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Cuddle Your Kid!

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

October 20, 2012
Children in poor households grow up under constant stress, disproportionately raised by young, single mothers also under tremendous stress, and the result may be brain architecture that makes it harder for the children to thrive at school or succeed in the work force. Yet the cycle can be broken, and the implication is that the most cost-effective way to address poverty… may be early childhood education and parenting programs.

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Posted in Child & Family | 2 Comments »

The Conservative Mind

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

September 24, 2012
In the polarized political conflict with liberalism, shrinking government has become the organizing conservative principle. Economic conservatives have the money and the institutions. They have taken control… Conservatism has lost the balance between economic and traditional conservatism… abandoned half of its intellectual ammunition. It appeals to people as potential business owners, but not as parents, neighbors and citizens.

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Posted in Governance Debates | No Comments »

How Corporations Behave

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

September 1, 2012
Boards of directors, outside corporate law and accounting firms, giant ratings agencies, state and federal banking regulators, and legislative and oversight committees all failed to detect or prevent abuses that led to trillion-dollar losses in pensions, millions of unemployed workers and taxpayer-funded bailouts. Why? Because they were “paid” to look the other way, through lucrative fees, campaign contributions or future employment opportunities. Individual and institutional shareholders didn’t restrain the corporate bosses because over the decades corporate managers have rendered shareholders powerless.

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America’s Aversion to Taxes

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

August 14, 2012
Citizens of most industrial countries have demanded more public services as they have become richer. And they have been by and large willing to pay more taxes to finance them. Since 1965, tax revenue raised by governments in the developed world have risen to 34 percent of their gross domestic product from 25 percent, on average… Since 1980, income per person has grown roughly the same across developed nations, about 300 percent… It has grown a little faster in the United States than in the European Union and Canada, but slower than in higher tax countries like Japan, Norway and Sweden.

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Posted in Governance Policy Context | 1 Comment »

Fighting depression, one village at a time

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

18 July 2012
According to the World Health Organization, the disease that robs the most adults of the most years of productive life is… depression… three-quarters of the world’s neuropsychiatric disorders are in low-income or low-middle income countries… In troubled places, depression’s impact is more severe. Most families have no cushion or safety net — they are running very hard just to stay in one place… Today, not only is mental health getting global attention, mental health care is successfully expanding in many poor countries…

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The Austerity Agenda

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

May 31, 2012
… slashing spending while the economy is deeply depressed is a self-defeating strategy, because it just deepens the depression… So why have so many politicians insisted on pursuing austerity in slump? And why won’t they change course even as experience confirms the lessons of theory and history? … they almost always retreat to assertions along the lines of: “But it’s essential that we shrink the size of the state.”… it’s about using deficit panic as an excuse to dismantle social programs… For economic recovery was never the point; the drive for austerity was about using the crisis, not solving it.

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The Structural Revolution

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

May 7, 2012
There are several overlapping structural problems. First, there are those surrounding globalization and technological change. Hyperefficient globalized companies need fewer workers. As a result, unemployment rises, superstar salaries surge while lower-skilled wages stagnate, the middle gets hollowed out and inequality grows… The current model, in which we try to compensate for structural economic weakness with tax cuts and an unsustainable welfare state, simply cannot last. The old model is broken… Structuralists face a tension: How much should you reduce the pain the unemployed are feeling now, and how much should you devote your resources to long-term reform?

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For Two Economists, the Buffett Rule Is Just a Start

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

April 16, 2012
Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty have spent the last decade tracking the incomes of the poor, the middle class and the rich in countries across the world. More than anything else, their work shows that the top earners in the United States have taken a bigger and bigger share of overall income over the last three decades, with inequality nearly as acute as it was before the Great Depression… “People say that reducing inequality is radical. I think that tolerating the level of inequality the United States tolerates is radical.”

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Posted in Equality Policy Context | No Comments »

Pass the Books. Hold the Oil.

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

March 10, 2012
To be sure, there is a role for stimulus in a prolonged recession, but “the only sustainable way is to grow our way out by giving more people the knowledge and skills to compete, collaborate and connect in a way that drives our countries forward,” argues Schleicher… “knowledge and skills have become the global currency of 21st-century economies, but there is no central bank that prints this currency. Everyone has to decide on their own how much they will print.”

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Posted in Education Debates | No Comments »

Pain Without Gain

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Feb. 19, 2012
The confidence fairy has failed to show up: none of the countries slashing spending have seen the predicted private-sector surge. Instead, the depressing effects of fiscal austerity have been reinforced by falling private spending… Why? Because spending cuts have deeply depressed their economies, undermining their tax bases to such an extent that the ratio of debt to G.D.P., the standard indicator of fiscal progress, is getting worse rather than better.

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Posted in Policy Context | 1 Comment »

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