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Next Social Contract

Are the American People Obsolete?

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • New America Foundation
July 28, 2010 |

Have the American people outlived their usefulness to the rich minority in the United States? A number of trends suggest that the answer may be yes.

In every industrial democracy since the end of World War II, there has been a social contract between the few and the many. In return for receiving a disproportionate amount of the gains from economic growth in a capitalist economy, the rich paid a disproportionate percentage of the taxes needed for public goods and a safety net for the majority.

Public Affluence, Private Squalor

  • By
  • Mark Paul,
  • Micah Weinberg,
  • New America Foundation
July 20, 2010

The financial crisis has shaken the foundations of retirement security in both the private and public sectors, and nowhere more than in California. Generous public pension promises are straining the finances of cities and counties while private sector workers have little prospect of secure retirement.  The contrast between the guaranteed and increasingly expensive pensions and retiree health benefits enjoyed by most public workers in California and the less secure (and often missing) retirement plans of private-sector workers has touched off pension envy.

The Dignity Voucher Program

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
July 15, 2010

The United States faces two immense challenges: prolonged unemployment and an aging population. To meet the needs of the elderly while creating jobs for low-skilled workers, Michael Lind and Lauren Damme propose the Dignity Voucher program, an innovative system of service care vouchers for the elderly.

The Danger of Long-Term Structural Unemployment

  • By
  • Sherle R. Schwenninger,
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
July 12, 2010

The current debate over job creation versus fiscal restraint may prove to be the most decisive debate about America’s future in the post-bubble era. Which side prevails will determine the shape of our economy and society for years to come. Deficit hawks often cite the fear that at some point in the future the market will lose faith in the federal government’s creditworthiness with supposedly severe consequences, but against this distant (and in our view improbable) danger, they tend to ignore the damage caused by the lost output, incomes, and tax revenue that results from weak eco

The Fiscal Crisis in State Government – And What Should be Done About It

  • By Linda J. Bilmes, Daniel Patrick Moynihan Senior Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
June 17, 2010

While the federal deficit captures the news headlines, there is a deep and pervasive fiscal crisis in state finance. This crisis is largely a result of the Great Recession, which has caused the steepest decline in state tax receipts on record. It is also a structural issue, resulting from unfunded retirement plans that are beginning to come due. With state spending accounting for one eighth of US GDP, this crisis has serious implications for economic recovery, for jobs and for the credit markets, where states and municipalities have borrowed nearly $3 trillion.

U.S. and Europe: Shaping a New Model of Economic Development

  • By
  • Sherle R. Schwenninger,
  • New America Foundation
June 1, 2010

The Great Recession of 2008-09 has put enormous strain on the social contracts of Western economies. This paper provides an American perspective on how well the social welfare systems of the United States and the European Union countries have performed in cushioning their populations against the economic dislocations associated with the Great Recession and how effective U.S. and European policy has been in softening the severity of the recession and in creating the conditions for future socio-economic progress.

The American Retirement Security Crisis: An Introduction

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

The Great Recession has battered pensions and home values, leaving millions of Americans facing an uncertain retirement. "But attributing this grim situation solely to the recession would be misleading," writes Lauren Damme.

New Retirement Realities

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - 8:00am

How can Americans recover retirement security, and what role should pensions play going forward? On May 19, the New America Foundation’s Next Social Contract Initiative and the University of California Retirement Security Institute hosted a diverse group of academics, professionals, and policymakers for a forum that sought to identify the “new normal” for retirement security, examine the troubled state of public pensions, and consider best practices for reform.

Now More Than Ever, We Need a Radical Center

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • New America Foundation
April 20, 2010 |

Can the center in politics ever be radical? One answer was provided in "The Radical Center: The Future of American Politics," a book that Ted Halstead and I published in the fall of 2001.

Holes in the Safety Net

  • By
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
March 24, 2010

The welfare reforms of 1996 replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) as the primary safety for the poor. But the Great Recession has exposed the failure of TANF as a safety net to catch American families as they experience hardship.

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