Workers & Economic Inequality

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The Problem with Completely Free Markets

Conservative political rhetoric often celebrates the "free market" and advocates for policies that minimize government intervention in the market. TCF fellow Mark Thoma argues that we must understand the difference between free markets and competitive markets, and makes the case that government intervention often helps to achieve more competitive markets.

The role that government should play in the economy is sure to be a centerpiece of the debate surrounding the upcoming presidential election. Those on the right will champion the idea that markets should be free, while those on the left will hold a more interventionist point of view. I believe in markets as much as anyone. But for markets to work well the conditions for perfect competition must be approximated. In many important markets such as healthcare, retirement security, energy, and finance, that means the government must be involved. 

Thoma's full column is available here.

Tags: market competition, free markets, economic policy, competitive markets

The Other Debt Crisis

While the world debates the best way to approach the financial crises currently underway in Greece and Puerto Rico, TCF policy associate Jacob Anbinder discusses the need for more debt when it comes to America's infrastructure policy.

Tags: transportation, transit, municipal bonds, local government, infrastructure spending, infrastructure, debt

High court may deal unions serious blow

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case involving public sector unions. The court's decision could overturn could overturn Abood v. Detroit Board of Ed., in which the Court found that fair share fees for public unions were constitutional. TCF senior fellow Rick Kahlenberg discussed the potential consequences with Politico.

“Overturning Abood would be a huge setback for organized labor,” said Richard Kahlenberg of the liberal Century Foundation. “I think this is a way to try to crush the remaining small vibrant element of the trade union movement.”

The full article is available here.

Tags: unions, supreme court, public sector unions, labor unions, labor

Why A New Supreme Court Case Is An Existential Threat To Unions

The Supreme Court has accepted a case dealing with public-sector unions, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, for review. TCF fellow Moshe Marvit writes that the decision could have significant adverse consequences for the labor movement:

There are two issues presented to the Supreme Court in Friedrichs, both of which would significantly change the way public sector unions operate. Both issues deal with the question of what union members must pay for. The issue that is getting less attention is whether the current model—where union members who don’t wish to pay for the union’s political and other activities can opt out—is unconstitutional. The case seeks to turn the current model on its head, and require union members to opt in to such fees.

The full article is available here.

Tags: supreme court, public sector unions, labor unions, labor rights, labor

Overdue Overtime: Why You Should Care about Obama’s New Overtime Rules

July 1, 2015 COMMENTARY BY: Mike Cassidy TOPICS: Workers & Economic Inequality, Economic Policy, Poverty

President Obama's latest order has made working overtime worthwhile again—and restored what it means to work a forty-hour work week.


A Union of Disruptors? Meet the Uber driver trying to hack organized labor

In Pando, Dan Raile profiles an Uber driver looking to organize fellow drivers with an app and discusses the prospects for labor organizing through new forms of technology. Raile also speaks with TCF fellow Moshe Marvit, one of the authors of this month's Virtual Labor Organizing:

Marvit said that the idea behind the paper was to ask, "why doesn’t this exist?" and lay out some ideas for what virtual labor organizing could look like. A "killer app" has yet to emerge in the "labor organizing space." Though nearly all unions and labor organizations today have websites and maintain some social media presence, Marvit finds them generally lacking in functionality.

The full article is available here.

Tags: virtual labor organizing, uber, labor unions, labor rights, labor, economic inequality


Workers & Economic Inequality

Workers & Economic Inequality

In recent decades, and especially since 2000, the richest Americans have enjoyed soaring income and wealth while the rest of the population's living standards have stagnated. The Century Foundation was one of the first institutions to raise serious concerns about these trends and propose ideas for improving economic conditions for all Americans- not just the fortunate few.

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