Workers & Economic Inequality

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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.

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

The Problem with Completely Free Markets

TCF fellow Mark Thoma outlines the pros and cons of living in a government regulated economy, explaining that competitive markets to not always equate to free markets. He concludes in saying that, either way, the government must intervene in some capacity in order to regulate goods and services and have consumers make good choices.

To begin, there must be numerous participants on both sides of the market. When, for example, there are only a small number of sellers the price will be too high and the quantity too low relative to the competitive outcome. If the good is a necessity – suppose a single firm has a monopoly on the supply of water – the price could be very high indeed. To combat this problem, the government tries to prevent firms from pursuing strategies to monopolize markets, and regulators break up markets that become monopolized anyway.

Read Thoma's full article from The Fiscal Times.

Tags: small government, regulation, market competition, goods, free markets

Despite Disparate Impact Ruling, U.S. Far From Fair Housing

The Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project ruling is a victory for combating racial inequality, but fair housing has a long way to go before discrimination is truly eliminated.

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When Jail Is The Better Option: The Failure of Halfway Houses

Mass incarceration in America has put nearly 2 million individuals behind bars. The next step toward rehabilitation, however, is not faring much better, with increasing corruption invading many halfway houses. 

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Why the US Can’t Shake Off the Great Recession

Despite the inspiring headlines and statistics emerging following the Great Recession, TCF fellow Daniel Alpert confirms that the state of the economy is in fact not as healthy as it appears in the public eye. Apparently lackluster financial effects remain such as impending inflation and lower than average employment rates.In fact, the entire post-recession economic recovery in the U.S. has been far less than stellar. Median household real incomes have not recovered and jobs created have been at lower wages than previously existing jobs. The pace of job growth has slowed significantly this year, with the percentage of the employable population actually working near a 35 year low.

Read Alpert's full article here from CNBC.

Tags: unemployment rate, infrastructure spending, inflation, great recession, economy reform

Restoring the Public’s Trust in Economists

Economists are largely politically polarized in their theories on how to improve the fiscal policy in the U.S. TCF fellow Mark Thoma says that unlike other professions that can rely on tests in a lab, economists must rely on modeling assumptions which inevitably means their work involves a high degree of "mathiness" or, "restricting your microfoundations in advance to guarantee a particular political result and hiding what you are doing in a blizzard of irrelevant and ungrounded algebra.”

We must find a way to make it clear what the preponderance of evidence says about important policy decisions. Far too often, confusion about the degree to which economists are unified, or not, clouds the public debate. Somehow, and surveys such as the IGM Economic Experts Panel are a start, we must do a better job of communicating the general view within the profession about important policy issues.

Read Thoma's full article featured in Fiscal Times.

Tags: partisan pollitics, fiscal policy, economists

 

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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