The Gig (Economy) Is Up

Across America, the fastest-growing category of new jobs is gig work—contract, part-time, temp, self-employed and freelance. Estimates vary but it’s safe to say almost a quarter of American workers are now gig workers.

The jobs problem today isn’t just stagnant wages. It’s also uncertain incomes. A downturn in demand, change in consumer preferences, or a personal injury or sickness, can cause future paychecks to disappear. Yet nearly 80% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.

Gig work is also erasing 85 years of hard-won labor protections. At the rate gig work is growing, future generations won’t have a minimum wage, unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation for injuries, employer-provided social security, overtime, family and medical leave, disability insurance, or the right to form unions and collectively bargain. Continue reading

Let’s Re-fund America

The powerhouses of Wall Street have tunneled directly into the cloistered backrooms of Washington deal making, extracting trillions of dollars worth of government bailouts, special tax breaks and regulatory favors every year. Yet, in a stupefying act of hypocrisy, they have also been the major force pushing policymakers to embrace extreme laissez-faire bunkum and to inflict the most austere budgetary minginess on the American people. Continue reading

Socialism for the Rich, Capitalism for the Rest

To the conservative mind, the specter of socialism conjures up a society in which no one is held accountable, and no one has to work for what they receive. Yet, that’s exactly the society Trump and the Republicans are promoting for the rich. Meanwhile, most Americans are subject to an increasingly harsh and arbitrary capitalism. They need stronger safety nets, and they deserve a bigger piece of the economic pie. Continue reading

What Could the French “Yellow Vests” Teach Us about Ourselves?

If the stress of making ends meet and economic inequality were the distinguishing causal forces of the Yellow Vest movement in France, shouldn’t Americans have been the first to hit the streets? What’s to explain the relative quiescence of Americans confronting more extreme violations of basic fairness than their French counterparts? Continue reading