Daily Digest - June 30: Inequality is a Choice We Can Stop Making

Jun 30, 2014Tim Price

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Inequality Is Not Inevitable (NYT)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz argues that policies and politics have created America's economic divide, and only engaged citizens can fix it.

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Inequality Is Not Inevitable (NYT)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz argues that policies and politics have created America's economic divide, and only engaged citizens can fix it.

  • Roosevelt Take: For more on Stiglitz's plan to address inequality, read his Roosevelt Institute white paper on tax reform.

How Cities Can Take on Big Cable (Bloomberg View)

The Federal Communications Commission should preempt state laws that ban cities from building competitive fiber networks, writes Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford.

Public Sector Unions Could Radically Change This Week (WaPo)

Today's Supreme Court decision on Harris v. Quinn could seriously weaken public employee unions if their compulsory dues are ruled unconstitutional, notes Lydia DePillis.

Will the Government Finally Regulate the Most Predatory Industry in America? (The Nation)

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is considering new rules to protect the 12 million Americans a year who rely on high-interest payday lenders, reports Zoe Carpenter.

Why This Company Decided to Make Its Salaries Public to All Employees (Think Progress)

The CEO of data analytics company SumAll tells Bryce Covert that increased pay transparency has led to greater productivity and trust and less stress over compensation.

What Americans Think of the Poor (Prospect)

A new Pew poll shows that even many conservatives who agree that "poor people have it easy" also believe the economic system is unfair, writes Paul Waldman.

New on Next New Deal

Summer Vacation is Feeding the Achievement Gap

Students from low-income families face substantial setbacks without access to summer learning programs, write Roosevelt Institute Director of Operations Sarah Pfeifer Vandekerckhove and policy intern Candace Richardson.

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Summer Vacation is Feeding the Achievement Gap

Jun 27, 2014Sarah Pfeifer VandekerckhoveCandace Richardson

Learning loss during summer vacation is far worse for students of lower socioeconomic status, making low-cost and free educational summer programming essential.

Learning loss during summer vacation is far worse for students of lower socioeconomic status, making low-cost and free educational summer programming essential.

New York City public schools begin summer break today. For many students, summer is a time to rest, travel and play, and a recent study even demonstrates the critical role of play in a student’s future academic and financial success. But extensive research shows that these few months away from the structured activities of school are particularly detrimental to the academic achievement of students of low SES (socioeconomic status) families. Without access and exposure to educational enrichment opportunities during the summer months, these students face substantial setbacks in their academic development.

Of course, all students experience some learning loss during the summer months. Research on the “summer slide” phenomenon shows that nearly all students perform worse on standardized tests taken at the end of summer vacation than the same test taken at the end of the previous school year and lose two months of math skills over the summer months.

For low SES students, however, summer slide does even greater damage to their academic achievement year over year, increasing the achievement gap as well as the likelihood that such students will drop out of high school or not attend college. Summer slide occurring during elementary school alone contributes to at least half of the SES achievement gap by the time students reach 9th grade.  In fact, low SES high school students are eight times less likely to attend a four-year college, compared with their high SES peers.

While only about 20% of students from low-income families participate in summer learning programs, high-income families can afford to expose their children to a variety of enrichment activities, including summer camp. In February, TimeOut published a list of upcoming academic summer camps in New York City that offer exciting sessions on robots, chemistry, reading, and math along with many educational field trips to museums and zoos, with the average cost of these camps totaling $2,176 per month.  For the seventy-eight percent of New York City’s 1.1 million students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch ($43,568 annually for a family of four) that’s nearly 60 percent of their family’s monthly income, meaning these academic summer camps are out of the question for the families whose kids need them the most.

Cost is only one of many barriers to summer program participation for low SES families. Accessibility plays a big role. For instance, the New York City Department of Education’s Summer Quest, a free, five-week enrichment program to combat summer slide, is only available at 22 of the city’s 1700 public schools. And while NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio and NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña have strongly encouraged participation in summer enrichment programs, only about 55,000 low SES students will receive free programming this summer.

Despite the efforts to engage students in summer enrichment programs, New York City still has a long way to go.

About one-third of the achievement gap can be attributed to a child’s SES before they even enter kindergarten. Combatting the 31.4% child poverty rate in New York City through expansion of Home Visiting programs can go along way in getting students off on the right foot. This is just one of many policy solutions that arose at the Roosevelt Institute’s recent conference, Inequality Begins at Birth.

Of the 55,000 New York City students receiving free summer programming, De Blasio anticipates that 34,000 of those will be middle-schoolers. Increasing the engagement of elementary school children will mitigate substantial growth in the achievement gap, as early academic setbacks compound over time. The DOE can start by expanding NYC Summer Quest and other programs to target younger students, and over time the focus should be on engaging even more of the 850,000+ low SES students in New York City public schools.

Sarah Pfeifer Vandekerckhove is the Roosevelt Institute's Director of Operations.

Candace Richardson is a Policy Intern for the Four Freedoms Center.

Chart from the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

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Daily Digest - June 27: NLRB Ruling is Politics as Usual

Jun 27, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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The Myth of America’s Golden Age (POLITICO Magazine)

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The Myth of America’s Golden Age (POLITICO Magazine)

Growing up in Gary, Indiana gave Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz early insight into inequality, which is a result of politics and not an economic inevitability, he says.

Presidential Appointments Were Already a Total Nightmare. They Just Got Worse. (MoJo)

Patrick Caldwell breaks down the NLRB v. Canning decision, and explains how it will increase obstructionism in Congress by reducing real recesses.

National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning (Supreme Court)

President's Obama's appointments to the NLRB in December 2011 occurred during a three-day adjournment, not a true recess, so the Supreme Court has ruled the appointments invalid. Justice Breyers delivers the Court's opinion.

What Happened When the City of Boston Asked Teenagers for Help With the Budget (Next City)

Hollie Russon Gilman reports that when 12-25 year olds were given responsibility for $1 million of Boston's budget, they funded parks, the arts, and educational technology.

To Get a Fair Share, Sharing-Economy Workers Must Unionize (AJAM)

Susie Cagle talks to Uber driver Ramzi Reguii about his work to organize his fellow drivers. They've already rallied together to prevent Uber from requiring some drivers to buy new cars.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Operations Director Lydia Bowers looks at how the sharing economy exploits unprotected workers.

More Than Three Quarters of Conservatives Say the Poor “Have it Easy” (WaPo)

Christopher Ingraham sees this widespread agreement among conservatives as the most striking result in the Pew Research Center's massive survey of American politics.

The Crisis of Student Loans is Real, No Matter What Pundits Tell You (The Guardian)

David Dayen says the Brookings student debt report fails by focusing on the average income of college graduates overall, which ignores how badly the job market has harmed recent graduates.

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Daily Digest - June 26: People Awaken to Find Wall Street is a Crooked Road

Jun 26, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Wall Street and Washington Want You to Believe the Stock Market isn't Rigged. Guess What? It Still Is (The Guardian)

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Wall Street and Washington Want You to Believe the Stock Market isn't Rigged. Guess What? It Still Is (The Guardian)

Heidi Moore says investment in the stock market isn't down due to low investor confidence, but because more people are realizing the system isn't equal for all investors.

A Cure for Bloated CEO pay (Fortune)

Dean Baker proposes a "Director's Roulette" provision, which would withhold directors' compensation if a CEO pay package they approve had been voted down by a shareholder Say-on-Pay vote.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Fellow and Director of Research Susan Holmberg examines how Say-on-Pay begins to curb executive compensation.

Why did the White House Pass Up an Opportunity to Support a (Mostly) Good, Bipartisan Idea? (WaPo)

The White House rejected the proposed gas tax, needed to save the Highway Trust Fund that pays for infrastructure, but Jared Bernstein says an imperfect fix would have been better than nothing.

How the Government Subsidizes Wealth Inequality (CAP)

Harry Stein proposes that the U.S. government could reduce wealth inequality simply by changing tax policy for capital gains, since current subsidies give $2 trillion to the wealthy over 10 years.

How Connecticut’s Smart New Pension Plan Can Prevent Poverty in Retirement (The Nation)

Connecticut's new plan, which offers statewide benefits to private sector workers, will cost less than helping greater numbers of elderly poor down the line, writes Michelle Chen.

Ikea Plans to Increase Minimum Hourly Pay (NYT)

Steven Greenhouse reports on Ikea's new wage structure, which sets minimum wages on a store-by-store basis based on local cost of living, with an average minimum wage of $10.76.

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Daily Digest - June 24: What We Talk About When We Talk About Poverty

Jun 24, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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21st Century Democrats: Konczal on GOP Misunderstanding Charity (America's Democrats.org)

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21st Century Democrats: Konczal on GOP Misunderstanding Charity (America's Democrats.org)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal discusses his article on "The Voluntarism Fantasy," the false idea that private charity could provide for the needs of the poorest Americans.

Get Sick, Get Fired: America's Low-Wage Workers Push Back (TAP)

Sharon Lerner says the fight over paid sick leave is characteristic of larger fights over the nature of democracy, and whether the desires of the common people are being accounted for.

Washington is Making Inequality Worse (MSNBC)

A new study suggests that growing political polarization and rising income inequality are linked. Timothy Noah emphasizes that polarization stems from the GOP moving to the right.

Massachusetts Nannies and Housekeepers Now Protected From Long Days, Abuse, Sexual Harassment (The Nation)

Michelle Chen speaks to some of the workers who will benefit from Massachusetts's new Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which awaits the governor's signature.

Corporate Close-Up: Should CEO Compensation Determine Corporate Income Tax Rates? (Bloomberg BNA)

Melissa Fernley reports on a new model for corporate income taxes being considered in California, which would scale tax rates based on CEO-to-median worker compensation ratios.

States Undo Food Stamp Felon Bans (HuffPo)

California and Missouri are giving more ex-offenders access to food stamps, reports Arthur Delaney. He says this is an opportunity to reduce recidivism by helping people feed their families.

Mankiw, Piketty, and Wealth Taxes (On The Economy)

Jared Bernstein argues that economist Greg Mankiw fails to prove that allowing the wealthy to keep more of their wealth will be better for everyone else.

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

Jun 23, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Big Lobotomy (Washington Monthly)

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

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

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

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

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

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Daily Digest - June 19: Government Has the Power to End the Student Debt Crisis

Jun 19, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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College is Ruining Lives! How to Stop Student Debt’s Paralyzing Spiral (Salon)

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College is Ruining Lives! How to Stop Student Debt’s Paralyzing Spiral (Salon)

David Dayen calls for free tuition at public colleges and universities, and for the federal government to stop using private student loan servicers that put profits ahead of borrowers.

  • Roosevelt Take: Loan servicers lose money when student loans are paid off ahead of schedule, but Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal says that shouldn't concern taxpayers.

The Fed of Magical Thinking: Why is Janet Yellen Ignoring the Rest of Us? (The Guardian)

The Federal Reserve uses a measure of inflation that doesn't include food or gas, which Heidi Moore says leaves the central bank out of step with ordinary Americans' concerns.

Cutting the Poor Out of Welfare (NYT)

Thomas Edsall blames recent increases in extreme poverty on ostensibly anti-poverty policy shifts that support married and working adults over all other people living in poverty.

Obama: US Must ‘Strengthen Unions’ (The Hill)

Justin Sink reports on the President's statements on unions at a town hall meeting in Pittsburgh, where he credited organized labor with building the country's middle class.

Increasing Wages is an Effective Poverty Reduction Tool (TalkPoverty)

Elise Gould says that rising inequality is the flip side of nearly three decades of stagnant wages, and reversing this stagnation will require pro-worker labor policy.

Does Innovation Always Lead to Gentrification? (Pacific Standard)

Kyle Chayka argues that innovation districts, filled with new and growing businesses, should be built to benefit an economically diverse population instead of just young workers.

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

Jun 18, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Big Freeze on Hiring (WaPo)

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

Domestic Workers, Domestic Cargo (The Baffler)

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

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

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

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

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

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Daily Digest - June 13: With Soaring Pay, CEOs Rise to the Top of the 1 Percent

Jun 13, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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CEO Pay Up by 937% Since 1978. That of the Typical Worker? 10.2% (AJAM)

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CEO Pay Up by 937% Since 1978. That of the Typical Worker? 10.2% (AJAM)

Peter Moskowitz looks at a new study from the Economic Policy Institute, which finds that CEO pay is even outstripping the earnings of other members of the top 0.1 percent.

  • Roosevelt Take: In his new white paper, William Lazonick explains how the explosive growth of CEO pay destabilizes the economy.

U.S. Struggles to Draw Young, Savvy Staff (WSJ)

Officials worry about government's ability to succeed in a digital world when the percentage of its employees younger than 30 has hit an eight-year low, writes Rachel Feintzeig.

How Justice Scalia Could Become the Savior of Public Employee Unions (LA Times)

Michael Hiltzik says the reliably conservative Supreme Court Justice's past statements on public sector unions show that he could be the key vote for unions in Harris v. Quinn.

The Damage of Poverty is Visible as Early as Kindergarten (Vox)

Danielle Kurtzleben writes about new research that shows an achievement gap between poor, near-poor, and middle-class kindergarteners, which can have lifelong consequences.

How Women Are Shaping the Labor Movement and Winning Big (The Nation)

Dani McClain speaks to Sheila Bapat about her new book on the rise of organizing among domestic workers, who are excluded from many basic labor protections.

Remember the Problems With Mortgage Defaults? They’re Coming Back With Student Loans (NYT)

Susan Dynarski draws parallels between the mortgage crisis and student debt, with particular concerns about loan servicers who have little incentive to prevent default.

New on Next New Deal

Teachers and Tutors Can't Fix All of Low-Income Students' Problems

Summer Academy Fellow Casey McQuillan explains how public policy failures that held back the students he tutored led him to the Campus Network.

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Daily Digest - June 11: Sprint's Big Deal Leaves Customers With Little Choice

Jun 11, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Don't Let Sprint Buy T-Mobile (Bloomberg View)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford says that allowing Sprint to buy its way to a higher share of the cell phone market won't improve service for customers.

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Don't Let Sprint Buy T-Mobile (Bloomberg View)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford says that allowing Sprint to buy its way to a higher share of the cell phone market won't improve service for customers.

Goldman Sachs CEO: “Income Inequality Is A Very Destabilizing Thing In The Country” (Buzzfeed)

Matthew Zeitlin reports on Lloyd Blankfein's CBS interview, in which he said that too much growth has gone to too few people. Zeitlin notes that Blankfein was paid $23 million in 2013.

  • Roosevelt Take: In his white paper for the Roosevelt Institute, William Lazonick looks at how high executive pay destabilizes the economy.

Markets Are Less Volatile. Should We Worry? (NYT)

Even if more stable markets are encouraging investors to take on more risk, Neil Irwin says that the Federal Reserve should stay on its slow-and-steady path.

Cities Are Passing Higher Minimum Wages – and Leaving the Suburbs Further Behind (WaPo)

Emily Badger looks at current debates about cities and suburbs with different minimum wages: how many workers will bring their higher wages home to the suburbs, and will the jobs move out?

Wall Street's Virus Has Infected Your College Debt, and Obama's Doing Zero (The Guardian)

Heidi Moore asks why the President isn't doing anything about private student debt, which has little regulation and could pose a greater threat to the economy than public loans.

The Mental-Health Consequences of Unemployment (The Atlantic)

A new Gallup poll shows that the unemployed have much higher rates of depression than those with jobs, reports Rebecca J. Rosen, and it's easy to see how depression could affect a job search.

New on Next New Deal

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

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Senior Fellow for Health Care Anisha Hegde writes that by speaking out about burnout in their jobs, doctors can create an opportunity for sustainable change.

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