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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 »

Poverty rates improve—but, really, is this the best we can do?

Sylvia Allegretto, Economist, Co-Chair of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics | September 10, 2019

Today the U.S. Census Bureau released its annual report on poverty rates through 2018. The overall rate of 11.8% for 2018 was a mark of continued improvement from the 15% recorded from 2010-12 due to the Great Recession (blue line in the chart). There was also continued improvement to the rate of children in poverty … Continue reading »

Lessons from the Laureates for Economics, Agriculture, and the Environment

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | September 6, 2019

One immediate benefit of winning the Wolf Prize was receiving an invitation to the World Laureates Sanya Forum in China. This meeting hosted 21 Nobel Prize, Fields Medal, Turing Award, and/or Wolf Prize laureates, as well as leading Chinese scientists. Sanya is China’s Hawaii, with tropical weather, beautiful beaches and splendid resorts, where we enjoyed … 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 »

Lessons from Behavioral Economics

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | March 26, 2019

I returned from Morocco, where I was asked at a conference, “Does behavioral economics make optimization models obsolete?” The message of some publications may be that behavioral economics is a substitute for ‘traditional’ economics and that it more accurately resembles humans rather than ‘econs’ that are the subject of traditional theory. Some may infer that … Continue reading »

Amazon’s retreat may be New York’s loss

Enrico Moretti, professor of economics | February 26, 2019

Amazon’s decision to cancel its plans in New York City was actually the second time that New York missed its chance to host Amazon headquarters. The first time was in 1994, and what happened then informs what might happen next. It was the beginning of the internet era, and a 30-year-old Jeff Bezos was living in … Continue reading »

Teachers on the march

Sylvia Allegretto, Economist, Co-Chair of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics | February 11, 2019

This CWED VIDEO SHORT puts trends in teacher pay into perspective. Teacher strikes have brought much-needed attention to public education. Chronic under-funding has resulted in constant teacher shortages, outdated books, a lack of nurses and other staff, and lagging teacher pay in many school districts across the country. In this post I focus on trends … Continue reading »

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s tax hike idea is not about soaking the rich

Gabriel Zucman, Assistant professor of economics | January 22, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has kick-started a much-needed debate about taxes. But the debate, so far, has been misplaced. It’s obvious that the affluent — who’ve seen their earnings boom since 1980 while their taxes fell — can contribute more to the public coffers. And given the revenue needs of the country, it is necessary.

But that’s not the fundamental reason higher top marginal income tax rates are desirable. Their root justification is not about collecting revenue. It is about regulating inequality and the market economy. It is also about safeguarding democracy against oligarchy.

Enhancing financial inclusion among bottom-of-the-pyramid entrepreneurs in Mexico

Laura Tyson, Interim Dean, Haas School of Business | November 9, 2018

  Co-authored by Byron Villacis On the corner of a bustling, working-class neighborhood in Mexico City, Maria González* has run a small photography business for years. Recently, she took out a bank loan to purchase a new digital camera and printer that enabled her to produce high-quality images and deliver them at a rapid speed. … Continue reading »

A North American road to the middle class

Harley Shaiken, director, Center for Latin American Studies, professor in education and in geography | October 22, 2018

Co-authored by Representative Sander Levin (D-Michigan)  Now that Canada has joined a revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), renamed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), we must not lose sight of the central problem that any new accord must address: the outsourcing of U.S. industrial jobs to Mexico’s system of suppressed wages. There have been efforts by … Continue reading »

A post-Great Recession overview of labor market trends in the United States and California

Sylvia Allegretto, Economist, Co-Chair of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics | July 23, 2018

Full-brief here It has been well over a decade since the economy tumbled into what is now dubbed the Great Recession — reflecting the historical severity and swiftness of the downturn. The recession officially lasted from December 2007 through June 2009. However, the economy under-performed for nearly a decade as the output gap — GDP … Continue reading »