Daily Digest - April 11: Do Universities Make the Grade on Local Impact?

Apr 11, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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What's the Deal: How Can We Grade Universities On Their Local Economic Impact? (YouTube)

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.

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What's the Deal: How Can We Grade Universities On Their Local Economic Impact? (YouTube)

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.

Don't Be Fooled: The Fed's New Rule Lets Banks Off Easy (TNR)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal says that increased leverage ratio requirements aren't the end-all solution to Too Big To Fail, even though they are a strong regulatory tool.

Does Christianity Really Prefer Charity to Government Welfare? (The Week)

Elizabeth Stoker agrees with Mike Konczal: the social safety net allows private charities to function better. She also argues for the safety net from a Christian perspective.

  • Roosevelt Take: Stoker's piece responds to Mike's recent essay on "the voluntarism fantasy" in Democracy Journal.

Missing Ingredient on Minimum Wage: A Motivated G.O.P. (NYT)

The last three minimum wage increases have involved a president working with a congressional leader from the other party. John Harwood says President Obama seems unlikely to find such a partner.

Yes, Being a Woman Makes You Poorer (TAP)

Monica Potts lays out the complexities of the wage gap, and emphasizes that blaming the gap on women's choices ignores the realities of those choices. Wage gap deniers seem to suggest that gender discrimination doesn't exist.

The Safety Net Catches the Middle Class More Than the Poor (WaPo)

Safety net spending has increased since the 1990s, but not for those in deep poverty, writes Catherine Rampell. Paul Ryan's budget proposal takes the idea of supporting the "deserving" over the most needy even further.

MAP: In 31 States, Daycare Is More Expensive Than College (MoJo)

Erika Eichelberger looks at a comparison of the cost of in-state college tuition and infant daycare from Child Care Aware America. The growing cost of childcare may help explain a recent increase in stay-at-home mothers.

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Money Issue of The New Inquiry is Out

Apr 8, 2014Mike Konczal

I helped edit (curate might be a better word) the latest New Inquiry issue on Money and Finance. Their editor Robert Horning wanted to get some of the vibe of the older financial blogs, when the thing was still a wild west, and so we got a ton of our favorite old-school finance writers like Steve Waldman, Izzy Kaminska, and the Epicurean Dealmaker to contribute. I also helped edit a good explainer of MMT from Rebecca Rojer, and a definitive "disgorge the cash" piece on the rentier takeover of the economy by JW Mason, both which are definitely worth your time. I have my own piece in the article, now also online, about buying the future.

These pieces will eventually be rolled out and available online over the next month, but for now you can read it by subscribing. Hope you check it out!

I helped edit (curate might be a better word) the latest New Inquiry issue on Money and Finance. Their editor Robert Horning wanted to get some of the vibe of the older financial blogs, when the thing was still a wild west, and so we got a ton of our favorite old-school finance writers like Steve Waldman, Izzy Kaminska, and the Epicurean Dealmaker to contribute. I also helped edit a good explainer of MMT from Rebecca Rojer, and a definitive "disgorge the cash" piece on the rentier takeover of the economy by JW Mason, both which are definitely worth your time. I have my own piece in the article, now also online, about buying the future.

These pieces will eventually be rolled out and available online over the next month, but for now you can read it by subscribing. Hope you check it out!

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Daily Digest - March 19: What Colleges Can Give Back

Mar 19, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Op-Ed: GW Can Fight D.C.’s Income Divide with Endowment (The GW Hatchet)

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Op-Ed: GW Can Fight D.C.’s Income Divide with Endowment (The GW Hatchet)

David Meni and Zach Komes, leaders of the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network's George Washington University chapter, suggest their school should invest in financial institutions focused on community development.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Associate Director of Networked Initiatives Alan Smith explains Rethinking Communities, a Campus Network project examining how colleges and universities can have do more to help local economies.

Economic Reform Is a Human Right (The Nation)

Radhika Balakrishnan and James Heintz argue that a human rights framework can lead to better social and economic policy; for example, bailing out the banks but not homeowners could be considered a human rights violation.

Conservatives Defend Inequality out of Self-Interest — Nothing More (The Week)

Class interest keeps the wealthy from admitting that inequality harms economic growth, writes Sean McElwee, but they don't necessarily have bad intentions. He instead calls on them to do some self-examination.

The House GOP's Obamacare Alternative Won't Curb Health Care Costs—But It Will Enrich the Insurance Industry (MoJo)

The Republican plan includes restrictions on medical-malpractice lawsuits. Stephanie Mencimer cites a recent Florida Supreme Court decision, which declared that such restrictions only serve to increase profit for the insurers.

Costly Loans Are Drawing Attention From States (NYT)

Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Rachel Abrams report on the ways that short-term loan providers are working to get around existing regulations, and how states are starting to crack down.

The Polar Vortex Kept Shoppers at Home—Will the Economy Pick Up Now? (The Atlantic)

Matthew O'Brien looks at a study on car sales in January, which shows weaker growth in the states with the worst winters. But sales are everything: he says we'll know the economy is really picking up when people take on more debt.

Fast-Food Workers Get New Ally in New York City Fight for Fair Pay (The Guardian)

New York City's public advocate, Tish James, is stepping up to help in the wake of wage theft lawsuits against McDonald's, reports Jon Swaine. She's proposing legislation to create a whistleblower hotline to fight these practices.

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Daily Digest - March 10: Main Street Pays Rent to Wall Street

Mar 10, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Could a Wall Street Firm be Your Landlord? (Melissa Harris-Perry)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren points out the possibility that new rental-backed securities from Wall Street could pose a civil rights problem if they capitalize on communities of color.

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Could a Wall Street Firm be Your Landlord? (Melissa Harris-Perry)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren points out the possibility that new rental-backed securities from Wall Street could pose a civil rights problem if they capitalize on communities of color.

US Postal Service Inspector General Proposes Launching Low-Fee Public Bank (Real News Network)

Postal banking would aim to help low-income Americans who are currently unbanked, says Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal, without the predatory fees they would face at traditional banks.

The Real Story Behind the Detroit Pension Fight and What it Means to America's Future (Alternet)

Lynn Stuart Parramore speaks to Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Rob Johnson about the so-called pensions crisis. The key takeaway: cutting pensions is a choice, one that will cause harm for generations.

More on CBO and the Limits of Economic Analysis (On The Economy)

Jared Bernstein responds to a critique from Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Jeff Madrick, arguing that what needs to change isn't the Congressional Budget Office's analyses, but our lack of skepticism.

Unemployment in February Remains Elevated Across the Board (Working Economics)

Heidi Shierholz compares February's jobs report to pre-recession numbers, and argues that the sustained high unemployment across the board is proof that the jobs crisis comes from a lack of demand.

Why Americans Should Take August Off (The Nation)

Vacationing isn't a sign of laziness, writes Bryce Covert; it boosts spending and productivity, both of which would be great for the U.S. economy.

New on Next New Deal

What Les Misérables Can Teach Us About Paul Ryan's Poverty Plan

"Honest work, just reward" is a central conceit in GOP anti-poverty plans, but Nell Abernathy, Program Manager for the Roosevelt Institute's Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative, says this ignores the realities of low-income work.

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Daily Digest - February 21: When Wall Street Worries Too Much

Feb 21, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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An Aggressive Fed Finds Critics on Wall Street (NYT)

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An Aggressive Fed Finds Critics on Wall Street (NYT)

Some bankers blame easy money for the boom-and-bust cycle, writes Peter Eavis, but Fed supporters like Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal argue the critics have unrealistic expectations about the economy.

You Still Need to Care About Sky-High Wall Street CEO Pay (U.S. News & World Report)

Pat Garofalo says that while high CEO pay is a problem across the board, it's especially worrisome on Wall Street, where a CEO's decisions can affect the entire economy.

South Carolina Governor Says Ford, GM, Chrysler Union Jobs not Welcome in State (Detroit Free Press)

Governor Nikki Haley is happier to have unionized companies, including many Detroit-based auto manufacturers, keep their jobs far, far away from her right-to-work state, reports Rudolph Bell.

Why Gap’s Wage Hike Matters (MSNBC)

Ned Resnikoff argues that with House Republicans unlikely to allow a vote on a minimum wage increase, it's worth cheering for companies that do it themselves.

Obama to Drop Entitlement Cuts from 2015 Budget (POLITICO)

Reid J. Epstein reports that the president is done floating compromises for the GOP in his budget. Chained CPI, an inflation metric that would reduce benefit increases for Social Security, is gone.

New on Next New Deal

In Campus Network’s Summer Academy, Students Learn What Good Work Really Looks Like

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network's Jeff Raines and Joe Swanson consider the effect that the Summer Academy Fellowship has had on their college experiences and career goals.

  • Note: Current students can still apply for the Campus Network's Summer Academy. For more information, click here.

We Need More Nuance from the CBO

Presenting a single number instead of a range of economic opinions is irresponsible of the Congressional Budget Office, writes Jeff Madrick, Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative.

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Daily Digest - February 13: Public Finance Can Help Weather the Storm

Feb 13, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Preparing for Disaster by Betting Against It (NYT)

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Preparing for Disaster by Betting Against It (NYT)

The Metropolitan Transit Association's catastrophe bond, a type of insurance to cover the costs of future storms like Hurricane Sandy, could be a model for disaster prep, says Roosevelt Institute Fellow Georgia Levenson Keohane.

A Comcast-Time Warner Cable Deal Would Combine Two of America’s Most-Reviled Companies (Quartz)

Adam Pasick reports on the newly-announced merger plan. He quotes Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford, who predicts that the only way this will affect customers is through higher prices.

GOP Succumbs to Rare Outbreak of Sanity (The New Yorker)

John Cassidy says the moment passed after the House voted to raise the debt ceiling. Ted Cruz's reaction proved that nothing had changed, even as the debt ceiling increase passed the Senate.

I Can’t Find Enough Skilled Workers! (At the Crappy Wage I’m Offering…) (On The Economy)

When employers complain about a lack of skilled workers, Jared Bernstein says they're forgetting the second half of that equation. Case in point: regional airline pilots, who sometimes barely break minimum wage.

After Outcry, White House Extends $10.10 Minimum Wage to Some Disabled Workers (In These Times)

Mike Elk reports on the change, which follows public objections to keeping disabled workers' wages lower than the minimum. Disabled service and concessions workers will now get minimum wage, not less.

Up in Arms Over Union ‘Persuader’ Rule (The Hill)

Kevin Bogardus and Ben Goad report on the proposed regulation, which would require companies to disclose when they bring in legal consultants on union election strategy.

America Has Forgotten Its Three Biggest Economic Lessons (Salon)

According to Robert Reich, those lessons are that consumers create jobs, the rich do better with a smaller share of a growing economy, and taxes pay for public investment that helps everyone.

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Mike Konczal on What's Next for Financial Reform

Feb 6, 2014

In a new episode of the Roosevelt Institute's video explainer series, "What's the Deal," Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal talks about what the Dodd-Fran

In a new episode of the Roosevelt Institute's video explainer series, "What's the Deal," Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal talks about what the Dodd-Frank financial reform law accomplished, what still needs to be done to change the system, and why there are reasons for reformers to be optimistic.

For more, check out An Unfinished Mission: Making Wall Street Work for Us, a report co-edited by Konczal.

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Daily Digest - February 3: Financial Reform Enters a New Era

Feb 2, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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What's the Deal: What's Next for Financial Reform (YouTube)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal talks about what the Dodd-Frank financial reform law accomplished, what still needs to be done to change the system, and why there are reasons for reformers to be optimistic about the future.

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

What's the Deal: What's Next for Financial Reform (YouTube)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal talks about what the Dodd-Frank financial reform law accomplished, what still needs to be done to change the system, and why there are reasons for reformers to be optimistic about the future.

  • Roosevelt Take: Read "An Unfinished Mission," the report from the Roosevelt Institute and Americans for Financial Reform that Mike discusses in this video, here.

New Fed Chief Janet Yellen Lets a Long Career of Breaking Barriers Speak for Itself (WaPo)

Ylan Q. Mui profiles Janet Yellen's career with a focus on gender, as Yellen has been a prominent face for women in economics over the years. She notes that Yellen has rarely spoken on gender issues, and has asked her staff to use the title "chair" rather than "chairwoman."

Oh, Sweet Mercy, Are We About To Have Another Debt Ceiling Fight? (HuffPo)

Jason Linkins examines why another debt ceiling fight seems likely, even though the GOP has already lost bargaining power by giving in on the last two. He sees the Republicans' insistence on turning everything into a fight against Obamacare as a losing strategy.

Domino’s Delivery Workers Settle Suit for $1.3 Million (NYT)

Steven Greenhouse reports on the settlement between 61 deliverymen and a Manhattan Domino's franchise. The workers filed the suit based on minimum wage and overtime violations after many were forced to list far fewer hours on time sheets than they actually worked.

Walmart’s Holiday Profits are Way Down. Food Stamp Cuts are a Big Part of the Reason. (Washington Monthly)

Kathleen Geier says the most interesting part of this story is the explicit tie Walmart has made between food stamp cuts and low sales. She sees this as part of the cycle of austerity politics, which fail to recognize how government cuts can slow the overall economy.

Jerry Brown's Austerity Kick Unpopular with Advocates for Poor (LA Times)

Anthony York writes that Californians disagree on how to use their multibillion-dollar budget surplus. In his State of the State address, Governor Brown pushed for a rainy-day fund, but others are discussing popular social safety net proposals like universal pre-K and paid sick leave.

The Problem with Retirement Savings: Making Enough Money to Save (The Guardian)

Suzanne McGee praises President Obama's MyRA plan as a "tiny positive step," but points out that it won't do anything to solve the real problem. As wages have flatlined, increased options for saving won't help workers who need every dollar for bills today.

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Daily Digest - January 24: Four Big Reasons Financial Reform Isn't Finished

Jan 24, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Washington Has Not Defeated Wall Street. Yet. (TNR)

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Washington Has Not Defeated Wall Street. Yet. (TNR)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal writes that for all that Dodd-Frank accomplished, financial reform isn't done yet. He lays out four areas in particular where this fight is ongoing, and the solutions aren't quite clear: enforcement, Too Big to Fail, the mortgage market, and shadow banking.

The Populist Imperative (NYT)

Paul Krugman writes in favor of a focus on inequality in the State of the Union next week, because that rhetoric connects voters to macroeconomic issues. He argues that while some people may want more explicit discussion of jobs, the issues are interconnected.

Most Republicans Think Poverty Caused by Laziness, New Poll Finds (MSNBC)

Morgan Whitaker reports on the results of a new Pew poll on poverty. The poll shows that Americans recognize the growth of economic inequality in recent years, but a majority of Republicans think that if poor people put in more effort, they wouldn't be poor.

When Companies Break the Law and People Pay: The Scary Lesson of the Google Bus (Salon)

Julia Carrie Wong uses the Google Bus in San Francisco as a prime example of the ways that large corporations are allowed to flout laws that carry harsh penalties for individuals. The fine for blocking a bus stop is $271, but Google gets to pay San Francisco just $1 per stop used.

Big Money Doesn't Just Corrupt Politics. It Also Corrupts People (PolicyShop)

David Callahan argues that when public servants with relatively low government salaries spend so much of their time with wealthy lobbyists, corruption isn't so surprising. He suggests limiting lobbyists' access as one solution, but also calls for higher salaries for government officials.

WSJ Can't Figure Out Why Hiring Lags When Factories Are Not Humming (Beat the Press)

Dean Baker calls out the Wall Street Journal for a recent piece that questions why manufacturing isn't hiring when the industry is doing better. Data shows that factories are still functioning far below their capacity in the U.S., so Baker wonders why the Journal is asking that question.

Guatemala Factory Supplying Walmart and Other US Retailers Stole $6 Million From Workers (The Nation)

Steven Hsieh reports on the results of an Institute for Global Labor and Human Rights investigation into the wage theft at an Alianza Fashion factory in Guatemala. When retailers were asked about the wage theft, some blamed the middle men in the manufacturing chain.

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Daily Digest - November 25: Incivility Isn't One Person's Fault

Nov 25, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Incivility in America - The Millennials: Restoring Civility (Hannity)

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network's National Field Strategist, Joelle Gamble, and Senior Fellow for Economic Development, Azi Hussain, appeared on Fox News, where they drove Sean Hannity crazy by refusing to blame politically incivility on President Obama.

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Incivility in America - The Millennials: Restoring Civility (Hannity)

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network's National Field Strategist, Joelle Gamble, and Senior Fellow for Economic Development, Azi Hussain, appeared on Fox News, where they drove Sean Hannity crazy by refusing to blame politically incivility on President Obama.

Bubble in the Making? How the Stock Market Might Not Reflect the Current Economy (PBS NewsHour)

Paul Solman speaks to Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal about the disconnect between the soaring stock exchange and the weaker economy, seen in today's still-high unemployment rate. He argues that stocks would be even higher if more people had jobs.

A Sustainable Economic Path (The Hill)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Bo Cutter and Joe Kasputys present a proposal for a reasonable and balanced way to deal with the national debt without crippling the economy through sequestration cuts. Reducing debt can't come at the expense of everything else.

Yes, the Government Should Spend More Each Year (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal argues that as the economy grows each year, government spending should grow with it. The country's needs don't shrink with greater wealth, so the GOP's call to "spend one dollar less" doesn't work.

Could Teller Organizing Help Halt Bank Abuses? (In These Times)

Sarah Jaffe reports on new workplace organizing attempts by bank tellers, who are protesting against outsourcing via video conferencing. Video tellers could save money for Bank of America, at the cost of local jobs at their branches.

JPMorgan Says It Broke No Law. So Why Pay The $13 Billion? (NPR)

Jim Zarroli explains how the bank can pay this fine to the Justice Department and still claim that it broke no laws. The public statement was so carefully worded that both sides can spin it into a victory, which means no clear explanation of wrongdoing.

New on Next New Deal

President Obama: Give Millennials a Seat at the Table on Climate Change

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Senior Fellow for Energy and Environment Melia Ungson argues climate change solutions need to begin locally, and should start involving tomorrow's leaders right now.

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