Workers & Economic Inequality

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Where Fed’s critics got it wrong in GOP debate

TCF fellow Mark Thoma calls out the wrongs of Republican candidates who continuously blame the Fed for many of the country's latest economic problems. He says that the Fed did what it could to boost numbers after the Great Recession, even if that meant keeping interest rates low and maintaining its independence.

The Fed is right to be patient, and it will raise rates when the economy is ready, not when it makes politicians of either party happy.

Read Thoma's article from CBS Moneywatch.

Tags: interest rates, great recession, gop, federal reserve board, economy policy

Here’s the best part of the jobs report

TCF fellow Daniel Alpert says that despite the typical lackluster improvement of jobs and wages since the Recession, the latest jobs report brought some good news for workers. The typical trend—that what little improvements do happen go to the highest paid supervisory workers—has been reversed and nonsupervisory workers are now enjoying benefits. 

It suggests that we are, at long last, seeing a redistribution of GDP growth to the ordinary worker, not just his boss. And it suggests that, on a relative basis, we have seen some limit to the wages and salaries that can be commanded by managers. Putting spendable (or save-able) cash in the hands of the vast majority of workers is a very good thing for those workers, it is a good thing for consumption data, it is a good thing for reducing income and wealth polarization, and it is a good thing for America.

Read Alpert's full article on wages from CNBC.

Tags: jobs report, great recession, gdp

Why Senators Are Demanding Action on Covert For-Profit Colleges

Just a few weeks after the release of TCF's report on "covert for-profit" colleges, lawmakers have called for immediate action to be taken against these somewhat fraudulent educational institutions. 


Our Debt Ceiling Nightmare

TCF fellow Ed Kleinbard authored a piece on the intricacies of the growing debt ceiling nightmare that Congress has been unable to fix. The Huffington Post piece explaines the difference between a "debt ceiling" and a "government shutdown" and proposes "scrip" as the "least awful course of action": 

Recipients [of scrip] could include defense contractors, Medicare service providers, federal employees, and social security recipients. The scrip would not pay interest (except in certain exotic cases where required to do so by virtue of a preexisting law). Most important, the scrip would explicitly disavow that it constituted debt of the United States. Instead, the scrip's operative language would provide that it constituted an acknowledgement of a preexisting debt that the Treasury was not currently able to pay, and that it would become immediately redeemable in cash only when the Treasury was able to certify that there was enough money available in the Treasury's general fund to cover it.

Read Kleinbard's full article on the debt ceiling via Huffington Post.

Tags: government shutdown, debt ceiling, congress, borrowing limit

Stop listening to these clowns: Economists’ bad ideas have been damaging our economy for years

TCF fellow Jeff Madrick scolds the economists that have been directing today's economy, saying that their theories on austerity, inflation, growth, and free markets have done nothing to prevent another depression. Salon features an excerpt from his latest book, Seven Bad Ideas: How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World, which was released in August 2015. 

To call economists overconfident during the modern laissez-faire experiment understates their hubris. The susceptibility of economists to new fashions in thinking, their opportunistic catering to powerful interests, and their walking in lockstep with the rightward political drift of America are disturbing for a discipline that claims to be a science.

Read the full Salon article with the book excerpt here.

Learn more about the book, Seven Bad Ideas, and how to purchase it here.

Tags: seven bad ideas, jeff madrick, economists, economic reform, economic policy

How a regulatory blind spot puts the integrity of nonprofit higher ed at risk

TCF's Bob Shireman authored a piece that was published in Hechinger Report on the dangerous rise of the "covert for-profit" model of higher education. Shireman cites specific examples from his recent report on illegal practices adopted by for-profit college administrators. He says:

If the models are allowed to stand they will surely infect traditional nonprofit organizations. College trustees, previously prohibited from making money off their roles, will start to look for ways they can get a piece of the action, undermining their role representing the public interest in quality education.

Check out Bob's full article from Hechinger Report on preserving the nonprofit sector.

Tags: university governance, tax loopholes, higher education, covert for-profit


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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