On The Record Spotlight

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Beyond Silicon Valley

"Once again, California’s Silicon Valley is confirming its status as a mecca of high-tech entrepreneurship and wealth creation. But it is not a model for job creation and inclusive growth that policymakers and entrepreneurs elsewhere can emulate – at least not without making some fundamental adjustments. To be sure, what is happening in Silicon Valley today is nothing short of dazzling. Venture capital (VC) investment has reached near-record highs. Overnight millionaires – even billionaires – are proliferating. Twenty-something software coders are commanding six-figure salaries..."

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One thing that is needlessly holding some students back from making more money

"More and more, researchers are finding the impact of college has been misconstrued. While the mass media narrative has trended away from the importance of a degree, studies are finding that a college education might be more useful now than at any time in recent memory. As I wrote last week, a study by The Hamilton Project has found that a college degree may be the best way for workers to combat the low-paying service jobs that are quickly overtaking the jobs market..."


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My statement on the new Congressional Budget Agreement

"The budget conference agreement, if adopted by Congress, will represent one of the most radical budget plans that lawmakers have adopted since they created the modern budget process in 1974. That's no exaggeration. If they follow this plan, lawmakers would eviscerate substantial parts of the federal government -- including parts that have previously enjoyed bipartisan support -- and they also would violate the clear intent of the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA)..."

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Wells Capital’s Paulsen: Economic policy should be focused on supply instead of demand

"Meanwhile, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has suggested for more than a year that the U.S. economy might be suffering from "secular stagnation" — a prolonged period of weakness marked by a surplus of savings over investment...But former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in his blog, recently took issue with Summers' view, offering a more positive take on the economy..."


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The John Bates Clark Medal goes to Roland Fryer

"On April 24th the American Economic Association (AEA) announced that it would award this year's John Bates Clark Medal to Roland Fryer (pictured) of Harvard University. The professional body for academic economists gives out the prize each year to the "American economist under the age of forty who is judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge". This year's prize was given to Mr Fryer, a 37-year-old, for his innovative work on economics, education and racial inequality..."


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CA drought impact more complex—Ag grains nearing crossroads

"...The Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project sheds light on users that takes some pressure off consumers as major users noting that per capita usage has declined since 2005 due to pricing incentives and mandatory water-saving toilets and showerheads.  Outdoor usage emerges as the largest user.  Even the so called clean energy doesn’t escape..."


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Why college matters more today than 20 years ago

"...It might be easy to believe these days that a college education simply isn't worth the time, or the money, but new research by The Hamilton Project — an initiative by The Brookings Institution that aims to "inject innovative and pragmatic policy options into the national debate" — paints a different picture..."

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Charted: More than ever, Americans need a college degree to get by

"...Men who don’t have a high school degree are earning 20% less than they were two decades ago, according to an analysis from the Hamilton Project, a group at the Brookings Institution, a Washington DC-based think tank focused on making economic growth more broadly based. (All the data in the report covers people in what are usually their prime earning years, 30-45.)..."


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American needs a new economic plan to stop leaving workers behind

"...So states Melissa S. Kearney in the New York Times. Kearney is the director of the Hamilton Project at the centrist think tank Brookings Institution. She is part of a team studying the changes in the labor market for less educated workers. The results of the study are quite dramatic... For example, from 1990 to 2013, the median earnings of working men aged 30 to 45 without a high school diploma fell 20%..."


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The 401(k) millionaire: When is it realistic?

"...For wages, we'll use two projections of lifetime salary expectations, both expressed in today's dollars. The source is the Hamilton Project, a wing of the Brookings Institution. The first, more conservative projection is Hamilton's estimate of the year-by-year salary curve for the average college grad, assuming all majors. The second, more aggressive projection is Hamilton's estimate for economics grads--economics being a relatively lucrative major, although not the highest (trailing several engineering majors, for example)..."


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An outdated tax penalty for some married couples

"...But there is another story here: The tax system is much kinder to “traditional” couples–ones that have a sole breadwinner–than couples in which wives and husbands share responsibility for bringing home the bacon...As economist Melissa Kearney–a Brookings Institution colleague of mine–put it: “the tax and transfer system has an inherent secondary-earner penalty.”..."

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Happy days are not here for all boomtowners

"...New research from the Hamilton Project shows that workers with high-school diplomas or less are doing particularly badly. Working men aged 30 to 45 have seen their median earnings adjusted for inflation decline 20 percent from 1990 to 2013. Median earnings fall 13 percent for men with some college..."


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The fight against 15

"...One scholar who has been particularly thoughtful as to why this matters is Dube himself, who has argued against a one-size-fits-all approach to the minimum wage. In a paper for the Hamilton Project, Dube observed that “states as dissimilar as Massachusetts and Mississippi have different capacities to absorb a minimum wage of, say, $11.00 per hour, and a single minimum wage has to balance the needs of states at both ends of the spectrum.”..."


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Why lack of education is crushing workers

“Perhaps the single most shocking number in a new review of employment and earnings data by researchers at the Hamilton Project, a research group within the Brookings Institution, is this one: The median earnings of working men aged 30 to 45 without a high school diploma fell 20 percent from 1990 to 2013 when adjusted for inflation. A group of people not earning much to begin with, in other words, has seen earnings plummet to $25,500 in 2013 from $31,900 in 1990 (both numbers are in 2013 dollars).


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Happy days are not here for all boomtowners

"...New research from the Hamilton Project shows that workers with high-school diplomas or less are doing particularly badly. Working men aged 30 to 45 have seen their median earnings adjusted for inflation decline 20 percent from 1990 to 2013. Median earnings fall 13 percent for men with some college..."


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Larry Summers on why government matters

"Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers gives a candid conversation about why we aren’t funding science the way we need to, what’s wrong with our education system, and how the tech landscape has changed for women since those controversial comments ten years ago."


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The long-term unemployment trap

"...Washington politics may suffer from terrible gridlock, but politicians from both the right and left support an interesting idea of offering relocation subsidies to the long-term unemployed to help them move from one area of high unemployment to a place with a better job market. A 2010 paper from the Hamilton Project at Brookings estimates that relocation subsidies would cost the federal government less than $1 billion a year and would result in as many as 62,000 matches between workers and new jobs..."


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Earnings have fallen for workers with little education

"Perhaps the single most shocking number in a new review of employment and earnings data by researchers at the Hamilton Project, a research group within the Brookings Institution, is this one: The median earnings of prime-aged working men (25 to 54) without a high school diploma fell 20 percent from 1990 to 2013 when adjusted for inflation...The difficulties of American workers, and especially those with low levels of education, have been well documented. What makes the latest analysis, by Melissa S. Kearney, Brad Hershbein and Elisa Jácome, interesting is in some ways its simplicity..."


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Has globalization trend already peaked?

"I would bet on globalization slowly being in abeyance,” tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel said in a video interview with George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen. “I think with the benefit of hindsight, we will realize that 2007 was not just the peak year of the finance boom, but also the peak year of globalization, like maybe 1913.”

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Ten serious flaws in the House and Senate budget plans

"The House and Senate are resolving the differences between the budget plans they adopted in March. Despite some differences, the plans are largely aligned and have in common a number of serious flaws that likely will also apply to the final agreement between the two chambers..."


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Men without college degrees doing worse than in 1990

"...The share of men with only high school degrees aged 30-45 working full-time year-round fell from 76 percent in 1990 to 68 percent in 2013, the Hamilton Project found in a report published Monday afternoon...The Hamilton Project, a non-partisan think tank in Washington, also found that the median earnings for men without a college diploma dropped by more than 13 percent over the same time, from $47,100 to $40,700, adjusted for inflation..."

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Euro zone braces for possible Greek default

"Roger Altman, Evercore Partners chairman, shares his thoughts on whether Greece and the euro zone will be able to reach a last minute deal on restructuring its debt."


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U.S. economy isn’t growing fast enough

"...Larry Summers, the former U.S. Treasury Secretary under President Bill Clinton, had a similar take...He warned that America's economy is entering a period of stagnation -- he dubs it "secular stagnation" -- where it won't be able to achieve its full growth potential because everyone is saving too much and not spending..."

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The worst mistake is to ignore secular stagnation

"...The persistence of this phenomenon has been called “secular stagnation” by Lawrence Summers, a former US Treasury Secretary, using the term to describe “a chronic excess of savings over investment”. This imbalance drives down interest rates, and leaves demand in the economy stuck below a healthy level and resources sitting idle..."

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Larry Summers on how to stimulate investment in a slow-growth world

"There's a substantial need more investment throughout the world and influential economist Larry Summers says some of it may have to come from public investment..."


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A smarter way to pay doctors

"In a welcome break from political stasis, Congress may be on the verge of passing important bipartisan legislation to fix the way Medicare pays doctors. A bill before the Senate this week, which the president is willing to sign, would shift toward paying based on how well doctors care for their patients, rather than on how much care they provide. The fix isn't perfect, but it's far better than most of us expected from a polarized Congress..." 


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The high cost of fighting for $15

“If somebody was already making $7.50, and minimum wage goes to $7.50, they’ll have some expectation of a raise as well,” Flis said. “And I have to maintain my workforce.”... The [Hamilton Project at the] Brookings Institute calls this the ripple effect. The pay increase at the bottom ripples all the way up the pay scale..."

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Contractor burden: A license to kill…mold?

"...In the 1950s, only about 5 percent of American occupations required a license; today it is about 30 percent, according to the Brookings Institution. Economist Morris Kleiner, in a Brookings paper released in January, wrote that occupational licensing tends to “impose net costs on society with little improvement to service quality, health, and safety.” This license requirement fits that description..."


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College degree does little to resolve income inequality, study says

"A recent study published by the Hamilton Project, an economic research project, found that while education can propel Americans from the lower class to the middle class, there is little evidence education reduces the gap between the middle class and the wealthiest citizens, reported Education News..."

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States ignoring Mitch McConnell, working on clean power plan: EPA

"...EPIC director Michael Greenstone emphasized the international importance of the Clean Power Plan...“I think the impact of the Clean Power Plan can’t be overstated,” said Greenstone, a former Obama economic advisor who also serves as the Milton Friedman Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago..."

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Education isn’t the solution to income inequality

"...[Lawrence] Summers, along with fellow economists Brad Hershbein and Melissa Kearney, conducted an experiment to see what might happen if 10% of men between the ages of 25 and 64 who hadn’t been to college suddenly had a degree. They concluded that having a degree meant greater earnings potential and higher incomes for individuals. Median earnings would jump by more than $3,000 per year, according to their calculations, which were published on the Brookings Institution [Hamilton Project] blog..."

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A guide to California’s water crisis – and why it’s so hard to fix

A chart from Tha Hamilton Project's list of facts on water policy in the United States was used in this article.


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Summers to Fed: Pre-emptive inflation war is dangerous

"While the Federal Reserve contemplates increasing interest rates, former Clinton Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said Thursday that policymakers should be more concerned about acting too early than acting too late..."


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Water in California: A breakdown of the 80 percent that goes to agriculture

"...A nice neat [Hamilton Project] graph puts the use in perspective, especially in the context of Governor Jerry Brown’s recent executive order that requires cities to cut water use by 25 percent...Oddly enough, that order does not include agriculture—which accounts for 80 percent of the water used in the state..." 


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Labor force participation at a 36-year low, and other bad news from the March jobs report

"...Job creation was far below expectations. The economy added 126,000 new positions, far below the 245,000 that economists predicted. This was less than half of February’s growth. (By way of context, the Hamilton Project estimates that if the U.S. added 208,000 jobs per month it would take until 2020 to return to full employment.) The BLS has also adjusted its growth estimates down for January and February, putting the recent quarter at an average growth of 197,000 jobs per month..."


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Editorial: Poverty, despair driving unwed pregnancy?

"...Dr. Melissa Kearney of the University of Maryland and Dr. Phillip Levine of Wellesley College write that income inequality is the biggest factor determining whether U.S. teens will become single mothers...In regions with severe income gaps, girls in the underclass are much more vulnerable, they said. Further, geographic patterns occur: “A teen in Mississippi is four times more likely to give birth than a teen in New Hampshire.”..."

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Time US leadership woke up to new economic era

"...This past month may be remembered as the moment the United States lost its role as the underwriter of the global economic system. True, there have been any number of periods of frustration for the US before, and times when American behaviour was hardly multilateralist, such as the 1971 Nixon shock, ending the convertibility of the dollar into gold. But I can think of no event since Bretton Woods comparable to the combination of China’s effort to establish a major new institution and the failure of the US to persuade dozens of its traditional allies, starting with Britain, to stay out of it..."

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U.S. economy gained 126,000 jobs in March, an abrupt slowdown in hiring

"...The Hamilton Project, an economic policy initiative at the Brookings Institution, calculated that the nation still faces what it calls a “jobs gap” of four million, the number of additional jobs needed to reach prerecession employment levels..."


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The value of a college degree, or lack thereof

"...Looking at the value of a college degree overall (not restricted to software engineering), Brad Hershbein, Melissa S. Kearney, and Lawrence H. Summers at Brookings have conducted empirical simulations of what would happen if one in ten men aged 25 to 64 instantly obtained a bachelor’s degree..."


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Why you can’t solve income inequality by sending people to college

"..."I am all for improving education," Summers told Wonkblog earlier this month. "But to suggest that improving education is the solution to inequality is, I think, an evasion."...Summers and his collaborators, the Upjohn Institute's Brad Hershbein and Melissa S. Kearney of the University of Maryland, calculated what would happen if they could wave their magic wands and give a college education to about 6.8 million American men who don't already have one. Relatively speaking, that's an enormous increase -- about the same proportion as the increase in the overall share of the population with a college degree since 1979..."

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Summers’ inequality simulation surprises

"...Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers released an analysis Tuesday that concludes that a college education helps address the gap... Summers co-authored an analysis published by the Hamilton Project, part of the center-left Brookings Institution. Summers simulated the effect that a college degree would have on a working-age man, with an eye toward showing what it’d do for earnings and earnings inequality..."

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New research shows education won’t fix inequality

"...But is education really the solution to inequality that it’s often presented as? A new paper from the Hamilton Project, co-authored by former Treasury Secretary and former Harvard University president Lawrence Summers, argues that the answer is no. Instead, the researchers assert, policymakers tend conflate two separate issues: helping lower-income Americans become more financially secure and decreasing inequality overall..."


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Why more education won’t fix economic inequality

"...Brad Hershbein, Melissa Kearney and Lawrence Summers offer a simple little simulation that shows the limits of education as an inequality-fighter. In short, more education would be great news for middle and lower-income Americans, increasing their pay and economic security. It just isn’t up to the task of meaningfully reducing inequality, which is being driven by the sharp upward movement of the very top of the income distribution..."


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More college degrees aren’t enough to wipe out inequality, paper says

"Better education would lift the earnings of men in the bottom half of the income scale but wouldn’t be enough to erase inequality between the rich and poor, according to a new paper...The study, by economists Brad Hershbein, Melissa Kearney and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, simulates the impact of a bachelor’s degree on the population of men 25 to 64 who don’t have one."

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Obama colleagues Summers and Furman talk economic growth

"Former University President Lawrence H. Summers and Jason L. Furman ‘92, the current chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, discussed domestic economic growth at a packed John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Institute of Politics Monday night...Both men, who previously worked together as economic advisers in the Obama Administration, touched on concerns surrounding tepid growth in the U.S. economy overall, in addition to issues like income inequality, healthcare costs, and stagnant growth for the middle class..."

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Education won’t solve inequality — U.S. economy close to stall speed — Bush backs Indiana law — Iran deadline day

"In a paper going out this morning as part of the Hamilton Project, Brad Hershbein, Melissa S. Kearney, and Lawrence H. Summers write: “Increasing the educational attainment of men without a college degree will increase their average earnings and their likelihood of being employed. … Increasing educational attainment will not significantly change overall earnings inequality..."


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Why More Bachelor’s Degrees Won’t Solve Inequality

"...What these analyses usually lack is a clear picture of what the world might look like if we successfully increased college graduation. But today, economists Larry Summers, Melissa Kearney, and Brad Hershbein have stepped up to offer an answer in a short paper for the Hamilton Project. The team finds that, yes, boosting bachelor's degree attainment would decrease inequality a bit, mostly by bringing lower-income workers a bit closer to the middle class..."


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Entitlement reform: Dead or alive?

"...In his recently released budget, Obama offered few new ideas for addressing long-term entitlement costs, a position that reflects the increasingly progressive tone coming from the White House in the president's final two years..."The combination of discretionary spending cuts, slower growth in health spending and tax rate increases has slowed the projected growth of debt, but not reversed it," Alice Rivlin, former budget director under President Clinton, told the Washington Examiner. "I would not advise the president to jump back on this issue right now."..."

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Alice M. Rivlin to receive the Economic Club of New York Award for leadership excellence

"Alice M. Rivlin, a senior fellow in the Economic Studies Department at the Brookings Institution; founding Director of the Congressional Budget Office and former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve System has been elected by the Economic Club of New York to receive its third Award for Leadership Excellence. Ms. Rivlin will receive the award and speak at a luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria in New York on Tuesday, April 21, 2015..."


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Why the TPP is a game changer

"...And the pamphlet’s populist message was the antithesis of the position Obama championed during a 2006 speech delivered to members of the Hamilton Project:
"I think that if you polled many of the people in this room, most of us are strong free traders and most of us believe in markets. Bob and I have had a running debate now for about a year about how do we, in fact, deal with the losers in a globalized economy..."

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Panel discussion: The impacts of climate change on water resources

"The Hamilton Project at Brookings and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment hosted the forum, New Directions for U.S. Water Policy, in October of last year, which focused on the release of three new papers and featured panels discussing water markets, innovation, and climate change..."


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Grading the economy’s recovery

"Former WH budget director Peter Orszag explains says the focus on transparency and the Federal Reserve is misplaced. Orszag also says the economy "could be doing better."


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Despite anti-fraud rhetoric, Republican budgets omit funding to combat fraud and abuse

"The budgets that the House and Senate will consider this week leave out the funding that the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) specifically allows for “program integrity” activities to fight fraud and abuse in Medicare, Medicaid, and disability programs, despite the fact that these activities have a proven track record of saving money.  This action stands in contrast to Republican claims that their budgets will make government spending more “efficient and effective.”


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Maine’s minimum wage looks a little worse when factoring in prices

"...Economist Arindrajit Dube, a leading proponent of local minimum wages, has argued in various forums against that concern. In a recent paper for the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project, he advocated the approach Portland Mayor Michael Brennan tried in pushing for a municipal minimum wage hike. That method would set the minimum wage at about half the local median income..."


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It is actually illegal in Colorado to collect the rain that falls on your home

"...In a report for the [Hamilton Project at] Brookings Institution last October, he and co-authors Peter Culp and Gary Libecap suggest a menu of water contracts that farmers and cities could buy and sell.
“The perfect example is a dry year option, whereby a broccoli grower agrees not to grow broccoli in a dry season to let either a thirsty orchard producer or a city use the water,” Glennon said. The broccoli grower gets paid every year, wet or dry, for a steady stream of income. The orchard producer gets insurance that he’ll have enough water for his almond trees, even during a drought..."

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No voter consensus on debt-ceiling debate

"Almost half of U.S. registered voters said Congress should not increase the nation’s borrowing limit, according to a new Morning Consult poll. Twenty-four percent of respondents said lawmakers should pass a bill that would allow the federal government to borrow more money, while 27 percent have no opinion on the matter.
At the same time, a plurality – 40 percent – said an economic crisis would ensue if Capitol Hill failed to raise the country’s debt limit. That contrasts with the 30 percent who said no such catastrophe would ensue.
Alice Rivlin, former director of both the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget, said in an interview this week that the out-of-sync responses are due to the issue’s complexity..."

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Finding the Right Price for Water

"A Brookings [Hamilton Project] report finds that the current drought is serious indeed, but not unprecedented. Serious droughts occur almost every decade, and the current one is within historical range. Though it doesn't help that the driest regions of the country are also experiencing rapid population growth...The drought's cost to agriculture has been estimated to be as high as $1.5 billion. According to a report by The Hamilton Project, agriculture accounts for over 80 percent of water consumption in the American West..."


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Capitalism - What comes next?

"In this exclusive interview series, we speak to Nobel Prize Winning Economist, Edmund Phelps (Director of the Columbia University Center on Capitalism & Society and the McVickar Professor of Political Economy at Columbia University) and Professor Lawrence ‘Larry’ H. Summers (Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus at Harvard University. He served as the 71st Secretary of the Treasury for President Clinton and the Director of the National Economic Council for President Obama). We look at the story of modern capitalism, the benefits it has brought, and the challenges it has created..." 


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Men, money and the marriage crisis

"...Here I’m very doubtful. The Matt Bruenig piece I cited in my last post makes that case, arguing that men in lower income deciles have seen their wages fall by as much as 34 percent since 1969; likewise, an earlier Hamilton Project estimate that found median male earnings declining by 28 percent over roughly that period. But both estimates are vulnerable to a pretty convincing critique, offered here and here by Scott Winship..."


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Push for better wages driven by New Orleans area families falling short

"...Louisiana also has more low-wage workers than nearly anywhere else in the country. According to an analysis by the Hamilton Project, an economic-policy initiative of the Brookings Institution, 34.76 percent of Louisiana workers earned 150 percent of the minimum wage or less in 2012, the latest year for which data was available..."


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Balancing the budget in ten years and no new revenue are flawed budget goals

“The House and Senate are expected to consider their respective budget resolutions starting next week.  Press reports suggest that the resolutions will likely be shaped in substantial part by two fiscal goals:  balancing the budget over the next ten years, which would likely require roughly $4½ trillion in policy savings, and using no new revenues to help achieve those large savings…”


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Altman: 5.5% jobless not telling true labor story

“The Federal Reserve better not rush to increase interest rates in June because the labor market is really weaker than it appears, former Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman said Thursday.
"I don't think 5.5 percent [unemployment rate] is the best measure of labor market conditions," the former Clinton administration official said in a CNBC "Squawk Box " interview…”

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Is this the solution to the long-term unemployment problem?

“…One argument in favor of cutting such programs is that it leads to long-term dependency on government. While that hasn’t necessarily proven to be true, it has been the prevailing logic in reducing benefits, or allowing those benefits to run out — although many recipients have yet to find a new position. According to The Hamilton Project’s Adriana Kugler, reforming the way we think about unemployment insurance programs may be the key to solving the long-term unemployment problem once and for all…”


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The GOP’s political budget scorekeeping

“Tax cuts have been the lodestar of Republican economic policy ever since the Reagan revolution. The central tenet of supply-side economics is that lower marginal tax rates reduce the disincentive effects of taxation, thereby augmenting the economy’s capacity to produce…”


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EU off the bottom, expect slow recovery: Roger Altman

“Roger Altman, Evercore Partners chairman, shares his thoughts on the Fed's stress test for banks and the rapid decline of the euro.”


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Policymakers try to bridge a 4 million jobs gap

“…Yet, as analysts at the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project are quick to point out, America’s “jobs gap,” or the number of jobs the economy needs to create in order to return to pre-Great Recession employment levels while accounting for population changes, is still massive.
As of the end of February, the U.S. was still saddled with a jobs gap of four million positions…”

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America’s unemployment insurance programs need to be reimagined

“…A new [Hamilton Project] Brookings study looks at what can be done to shorten the average length of unemployment, and considers how the current system of unemployment insurance could be revised to achieve this goal. The report, which is written by Adriana Kugler, a professor at Georgetown University and former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, proposes a number of radical changes to the prerequisites for receiving unemployment-insurance payments…”


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After jobs dry up, what then?

“…Laura Tyson, a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, said the Nordic countries, with their flexible labor markets and generous social safety nets, could be a model. But in many countries, that would require a fundamental rethink of what and whom governments tax and of where the tax revenue is invested…”


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Can Egypt do better at business?

“On March 13, Egypt will open a big economic development conference in Sharm el-Sheikh intended to show the world that it is fixing its economy and to attract foreign investment. The conference is pitched as a “key milestone of the government’s medium term economic development plan.”


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A deal worth getting right

“Over the next few months, the question of U.S. participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is likely to be resolved one way or the other. It is, to put it mildly, a highly controversial issue. Proponents believe a deal is essential to both our economic and geopolitical interests; opponents fear that it will primarily benefit corporations and the wealthy at the expense of middle-class living standards…”


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‘47 percent’ of U.S. jobs are at risk because of advancing technologies

"…It's a societal problem," Dr. Laura Tyson, professor of Business Administration and Economics, at the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business, told me.
In the U.S., she notes, most job growth is already happening towards the bottom of the pay scale, much of which is driven by people whose traditional middle income manufacturing jobs have been lost to increasingly productive robots in the factory…”

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The state of the U.S. Job Market: Pre-March 2015 jobs release

“…As for job growth, during the economic expansion of the 1990s, the economy added at least250,000 jobs per month 47 times. During the current expansion, which has now lasted roughly half as long, we have seen only 13 months of job growth greater than 250,000, which includes abnormal hiring involved with conducting the decennial census. Meanwhile, at the average rate of job growth over the past three years, The Hamilton Project estimates that we may not reach our former level of employment, when factoring in new labor-force entrants, until as late as mid-2017.*”


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Hard math in a new economy

“…The truth is that technology has long served as an easy target for employment alarmists–in no small part because innovators tend to tout new efficiencies and cost savings foremost. But as a recent Brookings Institution [Hamilton Project] analysis put it, “Historically, technological progress has created winners and losers, but over the long run, [it] has tended to create more jobs than it has destroyed.”


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Altman says Putin’s Russia a weak country, may bend santions

"Roger Altman, the investment banker and former deputy U.S. Treasury secretary, said Russian President Vladimir Putin is more vulnerable than people realize to sanctions that will test his population’s patience.

“A lot of people misunderstand how profoundly weak Russia is,” Altman, the co-founder of Evercore Partners Inc., told Bloomberg Television’s Betty Liu in an interview Wednesday, citing a declining population, a hobbled banking system and a currency that has lost about half its value. “Russia is on the edge.”


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Robots are hurting middle class workers, and education won’t solve the problem, Larry Summers says

"Two weeks ago, the famous economist Larry Summers sat in a chair on a stage at the National Press Club, talked with several other smart people for an hour and briefly upended a major debate in economics.

The occasion was a forum, hosted by the Brookings Institution' Hamilton Project, on technological change and its effect on American workers. Summers, the former Treasury Secretary who is arguably the most influential economist in Democratic Party circles today, joined a discussion on whether rapidly advancing technology -- like robots -- is killing jobs and hurting incomes for the middle class..."


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To Fight Inequality, Tax Land

"In the lasting debate over Thomas Piketty’s book on outsized returns on capital, a significant fact has been obscured: If you exclude land and housing, capital has not risen as a share of the U.S. economy. If you're surprised, you're not the only one. Intuition suggests this capital-output ratio should be higher today than it was in the early 1900s..." 

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Signs of intelligent life in the economics profession

“The core problem is that there aren't enough jobs,” said [Larry Summers] the former Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton and top economics adviser to Barack Obama. “If you help some people, you could help them get the jobs, but then someone else won't get the jobs. Unless you're doing things that have things that are affecting the demand for jobs, you're helping people win a race to get a finite number of jobs.” He made these comments at a conference at the Brookings Institution put on by the Hamilton Project, the economics think tank funded by Summers’ predecessor at the Clinton Treasury, Robert Rubin..."

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3-2 11 AM Garland, Technology and Economy

Garland talks to University of Maryland Economics Professor Melissa Kearney and about how the future of technology might affect the workplace and the economy.


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Competing on corporate tax

"Corporate tax reform has emerged as an area of potential bipartisan action in the United States Congress over the next few months. But fundamental questions about the right approach remain.
There is widespread agreement that the US corporate tax system is deeply flawed. The rate is too high; the base is too narrow; it is costly to administer; and it is riddled with credits, deductions, and special preferences that distort decisions, harming the economy..."

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A root cause of 21st century inequality: Wall Street

"...Last week, Larry Summers made very much the same point concerning our education-centric approach to inequality. Again, he pointed to the simple fact that the economy is not generating sufficient good jobs to remedy the stagnation and deterioration of incomes of the vast majority of the population. He made his remarks at an event sponsored by the Brookings Institute’s Hamilton Project..."


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Be calm, robots aren’t about to take your job, MIT economist says

"...But at panel discussion last week at the Hamilton Project, Mr. Summers said he sees two possibilities: Automation could be making existing workers more productive or taking over jobs and leaving them unemployed, which would be a negative outcome for labor. “But in either of those scenarios you would expect it to be producing a renaissance of higher productivity,” and yet that isn’t the case..."


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Here’s one business tax break an ex-White House economist wants to preserve

"...Laura Tyson, who served as director of President Bill Clinton’s National Economic Council and head of his Council of Economic Advisers, told a Senate hearing on Tuesday that Congress should keep a break for accelerated depreciation, as well as others that “actually enhance new investments.”


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India’s air pollution is so bad it’s reducing life expectancy by 3.2 years

"...A few years ago, however, economist Michael Greenstone and his colleagues found a way to conduct a quasi-natural experiment in China. They noticed that, back in the 1950s, the Chinese government started providing free winter heating via coal boilers to people living north of the Huai River. Meanwhile, those living south of the river didn't get the free boilers. This disparity gave the researchers a way to isolate the effects of air pollution..."


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We keep flunking forecasts on interest rates, distorting the budget outlook

"...Forecasters are regularly overestimating and thus regularly overstating, all else being equal, future interest payments on the debt. Misses like this tell you that forecasters are missing a change in the structure of the economy. Two candidates for why this is happening are a significant increase in global liquidity and what the economist Larry Summers has dubbed “secular stagnation.”

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Air pollution cutting 660 million lives short by 3 years: Report

"Air pollution is an urgent public health problem that deserves policy attention. In approaching the issue of air pollution as one of public health, it would be possible to break the perception and understanding that addressing environmental issues like air pollution and economic growth/development are somehow opposed to each other," Michael Greenstone of the University of Chicago, who led this study, told ET..."

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Blodget: We have enough jobs, they just need to pay better

"We all know how it works: Jobs die out. Technology creates new ones. But are there enough good paying jobs to replace the ones that have disappeared? It's an old question sparking new debate and former National Economic Council Director, Larry Summers, came out swinging last week. Summers appeared on a panel for the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution—all about the future of jobs in the machine age..."


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The search for a monetary-policy wizard and political moral hazard

"...Monetary policy is important, but it is not omnipotent. The relentless focus on monetary policy creates serious moral hazard by taking attention away from elected officials’ failure to act on the fiscal, public-investment and structural issues that are the key to short- and long-term economic success. Commensurately, focusing on central banks reduces public pressure on elected officials to act. And monetary-policy decisions themselves require a rigorous balancing of benefits and risks..."


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Rip Van Skillsgap

"There’s been quite a lot of commentary about the Hamilton Project conference on robots and all that. Let me just add my two cents about the “framing paper“. What strikes me about this paper — and in general what one still hears from many people inside the Beltway — is the continuing urge to make this mainly a story about the skills gap, of not enough workers having higher education or maybe the right kind of education..."

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Will your job exist in the future, or will a robot have replaced you?

"...That was the subject of a recent Hamilton Project paper and related conference, “The Future of Work in the Age of the Machine,” inspired by the New York Times best-seller “The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies,” co-authored by MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, who appeared in one of our Making Sen$e NewsHour stories last year..."


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The one where Larry Summers demolished the robots and skills arguments

"...They say Washington DC has had a huge crime decline, but I just saw one of the most vicious muggings I’m likely to see, one where David Autor and Larry Summers just tore this idea that a Machine Age is responsible for our economic plight apart on a panel yesterday at the Hamilton Project for the launch of a new Machine Age report. Summers, in particular, took an aggressive tone that is likely to be where liberal and Democratic Party mainstream economic thinking is in advance of 2016. It is a very, very good place..."


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Could a new MacGyver (a woman) get more people interested in engineering?

"...A new report by the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project argues that nurturing a healthy US economy in this era “will require a major commitment to increasing education and skill levels and also to fostering business and organization innovation.”


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U.S. advanced industries: Not so small after all

"With the Hamilton’s Project’s “jobs gap” showing we are 4 million jobs below pre-recession employment levels, one could question our spotlighting of “advanced industries” as a prerequisite for broad prosperity. That’s because the sector—characterized by high R&D spending and a disproportionate share of technical workers—employs just 8.7 percent of the workforce. And it’s true that the sector’s 12.3- million worker labor force, while sizable, is not massive..."


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The bad budget wars get ready to resume

"In the classic movie “All About Eve,” the iconic Bette Davis character warned everyone to “fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” In the strange world of federal budgeting, 2015 is shaping up to be a bumpy year. After two years of relative peace, Washington’s budget battles are set to resume..."


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Evening must-read: The Hamilton Project: Future of work event: Tweets

Live tweets from @hamiltonproj that were sent during the "Future of Work" event featured.


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It’s time for presidential candidates to reckon with robots

"...A new paper from economists at the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution sums up the tension nicely: “As rapidly advancing computer power and automation technology change the nature of work and the future of the economy,” Melissa Kearney, Brad Hershbein and David Boddy write, “our nation will face new and pressing challenges about how to educate more people for the jobs of the future, how to foster creation of high-paying jobs and how to support those who struggle economically during the transition.”


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Bartiromo: Larry Summers on global threats

"...The debate on whether to send weapons to aid Ukraine in its fight against Russia has also become a contested matter. Former Treasury secretary Larry Summers says it is more important for the U.S. to help Ukraine than it is to fight Russia. I caught up with the former Treasury secretary and head of the president's Council of Economic Advisers to talk Europe, the U.S. and Harvard, which is where he remains a professor..."


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Surprisingly, a voluntary climate treat could actually work

"Negotiators around the world are deliberating proposals for an international climate change treaty that will contain a glaring loophole: It won’t be binding. That’s less than ideal, but it’s still worthwhile for several important reasons..."

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Larry Summers: Not Time for Traditional Fed Playbook

"Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers says extraordinary economic conditions require extraordinary measures, and now is not the right time to raise interest rates."


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The Imprisoner’s Dilemma

"...Evidence of incarceration’s diminishing returns can be found outside of big data sets and regression models, too. It can also be found via a natural experiment. A report from the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project compared the prisoner releases from California’s realignment with similar releases in Italy, following clemency legislation passed by the Italian Parliament..." 


Recently On the Record

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Beyond Silicon Valley

Project Syndicate • April 30, 2015 • Laura Tyson and Lenny Mendonca

"Once again, California’s Silicon Valley is confirming its status as a mecca of high-tech entrepreneurship and wealth creation. But it is not a model for job creation and inclusive growth that policymakers and entrepreneurs elsewhere can emulate – at least not without making some fundamental adjustments. To be sure, what is happening in Silicon Valley today is nothing short of dazzling. Venture capital (VC) investment has reached near-record highs. Overnight millionaires – even billionaires – are proliferating. Twenty-something software coders are commanding six-figure salaries..."
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One thing that is needlessly holding some students back from making more money

Herald Times Online • April 29, 2015 • JJ Feinauer

"More and more, researchers are finding the impact of college has been misconstrued. While the mass media narrative has trended away from the importance of a degree, studies are finding that a college education might be more useful now than at any time in recent memory. As I wrote last week, a study by The Hamilton Project has found that a college degree may be the best way for workers to combat the low-paying service jobs that are quickly overtaking the jobs market..."

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My statement on the new Congressional Budget Agreement

The Huffington Post • April 29, 2015 • Robert Greenstein

"The budget conference agreement, if adopted by Congress, will represent one of the most radical budget plans that lawmakers have adopted since they created the modern budget process in 1974. That's no exaggeration. If they follow this plan, lawmakers would eviscerate substantial parts of the federal government -- including parts that have previously enjoyed bipartisan support -- and they also would violate the clear intent of the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA)..."
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The business case for investments in water efficiency

Green Biz • April 28, 2015 • Scott Henderson

"...Water is currently relatively inexpensive for C&I customers. Yet a recent survey by the Hamilton Project reported that over 60 percent of respondents in the industrial and consumer products manufacturing sectors believe they are exposed to water risks such as water scarcity, rising prices and/or regulatory changes. Business owners and managers are recognizing that water is likely to become a far more valuable commodity..."

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Wells Capital’s Paulsen: Economic policy should be focused on supply instead of demand

Newsmax Finance • April 27, 2015 • Dan Weil

"Meanwhile, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has suggested for more than a year that the U.S. economy might be suffering from "secular stagnation" — a prolonged period of weakness marked by a surplus of savings over investment...But former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in his blog, recently took issue with Summers' view, offering a more positive take on the economy..."

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