19. March 2024 · Comments Off on Civic Action Tapback – March 19, 2024 · Categories: Announcements


While some consumer sentiment indicators have seen recent improvement, a sharp mismatch persists between the extraordinary strength shown in the data about the performance of the economy, and the extraordinary discontent shown in data about how people feel about the economy. Some of this is based on the reality of elevated prices for necessities like housing and groceries. And some of it is likely based on a media bias towards negative news. This all adds up to what seems like a clear conclusion that more needs to be done to address high prices, expand long-term investments in public priorities, maintain the strength of the job market, and talk up the economic accomplishments of the past few years.

But that’s not how influential internet pundit Matt Yglesias sees it. Instead of pushing for continued economic strength, Yglesias is making the case that this moment is the right time to pivot to austerity. That’s right: he actually wrote that “right now really is the time for the federal government to tighten its belt” because, he argues, government is consuming too many resources. So, instead of continuing strategic public investments in public priorities like high-tech manufacturing and clean energy, Yglesias’s preference is that “every middle manager working on an ineffective program is someone who could be managing a Target or a Chipotle.” Basically, then, the argument is that the economy is booming… so we should cut back…. on the very things that are making the economy boom…. in order to expand Chipotle’s managerial hiring pool. And this guy is somehow an influential political voice?

Make it make sense.

taken by realtors from the vast majority of home sales could be eliminated after the National Association of Realtors and several major real estate agencies agreed to settle a lawsuit charging price fixing and unfair competition. The settlement could result in significantly lower costs for consumers buying homes.

with a Bachelor’s degree are currently working a hybrid or entirely remote schedule. This is almost five times the share of workers with a high school degree or less who have hybrid or remote jobs.

paid their five senior executives more than those companies paid in taxes from 2018 to 2022. For decades, executive pay has been trending up while corporate tax rates have been trending down.

There’s no doubt that the public conversation around gender has shifted substantially since 1994 — and yet economic realities don’t seem to have followed. At least, it’s hard to conclude anything else from the chart below recently published by EPI, which shows that the gender wage gap has remained stubbornly stuck above 20% for three decades. This stagnant level of inequality follows a few decades when the gap dropped sharply from 37% in 1979 to 23% in 1994. But even that period of improvement, EPI notes, was due primarily to men’s wages failing to rise, rather than to increases in pay for women. 

The gender pay gap can be seen among workers at all wage levels, and at all levels of education. And while there are no quick and easy solutions to structural sexism, there are plenty of policy options that can be pursued, including changes to training and hiring practices; expansion of paid leave; stronger enforcement of anti-discrimination laws; and an ongoing policy focus on maintaining a full-employment economy where all workers have a high level of bargaining power.

Eleven years ago, Democracy Journal released a special issue on “The Middle Out Moment” that explored the implications of what was then the brand-new theory of middle-out economics. It turned out to have been a bit premature to declare the middle-out moment was here back in 2013, but today, it’s safe to say that it’s finally arrived: we have a president who is committed to advancing middle-out policies like a strong labor market, strategic public investments, and robust antitrust enforcement — and equally committed to telling the story of how the economy grows from the bottom up and middle out, not the top down

It’s all laid out in fascinating detail in a special new follow-up edition of Democracy Journal — “The Middle Out Moment is Here — which digs into the how, the why, and the implications of the paradigm shift from trickle-down to middle-out. It’s worth taking time to read the whole thing, and explore how middle-out economics has been put into practice, and the work that lies ahead as middle-out economics becomes the new mainstream.

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