Annette Bernhardt: The inequality debate often focuses on globalization and new technology, but we know that the decline of unions and the falling real value of the minimum wage have also played critical roles.
Robert Reich: Whatever the outcome of the upcoming midterm elections, the activist phase of the Obama administration has likely come to a close. The President may have a fight on his hands even to hold on to what he’s already achieved because his legislative successes have been large enough to fuel strong opposition but not big enough to strengthen his support. The result could be disastrous for him and congressional Democrats.
Articles by Tom Hall, Joseph Palermo, David Love, John MacMurray, Georgianne Nienaber, Ed Rampell, Mario Solis-Marich, Randy Shaw, Randal Jelks, H. Scott Prosterman, Carl Bloice, Ron Wolff, Jasmyne Cannick, Steve Hochstadt, Anthony Samad, Michael Sigman, Paul Hogarth, Rev. Irene Monroe, Wayne Williams, Andrea Nill, Tina Dupuy, Sylvia Moore, Adam Eran, Robert Reich, Simon Balto, Norman Solomon, Wade Graham, Michele Waslin, Berry Craig, Joseph Palermo, and Sharon Kyle
Steve Hochstadt: We grredy American homeowners appear as co-conspirators in many judgments about what caused the great recession. In these interpretations, many of us were greedy for wanting bigger homes than we deserved, foolish to have then bought larger houses than we could afford, and stupid for agreeing to the low-interest/low-payment scams of mortgage sellers.
Robert Reich: Representative Joe Barton’s apology to Tony Hayward for what he termed a “shakedown” of BP by the White House in order to get BP’s agreement to a $20 billion escrow fund, was the best thing to happen to BP since April 20, and the best boost for the White House in months. What possessed Barton, the ranking Republican on Energy and Commerce?
Robert Reich: Americans have no choice but to pare back their debt. That’s bad news because consumer spending is 70 percent of the economy. It helps explain why we so few jobs are being created, and why we can’t escape the gravitational pull of the Great Recession without far more government spending.
Robert Reich: The only reason the economy isn’t in a double-dip recession already is because of three temporary boosts: the federal stimulus (of which 75 percent has been spent), near-zero interest rates (which can’t continue much longer without igniting speculative bubbles), and replacements (consumers have had to replace worn-out cars and appliances, and businesses had to replace worn-down inventories). Oh, and, yes, all those Census workers (who will be out on their ears in a month or so).
Robert Reich: The Great Recession has accelerated a structural shift in the economy that had been slowly building for years. Companies have used the downturn to aggressively trim payrolls, making cuts they’ve been reluctant to make before. Outsourcing abroad has increased dramatically. Companies have discovered that new software and computer technologies have made many workers in Asia and Latin America almost as productive as Americans, and that the Internet allows far more work to be efficiently moved to another country without loss of control.