Daily Digest - August 11: Big Business's Frenemy in the White House

Aug 11, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Your Call: The U.S.-Africa Summit and Corporate Taxes (KALW)

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Your Call: The U.S.-Africa Summit and Corporate Taxes (KALW)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal discusses President Obama's interview with The Economist, and explains the administration's relationship with big business. His segment begins at 34:00.

Libertarian Fantasies (NYT)

Paul Krugman says that the libertarian vision of society bears little resemblance to reality, and references Mike Konczal's recent piece on libertarians and basic guaranteed income as an example.

Paul Ryan's Magical Poverty Tour (AJAM)

Susan Greenbaum points to an existing welfare block grant – the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program – as proof that Ryan's plan would not serve enough of the eligible families.

Franchise Association Sues Over Seattle’s $15 Wage (MSNBC)

The law requires large businesses, including franchisees, to raise wages faster than smaller ones. Franchisees claims this discriminates against their business model, reports Ned Resnikoff.

Decline in 'Slack' Helps Fed Gauge Recovery (WSJ)

Pedro da Costa explains how the gap between economic resources we have and those that we use, particularly in the labor market, is influencing Federal Reserve decisions about interest rates.

Fed's Fischer Calls U.S. and Global Recoveries Disappointing (Reuters)

Howard Schneider reports on Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer's concerns regarding how central banks must respond to the possibility of permanently slowed growth post-recession.

‘Eat Your Vegetables’ Is Easier for Low-Income Mothers Who Get Help (Pacific Standard)

A new study shows financial incentives at farmers' markets do work to increase vegetable consumption, writes Avital Andrews, which makes a strong case for government nutrition incentives.

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Daily Digest - August 5: Basic Needs Shouldn't Need to Be Bought

Aug 5, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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The Real Solution to Wealth Inequality (The Nation)

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The Real Solution to Wealth Inequality (The Nation)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal and Bryce Covert write that instead of trying to increase individuals' purchasing power, basic needs should just be taken off the market altogether.

Why Is the Economy Still Weak? Blame These Five Sectors (NYT)

Neil Irwin examines the possible causes for the underperformance of several economic sectors based on careful predictions of what their output ought to be in a healthier economy.

The NLRB-McDonald's Ruling Could be the Beginning of a Franchise War (LA Times)

Michael Hiltzik suggests that as the National Labor Relations Board places more responsibility on franchisors like McDonald's, those companies will try to pass costs to their franchisees.

A University President Gave up $90,000 to Give His Minimum Wage Workers a Raise (Vox)

By reducing his own salary, the interim president of Kentucky State University has ensured a raise from $7.25 an hour to $10.25 an hour for the school's lowest-paid workers.

As Congress Adjourns, GOP Declares “Omission Accomplished” (OurFuture.org)

Congress left for summer recess with the GOP having blocked almost everything from passing, but Richard Eskow also calls out the Democrats for failing to give them more progressive proposals to block.

The United States Needs Corporate 'Loyalty Oaths' (The Daily Beast)

"Non-desertion agreements" as requirements for federal contractors would help to ensure companies choose to pay U.S. corporate taxes, writes Jonathan Alter.

New on Next New Deal

Will Syracuse Become New York's Second Economic Capital?

In her video speculation for the Next American Economy project, Amy Liu, Co-Director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, predicts cities will step up as drivers of innovation and investment.

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Daily Digest - August 4: The Underappreciated Success of Financial Reform

Aug 4, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Obama’s Other Success (NYT)

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Obama’s Other Success (NYT)

Dodd-Frank financial reform is proving more successful than expected, writes Paul Krugman. He cites Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal in debunking the claim that the law created permanent bailouts.

The NFL Cheerleaders Should Be Your Fair-Pay Heroes (TNR)

Bryce Covert looks at what's needed to achieve wage growth in today's economy. She talks to Mike Konczal, who suggests that the Fed could help everyone's wages if it focused on unemployment.

Economy Adds 209,000 Jobs in July; Unemployment Rate Edges Up to 6.2 Percent (WaPo)

Ylan Q. Mui breaks down Friday's jobs report, which was generally positive but showed that underemployment (part-timers who want more hours) and long-term unemployment haven't budged.

Relying on Online Listings, Young Americans Struggle to Find Jobs (The Guardian)

Today's system of online job applications isn't making the search any easier, writes Jana Kasperkevic, as job-seekers find that their applications seem to disappear into black holes.

Work and Worth (Robert Reich)

Robert Reich emphasizes the difference between pay and value to society, given that kindergarten teachers and social workers make far less than hedge fund managers.

New on Next New Deal

The Worker-Owned Small Business Revolution

In his video speculation for the Next American Economy project, Gar Alperovitz predicts that as MBAs realize that worker-owned companies achieve higher productivity, the model will grow.

Thinking About the Women in Think Tanks

Bringing more women into the upper echelons of policy work will require engaging younger women in this work, writes Roosevelt Institute Summer Academy Fellow Hannah Zhang.

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Gar Alperovitz: The Worker-Owned Small Business Revolution

Aug 4, 2014

The Next American Economy project brought together 30 experts from various disciplines to envision tomorrow's economic and political challenges and develop today's solutions. Their assignment: be bold, and leave the conventional wisdom -- and their own opinions -- behind. In today's video, political economist Gar Alperovitz speculates on what could happen if workers claim power over small businesses.

The Next American Economy project brought together 30 experts from various disciplines to envision tomorrow's economic and political challenges and develop today's solutions. Their assignment: be bold, and leave the conventional wisdom -- and their own opinions -- behind. In today's video, political economist Gar Alperovitz speculates on what could happen if workers claim power over small businesses.

Gar Alperovitz, Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, describes the potential for a future economic revolution: starting in Cleveland, small businesses will democratize ownership. From there, the model will spread to cities across the country. As MBAs begin to understand that productivity in worker-owned companies is higher than in traditional firms, the movement will continue to grow.

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Daily Digest - August 1: Too Big to Fail vs. Too Small to Matter

Aug 1, 2014

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An In-Depth Look at Campaign Finance Reform (MSNBC)

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An In-Depth Look at Campaign Finance Reform (MSNBC)

In this extended online segment, Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren speaks with Zephyr Teachout about using multiple matching funds as a tool to increase the power of small donors.

Playing the ‘Who’s the Boss?’ Game with Employees (WaPo)

The National Labor Relations Board ruling that McDonald's can be held accountable for franchise labor violations sheds light on the ways employers try to dodge responsibility, writes Catherine Rampell.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute President and CEO Felicia Wong and Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch commented on the NLRB decision earlier this week.

‘Pension Smoothing’: The Gimmick Both Parties in Congress Love (NYT)

Josh Barro says pension smoothing, which increases revenues by allowing smaller pension contributions, and other gimmicks provide funding on too-short timelines, requiring another hunt for funds soon after.

Feds Say Big Banks Are Still Too Big to Fail (MoJo)

Despite Dodd-Frank's financial regulations, a new Government Accountability Office report says investors still expect bailouts if the largest banks fail, giving those banks advantages over smaller ones, writes Erika Eichelberger.

Hope Springs Eternal, But The Data Is Actually Pretty Mixed About Whether Or Not Recovery Is Accelerating (Working Economics)

Josh Bivens cautions against excitement about GDP and job growth as signs of a speedier recovery. The data isn't actually that strong, and he sees the potential for job growth to slow.

New on Next New Deal

Let's Hope the GAO Report Ends the Too-Big-to-Fail Subsidy Distraction

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal writes that the existence of a too-big-to-fail subsidy isn't as important or potentially destructive as the systemic problems of the financial system.

Education Left Behind

Edyta Obrzut, the Campus Network's NextGen Illinois Research Fellow, examines the challenges facing education policy in Illinois today, and the potential solutions put forward by NextGen caucuses.

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Daily Digest - July 31: The IRS Can't Follow the Money When It Has None of Its Own

Jul 31, 2014

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IRS Failing to Regulate Dark-Money Political Spending (Real News Network)

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IRS Failing to Regulate Dark-Money Political Spending (Real News Network)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Thomas Ferguson explains how reduced funding for the IRS is preventing the agency from properly determining what groups need to report political spending.

3 Reasons Subsidized Jobs Should Be Part of an Economic Mobility Agenda (CAP)

Rachel West says that subsidized job programs are effective at bringing people who have been left out into the labor force, even in non-recessionary times.

It’s a Reasonable Goal: Wages That Pay the Bills (Boston Globe)

Steven Syre questions why public support is so much higher for groups fighting to maintain their hard-won living wages than it is for fast food workers seeking the same level of stability.

Obama Plans New Scrutiny for Contractors on Labor Practices (NYT)

A new executive order will require federal contractors to disclose any labor violations from the past three years, and give preference to cleaner records, report Steven Greenhouse and Michael D. Shear.

Why the House of Representatives Just Voted to Sue President Obama (Vox)

Neither legislative body has ever sued the President for failing to enforce the law, explains Andrew Prokop, so this has broad implications for who controls how policy is implemented.

New on Next New Deal

Leadership Wanted: The College Access Crisis Needs You, Mayor de Blasio

Kevin Stump, Leadership Director for the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network, says that Mayor de Blasio must invest in programs that increase college access alongside those that help at-risk students.

In the Artisanal Economy, Work Is What You Make of It

In his speculation for the Next American Economy project, Harvard economics professor Lawrence Katz suggests that an economy of craftsmanship could create higher wages out of low-end work.

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Roosevelt Reacts: NLRB Holds McDonald's Accountable for Labor Violations

Jul 30, 2014
Yesterday, the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board ruled that McDonald's is a joint employer for the workers at its franchises, meaning that the corporation could be held liable for any labor and wage violations that occur at its individual restaurants.

The decision, says Roosevelt Institute President and CEO Felicia Wong...

Yesterday, the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board ruled that McDonald's is a joint employer for the workers at its franchises, meaning that the corporation could be held liable for any labor and wage violations that occur at its individual restaurants.

The decision, says Roosevelt Institute President and CEO Felicia Wong, "rightly recognizes that, in today's changing and more fragmented workplace, workers still need the support and protections afforded by the law. Fast food workers are fighting for a wage that will allow them to care for their families and act as strong community members. This is an essential foundation for economic growth that benefits us all."

Adds Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch, "The common sense ruling that McDonald's is as much one company in the way it treats its workers as it is when it makes a Big Mac is a major step toward holding the biggest corporations in the country accountable for creating jobs that boost the economy instead of busting it."

Read more about what the Future of Work Initiative is doing to promote policies that empower American workers and secure prosperity for all.

Image via Shutterstock

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Daily Digest - July 29: Companies Look to Turn Off the Tap on Free Water

Jul 29, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Companies Proclaim Water the Next Oil in a Rush to Turn Resources into Profit (The Guardian)

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Companies Proclaim Water the Next Oil in a Rush to Turn Resources into Profit (The Guardian)

As the CEO of Nestle publicly declares that any water beyond survival needs should be paid for, Suzanne McGee considers the potential horror story of commodifying water.

Paid Leave Encourages Female Employees to Stay (NYT)

Federally mandated paid maternity leave could be one of the most powerful tools to reverse the decline of women's participation in the U.S. labor force, says Claire Cain Miller.

One More Clue that the Obamacare Lawsuits Are Wrong (TNR)

In light of current legal fights over health care exchange subsidies, Jonathan Cohn looks back to a 2010 e-mail from an influential House staffer for proof of Congress's intentions.

History Suggests Ryan Block Grant Would Be Susceptible to Cuts (Off the Charts)

Richard Kogan points out the vulnerability of block grants, which have less obvious impacts than individual programs. Of 11 major anti-poverty block grants, nine have faced cuts since 2001.

A Bill to Get the Labor Movement Back on Offense (The Nation)

George Zornick reports on a proposal by House Democrats that would make labor organizing a civil right and allow workers to take their complaints outside the National Labor Relations Board.

Fast Food Convention Portends Escalation in Strikes (MSNBC)

Ned Resnikoff writes that workers at this weekend's fast food convention pushed for more radical tactics as well as cross-movement collaboration with groups like Moral Mondays in North Carolina.

New on Next New Deal

After the End of the Innovation Era

Rob Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, envisions a future of slowed technological growth in his speculation for the Next American Economy project.

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Daily Digest - July 28: Work Shouldn't Be a Threat to Working Families

Jul 28, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Poor Parents Need Work-Life Balance Too (The Nation)

Michelle Chen says that without the flexibility of scheduling offered by white-collar jobs, workers in the service industries face volatile schedules that disrupt family lives.

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Poor Parents Need Work-Life Balance Too (The Nation)

Michelle Chen says that without the flexibility of scheduling offered by white-collar jobs, workers in the service industries face volatile schedules that disrupt family lives.

Fast-Food Workers Intensify Fight for $15 an Hour (NYT)

At the largest convention of fast-food workers, Steven Greenhouse reports that workers approved escalated tactics, drawing on the nonviolent civil disobedience of the Civil Rights Movement.

Close the Tax Loophole on Inversions (WaPo)

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew explains the need for immediate action to reform the tax code to limit companies' ability to avoid taxes by merging with foreign companies.

Fed’s Targeting of Asset Bubbles Leads to Contradictions (AJAM)

Bubbles might be necessary to obtain full employment, writes Philip Pilkington, but limiting bubbles is among the Federal Reserve's goals. Higher deficits or lower inequality could help.

New on Next New Deal

Two Tiers of College Tuition? Not on This Campus

Mohanned Abdelhameed, Vice President of the San Bernardino Valley Community College chapter of the Campus Network, explains why students rejected two-tiered tuition pricing models.

Inequality Could Spark a Second Civil War

In his speculation for the Next American Economy initiative, Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren imagines a future in which national cohesion has disintegrated and a one-party civil oligarchy has taken control.

Quick Thoughts on Ryan's Poverty Plan: What Are the Risks?

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal says that Paul Ryan's wholesale adoption of the President's plan for the Earned Income Tax Credit shows the value of pushing further to the left.

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Daily Digest - July 24: All the Performance Pay, None of the Performance

Jul 24, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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The Pay-for-Performance Myth (Bloomberg Businessweek)

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The Pay-for-Performance Myth (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Eric Chemi and Ariana Giorgi report on a new analysis of data on the relationship between company performance and CEO pay, which shows no relationship between the two factors.

  • Roosevelt Take: In his white paper, William Lazonick explains how stock-based performance pay incentivizes CEOs toward business practices that manipulate stock prices.

Elizabeth Warren to Help Propose Senate Bill to Tackle Part-Time Schedules (The Guardian)

Jana Kasperkevic writes that the Schedules That Work Act would establish a right to request a predictable schedule, payment for cancelled shifts, and two weeks' notice of schedule changes.

Technology, Aided by Recession, Is Polarizing the Work World (NYT)

Claire Cain Miller says a new study explains how the recession has accelerated the loss of "routine" jobs, which follow well-defined procedures and used to go primarily to men and people with less education.

Even After Open Enrollment, Activity Remains Unexpectedly High on Federal Health Insurance Exchange (ProPublica)

There have been nearly 1 million transactions on the federal exchange since the April 19 enrollment deadline, writes Charles Ornstein, as people continue to sign up for and switch insurance plans.

Paul Ryan's Anti-Poverty Plan Should Support Minimum-Wage Hike, But Don't Count on It (The Hill)

Raising the minimum wage is one of the best ways to fight poverty today, writes Shawn Fremstad, but Paul Ryan ignores research that shows higher wages wouldn't impact employment.

Highway to Hell (The Economist)

The Economist says Congress's solution to funding the Highway Trust Fund through budget tricks around pensions creates risk of greater costs on taxpayers if those underfunded pensions go bust.

New on Next New Deal

The Future Economy Will Pit Man vs. Machine

Andy Stern, president emeritus of the SEIU, presents a speculation on the future for the Next American Economy project in which technology replaces the vast majority of jobs.

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