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Care-Service Programs Would Create Jobs, Help Seniors

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
September 23, 2010 |

Even as unemployment levels remain unacceptably high, states have cut back on badly needed social service jobs in response to massive budget shortfalls. The federal government should step in to help states preserve, rather than cut back, social care services. Our Dignity Voucher program would create jobs in an eldercare industry with expanding unmet demand and shore up gaps in services created by state budget cuts.

Best. Decade. Ever.

  • By
  • Charles Kenny,
  • New America Foundation
September 21, 2010 |

The past 10 years have gotten a bad rap as the "Naughty Aughties" -- and deservedly so, it seems, for a decade that began with 9/11 and the Enron scandal and closed with the global financial crisis and the Haiti earthquake. In between, we witnessed the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, SARS and swine flu, not to mention vicious fighting in Sudan and Congo, Afghanistan and, oh yes, Iraq. Given that our brains seem hard-wired to remember singular tragedy over incremental success, it's a hard sell to convince anyone that the past 10 years are worthy of praise.

The Great Recession Strains the American Social Contract

  • By
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
November 23, 2010

The Great Recession has exposed numerous flaws in our social contract – weaknesses that existed prior to the economic downturn – highlighting the need for changes in our system. This series of policy briefs explores the stresses on our social contract, and the policy changes that must be made to mend it. The six-part series includes:

 

Overview: The Great Recession exposes flaws in the American Social Contract.

The Next Priority for Health Care: Federalize Medicaid

  • By Greg Anrig, The Century Foundation
September 14, 2010

Medicaid has always been plagued by inequities and inefficiencies due to its dual federal-state character, which diffuses accountability, and because some state governments simply don’t care much about the poor.

Social Security Can Prop Up State Pensions | CNN

  • By
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
September 7, 2010 |

State budgets are being squeezed by unprecedented amounts for the third year in a row as legislators are forced to close gaps of up to 50 percent of state spending.

As cuts to badly needed services and welfare programs continue, the slice of budgets going to public pensions looms larger. States' widespread underfunding during prosperous periods undermined public pensions even before today's massive budget shortfalls, and now the Great Recession's impact on tax revenues has made pension liabilities appear colossal.

The Vulnerable American Worker

  • By
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
August 27, 2010

Over 30 percent of American workers are engaged in ad-hoc, contract-based employment, known as contingent or precarious labor. In comparison to employees on payroll, these contingent workers take on more risk in terms of both their income and retirement security, and are not covered by basic federal labor protections, such as minimum wage, overtime, and health and safety standards. They are also unlikely to have access to traditional employer-based benefits meant to provide a safety net to American workers.

Beyond the Poverty Line

  • By
  • Rourke OBrien,
  • New America Foundation
  • and David S. Pedulla, Stanford Social Innovation Review

On July 13, 2008, New York City’s poverty rate was 18 percent. Twenty-four hours later it had ballooned to 23 percent. How did more than 400,000 New Yorkers become impoverished overnight? The answer is that Mayor Michael Bloomberg adopted a new and more complex—and, he argued, more accurate—measure of poverty than the one the federal government uses. His action reignited a debate in Washington, D.C., and beyond about how America determines who is poor—a debate that many hope will be settled by the U.S. Congress this year.

Secure Retirement for All Americans

  • By
  • Steven Hill,
  • New America Foundation
August 16, 2010

For more and more Americans, the dream of a secure retirement has become increasingly threatened. The Great Recession has taken its toll on a retirement system which has been in place in the United States since WWII. Retirement was conceived as a "three-legged stool," with the three legs being Social Security, pensions and personal savings centered around homeownership.

Amid State Pension Funding Crises, Joining Social Security Becomes an Option

  • By
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
August 4, 2010

American retirement security, even prior to the Great Recession, was in bad shape. The downturn has only exacerbated previously-existing structural problems, such as an over-reliance on home values and the troubled transition from defined-benefit to defined-contribution retirement plans, as we mentioned in a previous Talking Points article. 

The Fantasy of a Vast Upper Middle Class

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • New America Foundation
August 3, 2010 |

Among the many theories exposed as fallacies by the Great Recession is the idea of the mass upper middle class. During the years of the American bubble economy, progressives and conservatives alike lauded the graduation of most citizens from the working class to a new elite that included the majority of Americans.

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