Can the American economy produce more decent jobs?

June 28, 2011

That’s the topic of a New America Foundation forum, with contributions by Robert Atkinson, Josh Bivens and Heidi Shierholz, Heather Boushey, James Galbraith, Joel Kotkin, Thomas Kochan, Katherine Newman, Paul Osterman, and yours truly.

Mine is titled “Low-wage jobs and no wage growth: Is there a way out?”

4 Responses to “Can the American economy produce more decent jobs?”

  1. Mark T Says:

    That was interesting and I especially appreciate its pithiness. But I read it as saying,basically, no, there is no solution. Instead, redistribution (assuming you mean not to just borrow the money to fund the programs you propose).

  2. ezra abrams Says:

    “contributing causes…globalization..beneficial”
    Tell me , professor with tenure, you are a worker who gets a 50% pay cut due to globalization, but can sit at home with unemployement checks, and watch TV on a larger screen, cause globilization has made tvs cheaper, who is getting a benefit ?
    Tenured professors, who can buy stuff cheap, go out to resturants with cheap labor, get their lawns mowed with cheap labor, these people benefit; ordinary americans don’t.

  3. Matthew Says:

    The above person clearly resents your ability to secure a good job, which is funny, because that the main problem most Americans are struggling with. It’s funny, because in MY state, professors have unions, which makes them somewhat immune to the 50% pay cuts that most other jobs are facing (even after inflation).

    I agree with you idea about negative earned income credits that institute a middle class lifestyle for those who in the global economy without intervention would be earning less. Do you have any ideas, however, how to implement such an idea, when the “radical” “left-wing” candidate who fox news calls “progressive” won’t even think about raising the HIGHEST income tax level above 29%? How could we institute a living wage with such conditions? Where is the political will for sensible policy?

  4. ezra abrams Says:

    Matthew – I don’t understand your comment
    I have no opinion about the bloggers abilty one way or another; however, I think it is hypocritical to say something (in this case globilization) helps, when the blogger himself (I’m guessing) does very well from that policy; that is, as a general rule, if you advocate for a policy that benefits you, you have to be extra extra careful of bias
    To me, globilization is one of those great econ fails, like Barro’s ideas on deficits, as portrayed in Krugman’s age of diminished expectations.
    If you are a tenured prof of econ, you benefit – a LOT – persoanlly, from globilization: you get cheap TVs, and cheap food from chile, and so on. Dr Kenworthy personally (as do I, I have a good job) makes a lot of money from globilization.
    Therefore, it is incombent on him to be extra careful in advocating for this policy, which clearly has very bad consequences for many americans.
    Maybe globiliation is good; maybe not, to paraphrase an old argument about abortion (it would be a sacrement if men got pregnant) if Tenured Econ Profs had to compete with chinese PhDs working at 20K/year, globilization would suddenly have deep theoretical problems
    Can you explain why simply increasing taxes (real, effective taxes) on the wealthy won’t help ?
    I’m thinking real, actual marginal rates of >80% on income over 300K/household (or something like that)
    To me, this spreads the wealth by discouraging people to do things simply for income.
    To take a simple case, as I understand todays economy, a CEO has short term incentive to change the behavior of an entire fortune 500 company, simply to add to the CEOs bonus (thinking the sale of insurance by AIGs london office, Enron, etc)
    Such behavior would change at 80% margins.
    And it would have zero impact on entrepreneurs like S Jobs; in my experience in biotech, where I have seen people start and sell companies in the 7 and 8 figure range, these people are successful precisely because they are not interested in money, primarily, but in something else.


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