In the 1990s, two young French economists then affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, began the first rigorous effort to gather facts on income inequality in developed countries going back decades. In the wake of the 2007 financial crash, fundamental questions about the economy that had long been ignored again garnered attention. Piketty and Saez’s research stood ready with data showing that elites in developed countries had, in recent years, grown far wealthier relative to the general population than most economists had suspected. By the past decade, according to Piketty and Saez, inequality had returned to levels nearing those of the early 20th century.
As it turns out, reality isn't nearly as much fun as bubble-induced mania.
New data on home prices show that in the 20 largest cities in the United States, prices plunged in March to their lowest point since the housing bubble burst in 2007. According to the Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Index, home prices are worth a full third less than they did at their peak in April 2006, eliminating nearly all the real gains in home prices since early 2000.
Today, TAPPED will feature a series of guest posts on progressive solutions to the unemployment problem. Heather Bousheyis a senior economist at the Center for American Progress.
The president has laid out a compelling vision for promoting long-term economic growth and creating high-quality jobs. Establishing a prudent financial regulatory structure, making investments in energy and climate, and reforming our health-care system will all encourage a more competitive U.S. economy.
Unlike nearly every other developed nation, the U.S. government does not require that workers have access to paid leave from work for the birth of a child or to care for an ill family member. While some employers do the right thing and provide paid family leave to all their employees, most do not. Within a company, there may not even be a uniform policy.
Family is the center of everyday American life. Our parents are our first protectors, first teachers, first role models, and first friends. Parents know that America's great reward is the quiet but incomparable satisfaction that comes from building their families a better life. Strong families, blessed with opportunity, guided by faith, and filled with dreams are the heart of a strong America.
-- 2004 Democratic platform
Americans are said to be deeply concerned about family values. One of those values, surely, is the need to reconcile the ability to be a responsible parent, a loving partner in a relationship, and a successful worker. What is the economy for, if not to enable families to live and thrive? We work to live, not live to work.