Workers & Economic Inequality

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Strong Unions, Strong Democracy

TCF senior fellow Richard Kahlenberg authored an opinion piece featured in the New York Times which expresses concern about the consequences of eliminating union fees and dues for those who dissent with the union. The piece explains how collective bargaining efforts among employees are largely supportive of the democratic livelihood that America is built upon. 

Unions serve as what Robert Putnam, a political scientist at Harvard, calls “schools for democracy.” Being involved in workplace decisions and the give and take of collective bargaining, voting on union contracts and voting for union leadership are all important drivers of “democratic acculturation.”

Read Kahlenberg's NY Times opinion piece that lays out the ramifications of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.

Tags: union organizing, union dues, supreme court, right to work, democracy

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

Trump Turns US Politics into a (Bad) Reality Show

Although few see Donald Trump as a true contender for the White House in 2016, his current bid for the Republican presidential nomination is certainly having an impact on the race, reports TCF fellow Michael Cohen.

With so much attention being paid to Trump, lesser-known candidates such as Rubio, Kasich and Paul will find it that much harder to be heard among the din. Trump may kill each of their candidacies off. That would end up helping Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, who though polling in the teens, are clearly in a stronger position than any of the other candidates.

Find out more about how Trump's run is affecting his fellow Republican candidates in The Guardian.

Tags: the guardian, republicans, republican party, donald trump

Marco Rubio’s tough-guy act on foreign policy

As with many qualms of presidential candidates, Florida Senator Marco Rubio's latest speech on foreign policy was severely lacking in any substantial concrete policy visions. TCF fellow Michael Cohen confirms that, like many presidents, Rubio talks a big game, but rarely has much to say in terms of specific actions he would like to take if elected.

He offered the oft-heard — and untrue — GOP assertion that President Obama has retreated from the world. He assailed the president for hundreds of billions in defense cuts — cuts that are a direct result of the budget caps a Republican Congress forced on the White House. He criticized Obama for betraying American values through “the expediency of negotiations with repressive regimes,” which makes me think that if Rubio ever saw a picture of Ronald Reagan shaking hands with Mikhail Gorbachev his head might explode.

Read Cohen's full article here.

Tags: republican party, presidential race, gop, foreign 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

Here’s an Economic Agenda for Hillary Clinton

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.

Tags: presidential election, hillary clinton, economic policy, democratic party


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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