Four years into the economic recovery and there has been almost no improvement in either the poverty rate or median household incomes. In fact, both were worse last year than in 2009, when the unemployment rate peaked at 10 percent. That's the takeaway from the latest Census Bureau report on poverty and income, which reveals just how little the soaring stock market and record corporate profits have done to help America's poor and struggling middle class.Continue Reading
TCF fellow Amy Dean for In These Times on whether working people will have a say in the neoliberal metropolis. "The successes in Denver, Houston and other metropolitan regions—where grassroots groups have rewritten top-down blueprints into plans for broad prosperity—show that we not only need growth," Dean writes; "we need growth that supports the expansion of the middle class. We not only need jobs; we need good jobs."
At Wonkblog, TCF fellow Harold Pollack interviews behavioral economists Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir on their new book Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much. In the conversation Pollack points out, "One of the tragedies of unemployment insurance is there's this incredible stigma for being out of the workforce for any length of time. Yet the way the system is structured, you're in the tunnel in the earliest period before the stigma is so apparent to you."
TCF fellow Daniel Alpert for Business Insider on the U.S. job creation numbers for August. "Not only was the 152,000 level of private sector job creation below estimates and 'whisper numbers,'" Alpert writes, "but the U.S. once again relied on low-wage jobs (generally 1/3rd of total jobs in the economy) for 57% of total job creation."
"The economy is not creating jobs that enable workers to hold their own relative to the cost of living."
Wonkblog refers to a March interview with fellow Harold Pollack "on the claim that the lure of disability benefits were taking workers out of the workforce." In that piece, Pollack pointed out “the employment rates for people who applied for disability but were then denied.” That low rate, which is below 50 percent, "suggests we’re not pulling people out of the workforce who would otherwise be there.”
TCF senior fellow Richard Kahlenberg and fellow Moshe Marvit in U.S. News and World Report on economic civil rights. "Where the March on Washington succeeded in procuring certain political rights," Kahlenberg and Marvit write, "it fell short in procuring the economic rights demanded. Strengthening the long-recognized right to join a union through the self-same civil rights legislation that changed employment practices carries the promise of renewing the great alliance that was represented during the March."
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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