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U.S. Doesn’t Own American Dream Anymore
The Century Foundation April 25, 2015

The concept of the American Dream is an idea that has been a mainstay of American culture for generations and has even developed worldwide notoriety through America's various cultural exports, namely movies, television shows, and music. But while many would like to continue to believe in an America that promises success to those who work hard and further their education, in an era of growing inequality and immobility, achieving this "dream" is becoming an increasingly difficult task.

...The American Dream is now easier to attain for people who live outside of America than those who live in it. Or, another way to put it is that economic mobility has been stunted in the U.S. As far back as 2004 the progressive think tank The Century Foundation argued that "recent evidence shows that there is much less mobility in the United States than most people assume," and that "rags to rags and riches to riches are now the norm in this country to a greater degree than in many other developed nations."

Read more on the increasingly unattainable American Dream in USA Today.

Where’s the Wikileaks Outrage?
Michael Cohen April 24, 2015

This week, Wikileaks posted to its site the entire archive of data and information stolen from Sony Pictures in last fall's hacks. However, much of the media coverage pertaining to the data included in the leak has maliciously violated the privacy of countless individuals associated with Sony, abetting, as TCF fellow Michael Cohen puts it, "cyber extortion."

I needed only 20 minutes on the Wikileaks site to find a credit card number, medical information, private e-mail addresses, salary data, and plenty else that most people wouldn’t want available on a searchable database.

This kind of cyberattack is a greater threat to people’s privacy than anything revealed in the Snowden/NSA leaks, which became a cause celebre for some of the same people chortling over the Sony leaks.

Check out the rest of Cohen's thoughts on the leaked information in the Boston Globe.

Democrats Must Have a Concrete Plan to Empower Workers
Amy Dean April 23, 2015

Recently, many prominent Democrats have spoken out in support of collective bargaining and organized labor. TCF fellow Amy Dean takes a look at this "warm embrace" of unions and why political rhetoric alone will not be enough this election cycle.

Part of the reason for the Democrats’ praise for labor is the recent spotlight on the ever-growing levels of economic inequality in the United States. Another reason is political expediency: With the 2016 election campaign looming, politicians are pandering to a base that they normally take for granted.

But Democrats cannot afford to pay only lip service to organized labor when the moment is convenient. Unless they take real measures to shore up employees’ rights to collectively organize, the Democratic Party will be courting a major crisis, as will America’s working families.

Check out the rest of Dean's piece at Al Jazeera America.

In a Post-Snowden, Post-Sony Hack World, Who Has the Power to Disseminate Secrets?
Barton Gellman April 22, 2015

This week, TCF fellow Barton Gellman participated in a Tribeca Film Festival panel on "Secrecy and Power." At the event, Gellman discussed America's "complicated information ecosystem" and the debate regarding what information should be shared with the public—and who exactly should be sharing it. 

So who should be in charge of that boundary, of deciding what’s disseminated to the general public? Like with everything on this topic, it’s complicated, and there’s no easy answer. “I would argue there is absolutely no one you should trust to do that,” Gellman says. “In fact, there’s nobody competent to do that. The President and his people are not entitled to tell us what we need to know in order to hold them accountable, as voters or as participants in a political society. And someone like me is not competent or accountable for protecting international security. So what happens is, there is a competition along the boundaries — in which they try to keep secrets, and we try to find them out.”

Read more on the panel at Flavorwire.

Foreign Affairs Reviews Once Upon A Revolution: An Egyptian Story
Thanassis Cambanis April 21, 2015

The latest review of TCF fellow Thanassis Cambanis's book, Once Upon a Revolution: An Egyptian Story has been published in the May/June 2015 issue of Foreign Affairs.

Cambanis’ analysis is sharp, and he does not hold back when it comes to graphically depicting the Egyptian state’s violence against its own people, be they Coptic Christians or Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Read the review here.

2 groups have the most trouble with student debt
Mark Thoma April 21, 2015

While the majority of college students struggle with paying off student loans at some point or another, research has found that there are two specific groups that particularly struggle more than others. Those groups are: older students and those from low-income areas. TCF fellow Mark Thoma explains the New York Fed's findings.

When the economy is doing poorly and jobs hard to come by, it's in our collective interest for the young to go to college instead of hopelessly searching for a position, and for older workers who have lost jobs to return to school and upgrade their skills. But people in these groups, especially those from low-income areas, aren't getting the support they need -- and they're drowning in a sea of debt.

Read Thoma's full article here.

Here’s an Economic Agenda for Hillary Clinton
Mark Thoma April 21, 2015

As an economist, TCF fellow Mark Thoma has some ideas on what types of policies Democratic presidential candidate should pursue in her upcoming campaign. He weighs in on everything from climate change to education policy.

Changes in financial regulation implemented after the financial crisis do not go far enough. For example, we need higher capital requirements, better disclosure and transparency, better protection for consumers of financial products, better regulation of the shadow banking sector, the repo market in particular. That’s unlikely to happen, but if nothing else the next president must fight to preserve the regulation that is presently in place.

Thoma's full article can be read here.

High Quality Schools for All
Halley Potter, Richard D. Kahlenberg April 21, 2015

TCF fellow Halley Potter and senior fellow Rick Kahlenberg recently published an article that cites the many advantages of socioeconomic and racial integration in charter and traditional public school classrooms. They cite statistics that prove the supreme benefits of integrated classrooms and the stark difference in performance of low-income students who learn among diverse peers.

It's an advantage to be in a school with lower concentrations of poverty in part because peers learn from one another. A low-income student in a mixed-income school is more likely to be surrounded by classmates who are high-achieving and expect to go on to college than a similar student in a high-poverty school. Likewise, it's an advantage to be in a mixed-income school where parents are more likely to be active in school affairs and to volunteer in class than stressed-out parents in a high-poverty school.

Read Potter and Kahlenberg's full article here.

Why Hasn’t the Economy Fully Recovered? Debt, Debt, Debt
Daniel Alpert April 19, 2015

Statistically speaking, the U.S. economy is due for its next recession (with the model that a recession occurs every 6 years). While the economy is in fact looking healthy now, the government has perhaps not taken the smartest steps to prevent this approaching recession. TCF's Dan Alpert suggests that in addition to “an oversupply of labor, productive capacity, and capital,” the U.S. largely ignored working-class and middle-class workers regain financial stability.

Sixty percent of Americans saw their real incomes fall, but they didn’t complain because the “shower” of easy money “allowed them to make up for lost income and maintain living standards — at least for a while.”

Read the full article.

Festival of Books: Matt Taibbi, Steve Lopez on Socio-Economic Clout
Edward D. Kleinbard April 19, 2015

The problem of stark inequality is still a big issue in the U.S. TCF fellow Edward Kleinbard offered his take on why this inequality persists as it has, and describes it in his book, We Are Better Than This. His suggestion for improving the inequality issue? A better tax system that reflects investments in our future.

USC law professor Edward D. Kleinbard, meanwhile, described the mountains of “depressing data” he used to write "We Are Better Than That" (Oxford), a book that seeks to reframe the conversation about taxing into one about spending, about how we need a smarter government to restore our social safety net, and how all of this serves to end what he calls a “shameful inequality.”

Read the Kleinbard's commentary in the LA Times.

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Upcoming Events

Capitol Hill Briefing: Why Classroom Diversity Matters in Early Education
April 29, 2015 AT 2:00PM - 3:00PMThe Century Foundation and the Poverty & Race Research Action Council invite you to attend a Capitol Hill Briefing on a new report, A Better Start: Why Classroom Diversity Matters in Early Education.

Recent Events

America’s Rich & Poor: Looking at the Financial Gap
APRIL 18, 2015 AT 3:30PMJoin TCF fellow Ed Kleinbard discuss his book, "We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money," at the LA Times Festival of Books.
Building the Bridge: Solutions to the Infrastructure Crisis
April 14, 2015 AT 8:30AM - 2:00PMThe Century Foundation’s Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative invites you to help revitalize the public discourse by attending our conference, Building the Bridge: Solutions to the Infrastructure Crisis.
Child Poverty Solutions That Can Work
January 22, 2015 AT 9:00AMAmerica’s child poverty rate, currently at 22 percent—highest in the developed world—is one of our nation’s gravest problems. Fortunately, we know what tools work when it comes to combating child poverty. The question is, why aren’t we using them?
Ending the Charter Wars: Century and KIPP on School Models that Work
December 3, 2014 at 12:00PMWith an estimated 2.5 million students attending charter schools, it's time to focus on which charter school models work best.
Implications of a Nuclear Agreement with Iran
NOVEMBER 20, 2014 AT 5:30PMPlease join The Iran Project and The Century Foundation for a discussion about the wide-ranging implications of a nuclear agreement with Iran.
A Smarter Charter: Book Party and Discussion
Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 5PM
A Smarter Charter: Book Release and Response
OCTOBER 7, 2014 AT 5:30PMJoin us on October 7 as we look more deeply at Smarter Charter and the ideals and limitations of charter school policy.
A Smarter Charter: A Discussion with Richard Kahlenberg and Halley Potter
Monday, September 29, 2014 AT 5:30PMA conversation with Teachers College Press authors Richard D. Kahlenberg and Halley Potter.
The Delicate Balance: Media, Security & Freedom in a Post 9/11 World
Monday, September 22, 2014 at 6:00PMThe panel will also examine the upcoming Senate Intelligence Committee report on interrogations, the case of journalist James Risen, the continuing debate over Edward Snowden's release of NSA documents and whether transparency comes with a cost to our national security.

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