Daily Digest - April 29: Paul Ryan's Anti-Poverty Theater

Apr 29, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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The New Paul Ryan Is All About Heart (NY Mag)

Though Paul Ryan tries to portray himself as the Republican who cares about the poor, his policies cut funding from anti-poverty programs, writes Jonathan Chait.

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The New Paul Ryan Is All About Heart (NY Mag)

Though Paul Ryan tries to portray himself as the Republican who cares about the poor, his policies cut funding from anti-poverty programs, writes Jonathan Chait.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal points out that Ryan doesn't just cut funding from the poor; he buys into the fantasy that charity alone could solve poverty.

Trucking Used to Be a Ticket to the Middle Class. Now It’s Just Another Low-Wage Job. (WaPo)

Lydia DePillis explains how the (potentially illegal) reclassification of truck drivers as independent contractors has changed the industry. With all the costs shifting onto the drivers, earnings have dropped.

Hawaii Set to Become Third State to Hike Minimum Wage to $10.10 (MSNBC)

Hawaii will follow in the footsteps of Connecticut and Maryland, reports Ned Resnikoff. The state is also giving a big boost to its tipped workers, whose wages will be calculated by far more favorable rules.

The Adjunct Revolt: How Poor Professors Are Fighting Back (The Atlantic)

Elizabeth Segran looks at adjunct professor organizing, which has grown tremendously. It's not just about money; adjuncts complain that it is impossible for them to properly teach under this system.

The Real Reason Conservatives Oppose Renewing Unemployment Insurance (TNR)

Conservatives are asking for overwhelming proof that the long-term unemployed suffer without extended unemployment insurance, says Danny Vinik, because they just don't want to spend the money.

Get Rid of Job Killing Tax Extenders; Pay For the Rest (Working Economics)

Thomas L. Hungerford points out House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp's hypocrisy: he requires budget offsets for unemployment insurance, but not for more expensive tax breaks.

What Problem Is Privatizing Fannie and Freddie Meant to Solve? (HuffPo)

Dean Baker sees no reason to privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac right now, since they are performing well. But if we must, government should get out of mortgage-backed securities entirely.

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Daily Digest - April 28: The Power of Money is Destroying Democracy

Apr 28, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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The Breakdown of Democracy (Real News Network)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Rob Johnson says that to fix our democratic system, corporations need to be taken out of the game. Substantial reforms will be needed to limit their power in elections.

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The Breakdown of Democracy (Real News Network)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Rob Johnson says that to fix our democratic system, corporations need to be taken out of the game. Substantial reforms will be needed to limit their power in elections.

Recovery Has Created Far More Low-Wage Jobs Than Better-Paid Ones (NYT)

Annie Lowrey looks at a new report from the National Employment Law Project, which finds that the recovery essentially replaced good jobs with bad ones. That's one incentive for the push for a minimum wage increase.

Northwestern University Football Players Vote on Unionization (MSNBC)

The vote will remain sealed until the National Labor Relations Board decides on the university's appeal, reports Ned Resnikoff, but that doesn't change the symbolic power of this first for college athletes.

New York City Now Protects Interns Against Sexual Harassment—but With One Major Loophole (The Nation)

By restricting its definition of an unpaid intern to the Labor Department's legal guidelines, Michelle Chen says New York's City Council has allowed some vulnerable workers to remain unprotected.

Thomas Piketty is a Rock-Star Economist – Can He Re-write the American Dream? (The Guardian)

Heidi Moore praises Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century, and considers whether his ideas for addressing inequality can move beyond the pundit class and win over regular people.

Lawrence Lessig Has a “Moonshot” Plan to Halt Our Slide Toward Plutocracy (Bill Moyers)

Joshua Holland speaks to Lessig about why so many Americans are resigned to the current state of campaign finance, and how a Super PAC to end all Super PACs could work.

Your Political Leaders Are Unsurprisingly Terrible at Empathizing with Your Salary (The Wire)

Philip Bump notes just how disconnected some politicians are when they talk about income and class issues. Case in point: those who claim they're underpaid while earning more than twice their constitutents' median income.

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Daily Digest - April 25: The Fair Food Program is Making Progress in Florida

Apr 25, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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In Florida Tomato Fields, a Penny Buys Progress (NYT)

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has done incredible work to improve labor conditions in Florida's tomato fields, says Steven Greenhouse, but bringing Walmart into the fold might be its biggest win yet.

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In Florida Tomato Fields, a Penny Buys Progress (NYT)

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has done incredible work to improve labor conditions in Florida's tomato fields, says Steven Greenhouse, but bringing Walmart into the fold might be its biggest win yet.

  • Roosevelt Take: The Roosevelt Institute presented the CIW with the Freedom from Want medal at the 2013 Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Awards. Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch spoke with some of its organizers about its Fair Food program.

Meet The Real Amazon Drones (HuffPo)

Dave Jamieson explains how one little-known shipping company contracted by Amazon treats its workers, who are classified as independent contractors. Fees from the company for mandatory supplies are just the start.

The 'Mismatch' Theory of Unemployment Meets Its Match in Goldman Sachs (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Peter Coy reports that economists at Goldman Sachs see clear evidence that a skills mismatch is not what's keeping people out of work. There just aren't enough jobs to go around right now.

The Sharing Economy Isn’t About Trust, It’s About Desperation (NY Mag)

By looking at the data on how many full-time jobs have been replaced by part-time jobs, Kevin Roose concludes that workers in the gig-based sharing economy are just trying to make a living any way they can.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Operations Strategist Lydia Bowers explains how some of these "sharing economy" companies exploit their workers.

Elizabeth Warren’s A Fighting Chance: An Exclusive Excerpt on the Foreclosure Crisis (Boston Globe)

In this excerpt from her new book, Senator Warren shares an anecdote that demonstrates how the Treasury Department's approach to the foreclosure crisis centered on banks instead of people.

Massive New Fraud Coverup: How Banks are Pillaging Homes — While the Government Watches (Salon)

Regulators aren't doing enough to hold banks accountable, say David Dayen, which is allowing banks to foreclose on homes despite missing and falsified documentation.

To Have and Have Not (Los Angeles Review of Books)

Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century shows what economics has lost by minimizing political economy, which considers how we organize our interconnected economic lives, says Jedediah Purdy.

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Daily Digest - April 24: Legal Challenges Are Changing the Intern Economy

Apr 24, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Colleges, Employers Rethink Internship Policies (WSJ)

Rachel Feintzeig and Melissa Korn report that while unpaid internship lawsuits work through the courts, many companies are changing their programs by adding pay or eliminating internships altogether.

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Colleges, Employers Rethink Internship Policies (WSJ)

Rachel Feintzeig and Melissa Korn report that while unpaid internship lawsuits work through the courts, many companies are changing their programs by adding pay or eliminating internships altogether.

Losing Their Unemployment Benefits Didn't Help These People Find Work (HuffPo)

Sam Stein and Arthur Delaney find that without long-term unemployment insurance, which Congress failed to extend in December, workers' job searches didn't change, but their ability to pay the bills did.

Your Government Owes You a Job (The Nation)

Raúl Carrillo calls for a job guarantee as a matter of justice and economic security for all. He says such a program would have similar costs to current anti-poverty programs, but provide more opportunities.

Here’s Why This City’s Businesses Love Its Paid Sick Days Law (ThinkProgress)

Bryce Covert looks at a new audit of Seattle's paid sick leave law, which went into effect in September 2012. People are happy: costs were lower than expected, and business, wage, and job growth were all up.

The Rich Live Longer: So How Much Money 'Buys' 1 More Year of Life? (The Atlantic)

Derek Thompson uses data on life expectancy and income to determine the cost of an extra year of life. He says the actual numbers here are less important than the fact that inequality has life-and-death costs.

Politicians from the Hungriest Counties Voted to Cut Food Stamps (MSNBC)

The congressmen, both Democrats, claim to have voted for the recent Farm Bill that cut food stamps in some states as a compromise on larger cuts, says Ned Resnikoff, but the GOP strategy will keep chipping away at the program.

F.C.C., in a Shift, Backs Fast Lanes for Web Traffic (NYT)

The Federal Communications Commission announced new proposed rules that allow companies to pay Internet service providers for faster access to their content, reports Edward Wyatt. Some call this the end of net neutrality.

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Daily Digest - April 23: Repealing Health Care Reform Gets Harder Every Day

Apr 23, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Ted Cruz's Worst Nightmare Is Coming True (Politico)

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Ted Cruz's Worst Nightmare Is Coming True (Politico)

As Americans get used to having access to affordable health care, repeal will become less and less likely, writes Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch. That's just as Senator Cruz predicted last summer.

AT&T Tries to Bully the Government (Bloomberg View)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford says the Federal Communications Commission should stand strong and limit how many spectrum licenses any one wireless carrier can buy at its upcoming auction.

Elizabeth Warren is the Teacher (Esquire)

Charles P. Pierce profiles Senator Warren's work in academia and politics, framing her as an eternal educator. Today, she continues to educate on critical issues like financial reform - but also makes that reform happen.

Elizabeth Warren’s Needed Call for Student Loan Reform (WaPo)

With graduation season upon us, Katrina vanden Heuvel, a member of the Roosevelt Institute's Board of Directors, praises Senator Warren's work on student debt, which she says is holding back the economy.

The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Richest (NYT)

Data shows that middle-income people around the world have experienced greater gains over the past three decades than Americans, write David Leonhardt and Kevin Quealy. They tie this to rising income inequality.

Waiter, Am I Subsidizing Your Pay? (Other Words)

Marjorie Elizabeth Wood argues that taxpayers are heavily subsidizing the restaurant industry, which takes advantage of tax loopholes for high CEO pay and doesn't pay its workers a living wage.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Fellow and Director of Research Susan Holmberg and Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network alumna Lydia Austin discuss the performance pay loophole in their white paper.

The Revolt of the Cities (TAP)

Harold Meyerson looks at the new wave of progressive mayors and city councils, elected primarily with labor community coalitions. He says this new city leadership is reshaping American liberalism.

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Daily Digest - April 22: Tax Reform Can Close the Gulf Between CEOs and Workers

Apr 22, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Raising Taxes on Corporations that Pay Their CEOs Royally and Treat Their Workers Like Serfs (Robert Reich)

Robert Reich explains a proposed bill in California that would incentivize lower executive pay by tying corporate tax rates to the ratio of CEO pay to typical workers' pay.

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Raising Taxes on Corporations that Pay Their CEOs Royally and Treat Their Workers Like Serfs (Robert Reich)

Robert Reich explains a proposed bill in California that would incentivize lower executive pay by tying corporate tax rates to the ratio of CEO pay to typical workers' pay.

Justice Stevens Suggests Solution for ‘Giant Step in the Wrong Direction’ (NYT)

Adam Liptak speaks with retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who is calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and allow reasonable limits on campaign finance.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Student Board of Advisors Chair Jeff Raines explains why McCutcheon v. FEC makes big money's power over politics even worse.

A Chance to Remake the Fed (TAP)

With two open slots on the Federal Reserve, David Dayen suggests that progressives should support regulators who will serve as Main Street's voice on monetary policy.

Union Will Keep Fighting To Organize Volkswagen Workers (ThinkProgress)

While the United Auto Workers have dropped their appeal of the recent failed union election in Chattanooga, TN, Bryce Covert reports that the union plans to continue organizing at that Volkswagen plant.

UConn Graduate Assistants First To Unionize In State (Hartford Courant)

Kathleen Megan reports that the graduate assistants will be represented by the Graduate Employee Union/United Auto Workers. Graduate assistants have organized on over 60 campuses across the country.

‘Jobs vs. the Environment’: How to Counter This Divisive Big Lie (The Nation)

Jeremy Brecher argues that a "Green New Deal" could put people to work rebuilding the country's infrastructure to protect the environment, ending the supposed conflict between environmental movements and labor.

Not Born Rich? Out of Luck (MSNBC)

Chris Hayes interviews Thomas Piketty about his new book, Capital in the 21st Century, and the trends that have led to rising concentration of wealth in the United States and around the world.

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Daily Digest - April 21: In Minimum Wage Fight, Localities May Have Maximum Impact

Apr 21, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Minimum Wage Debate Goes Local (San Francisco Chronicle)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Annette Bernhardt and Ken Jacobs consider why the minimum wage debate has such momentum at a local level. They see this as a return to states and cities being laboratories of policy innovation.

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Minimum Wage Debate Goes Local (San Francisco Chronicle)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Annette Bernhardt and Ken Jacobs consider why the minimum wage debate has such momentum at a local level. They see this as a return to states and cities being laboratories of policy innovation.

The Link Between One Website and Hate Crimes (Melissa Harris Perry)

In a discussion on domestic terror and hate, Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren suggests that the way we live, segregated by race and class, makes it even harder for Americans to embrace difference.

The Biggest Predictor of How Long You’ll Be Unemployed Is When You Lose Your Job (Five Thirty Eight)

Ben Casselman finds that the unemployment rate at the time when a worker loses her job is the strongest indicator of whether she will end up among the long-term unemployed.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal builds on this data to explain why the long-term unemployed aren't necessarily weak employees.

Student Debt Holds Back Many Would-Be Home Buyers (LA Times)

The share of first-time home buyers has dropped. Tim Logan ties that to the vast increase in student loans over the past decade, which hinders would-be buyers from getting mortgages.

How Payday Lenders Prey Upon the Poor — and the Courts Don’t Help (NYT)

Since AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, which limited class action lawsuits, people trapped in cycles of predatory payday lending have even fewer routes out, writes Emily Bazelon.

Beyond the Laffer Curve — The Case for Confiscatory Taxation (Vox)

Matt Yglesias notes that many of our taxes aim at changing behavior, not increasing revenue. Perhaps higher taxes on inheritances or very big salaries could discourage the economic activity that promotes inequality.

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How Can We Grade Universities on Their Local Economic Impact?

Apr 18, 2014

Roosevelt Institute Associate Director of Networked Initiatives Alan Smith and NYU student Eugenia Kim explain the Campus Network's Rethinking Communities Initiative and how universities can promote local development. 

Roosevelt Institute Associate Director of Networked Initiatives Alan Smith and NYU student Eugenia Kim explain the Campus Network's Rethinking Communities Initiative and how universities can promote local development. 

Click here to read more about Rethinking Communities.

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The Unluckiness of the Long-Term Unemployed

Apr 18, 2014Mike Konczal
Ben Casselman has a fascinating dive into the long-term unemployment data at the new 538 site. He finds that the long-term unemployed are driven in large part by luck. An unemployed person is more likely to be unemployed for a long period of time when they happen to lose their job at a time of high unemployment. Here's their core chart:

He also finds that this effect is stronger for those who are unlikely to receive unemployment insurance.

One comment I had. There's an argument that the long-term unemployed are the weakest employees, those who were fired during the first wave of layoffs that started in 2008. These workers were going to have a hard time finding jobs not based on the labor market but because, to be blunt, they weren't good workers. (One manifestation: Tyler Cowen did a lot with this idea of zero marginal product workers, ignoring that the marginal product of labor is impacted by demand, back in 2011.) Since long-term unemployed workers look a lot like the general unemployment pool, this is thought to be driven by softer, not-quantifiable, worker characteristics.

If that was the case, then the job losers on the upswing of unemployment, during the first wave of layoffs in 2008 when unemployment was in the 5-8% range, should be more likely to have become a member of the long-term unemployed. They should even be worse than those leaving their job when unemployment was 10% in fall 2009 (which was technically 3 months after the recession ended). But we see a pretty consistent pattern in that chart, which tentatively give evidence that it's not just the initial skill level of the workers driving the level of long-term unemployment.

 

Ben Casselman has a fascinating dive into the long-term unemployment data at the new 538 site. He finds that the long-term unemployed are driven in large part by luck. An unemployed person is more likely to be unemployed for a long period of time when they happen to lose their job at a time of high unemployment. Here's their core chart:

He also finds that this effect is stronger for those who are unlikely to receive unemployment insurance.

One comment I had. There's an argument that the long-term unemployed are the weakest employees, those who were fired during the first wave of layoffs that started in 2008. These workers were going to have a hard time finding jobs not based on the labor market but because, to be blunt, they weren't good workers. (One manifestation: Tyler Cowen did a lot with this idea of zero marginal product workers, ignoring that the marginal product of labor is impacted by demand, back in 2011.) Since long-term unemployed workers look a lot like the general unemployment pool, this is thought to be driven by softer, not-quantifiable, worker characteristics.

If that was the case, then the job losers on the upswing of unemployment, during the first wave of layoffs in 2008 when unemployment was in the 5-8% range, should be more likely to have become a member of the long-term unemployed. They should even be worse than those leaving their job when unemployment was 10% in fall 2009 (which was technically 3 months after the recession ended). But we see a pretty consistent pattern in that chart, which tentatively give evidence that it's not just the initial skill level of the workers driving the level of long-term unemployment.

 

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Daily Digest - April 18: Inequality Was Not an Accident

Apr 18, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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We Built This Country on Inequality (The Nation)

Mychal Denzel Smith writes that the U.S. economy was built on a foundation of inequality for women and racial minorities, and that we must fight racism and sexism if we hope to close the wealth gap.

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We Built This Country on Inequality (The Nation)

Mychal Denzel Smith writes that the U.S. economy was built on a foundation of inequality for women and racial minorities, and that we must fight racism and sexism if we hope to close the wealth gap.

Oklahoma Governor Signs Law Barring Cities From Raising Minimum Wage (AJAM)

The Oklahoma law also bars cities from requiring paid sick leave or vacation time, reports Amel Ahmed. This seems intended to preempt a push for a state-level minimum wage increase, as in California and Maryland.

Treat Wage Theft as a Criminal Offense (WaPo)

Catherine Rampell asks why the consequences for stealing thousands from workers' paychecks are so much less severe than the consequences of stealing from someone's home.

Obamacare Succeeded for One Simple Reason: It's Horrible to be Uninsured (Vox)

Sarah Kliff says the eight million sign-ups are proof that insured pundits didn't understand how desperate the uninsured and underinsured were to get health insurance.

Antitrust in the New Gilded Age (Robert Reich)

Robert Reich suggests that today's concentrated wealth resembles the Gilded Age, right down to the need to break up too-large corporations. He cites the pending Comcast-Time Warner merger as a troubling example.

New on Next New Deal

Not Just the Long-Term Unemployed: Those Unemployed Zero Weeks Are Struggling to Find Jobs

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal looks at the data on those who move from one employer directly to another, without any unemployment. When even those workers struggle on the job market, wage growth slows.

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