Archive for November, 2009|Monthly archive page

From Cradle to Launch (Rethinking Youth Policy)

In Budget Politics, Economic Planning, Economics, Health Care Reform, History and Politics, Inequality, New Deal, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Welfare State, Youth Policy on November 30, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Introduction:

In general, American society does a really poor job of protecting the young. 21% of American children live in families below the poverty line; another 22% of children live in families that make 100-200% of the poverty line, where a sudden illness or job loss or other crisis can easily send the family back into the ranks of the destitute.

In the face of this, the U.S devotes only 16% of its domestic budget to children, and this share has actually shrunk over the last 50 years.At the same time, youth policy is split between over a hundred programs, with no overarching attention paid to the different aspects of life from cradle to launch.

If we are to do better for the next generation of children, we need to adopt a comprehensive youth policy.

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Job Insurance in Global Context (Part 13)

In Economic Planning, Economics, Financial Crisis, Full Employment, History and Politics, Living Wage, New Deal, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Public Policy, Public Sector, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Welfare State, WPA on November 28, 2009 at 11:31 am

Introduction:

(see here for previous parts in the series)

In my series on Job Insurance, I’ve largely focused on how the different elements of the program would function domestically, in part because the major impact of the program (the lowering of unemployment rates) would have its most immediate and visible impact on the American labor market. However, it is also the case that in an economic context where global capital flows are largely unregulated, and where the United States functions as the world’s #1 consumer (other countries don’t buy U.S Treasury Bills for the sake of our health, after all), a Job Insurance program would have a substantial and largely positive effect on the world economy.

Moreover, I will argue that a Job Insurance system has the capacity to help the U.S deal both with domestic and international economic problems.

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Democratic Planning – Climate Change

In Climate Change, Economic Planning, Economics, Environment, History and Politics, Politics of Policy, Public Policy, Regulation on November 25, 2009 at 3:37 am

Introduction:

(For previous parts in the series, see here)

I’ve written before about the climate change bill that passed the House in June from an environmental standpoint, but it’s also true that the climate change bill is both an expression of our faith in economic planning and an incredible test of our ability as a democratic society to determine our economic future.

So as we follow the progress of the climate change bill through the five remaining Senate committees, we must pay attention not only to how the different elements of the legislation function as environmental regulation, but also how they work as economic planning – and be ready to apply these lessons to the future.

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New Urbanism – 21st Century Municipal Socialism

In Economic Planning, Economics, History and Politics, Housing, Inequality, Liberalism, Mass Transit, Political Ideology, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Regulation, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Urbanism, Welfare State on November 24, 2009 at 1:12 am

Introduction:

Let us imagine a city. Enough jobs have been created that the labor market is tight, wages are rising, and increased consumption fuels a thriving economy. Enormous amounts of affordable housing have been built, despite the unending flow of people into the city. Does this city work? Does it fulfill the hopes of the “new urbanists”?

Not necessarily. Because the city I have described is the New York of the Five Points, or Dickins’ London, or Detroit on June 20th 1943 or Los Angeles on August 11, 1965. Making the city work goes far beyond the concrete reality of real estate and employment – there are a vast number of services that have to work for a city to be livable.

And to understand why this is, we have to understand the political and social movement known as “municipal socialism.”

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Job Insurance – Part 12 (Finance)

In Budget Politics, Economic Planning, Economics, Financial Crisis, Full Employment, History and Politics, Liberalism, New Deal, Political Ideology, Politics of Policy, Progressivism, Public Policy, Regulation, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Taxes, Welfare State, WPA on November 16, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Introduction:

In previous installments of the Job Insurance series, I’ve used a simple $20 a month premium, split 50/50 between workers and their employers, to give a rough idea about how a Job Insurance program could be financed as a significant new social insurance program, without creating a heavy fiscal burden.

However, there are important alternatives for financing a Job Insurance program that should be considered – especially as we think of how to construct a jobs bill without triggering an internal struggle with our party’s “deficit hawks.”

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What Should Be In A Jobs Bill? (A Job Insurance Supplement)

In Budget Politics, Economic Planning, Economics, Financial Crisis, Full Employment, History and Politics, Living Wage, New Deal, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Public Policy, Public Sector, Public Works, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Welfare State, WPA, Youth Policy on November 13, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Introduction:

Up until a week ago, the prospects for a second round of economic stimulus looked bleak; an ominous coalition of Senate moderates (the same folks who shrank the stimulus and cut out Pelosi’s teacher preservation program, and who’ve tried their level best to stop the health care reform effort in its tracks) threatened to force the U.S government into default unless Congress agreed to a deficit-reduction committee with authority over Social Security and Medicare, and President Obama responded by talking up deficit reduction in his next budget.

And then the October jobs report came out, showing unemployment rising over the magical 10% level that signals political disaster in a midterm election. Suddenly, President Obama began to talk up a December “jobs summit,” and Senator Reid announced that he’s pulling together a pre-election jobs bill.

This sudden momentum is welcome, but if we want to significantly reduce unemployment, and thereby protect our Democratic Congress at the same time, we need to be very careful about what goes into this jobs bill.

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Job Insurance – Part 11 (For the Young)

In Economic Planning, Economics, Financial Crisis, Full Employment, History and Politics, New Deal, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Public Policy, Public Sector, Public Works, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Welfare State, WPA, Youth Policy on November 9, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Introduction:

Peter Coy’s article, “The Lost Generation – Bright, Eager, and Unwanted” drew much-needed attention to the disastrous impact of the current recession on the young. Unemployment rates for those under 24 are nearly twice the national average, and the trajectory for youth employment is not heartening. As young people, many of whom have sunk themselves deep into debt for college educations that were sold to them as tickets into the middle class, face years of empty spaces on their resumes and lost wage income and promotions they will begin to fall further and further back from their potential and become a truly lost generation.

Something needs to be done to save a generation from a blighted economic life, and to recover untold amounts of potential labor power that will go unused in the interim. Luckily, history gives us a perfect example of how to save this generation in the youth policies of the New Deal.

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Gimme Shelter – The Problem of Housing in New Urbanism

In Economic Planning, Economics, Housing, Inequality, Liberalism, Political Ideology, Politics, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Regulation, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Urbanism, Welfare State on November 9, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Introduction:

In my previous segment on working-class new urbanism, I focused on the non-housing aspects of the urban squeeze-out effect that the working and middle classes face in gentrifying cities. However, it is true that housing is the leading factor that causes cities to shift from a “bell curve” socioeconomic distribution, where the city is anchored by a broad middle class and a prosperous and mobile working class, to a “barbell” distribution, where a megawealthy elite perch on top of a vast number of poverty-wage workers.

However, the new urbanist emphasis on expanding supply through higher density, while necessary, is not sufficient to make the city safe for the working and middle classes.

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