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AFL-CIO Now

Bernstein: Inequality and Budget Deficits—Why Is Only the Latter an Emergency?

Source: Piketty and Saez, 2012, link in the blog.

"Inequality and Budget Deficits: Why Is Only the Latter an Emergency?" is a cross-post from Jared Bernstein's On the Economy blog. 

I just read two sweeping reports on the state of income inequality in the U.S. (the second link focuses on state-level inequality) and other advanced economies.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve been so ensconced in fiscal cliff discussions, but I was struck by how much more alarmed policymakers are by the budget deficit than by the inequality situation. There are reasons for that tilt—some good, some bad—but based on magnitudes of the problem, it’s far from clear that our current sole policy focus is warranted.

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Trying to Teach Old Dogs New Tricks

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve's open market committee concluded its two-day meeting to set U.S. monetary policy. In a vote that divided the Board of Governors, appointed by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in an open public process, and the presidents of the regional bank board presidents, chosen by boards dominated by banks within their region, Janet Yellen, chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the FOMC, announced the FOMC decided to hold steady to its current fed funds rate. The fed funds rate is an overnight interest charge made between banks loaning reserves to each other. If it is higher, the cost of making loans goes up, and that reduces liquidity for the business and consumer sectors. Lower liquidity means less borrowing for business investment or consumer purchases like homes and cars. In turn, that means slower demand, and translates into slower growth for jobs.

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In the Shadow of Obama's Refugee Summit and U.N., Global Labor Movement and Immigrant Leaders Speak Out

As world leaders met in the U.N. General Assembly and the Obama administration's Leaders’ Summit to make a new commitment to address mass movements of refugees and migrants, labor and immigrant leaders gathered by the United Nations to call on governments to promote dignity and decent work for those on the move.

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Union Women Step Up to the Plate to Elect Worker-Friendly Candidates

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler

On Sept. 13, more than 40,000 union women from across the country joined a telephone town hall to discuss what’s at stake this election cycle for working women and their families. The event was hosted by AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler, the highest-ranking woman in the labor movement, and featured AFT President Randi Weingarten; Maria Elena Durazo, UNITE HERE general vice president for immigration, civil rights and diversity; and Linda Hinton, Communications Workers of America (CWA) District 4 vice president. These leaders rallied their sisters to join the fight to elect worker-friendly candidates up and down the ballot who reflect the economic priorities of working women and families.

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