The New America Foundation's video presentation of "Rethinking the American Social Contract."
The New America Foundation, in partnership with the International Labor Organization on July 11, 2011, convened a group of experts to explore rethinking the American social contract based on Damme's new paper.
Senior Policy Analyst, Next Social Contract Initiative
New America Foundation
Director for Policy Planning in Employment
International Labor Organization
EPRN researcher and MIT George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management
Policy Director, Economic Growth Program and Next Social Contract Initiative
New America Foundation
One in seven Americans - that is 46.5 million of us - live in poverty. And in the wake of the Great Recession, there is more to poverty today than just a bad economy. We have an increasingly unequal society in which the top 1% holds 40% of the wealth. According to a Global Post study, the United States leads the trend toward greater inequality which is rising faster - and already greater - here than in nearly all other developed countries.
Until the Reagan Administration, the minimum wage was set at a level that allowed one wage earner to support a family. The minimum wage has never been required to keep up with inflation nor been benchmarked to ensure that a full-time worker's wages can keep a family above the poverty line. As a result, many workers' families have now become destitute.
Why has this happened? The causes of poverty are complex, but one important factor is the decline in union membership, starting in the 1980s, which has led to a decline in union bargaining power.
As Congress saw it, corporation law had allowed individuals who were employers to collectively amass unchecked power. Employees, on the other hand, were mere individuals who lacked the power to bargain as equals with their employers. The result was depressed wages and working conditions that led to economic collapse and then economic unrest. Congress' solution was to give workers the ability to become collective in order to amass power so they could act as a counterbalance to corporate power.
In the Supreme Court’s oral arguments on Monday, the justices made one thing abundantly clear: ThoughNational Labor Relations Board (NLRB) v. Noel Canning concerns labor, they were not going to consider the effects on labor. [Read More]
First published in The Westchester Guardian. Reprinted with permission.
Even if ALEC were to disappear tomorrow, its agenda still would be propelled by a variety of institutional allies, including the Reason Foundation, the State Policy Network and a variety of think tanks.
Two years ago, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) became the subject of a series of exposés after 800 documents were leaked that laid out ALEC's anti-public, pro-corporate activities. Those 800 documents were sent to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), which then made them public through the ALEC Exposed website. The documents showed ALEC persuading mostly conservative state legislators to support legislation that undermined public welfare while ensuring sales and profits for corporations that were members of ALEC.
The exposure of ALEC's operations has led a number of ALEC's corporate and legislator members to withdraw their membership in and financial support of ALEC. In addition, it has faced attacks on its tax-exempt status.
First published online by Truthout. Used with permission.
Career and technical education in the U.S. has evolved over time. Its highest-quality versions offer promise for less-advantaged youth to gain labor market skills and access to postsecondary education that they would not otherwise have.
First published online in the Washington Monthly.
Many people assume wrongly that construction work is low-skill. It may be that the Pioneer institute thinks construction workers are paid too much because it does not understand the high level of classroom and on-the-job training and skills required for construction work.
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