Courageous Boeing Workers Say No to Corporate Extortion

Nov 18, 2013Richard Kirsch

By rejecting a contract that amounted to corporate extortion, the Machinists Local 751 at Boeing have taken a stand for middle-class workers all over the country.

In a remarkable act of courage and solidarity with the next generation, last week Boeing workers in Seattle soundly rejected corporate extortion, by voting down a contract which traded job guarantees for concessions that would severely erode the pay and benefits of younger workers. In doing so, the members of the Machinists are risking their jobs to save an America built on the middle class.

By rejecting a contract that amounted to corporate extortion, the Machinists Local 751 at Boeing have taken a stand for middle-class workers all over the country.

In a remarkable act of courage and solidarity with the next generation, last week Boeing workers in Seattle soundly rejected corporate extortion, by voting down a contract which traded job guarantees for concessions that would severely erode the pay and benefits of younger workers. In doing so, the members of the Machinists are risking their jobs to save an America built on the middle class.

The dramatic fight of fast food workers for a minimal living wage, risking their jobs every time they take a day off to demonstrate, is one end of a corporate economy based on low wages, no benefits and no unions. That corporate strategy, aimed at maximizing profits, is destroying America’s middle class, wrecking the engine that powered the U.S. economy.

On the other end of the middle class are workers like Boeing’s, who have fought together through their union for the good pay, pensions, health benefits and job security that characterized the increased prosperity and lowered income inequality of America in much of the second half of the 20th Century. But despite being a hugely profitable corporation, with dominance in the world aerospace market, Boeing is eager to follow the Wal-Mart/fast-food model of the 21st Century economy.

Boeing is the aerospace and defense industry’s largest company, with its highest profits. In 2012 just the increase in Boeing revenues alone, $13 billion, would be equivalent to the 15th largest company in the industry. With a $319 billion backlog of orders  - about 3,700 planes – the company is set for years and is outpacing its only competition, Airbus. Last year, Boeing made $6.3 billion in profits and rewarded its CEO $27.5 million in compensation, a 20% hike from the previous year.

Historically, Boeing’s Seattle workforce has shared in that wealth. With a 100-year history in the Puget Sound region, Boeing is still the area’s largest employer, its 70,000 employees dwarfing the 40,000 who work for Microsoft. Boeing workers are anchors of Seattle communities, both economically and civically.  And with good schools and colleges, transportation, and stable communities, the Seattle area has provided key public structures that have enabled Boeing to prosper. 

But none of that matters – the high profits, the educated workers, the civic history – to a modern corporation that is driven only to maximize profits for its shareholders and pay for its top executives. Boeing moved its headquarters to Chicago in 2001 and decided to build its new 787 Dreamliner in South Carolina, with the first planes rolling out in 2012, assembled by 6,000 workers who earn $15 per hour, almost 50% less than what Washington assembly line workers earn.

Early this month, Boeing tried to blackmail both its union members and Washington state. Declaring that it would consider moving assembly of a new line of 777X planes out of state, the corporation asked for mammoth tax incentives and huge concessions on wages and benefits. The Governor and State Legislature caved immediately, passing the largest development tax break for a company in American history, $8.7 billion over 16 years, in a special weekend session. The leadership of Machinists Local 751 also wavered, agreeing to put the contract up for a membership vote, over the objections of most of the union’s management council.

But then a remarkable thing happened, in an age in which Americans, scared that they will lose what they have left, seem resigned to shrinking pay and disappearing benefits.  A grassroots swell of membership opposition to the contract rose up, leading to 67% of the member rejecting the contract. The members did so with their eyes wide open, understanding that Boeing might not be bluffing and despite the fact that Boeing combined bribery with their extortion; the contract would have provided a $10,000 signing bonus to each worker. So why did they show such resolve?

In making their case, the members who organized against the contract focused on the fact that they would be giving up “hard fought contract negotiations and strikes by generations of Fighting Machinists that came before us. ” They warned, “Boeing is hoping you will deny the next generation many of the benefits we have today.”

While the proposed contract came with skimpy pay increases and benefit cut-backs for all workers, younger Boeing workers and new hires would have been hit the hardest. Instead of a steady progression to higher wage rates as workers stayed with the company and acquired new skills – which is what Boeing contracts have guaranteed for years – under the proposed contract, recent hires and new hires would be locked into low pay, with glacial increases. The contract would have frozen current pensions and replaced future pensions with a 401K, the defined-contribution accounts that have no guaranteed pay-out and are subject to market risk. Boeing would have been allowed to transfer money from the over-funded workers’ pension fund to the under-funded executive retirement fund.

Angered at the company’s “corporate threats and intimidation,” the members declared, “The one thing Boeing can’t take away is our solidarity.”

Unlike Boeing, which has no allegiance to anything but the bottom line, the workers care about their community. As the 751voteno.com website stated, “We must be prepared for a decision they [Boeing] may make and understand that if they take the work elsewhere, they are responsible for that decision. We just could not destroy ourselves in order to keep the company from making a decision that destroys union and non-union workers alike, our communities and the investors.”

That statement reminds me of a memorable insight I received in the first lecture of a finance class at the University of Chicago School of Business, delivered by Robert Hamada, a future dean of the School. Hamada pointed out that in the class we would be learning how a firm calculates return on investment (ROI), but that there was no reason that the calculations needed to be applied to ROI for shareholders. The same methods could be used to maximize ROI for workers, the community or society at large.

As a society, we do not have to accept that the mammoth entities that control so much of our economy should operate just to benefit their shareholders. We can require that corporate decision making take into account its impact on its workers, our communities and the broader economy.

That is what unions have done historically and still do at companies like Boeing, which pay high union wages, and in countries that support high rates of unionization.  To give workers a say in decision making, German corporations are required to have works councils, which have union members sharing in decisions – which the UAW is now trying to win in a Volkswagon plant in Tennessee –  and union representatives have the right to sit on corporate boards of directors. 

Two years ago there was a huge uproar from conservatives when the National Labor Relations Board accused Boeing of moving to South Carolina in 2009 because of anti-union bias, which is prohibited under the National Labor Relations Act. The Board was roundly attacked for second guessing a corporate decision on where to locate jobs. But the Board’s action was based on a Boeing memo, which admitted “the only consistent advantage attributed to Charleston was the ability to ‘leverage’ the site placement decision toward ‘rebalancing an unbalanced and uncompetitive labor relationship.’” The Board dropped the case after the union and company agreed to a new labor contract, the very one that Boeing now wants to replace with the concessions that the union’s members just rejected.

Part of the controversy around the Board’s decision was its novelty; cases are rare because it is difficult to prove that a company made relocation decisions based on anti-union bias. If we are going to reign in corporate destruction of wages and communities, we should instead imagine a labor law in which corporations are not able to expand into non-unionized facilities and make long-term investment decisions at the expense of jobs at already unionized facilities. These and other changes aimed at giving workers a powerful role in corporate governance are needed to balance the grip that corporate America now has on our economy and democracy.

We will find out in the next year whether Boeing is bluffing or serious. Production problems at the South Carolina plant give the union some hope that Boeing might return to the bargaining table, although only after looking to see what they can extort in concessions for anti-union states.

But regardless of where Boeing builds the 777X, the fight for an America in which hugely profitable corporations – whether it be Wal-Mart, McDonald’s or Boeing – share their wealth with their workers and their communities is just heating up. The bold vote by Boeing workers, like the wave of fast food strikes, are encouraging signs of a new movement of workers, supported by our communities, to build an America that again promises broadly based prosperity. 

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.

 

Boeing airplane landing image via Shutterstock.com

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Daily Digest - November 18: Some Audits Have Bad Intentions

Nov 18, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Here’s What’s Wrong With Rand Paul’s ‘Audit the Fed’ Bill (WaPo)

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

Here’s What’s Wrong With Rand Paul’s ‘Audit the Fed’ Bill (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal argues that the Federal Reserve Transparency Act may sound like a nice idea, but it's really just those opposed to the Fed creating another chance to question it. Reforming the Fed shouldn't come from opposition.

Over 50 and Out of Work: Program Seeks to Help Long-Term Unemployed (NBC News)

Roosevelt Institute | Pipeline Fellow Nona Willis Aronowitz looks at Platform to Employment, a program in Bridgeport, CT that works with the the long-term unemployed. The program's founder points out that his work exists because Washington isn't doing enough.

Caught in a Revolving Door of Unemployment (NYT)

Annie Lowrey looks at the effects of long-term joblessness, which quickly becomes an impediment of its own in the job search. One of Lowrey's subjects was told directly that the company didn't hire the unemployed, and studies confirm that bias.

Regulations Are Killed, and Kids Die (The Nation)

Mariya Strauss reports on the tragic consequences of the Labor Department's withdrawal of regulations that would have limited child workers in agriculture. The child labor protections were killed by pressure from the agricultural lobbies.

Labor Secretary: Raising Minimum Wage is ‘job one’ (MSNBC)

Ned Resnikoff reports that Labor Secretary Thomas Perez supports legislation that would raise the minimum wage and tie future hikes to the Consumer Price Index. White House support follows a wave of popular support demonstrated in this month's elections.

Why No Bankers Go to Jail (Bloomberg View)

Paula Dwyer explains one federal judge's theories on why prosecutors are charging the banks rather than executives with criminal wrongdoing. One theory focuses on the difficult and time-consuming nature of financial fraud investigations, which can take years.

JPMorgan's Twitter Mistake (The New Yorker)

Emily Greenhouse looks at last week's Twitter snafu by JPMorgan Chase, in which the company invited public questions and got piles of criticism. #AskJPM became proof that the bank doesn't understand their standing in the power structures of social media.

 

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What Are Three Steps to Solve the Jobs Emergency?

Oct 24, 2013

In a new installment of the Roosevelt Institute's "What's the Deal?" series, Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative Jeff Madrick explains three steps the government could take to address the jobs emergency.

In a new installment of the Roosevelt Institute's "What's the Deal?" series, Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative Jeff Madrick explains three steps the government could take to address the jobs emergency.

For more about the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative, visit rediscoveringgovernment.org.

Learn more about "What's the Deal?" by watching our teaser:

rooseveltinstitute.org/videos/sneak-peek-whats-deal

Send us topic ideas, suggestions, and questions by using #RIExplains.

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Daily Digest - October 24: Campaign Finance Meets PRISM

Oct 24, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Who Buys the Spies? The Hidden Corporate Cash Behind America’s Out-of-Control National Surveillance State (Next New Deal)

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Who Buys the Spies? The Hidden Corporate Cash Behind America’s Out-of-Control National Surveillance State (Next New Deal)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Tom Ferguson, Paul Jorgensen, and Jie Chen write about the connection between the surveillance state and campaign finance that they found in their recent study of campaign contributions in 2012.

  • Roosevelt Take: Read the working paper from their study, "Party Competition and Industrial Structure in the 2012 Elections," here.

Low-Wage Workers are Fighting for More Than Just Money (AJAM)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal argues that wage theft, scheduling, and a lack of time and resources to challenge mistreatment are just as important as money to low-wage workers who are organizing. Those things all add up to serious limits on economic mobility.

Defying Koch Cash and D.C. Gridlock, Airport Town Will Vote on a $15 Minimum Wage (Salon)

Josh Eidelson reports that in SeaTac, Washington, residents will soon vote on whether or not to raise their minimum wage far above any other in the country. He thinks that they've got a pretty good shot at success.

One-Third of Americans See a Lifetime of Work (MSNBC)

Emma Margolin reports on a study conducted by Wells Fargo, which found that 37 percent of Americans anticipate working until they physically cannot. When the bills are too high to save for retirement too, working until death seems like the only option.

The Millennials' Failure to Launch: Searching the Jobs Report for Answers (The Guardian)

Jana Kasperkevic uses the September jobs report to figure out why Millennials are falling so far behind in this economy. The unstable economy is putting young people behind schedule, and it could effect the stability of their careers far down the road.

The Biggest Economy Killer: Our Government (NYT)

Steven Rattner argues that the continuing dysfunction in Washington is causing the most harm to our economy. The shutdown only lasted sixteen days, but seemingly permanent gridlock is something else entirely.

New on Next New Deal

Larry Klein's Lesson for the Single-Minded Economists Who Rejected Keynes

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative Jeff Madrick considers the work of the late Nobel laureate Larry Klein, and echoes his frustration with government policy that ignores fiscal stimulus.

What Kind of Problem is the ACA Rollout for Liberalism?

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal argues that Healthcare.gov's problems are based in neoliberal ideas, heavily focused on private provisioning and means testing. These are pretty conservative ideas, and these difficulties could make New Deal-style liberalism more appealing.

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Daily Digest - October 23: Jobs Report Wasn't Worth the Wait

Oct 23, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Weak Job Gains May Cause Delay in Action by Fed (NYT)

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

Weak Job Gains May Cause Delay in Action by Fed (NYT)

Catherine Rampell reports on the September jobs report, released more then two weeks behind schedule thanks to the shutdown. The September numbers are weak, and the rest of the year's jobs reports will be impacted by the whiplash of shutdown.

The Jobs Report was Totally Blech. And it May Get Worse. (WaPo)

Neil Irwin considers what conclusions should be drawn from the September jobs report. His top two are that the Fed's decision to maintain quantitative easing looks better and better, and that sequestration is probably to blame for weak growth.

Wall Street’s Government Disconnect (The Daily Beast)

Daniel Gross asks why Wall Street reacts so frantically to every suggestion of federal or state government default, when such a thing has never happened. Only municipalities have defaulted, so why did so many companies shed bonds that were due in October?

Don’t Blame Health Law for High Part-Time Employment (WSJ)

Ben Casselman says that for all that anti-Obamacare politicians try to connect the law to rises in part-time employment, the data just isn't there. Over the past year, when the employer mandate was still expected for 2014, part-time work has stayed flat.

There Is No Evidence That Obamacare Will Make Poor Americans Less Likely to Work (The Atlantic)

Matthew O'Brien argues that Oregon's 2008 Medicaid expansion, which offered slots in the program by lottery, offers proof that obtaining health insurance won't cause people to stop working. That isn't surprising: healthcare doesn't buy groceries.

Sara Ziff’s Underage-Model Bill Gets Signed Into Law (NY Mag)

Charlotte Cowles celebrates the new law that gives underage models the protections that other child performers in New York have had for years, like education requirements. The law will be in effect before the next New York Fashion Week.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren wrote about Sarah Ziff and the Model Alliance when they first began their labor organizing efforts.

CHART: Welfare Reform Is Leaving More In Deep Poverty (MoJo)

Stephanie Mencimer looks at a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report on TANF, which finds that monthly cash benefits have steadily lost value since 1996's welfare reform. That's happened alongside an 130% increase in families with children living in extreme poverty.

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The Digital Divide is Holding Young New Yorkers Back

Sep 18, 2013Nell Abernathy

New York City public school students in lower-income neighborhoods suffer from very slow Internet speeds. Our next mayor can help.

It's clear that the Internet is a vitally important resource for education, innovation, and opportunity. And we know that 21st century kids need it to write papers, apply to colleges, and find jobs (not just to watch videos of kittens playing with string).

New York City public school students in lower-income neighborhoods suffer from very slow Internet speeds. Our next mayor can help.

It's clear that the Internet is a vitally important resource for education, innovation, and opportunity. And we know that 21st century kids need it to write papers, apply to colleges, and find jobs (not just to watch videos of kittens playing with string).

Sadly, young New Yorkers have unequal access to the Internet. 75 percent of the city's public schools have Internet speeds of 10 Mbps or slower. When shared with a large number of users, these speeds preclude heavy research downloads, e-reader usage, and educational video-streaming resources. They are also 100 times slower than the target President Obama set for 2020 in the National Broadband Plan.

The red dots in the following graph show that about 18 percent of New York City public schools have networks even slower than 10 Mbps (218 with Internet speeds of 1.5 Mbps or less, and three with 5 Mbps speed). The graph is courtesy of an August report commissioned by Manhattan Bourough President and Comptroller Candidate Scott Stringer.

Unsurprisingly, the public schools with the slowest Internet speeds tend to be in the lowest-income neighborhoods, like the South Bronx and Northeastern Brooklyn, and those with faster speeds tend to be in median- and high-income neighborhoods in Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford was quoted in the Stringer report, reminding us that "[t]ruly high speed wired Internet access is as basic to innovation, economic growth, social communication, and the country’s competitiveness as electricity was a century ago.”

For a city at the center of our country's innovation, economic growth, and social communication, inferior Internet speeds at New York's low-income public schools are a clear example of the inequality problem. Luckily, we have clear models for solving this particular public policy challenge. D.C., for example, has invested in delivering an affordable broadband network to 250 public institutions, like libraries, schools, and community centers. Kansas City, in partnership with Google, is offering every household access to 1 GB (1,000 Mbps) fiber networks at subsized rates. What will our next mayor do?

Nell Abernathy is the Program Manager for the Roosevelt Institute's Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative.

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Why Workers Would Do Better with Janet Yellen as Fed Chair

Sep 17, 2013Jeff Madrick

Wall Street has responded well to Summers's withdrawal, but Main Street would also be better off without an inflation hawk leading the Federal Reserve.

Wall Street has responded well to Summers's withdrawal, but Main Street would also be better off without an inflation hawk leading the Federal Reserve.

The stock and bond markets should not be the only ones rejoicing at Larry Summers’s withdrawal from consideration to run the Federal Reserve. The nation’s workers should, too. Janet Yellen, the remaining frontrunner for the position, is no wimp on inflation. But she is the kind of economist America badly needs, one who cares about wages and employment at least as much as about appeasing bond traders. She also doesn’t think higher wages or a bit higher inflation will undo America. She is old enough to remember a pre-Clinton and pre-Reagan world. 

Right now, that means she would leave monetary policy loose far longer than Summers would have. The job market is much too weak; many people are unemployed or have left the work force, and wages are not growing. Without fiscal help from Congress, the Fed is the only protector of growth and employment around.

The Clinton boom covered up Summers’s true conservative ideological bent. He’s a tough inflation fighter underneath it all. The main policy objective of the Clinton Treasury was to focus on the budget deficit. They successfully got a tax increase passed, for which they deserve kudos. But then they restrained social spending. They did at least expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, but they neglected public investment badly, and the flaws of welfare reform are now showing. They assiduously paid down debt instead of investing, even as tax revenues poured in.

It seemed to work. Inequality stabilized, wages rose, GDP soared. But a lot of the boom depended on the high-tech stock bubble—the famed wealth effect, inducing consumers to buy because they thought they were wealthy. The increase in tax revenues was temporarily stoked by capital gains taxes on stocks. Stocks were stoked by malfeasance amid deceptive sales practices.

Would wages have continued to rise rapidly under Clintonomics? Not likely. The stock market collapse, let’s remember, occurred under Clinton. The recession George W. Bush had to cope with in his first term was a Clinton recession.

At bottom, Summers is basically an inflation targeter, converted by the double-digit inflation and higher federal deficits of the 1970s like so many of his Democratic colleagues. This defined Clintonomics. He’d rather have more unemployment than a little more inflation, which of course could spook the markets.

And frankly, Obama is a Clintonite on the deficit and inflation as well. More than anything else, this is why he wanted Summers. He wanted a Clintonite to run the Fed and sit astride inflation. With Summers by his side, he announced he would form a budget balancing commission even before he took office in 2009. His stimulus worked to stanch the Great Recession, but he hardly ever boasted about it and never came back to Congress for another one. He turned his attention to deficit fighting.

Here is a key paragraph from a Yellen speech earlier this year. It sets her apart from Summers, I think.

I believe the policy steps we have taken recently are in accord with this balanced approach. With employment so far from its maximum level and with inflation currently running, and expected to continue to run, at or below the Committee's 2 percent longer-term objective, it is entirely appropriate for progress in attaining maximum employment to take center stage in determining the Committee's policy stance.

Yellen predates Clintonomics. She can remember a time when you could get rapid wage growth, modest inflation, and a well-regulated financial sector at the same time. Summers got on famously with Greenspan. Yellen had her disagreements.

My guess is she’d tighten policy before many progressives think she should anyway, including this writer. She will worry about new speculative bubbles, which Summers and Greenspan did not. She is a mainstream economist, but a thoughtful and compassionate one.

Yellen would also reject the argument that unemployment is basically structural. Some say we have lots of jobs that American’s don’t have the skills for. She had it researched and found, as did others, that there were no increases in demand for workers or resulting increases in wages in the sectors of the economy where workers were supposed to be scarce. So unemployment is cyclical, not structural. We don’t know what Summers believes about structural unemployment, but he almost surely believes the rate cannot fall as far as Yellen thinks. 

Yellen is not part of the old boy network, so Obama may still not appoint her. She is not a backslapper. She’s likely to be more impressed by economists who do very good scholarship than by hedge fund managers.

She is quiet woman. She is personally low-key, which disguises firm, well-developed opinions. But she’s battled before at the Fed, so she’s not afraid of a fight.

Workers should rejoice. Wages may go up handsomely again under her reign. The unemployment rate could fall below 6 percent, where it belongs. That is, if Obama has the stuff to give a pre-Clintonite who seems to dislike Washington networking the job. 

It would be a return to an older Democratic tradition and be damned good for America.

Jeff Madrick is a Senior Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative.

 

Federal Reserve image via Shutterstock.com

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Why New York is Home to So Many of the Working Poor, in Graphs

Sep 16, 2013Nell Abernathy

The Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative is trying to understand how New York got so unequal. And we're looking for solutions.

The Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative is trying to understand how New York got so unequal. And we're looking for solutions.

So what is behind this big shift toward income inequality in New York? Income trends in the city represent an amplified version of our national problems: low-wage jobs without benefits are replacing middle-wage jobs that could support families. Nationwide, middle-wage jobs constituted 60 percent of the jobs lost during the Great Recession and only 22 percent of those regained during recovery, according to analysis from Roosevelt Institute’s Annette Bernhardt at NELP. Meanwhile, low-wage jobs made up only 21 percent of recession job losses and 58 percent of jobs gained since.

The national trend started well before the Great Recession.

And in New York, it’s been the same, but worse. A 2012 report from the Federal Reserve found that middle-income jobs comprised 67 percent of employment in downstate New York in the 1980s, but by 2010, that number fell to 55.8 percent.

Top that off with the fact that for the last decade, wages have risen for the top 5 percent and stagnated or fallen for middle- and low-income workers, and you begin to see the currents driving our inequality crisis.

Why is this happening? Technology? Wall Street? Policy? Education?

We’ll explore those questions and potential solutions at our upcoming panel, "Inequality in New York: The Next Mayor’s Challenge."

Nell Abernathy is the Program Manager for the Roosevelt Institute's Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative.

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Three Graphs That Show Why Inequality Matters in the New York City Mayoral Race

Sep 11, 2013Nell Abernathy

The New York City primary results show that the issue of rising inequality is striking a chord with voters. Here's why.

The results are in and two (or three) candidates are one step closer to Gracie Mansion. What we know for certain is that along with winning international attention and prime seats at Yankee Stadium, New York’s next mayor will inherit a city that is more unequal in terms of income than any other major city in America.

The increasing polarization of wealth in New York has been a hot topic and served as the campaign centerpiece for one of yesterday’s big winners, Bill de Blasio. We are trying to resist pointing out that experts like our own Jeff Madrick were talking about this problem even before the drum circles of Zuccotti Park, but we’re happy that the city’s Sierra Leone-like inequality is at last making headlines.

Because we know that we can do better, and we hope our next mayor will at least try, the Roosevelt Institute’s Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative is taking a look back at some of the most compelling charts and graphs to surface on the long road to Election Day.

From James Parrott, at the Fiscal Policy Institute, who will be a panelist at our upcoming forum on inequality:

The top 1 percent are capturing a growing portion of the nation’s economy, and nowhere is that trend more pronounced than in New York.

The top 1 percent, in fact, pay less than their fair share of the tax burden:

Meanwhile, the poverty rate in New York City continues to rise: 

We will be back tomorrow with more infographics. To learn more about potential solutions to our growing wealth gap, join us for our panel discussion on Tuesday, September 24:

Inequality in New York: The Next Mayor’s Challenge

September 24, 2013

6:00 p.m. cocktail reception

6:30 – 8:00 p.m. panel discussion

Roosevelt House, Public Policy Institute at Hunter College

49 East 65th Street

New York, NY 10065

Nell Abernathy is the Program Manager for the Roosevelt Institute's Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative.

The New York City primary results show that the issue of rising inequality is striking a chord with voters. Here's why.

The results are in and two (or three) candidates are one step closer to Gracie Mansion. What we know for certain is that along with winning international attention and prime seats at Yankee Stadium, New York’s next mayor will inherit a city that is more unequal in terms of income than any other major city in America.

The increasing polarization of wealth in New York has been a hot topic and served as the campaign centerpiece for one of yesterday’s big winners, Bill de Blasio. We are trying to resist pointing out that experts like our own Jeff Madrick were talking about this problem even before the drum circles of Zuccotti Park, but we’re happy that the city’s Sierra Leone-like inequality is at last making headlines.

Because we know that we can do better, and we hope our next mayor will at least try, the Roosevelt Institute’s Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative is taking a look back at some of the most compelling charts and graphs to surface on the long road to Election Day.

From James Parrott, at the Fiscal Policy Institute, who will be a panelist at our upcoming forum on inequality:

The top 1 percent are capturing a growing portion of the nation’s economy, and nowhere is that trend more pronounced than in New York.

The top 1 percent, in fact, pay less than their fair share of the tax burden:

Meanwhile, the poverty rate in New York City continues to rise: 

We will be back tomorrow with more infographics. To learn more about potential solutions to our growing wealth gap, join us for our panel discussion on Tuesday, September 24:

Inequality in New York: The Next Mayor’s Challenge



September 24, 2013



6:00 p.m. cocktail reception



6:30 – 8:00 p.m. panel discussion



Roosevelt House, Public Policy Institute at Hunter College



49 East 65th Street



New York, NY 10065

Nell Abernathy is the Program Manager for the Roosevelt Institute's Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative.

 

New York City skyline image via Shutterstock.com

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Daily Digest - September 9: Economic Inequality and the Fed Chair

Sep 9, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email

Why Janet Yellen, Not Larry Summers, Should Lead the Fed (NYT)

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email

Why Janet Yellen, Not Larry Summers, Should Lead the Fed (NYT)

Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz argues that Summers's role in deregulation in the 1990s led to today's economic issues. He'd much prefer a Fed chair with proven judgement and expertise who didn't help to create the inequality we deal with now.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative Jeff Madrick and Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal agree with Stiglitiz's pick for Fed chair.

Why Keynes Wouldn’t Have Too Rosy a View of our Economic Future (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal breaks down Keynesian theory to explain why employment might not bounce back on its own. If that's the case, it would be nice to see policy that actually reflects the need to create jobs.

This Chart Shows The Real Problem With The August Jobs Report (Business Insider)

Josh Barro's big issue? The August jobs report is proof that the economy isn't actually improving as much as it was thought all summer. Job creation is stagnant at about 2 million new jobs per year, and the Fed seems to think that slow and steady is just right.

Did the White House’s Trial Balloon for Larry Summers Just Pop? (Quartz)

Tim Fernholz suggests that without the support of three liberal Democrats on the Senate banking committee, it may not matter if the President wants Summers for Fed chair. The administration would need to attempt the impossible: securing Republican votes.

A.F.L.-C.I.O. Has Plan to Add Millions of Nonunion Members (NYT)

Steven Greenhouse examines the A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s new plan to reinvigorate the labor movement. It's based on a simple question: if 49 percent of employees in a workplace vote for a union, why doesn't the union welcome that 49 percent?

Walmart Workers Plan 'Widespread, Massive Strikes and Protests' for Black Friday 2013 (The Nation)

Josh Eidelson reports on continued momentum in the OUR Walmart strikes as workers begin to think about retail's busiest day. Walmart still claims that none of their employees are actually involved in the strikes: apparently, it's all a union-backed stunt.

A Different Type of Poverty (U.S. News & World Report)

Happy Carlock interviews Sasha Abramsky about his new book, The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives. American poverty is about economic insecurity, and it's made worse, he says, by increasing inequality.

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