X-Posted From Lawyers, Guns, and Money: Why Poverty Still Matters

In Economics, Globalization, Inequality, Liberalism, Political Ideology, Politics, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy on October 27, 2013 at 4:43 pm

(So…it’s been a while since this blog has been updated. Largely, this is because I’ve been very busy finishing up my dissertation, which devours free time like a ravenous beast. However, as of about a week ago, I’ve defended and am quite done with all that. So I’m going to begin policy-blogging again; however, my main venue is probably going to shift over to Lawyers, Guns, and Money for a number of reasons. However, I will still be cross-posting back to this blog to keep all of my material available in one place.

Here’s the first policy piece I’ve done for them. Enjoy!)

While I normally enjoy or at least tolerate the Washington Post’s Wonkblog on the grounds that at least they have more substantive policy discussions going on than the rest of the Post, it does seem lately that Dylan Matthews’ presence there is intended to fulfill some quota of center-right pseudo-contrarianism that’s hard-coded into the Post’s DNA. A recent provocation, this time on inequality, is a more quantitative gloss on why American poverty doesn’t matter:

What this is telling us is that in India and Brazil, the poorest people are among the poorest people in the entire world, whereas the richest people are either middle-class, globally speaking, as is the case in India, or are for-real rich, as is the case in Brazil. But if you’re in Russia and especially if you’re in the United States, the mere fact that you live there means that you are not (with some exceptions) poor in the global sense. The bottom fifth of Americans are still well above the middle of the world income distribution.

A Marshall Plan for Greece Makes Sense for Germany

In Budget Politics, Democratic Governance, Economic Planning, Economics, European Politics, Financial Crisis, Full Employment, Globalization, Industrial Policy, Inequality, Liberalism, Political Ideology, Political Parties, Politics, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Public Works, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Taxes, Trade, Welfare State on May 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm


by David Attewell

In 1949, Germany lay in utter ruin. World War II had devastated its people and laid waste to much of the rest of Europe. The temptation among the victors was to rain down punishment on the Germans in repayment for the catastrophic violence their militarism had brought upon the continent and the rest of the world.

Instead, the Allies heeded the lessons of Versailles, and abstained from demanding excessive reparations; the U.S infused West Germany with billions of dollars in grants and low-interest loans to rebuild its industrial economy. The Marshall Plan launched a new day for the FRG and the prosperity that followed set the conditions for a democratic, prosperous Germany with a European future.

Europe would do well today to remember these lessons as they look to the ‘Greek problem’.

Labor Market Policy – Tackling the Pyramid

In Budget Politics, California, Democratic Governance, Economic Planning, Economics, Education Reform, European Politics, Financial Crisis, Full Employment, Health Care Reform, Higher Education, Housing, Inequality, Liberalism, Living Wage, Political Ideology, Politics, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Regulation, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Taxes, Unions, Welfare State, Youth Policy on March 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm


It’s somewhat out of vogue to talk about the quality of jobs and the shape of the labor market at a time when unemployment is so high and the obvious issue is the number of jobs being created. This wasn’t the case prior to the recession, although rather specious reasons were given to justify the rapidly increasing inequality of wages as the outcome of superior education or productivity. What can’t be denied is that even before the recession, we were sliding into a highly unequal labor market in which many low-paid, insecure workers (50% of American workers made less than $26,000 or 230% of poverty in 2010) serve a small number of ever-richer elites.

This trend has only continued since the recession, and it’s a problem that has to be solved if we are to either fully recover or protect ourselves from the next recession.