO (Vocativ)

Daniel Edward Rosen looks at a study from the University of Utah, which shows that companies that pay CEOs more than $20 million a year have average annual losses over $1 billion.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Fellow and Director of Research Susan Holmberg and Campus Network alumna Lydia Austin look at additional ways high CEO pay distorts the economy.

Chicago Aldermen Want a $15 Minimum Wage in Their City, Too (In These Times)

Progressives in Chicago are pushing their own minimum wage increase, reports Ethan Corey, and the popular measure would be implemented much more quickly than Seattle's.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute President and CEO Felicia Wong says increasing the minimum wage is a powerful step to promote democracy.

A Small Increase in Inflation Squeezes U.S. Workers (NYT)

Neil Irwin reports that average wages have fallen 0.1 percent in the past year when inflation is taken into account, so while the economy may be improving, workers are still struggling.

The Big Freeze on Hiring (WaPo)

Companies are taking longer than ever to fill open jobs, and Catherine Rampell suspects their reluctance is due to continued uncertainty about the health of the economy.

Domestic Workers, Domestic Cargo (The Baffler)

Ned Resnikoff reviews Sheila Bapat's new book on domestic workers' rights and ties their struggle to other low-wage service jobs that are similarly disparaged as not "real jobs."

Critics Warn Starbucks Employees to Read the Fine Print of New Tuition Plan (ThinkProgress)

Alan Pyke speaks to education experts, who critique the Starbucks program for restricting tuition assistance to a single online university, with no options for in-person classes.

U.S. Reaches $968 Million Mortgage Settlement With SunTrust (WSJ)

Alan Zibel and Andrew R. Johnson report on SunTrust's settlement, the latest attempt to penalize banks for abusive mortgage practices. $500 million is reserved to help underwater homeowners.

Share This

Healing the Medical Field: How A Push Against Careers in Medicine Could Push Back on Burnout

Jun 10, 2014Anisha Hegde

When doctors speak out about burnout, it creates an opportunity to create a more sustainable way to practice medicine.

When doctors speak out about burnout, it creates an opportunity to create a more sustainable way to practice medicine.

This fall, I will join about 17,000 students matriculating into medical colleges across America. For all of us, gaining admission to a medical school was at least a four year long process of first discerning – through shadowing, taking rigorous science classes, and volunteering – that we want to be doctors, followed by studying for the MCAT and successfully completing the marathon-like admissions process. For most of us, gaining admission to a medical school is only the beginning of a decade of training in the practice of medicine.

A grueling work environment upon graduation from medical school apparently accompanies this daunting timeline. Domestically, there is a forecasted shortage of 130,600 doctors by 2025, which will likely be exacerbated by the millions of newly insured people under the Affordable Care Act and the increasing emphasis on preventive care. These changes are both tremendously positive for society, but create challenges in the field of medicine. With only 17,000 of the 40,000 yearly applicants matriculating into American medical schools, compared to 45,000 beginning law school and 100,000 beginning business school, reducing that shortage becomes hard to envision. The physician shortage is even more striking on a global scale, as reported by the New England Journal of Medicine.

We can also expect high burnout rates when we get to work. As I was completing secondary applications last fall, I noticed a plethora of headlines advising Millennials against careers in medicine, with multiple doctors leaving comments to express their agreement. I cannot recall reading even one article during that same time period encouraging students interested in service and science to pursue an MD. A survey by NerdWallet sums up the crux of the issues mentioned in the articles: doctors are deeply unsatisfied with their professional choices and would not choose careers in medicine if they could go back and do it all over again. 

Perhaps surprisingly, these articles never made me doubt my desire to become a doctor. Many of the doctors I have shadowed over the years have iterated the power of one positive patient encounter to carry them through the day, to recall as encouragement through the toughest moments. In these interactions between doctors and their patients, I have witnessed the privilege of serving someone in their time of need, the fulfilling skillset of helping someone stay healthy and the lifelong learning that is required in attempting to understand the human body.  These memories and observations have morphed into goals and have seen me through 2 am study sessions for organic chemistry tests and the aftermath of medical school rejection e-mails.

Though I haven't obeyed the command of the articles pushing back on medical school, they did lead to honest conversations with doctors about balancing work and family and about the weighty, taxing responsibility that accompanies a career in medicine. To address burnout, Diane Shannon highlights inexpensive yet seemingly effective measures, such as physician retreats and increased day-to-day clinical autonomy. She also points to larger overhauls and paradigm shifts, such as redirecting the reimbursement system to compensate for quality, as opposed to quantity, of care and employing third-parties to cultivate compassionate healthcare, which medical school curriculums also emphasize.

Maybe I am simply on a post-undergraduate-commencement high, but perhaps this deluge of articles from doctors who left their practices is an inception of a long-needed change in the world of medicine: elevating conversations about stress and concerns plaguing doctors onto a larger stage. This change promises to engage doctors before the final burnout and to fill doctor shortages in a sustainable way. At its core, this change is relevant to service sector fields from doctors to nurses to teachers. As a millennial entering medical school, I realize I know very little about what to expect when it comes to a career in medicine, but I am grateful to those who have spoken out. I hope that the attention they have brought to the dearth of humanity allotted to both the provider and the patient is the inception of a policy and culture-oriented journey to correct both.

Anisha Hegde is the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Senior Fellow for Health Care.

 

Share This

Daily Digest - June 6: What It's Like to Make a Living

Jun 6, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

What Happens When Low Wage Workers Suddenly Get a Living Wage? (Gothamist)

Christopher Robbins speaks to workers at a successful casino in Queens, New York, whose wages nearly doubled last October when they unionized.

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

What Happens When Low Wage Workers Suddenly Get a Living Wage? (Gothamist)

Christopher Robbins speaks to workers at a successful casino in Queens, New York, whose wages nearly doubled last October when they unionized.

Stay-At-Home Dads On The Rise, And Many Of Them Are Poor (NPR)

A new study of stay-at-home dads reveals some bad news, writes Jennifer Ludden: more than half live in poverty, with many staying home due to illness, disability, or inability to find work.

What to Watch on Jobs Day: An All-Time High of an Indicator That is Almost Always Rising (Working Economics)

Heidi Shierholz warns that while today's jobs report will likely show total employment at an all-time high, that's actually a meaningless benchmark due to constant population growth.

How Seattle Passed the Highest Minimum Wage In America (Vice)

The fight for $15 an hour in Seattle combined a number of unusual factors, says Arun Gupta, so it's unclear if the same kind of effort will work elsewhere.

GOP’s Little-Noticed Unemployment Sham: The Quiet Death of Extended Benefits (Salon)

Simon Maloy argues that the House GOP's quiet obstruction of extended unemployment insurance has thwarted supporters and left the long-term unemployed worse off than ever.

Artisanal Union-Busting (In These Times)

Chris Lehmann looks at union organizing efforts at Whole Foods stores in Chicago, and the company's pushback against collective bargaining.

To Protect Service Members, Defense Department Plans Broad Ban on High-Cost Loans (ProPublica)

Because too many soldiers are targeted by high-cost lenders, the Department of Defense may ban all loans above 36 percent APR. Paul Kiel says it's not so simple to protect civilians.

Share This

Pages