Daily Digest - January 17: Less Aid Won't Lead to Less Inequality

Jan 17, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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People Worried About Income Inequality (The Kudlow Report)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal explains that while it's true that income inequality isn't quite as bad if you account for programs that provide low-wage income support, the GOP's plans to reduce that support and lower taxes will make the problem worse.

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People Worried About Income Inequality (The Kudlow Report)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal explains that while it's true that income inequality isn't quite as bad if you account for programs that provide low-wage income support, the GOP's plans to reduce that support and lower taxes will make the problem worse.

Advocates for Workers Raise the Ire of Business (NYT)

Steven Greenhouse writes about how businesses are reacting to the rise of worker centers as an alternative model for labor organizing. He quotes Greg Asbed from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, who decries businesses' attacks on these centers as "McCarthy-era tactics."

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch interviewed Greg Asbed and two of his fellow organizers prior to the 2013 Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Awards, where the Roosevelt Institute awarded the CIW the Freedom from Want Medal.

How Walmart Organizers Turned the Internet Into a Shop Floor (In These Times)

Sarah Jaffe looks at the innovative ways that OUR Walmart has used social media to organize discussions, build leaders, and support protests. She writes that these online spaces are valuable ways for organizers to reach workers and activists alike.

Mayor, Speaker Reach Deal on Paid Sick Leave (Capital New York)

Sally Goldenberg reports that New York City's top elected officials have reached an agreement to expand the city's paid sick leave law, which currently only applies to companies with at least 20 workers. Lowering that threshold will give more workers access to paid sick leave.

Obama Weighing Executive Action on Minimum Wage? (WaPo)

Greg Sargent writes that according to Senator Bernie Sanders, the White House is seriously considering raising the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors. Unlike raising the federal minimum wage, this could be accomplished with an executive order.

All the Jobs Growth Last Month Went to Women. (And That's Not Necessarily Good News for Them.) (TNR)

Emma Roller considers some of the problems with current job growth, which is primarily low-wage, going so heavily to women. She points to this "sinking floor" rather than the glass ceiling as the issue that is affecting most women in the workplace.

New on Next New Deal

Is Bridgegate Politics as Usual, or Beyond the Pale?

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Bo Cutter considers the Christie administration's actions in light of his years of experience in government. He says that because the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge affected normal people, this case is particularly terrible.

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Daily Digest - January 16: We (Almost) Have a Budget. What's Next?

Jan 16, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Join Roosevelt Institute Associate Director of Networked Initiatives Alan Smith for a Twitter discussion this afternoon at 2pm EST to discuss the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network's new project examining how anchor institutions can promote local economic development. Follow the discussion at #RethinkingCommunities.

House Passes Compromise $1.1 Trillion Budget for 2014 (CNN)

Deirdre Walsh and Lisa Desjardins report on the omnibus spending bill that will now move to the Senate. Earlier this week, the President signed a three-day extension on the current continuing resolution, which gives the Senate until Saturday to pass the new budget.

Reid Vows to Try UI Again (The Hill)

Ramsey Cox writes that despite the Republicans blocking the vote on extended unemployment insurance this week, Senator Reid wants to try again after the Senate passes the budget. It's been nearly three weeks since 1.3 million people lost their long-term unemployment benefits.

Seeking Ways to Help the Poor and Childless (NYT)

Eduardo Porter looks at an experiment in earned income tax credit-style support for workers without children. The test considers whether the labor market is doing enough to support the needs of all workers, and what government can do to make up the difference.

Workers At Food Court Owned By Federal Government Allege They’ve Been Cheated Out Of $3 Million (ThinkProgress)

Alan Pyke reports that Good Jobs Nation has filed a complaint with the Department of Labor, alleging that service workers in Washington, DC's Union Station have been subject to chronic wage theft. The complaint claims losses averaging $10,000 per worker per year.

Push Set to Wrest Minimum-Wage Control From Albany (Crain's New York)

Chris Bragg writes that liberal groups are launching a campaign to allow municipalities in New York to pass higher local minimum wages. New York City politicians are supporting this proposal, but it's unclear how the state legislature feels about giving up control of the minimum wage.

Why Banks Aren’t Lending to Homebuyers (Reuters)

Felix Salmon explains the drop in mortgage availability as a simple matter of profits. At current rates, a 30-year fixed rate mortgage won't make much money for a bank, and the possible solutions aren't very good for potential homeowners.

Regions Bank To Discontinue Payday Loan Program (NPR)

Robert Benincasa reports that the Alabama-based bank is discontinuing its payday loan offerings, likely in response to increased regulations that don't apply to this bank. This shows that sometimes, even the threat of regulation will eliminate the worst banking practices.

New on Next New Deal

Move Over, Shareholders: Let Workers Have a Say in Corporate Governance

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Senior Fellow for Economic Development Azi Hussain argues that we could change corporations so that they wouldn't have to put shareholder profits above all. A stakeholder corporate governance model would bring new priorities to the board room.

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Daily Digest - January 15: Nobel Winners Unite to Push for Higher Wages

Jan 15, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Seven Nobel Laureates Endorse Higher U.S. Minimum Wage (Bloomberg)

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Seven Nobel Laureates Endorse Higher U.S. Minimum Wage (Bloomberg)

Lorraine Woellert reports that the laureates are part of a group of 75 economists pushing for a minimum wage of $10.10 an hour by 2016, and for indexing the minimum wage to inflation. Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz is among the signatories of this letter.

Net Neutrality is Dead. Bow to Comcast and Verizon, Your Overlords (LA Times)

Michael Hiltzik explains yesterday's federal court decision, which struck down the FCC's net neutrality rules. He quotes Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford, who says big telecommunications companies aren't really competing, which makes regulation even more necessary.

Blue-Collar Wage-Grade Federal Workers Waiting on Pay Raise (WaPo)

Emily Wax-Thibodeaux writes about the federal employees who haven't gotten a 1 percent raise yet, despite President Obama's executive order ending a three-year pay freeze. Congress could finally enact that raise in the omnibus spending bill that's under consideration now.

Extension of Unemployment Benefits Dead in Senate For Now (CBS News)

Rebecca Kaplan explains how a fight over the rights of the minority party in the Senate subsumed the push to renew extended unemployment benefits. Senate Democrats are criticizing their Republican colleagues for putting politics ahead of the needs of the long-term unemployed.

Whose Side Are Progressives on: The Poor or the Upper Middle Class? (PolicyShop)

David Callahan points out that the coalition that elected President Obama twice and just elected Mayor de Blasio in New York City looks like a barbell: plenty of poor voters, and plenty of upper-middle class voters. But thus far, political priorities have greatly favored the wealthier part of this coalition.

Poverty Is Literally Making People Sick Because They Can't Afford Food (The Atlantic Cities)

Matthew O'Brien looks at a new study that determined that low-income patients who are living paycheck-to-paycheck experience an increase in health problems related to lack of food at the end of each month. The easiest solutions ensure that people have more money to buy food.

Democrats Concede to Curb Funds for Wall Street Regulators in Spending Bill (The Guardian)

Dan Roberts explains some of the bargains made for the sake of Congress's omnibus appropriations bill, expected to pass this week. Financial reform advocates are angered by the cuts to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission budgets.

Regulators Ease Volcker Rule Provision on Smaller Banks (NYT)

Matthew Goldstein reports that regulators gave in to pressures from the banking industry and revised the Volcker Rule, supposedly to reduce its effects on smaller community banks. However, the revised rule will allow big banks to keep certain investments that could be seen as proprietary trading.

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Daily Digest - January 14: Big Money Isn't Beaten Yet

Jan 14, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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How Big Money Keeps Populism at Bay (AlterNet)

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How Big Money Keeps Populism at Bay (AlterNet)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Thomas Ferguson writes with Paul Jorgensen and Jie Chen about how both parties' reliance on large donations from the wealthy to keep campaigns afloat limits the influence of populist movements on elections.

  • Roosevelt Take: Ferguson pulls from his working paper with Jorgensen and Chen to discuss political spending in the 2012 campaign.

'Mom did it, we can do it': Two-Generation Programs Help Lift Families Out of Poverty (NBC News)

Former Roosevelt Institute | Pipeline Fellow Nona Willis Aronowitz writes about a highly successful anti-poverty program in Amarillo, TX. The program works with single mothers and their children simultaneously to promote academic achievement.

How the Rise of Women in Labor Could Save the Movement (The Nation)

Bryce Covert draws on research from Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren as she argues that encouraging the rise of female leadership in both traditional and alt-labor groups will help to reinvigorate the labor movement and lead it to success.

Two Roads Forward for Labor: The AFL-CIO’s New Agenda (Dissent)

Nelson Lichtenstein considers two paths for a revival of the labor movement, one based in singular events of mass upheaval, and the other in a slow drift to the left in American politics. These options aren't mutually exclusive, so he says labor should prepare for both.

Blaming Poverty on Single Parents Is Win-Win for Republicans, Evidence Be Damned (The Wire)

Philip Bump says that when Senator Marco Rubio tries to link marriage rates and poverty, progressives should remember that correlation is not causation. Sadly, the GOP would rather talk about marriage as a solution than fund real anti-poverty programs.

It Is Expensive to Be Poor (The Atlantic)

Barbara Ehrenreich discusses poverty as a shortage of money, as opposed to the moral failure that many politicians spin it to be. She argues that Americans need to stop blaming poverty on the poor and start fixing the economic and social institutions that perpetuate it.

Banks Seek to Limit Volcker With Challenge to Meaning of ‘Own’ (Bloomberg)

Yalman Onaran reports that bankers have filed a lawsuit arguing that the Volcker Rule's definition of ownership with regard to hedge funds and private-equity funds is too broad. The rule was written that way to keep banks from skirting the ban on proprietary trading.

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Daily Digest - January 9: Celebrating the War on Poverty's Successes

Jan 8, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Materially Richer Today Than 50 Years Ago (The Kudlow Report)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal discusses the War on Poverty on CNBC, where he focuses on some of its successes. Mike says that War on Poverty programs have drastically reduced poverty among children and the elderly, which should be celebrated.

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Materially Richer Today Than 50 Years Ago (The Kudlow Report)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal discusses the War on Poverty on CNBC, where he focuses on some of its successes. Mike says that War on Poverty programs have drastically reduced poverty among children and the elderly, which should be celebrated.

A Dismal New Year for the Global Economy (The Guardian)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Joseph Stiglitz says that despite a few signs of economic improvement around the world, we should still be concerned about the ways that market economies across the globe are failing to create opportunity for most citizens.

Obama to Name 5 'Promise Zones' for Assistance (USA Today)

David Jackson reports on the creation of "Promise Zones," troubled neighborhoods that will receive targeted assistance to improve education, housing, and public safety. The plan involves working with government and businesses to attack poverty on a local level.

Connecticut Sick-Leave Law Has Little Impact on Employers: Study (WSJ)

Joseph de Avila looks at a study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research examining the effects of the CT law, which was the first paid-sick leave measure in the U.S. Preliminary findings show that only 10% of employers had payroll costs increase by 3% or more.

Rauner Wants to Roll Back Minimum Wage (NBC Chicago)

Mark W. Anderson writes that Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for Governor in Illinois, thinks that the state's $9.25 per hour minimum wage isn't "competitive." While many politicians are discussing raising minimum wages, he wants to return Illinois's to $7.25.

Investors Are Chastened. That’s A Good Thing. (ProPublica)

Jesse Eisinger says that the lack of enthusiasm for the stock market's record highs are a sign that the public has learned not to trust the stock market as a measure of the economy's success. Instead, it's a reminder that the recovery hasn't reached most Americans.

Warren, Coburn Push for Increased Transparency on Settlements (The Nation)

George Zornick reports on a new bill from Senators Warren and Coburn that would require federal agencies to provide full disclosures of how much corporations are actually paying in fines. Corporations write off large amounts in their taxes, and the Senators think the public should know how much.

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Daily Digest - January 8: The Long War on Poverty Continues

Jan 7, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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The War on Poverty Turns 50: Three Lessons for Liberals Today (TNR)

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The War on Poverty Turns 50: Three Lessons for Liberals Today (TNR)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal looks at new research from the Russell Sage Foundation on the successes of the War on Poverty, and considers how those accomplishments should guide liberals as poverty takes center stage in the lead-up to the midterm elections.

Millennial Perspective: How to Strengthen Social Security (National Priorities Project)

Roosevelt Institute | Pipeline member Tarsi Dunlop argues that Millennials should advocate for reforms that will ensure the future of Social Security. Most Millennials agree with her, with two-thirds supporting changes like raising the earnings cap on Social Security taxes.

Vote in Senate Starts Talks on Extending Unemployment Benefits (NYT)

Jonathan Weisman reports on the negotiations over extending emergency unemployment benefits, which expired at the end of December. Yesterday's vote advanced that cause in the Senate, but it's still entirely unclear if anything will come of it in the House.

Forever Temp? (In These Times)

Sarah Jaffe reports that even in industries that used to be known for good jobs, like auto manufacturing, temps are becoming the new norm. Temp jobs in factories pay less and lack benefits, and when workers come from multiple agencies, they're harder to organize.

A Blueprint for Labor’s Engagement With Southern Communities (The Blog of the Century)

Douglas Williams suggests that the Tompkins County Worker Center in upstate New York could provide a model for communities where labor has struggled. The key is the TCWC's strong engagement with the entire community, not just organized labor.

Will Elizabeth Warren Oppose Obama's Pick for Banking Watchdog? (MoJo)

Erika Eichelberger writes that Sharon Bowen, the President's newest nominee for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, might be too close to Wall Street for some senators' tastes, and Democrats like Warren could derail the nomination.

The Quest to Improve America’s Financial Literacy Is Both a Failure and a Sham (Pacific Standard)

Helaine Olen says that the call for expanding financial literacy education in the U.S. carries little meaning, because the real problem is low wages. The financial literacy movement falsely implies that economic insecurity is always caused by bad choices instead of structural problems.

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Do Economists Understand How Power Shapes the Labor Market?

Jan 6, 2014Jeff Madrick

Even liberal mainstream economists often overlook the role of coercion in setting wages.

It was a great pleasure to read one of Paul Krugman’s columns over the holidays, entitled "The Fear Economy." I’d say it’s my favorite of 2013 because he took a decided step away from standard orthodox theory. Even Krugman rarely does that. His welcome and thankfully influential liberal ideas usually fall well within the scope of mainstream theory.

Even liberal mainstream economists often overlook the role of coercion in setting wages.

It was a great pleasure to read one of Paul Krugman’s columns over the holidays, entitled "The Fear Economy." I’d say it’s my favorite of 2013 because he took a decided step away from standard orthodox theory. Even Krugman rarely does that. His welcome and thankfully influential liberal ideas usually fall well within the scope of mainstream theory.

This was not the case in his December 27 column, or so I interpret it. Krugman talked about “power” in the labor market. When there aren’t enough jobs around, workers lose their bargaining power, he wrote, and they can’t maintain decent wages. This was a major statement by a Nobel winner.

Why? Well, the typical reader might say, “Of course there is power in the labor market. And unless there are labor unions or a low unemployment rate, the power belongs to the employer to set wages and hire and fire. What else is new?" But if you were an economist, odds are you wouldn’t say this. Power plays a peripheral role, if any at all, in conventional economics.

The invisible hand, remember, is, as Milton Friedman defined it, “coordination without coercion.” And the invisible hand, the mainstream believes, rules the labor market as it does most others. That is to say, no coercion. This is just not a view of Chicago School conservatives.

What does Krugman think? “Now, you may believe that employment is a market relationship like any other — there’s a buyer and a seller, and it’s just a matter of mutual consent,” he wrote in a blog post a few days earlier on the same subject (in which he nicely referenced the Roosevelt Institute’s Mike Konczal). “You may also believe in Santa Claus.”

Apparently most orthodox economists believe in Santa Claus. They claim workers are paid what they deserve, just as businesses pay the going price for copper or software. That price is reached fair and square through competition. If more workers are needed to produce the goods and services demanded in the economy, their price—that is, their wage-- goes up. But if fewer workers are needed, their price goes down.

That labor is paid what it deserves is a central tenet of modern capitalism. It is partly why economists believe that if you raise productivity, or output per hour of work, wages will follow. But productivity has been rising moderately strongly for a couple of decades and wages simply haven’t kept up.

And as Krugman notes, the rate at which workers quit their jobs has stayed very low. In other words, they are afraid to do so.

In conventional economics, the efficient and fair workings of the invisible hand are only disrupted when competition is artificially restrained by monopolistic or oligopolistic practices. In the labor market, that would mean there are too few businesses, so they don’t compete for workers. In practice, many and probably most economists rarely worry about that. They do worry about how labor unions might reduce competition on the other side of the equation, “coercing” wages up.

And it explains why so few economists have urged a substantial increase in the minimum wage until recently. If labor markets set the wage fairly, an artificial increase would reduce jobs. But if power is involved, a minimum wage regulation can offset the coercion from the top.

When Alan Greenspan was chairman of the Federal Reserve, he watched the quit rate mentioned by Krugman closely. If it got too high, he worried that pressures to ask for wage increases would build and lead to inflation, so he would have to step on the monetary brakes to get the unemployment rate back up.

I think Greenspan, an orthodox if highly ideological economist, probably believed fully in the invisible hand. So why did he worry about worker bargaining power? Maybe he thought that if the market were working properly, without help from unions, the quit rate would always be low. He seemed delighted when the quit rate remained low.

This is not to say there are no intelligent ways to talk about power within the orthodox conventions. One noted problem is a lack of adequate information to bargain and choose fairly, for example. Another is a famous theorem of Ronald Coase that differences can be negotiated, but I think that falls under the same principle of power.

Maybe the neglect of power is changing now, however. An economist calculated that in the Journal of Economic Issues -- granted, a left-wing journal -- there had been 44 articles with “power” in the headline since 2008, more than in the previous 16 years.

What is power? I’d call it the ability to make someone do what they don’t want to do. It's coercion by any other name, and it exists in modern labor markets. That’s a good start, anyway. And maybe soon we’ll start shedding some other myths of mainstream economics.

Jeff Madrick is a Senior Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative.

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Daily Digest - January 6: Putting Policies That Help Workers Back on the Agenda

Jan 6, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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Economists Agree: Raising the Minimum Wage Reduces Poverty (WaPo)

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Economists Agree: Raising the Minimum Wage Reduces Poverty (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal looks at a new paper from economist Arin Dube, which finds that regardless of other effects, a higher minimum wage would pull people out of poverty. That, Mike argues, should be enough reason to consider an increase.

Jobless Left in Cold on Benefits (Melissa Harris-Perry)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren discusses whether emergency unemployment benefits will be addressed even though they're not on House Republicans' agenda. He thinks that the GOP will be forced to deal with this issue whether it wants to or not.

The Gap in Medical Education (LA Times)

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network alum Rahul Rekhi argues that medical school curricula should be changed to include health policy. Doctors who are better informed about the basics of policy, he argues, are more able to serve as advisors to patients and lawmakers.

The Group That Got Health Reform Passed is Declaring Victory and Going Home (WaPo)

Harold Pollack interviews Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch on the work of Health Care for America Now, which closed shop at the end of 2013. Richard discusses how this model of health reform came to prominence, and the political missteps that happened along the way.

US Economy Losing 'up to a $1bn a week' After Jobless Benefits Cut (The Guardian)

Paul Lewis reports on the assessment of Harvard economist Lawrence Katz, who based his calculation on the "multiplier effect" caused when people on unemployment insurance spend that money. Katz calls the cut "irresponsible" in the still-recovering economy.

H&M Plans to Pay Garment Workers Fair Wages. Here's Why That's Probably BS. (MoJo)

Dana Liebelson critiques the low-priced retailer's announcement, pointing out some flaws in its plan for fair wages. H&M isn't releasing any real wage numbers, and the fair-wage promise isn't extended to subcontractors along the supply chain.

Local Labor Influence Takes Hit in Boeing Contract (ABC News)

Phuong Le reports on a union vote by the Machinists Local 751 in Seattle, which narrowly accepted a new contract with Boeing. The contract had previously been rejected for cuts to pensions, but national leadership urged a second vote when it looked like Boeing would move jobs out of Seattle.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch praised the union for its initial pushback against the Boeing contract.

The Year of the Great Redistribution (Robert Reich)

Robert Reich argues that the stock market's all-time high at the end of 2013 represents a massive redistribution of wealth from workers to the wealthiest Americans. Those profits have come, in large part, by pushing down wages, and government has permitted this instead of fighting back for labor.

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Daily Digest - January 2: What Kind of Year Will It Be for Workers?

Jan 2, 2014Rachel Goldfarb

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2013 Was a Bad Year for Wall St. Lobbyists (TNR)

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2013 Was a Bad Year for Wall St. Lobbyists (TNR)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal argues that financial reform had a surprisingly good 2013. The combination of engaged activists and intellectuals and supportive legislators and regulators led to several stronger-than-expected regulations.

NSA Scandal May Help Build Cyber-Barriers (Bloomberg View)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford suggests that the NSA's spying could create further incentive for European Internet companies to establish more secure, and therefore more segregated, Internet traffic routing in the European Union.

Debt, No Degree: Bills Mount for Ex-College Students Who Never Reached the Finish Line (NBC News)

Former Roosevelt Institute | Pipeline Fellow Nona Willis Aronowitz looks at how people who took out loans for school but didn't finish are handling that debt in this economy. Some now see the attempt at bettering their lives through education as a complete waste.

January May be Do-Or-Die for Jobless Benefits (WaPo)

George Zornick looks at the options to bring back extended unemployment insurance, which lapsed on December 28, and concludes that the time is now. If an extension isn't passed this month, it's more and more likely that it will get pushed aside for other policy priorities.

North Carolina's Failed Ending of Long-Term Unemployment Benefits (Policyshop)

Matt Bruenig uses charts to explain why North Carolina's official unemployment rate has dropped after the state cut off benefits to the long-term unemployed. It would be great if it was because employment was up, but instead people are dropping out of the labor force entirely.

Nearly One And A Half Million Workers Will Get A Raise On New Year’s Day (ThinkProgress)

Bryce Covert lays out the list of states and cities where the lowest-paid workers got a raise yesterday. Some of these raises come from a minimum wage indexed to inflation, and four states and one town passed new minimum wage laws in 2013 that have just gone into effect.

Supporters of $15 Wage Seek Appeal of Ruling (NYT)

Kirk Johnson reports on the appeal request, which follows a December 27 ruling that the new minimum wage in SeaTac, Washington won't apply at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which is within the town limits but administered by the Port of Seattle.

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Daily Digest - December 24: A Job Market That's Two Sizes Too Small

Dec 24, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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The Roosevelt Institute's Daily Digest is taking a break for the holidays. We'll be back on January 2, but in the meantime, we're rounding up highlights from our blog in 2013. On Friday, December 27, we'll share the best posts from our Millennial networks. On Monday, December 30, we'll have highlights from the Four Freedoms Center.

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

The Roosevelt Institute's Daily Digest is taking a break for the holidays. We'll be back on January 2, but in the meantime, we're rounding up highlights from our blog in 2013. On Friday, December 27, we'll share the best posts from our Millennial networks. On Monday, December 30, we'll have highlights from the Four Freedoms Center.

A Roosevelt Institute staffer's sister has gone missing in Buffalo, NY. Watch this video for more information. If you're able to help in any way, you can connect with the search efforts on Facebook.

Five Days Until Unemployment Insurance Ends (The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren decries the political viewpoint that casts the unemployed as too lazy and undeserving of aid. He notes that ending long-term unemployment insurance will put government support for the unemployed at its lowest level since 1950.

Rand Paul Has Some Festivus Grievances with Washington. The Unemployed Have Some With Him. (WaPo)

Ezra Klein suggests that the long-term unemployed have grounds to complain that Washington isn't doing enough to help them find work. There just aren't enough jobs to go around, so cutting off benefits isn't going to solve anything, despite what Senator Paul says.

10 Reasons That Long-Term Unemployment Is a National Catastrophe (MoJo)

Kevin Drum explains all the reasons that Americans should be paying much more attention to the problem of long-term unemployment, not the least of which is that long-term unemployment is estimated to cost around 7 percent of potential GDP growth per year.

Living Wage Ruling Gives Queens Casino Workers a Fighting Chance (NYT)

Rachel L. Swarns reports on the sudden jump in wages for workers at a casino in Queens, NY thanks to a labor arbitrator's decision to require the casino to pay a real living wage. Before the decision, many of these workers relied on second jobs or government assistance.

Phoenix Becomes First City To End Chronic Homelessness Among Veterans (ThinkProgress)

Scott Keyes reports on Phoenix's efforts, which include a "Housing First" policy that prioritizes supportive housing over sobriety requirements. The Obama administration has called for an end to veteran homelessness by 2015, but the rest of the country is far behind Phoenix.

The Business Case for Paternity Leave (The Atlantic)

Arlie Hochschild argues that paternity leave is actually better for the bottom line, particular in this unpredictable economy. Her proof is from a ranking of countries' "business climate" by the World Economic Forum, which puts two countries with paternity leave ahead of the U.S.

The Obamacare Exchange Will Stay Open Today. Here's Why (TNR)

Jonathan Cohn says the administration pushed back the deadline for buying insurance on the federal exchange to give those experiencing rate shock a little more time. Employer-subsidized insurance obscures costs, which makes almost any plan look inordinately expensive to individuals.

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