Workers & Economic Inequality

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The Price of Happiness

April 27, 2015 COMMENTARY BY: Mike Cassidy TOPICS: Workers & Economic Inequality, Economic Policy

The CEO of a business has recently decided to raise all of his employees' salaries to a minimum of $70,000 per year. What he doesn't know, is that money isn't the only thing that buys happiness in today's world.

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U.S. Doesn’t Own American Dream Anymore

The concept of the American Dream is an idea that has been a mainstay of American culture for generations and has even developed worldwide notoriety through America's various cultural exports, namely movies, television shows, and music. But while many would like to continue to believe in an America that promises success to those who work hard and further their education, in an era of growing inequality and immobility, achieving this "dream" is becoming an increasingly difficult task.

...The American Dream is now easier to attain for people who live outside of America than those who live in it. Or, another way to put it is that economic mobility has been stunted in the U.S. As far back as 2004 the progressive think tank The Century Foundation argued that "recent evidence shows that there is much less mobility in the United States than most people assume," and that "rags to rags and riches to riches are now the norm in this country to a greater degree than in many other developed nations."

Read more on the increasingly unattainable American Dream in USA Today.

Tags: inequality gap, economics & inequality, american dream

How The Poor Want To Spend Cash

The U.S. is very skeptical when it comes to providing universal cash benefits to families with children, even though evidence from other countries has shown that these benefits are rarely abused by their recipients.

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Democrats Must Have a Concrete Plan to Empower Workers

Recently, many prominent Democrats have spoken out in support of collective bargaining and organized labor. TCF fellow Amy Dean takes a look at this "warm embrace" of unions and why political rhetoric alone will not be enough this election cycle.

Part of the reason for the Democrats’ praise for labor is the recent spotlight on the ever-growing levels of economic inequality in the United States. Another reason is political expediency: With the 2016 election campaign looming, politicians are pandering to a base that they normally take for granted.

But Democrats cannot afford to pay only lip service to organized labor when the moment is convenient. Unless they take real measures to shore up employees’ rights to collectively organize, the Democratic Party will be courting a major crisis, as will America’s working families.

Check out the rest of Dean's piece at Al Jazeera America.

Tags: labor unions, labor organizations, al jazeera america

2 groups have the most trouble with student debt

While the majority of college students struggle with paying off student loans at some point or another, research has found that there are two specific groups that particularly struggle more than others. Those groups are: older students and those from low-income areas. TCF fellow Mark Thoma explains the New York Fed's findings.

When the economy is doing poorly and jobs hard to come by, it's in our collective interest for the young to go to college instead of hopelessly searching for a position, and for older workers who have lost jobs to return to school and upgrade their skills. But people in these groups, especially those from low-income areas, aren't getting the support they need -- and they're drowning in a sea of debt.

Read Thoma's full article here.

Tags: student debt, low-income students, graduation rates, college tuition

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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