Daily Digest - December 13: Who Has Real Family Values in Politics?

Dec 13, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Why Democrats’ Doomed Family Leave Bill Matters (MSNBC)

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Why Democrats’ Doomed Family Leave Bill Matters (MSNBC)

Irin Carmon argues that even though there's almost no chance of Congress passing it, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act ensures that issues of caregiving and economic justice are in the news. It also creates an opportunity to push back on the GOP's brand of "family values."

N.Y.U. Graduate Assistants to Join Auto Workers’ Union (NYT)

Steven Greenhouse reports on the graduate assistants' overwhelming support for unionizing. As the only graduate assistants' union recognized by a private university, the union hopes to create better conditions that would also make NYU's programs more attractive to applicants.

Only Progressives Care About Public Investment (The Blog of the Century)

Andrew Fieldhouse writes that while centrists claim to want adequate funding for public investment, their budget proposals suggest otherwise. Increased public investment requires increased revenue, and only the Congressional Progressive Caucus's budget proposal has enough.

The War Over Austerity Is Over. Republicans Won. (MoJo)

Kevin Drum pulls from the work of conservative wonk Yuval Levin to discuss the shift in the conversation on government spending. He notes that the Murray-Ryan budget deal sets spending lower than the original Ryan budget, which was seen as pretty extreme only a couple of years ago.

New on Next New Deal

Stanley Fischer Will Please Centrists, But He's the Wrong Choice for the Fed

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Jeff Madrick says that Stanley Fischer is too much of an austerian and too doctrinaire to be the best choice for Janet Yellen's Vice Chair. He points to the 1997 Asian financial crisis for evidence that Fischer will put ideology first.

Stanley Fischer is the Right Choice to be the Fed's Vice Chair

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Bo Cutter argues in favor of Fischer's diverse background and his experience in difficult policymaking arenas. With the Republicans preparing to evaluate and examine the Fed, Bo suggests that Fischer will be a valuable resource for Yellen.

Local Government is the Secret Weapon in the Fight Against Economic Inequality

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network National Field Strategist Joelle Gamble argues that it's time to consider new ways to push back against economic inequality. Cities and towns should provide innovative incentives to businesses that encourage the right kind of economic growth.

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Daily Digest - December 11: Bipartisan Budgets Mean Everyone's A Little Unhappy

Dec 11, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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There Are Six Big Arguments Against the Volcker Rule. Here’s Why They’re Wrong. (WaPo)

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There Are Six Big Arguments Against the Volcker Rule. Here’s Why They’re Wrong. (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal takes on some of the most common arguments against the Volcker Rule, which claim that the rule is either unnecessary or even counterproductive. In the process, he makes his own case for why the rule is in fact needed.

The Most Important Economic Stories of 2013—in 41 Graphs (The Atlantic)

Matthew O'Brien kicks off the end-of-year round-ups with a list of graphs and charts. Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal's contribution shows the year's growth estimates from the Federal Reserve - evidence, Mike says, of a wasted year for returning to full employment.

U.S. Budget Agreement Eases Spending Cuts Over Two Years (Bloomberg)

Heidi Przybyla and Derek Wallbank explain the first bipartisan budget deal since 1986. The deal doesn't extend unemployment benefits and it saves money by increasing federal employees' pension contributions, but it's a deal, and it's likely to prevent another government shutdown.

Boeing Looks Around, and a State Worries (NYT)

Kirk Johnson looks at Boeing's options after the machinist union's rejection of a new contract that would have frozen pensions and harmed future union members. State after state is courting Boeing with special deals, even though it means passing up tax revenue from a massive airplane factory.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch explains that the Machinists Local 751 rejected Boeing's proposed contract to take a stand for what middle class jobs should look like today and into the future.

Is Service Work Today Worse Than Being a Household Servant? (AJAM)

David Cay Johnston poses this fascinating question along with a comparison of compensation for household cooks in the 1910s and modern fast-food cooks. Few would want to return to the Gilded Age, but many service-sector jobs had more security and stability then.

How The Residents Of SeaTac’s Lives Will Change With A $15 Minimum Wage (ThinkProgress)

Bryce Covert speaks to workers at the airport in SeaTac, Washington who will be getting a raise on January 1 thanks to the town's new minimum wage increase. Even as they plan how they will use the money, they are just as excited for the provision of the new law guaranteeing paid sick leave.

Why Every City Needs Its Own Minimum Wage (The Atlantic Cities)

Richard Florida explains an interesting model for calculating local minimum wages based on a region's median wage. He argues that a minimum wage between 50 and 60 percent of the regional median wage would be a better reflection of local cost of living.

New on Next New Deal

Conservatives and Progressives Agree: Congress Should Not Cut Unemployment Benefits

Nell Abernathy, Program Manager for the Roosevelt Institute's Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative, lays out the economic argument for maintaining unemployment insurance almost entirely in quotes from conservatives, demonstrating that this isn't only a progressive cause.

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Daily Digest - December 9: Stepping Up When Congress Won't Raise the Wage

Dec 9, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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The Fight for Fair Wages (All In With Chris Hayes)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren discusses the possibility of a minimum wage increase, and whether Congress will do anything about it. Even if Congress won't act, he's excited by the cities and states that are pushing ahead of higher wages already.

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The Fight for Fair Wages (All In With Chris Hayes)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren discusses the possibility of a minimum wage increase, and whether Congress will do anything about it. Even if Congress won't act, he's excited by the cities and states that are pushing ahead of higher wages already.

The Volcker Rule is Nearly Finished. Here’s How We’ll Know if it’s Any Good. (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal looks at key areas that will indicate whether the Volcker Rule is strong enough to regulate banks as intended. He emphasizes enforcement, since this rule aims to cause dramatic cultural and institutional change on Wall Street.

What is Deficit Mania Doing on the News Pages? (MoJo)

Kevin Drum points out that when reporters take for granted that Congress should prioritize deficit reduction above all else, they aren't doing their job. There's another side to this story, which considers the unprecedented nature of deficit cuts in a recession.

Wanted: More Unemployment (NYT)

Binyamin Appelbaum says that this month's job report isn't anything to be happy about. Since labor force participation has stayed basically stagnant while the unemployment rate drops, we're actually seeing people drop out of the labor force entirely.

Yes, McDonald's Can Do Better (TAP)

Catherine Ruetschlin writes about a new report she wrote with Amy Traub, published by Demos, which shows the math for how Wal-Mart and other low-wage employers could raise wages without passing on costs to consumers.

‘From Bean to Cup,’ Starbucks Labor Action Heats Up (In These Times)

Michelle Chen reports on supply chain-wide labor activism at Starbucks, where baristas are joining in solidarity with factory workers who produce their cups. The factory is pushing to allow temp workers at the factory, which would cut union negotiating power.

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Daily Digest - December 6: The Sky Isn't Falling From Minimum Wage Hikes

Dec 6, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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The Roosevelt Institute joins in mourning the passing of Nelson Mandela yesterday. Mandela received the 2002 Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Medal to honor his incredible legacy of civil rights work. You can read the citation written in his honor and his acceptance speech here.

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

The Roosevelt Institute joins in mourning the passing of Nelson Mandela yesterday. Mandela received the 2002 Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Medal to honor his incredible legacy of civil rights work. You can read the citation written in his honor and his acceptance speech here.

Minimum Wage, Major Fight (Jansing & Co.)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren argues that raising the minimum wage won't cause the sky to collapse, despite messaging from McDonald's and the rest of the fast-food industry. Higher wages would instead reinforce and grow the middle class.

Raising Interest Rates Now Would Be a Tragic Error (U.S. News & World Report)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Jeff Madrick writes that our economy is still too fragile for the Fed to start raising interest rates. That would cause a cascade of other problems, including harming our already slack labor market.

Long-Term Unemployment is Still at its Highest Levels Since World War II (WaPo)

Brad Plumer points out that in the past, emergency unemployment benefits didn't end until the long-term unemployment rate was under half the current rate of 2.6 percent. But House Republicans don't seem to care that cutting benefits won't magically give people work.

Massachusetts Voters Will Weigh In On Guaranteeing Paid Sick Days (ThinkProgress)

Bryce Covert reports that activists turned in nearly four times as many signatures as needed to get paid sick leave on the ballot for 2014 in Massachusetts. They also delivered a petition for raising the minimum wage, but the state's legislature might beat them to it.

While Obama Talks Poverty, Stabenow Agrees to $8 Billion More in SNAP Cuts (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann reports that while the President was giving his speech on economic inequality, the Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee was agreeing to a deal on SNAP cuts. Never before has a Democratic-controlled Senate even proposed cuts to SNAP.

New on Next New Deal

Obama Updates His Story About America

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch examines President Obama's speech on economic inequality. He says the president is presenting inequality as a roadblock to the American Dream, and progressives should run with this story to inspire action.

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Daily Digest - December 5: Pensions and Wages and Unions, Oh My!

Dec 5, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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An Agenda to Save the Euro (Project Syndicate)

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An Agenda to Save the Euro (Project Syndicate)

Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz lays out a plan to reform the political structure of the eurozone. Eliminating austerity policies, among other changes, could save the Euro and the European project of unity.

Life in a Mobile Nation (NYT)

The New York Times draws on former Roosevelt Institute | Pipeline Fellow Nona Willis Aronowitz's recent series on where Millennials are building their lives for a Room for Debate discussion. The responses consider whether a city can be ideal for all stages of a life.

A Government Ban on 23andMe's Genetic Testing Ignores Reality (The Guardian)

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network alumnus Rahul Rekhi says the FDA is trying to regulate 21st century technology with 20th century policy. Direct-to-consumer genetic testing could have plenty of potential, but an outright ban closes that option for research.

Study: States that Reject Medicaid Expansion Lose Money (USA Today)

Kelly Kennedy reports on a new study from the Commonwealth Fund laying out the state-by-state financial losses from refusing Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. That money would have gone to local health care providers, growing the states' economies.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Fellow Andrea Flynn's white paper, "The Title X Factor," says that states refusing Medicaid expansion is one of the reasons Title X family planning funds remain so important.

Pension Theft: Class War Goes to the Next Stage (Truthout)

Dean Baker decries the new sport of pension theft, a game that has just opened in Detroit and Illinois which he fears will spread further. Pensions are written into contracts, but apparently those contracts don't matter when they affect average workers.

Fast Food Strikes Hit 100 Cities Thursday (The Nation)

Allison Kilkenny speaks to fast food workers who plan to join strikes today as the call for higher wages spreads. The first fast food strikes were just over a year ago in New York City, and they have spread across the country; today's actions are expected to be the largest yet.

It’s Not Just Fast-Food Workers Who are Underpaid (Reuters)

Helaine Olen points out that while so-called "fast casual" dining might look nicer, with higher food quality and prices to match, that doesn't mean workers are paid any more than in fast food. It's important to keep that in mind with today's fast food strikes.

Don't Blame Robots For Declining Wages -- Blame Dissolving Unions (TPM)

Tali Kristal says that technology has only done so much to bring down wages. Her research shows the largest declines in share of income going to workers occurring in sectors where unions are disappearing, which does give us a possible path for wages to go back up.

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Daily Digest - December 3: Obamacare Doesn't Eliminate the Need for Title X

Dec 3, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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What's the Deal: Why Is Title X Important to the Success of the ACA? (Roosevelt Institute)

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What's the Deal: Why Is Title X Important to the Success of the ACA? (Roosevelt Institute)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Andrea Flynn breaks down the connection between Title X family planning clinics and the Affordable Care Act. She says that fully funding Title X would greatly increase the successes of health care reform.

Doing Macro First (NYT)

Paul Krugman agrees with Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal's recent Wonkblog column where he suggested shifting the order of subjects in introductory economics courses. Putting macroeconomics first help students try to make sense of the current crisis.

The Exploited Laborers of the Liberal Media (Vice)

Charles Davis looks at the array of liberal publications that write about labor issues, including the internship economy, without paying their own interns. Some publications are finally changing that model, but only after public pressure.

The Solution to Unemployment Isn’t Better-Trained Workers: Or, Systemic Problems Have Systemic Solutions (An Und Für Sich)

Adam Kotsko points out that calls for better training won't do anything to solve the number of jobs available or the quality of those jobs. If worker education is expanded, as a Wal-Mart VP suggests in response to protests, Wal-Mart will just have a more educated staff.

Holiday Weekend Sales Dip on Discounts; E-commerce Jumps (Reuters)

Phil Wahba reports that while even more people went shopping over the holiday weekend, total sales were still down. Steep discounts may have drawn in shoppers, but they didn't help the stores' profit margins.

NY State Regulator Subpoenas 16 Websites for Ties to Payday Lenders (WSJ)

Shayndi Rice explains that the state's Department of Financial Services suspects these websites are selling personal information to payday lenders that charge illegally high rates. Some of these predatory lenders charge annual interest rates over 600 percent.

Fast-Food Workers In 100 Cities To Walk Off The Job (HuffPo)

Candice Choi and Sam Hananel report on the upcoming protest, which will happen on Thursday. Demonstrations are planned in another hundred cities in addition to the strikes, making this the largest protest yet in fast food workers' call for higher wages.

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Daily Digest - November 27: Protesting For Living Wages, Black Friday and Beyond

Nov 26, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Walmart Workers Plan Protest on Black Friday (NOW with Alex Wagner)

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Walmart Workers Plan Protest on Black Friday (NOW with Alex Wagner)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren discusses how Walmart protests fit into the larger labor movement. Walmart workers have been holding strikes for a year, and they need public support year round to achieve policy change, not just on Black Friday.

How to Waste a Crisis (The New Inquiry)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal reviews Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste, by Philip Mirowski. He critiques Mirowski's examination of neoliberalism for not engaging in theories of how the crisis happened, and what could happen next.

Report: Social Entrepreneurs Innovate Solutions To Big Problems (Forbes)

Devin Thorpe interviews Roosevelt Institute Fellow Georgia Levenson Keohane about the ways that social entrepreneurs are creating change. Their focus on "entrenched social, economic, and environmental problems" is leading to new and innovative solutions.

  • Roosevelt Take: Georgia wrote a policy note on social impact bonds, in which public-private partnerships work to solve some of these problems.

Shopping on Thanksgiving Kills Poor Workers’ Holidays (CJR)

Ryan Chittum points out that much of the media is doing a terrible job covering the workers' side of the story when they report on Thanksgiving Day shopping. The workers who have to sacrifice their holiday deserve news coverage too.

With New Agreement, N.Y.U. Would Again Recognize Graduate Assistants’ Union (NYT)

Steven Greenhouse and Ariel Kaminer give context to this decision with a history of the school's fight over graduate assistant labor organizing. The union said that this agreement will allow things to move along much faster than their complaint to the National Labor Relations Board.

$15 Minimum Wage: Today SeaTac, Tomorrow America (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Joel Connelly reports that SeaTac's new minimum wage has passed on the finest of margins: 77 votes. Some opponents are asking for a recount, and others are already anticipating challenging the will of the voters in court.

Food Stamp Costs Are Decreasing Without The GOP's Cuts (MoJo)

Stephanie Mencimer points to a new study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which shows that SNAP enrollment has plateaued. The projected decline should be enough to bring costs back to 1995 levels in five years - but the GOP wants cuts anyway.

New on Next New Deal

North Carolina Students Push Past Bad News For Good Policy Proposals

Wilson Parker, Co-President of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill chapter of Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network, introduces a new policy journal from North Carolina students, in which they push for positive change despite the difficult news coming out of their state.

There will be no new Daily Digest on Thursday, November 27 and Friday, November 28. The Digest will return on Monday, December 2. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

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Daily Digest - November 26: Rethinking Fairness And Pay It Forward College Plans

Nov 25, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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The Trouble with Pay It Forward, Pay It Back (The GC Advocate)

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The Trouble with Pay It Forward, Pay It Back (The GC Advocate)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal argues against the pay it forward model of higher education funding that Oregon will soon attempt. He would greatly prefer using government to drive down the cost of tuition at public schools - and hopefully private institutions would follow.

Statistics: The Real Lost Generation (Truthdig)

Alexander Reed Kelly takes a look at the data in Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Jeff Madrick's recent column for Harper's Magazine on youth who are neither in school nor employed, or "opportunity youth." The numbers are scary, but government isn't taking any action.

  • Roosevelt Take: Read Jeff's column, "The Real Lost Generation," here.

H&M to Pay All Textile Workers Living Wage by 2018 (Epoch Times)

Catherine Yang reports on the clothing retailer's announcement, which they said will not impact prices. H&M's statement explicitly tied the size of the company to its responsibility to be a leader in pushing for living wages worldwide.

Bank Deal Ends Flawed Reviews of Foreclosures (NYT)

Jessica Silver-Greenberg reports on a settlement deal that is taking the place of real reviews of foreclosures. This solution is obviously faster and easier for the banks and the government, but it doesn't do much of anything for people who were harmed by the banks.

Aging Americans Have a New Companion: Higher Debt (Reuters)

Helaine Olen explains how social and economic changes have led to a major increase in the amount of debt held by Americans over 50. The trouble is, as Americans age, it's harder and harder to retain work to pay off that debt.

Here's Why Wall Street has a Hard Time Being Ethical (The Guardian)

In light of a new report which states that financial services professionals see ethical standards as an impediment to advancement in their workplaces, Chris Arnade explains how ethics and compliance standards were uphold during his Wall Street career.

New on Next New Deal

Abortion Restrictions Are Harming Women's Health and Human Rights in Texas

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Andrea Flynn looks at a new report from the Center for Reproductive Rights and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, which shows just how badly new laws are harming the women of the Rio Grande Valley.

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

Nov 22, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 'Exploitative' Internship Economy (Pacific Standard)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 20, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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The Real Lost Generation (Harper's)

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The Real Lost Generation (Harper's)

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

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

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

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

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

Poor, with Savings (TAP)

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

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

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

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

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

New on Next New Deal

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

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

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