Daily Digest - July 30: Goldilocks and the Next Fed Chair

Jul 30, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Bernanke Did Well, but the Fed Must do Better (FT)

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Bernanke Did Well, but the Fed Must do Better (FT)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal looks at the Goldilocks question facing the next Fed Chair: is current policy in response to the Great Recession too hot, too cold, or just right? He says that the Fed wasn't doing enough, and a dramatic policy shift is needed. (Registration is required to read this article)

Fear of a Female Fed Chief (NY Mag)

Jonathan Chait examines the right-wing claims that Janet Yellen is only being considered for Fed Chair because of her gender. No one is denying her qualifications, so it appears those opposed to Yellen have been influenced by Larry Summers's view of women.

Strikes, Alliances, and Survival (TAP)

Harold Meyerson writes on unions' work to build a bigger and broader labor movement. Experiments like partnerships with the NAACP or helping fast food workers win minimum wage increases are about remaining relevant and surviving in an anti-union economy.

Fast Food Strikes Catch Fire (In These Times)

David Moberg reports on the expanding fast food strikes yesterday, which are many workers' first experience with collective organizing. Apparently, even managers recognize that it's hard to argue with the statement that fast food wages are too low to live on.

Beauty School Students Left With Broken Promises and Large Debts (NYT)

Emily S. Rueb explains the plight of women who took out federal student loans for scam beauty schools. A nonprofit group is attempting to help them discharge this debt, because the schools distributed fraudulent information to prospective students.

80 Percent Of U.S. Adults Face Near-Poverty, Unemployment: Survey (HuffPo)

Hope Yen questions what it means for the American Dream if four out of five adults face economic insecurity at some point in their lives. If poverty is an issue that almost all Americans must deal with, then why are poverty programs the first on the chopping block?

The GOP Wants to Slash Food Stamps: Here's Exactly How Many of Their Constituents Would Suffer (The Atlantic)

Jordan Weissmann and Kyle Thetford analyze census data to look at how many people receive food stamps in different House districts. For Republicans, the answer is consistent: cuts to food stamps would leave 8-12% of households in their districts with less money for food.

New on Next New Deal

What Mia Macy's Victory Means for Transgender Workers' Rights

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network alumnus Tyler S. Bugg follows up on a major transgender employment discrimination case that he wrote about last year. This ruling is a win, but there is still more to be done for the transgender community and workers in general.

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Why the Right Doesn’t Really Want Euro-Style Reproductive Health Care

Jul 24, 2013Andrea Flynn

U.S. conservatives want Europe's abortion restrictions, but they oppose the generous systems and legal exceptions that support women's health.

U.S. conservatives want Europe's abortion restrictions, but they oppose the generous systems and legal exceptions that support women's health.

Earlier this month, Texas lawmakers witnessed and participated in passionate debates about one of the nation's most sweeping pieces of anti-choice legislation. That legislation, known as SB1, was initially delayed by Wendy Davis's now-famous filibuster and was signed into law by Governor Rick Perry last week during a second special legislative session. It bans abortions after 20 weeks, places cumbersome restrictions on abortion clinics and physicians, and threatens to close all but five of the state’s 42 abortion clinics. Throughout the many days of hearings anti-choice activists relied on religious, scientific, and political evidence to argue that the new Texas law is just and sensible.

Many of those arguments are tenuous at best, but it is the continued reference to European abortion laws that most represent a convenient cherry-picking of facts to support the rollback of women’s rights. Many European countries do indeed regulate abortion with gestational limits, but what SB1 supporters conveniently ignore is that those laws are entrenched in progressive public health systems that provide quality, affordable (sometimes free) health care to all individuals and prioritize the sexual and reproductive health of their citizens. Most SB1 advocates would scoff at the very programs and policies that are credited with Europe’s low unintended pregnancy and abortion rates.

Members of the media have also seized on European policies to argue that Texas lawmakers are acting in the best interest of women. Soon after the passage of SB1, Bill O’Reilly argued that “most countries in the world have a 20-week threshold,” and Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, wrote, “It’s not just that Wendy Davis is out of step in Texas; she would be out of step in Belgium and France, where abortion is banned after 12 weeks.”

It’s hard to imagine any other scenario in which O’Reilly and Lowry, and most conservative politicians and activists, would hold up European social policies as a beacon for U.S. policy. After all, the cornerstones of Europe’s women’s health programs are the very programs that conservatives have long threatened would destroy the moral fabric of American society. One cannot compare the abortion policies of Europe and the United States without looking at the broader social policies that shape women’s health.

Both Belgium and France have mandatory sexuality education beginning in elementary school (in France parents are prohibited from removing their children from the program). France passed a bill earlier this year that allows women to be fully reimbursed for the cost of their abortion and guarantees girls ages 15 to 18 free birth control. Emergency contraception in both countries is easily accessible over the counter, and in Belgium the cost of the drug is reimbursed for young people and those with a prescription. Both countries limit abortion to the first trimester but also make exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and fetal impairment, to preserve woman’s physical or mental health, and for social or economic reasons. None of these exceptions are included in the new Texas law, and I’d guess it would be a cold day in hell before the likes of O’Reilly and Lowry advocate for more expansive health policies or for including such exceptions in abortion laws.  

But it would be wise if they did. This availability of preventative care contributes to the overall health and wellness of women in Europe and enables them to make free and fully informed decisions about their bodies over the course of their lifetimes. The demonization and lack of progressive sexual health policies in Texas, and in the United States more broadly, drives high rates of unintended pregnancy, teen pregnancy, maternal mortality, sexually transmitted infections, and abortion. 

Unfortunately, Texas couldn’t be further from France or Belgium when it comes to the care it provides to women and families before, during, and after delivery, as I’ve written about before. The Texas teen birth rate is nearly nine times higher than that of France and nearly 10 times higher than that of Belgium. Nearly 90 percent of all teens in France and Belgium reported using birth control at their last sexual intercourse, compared with only 53 percent in Texas. The infant mortality rate in Texas is twice that of Belgium and France. The poverty rate among women in Texas is a third higher than that of women in Belgium and France, and the poverty rate among Texas children is 1.5 times higher. Less than 60 percent of Texas women receive prenatal care, while quality care before, during, and after pregnancy is available to nearly all women throughout Europe.  

None of those hard facts were compelling enough to amend – let alone negate – the new law. It seems impossible these days to find a common ground between anti- and pro-choice individuals, but if conservatives wanted to have a conversation about enacting European-style sexual and reproductive health policies in the United States, that just might be something that could bring everyone to the same table. The more likely scenario is that once conservatives have plucked out the facts that help advance their anti-choice cause, they will promptly return to tarring and feathering Europe’s socialized health system.

Andrea Flynn is a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. She researches and writes about access to reproductive health care in the United States and globally. She is on Twitter at @dreaflynn.

 

Woman and doctor banner image via Shutterstock.com

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Daily Digest - July 22: CEO Pay Problems Aren't Just in Dollars

Jul 21, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Fixing A Hole: How the Tax Code for Executive Pay Distorts Economic Incentives and Burdens Taxpayers (Roosevelt Institute)

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Fixing A Hole: How the Tax Code for Executive Pay Distorts Economic Incentives and Burdens Taxpayers (Roosevelt Institute)

Roosevelt Institute Director of Research Susan Holmberg and Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Senior Fellow in Economic Development Lydia Austin analyze the ways the performance pay loophole harms taxpayers, companies, and the economy.

If Dodd-Frank Doesn’t Work, Here are Four Things That Could (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal outlines some ideas that were rejected during the debates over Dodd-Frank. He suggests that if aspects of Dodd-Frank aren't working, we should remember these proposals, which favored strong lines over regulatory micromanagement.

Coming Home for the Recession (TAP)

Roosevelt Institute | Pipeline Fellow Nona Willis Aronowitz continues her series on Millennials and the new economy, this time focusing on young women of color for whom the recession has enforced traditional living patterns, because living with family is cheaper.

Detroit, and the Bankruptcy of America’s Social Contract (Robert Reich)

Robert Reich suggests that Detroit's bankruptcy is an indication of the problems that come from increased class segregation. By fleeing to the suburbs, Detroit's middle and upper classes untied themselves from the needs of the city.

In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters (NYT)

David Leonhardt reports on a new study that looks at income mobility across regional lines. One of the most interesting findings is that mixed income neighborhoods, where many classes live together, are a strong indication of better income mobility for children.

Deception in Counting the Unemployed (The Atlantic)

Steve Clemons looks at the work of Leo Hindery, Jr., a former CEO who has fought for better deals for workers for many years. Hindery's focus is on "real unemployment," and he claims the government's use of the U-3 numbers obscures the facts facing workers.

Mapping the Sequester's Impact on Low-Income Housing (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann discusses the ways that sequestration is affecting the people who rely on Section 8 housing vouchers. He maps out story after story of cuts that the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says will lead to a rise in homelessness.

A Shuffle of Aluminum, but to Banks, Pure Gold (NYT)

David Kocieniewski explains how banks have started buying physical commodity trading assets, like aluminum, to gain market intelligence for that commodity. This translates to miniscule increases in the cost of products, and billions in profits to the banks.

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Daily Digest - July 16: Missing Mortgage Modifications

Jul 16, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Bank vs. America (U.S. News & World Report)

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Bank vs. America (U.S. News & World Report)

Pat Garofalo pulls from Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal's work to explain why the failure of the Home Affordable Modification Program matters. Areas with more mortgage debt have higher unemployment and weaker recoveries, making mortgage modifications essential.

This Week in Poverty: Confronting Congressional Hunger Games (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann discusses the coming cuts to food stamps, which are currently up in the air thanks to the SNAP-less farm bill the House passed on Thursday. He looks at other coalitions to work on hunger and food insecurity, but they can't fill the gap.

Prepare for the New Permanent Temp (Harvard Business Review)

Michael Schrage looks at the jump in part-time and temporary employment in recent years. He suggests that while many are grateful for any employment, since employers don't invest in the people in these categories, the trend is bad for workers.

In Labor Board Filibuster Fight, Republicans Kindly Offer To Take Over Agency (HuffPo)

Dave Jamieson examines at the Senate's fight over filling the National Labor Relations Board, and the GOPs recently proposed deal. That deal would shortly give Republicans control of the board, which would not be good for workers and organized labor.

McDonalds Tells Workers To Budget By Getting A Second Job And Turning Off Their Heat (ThinkProgress)

Annie-Rose Strasser reports on McDonalds' new budgeting website for its employees. Apparently employees should have no trouble paying all of their expenses - if they have a second job, and a heating bill of $0.

How to Fearmonger About the Fed (In 2 Easy Steps) (The Atlantic)

Matthew O'Brien is frustrated by inflation hawks' continued insistence that the Fed's bond-buying policies are destroying our economy. The data shows that the Fed's policies are working, but by just mentioning the 1970s the fearmongers get attention.

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Daily Digest - July 15: When Patents Increase Inequality

Jul 15, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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How Intellectual Property Reinforces Inequality (NYT)

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How Intellectual Property Reinforces Inequality (NYT)

Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist and Senior Fellow Joseph Stiglitz applauds the Supreme Court's decision in the Myriad Genetics case. He says Myriad's patent on the BCRA genes was a horrible manifestation of inequality of healthcare access and thus economic inequality.

The Feds are Finally Cracking Down on Ratings Agencies. What Took so Long? (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal explains how ratings agencies became so deeply tied into our financial system over the past thirty years. Reform is clearly necessary after their involvement in the financial crisis, but systemic change moves very slowly.

The Food Stamp-Out (TAP)

Monica Potts says that food stamps were tied to farm subsidies because it would force Congress to consider the poor at the same time as big agriculture. Splitting the two puts the long-term future of this successful program at risk.

Yes, You Should Be Totally Outraged By the Farm Bill (The Atlantic)

Derek Thompson argues that the reason the House can pass a Farm Bill without SNAP is because it has no time to think about the poor. Elected officials in both parties spend so much time fundraising that they rarely speak to constituents on food stamps.

Hunger Games, U.S.A. (NYT)

Paul Krugman shows that it is impossible to tie SNAP to our continued unemployment problems. With that claim debunked, he struggles to understand why the House Republicans wants to make things even more difficult for people in poverty by cutting food stamps.

Every Day, Low Wages (Working Economics)

David Cooper discusses why Wal-Mart's of bullying Washington, DC over their living wage bill is particularly offensive. Wal-Mart has massive profits, and could maintain them and pass this cost on to the consumer by increasing prices by only 1%.

A Deeper Dive into Sequestration’s Impact on Head Start (On the Economy)

Jared Bernstein sees three immediate impacts: kids whose early education is interrupted, faculty members who lose jobs, and parents who have to find new childcare arrangements or risk losing their jobs.

Meet The People Who Lost Their Housing Thanks To Budget Cuts (ThinkProgress)

Bryce Covert reports on the struggles of those seeking and administering Section 8 housing vouchers under sequestration. So far, authorities are slowing their waiting lists, but cuts to voucher amounts and the overall number of vouchers could be coming.

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Daily Digest - June 26: The Costs of Climate Change

Jun 26, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Helping the Economic Climate (U.S. News & World Report)

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Helping the Economic Climate (U.S. News & World Report)

David Brodwin disagrees with those who argue that we cannot "afford" to fight climate change. There are immense money-saving options built into climate change plans, and a broad-based carbon tax could be the best solution.

  • Roosevelt Take: Former EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson was honored at this month's Roosevelt Institute Distinguished Public Service Awards for her work on climate change in the Obama Administration. Watch our video honoring her here.

Grayson Announces Bill to Let Workers Personally Sue Bosses Who Retaliate (The Nation)

Josh Eidelson explains how Congressman Grayson's bill addresses weaknesses in the National Labor Relations Act, expanding workers' legal recourse to include civil cases against the individual instead of the corporation and significantly increasing related fines.

Employers Still Dodging Minimum Wage Law 75 Years After Its Passage (HuffPo)

According to Saki Knafo, 26% of low-wage workers report being paid less than minimum wage, and 76% report being denied overtime pay, primarily due to incorrect classification as contractors. These violations are so widespread that the Department of Labor can't handle all the cases.

The Best Argument for Studying English? The Employment Numbers (The Atlantic)

Jordan Weissmann suggests that people are too hard on humanities majors when they say such degrees are useless for finding a job, because English and history majors have unemployment rates that are on-par with other fields that are not pre-professional.

Paul Ryan Focusing More on Hurting the Poor (NY Mag)

Jonathan Chait lays out Paul Ryan's strategy for poverty these days: cutting benefits wherever possible. Ryan seems to think that the best way to help the un- and underemployed is to cut their food stamps, because hunger is a great motivator.

Spielberg Test: Why the One Percenters Don’t Deserve Twice as Much (MSNBC)

Timothy Noah argues that if even Steven Spielberg's market value has not consistently increased over the past forty years, then there is no reason to assume that the 1% inherently deserve their doubled income share in that time.

Foreclosure settlement a billion-dollar bust (USA Today)

Julie Schmit reports on the inadequacy of a recent settlement orchestrated by the government for victims of foreclosure abuse. Two-thirds of the payouts are only $300, which is clearly not sufficient to make up for the lose of a house.

New on Next New Deal

Can the Taper Matter? Revisiting a Wonkish 2012 Debate

As Ben Bernanke tests the waters for changes to the Fed's stimulus policies, Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal argues that monetary policy is about more than just expectations.

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Daily Digest - June 20: Doing the Dishes

Jun 20, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Why Forks in Your Office Kitchen Keep Disappearing (Marketplace)

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Why Forks in Your Office Kitchen Keep Disappearing (Marketplace)

Audrey Quinn speaks to Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal about why office support positions are being cut in the recession. Mike says technology made some tasks, like booking travel, much simpler, but someone still needs to wash dirty coffee mugs.

Republican Staffer ‘Beats’ Food Stamp Challenge (MSNBC)

Ned Resnikoff reports that a Republican staffer claims to have "beaten" the challenge that 26 Democrats took on last week. Of course, he didn’t eat any fresh fruits or vegetables all week, which is probably not sustainable for people living this way.

GOPers Want to Keep Food Stamps From People Who Have a Cheap Car or $2,000 in Savings (MoJo)

Erika Eichelberger is angry at Republican congressmen who introduced assets tests as a federal requirement for SNAP. They are concerned that people become dependent on handouts, but it’s the inability to save for an emergency that keeps people in poverty.

RIP, American Dream? Why It's So Hard for the Poor to Get Ahead Today (The Atlantic)

Matthew O'Brien is concerned by data that shows that education cannot solve income inequality: a person born wealthy who does not go to college is 2.5 times as likely to end up wealthy as a person born poor with a degree.

U.S. Wages Fall Amid Overseas Pressure (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

John Schmid says that the Bureau of Labor and Statistics is reporting year-over-year declines in average weekly wages in the U.S. Some of his sources call this a "normal adjustment period," but that doesn't help people whose bills are rising.

The Capitalist’s Case for a $15 Minimum Wage (Bloomberg)

Nick Hanauer argues that entrepreneurs and businessmen like him should all support a higher minimum wage, because at the current minimum wage many people cannot buy their products. Accepting lower profits in the short-term would boost demand and sales over time.

This Graph Shows How Bad the Fed is at Predicting the Future (WaPo)

Dylan Matthews examines five years of June forecasts from the Fed and finds that they are quite inaccurate. Despite revising the predictions down from year to year, the final growth rates consistently fall behind the projections.

What You Need to Know About Immigration and the Deficit (Slate)

Matt Yglesias explains why we can trust the CBO scoring of the Gang of 8 immigration bill, which says that immigration reform will reduce the deficit by nearly $200 billion over the next ten years.

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Daily Digest - June 19: No Grocery Money, No Problem?

Jun 19, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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What Congress and the Media Are Missing in the Food Stamp Debate (The Nation)

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What Congress and the Media Are Missing in the Food Stamp Debate (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann asks why we are talking about everything except the state of hunger in the U.S. when we talk about cutting SNAP benefits. There are people in this country who cannot afford enough food for themselves and their families: as he sees it, nothing else should be considered.

Kansas Bleeds the Middle Class (TAP)

Monica Potts visits Johnson County, Kansas, where she finds that suburban poverty is growing and there are no middle-class jobs available. This low-wage economy is a constant struggle, and there don't seem to be any escape routes in place.

Welfare reform took people off the rolls. It might have also shortened their lives. (WaPo)

Dylan Matthews reports on a new study on a Floridian precursor to federal welfare-to-work programs, which shows a troubling statistically significant difference in the mortality rate of the work program participants. More research is necessary, but it's possible welfare-to-work created new health problems.

Unelected Emergency Manager Preparing To Break Detroit’s Pension Promises (ThinkProgress)

Alan Pyke explains how bankruptcy proceedings would allow the emergency manager to put paying investors who gave the city loans before paying retirees. Investments are supposed to come with risks, but fixed-income seniors are apparently less important than debt.

The Chart That Eviscerates Five Terrible Talking Points About Taxes (Business Insider)

Josh Barros uses this chart on the progressivity of our tax system to remind us to think about how the whole system fits together, particularly when considering issues like the so-called "47% percent” or the progressivity of specific taxes.

We Need a New Deal For Millennials (HuffPo)

Richard Eskow argues that Millennials need to run far away from the politics-as-usual that is destroying their future. Instead, he would see a return to real values in politics, starting with the Millennials running for office themselves.

Guitar Center: Prices So Low, Employees Can't Survive on Wages (The Nation)

Allison Kilkenny reports that the 57 retail workers at Guitar Center's flagship in Manhattan have overwhelmingly voted to form a union. Their demands are pretty reasonable: a living wage, with a commission structure that makes sense in the Internet age.

Former intern sues Atlantic Records (Salon)

Christopher Zara explains this lawsuit, in which a former intern is suing to recover minimum wage and overtime with the help of the organization Intern Justice. This follows last week's ruling that some Fox Searchlight internships are illegal.

 

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Governor Cuomo's "Tax-Free New York" Would Come at a High Cost

Jun 13, 2013Richard Kirsch

Eliminating taxes in college communities won't improve the economy, but it will undermine our public institutions.

Eliminating taxes in college communities won't improve the economy, but it will undermine our public institutions.

The decade-long conservative campaign for lower taxes and limited government has hit a wall of public outrage over the unfairness of the American tax system. But while lower taxes for the wealthy and corporations may not be popular, there is still huge public skepticism about how tax dollars can be put to work creating jobs or improving people’s daily lives. Fueling that skepticism are campaigns like that being run now by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is aggressively promoting the idea that we can promote prosperity by lowering taxes.

Governor Cuomo has been racing around New York, with six appearances around the state in less than two weeks, to promote a plan he calls “Tax-Free NY.” Just the name alone should be enough to alarm anyone who understands what society, citizenship. and civilization is all about or what is needed to create broadly shared prosperity. One of a governor’s fundamental jobs is to spend tax dollars wisely, to put the public’s resources to work educating our children, protecting the health of our air and water, building the roads and mass transit systems that allow us to get to work, enjoy community life. and get their goods to market. Taxes pay for public safety and courts that safeguard the rule of law. A “tax-free NY” would be a New York of anarchy, dire poverty, and hopelessness.

Of course, the governor is not really proposing to get rid of all taxes in New York. Instead he would eliminate all taxes – property, personal income, sales, and business – in new tax-free zones established in and around public and private colleges and universities in the state. Every one of these institutions of higher education are supported heavily by taxes in a host of ways: for their very existence and operations in the case of public colleges, and through research grants and government-provided or -guaranteed student grants and loans to private colleges. 

If there is an idea behind the governor’s program, it is that the researchers and thinkers who work in higher education have long made university communities incubators of new businesses. Creating tax-free zones around New York universities is somehow supposed to make them more attractive to business innovation. But Governor Cuomo has this totally backwards. Universities are business innovators because of the creative people who work there. Eliminating taxes around a community college or university does not make the people who teach and do research more creative or innovative. Businesses don’t start in university communities because of low taxes. Businesses are started in university communities because of the quality of the researchers and intellectual richness of the faculty. Attracting and supporting them takes money – from taxes!

As part of Governor Cuomo’s push, I have received two emails from his campaign touting “Tax-Free NY.” The emails are full of quotes from the super-rich promoting the governor’s proposal, including Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase. My favorite is from Kenneth Langone, one of the billionaires who tried to defeat President Obama last year: “States need to begin helping businesses by lifting the tax burden and also creating an environment in which employees want to raise their families.” The Blankfeins and Dimons and Langones of this world may live in gated communities, use private education, pay for private health care (at the Langone NYU Medical Center), and enjoy lavish retirements without Social Security, but most other New Yorkers rely on taxes and public programs to help them raise their families.

Of course, Langone – who made his fortune from Home Depot – and the rest of Cuomo’s tycoons would never have become rich without all the public structures that support their businesses and employees. In his advocacy for “Tax-Free NY,” the Governor is encouraging people and businesses to shirk their responsibilities and deny their obligations. The businesses and employees who benefit from the richness of a university community, often marked by excellent schools and libraries and good public services, have a basic responsibility to help pay for the benefits that give them that opportunity.

Building an America that works for all us, with broadly based prosperity, will take leaders who can tell a different story about America – the true story about the great American middle class built by decisions the country made, through our government, to invest in public education, a legal system that protects private initiative, labor laws that protect workers from exploitation, and investment in public infrastructure. That, Governor Cuomo, is also what built New York as the Empire State. 

Richard Kirsch is a Senior Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, a Senior Adviser to USAction, and the author of Fighting for Our Health. He was National Campaign Manager of Health Care for America Now during the legislative battle to pass reform

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Daily Digest - June 13: Still Looking for the Jobs

Jun 13, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Fiscal Fixes for the Jobless Recovery (WSJ)

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Fiscal Fixes for the Jobless Recovery (WSJ)

Following his keynote address at A Bold Approach to the Jobs Emergency last week, Alan Blinder presents changes we could make to encourage more hiring. His solutions could appeal to Republican obstructionists: they may be government-based, but the jobs aren’t. Note: this article is behind a paywall.

What We Need Now: A National Economic Strategy For Better Jobs (Robert Reich)

Robert Reich disagrees with those who think technological advancements condemn part of our workforce to underemployment and low wages. Instead, they should push us to make many other changes that will get us to full employment and reduce income inequality.

Employers: Pay Your Interns. Labor Department: Bust Them if They Don’t! (EPI)

Ross Eisenbrey wants to see government enforcement of the six-part test of what constitutes an internship. When most internships fail the first requirement, that they be closely-supervised educational experiences, it's clear that we have a violation of labor laws.

Reminder: There Are Still 3 Times More Unemployed Workers Than Job Openings (The Atlantic)

Jordan Weissman doesn't want anyone to forget that the job crisis continues: there aren't enough jobs to go around in every major industry. This across-the-board problem continues to support the theory that the underlying issue is lack of consumer demand.

The Sword Drops on Food Stamps (The Nation)

George Zornick reports that Congress is officially going to cut SNAP funding, and the only debate left is how much to cut. Congress seems to be placing its priorities in all the wrong places: this will pass, but we can't get a jobs bill?

State Budgets are on the Mend (WaPo)

Michael Fletcher notes that state economies and budgets are on the mend, with 42 governors proposing increased spending next year. But he thinks this could be a momentary peak due to the spike in capital gains revenue at the end of 2012.

Boy, Is There Ever No Wage Inflation in This Economy (On The Economy)

Jared Bernstein explains how we're seeing decent consumer spending numbers despite the absolutely flat growth in wages. He's worried that the spending is tied to housing wealth and savings, a familiar approach from 2008.

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