Daily Digest - August 13: Working Without a Net in the Gig Economy

Aug 13, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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America's Social Safety Net is Failing Workers in the 'Gig Economy' (The Week)

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America's Social Safety Net is Failing Workers in the 'Gig Economy' (The Week)

Particularly in today's economy of short-term gigs, contract work, and other forms of precarious employment, Sarah Jaffe says the current system of unemployment benefits isn't cutting it.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Operations Director Lydia Bowers looks at some of the other labor protections missing in the gig economy.

By Any Measure, The Job Market Is Getting Better (FiveThirtyEight)

No matter how he counts the unemployed, Ben Casselman finds the same pattern: the ratio of job-seekers to available jobs has dropped significantly, almost to pre-recession levels.

Graphic: Unpaid Interns Have Few Legal Rights (Bloomberg Businessweek)

In this flowchart, Josh Eidelson lays out the scant legal protections afforded interns throughout the country, with details about relevant court cases and state-by-state variations.

Yellen Resolved to Avoid Raising Rates Too Soon, Fearing Downturn (Reuters)

Howard Schneider and Jonathan Spicer report that Federal Reserve insiders say Janet Yellen is showing extreme caution on raising interest rates, because inflation is easier to fight than recessions.

Another Argument Against the Medicaid Expansion Just Got Weaker (WaPo)

Jason Millman looks at the history of Medicaid funding, and finds that states don't really have to worry about the federal government backing out of its share of expansion funding.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Fellow Andrea Flynn ties refusal to expand Medicaid to the U.S.'s high and increasing maternal mortality rate.

The Jobs Added In Today’s Economy Pay A Quarter Less Than The Ones We Lost In The Recession (ThinkProgress)

Bryce Covert looks at a new report from the U.S. Council of Mayors, which shows that the jobs added since the recession pay less largely due to the sectors in which jobs were lost and regained.

Labor and Small Businesses Team up on California Franchising Law (MSNBC)

The proposed law would make it harder to terminate franchise agreements. Ned Resnikoff says labor groups hope franchisees will treat workers better with less franchisor influence and interference.

New on Next New Deal

The Inconvenient Truth About Ineqality

In his video speculation for the Next American Economy project, Lenny Mendonca says a "vested set of interests" will keep the issues raised in Piketty's Capital out of real policy debates.

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Daily Digest - August 12: What Happens When the Workers Become the Owners?

Aug 12, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Is Worker Ownership a Way Forward for Market Basket? (Truthout)

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Is Worker Ownership a Way Forward for Market Basket? (Truthout)

Gar Alperovitz says the current protests at Market Basket are a sign of the desire for community and worker-friendly businesses, which he suggests are easier to achieve with employee ownership.

Surprise! North Carolina Cuts to Jobless Benefits Did Not Help Workers (TAP)

Valerie Wilson lays out the data, which shows that cutting the duration and amount of unemployment benefits did not magically improve the job market in North Carolina.

New York Prosecutors Charge Payday Lenders With Usury (NYT)

State prosecutors charged a group of lenders incorporated across the country with shared (and obscured) ownership of charging illegal interest rates to New Yorkers, reports Jessica Silver-Greenberg.

Give the President (and Yourself) a Break (U.S. News & World Report)

Instead of griping about the President's vacation, lawmakers should work to ensure that all Americans get paid vacation time and are able to use it, writes Pat Garofalo.

Unions Team Up With Fast-Food Owners (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Patrick Clark looks at the uneasy alliance between fast food franchisees and labor unions as they push for fairer franchising laws in California, which unions hope would translate into better working conditions.

It Matters How Rich the Rich Are (Policy Shop)

Matt Bruenig says that we must know how rich the rich are in order to fight poverty, since the distribution of wealth creates poverty. He also asks how we would know if policy is working without that data.

How Student Debt Crushes Your Chances of Buying a Home (WaPo)

Dina ElBoghdady looks at a new study that lays out the complex ways student debt interacts with homeownership, including a close look at total amount of debt and size of payments.

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Sarah Burd-Sharps: Without Public Investment, the U.S. Will Fall Into Chaos

Aug 8, 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, Measure of America's Sarah Burd-Sharps looks at the sweeping consequences of the government's failure to invest in the future.

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, Measure of America's Sarah Burd-Sharps looks at the sweeping consequences of the government's failure to invest in the future.

Sarah Burd-Sharps, Co-Director of Measure of America, speculates on the consequences of declining public investment in infrastructure, regulation, education, and more. With government abdicating its basic responsibilities, the U.S. will face increasing chaos -- collapsing bridges, food contamination outbreaks, falling elevators, and unemployed teenagers. Burd-Sharps imagines a moderate political wing moved to act by the rising economic costs of under-investment.

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Dane Stangler: Changing Demographics and Funding Strategies Will Expand Entrepreneurship

Aug 6, 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, Dane Stangler of the Kauffman Foundation predicts that the entrepreneur class will become more diverse as a younger population makes use of new funding platforms.

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, Dane Stangler of the Kauffman Foundation predicts that the entrepreneur class will become more diverse as a younger population makes use of new funding platforms.

By 2040, demographic trends will drive a flourishing of new kinds of entrepreneurial activities, speculated Dane Stangler, Vice President of Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation. We will see a bulge in the 20-40 age demographic -- the key entrepreneurial age. But most importantly, new platforms -- like crowd-funding and re-localized production -- will allow for the diversification of entrepreneurship. For the first time, this will allow Americans from a wide range of backgrounds to build new businesses.  

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Daily Digest - August 4: The Underappreciated Success of Financial Reform

Aug 4, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Obama’s Other Success (NYT)

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Obama’s Other Success (NYT)

Dodd-Frank financial reform is proving more successful than expected, writes Paul Krugman. He cites Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal in debunking the claim that the law created permanent bailouts.

The NFL Cheerleaders Should Be Your Fair-Pay Heroes (TNR)

Bryce Covert looks at what's needed to achieve wage growth in today's economy. She talks to Mike Konczal, who suggests that the Fed could help everyone's wages if it focused on unemployment.

Economy Adds 209,000 Jobs in July; Unemployment Rate Edges Up to 6.2 Percent (WaPo)

Ylan Q. Mui breaks down Friday's jobs report, which was generally positive but showed that underemployment (part-timers who want more hours) and long-term unemployment haven't budged.

Relying on Online Listings, Young Americans Struggle to Find Jobs (The Guardian)

Today's system of online job applications isn't making the search any easier, writes Jana Kasperkevic, as job-seekers find that their applications seem to disappear into black holes.

Work and Worth (Robert Reich)

Robert Reich emphasizes the difference between pay and value to society, given that kindergarten teachers and social workers make far less than hedge fund managers.

New on Next New Deal

The Worker-Owned Small Business Revolution

In his video speculation for the Next American Economy project, Gar Alperovitz predicts that as MBAs realize that worker-owned companies achieve higher productivity, the model will grow.

Thinking About the Women in Think Tanks

Bringing more women into the upper echelons of policy work will require engaging younger women in this work, writes Roosevelt Institute Summer Academy Fellow Hannah Zhang.

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Daily Digest - July 31: The IRS Can't Follow the Money When It Has None of Its Own

Jul 31, 2014

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IRS Failing to Regulate Dark-Money Political Spending (Real News Network)

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IRS Failing to Regulate Dark-Money Political Spending (Real News Network)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Thomas Ferguson explains how reduced funding for the IRS is preventing the agency from properly determining what groups need to report political spending.

3 Reasons Subsidized Jobs Should Be Part of an Economic Mobility Agenda (CAP)

Rachel West says that subsidized job programs are effective at bringing people who have been left out into the labor force, even in non-recessionary times.

It’s a Reasonable Goal: Wages That Pay the Bills (Boston Globe)

Steven Syre questions why public support is so much higher for groups fighting to maintain their hard-won living wages than it is for fast food workers seeking the same level of stability.

Obama Plans New Scrutiny for Contractors on Labor Practices (NYT)

A new executive order will require federal contractors to disclose any labor violations from the past three years, and give preference to cleaner records, report Steven Greenhouse and Michael D. Shear.

Why the House of Representatives Just Voted to Sue President Obama (Vox)

Neither legislative body has ever sued the President for failing to enforce the law, explains Andrew Prokop, so this has broad implications for who controls how policy is implemented.

New on Next New Deal

Leadership Wanted: The College Access Crisis Needs You, Mayor de Blasio

Kevin Stump, Leadership Director for the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network, says that Mayor de Blasio must invest in programs that increase college access alongside those that help at-risk students.

In the Artisanal Economy, Work Is What You Make of It

In his speculation for the Next American Economy project, Harvard economics professor Lawrence Katz suggests that an economy of craftsmanship could create higher wages out of low-end work.

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Lawrence Katz: In the Artisanal Economy, Work Is What You Make of It

Jul 31, 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, Lawrence Katz imagines a future "artisanal economy" in which crafty workers carve out their own niches.

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, Lawrence Katz imagines a future "artisanal economy" in which crafty workers carve out their own niches.

Lawrence Katz, the Harvard economics professor known for his book The Race Between Education and Technology, speculates on the flourishing of an artisanal economy. He imagines a potential rebirth of craftsmanship in which education and training allow workers to transform low-wage work into high-paid business. 

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Roosevelt Reacts: NLRB Holds McDonald's Accountable for Labor Violations

Jul 30, 2014
Yesterday, the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board ruled that McDonald's is a joint employer for the workers at its franchises, meaning that the corporation could be held liable for any labor and wage violations that occur at its individual restaurants.

The decision, says Roosevelt Institute President and CEO Felicia Wong...

Yesterday, the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board ruled that McDonald's is a joint employer for the workers at its franchises, meaning that the corporation could be held liable for any labor and wage violations that occur at its individual restaurants.

The decision, says Roosevelt Institute President and CEO Felicia Wong, "rightly recognizes that, in today's changing and more fragmented workplace, workers still need the support and protections afforded by the law. Fast food workers are fighting for a wage that will allow them to care for their families and act as strong community members. This is an essential foundation for economic growth that benefits us all."

Adds Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch, "The common sense ruling that McDonald's is as much one company in the way it treats its workers as it is when it makes a Big Mac is a major step toward holding the biggest corporations in the country accountable for creating jobs that boost the economy instead of busting it."

Read more about what the Future of Work Initiative is doing to promote policies that empower American workers and secure prosperity for all.

Image via Shutterstock

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Frank Levy: Through Innovation, People Will Live Longer and Earn Less

Jul 30, 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, economist Frank Levy foretells tech and health care trends resulting in longer lifespans and lower earning potential.

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, economist Frank Levy foretells tech and health care trends resulting in longer lifespans and lower earning potential.

MIT professor Frank Levy speculates that in the next 25 years, health innovation will improve life spans while tech innovation reduces earning potential for many Americans, resulting in longer lives but no additional income. Add in the increasingly destructive consequences of climate change, and the middle class dream will become further and further out of reach. Triggered by resentment and fear, a new anti-technology movement will rise up with a bumper sticker slogan: "Another Luddite for Jobs."

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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.

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