Daily Digest - January 28: What Tonight's Speech Will Have, and What It Needs

Jan 28, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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"Full Employment": The Two Words Obama Needs to Say Tonight (TNR)

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"Full Employment": The Two Words Obama Needs to Say Tonight (TNR)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal argues for the return of full employment as a concept that refers to government responsibility for greater prosperity. Including it in the State of the Union address would highlight the best way to deal with economic inequality today.

Time Warner Cable Sale Will Cost Us All (Bloomberg View)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford writes that if Charter Communications buys Time Warner Cable, the result will be decreased competition, increased profits, and higher prices for consumers, but no better product than before.

Obama to Raise Minimum Wage Under Federal Contractors (NYT)

Peter Baker reports that the president plans to sign an executive order requiring workers under federal contractors to be paid at least $10.10 per hour. Obama will highlight this order in tonight's State of the Union, which he used last year to call for a higher minimum wage for all.

Why Is the American Dream Dead in the South? (The Atlantic)

Matthew O'Brien considers the geography of the American Dream by looking at the differences in economic mobility across the country. Among the reasons he lists for these differences are segregation, social capital, and inequality.

The Liberal Case for a Basic Income (BINews)

Almaz Zelleke responds to Max Sawicky's guest post on Next New Deal, which presented a liberal case against a universal basic income. Zelleke argues that the universal and unconditional nature of a basic income marks its importance in the liberal project.

The People’s Bank (TAP)

Abby Rapoport looks at the history of the Bank of North Dakota, the state-run financial institution that helped keep the local economy afloat during the Great Recession. She also looks at proposals to start similar banks as other states try to learn from North Dakota.

GOP Offers Obamacare Replacement — and It’s a Mess (Salon)

Brian Beutler reports on the Republicans' first real plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Beutler suggests that the GOP plan, which is far more regressive and requires major cuts to Medicaid, ignores the shift from health insurance as a privilege to health insurance as a guarantee.

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Daily Digest - January 27: What Youth Can Do for Unions

Jan 27, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Occupy the Minimum Wage: Will Young People Restore the Strength of Unions? (The Guardian)

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Occupy the Minimum Wage: Will Young People Restore the Strength of Unions? (The Guardian)

Rose Hackman speaks to Roosevelt Institute Fellow Annette Bernhardt and Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network member David Meni about young people's growing involvement in the labor movement. Hackman says Millennial support of unions is grounded in slow wage growth and economic inequality.

No, Obamacare Isn’t a ‘Bailout’ for Insurers (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal suggests that the GOP should stop referring to the risk corridor funds in the Affordable Care Act, which are designed to share greater-than-expected losses, as bailouts, because they are preplanned subsidies, neither reactionary nor arbitrary.

Why Paid Sick Leave Is Good For Business (In These Times)

David Sirota writes that political demagoguery around paid sick leave, which generally claims that the cost increase from paid leave will lead to fewer jobs, is just wrong. Studies now show that paid sick leave has a positive macroeconomic effect by lowering turnover and the spread of disease.

In DC, Inequality Hits Home (MSNBC)

Suzy Khimm contrasts the discussions of inequality in the Capitol and the lived experiences of some of DC's unemployed residents. Workers without college degrees are having a particularly hard time in DC, with an unemployment rate more than four times that of their degreed peers.

"Our Food Is Dishonestly Priced": Michael Pollan on the Food Movement's Next Goal of Justice for Food Workers (Truthout)

Amy B. Dean interviews Michael Pollan, who says that the food movement, which is typically seen as elitist, needs to fight for a living wage for the low-wage workers at all levels of the food supply chain. Pollan references the Coalition of Immokalee Workers as a successful model.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch interviewed three leaders of the CIW prior to the 2013 Four Freedoms Awards, where the Roosevelt Institute honored the Coalition with the Freedom From Want medal.

Proposal to Raise Tip Wages Resisted (NYT)

Steven Greenhouse reports on industry opposition to raising the tipped minimum wage, which has remained at $2.13 for almost 20 years. The restaurant staff he speaks to describe the struggles of living off fluctuating pay from tips and an almost meaningless hourly wage.

New on Next New Deal

41 Years After Roe, Women's Rights Are Still at Risk

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Andrea Flynn writes about conservatives' continued battle to eliminate women's right to choose. With last week's anniversary of Roe v. Wade, she also looks at what the pro-choice movement is doing to fight back, and urges it to expand those efforts.

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Daily Digest - January 23: Net Neutrality is Not Dead Yet

Jan 23, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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There Is Still Hope For Net Neutrality, Telecommunications Policy Expert Says (The Kathleen Dunn Show)

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There Is Still Hope For Net Neutrality, Telecommunications Policy Expert Says (The Kathleen Dunn Show)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford says that in order to save net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission needs political cover from advocacy groups that support reclassifying the Internet as a traditional telecommunications service.

States Cutting Weeks of Aid to the Jobless (NYT)

Annie Lowrey reports on the effects of extensive cuts to unemployment insurance in North Carolina, where benefits have been limited to 20 weeks since July. The state has seen a significant drop in the unemployment rate, but that comes with a drop in labor force participation.

Raising the Minimum is the Bare Minimum (TAP)

Harold Meyerson argues that raising the minimum wage won't do enough to reverse the stagnation of wages for 90 percent of workers. That would only be the first step in reversing the redistribution of wealth from labor to capital and the growing problem of inequality.

Millions Of People Are Quitting Their Jobs Every Month. That's Good News. (NPR)

Quoctrung Bui praises the slowly-rising quit rate as a sign of economic recovery, because people don't quit if they don't have another job or feel they can get one. He points out that incoming Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen has noted the importance of this statistic as well.

“Everything Amazon did had the underlying tone of fear” (Salon)

Josh Eidelson takes an inside look at the failed attempt to unionize machinists at an Amazon warehouse in Delaware. He discusses the campaign with the union's spokesperson, who claims that Amazon intimidated workers and made them fear for their jobs.

What If We Just Got Rid of All the Money in Political Campaigns? (Pacific Standard)

Seth Masket considers this question using data on state-level public campaign financing systems, which offer incentives for candidates to forgo private fundraising. One of the biggest upsides is that candidates can spend more time with all voters, not just funders.

New on Next New Deal

The Right Takes Aim at Public Sector Unions in a New Supreme Court Case

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch writes that Harris v. Quinn is part of a larger effort by the right to undermine progressive power bases. The case challenges public sector unions' ability to collect dues, without which the unions can't do much to support workers.

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Daily Digest - January 17: Less Aid Won't Lead to Less Inequality

Jan 17, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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People Worried About Income Inequality (The Kudlow Report)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal explains that while it's true that income inequality isn't quite as bad if you account for programs that provide low-wage income support, the GOP's plans to reduce that support and lower taxes will make the problem worse.

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People Worried About Income Inequality (The Kudlow Report)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal explains that while it's true that income inequality isn't quite as bad if you account for programs that provide low-wage income support, the GOP's plans to reduce that support and lower taxes will make the problem worse.

Advocates for Workers Raise the Ire of Business (NYT)

Steven Greenhouse writes about how businesses are reacting to the rise of worker centers as an alternative model for labor organizing. He quotes Greg Asbed from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, who decries businesses' attacks on these centers as "McCarthy-era tactics."

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch interviewed Greg Asbed and two of his fellow organizers prior to the 2013 Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Awards, where the Roosevelt Institute awarded the CIW the Freedom from Want Medal.

How Walmart Organizers Turned the Internet Into a Shop Floor (In These Times)

Sarah Jaffe looks at the innovative ways that OUR Walmart has used social media to organize discussions, build leaders, and support protests. She writes that these online spaces are valuable ways for organizers to reach workers and activists alike.

Mayor, Speaker Reach Deal on Paid Sick Leave (Capital New York)

Sally Goldenberg reports that New York City's top elected officials have reached an agreement to expand the city's paid sick leave law, which currently only applies to companies with at least 20 workers. Lowering that threshold will give more workers access to paid sick leave.

Obama Weighing Executive Action on Minimum Wage? (WaPo)

Greg Sargent writes that according to Senator Bernie Sanders, the White House is seriously considering raising the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors. Unlike raising the federal minimum wage, this could be accomplished with an executive order.

All the Jobs Growth Last Month Went to Women. (And That's Not Necessarily Good News for Them.) (TNR)

Emma Roller considers some of the problems with current job growth, which is primarily low-wage, going so heavily to women. She points to this "sinking floor" rather than the glass ceiling as the issue that is affecting most women in the workplace.

New on Next New Deal

Is Bridgegate Politics as Usual, or Beyond the Pale?

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Bo Cutter considers the Christie administration's actions in light of his years of experience in government. He says that because the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge affected normal people, this case is particularly terrible.

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Daily Digest - January 13: Giving Welfare a Fair Shake

Jan 13, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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No, We Don’t Spend $1 Trillion on Welfare Each Year (WaPo)

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No, We Don’t Spend $1 Trillion on Welfare Each Year (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal counters this common conservative talking point, along with the claim that welfare spending doesn't reduce poverty. Mike takes care to define which programs are really "welfare," and it turns out those programs are quite successful.

Internet In America: An On Again, Off Again Relationship (NPR)

Arun Roth speaks to Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford about the problems with high-speed internet access in the United States. She says that the U.S. is falling behind, and calls for a public infrastructure project to bring fiber optic access to all.

The 2013 Employment Story: Yet Another Year of McJob Growth (The Atlantic)

Jordan Weissmann writes that 2013 follows the trend set in 2011 and 2012 with 182,000 new jobs per month in the U.S., but those numbers say nothing about the kind of jobs being created, and he argues we're becoming accustomed to growth in low-wage fields.

Number of Americans Looking for Work at Lowest Level Since 1970s (The Guardian)

Dominic Rushe looks at the December jobs report from the Department of Labor and points out that the unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent primarily because of people giving up their search for work and dropping out of the labor force.

Doctors Slam Proposed Food Stamp Cuts: ‘The Dumbest Thing You Can Do Is Cut Nutrition’ (ThinkProgress)

Sy Mukherjee reports that the medical community is calling out lawmakers for their failure to see the connection between hunger and health. Saving money on SNAP won't matter if health care costs go up, and research shows those costs would disproportionately hit Medicaid.

New on Next New Deal

Lesson from December's Jobs Report: Turn On the Fiscal Jets

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative Director Jeff Madrick argues that the Federal Reserve must maintain monetary stimulus to preserve the recovery, but what's really needed is increased government spending.

In 2013, the Fed Showed Why Fiscal Policy is Still Important

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal argues that expanded monetary policy wasn't enough to offset fiscal austerity in 2013, even according to the benchmarks set by those who predicted the opposite, and that fiscal policy is still needed to keep the economy going.

In Contraceptive Mandate Challenges, Women’s Health and Much More is on the Line

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Andrea Flynn writes that the challenges to the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act lay the groundwork for private employers to deny their employees access to birth control, and potentially to other health services.

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Lesson from December's Jobs Report: Turn On the Fiscal Jets

Jan 10, 2014Jeff Madrick

The economy is not yet strong enough to cope with tighter monetary policy, but fiscal policy is what's really missing from this recovery.

The weak employment report out today reinforces the view that the Federal Reserve should not ease up on monetary policy soon. The strength of this economic recovery is not yet clear, and the Fed is the only game in town due to sequestration of government funds.

The economy is not yet strong enough to cope with tighter monetary policy, but fiscal policy is what's really missing from this recovery.

The weak employment report out today reinforces the view that the Federal Reserve should not ease up on monetary policy soon. The strength of this economic recovery is not yet clear, and the Fed is the only game in town due to sequestration of government funds.

Waiting another three or four months to tighten policy and reduce quantitative easing will not change the course of America’s destiny. But moving now, as they have done ever so slightly, could easily pull the rug out from under this modest recovery.

The sharp fall in the unemployment rate to 6.7 percent was just about entirely accounted for by people dropping out of the work force. The employment-to-population rate is roughly at its lowest level in more than 30 years. Too many people are not working in America. For all the economic weakness in Europe, they have higher participation rates than the U.S. does.

The drum beat of optimism emanating from most economists recently will now be muted until the next set of data. The jobs numbers are the most telling indicator of economic strength. Economists turn on a dime when they are issued, but only because they can, given the computerized models that shift modestly with every piece of economic news. They should have a stronger analytical thesis than to depend on one month’s data.

The path forward is clear. We should keep in mind that the economy is not doing badly. On average, there has been moderate job growth over the last three months, just not nearly enough to justify an end to monetary stimulus now. We should wait at least a few months to make sure this recovery and expansion is truly solid.

The good news is that the disappointing employment data will reduce pressure on the Fed as Janet Yellen takes over the reins. The bad news is that it will unleash the anti-Obama forces who blame the slow economy on Dodd-Frank’s costs to the financial community, future fears of inflation, and of course the federal budget deficit. Tune in to Fox News after the employment data release and you'll find them saying "Obama did it."

Larry Summers offers the best advice: we have to turn on the fiscal jets. The first words out of anyone’s mouth about the economy should be that sequestration did it. Fiscal de-stimulus was huge in 2013. Government spending fell sharply. The deficit is no longer an issue, given unemployment around the current level.

Summers is being criticized by economists and commentators from across the political spectrum for claiming the nation may be in a period of secular stagnation. Summers noted that the economy was disappointing even before 2007. How could that be, ask some, if the unemployment rate got down to roughly 4.5 percent? 

John Taylor of Stanford is especially vociferous about how good the economy was under George W. Bush. Of course, he worked for Bush. But even apart from that, it is hard to take his claims seriously. 

Three points here. The labor participation rate under Bush never rose to the heights it reached in the second half of the 1990s. Had it done so, the unemployment rate would likely have been around 5.5 percent.

Second, wages rose very slowly. The low unemployment rate—to the extent that it fell—had a lot to do with slow-rising wages. And the wage share of GDP fell significantly, to levels well below what they were in the 1990s. The rise in consumption to support growth was based on borrowing, as we know, not strong incomes.

Third, capital investment was weak before 2007, never even close to returning to the levels of the second half of the 1990s. The right wing loves to blame lack of business confidence on low levels of capital investment today, but how do they explain the Bush era? 

So, to reiterate, Summers is right. We are wading in dangerous territory. On top of all this, there has been a confusing and disturbing downturn in productivity growth for several years—starting, again, before 2007.

We have a tool to deal with this: more government spending. But we get the opposite. Obsession with the budget has led to full-fledged austerity policies in America, as well as Europe.

There are some sweet spots in the economy. I am skeptical of fracking, but it is helping the economy now. Housing is picking up.

But any increase in interest rates without serious fiscal stimulus now is outright dangerous. The inflation fear-mongers are still out in force, of course. So let me repeat this: there is no appreciable inflation right now. And one last point: more growth in output could stimulate growth in productivity as well, a well-known economic relationship known as Verdoorn’s Law.

Will America do what’s necessary? Not enough of it. But at the least it should not reverse monetary policy yet. And there may be a little political room to push Washington toward spending in 2014. If so, the nation had better take advantage of it. 

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

Banner image via ThinkStock.

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Daily Digest - January 10: Unemployment Can't Be Solved With a Bus Ticket

Jan 10, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Marco Rubio to Jobless: Get Out Of Town (MoJo)

Erika Eichelberger speaks to Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal about Marco Rubio's plan to give unemployed people subsidies to move to low-unemployment areas. Mike says that this plan won't solve the problem of long-term unemployment.

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Marco Rubio to Jobless: Get Out Of Town (MoJo)

Erika Eichelberger speaks to Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal about Marco Rubio's plan to give unemployed people subsidies to move to low-unemployment areas. Mike says that this plan won't solve the problem of long-term unemployment.

The War Over Poverty (NYT)

Paul Krugman argues that the war on poverty should be seen as a template for success for the progressive movement. The narrative has shifted such that poverty is no longer seen as an example of moral deficiency, which makes anti-poverty programs more politically viable.

Why The Republican’s Old Divide-and-Conquer Strategy — Setting Working Class Against the Poor — Is Backfiring (Robert Reich)

Robert Reich argues that the Republicans, who continue to oppose policies that help the poor, such as food stamps and minimum wage increases, are running into problems because of the growth of the working poor, who need those programs to make ends meet.

Showdown vote ahead on Senate Democrats’ bill to extend jobless benefits (WaPo)

Paul Kane reports on the coming fight to pass Harry Reid's proposal for emergency unemployment insurance, which extends the program through November but cuts benefits to 31 weeks. Reid has shut down amendments to the bill, and an all-or-nothing vote will likely be held on Monday.

Universal Preschool Push Will Test Cuomo’s Commitment to New York Women (The Nation)

Bryce Covert uses the push for universal pre-K in New York to explain why it's impossible to split social and economic agendas. Pre-K isn't just an education issue; it's also about parents' ability to work, which makes this an economic issue that tax cuts can't solve.

Pinprick: Six Reasons Why Civil Fines Don't Deter Corporate Wrongdoers (PolicyShop)

David Callahan lists reasons that even massive fines like those JPMorgan Chase has been hit with don't eliminate illegal behaviors. The most important reason is that these fines don't cause any real damage to the individuals making the decisions for the corporation.

New on Next New Deal

Obama's 'Promise Zones' Have Potential if They Include Anchor Institutions

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network National Field Strategist Joelle Gamble writes that the administration would do well to focus on anchor institutions, which the Roosevelt Institute's new Rethinking Communities initiative is doing, as it works to encourage local economic growth.

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Daily Digest - January 7: New Fed Chair, Same Economic Challenges

Jan 7, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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This is the Biggest Challenge Janet Yellen Will Face as Fed Chair (WaPo)

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This is the Biggest Challenge Janet Yellen Will Face as Fed Chair (WaPo)

Neil Irwin considers an op-ed by Larry Summers, which argues that without fiscal policy changes from Congress, the Fed's policies have side effects that encourage bubbles. Yellen's dilemma is whether those bubbles are worse than slow or stalled economic growth.

Just a Reminder: The US Still has Ludicrously High Long-Term Unemployment (Quartz)

Tim Fernholz demonstrates just how unusual current long-term unemployment rates are with a chart covering 65 years of data. Eliminating emergency unemployment benefits, the federal program that expired last week, won't magically create jobs for these workers.

In Jobless Youth, U.S. Is Said to Pay High Price (NYT)

Shaila Dewan looks at a new report from the Young Invincibles, which estimates that state and federal governments could recoup nearly $9 billion through increased taxes and reduced social services if youth unemployment returned to prerecession levels.

Wisconsin Lawmaker Wants To Take Away Workers’ Weekends (ThinkProgress)

Bryce Covert looks at Wisconsin state Senator Glenn Grothman's proposal to allow workers to give up their right to one day off work out of seven. Grothman seems to think there are more workers who want to work seven-day weeks than there are employers who would force it.

GOP Declares War on ‘War on Poverty’ (MSNBC)

Morgan Whitaker reports that Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has declared the "big government" approach to fighting poverty a failure, but he doesn't suggest any new options for solving the problem. Repealing the Affordable Care Act is the most solid suggestion he has right now.

New on Next New Deal

Do Economists Understand How Power Shapes the Labor Market?

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Rediscovering Government Director Jeff Madrick praises Paul Krugman for recognizing that employers hold far more power than workers in the current labor market. This power suppresses wages, which Jeff connects to the need for a minimum wage hike.

The Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative: Building on the Successes of 2013 in the New Year

Jeff also wrote a retrospective on the Rediscovering Government Initiative's accomplishments in 2013. Highlights include the Jobs Emergency conference held in D.C. in June and a panel tackling youth unemployment in New Orleans in August.

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The Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative: Building on the Successes of 2013 in the New Year

Jan 6, 2014Jeff Madrick

The Rediscovering Government Initiative takes a look back and a look ahead...

The Rediscovering Government Initiative takes a look back and a look ahead...

The Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative had an active and rewarding second year. Our programs continue to be directed toward broadening the public discourse on the purposes of government, and in particular, countering the ideological anti-government attitudes that have so influenced discourse about public policies since the 1970s. We believe that many of America’s most challenging problems are a consequence of the neglect and misuse of government.

In 2013, we emphasized job creation. The facts are stark: America has a 7 percent unemployment rate four years into a recovery. It has a record-low employment-to-population ratio, especially for young workers. A record number of workers have been unemployed for more than six months.

In addition, the large majority of jobs created in the recovery have been low-wage jobs. As a result, typical household income is no higher than it was more than a decade ago. Unequal and stagnating incomes cannot be separated from the jobs crisis. There is concern that weak job markets are now a long-term reality.

To us, this is not just a jobs crisis. It is a full-fledged jobs emergency.

We also pursued other programs related to government and the perpetuation of the New Deal legacy of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Here are a few of the 2013 successes we plan to build on in 2014:

A Conference: A Bold Approach to the Jobs Emergency

The crown jewel of our 2013 efforts was a June conference in Washington, D.C., which we called “A Bold Approach to the Jobs Emergency.” Our keynote speakers, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Former Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Alan Blinder, and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), addressed the jobs emergency from a variety of viewpoints to a jam-packed auditorium.

At the conference, we held seven separate panels on solutions to the jobs emergency. These included fiscal stimulus, public-private infrastructure projects, financial regulations to encourage jobs, improved education, raising the minimum wage, labor law reform, and local political advocacy programs.

Our panelists represented a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives, and included Ai-Jen Poo of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Federal Reserve Board Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin, Gar Alperovitz of the Democracy Collaborative, Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Damon Silver of the AFL-CIO, and Maya Wiley of the Center for Social Inclusion, along with Roosevelt Institute Fellows Dorian Warren, Annette Bernhardt, Richard Kirsch, and Mike Konczal.

The video and transcripts of the proceedings, along with summaries of the key points made in each panel, are available on our website.

A Report: “A Bold Approach to the Jobs Emergency: 15 Policy Ideas”

Despite a pessimistic and persistent refrain that government cannot solve America’s jobs problems, we learned from the many experts at our jobs conference that there are multiple ways to return to full employment. Based on these and other ideas we researched over the course of 2013, we will publish a report in January outlining 15 bold ideas to deal with the jobs emergency. Our report amounts to a call for renewed optimism about how we can solve this central economic problem.

A New Book: Myths of Government

In 2013, UC Press offered the Initiative a book contract, based on the essays presented by several participants at our Washington, D.C. conference on the purpose of government in summer 2012. Myths of Government will include contributions from Lane Kenworthy of the University of Arizona, Peter Lindert of the University of California at Davis, Jon Bakija of Williams College, and Rediscovering Government Director Jeff Madrick. The book debunks major economic claims that government’s role must be limited if economic growth and the standard of living are to be improved. To the contrary, it shows that constructive government policies are critical to the future of the economy and a rising standard of living for all.

Other Public Events

Here are a few of the public events we held:

-- In April, we hosted Mark Levitan and Moe Magali of the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity to discuss the staggering 30 percent youth unemployment rate in New York City and the job creation programs that the city government is implementing to mitigate this problem.

--In August, in New Orleans, we gathered leading local experts on youth unemployment, including Amy Barad of the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiative, Cherie LaCour-Duckworth of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans, Lauren Bierbaum of Partnership for Youth Development, and Jerome Jupiter of the Youth Empowerment Project, to discuss strategies to reconnect the 6.7 million young people nationwide who are both out of work and out of school. Jeff Madrick wrote about the gathering in his monthly Harper’s magazine column, and Program Manager Nell Abernathy wrote a comprehensive post on the subject of youth unemployment for the Roosevelt Institute’s blog, Next New Deal. Jeff Madrick was interviewed on NPR’s Marketplace on these issues.  Roosevelt Institute | Pipeline, our nationwide network of young progressive professionals, co-hosted the event.

--In September, we hosted a panel in New York City entitled “Inequality: The Next Mayor’s Challenge.” Local experts outlined policies the mayor’s office could enact to fight rising inequality. The panel included David Jones of the Community Services Society, NYU professor Lawrence Aber, Maya Wiley of the Center for Social Inclusion, Tsedeye Gebreselassie of the National Employment Law Project, and James Parrot of the Fiscal Policy Institute.

--In October, as part of our commitment to updating the Roosevelts’ New Deal legacy, we partnered with the Frances Perkins Center in Portland, Maine to host a discussion on the changing attitudes of Americans toward government and how to keep the New Deal’s spirit alive. The event highlighted Perkins’s role as the FDR adviser most responsible for Social Security. Participants included Ai-Jen Poo, Sally Greenberg of the National Consumers League, and Jeff Madrick.

--Also in October, Jeff Madrick participated in “Progressivism in America: Past, Present, and Future,” a conference in Dublin, Ireland hosted by the Roosevelt Institute and University College Dublin’s Clinton Institute for American Studies. Madrick contributed an essay on the future of progressivism to be published in 2014.

Publications

Throughout the year, the Rediscovering Government staff published a range of longer-form essays and blogs that reflected the central themes of the Initiative.

The subjects we focused on most closely are listed below.

Youth Unemployment:

The Real Lost Generation, by Jeff Madrick for Harper’s Magazine

Tragedy as a Generation for US Youth, Jeff Madrick with David Brancaccio for Marketplace on NPR

How Can We Help America’s Opportunity Youth? Five Lessons Learned in New Orleans, by Nell Abernathy for Next New Deal

Fiscal Policy and Public Investment:

America Is Having the Wrong Fiscal Argument, by Jeff Madrick for Harper’s Magazine

Simpson-Bowles Consensus isn’t Common Sense. It’s Nonsense, by Jeff Madrick for Next New Deal

The Truth About the GOP's Phony Shutdown Offer, by Jeff Madrick for Next New Deal

Social Security:

No Need to Cut the Little that Recipients Get, by Jeff Madrick for The New York Times

Good News on the Deficit Makes Social Security Cuts Even Worse, by Jeff Madrick for Next New Deal

Monetary Policy:

A Bit of Good News, by Jeff Madrick for Harper’s Magazine

Summers’ View on Monetary Policy Not So Hidden, by Jeff Madrick for Next New Deal

It Would be Tragic to Raise Rates Now, by Jeff Madrick for U.S. News & World Report

Unemployment Benefits:

Conservatives and Progressives Agree: Congress Should Not Cut Unemployment Benefits, by Nell Abernathy for Next New Deal

Looking Ahead: 2014 

In 2014, we will continue to develop and promote ideas about the positive role of government in the U.S. in general as well as how government can and should improve employment opportunities for all Americans. We specifically plan to host public events and commission papers on three key strategies for improved employment and GDP growth: the minimum wage, infrastructure investment, and government support of research and development.

In addition, we will increasingly focus our efforts on reducing the number of children living in poverty in America, arguably America’s greatest social problem and a major contributor to inequality and stagnating wages. In June, we will host a conference in Washington, D.C. that will bring together top policymakers and advocates to promote an agenda for fighting child poverty and reducing inequality overall.

In September, Alfred A. Knopf will publish Jeff Madrick’s new book, Seven Bad Ideas; How Economists Damaged America and the World. Its theme is related to the neglect of government, and much of the contents of the book reflect issues and ideas pursued by Rediscovering Government. 

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Daily Digest - January 6: Putting Policies That Help Workers Back on the Agenda

Jan 6, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Economists Agree: Raising the Minimum Wage Reduces Poverty (WaPo)

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Economists Agree: Raising the Minimum Wage Reduces Poverty (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal looks at a new paper from economist Arin Dube, which finds that regardless of other effects, a higher minimum wage would pull people out of poverty. That, Mike argues, should be enough reason to consider an increase.

Jobless Left in Cold on Benefits (Melissa Harris-Perry)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren discusses whether emergency unemployment benefits will be addressed even though they're not on House Republicans' agenda. He thinks that the GOP will be forced to deal with this issue whether it wants to or not.

The Gap in Medical Education (LA Times)

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network alum Rahul Rekhi argues that medical school curricula should be changed to include health policy. Doctors who are better informed about the basics of policy, he argues, are more able to serve as advisors to patients and lawmakers.

The Group That Got Health Reform Passed is Declaring Victory and Going Home (WaPo)

Harold Pollack interviews Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch on the work of Health Care for America Now, which closed shop at the end of 2013. Richard discusses how this model of health reform came to prominence, and the political missteps that happened along the way.

US Economy Losing 'up to a $1bn a week' After Jobless Benefits Cut (The Guardian)

Paul Lewis reports on the assessment of Harvard economist Lawrence Katz, who based his calculation on the "multiplier effect" caused when people on unemployment insurance spend that money. Katz calls the cut "irresponsible" in the still-recovering economy.

H&M Plans to Pay Garment Workers Fair Wages. Here's Why That's Probably BS. (MoJo)

Dana Liebelson critiques the low-priced retailer's announcement, pointing out some flaws in its plan for fair wages. H&M isn't releasing any real wage numbers, and the fair-wage promise isn't extended to subcontractors along the supply chain.

Local Labor Influence Takes Hit in Boeing Contract (ABC News)

Phuong Le reports on a union vote by the Machinists Local 751 in Seattle, which narrowly accepted a new contract with Boeing. The contract had previously been rejected for cuts to pensions, but national leadership urged a second vote when it looked like Boeing would move jobs out of Seattle.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch praised the union for its initial pushback against the Boeing contract.

The Year of the Great Redistribution (Robert Reich)

Robert Reich argues that the stock market's all-time high at the end of 2013 represents a massive redistribution of wealth from workers to the wealthiest Americans. Those profits have come, in large part, by pushing down wages, and government has permitted this instead of fighting back for labor.

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