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Free college, not for all, but for those who need it

David Kirp, professor emeritus of public policy | January 16, 2020

The Democratic presidential candidates’ competing higher education plans got valuable airtime in the December debate. The fact that all of them are making affordable higher education a campaign issue is good news, but the fine print makes all the difference. Any proposal to spend federal dollars on higher education should concentrate on those who actually … Continue reading »

Fair housing and affordable housing are not the same thing

Stephen Menendian, assistant director, Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley | January 8, 2020

On January 7, 2020, the Trump administration launched another attack on integration. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a new federal rule that would significantly redefine and roll back Obama-era regulations that were intended to attack the long-standing and unaddressed problem of residential racial segregation. The rule would redefine the duty to … Continue reading »

NAFTA’s successor could hurt autoworkers on both sides of the border

Harley Shaiken, director, Center for Latin American Studies, professor in education and in geography | January 2, 2020

Co-authored with Sander Levin, a former Democratic Congressman from Michigan. Despite financial gains won by the United Auto Workers in a new contract that ended a nearly six-week-long strike against General Motors, the longest in a half-century, the deal will not rectify the major problem that has hurt American autoworkers and will continue to do … Continue reading »

Instead of compensating for inequalities, liberals should reshape the markets

Steven Vogel, political science professor | November 25, 2019

For decades, liberals have called for government action to correct the excesses of the free market: progressive taxation; public health insurance; unemployment insurance; Social Security; and health, safety, and environmental regulations. The 2020 campaign — featuring proposals for higher taxes on the wealthy, Medicare-for-all, and the Green New Deal — is no exception. But some … Continue reading »

Don’t be so scared of Medicare for All

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | November 22, 2019

Republicans and even some Democrats are out to scare you about Medicare for All. They say it’s going to dismantle health care as we know it and it will cost way too much. Rubbish. The typical American family now spends $6,000 on health insurance premiums each year. Add in the co-payments and deductibles that doctors, … Continue reading »

Uber/Lyft ballot initiative guarantees drivers only $5.64/hour

Ken Jacobs, chair, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education | October 31, 2019

Co-authored with Michael Reich, UC Berkeley economics professor Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash have unveiled their ballot initiative to undo historic worker protections enshrined in AB5, California’s new law that tightens the criteria for worker classification. The initiative claims drivers will receive a guaranteed pay equal to 120% of the minimum wage (that would be $15.60 … Continue reading »

Will Facebook’s ill-conceived Libra cryptocurrency fail to launch?

Barry Eichengreen, professor of economics and political science | October 14, 2019

Plans for Facebook’s proposed “stablecoin,” Libra, appear to be unraveling with the withdrawal of PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, eBay, and Mercado Pago as potential sponsors. This is hardly surprising, given growing awareness of Libra’s potential adverse consequences. If it offers anonymity to its users, Libra will become a platform for tax evasion, money laundering, and terrorist finance. … Continue reading »

How to make billionaires pay their fair share of taxes

Gabriel Zucman, Assistant professor of economics | October 11, 2019

Co-authored with UC Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez. Their new book is The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay. America’s soaring inequality has a new engine: Its regressive tax system. Over the past half century, even as their wealth rose to previously unseen heights, the richest Americans watched … Continue reading »

Presidential hopefuls should campaign for a more caring capitalist economy

Clair Brown, Professor emerita of economics | July 16, 2019

Co-authored with Simon Sallstrom, research coordinator for UC Berkeley’s Sustainable Shared-Prosperity Policy Index The candidates in the 2020 U.S. presidential race are proposing an array of economic policies frequently described as either free-market or socialist. These labels often confuse the American public. In particular, capitalism is widely — and wrongly — understood to be synonymous … Continue reading »

CEOs take to the pulpit on gun control

Kellie McElhaney, founder, Center for Responsible Business | March 28, 2018

You know their names: Emma Gonzalez (age 18); David Hogg (age 18); Naomi Wadler (age 11); Yolanda Renee King (age 9). These young people, and many more, stand at podiums to eloquently, outspokenly and loudly demand tighter gun control legislation from our political leaders following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that left 17 … Continue reading »

Focus on the source of most satisfaction, not consumption

Clair Brown, Professor emerita of economics | March 27, 2018

Buying stuff can make you happy for a short time. But you will revert to needing another happiness boost by buying even more stuff. We can, however, replace the boom and bust of a consumption-driven search for satisfaction with lives that are more fulfilling and economically sustainable.

GOP’s last-ditch effort to repeal ACA worst one yet for California

Laurel Lucia, Labor Center Health Care Program director | September 20, 2017

Co-authored by Laurel Lucia, Ian Perry and Ken Jacobs; crossposted from the blog of the UC Berkeley Labor Center. Once again, Congress is considering a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and make major cuts to Medicaid. Next week, the Senate may vote on this latest repeal effort, led by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham … Continue reading »

Trump swings a wrecking ball at U.S.-Asia relations

T.J. Pempel, professor of political science | September 13, 2017

Few analysts in the United States or East Asia anticipated the speed with which the Trump administration would swing a wrecking ball into the complex and longstanding machinery of the United States’ relations with the Asia Pacific. Yet in its first six months, it is well on its way to eviscerating many of the most … Continue reading »

Canada should welcome America’s ‘dreamers’

Irene Bloemraad, professor of sociology | August 29, 2017

By Irene Bloemraad and Ratna Omidvar This commentary is reposted from The Globe and Mail in Canada, where it originally appeared in February 2017. We are now witnessing the casualties of new United States policies arriving at Canadian borders. More might soon follow as those who lack residence documents face a grim future and the … Continue reading »

On sexism in economics

Emily Eisner, eeisner | August 24, 2017

An undergraduate honors thesis written by UC Berkeley economics major Alice Wu exposes the rampant misogyny cluttering Economics Job Market Rumors, an anonymous forum.

Immigrants, Brexit, Trump and inequality

Irene Bloemraad, professor of sociology | June 24, 2016

“I’m confused,” my brother emailed me this morning. “Why is fear dictating decisions around the world? First Trump, now Brexit. I need a professor of sociology to help me understand what is going on.” Unlike doctors or car mechanics, people rarely ask for my professional advice. Younger brothers are even less apt to ask for … Continue reading »