Tuesday, December 12, 2017

[NJFAC] Webcast of "A New Deal for NYC & the USA "

View Webcast of "A New Deal for NYC & the USA (10-27-17) at the New School"   Part 1    Part 2
A New "New Deal" for NYC & the USA – The New School

Event Program October 27, 2017

Welcome
Dean William Milberg, New School for Social Research
Prof. Robert Pollack, Director, Columbia University Seminars
Prof. Franklin D. Roosevelt, III, Economics Emer., Sarah Lawrence College

Introduction: The Dual New Deal Legacy: Celebrate, Advocate
Prof. Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg, Emer., Adelphi University; Chair, National Jobs for All Coalition;
Co-Chair Columbia University Seminar on Full Employment, Social Welfare, and Equity

The New Deal Legacy in New York City and a Call for a New, New Deal
Gray Brechin, Geographer and Founder, Living New Deal

A 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Chief Sponsor, H.R. 2206, 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps Act and
Co-Sponsor H.R. 1000, 21st Century Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act

Political and Economic Prospects for Achieving a Federal and a New York City Job Guarantee: A Panel Discussion
Prof. Darrick Hamilton, The New School
Prof. Philip Harvey, Rutgers Law
Prof. Stephanie Kelton, former Chief Economist, Senate Budget Committee & Stony Brook University
Prof. Randall Wray, Levy Institute, Bard College

Creating Jobs and Building Great Things Again in New York City
Bich Ha Pham, Director of Policy, Office of NYC Public Advocate Letitia James

 

PUBLIC PROGRAM SPONSORS:
Columbia University Seminar on Full Employment,
Social Welfare, and Equity
National Jobs for All Coalition
New School for Social Research

CO-SPONSORING ORGANIZATIONS:
CELEBRATING A NEW "NEW DEAL" for NYC & the USA
(in formation)

1Future
Columbia University Seminar on Full Employment,
Social Welfare, and Equity
CWA Local 1180
Designing the WE
District Council 37, AFSCME
Four Freedoms Democratic Club
Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition
Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement
Judson Memorial Church
Levy Economics Institute, Bard College
Metro NY Health Care for All Campaign
Modern Money Network
National Jobs for All Coalition
New School for Social Research
New York City Department of Records
New York Labor History Association
Professional Staff Congress/CUNY, AFT
The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement NYC
The Living New Deal
WeAct for Environmental Justice
Worker Institute at Cornell ILR
Workers Defense League

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June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Coalition
http://www.njfac.org

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Monday, November 20, 2017

[NJFAC] Republican Tax Cuts. You’re Right, They’re Not About Economic Growth or Lifting Working-Class Incomes Frank Stricker

            Will average household incomes rise if Republican tax cuts become law? Not for long. Average cuts will be small and they won't last. In the House version, the middle fifth of the households may see their after-tax income rise by 1.5% in 2018, but most of that increase will be gone by 2027. The richest 1% of households get a larger increase--2.5%--and they still be getting most of it in 2027.[1]
            But won't tax cuts for the rich and the corporations generate many more jobs and higher pay?  Probably not. There is no evidence that tax burdens on businesses and investors are the reason that job growth is not faster or that wages are never on the up-escalator for very long.
            The purchasing power of an hour's work for average employees increased 53% from 1950 through 1975. But wages took a U-turn in the 70s and they fell or stagnated in the 1980s. The latter occurred despite the fact that rich people were gifted with much more after-tax income in the Reagan era. Between 1980 and 1982 the top marginal tax rate was cut from 70% to 50%; from 1986 to 1988, it fell to 28%, the lowest level since 1931. The corporate tax rate was also slashed. Despite these incentives, average hourly pay fell 4% (1980-1990).[2]
            Dropping individual tax rates for rich people does not lift average Americans. Neither does cutting corporate taxes, as long as there is a plentiful supply of jobless workers and few strong unions. Don't expect a big jump in real business investment when many companies already have more money than they know what to do with. How much more stuff can they sell if household incomes don't increase substantially? [3]
            But I am engaging in a fact-based discussion of economic policy and social justice. That's not what Republican promises are all about. The new tax cuts may add a little economic boost as government revenues don't grow as fast as spending--it's Keynesian deficit spending, and Republicans do it all the time--but it's unlikely that there will be sustained wage increases. Higher pay for workers has never been a Republican goal, and nor is it for quite a few Democrats. Republicans are in charge and if they really cared about workers, they could raise the federal minimum wage to $15 and start infrastructure programs today. They might actually help unemployed left-behinds in Ohio, West Virginia, Detroit, and Chicago. And they'd win Democratic support on both issues. But most Republicans aren't interested in good-job policies or cooperation across the aisle. Many, especially members of the Tea-Party/Freedom Caucus, have a gimme world-view that elevates the capitalist ethic of greed into a moral code. They're for YOYO (You're On Your Own),  not WITT (We're In This Together).
            If a right-wing House Republican leader were talking privately to his colleagues in an honest and realistic way, he might sound like this:
            "Just among ourselves--doing things to create more jobs and more income for the lower half--that's not important. Talking about it is good, but I haven't thought much about it. We are doing the tax cuts to reward corporations and our big donors; we need their money--that's politics. But we also have idealistic motives--our own moral theory. Affluent and rich Americans deserve everything they can get their hands on, regardless of how they do it and how many jobs they kill. They work hard amassing wealth. Sometimes they create a lot of jobs; sometimes they get rich by destroying jobs. Often they make money by employing lawyers and lobbyists to evade taxes and rig legislation. Hey, that's life; more power to them. It's good that their kids start out way ahead of John and Jane Doe's kids, and the kids will have more of a head start when we get rid of the Estate Tax. And why not? These are obviously people of good stock.
            "Think of it this way. We are cutting government to boost Social Darwinism. That's the struggle that lifts everyone…well, everyone who has what it takes. The federal government is 90% burden. We know it never creates jobs. Market competition is what makes America great. American was greater in the 1800s when the Robber Barons and their servants could tell the truth about defective workers and did not have to be dainty about crushing worker rebellions. We need more of that. Selfishness is good. You should all read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. It was published in the 1950s but it is still relevant. However, it's longer than our tax bill. If you are too busy for Atlas, here's a short variation that comes with God's approval. In many public lectures he gave in the late 1800s, a man named Russell Conwell said this: a poor man is one 'whom God has punished for his sins... remember that there is not a poor person in the United States who was not been made poor by his own shortcomings or the shortcomings of someone else. It is all wrong to be poor anyhow.' Invigorating, right?  We need more of that today. Here's a motto for us: Selfishness good. My money going to help average Americans bad."  By the way, this statement may not be appropriate for all audiences.
 

[1] On the House bill, Tax Policy Center, "Preliminary Distributional Analysis of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," November 8, 2017, especially Figure 1. On the Senate proposal, check the graphic in David Leonhardt, "The G.O.P. Is Fooling Itself on Taxes," New York Times, Sunday Review, November 19, 2017, 3.
[2] Wage information based on The Economic Report of the President, 2016, Table B-15.
[3]  Josh Bivens, "Real World Data Continue to Show No Link Between Corporate Cuts and Wage Increases," from Economic Policy Institute, November 3, 2017, found at https://portside.org, November 12, 2017; and Eduardo Porter, "Tax Cuts, Sold as Fuel for Growth, Widen Gap Between Rich and Poor," New York Times, October 3, 2017, accessed November 15, 2017, at nytimes.com.
___________________________________________________________________________
Frank Stricker is on the board of the National Jobs for All Coalition and is emeritus professor of history and labor studies at California State University, Dominguez Hills. He has just finished What Ails the American Worker? Unemployment and Crummy Jobs: History, Explanations, Remedies.
 
 
 
 
 

 

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

[NJFAC] good arguments on proposed tax cuts


  • Democrats are opposing Republican tax cuts partly on the basis that they will expand the US budget deficit.
  • That's the wrong argument to make — not just now but in any low-inflation environment.
  • The right argument against the plan is that it's skewed toward the wealthy and includes changes that won't benefit the economy.
  • "There are better ways to invest in our economy," says Stephanie Kelton, a former chief economist for the Senate Budget Committee's Democratic staff. "Investing in our nation's infrastructure, education, and R&D would do more to boost future productivity than trickle-down tax cuts for the rich."....
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June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Coalition
http://www.njfac.org

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

[NJFAC] If You’ve Never Lived In Poverty, Stop Telling Poor People What They Should Do

If You've Never Lived In Poverty, Stop Telling Poor People What They Should Do, Olsen, Everyday Feminism 7/17
....

The Most Common Advice Doesn't Add Up

The over-simplification of poverty is often apparent in the advice that gets disseminated by people who have money and companies who make money off of other people's financial predicaments.

Earlier this yearan infographic circled around which underscored this fact. Created by a company called InvestmentZen, the infographic showed how to "build wealth on the minimum wage."

Aside from the fact that it contained numerous logistical issues – it used the federal minimum wage, which isn't accurate in most states, either because their wage is higher or lower due to tip-crediting – the graphic also seemed to be concerned about moralizing the decisions of poor people and less about actually helping anyone.

Advice from the graphic included "learning skills on YouTube," only eating in-season produce, and remembering that "the best things in life are free."

"You can make excuses, or you can do something about it," the graphic chided. "It's your choice to make."

Twitter instantly took it to task; the response was so heated that it eventually led one of the men responsible for circulating to issue a retraction, calling many of the criticisms "fair."

I suspect that the graphic was so easily mocked because the advice it selected was familiar. Despite the myriad systemic reasons that many people live in poverty, there are a handful of "tips" that well-meaning (most of the time) folks recycle with alarming regularity.

Move somewhere cheaper. Buy in bulk. Get rid of your car. Get a roommate. Eat out less.

....

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June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Coalition
http://www.njfac.org

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Friday, October 13, 2017

[NJFAC] Oct 27-28: NEW “NEW DEAL” FOR NYC & THE USA; We Can Guarantee Jobs and Build

 A NEW "NEW DEAL" FOR NYC & THE USA/WE CAN GUARANTEE JOBS AND BUILD GREAT THINGS AGAIN
       
Upcoming Event
The New New Deal
October 27–28, 2017
The New Deal's Forgotten Legacy: Then and Now
The New School and Columbia Law School
New York, N.Y.


Sponsored by Columbia University Seminars, National Jobs for All Coalition, New School for Social Research, with support from the Levy Institute

New "New Deal" for NYC & the USA
The New School, Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
55 West 13th Street, Room I-202, Manhattan
October 27, 5:00–8:00 pm

Strategizing for a New "New Deal" for NYC & the USA
Columbia Law School  
October 28, 10:00 am–4:00 pm

For information, reservations, or to RSVP, please visit NJFAC.eventbrite.comwww.NJFAC.org
Download Event Poster and Program 
To register through eventbrite, please go to https://njfac.org/index.php/2017/07/29/strategizing-new-new-deal-nyc/

The publication in Spring 2017 of a Map and Guide to New Deal Public Works and Art: New York City by Living New Deal, is an occasion to Celebrate the "dual legacy" of the New Deal—employment of millions of jobless workers whose work vastly expanded the nation's physical, environmental, and cultural resources. It is also an opportunity to Advocate a Job Guarantee implemented through an updated model of the New Deal Job Creation programs. Clearly, the nation, with its infrastructure given a grade of D+ from the American Society of Civil Engineers, deficient human services, out-of-reach affordable housing, and a looming environmental crisis could use the work of the millions of men and women, especially minorities in lower-income neighborhoods, who are jobless and often not counted.
 
This Public Meeting is the culmination of a series of events to Celebrate and Advocate. The planning group has worked with the staff of the NYC Public Advocateon a Job Guarantee for this City. NYC Public Advocate Letitia James will speak at the meeting of her plans to introduce Job Guarantee legislation. Gray Brechin, founder of Living New Deal (Dept. of Geography, University of California, Berkeley) will present highlights from the NYC Guide and Guide showing how many of the landmarks and cultural treasures that we associate with New York City are New Deal legacies.  A panel of outstanding economists will discuss current conceptions of full employment or job guarantees….
 
In the currrent issue of Dollars & Sense (p. 6), NJFAC Chair Trudy Goldberg has an article on the Living New Deal and the need for a New, New Deal based on an upgraded model of the job creation programs.   http://dollarsandsense.org/d&;s-sept-oct17-full-color-FINAL--high-res.pdf 

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June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Coalition
http://www.njfac.org

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

[NJFAC] "Poverty Down, Jobs Up: It's All Good," by Frank Stricker

Poverty Down, Jobs Up, Everyone Earning More: What's Not to Like?  A Father and Son Discuss the News                                       by Frank Stricker                     
The Son, a college student home for the weekend:  We always have different viewpoints. You are never happy, you're always criticizing President Trump who's bringing more jobs to America. You criticized Obama a lot and you said you liked him. What's the deal? Never happy, are you, Dad.
The Father, a college professor: I am happy you are getting your own ideas about the economy, even if everyone of them is wrong.  But hey, I was a conservative for a couple of years in college. I'm hoping it's just a phase.
Son: I read the paper. I keep track of the unemployment report and saw the latest poverty report. Unemployment is so low that we are really at full employment.  A professor at UC Riverside's Business School said that we have 5.1% unemployment in California and that's full employment. People do need a little time to find a job. That's the 5%. Everyone is making more money. The poverty rate is falling and has fallen for several years. What's your problem?
Father: You've got a point. I am trying to be supportive. But we had 40,000,000 poor people last year and the poverty rates for black people and Hispanics were 22% and 19%. Sounds bad. And here are two more depressing facts. We have a fair number of programs that help poor people, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, but they have not been enough to reduce the overall rate of poverty. The economy stinks for many people. That's one eason we have not been able to get the poverty rate under 11%. We came closest in the 1970s and the late 90s.  
 Son: Hold on. We studied some of this in one of my economics classes. America has some of the richest poor people in the world. Our teacher told us that a guy named Rector discovered that poor people have cars and even air conditioners. How poor is that?
Dad: Is having an air conditioner an indicator that living in poverty is pretty soft? It's almost a necessity if you live in Indio, California where the temps hit 115 in the summer. Or if you live in hot and muggy southern states. It's like needing heat in the winter. One more thing: the poverty line for a family of 4 was about $25,000 a year. So a family that has $26,000 of annual income is not poor, according to our government.  Really? Think about living in a big city, trying to find a decent apartment for four people. You could easily pay $1500 a month. That's $18,000 a year. There goes your income. Not much left for food, transportation, clothing, and other stuff. You're ok with skimping on those things? We should raise our poverty lines by 50% right away. The lines have not been lifted in fifty years, except for inflation. So while the average American, and rich people especially, have seen their incomes rise, poor people are relatively poorer--much farther from the middle.
Son: Fine, people are poor. They need to go to college, work harder, get better jobs. There are a lot of jobs out there. Employers are having trouble finding workers.  I'll bet you don't believe it.  When you went to grad school, did you major in extreme skepticism? Your always criticizing everything.  
Father: I believe that we need more good jobs. I believe the U.S. undercounts the unemployed. You've heard this before. You might have read one of the articles I sent you. You are probably sick of hearing about it, and you want to believe the opposite of anything I say. I hope that's good for your ego-development. But here goes. I and other people, although not many economists, believe that we are not close to full employment. We think that the real rate of unemployment today is not 4+%, but 10%.  We add part-timers who want full-time work and also people who say they want jobs but haven't looked lately. We think more people would be looking for work if there were more half-way decent jobs out there. I told you about the artichoke farmer who faced a labor shortage; when he raised pay a couple of bucks an hour, he had a labor surplus. 
Son: Heard it. Been there. Done that. Just one guy. Artichokes are not important.
Dad: Ok, smarty pants. How about this. Just an example, but think about it. There are quite a few men 25 to 54 years old who we'd expect to be working or looking for work--maybe 7 million. Some are truly disabled. Some have other things to do. But a lot of them are reacting to lousy job markets. If you can only find a job that pays 8 or 9 or 10 dollars an hour, and it is part-time too, you might try to find other ways to get by. Say you have a back problem. Not terrible but a problem. You'd work if it paid off, but it doesn't, so you are trying to get disability benefits.
Son:  Except in the big cities, it's cheap to live. Look at the cost of computers--you could buy a new one for a couple of hundred dollars. Eggs? Sometimes only 99 cents for a dozen. And a lot of people are making more money. Here's a headline from the Los Angeles Times--you know, the one you still have delivered out on the porch every morning. I printed it from the on-line edition because I figured you'd try to forget it. Here it is: "Household Income Rises to New High." Got it?  Taking out the effects of inflation, which I know you love to do, household incomes have risen by 8% in two years. And the median is $59,000. What's your problem with that, Doc?
Dad: I like it. I am happy. I want average incomes to grow. I don't like poverty.  I want fewer poor people--none, really. But there are three things I hope you remember. First, I am always right. You will figure that out some day. Second, a $59,000 median is better than $55,000; but if it is the median, half the households are below it. A lot of people are not doing very well at all. They are making maybe $10 an hour or less in Alabama and South Dakota and dozens of other low-wage states. Even in California many people aren't paid well. Talk to some of the employees down at the grocery store where you buy your organic kale. Or the coffee shop you love. Find out how much they earn. And the third thing to remember. I don't think everyone has to be rich--in fact I don't think anyone should be extremely rich--but $59,000 is not much money if you have a family and especially if you live in an urban area. If you bought a house, and had a low down payment, you may have a monthly payment of $2000, maybe more, so right off the top almost half your income is gone. Then you have Social Security and income taxes taken out of your paycheck, and so on. You get the idea. 
Son:  I do, I really do. For you it's always, "Accentuate the negative." You should write a song about it and sing it. Might cheer you up.
Dad: I think we've had a fruitful discussion.
******************************************************************************
Frank Stricker is emeritus professor of history and labor studies at California State University, Dominguez Hills. He has written What Ails the American Worker? Unemployment and Crummy Jobs: History, Explanations, Solutions. This article uses the United States Census Bureau publication called Income and Poverty in the United States: 2016 (September,2017). For encouraging information, check out Isaac Shapiro and Danilo Trisi, "Child Poverty Falls to Record Low, Comprehensive Measure Shows Stronger Government Policies Account for Long-Term Improvement," October 5, 2017, at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities site.  
 
 

 

 

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

[NJFAC] What if we had a job guarantee

What America would look like if it guaranteed everyone a job Dylan Matthews 
Imagine if a well-paying job, with benefits and a high enough salary to pay for rent, transportation, and food, were a human right.

Imagine the US federal government established a policy whereby anyone who didn't have a job and wanted one could go into a local office for a government agency — call it the Works Progress Administration — and walk out with a regular government position paying a livable wage ($15 an hour, perhaps) and offering health, dental, and vision insurance, and retirement benefits, and child care for their kids.

Different people would do different things: teaching or working for after-school programs or providing child care or building roads and mass transit or driving buses and so on. But everyone would be guaranteed a job, including during recessions. Involuntary unemployment would be a thing of the past. No one who works would be in poverty.

That's a truly radical policy idea. But it has deep roots in the Democratic Party's past, from the New Deal's emergency employment programs to the Humphrey-Hawkins Act, a 1970s proposal that, as originally written, would have given unemployed Americans the right to sue the government.

Today, there are even some actual proposals on the table. In May, the Center for American Progress issued a report calling for a "large-scale, permanent program of public employment and infrastructure investment."

....

An effective job guarantee that eliminated unemployment and boosted wages without negative side effects could be a very good thing. But an ineffective job guarantee that amounts to a welfare check plus onerous work requirements wouldn't just be bad policy — it would also be politically toxic.

Why liberals are flocking to job guarantee plans in 2017

It might seem strange to be debating how best to solve mass joblessness at a time when the US unemployment rate is 4.3 percent, the lowest in over a decade.

....there are both political and policy reasons for why the job guarantee is suddenly a hot topic.

In the wake of the 2016 election, liberal commentators have latched onto the job guarantee — an idea pushed by some left-wing economists for years — as a way to forge a cross-racial working-class coalition. They need a plan that appeals to both to the white Wisconsin and Michigan voters who switched from Obama to Trump and to black and Latino workers left behind by deindustrialization. The ideal plan would both improve conditions for lower-income Americans while supporting Americans' strong intuition that people should work to earn their crust.

"A federal job guarantee is both universal—it benefits all Americans—and specifically ameliorative to entrenched racial inequality," Slate's Jamelle Bouie notes.

"The job guarantee asserts that, if individuals bear a moral duty to work, then society and employers bear a reciprocal moral duty to provide good, dignified work for all," Jeff Spross adds in the influential center-left journal Democracy.

"If Democrats want to win elections, they should imbue Trump's empty rhetoric with a real promise: a good job for every American who wants one," writes Bryce Covert in the New Republic. "It's time to make a federal jobs guarantee the central tenet of the party's platform."

But there's also a policy rationale for the idea's resurgence. Many experts think the unemployment rate makes the economy, or at least the labor market, look better than it really is. The unemployment rate only counts people looking for work, and the most recent recession and slow subsequent recovery forced some people out of the labor force. In January 2007, 80.3 percent of people ages 25 to 54 were employed; in July 2017, only 78.7 percent were.

If the rate had stayed at its prerecession peak, there'd be 2 million more people employed today. If the rate were at its all-time peak (81.9 percent, in April 2000), there'd be 4 million more people employed....


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June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Coalition
http://www.njfac.org

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