Any society that allows itself to become radically unequal eventually collapses into an uprising or a police state—or both. Join venture capitalist Nick Hanauer and some of the world’s leading economic and political thinkers in an exploration of who gets what and why. Turns out, everything you learned about economics is wrong. And if we don’t do something about rising inequality, the pitchforks are coming.

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August 23, 2019
August 20, 2019

A skeptic’s guide to Universal Basic Income

You can’t throw a rock without hitting a wandering conversation about Universal Basic Income these days—but in our office, we’re still skeptical. For the first in a two-episode series exploring guaranteed income and its sister idea, guaranteed jobs, UBI expert Scott Santens and Sukhi Samra, the executive director of a real-life UBI experiment in California, join Nick and Paul to make the case for a universal basic income.  Scott Santens is a prominent UBI advocate with a crowdfunded income via Patreon. As a writer and blogger, his pieces advocating for basic income have appeared in The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, TechCrunch, Vox, the World Economic Forum, and Politico. He is on the board of directors of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network, a founding member of the Economic Security Project, an advisor to the Universal Income Project, a founding committee member of Basic Income Action, and founder of the BIG Patreon Creator Pledge.  Twitter: @scottsantens Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/scottsantens  Sukhi Samra is the Executive Director of the Stockton Empowerment Demonstration (SEED), a pilot program to test a universal basic income in Stockton, CA. SEED is the country’s first-ever city-led Guaranteed Income Initiative.  Twitter: @stocktondemo Further reading: Our Vision for SEED: A Discussion Paper: https://www.stocktondemonstration.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/SEED-Discussion-Paper.pdf What would a universal basic income mean for America? Stockton thinks it has the answer: https://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-pol-ca-basic-income-stockton-reparations-20190415-story.html  The Progressive Case for Replacing the Welfare State with Basic Income: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-progressive-case-for_b_12236546
  • 51 minutes
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August 13, 2019

Shared security, shared growth: a social contract for the 21st century (with Senator Mark Warner and Abby Solomon)

There are nearly 60 million gig economy workers in the U.S. workforce, yet benefits like health care, retirement, and paid leave are still tied to traditional salaried jobs. It is essential that we adopt new policies guaranteeing all workers the basic level of economic security necessary to sustain and grow the American middle class—and with it, the economy as a whole. This week, Senator Mark Warner and SEIU 775 Benefits Group Executive Director Abby Solomon imagine what a shared security system designed to fit modern flexible employment realities might look like.  Senator Mark Warner is the senior U.S. Senator from Virginia. He serves on the Senate Finance, Banking, Budget, and Rules Committees as well as the Select Committee on Intelligence, where he is the Vice Chairman. From 2002 to 2006, he served as Governor of Virginia. Senator Warner spent 20 years as a successful technology and business leader in Virginia before entering public office.  Twitter: @MarkWarner Abby Solomon is the Executive Director of SEIU 775 Benefits Group, overseeing trusts for training, health, and retirement benefits for Washington state’s Home Care Aide workforce. The Benefits Group provides portable benefits to 50,000 home care workers. Previously, Abby was the Director of Home Care Campaigns at SEIU, where she led national advocacy campaigns representing 1.9 million workers and 100+ occupational fields throughout the United States and Canada.  Twitter: @SEIU775BG Further reading:  Shared Security, Shared Growth: https://democracyjournal.org/magazine/37/shared-security-shared-growth/ Portable Benefits for an Insecure Workforce: https://prospect.org/article/portable-benefits-insecure-workforce Building a portable benefits system for today’s world: http://seiu775.org/building-a-portable-benefits-system-for-todays-world/
  • 51 minutes
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August 6, 2019
July 30, 2019

The robots are coming… what now? (with Heidi Shierholz and Daron Acemoglu)

With every technological advancement since the dawn of time, conventional wisdom has warned that technology and automation kills jobs. But robots aren’t the root cause of our problems. Although technology has always changed the nature of work, this week's guests Heidi Shierholz and Daron Acemoglu argue that there is no evidence that it has led or will lead to overall increased joblessness, unemployment, or wage stagnation. Heidi Shierholz is a Senior Economist and the Director of Policy at the Economic Policy Institute. She was a Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Labor under President Obama from 2014 to 2017. Her research and insights on labor and employment policy, the effects of automation on the labor market, wage stagnation, inequality, and many other topics routinely shape policy proposals and inform economic news coverage.  Twitter: @hshierholz Daron Acemoglu is a Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the co-author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling book ‘Why Nations Fail’, with James A. Robinson. In 2005, he received the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded to economists under forty judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge.  Twitter: @DrDaronAcemoglu Further reading:  The zombie robot argument lurches on (EPI): https://www.epi.org/publication/the-zombie-robot-argument-lurches-on-there-is-no-evidence-that-automation-leads-to-joblessness-or-inequality/ How robots became a scapegoat for the destruction of the working class (The Week): https://theweek.com/articles/837759/how-robots-became-scapegoat-destruction-working-class Automation, Job Loss, and the Welfare State (Council on Foreign Relations): https://www.cfr.org/event/automation-job-loss-and-welfare-state Robots, or automation, are not the problem (EPI): https://www.epi.org/publication/robots-or-automation-are-not-the-problem-too-little-worker-power-is/ Robots kill jobs. But they create jobs, too. (Brookings): https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2019/03/18/robots-kill-jobs-but-they-create-jobs-too/ Where Do Good Jobs Come From? (Project Syndicate): https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/automation-vs-job-creation-by-daron-acemoglu-2019-04?barrier=accesspaylog The Revolution Need Not Be Automated (Project Syndicate): https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/ai-automation-labor-productivity-by-daron-acemoglu-and-pascual-restrepo-2019-03?barrier=accesspaylog
  • 1 hours, 4 minutes
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July 26, 2019
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July 9, 2019

The decline of worker power (with David Rolf and Larry Mishel)

Not so long ago, economic growth was shared widely among Americans thanks to a suite of policies that boosted the bargaining power of workers. In recent years, employer power has increased while worker powers have been significantly eroded—and as a result, income inequality has grown at record rates. Experts David Rolf and Larry Mishel explain how this collapse of worker power came to be, and offer solutions that will tilt the scales of power back in the right direction. David Rolf is a labor leader, organizer, writer, and speaker working to build the next American labor movement. He is the founder and President Emeritus of SEIU 775 and a former Vice President of SEIU International. He led campaigns that helped organize hundreds of thousands of minimum-wage home care workers, and helped lead the nation’s first two successful campaigns for $15 minimum wages in SeaTac and Seattle. Twitter: @DavidMRolf Larry Mishel is a distinguished fellow at the Economic Policy Institute after serving as president from 2002-2017, where he has helped build it into the nation’s premier research organization focused on U.S. living standards and labor markets. Mishel has co-authored all 12 editions of ‘The State of Working America’, and has written extensively on wage and job quality trends in the United States. Twitter: @LarryMishel Further reading: https://tcf.org/content/report/roadmap-rebuilding-worker-power/?session=1 https://www.epi.org/publication/what-labor-market-changes-have-generated-inequality-and-wage-suppression-employer-power-is-significant-but-largely-constant-whereas-workers-power-has-been-eroded-by-policy-actions/ https://psmag.com/economics/what-caused-the-decline-of-unions-in-america
  • 56 minutes
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