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Encouraging Economic Leadership

Fed Chair Janet Yellen

This week, Janet Yellen made her second major speech as chair of the Federal Reserve Bank. Again, her talk as chair is fresh air compared with what is typically heard from Fed chairs. During her first speech in April in Chicago, she actually called out the names of specific unemployed workers—putting a human face on the real effects of Fed policy.

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6 Ways Pew Research is Encouraging a Generational War Over Social Security and Medicare

Matthew Yglesias points to a new piece from the Pew Research Center that, it seems, was written to spur a nonexistent (according to its own data) generational battle over Social Security and Medicare. Look, we understand it is difficult to write explanatory text to go along with the pretty sophisticated research included in the article, but the text you write should have at least some connection to that research. Pew failed to meet that standard.

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Economic News Roundup

Economic News Roundup

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI), National People's Action (NPA), the Center for Effective Government, and Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) have released important research about the economy in the past few weeks.

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6 Reasons Why Unions Are Essential to Creating Broadly Based Prosperity

6 Reasons Why Unions Are Essential to Creating Broadly Based Prosperity

At the end of March, the Roosevelt Institute launched a new project, the Future of Work, which takes a look at the changing landscape in the area of workers’ rights and representation in the political and economic system that affects their lives. Author Richard Kirsch does a great job of explaining that landscape and discussing potential policy solutions in a report titled The Future of Work in America: Policies to Empower American Workers and Secure Prosperity for All.

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FTT—Financial Transaction Tax or Flash Boys Transaction Tax?

Currently, at the top of the New York Times bestseller list in non-fiction is Michael Lewis’ Flashboys; a detailed look at how the high-frequency computerized trading of stocks allowed sophisticated programmers to beat top institutional investors to trades and pocket millions.  Lewis tells the story as a detective story, with a Royal Bank of Canada trader Brad Katsuyama as its protagonist, uncovering why his trades got delayed.  While many reviews have focused on the need to better regulate the stock market to insure its fairness, less attention has been paid to a big reveal of the book.

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Another Right-Wing Talking Point Falls: Americans Work Hard Even on Vacation

Photo courtesy Ziv Turner on Flickr

If you listen to extreme right-wing business types, you'd think that America's workers shouldn't be given paid vacation days, or any form of paid leave for that matter, because those workers will only abuse the days off and it'll hurt their employers' ability to even survive as a business. This opposition to paid leave has led to the United States being the only one of the world's 21 richest countries without mandated paid vacation days for all workers. According to a new survey from Glassdoor, however, America's workers are not only not abusing paid vacation days, or even using all of the ones they have, most people in America work during their paid vacations.

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Republicans Out on a Limb

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its latest numbers this week. Its preliminary number for people on payrolls, reported by private-sector establishments, is 116 million. That figure is higher than the last peak in January 2008, before President Barack Obama took office. This marks 49 straight months of job growth from the second year of the president’s first term. It took four years and three months for both the president and George W. Bush to get private-sector employment back to the level when they took office. The difference is that employment was falling when Obama took office, so it took an additional year to make up for the jobs lost during the Great Recession while Bush was still president.

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The Cause He Died For

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library of Congress.

It's been 50 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson announced his "War on Poverty." It was a time when the nation redefined its values, extending to millions of people the chance at last to be a part of the American Dream. A half century later, we have made enormous progress. But we still must do more to extend opportunity to those who live on society's margins. With patience, persistence and partnership, we can create economic opportunity for every person willing to work hard for it.

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Economy Adds 192,000 Jobs in March, Unemployment Rate Remains at 6.7%

Economy Adds 192,000 Jobs in March, Unemployment Rate Remains at 6.7%

The economy added 192,000 jobs in March, but the unemployment rate remained at February’s 6.7% level, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. March’s job gain outpaced February’s 175,000 increase but is still far short of what is needed to dig the economy out of the job hole left by the Great Recession.

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Ruben Jones and Why We Need a $10.10 Minimum Wage

Ruben Jones is a man closer to the age where he should be thinking about retirement, contrary to the "teens who don't need the money" stereotype of minimum  and low-wage workers, and makes $8.00 working at a Golden Corral location in the Washington, D.C., area. He's worked for the company over the past five years without seeing a raise. He has two children and four grandchildren who live in Ocean City, Md., who he can't visit because he can't afford to make the trip. Ruben works hard every day, but he lives at home with his mother and grandmother because his low wages, even though they are above the minimum wage, aren't enough for him to get his own apartment. 

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