Workers & Economic Inequality

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Book Review: We Are Better Than This

Writing for the CFA Institute, Matthew Gelfand reviews TCF fellow Edward Kleinbard's We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money. Gelfand discusses the significance of Kleinbard's book for the financial industry.

"Kleinbard has written two books in one. The first is a philosophical road map of the progressive case for economic policies on income distribution, infrastructure spending, and social insurance, among others. This discussion is of less utility to financial analysts but—despite Kleinbard’s clear philosophical leanings—is worth mentioning here because his comments on the topic establish that he is a nonideological student of fiscal policy."
"The second book-within-a-book will be of interest to financial analysts who want to understand the mechanics of fiscal policy. It is an informed instruction manual that draws on a large body of data and insightful analysis yet drives forward in layman’s terms rather than economic jargon."

The rest of Gelfand's review is available here.

Tags: tax system, tax reform, social security, fiscal policy, economic policy

The Invisible Hand of God

We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money is the latest book from TCF fellow Edward Kleinbard. It borrows heavily from the theology of Adam Smith, an 18th century Scot who is credited with inventing modern economics and credits the "invisible hand of God" as a viable source for directing economic policy. We Are Better Than This is heralded for inserting moral values back into modern economoics.

Hence Kleinbard opens each of his chapters with quotes from the real Adam Smith - the one who understood both the values and the limits of the market. Smith believed in a God who cared about the practical welfare of people, a God whose will was followed by those who put the good of all above the selfish interests of individuals.

Read the review of Kleinbard's book, featured in Huffington Post.

Tags: we are better than this, moral values, invisible hand, economics

Critics Praise Kleinbard's We Are Better Than This

TCF fellow Edward Kleinbard's latest book, We Are Better Than This, calls for an even more aggressive tax policy on our already highly progressive system.


Why Hasn’t the Economy Fully Recovered? Debt, Debt, Debt

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.

Tags: unemployment, tax policy, recession, national debt, middle-class

Festival of Books: Matt Taibbi, Steve Lopez on Socio-Economic Clout

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.

Tags: we are better than this, tax rates, tax policy, inequality gap

Does the U.S. Pay Too High a Cost For Free Trade?

TCF fellow Charles Morris explains that despite the strong base of free trade that the U.S. economy is built upon, it may now be decreasing in its effectiveness due to the shifts in Chinese industries and manufacturing.

Yet, over much of the past year, low-cost Chinese steel has flooded U.S. markets, which, DiMicco says, is clear evidence of illegal “dumping.” Beijing, of course, says it complies with all fair trade rules.

But China plays by different rules. Its powerful manufacturing enterprises are largely state-owned, and blessed with a host of subsidies, including Party-determined prices for financings, land purchases, taxes and fuel.

Read the full article from Reuters here.

Tags: us economy, tax rules, manufacturing, international trade, china


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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