The question of big government versus small government is a significant one, with both good and bad side effects. In a New York Times article that addresses levels of government spending and social benefits, TCF fellow Suzanne Mettler argues against downsizing, saying:
"...it has helped cement the image of a government that most Americans wrongly consider largely irrelevant to their lives. 'I see it as a case of smoke and mirrors'".
The full article can be read here.
On March 14-15, 2015, The New York Review of Books Foundation hosted a conference, "What's Wrong with the Economy—and with Economics?" TCF fellow Jeff Madrick participated in a panel entitled "The Atlantic Economies Since the Crash: Secular Stagnation?"
Watch Madrick's panel and others from the conference at the The New York Review of Books Foundation.
Although commuting to work is a daily occurrence for most workers, some have it much worse off than others who commute several hours to and from their destination. TCF fellow Mark Thoma dissects available commuting data and finds that proximity to the workplace is related to inequality gaps.
For those who do have jobs, long travel times to and from work take away from chores at home, shopping at the grocery store for healthy food and so on. Lengthy commutes make it harder for these workers to spend time with their kids on homework and extra-curricular activities, and harder to enroll their kids in charter or alternative schools that might give them a better chance at success.
Read Thoma's full article featured in CBS Moneywatch.
TCF fellow Jeff Madrick joined Sam Seder on the Majority Report to talk about his recent book, Seven Bad Ideas: How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World, and explain why mainstream economists did not anticipate the 2008 financial crisis.
Listen to Madrick on the Majority Report here.
TCF fellow Mark Thoma argues the merits and downfalls of the macroeconomics theory known as "Keynesian economics" in providing insight and predictions about the economy.
For the past several years, macroeconomists have been busy patching up the modern models, and they have made quite a bit of progress, more than I expected when this effort began. There is still work to be done, but there is a chance that these models will eventually provide the kind of explanatory power and policy prescriptions that are needed when large recessions hit the economy.
Read Thoma's full article in The Fiscal Times.
Since the Great Recession, the number of new community banks has fallen dramatically, from around 100 new banks per year prior to the financial downturn to just three per year on average since 2010. As TCF fellow Mark Thoma explains, the effects of this decline has affected small businesses, which often rely on local banks for their survival.
Community banks become experts at assessing local business conditions, and over time they develop relationships with small businesses in their area as loans are made and repaid. Those relationships allow the businesses assessed as trustworthy access to relatively easy credit when they need it.
When these banks disappear and aren't replaced by new banks, the relationships and local expertise are lost, and so is an important source of funding for small businesses. Or it's at least hampered.
Learn more on this trend in CBS MoneyWatch.
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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