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The Grass Isn’t Greener

News last month showed that the Eurozone countries had a bad second quarter of economic growth. For the three-month period that ended in June, the Eurozone economies grew at 0.0%. Germany, the largest economy in that group, shrank by 0.2%, and Italy, the third largest, fell back into recession. While initially there was much celebration that Germany’s work-sharing schemes prevented the massive job losses experienced in the United States, Germany’s tepid fiscal response, and weak accommodation by the European Central Bank to the global downturn of 2008, have meant Europe continues to flounder. This should be a real lesson that austerity is not a better proscription than the policies pursued in the United States.

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‘Keep Calm and Muddle Through’ Wrong Solution to Retirement Crisis

Most all of us know someone—or may even be someone—who worries about having enough economic strength through savings, pensions, Social Security, health insurance and other resources to retire. When the paychecks stop coming in we don’t want to rely on help from our families, drastic cuts in spending or be forced back to work.

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Economy Adds 209,000 Jobs in July

Economy Adds 209,000 Jobs in July

The economy added 209,000 jobs in July, down from June’s increase of 288,000 new jobs, and the unemployment rate was 6.2%, slightly up from June’s 6.1%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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What's Really Going on with the Economy?

Since the economic collapse in 2008, premature cries of “recovery and mission accomplished” have repeatedly marred understanding of how the economy continues to struggle and under-perform for all but the very richest Americans. This week, the news has been good, but that news is being used by the “usual suspects” to argue for applying the economic brakes when we still have a long way to get back to full employment.

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Something Old, Something New

This past week, The Wall Street Journal published an interview with former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan. He was asked to comment on an address that current Fed Chair Janet Yellen delivered at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in early July. In that address, Yellen laid out her strategy to address asset bubbles primarily through using regulation and counter-cyclical capital requirements of financial institutions placed at risk by the bubbles. Her speech was a sage response to what we have learned from the bubbles of the last 25 years.

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We Love How This ‘Frozen’ Star Sang About the Minimum Wage. But There Are Three Problems With It

We Love How This ‘Frozen’ Star Sang About the Minimum Wage. But There Are Three Problems With It

Kristen Bell, the voice of Princess Anna in the blockbuster Disney hit “Frozen” and dozens of other films, put on a different costume this week to talk about something you wouldn’t expect.

Fans of the humor website Funny or Die were surprised to find a new video of Bell portraying Mary Poppins, the famous fictional British governess. In the video, she is telling her two young wards that she has to quit. Why? She makes minimum wage, and it’s not enough to live on.

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Netroots Nation: How We Won the Janet Yellen Fight

Photo courtesy IMF on Flickr

The chair of the Federal Reserve is by many accounts the second most powerful person in the United States after the president, but what the Federal Reserve does is a mystery to most Americans. Last year, there was an unusual public debate about who President Barack Obama should appoint as chairman of the Federal Reserve to replace departing chair Ben Bernanke. Bernanke’s vice chair, Janet Yellen, a renowned economist, had worked with Bernanke to prevent a second Great Depression, and it was widely expected that President Obama would appoint her. Then, suddenly, it seemed as though former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, with the backing of powerful Wall Street Democrats, was going to get the job. Then, equally suddenly, Summers withdrew his name, paving the way for President Obama to appoint Yellen as the first woman chair of the Fed.

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5 Things that Have Changed Since the Federal Minimum Wage Was Last Increased

5 Things that Have Changed Since the Federal Minimum Wage Was Last Increased

The federal minimum wage was last increased on July 24, 2009, and since then, a lot has changed (don’t forget tipped workers haven’t seen a raise since 1991). There have been so many attacks on working families since that time that it would be difficult to catalog them all. But workers and their allies haven't taken the attacks sitting down, and many are finding new ways to organize and stand up for their rights. 

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Stress Test Needed for Household Sector

This week, Federal Reserve Board (Fed) Chair Janet Yellen testified to Congress as part of the requirements of the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act. The testimony gives Congress an opportunity to hear and assess the Fed’s thinking on economic policy.

In her assessment of the labor market, Yellen clearly stated the labor market is getting better but shows many signs of weakness.

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Shelby's Story: The Case for Paid Family Leave

The latest video in the Workonomics series by Upworthy takes a look at Shelby, a mother who was forced to choose between taking care of her family and getting paid, a choice all too many workers in America are forced to make. The AFL-CIO supports expanding paid family leave as a way to make fewer Americans have to make such tragic and difficult decisions.

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