February 13, 2014
A Plan to Reduce Inequality: Give $1,000 to Every Newborn Baby

A 1990s plan to create nest eggs using federal grants and tax credits was never enacted, but with a few small tweaks, it’s an even better idea today.
Read more. [Image: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters]

A Plan to Reduce Inequality: Give $1,000 to Every Newborn Baby

A 1990s plan to create nest eggs using federal grants and tax credits was never enacted, but with a few small tweaks, it’s an even better idea today.

Read more. [Image: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters]

February 13, 2014
The Rise (and Rise and Rise) of the 0.01 Percent in America

The average 1 percenter is quite rich. But she lives in a state of relative poverty compared to the astronomical wealth of “the 1 percent of the 1 percent.”
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

The Rise (and Rise and Rise) of the 0.01 Percent in America

The average 1 percenter is quite rich. But she lives in a state of relative poverty compared to the astronomical wealth of “the 1 percent of the 1 percent.”

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

February 3, 2014
How When Harry Met Sally Explains Income Inequality

Inequality has exploded the past 30 years, because of the usual suspects: technology, Wall Street, Harry, and Sally.
Okay, it probably isn’t fair to blame Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan for our widening income gap. But it is fair to say that When Harry Met Sally tells us something about why the rich have been getting so much richer than everyone else. That’s high-earning college grads marrying each other—which a new paper estimates has increased inequality by 25 percent.
We used to live in a Mad Men world. Few men went to college, even fewer women did, and not many women, period, worked outside the home—not that they had many opportunities if they did. In 1960, 42.5 percent of married women hadn’t graduated from high school. 39.6 percent had only done that. And just 37.7 percent of all women had or were looking for a job. The stereotype is that men married their secretaries, if their wives did work, and there’s something to that—though highly-educated people did still pair up at high rates back then.
Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

How When Harry Met Sally Explains Income Inequality

Inequality has exploded the past 30 years, because of the usual suspects: technology, Wall Street, Harry, and Sally.

Okay, it probably isn’t fair to blame Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan for our widening income gap. But it is fair to say that When Harry Met Sally tells us something about why the rich have been getting so much richer than everyone else. That’s high-earning college grads marrying each other—which a new paper estimates has increased inequality by 25 percent.

We used to live in a Mad Men world. Few men went to college, even fewer women did, and not many women, period, worked outside the home—not that they had many opportunities if they did. In 1960, 42.5 percent of married women hadn’t graduated from high school. 39.6 percent had only done that. And just 37.7 percent of all women had or were looking for a job. The stereotype is that men married their secretaries, if their wives did work, and there’s something to that—though highly-educated people did still pair up at high rates back then.

Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

January 6, 2014
The War on Poverty Turns 50: Why Aren’t We Winning?

The “war on poverty” turns 50 this week. Judging by the official rate, which has only edged down from 19 percent to 15 percent in that time, poverty is winning the war.
Why?
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

The War on Poverty Turns 50: Why Aren’t We Winning?

The “war on poverty” turns 50 this week. Judging by the official rate, which has only edged down from 19 percent to 15 percent in that time, poverty is winning the war.

Why?

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

January 2, 2014
Will 2014 Be the Year the Economy (Finally) Works for Workers?

Since the global recession ended, economic forecasters have been trying to call the Next Big Crash that would once again drag the world back into the sewer. It was going to be Europe. No, make that China. Or a cascading collapse of commodity prices. 
But reality has been more complicated. The world hasn’t fallen apart, if you look at the top-line growth figures. GDPs are expanding, bond markets are functioning, stocks are rising, and the global economy certainly seems to be working. But it’s not quite working for a certain slice of the world economy commonly known as humans.
The markets missed the big meltdown. But labor got the big muddle-through.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

Will 2014 Be the Year the Economy (Finally) Works for Workers?

Since the global recession ended, economic forecasters have been trying to call the Next Big Crash that would once again drag the world back into the sewer. It was going to be Europe. No, make that China. Or a cascading collapse of commodity prices.

But reality has been more complicated. The world hasn’t fallen apart, if you look at the top-line growth figures. GDPs are expanding, bond markets are functioning, stocks are rising, and the global economy certainly seems to be working. But it’s not quite working for a certain slice of the world economy commonly known as humans.

The markets missed the big meltdown. But labor got the big muddle-through.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

December 20, 2013
Would Increasing the Minimum Wage Create Jobs?

The standard argument against raising the minimum wage is that it kills jobs by making workers more expensive to hire. Whether or not that’s true has been the subject of century-long economics debate, which probably won’t be resolved any time soon. But lately, some liberals have been attempting to flip the old criticism on its head. Higher minimum wages, they say, don’t destroy jobs. Higher minimum wages create jobs!
This week, for instance, the Economic Policy Institute released a report estimating that raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, up from $7.25 today, would add an additional 85,000 jobs to the economy, a finding that’s been covered in liberal-leaning outlets like The Huffington Post.
It’s not an entirely crazy notion. But it’s also less exciting than you might think.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

Would Increasing the Minimum Wage Create Jobs?

The standard argument against raising the minimum wage is that it kills jobs by making workers more expensive to hire. Whether or not that’s true has been the subject of century-long economics debate, which probably won’t be resolved any time soon. But lately, some liberals have been attempting to flip the old criticism on its head. Higher minimum wages, they say, don’t destroy jobs. Higher minimum wages create jobs!

This week, for instance, the Economic Policy Institute released a report estimating that raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, up from $7.25 today, would add an additional 85,000 jobs to the economy, a finding that’s been covered in liberal-leaning outlets like The Huffington Post.

It’s not an entirely crazy notion. But it’s also less exciting than you might think.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

December 20, 2013
The Coen Brothers’ Unsung Politics

From gray city streets to the dingy basement clubs where singers with names like Dylan, Baez, and Seeger got their starts, Ethan and Joel Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis faithfully recreates the folk music scene in Greenwich Village 1961. But the film leaves out one defining element of that real-life setting: politics.
The folk movement loudly linked itself to the civil-rights movement and other social-justice efforts. But the film’s title character and his musician colleagues don’t spend time talking rights or revolution. Their songs, while hauntingly beautiful, forgo political references. The only time politics does enter the story is as the punch line to a depressing cosmic joke: Llewyn plays back-up guitar on a recording of the hilariously awful pop-folk song “Please Mr. Kennedy” in order to earn a few bucks to pay for his ex-lover’s abortion.
Read more. [Image: CBS Films]

The Coen Brothers’ Unsung Politics

From gray city streets to the dingy basement clubs where singers with names like Dylan, Baez, and Seeger got their starts, Ethan and Joel Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis faithfully recreates the folk music scene in Greenwich Village 1961. But the film leaves out one defining element of that real-life setting: politics.

The folk movement loudly linked itself to the civil-rights movement and other social-justice efforts. But the film’s title character and his musician colleagues don’t spend time talking rights or revolution. Their songs, while hauntingly beautiful, forgo political references. The only time politics does enter the story is as the punch line to a depressing cosmic joke: Llewyn plays back-up guitar on a recording of the hilariously awful pop-folk song “Please Mr. Kennedy” in order to earn a few bucks to pay for his ex-lover’s abortion.

Read more. [Image: CBS Films]

December 11, 2013
Have Women Achieved Equality? America Says: Sorta

December 10, 2013
The Most Important Economic Stories of 2013—in 37 Graphs

A record year for stocks. A meh year for wages. A weird year for Wall Street.
Read more.

The Most Important Economic Stories of 2013—in 37 Graphs

A record year for stocks. A meh year for wages. A weird year for Wall Street.

Read more.

December 4, 2013
You Can’t Fix Income Inequality Without Fixing Unemployment

President Obama’s speech today on income inequality was long and eloquent, but if I could boil it down to a one-sentence summary, it would be this: 
Large-scale efforts to protect the economy’s neediest have a triumphant history in America.
Jump back a 100 years. Our problems are different—and much worse. 
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

You Can’t Fix Income Inequality Without Fixing Unemployment

President Obama’s speech today on income inequality was long and eloquent, but if I could boil it down to a one-sentence summary, it would be this: 

Large-scale efforts to protect the economy’s neediest have a triumphant history in America.

Jump back a 100 years. Our problems are different—and much worse.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

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