Daily Digest - November 22: This Black Friday, Labor Protests With Your Sales

Nov 22, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Wal-Mart Labor Group Promises 1,500 Black Friday Protests Next Week (Salon)

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Wal-Mart Labor Group Promises 1,500 Black Friday Protests Next Week (Salon)

Josh Eidelson speaks to Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren about upcoming protests at Wal-Mart. Dorian compares Wal-Mart to General Motors in the 1940s, as a company that works against the economy's best interest today, but could turn around.

New Bill Offers Tax Relief to Keep Students in State (The Michigan Daily)

Shoham Geva reports on a bill that gives Michigan college graduates a tax credit equal to half their student loan payments if they stay and work in state. Recommendations from the University of Michigan chapter of Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network are in the State House version of this bill.

Another Reason for Filibuster Reform: It Will Help Dems Crack Down on Wall Street (WaPo)

Ryan Cooper argues that, having invoked the nuclear option, the Democrats have now given financial reform a better shot at success, because court cases about these regulations go to the D.C. Circuit Court. Filling that bench is what set this whole thing off.

  • Roosevelt Take: Ryan references the Roosevelt Institute's report, An Unfinished Mission, as an example of the kind of regulations that reformers are seeking.

Good Benefits Don't Make Unemployed People Happy About Being Unemployed (Smithsonian Magazine)

Colin Schultz reports on a new study that compares the happiness of unemployed people across the European Union. Stronger benefit programs don't affect life satisfaction - nor do they affect how hard people look for new jobs.

Home-Care Aides at Poverty’s Edge Are Hottest U.S. Jobs (Bloomberg)

Tom Moroney writes about the fastest-growing job in the U.S., personal care aides, and profiles one aide in her work and home life. While their industry is booming, personal care aides are also among the worst paid workers in the country.

The 'Exploitative' Internship Economy (Pacific Standard)

Casey McDermott speaks to intern rights advocate David Yamada about the legal and ethical issues of the intern economy. Yamada is disappointed that some companies choose the lose-lose option of ending internship programs instead of paying minimum wage.

Here's Why Insurers Probably Won't Go Along With Obama's Obamacare Fix (MoJo)

Erika Eichelberger argues that most insurance companies aren't going to reinstate the plans they've already canceled that do not comply with the Affordable Care Act's requirements, because that would cost money. It's possible this fix will mostly serve as political cover.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch argued in favor of the president's decision last week, because it would allow the administration to retain its focus on insuring more Americans.

Dying Sooner: America Falls Behind On Longevity (National Memo)

David Kay Johnston reports on new data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development which shows that the U.S. is falling behind its peers on life expectancy. The report blames the country's poor health care system and income inequality.

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Daily Digest - November 21: Lobbyists Without Big Money

Nov 21, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Witnesses to Hunger (and Poverty) on the Hill (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann reports on an unusual group of lobbyists on Capitol Hill: five "Witnesses to Hunger" who currently receive food stamps, who advocated for maintaining SNAP funding. Their goal was to give a face to social safety net programs.

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Witnesses to Hunger (and Poverty) on the Hill (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann reports on an unusual group of lobbyists on Capitol Hill: five "Witnesses to Hunger" who currently receive food stamps, who advocated for maintaining SNAP funding. Their goal was to give a face to social safety net programs.

Obama’s Mystery Man for Derivatives (ProPublica)

Jesse Eisinger profiles Timothy Massad, the relatively unknown nominee for Commodity Futures Trading Commission chair. He questions if Massad may be too friendly to banking interests for this particular regulatory role.

What would the Fed do if the US defaulted on its debt? (Quartz)

Tim Fernholz says that it appears the Fed has limited tools that it could use in the event of a default, which could be a concern again in March. What few tools might be usable are so politically tenuous that just not hitting the debt ceiling would be greatly preferred.

Federal Reserve weighs slowing bond buys soon (Marketwatch

Steve Goldstein says that according to minutes released from the Fed's October 30 meeting, quantitative easing is probably coming to a close soon. But that consensus doesn't mean the Fed has decided how to end the program.

Wal-Mart's No Good, Very Bad, Pre-Thanksgiving Week (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Susan Berfield reports on Wal-Mart's difficult news week. Between the food drive for their own employees and the new report from Demos explaining how they could pay more without increasing prices, Wal-Mart is probably looking forward to the holiday.

Detroit accused of exaggerating $18bn debts in push for bankruptcy (The Guardian)

Dominic Rushe looks at a new report from Demos that questions the way Detroit's debt was calculated for bankruptcy. The report suggests that cutting pensions would work against the city's long-term needs.

New on Next New Deal

How Can We Help America's Opportunity Youth? Five Lessons Learned in New Orleans

Following up on an event in New Orleans this summer, Nell Abernathy, Program Manager for the Roosevelt Institute's Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative, considers the steps that will be needed to help youth who are neither in school nor working.

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Daily Digest - November 20: Why Aren't We Working On Youth Unemployment?

Nov 20, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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The Real Lost Generation (Harper's)

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The Real Lost Generation (Harper's)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative Jeff Madrick considers the youth employment crisis. This problem has a ripple effect on the whole economy, but Washington isn't talking about it at all.

Rep. Sandy Levin on Why Congress Should Talk to More Unemployed Workers (WaPo)

Brad Plumer speaks to the Representative about the looming deadline to continue funding for extended unemployment benefits. The benefits wouldn't be phased out this time - it would be an immediate cut off at the end of the year.

San Francisco Workers Can Now Request Flexible Work Schedules—But Not Predictable Ones (RH Reality Check)

Sheila Bapat says that while San Francisco is still ahead of the curve on progressive work policy, it missed something important in a recent new ordinance. Guaranteeing flexible schedules is great, but many workers really need predictable schedules week-to-week.

Poor, with Savings (TAP)

Monica Potts writes about an innovative program in New York City that is helping the poor to save money. Most tax incentives for saving target middle- and upper-income families, but tax deferrals on 401(k)s don't do much for families struggling to get by.

Micro-Apartments: More Trouble Than They’re Worth? (Remapping Debate)

David Noriega considers how micro-apartments being built in New York City fit into housing policy as a whole. He suggests that these tiny studios are unlikely to serve as a real solution to the lack of affordable housing.

JP Morgan's $13bn Settlement – the Record-Setting Penalty Explained (The Guardian)

Heidi Moore explains the details of the JPMorgan Chase settlement with the Justice Department for its part in the mortgage crisis. About $4 billion of that settlement is going to help homeowners - but it will be hard to measure the impact of that money.

New on Next New Deal

Do Negative Rates Call For a Permanent Expansion of the Government?

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal writes about an exchange between Ben Bernanke and Larry Summers at an International Monetary Fund event last week. Summers admitted that there may be a need for more permanent government stimulus.

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Do Negative Rates Call For a Permanent Expansion of the Government?

Nov 19, 2013Mike Konczal

Everyone has been talking about the recent Larry Summers speech on secular stagnation, written up with force by Paul Krugman here. Gavyn Davies, in his own nice coverage, noted that the Q&A had an interesting exchange about fiscal stimulus between Bernanke and Summers, so I decided to write that up.

From the IMF video, starting around 1h 2m 15s:

Bernanke:
 
I remember another course we had at MIT with Mr. Samuelson, who I think is a relative of yours [laughter], where he explains…why the real interest rate couldn't be negative indefinitely. He said there was always the possibility of leveling a hill so that a locomotive could get to a destination [faster]…
 
If the real return is negative, first of all, monetary policy can get negative interest rates with positive inflation. But on the fiscal side, the return to public investment, as long as it's real, as long as it's above zero, would always be an approach. It would always be profitable at negative interest rates.
 
Summers:
 
[…] If you think about it as a private investment, it requires that there are perfect property rights, that you can get the benefit of that through all of time, which is reasonable to suppose you don't. If you think of it as a public investment, it's sort of the point that there may be a case for what, in some ways of thinking, be a permanent fiscal expansion, where you are constantly undertaking projects of that kind. It is precisely how one should think of medium-term and long-term fiscal policy that the kind of argument that I made goes to, to a very substantial extent.
 
[…] if you generate inflation, you can have as negative of a real interest rate as you want. It's often assumed, from that, that monetary policy can necessarily solve the problem alone. But that depends on the ability of pure monetary policy to achieve any desired inflation.
 
There's no question… if you drop enough dollar bills from enough helicopters, you can get as much inflation as you want, but in the classic economic lexicon, that's expansionary fiscal policy, because you are making a transfer. And we've done a lot of quantitative easing, and the inflation rate is not conspicuously higher than what it was before it started.
I would normally edit a transcript a bit more, but I wanted to make sure you saw that Summers has a triple hedge ("it's sort of the point that there may be a case for what, in some ways of thinking") before he says that we may need a permanent, or at least a permanent enough, fiscal expansion. This is a long way away from the "timely, targeted, and temporary" mantra Summer had for fiscal stimulus in 2008. Stimulus should still be very well targeted, but now temporary and perhaps even timely are up for grabs.
 
Of course, if we needed to expand government for our new era, we have a lot of projects, like fighting global warming and rationalizing our safety net with some kind of basic income, with which we could start. So we aren't lacking for genuine investment opportunities. But would a serious and sustained expansion of the size of government be a necessary or sufficient condition for combating the issue of secular stagnation? I'm curious what everyone thinks and why.
 
I can imagine the steam coming out of Ryan Avent's ears at Summers's description of quantitative easing and the inflation rate (see Avent's response to the Summers speech here). I will say that 11 months ago, when the Evans Rule and QE3 were announced, I thought there would be a small but reasonable chance that we'd experience anemic growth but above-trend inflation (say 2.25 percent). The question then was why people should be happy about this, and whether it would translate into wage growth. Instead, we have anemic growth and record-low inflation, and I don't know how to explain that.
 
The old complaint was that Bernanke was targeting volumes instead of prices (I'll buy so many bonds, but not set the 10 year interest rate at 1.75% and the mortgage rate at 3%), in part because he was afraid of failing at hitting a target and, perhaps, was afraid of the optics of it. But the one target he has gone for - 2% inflation - he hasn't hit. I imagine that's a big problem for bigger actions going forward.
 

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Everyone has been talking about the recent Larry Summers speech on secular stagnation, written up with force by Paul Krugman here. Gavyn Davies, in his own nice coverage, noted that the Q&A had an interesting exchange about fiscal stimulus between Bernanke and Summers, so I decided to write that up.

From the IMF video, starting around 1h 2m 15s:

Bernanke:
 
I remember another course we had at MIT with Mr. Samuelson, who I think is a relative of yours [laughter], where he explains…why the real interest rate couldn't be negative indefinitely. He said there was always the possibility of leveling a hill so that a locomotive could get to a destination [faster]…
 
If the real return is negative, first of all, monetary policy can get negative interest rates with positive inflation. But on the fiscal side, the return to public investment, as long as it's real, as long as it's above zero, would always be an approach. It would always be profitable at negative interest rates.
 
Summers:
 
[…] If you think about it as a private investment, it requires that there are perfect property rights, that you can get the benefit of that through all of time, which is reasonable to suppose you don't. If you think of it as a public investment, it's sort of the point that there may be a case for what, in some ways of thinking, be a permanent fiscal expansion, where you are constantly undertaking projects of that kind. It is precisely how one should think of medium-term and long-term fiscal policy that the kind of argument that I made goes to, to a very substantial extent.
 
[…] if you generate inflation, you can have as negative of a real interest rate as you want. It's often assumed, from that, that monetary policy can necessarily solve the problem alone. But that depends on the ability of pure monetary policy to achieve any desired inflation.
 
There's no question… if you drop enough dollar bills from enough helicopters, you can get as much inflation as you want, but in the classic economic lexicon, that's expansionary fiscal policy, because you are making a transfer. And we've done a lot of quantitative easing, and the inflation rate is not conspicuously higher than what it was before it started.
I would normally edit a transcript a bit more, but I wanted to make sure you saw that Summers has a triple hedge ("it's sort of the point that there may be a case for what, in some ways of thinking") before he says that we may need a permanent, or at least a permanent enough, fiscal expansion. This is a long way away from the "timely, targeted, and temporary" mantra Summer had for fiscal stimulus in 2008. Stimulus should still be very well targeted, but now temporary and perhaps even timely are up for grabs.
 
Of course, if we needed to expand government for our new era, we have a lot of projects, like fighting global warming and rationalizing our safety net with some kind of basic income, with which we could start. So we aren't lacking for genuine investment opportunities. But would a serious and sustained expansion of the size of government be a necessary or sufficient condition for combating the issue of secular stagnation? I'm curious what everyone thinks and why.
 
I can imagine the steam coming out of Ryan Avent's ears at Summers's description of quantitative easing and the inflation rate (see Avent's response to the Summers speech here). I will say that 11 months ago, when the Evans Rule and QE3 were announced, I thought there would be a small but reasonable chance that we'd experience anemic growth but above-trend inflation (say 2.25 percent). The question then was why people should be happy about this, and whether it would translate into wage growth. Instead, we have anemic growth and record-low inflation, and I don't know how to explain that.
 
The old complaint was that Bernanke was targeting volumes instead of prices (I'll buy so many bonds, but not set the 10 year interest rate at 1.75 percent and the mortgage rate at 3 percent), in part because he was afraid of failing to hit a target and, perhaps, was afraid of the optics of it. But the one target he has gone for, 2 percent inflation, he hasn't hit. I imagine that's a big problem for bigger actions going forward.
 

Follow or contact the Rortybomb blog:

  

 

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Daily Digest - November 19: Cheers For Enforcing Labor Laws

Nov 19, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Wal-Mart Faces Warehouse Horror Allegations and Federal Labor Board Complaint (Salon)

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Wal-Mart Faces Warehouse Horror Allegations and Federal Labor Board Complaint (Salon)

Josh Eidelson reports on Wal-Mart's no-good, very bad day in labor news. Between allegations of worker safety concerns in California and a National Labor Relations Board complaint about strike retaliation, Wal-Mart started the week with a bang.

Reality Check: Obamacare is Not to Blame for Wal-Mart's Sluggish Sales (The Guardian)

Heidi Moore thinks it's ridiculous when big retailers try to use the Affordable Care Act as a scapegoat for their disappointing financial performance. Even if every person who enrolled in the ACA stopped shopping at Wal-Mart, it wouldn't cause this drop in sales.

Elizabeth Warren to Congress: Grandma "Will Be Left to Starve" If We Cut Social Security (MoJo)

Erica Eichelberger discusses Senator Warren's speech on the Senate floor yesterday, in which she decried the very idea of cutting Social Security benefits. The Senator insisted that balancing the budget couldn't come at the expense of seniors.

American Inequality in Six Charts (The New Yorker)

John Cassidy looks at charts shared by presenters at the launch of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth last week. He's particularly interested in the questions these charts raise about the relationship between inequality and growth.

There is Not Enough Affordable Rental Housing (MetroTrends Blog)

Erika Poethig explains how programs for affordable housing haven't kept up with the expanding need. She suggests that policy changes like raising the minimum wage will help, but more proactive policy will make a much bigger difference.

Democrats Push For Extending A Lifeline For The Long-Term Unemployed (ThinkProgress)

Bryce Covert reports on the push for extended unemployment benefits. The federal program, which helps support people who have been out of work for more than six months, will otherwise disappear at the end of the year.

New on Next New Deal

Courageous Boeing Workers Say No to Corporate Extortion

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch applauds the Machinists Local 751, which voted down a contract despite the risk of lost work. The union saw this contract as an offense to past workers - and a destruction of middle class opportunity for future workers.

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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)

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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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Daily Digest - November 15: Financial Reform Wasn't Finished With Dodd-Frank

Nov 15, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Mike Konczal: The Unfinished Mission: Making Wall Street Work For Us (Majority Report)

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Mike Konczal: The Unfinished Mission: Making Wall Street Work For Us (Majority Report)

Sam Seder spoke to Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal about the new report on financial reform from the Roosevelt Institute and Americans for Financial Reform. They discuss the problems with implementing Dodd-Frank, and what can be done next.

  • Roosevelt Take: You can read "An Unfinished Mission: Making Wall Street Work For Us" here.

Nominee to Run Federal Reserve Unsure When It Will Curb Its Powers to Bail Out Banks (MoJo)

Erika Eichelberger reports that when Janet Yellen was asked when the Fed will limit its powers to bail out banks, as required under Dodd-Frank, she had no answer. Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal suggested that this isn't high on the Fed's priority list.

Volkswagen Isn’t Fighting Unionization—But Leaked Docs Show Right-Wing Groups Are (In These Times)

Mike Elk reports that while the company promised not to oppose the United Auto Workers attempts to organize their Chattanooga, TN plant, outside groups disagree with that decision. They're pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into anti-union campaigns.

Wall Street Isn’t Worth It (Jacobin)

John Quiggin argues that thirty years of looser regulations on the financial sector have proven that the massive profits aren't worth the cost to society. We would all be better off, he says, if Wall Street were smaller, and made correspondingly smaller returns.

Harsher Cuts Are On Their Way (MSNBC)

Suzy Khimm looks at how sequestration cuts will affect poor families in the coming year, as funds get even tighter. The cuts are particularly worrying as winter rapidly approaches, with cuts to programs that fund heating and housing for low-income Americans.

New on Next New Deal

President's Insurance Announcement Keeps Eyes on the Prize

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch argues that President Obama's decision to allow people to keep insurance plans that don't comply with the Affordable Care Act's requirements allows us to keep our focus on the larger goal: insuring more Americans.

Given the Myth of Ownership, is the Idea of Redistribution Coherent?

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal argues that redistribution still makes sense conceptually, even when we agree that property rights are a creation of the state. He warns: "This post is probably not of interest to general readers."

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Daily Digest - November 14: Millennial Success Beyond Big Cities

Nov 14, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Jersey City: Cheaper, Yes, But Also a Real Sense of Community (The Atlantic Cities)

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Jersey City: Cheaper, Yes, But Also a Real Sense of Community (The Atlantic Cities)

Roosevelt Institute | Pipeline Fellow Nona Willis Aronowitz continues her two week series on cities where Millennials can afford to succeed. She emphasizes that Jersey City, NJ isn't just a suburb anymore, with more people centering their work there too.

Elizabeth Warren to Regulators, Congress: End ‘Too Big to Fail’ (The Nation)

Zoë Carpenter discusses Senator Warren's keynote at a Roosevelt Institute and Americans for Financial Reform event this week. She focuses on how the Senator's speech fits into the larger picture of Congressional action on financial reform.

  • Roosevelt Take: Watch Senator Warren's speech, which aired live on C-SPAN 2, here.

How McDonald's and Wal-Mart Became Welfare Queens (Bloomberg View)

Barry Ritholtz takes a strong stance against the major corporations which work on a model of unsustainable wages for workers, who then need public assistance. Raising the minimum wage is a likely solution, but he also suggests penalties for companies whose workers can't get by.

Scalia’s Chance to Smash Unions: The Huge Under-the-Radar Case (Salon)

Josh Eidelson explains why Unite Here Local 355 v. Mulhall could make forming a union even more difficult. Most union organizing today is done under "card check neutrality agreements" between unions and companies, but those agreements could be ruled unconstitutional.

Detroit's Decision to Fend Off Bankruptcy: Pay Pensions or Banks? (The Guardian)

Dominic Rushe speaks to Detroit pension recipients about what bankruptcy would mean for their lives. They place the destruction of pensions squarely within the destruction of middle-class opportunity in the United States.

Everyone's Talking About This Simple Solution To Ending Poverty By Just Giving People Free Money (Business Insider)

Danny Vinik lays out a simple explanation of universal basic income. Importantly, he explains how the U.S. could fund a basic income up to the poverty line, even though it would never pass the current Congress.

How To Save Entitlements Without Really Trying (Blog of the Century)

Zachary Bernstein explains a potential change to Federal Insurance Contributions Act, which creates the taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare, that even the GOP could appreciate. We could save the long-term future of these programs and lower taxes for most Americans.

New on Next New Deal

The Real Movers and Shakers

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Senior Fellow for Equal Justice Erik Lampmann would be happier if elections and one-off protests got far less media attention. Instead, he suggests examples of community organizing successes that really deserve our applause.

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Daily Digest - November 13: Senator Warren Would've Voted For Dodd-Frank, And Then Some

Nov 13, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Elizabeth Warren vs. the Democratic Elites (All In With Chris Hayes)

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Elizabeth Warren vs. the Democratic Elites (All In With Chris Hayes)

Chris Hayes discusses Senator Warren's keynote at a Roosevelt Institute and Americans for Financial Reform conference on financial reform yesterday. He argues that she needs to convince the rest of the Democrats to adopt her views of the banking industry.

  • Roosevelt Take: Senator Warren's speech aired live on C-SPAN 2, and you can watch the archived video here.

Elizabeth Warren’s Populist Insurgency Enters Next Phase (Salon)

David Dayen looks at the new report on financial reform from the Roosevelt Institute and Americans for Financial Reform. He says the proposals aren't just about regulations, but about what economy we want for our citizens.

  • Roosevelt Take: You can read the report, "An Unfinished Mission: Making Wall Street Work For Us," here.

Gary Gensler's Successor Has His Work Cut Out for Him (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Matthew Philips thinks that Timothy Massad, who has been nominated to be the next chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is well equipped to take on the difficult challenge of enforcing the regulations Gary Gensler pushed through.

Yellen’s Challenge at the Fed: Speaking Persuasively to Investors (NYT)

Binyamin Appelbaum suggests that Janet Yellen's work begins this week with her confirmation hearings. As someone who has pushed the Fed to more clearly articulate its plans, she'll need to start doing just that in front of the Senate Banking Committee.

Two Fed Officials Say Aggressive Policy Action Still Needed (Reuters)

Jonathan Spicer and David Bailey report on statements by the Presidents of the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and Minneapolis which emphasize the need for full employment. Both think that the Fed needs to retain accommodative policies for now.

Occupy Wall Street Activists Buy $15m of Americans' Personal Debt (The Guardian)

Adam Gabbatt explains how the Rolling Jubilee managed to eliminate so much medical debt so quickly. The secondary debt market sells debts for much less than the amount owed, which meant the program was able to have a much larger impact than planned.

The Government’s Human Price Scanners (WaPo)

Emily Wax-Thibodeaux reports on the work of "economic assistants" at the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, who travel the country to record the prices of goods. By recording every detail, like differences in vet fees at night, these relatively unknown workers help to create the Consumer Price Index.

New on Next New Deal

What Do the Millennials Want From the Affordable Care Act?

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Senior Fellow for Health Care Anisha Hedge says that Millennials aren't interested in the ultra-partisan arguments for or against the ACA. They're more interested in how the law works, and how they can get health insurance.

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