Workers & Economic Inequality

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Why Have Policymakers Abandoned the Working Class?

September 30, 2014 BY: Mark Thoma TOPICS: Workers & Economic Inequality, Economic Policy

TCF fellow, Mark Thoma has written about why policymakers need to pay more attention to the working class, in an article for The Fiscal Times.

The risks associated with a negative economic shock can vary widely depending on the wealth of a household. Wealthy households can, of course, absorb a shock much easier than poorer households. Thus, it’s important to think about how economic downturns impact various groups within the economy, and how policy can be used to offset the problems experienced by the most vulnerable among us.

When thinking about the effects of an increase in the Fed’s target interest rate, for example, it’s important to consider the impacts across income groups. I was very pleased to hear monetary policymakers talk about the asymmetric risks associated with increasing the interest rate too soon and slowing the recovery of employment and output, versus raising rates too late and risking inflation.

Read the full article.

Tags: working class, policy makers, low income, interest rates, inflation, federal reserve, economic policy

Democracy and Good Economics in the Secessionist Movement

Scotland’s near-decision to leave the United Kingdom—and Catalonia’s looming election to seceed from the rest of Spain—are a lesson in austerity economics and the power of dissent. TCF senior fellow Jeff Madrick explains.

Tags: secession, scotland, economic theory, catalonia, barcelona

What’s so bad about monopoly power?

September 18, 2014 BY: Mark Thoma TOPICS: Workers & Economic Inequality, Economic Policy

TCF fellow, Mark Thoma has written a piece for CBS News about the problems with monopoly power.

Google (GOOG) has been negotiating with European regulatory authorities since 2010 in an attempt to settle an antitrust case concerning its search engine, and its third attempt to settle the case has been rejected.

Google may also face new antitrust problems over its Android mobile operating system, and it's not alone in facing tough antitrust scrutiny in Europe. Microsoft (MSFT) has also been the subject of a long-running battle in Europe over market dominance issues.

But what's motivating this scrutiny from European regulators? What's so bad about a company amassing monopoly power?

Read the full article.

Tags: monopolies, google

Holder calls for bigger rewards for whistleblowers

TCF fellow, Robert C. Hockett has been quoted in a CBS News article about rewarding whistleblowers.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder today called on Congress to provide bigger financial rewards to Wall Street whistleblowers, arguing that the current payoffs are too small to entice executives to provide evidence against their employers who have committed wrongdoing. He is hopeful that such cooperation would lead to criminal cases connected to the financial crisis.

Under The Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA), which deals with fraud committed against investors, whistleblower awards are capped at $1.6 million. Holder argues that is a "paltry sum" for a highly paid financial services executive who is aware of illegal activities to report them to the government. He wants FIRREA's awards to be more in line with the False Claims Act under which whistleblowers are entitled to up to one-third the settlement amount.

Read the full article.

Tags: whistleblowers, whistleblower, attorney general eric holder

Mark Thoma’s Piece Featured on Wonkblog

September 18, 2014 BY: Mark Thoma TOPICS: Workers & Economic Inequality, Economic Policy

TCF fellow Mark Thoma's article on new economic thinking has been featured on the Wonkblog.

See the full article here.

Tags: wonkblog, monetary policy, fiscal policy, economists, economic policy

Can New Economic Thinking Solve the Next Crisis?

September 18, 2014 BY: Mark Thoma TOPICS: Workers & Economic Inequality, Economic Policy

TCF fellow, Mark Thoma has written an article for The Fiscal Times about new economic thinking.

Efforts such as Rethinking Economics and The Institute for New Economic Thinking are noteworthy attempts to, as INET says, “broaden and accelerate the development of new economic thinking that can lead to solutions for the great challenges of the 21st century. The havoc wrought by our recent global financial crisis has vividly demonstrated the deficiencies in our outdated current economic theories, and shown the need for new economic thinking – right now.

It is certainly true that mainstream, modern macroeconomic models failed us prior to and during the Great Recession. The models failed to give any warning at all about the crisis that was about to hit – if anything those using modern macro models resisted the idea that a bubble was inflating in housing markets – and the models failed to give us the guidance we needed to implement effective monetary and fiscal policy responses to our economic problems.

Read the full article.

Tags: monetary policy, housing bubble, fiscal policy, financial crisis, economists, economics


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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