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Next Social Contract

Beyond the Low Wage Social Contract

  • By
  • Joshua Freedman,
  • Michael Lind,
  • New America Foundation
September 10, 2013

The issue of low wages has moved to the center of American public debate recently, thanks to protests against the low pay of fast food workers, the large share of poorly-paying and part-time jobs that have been created in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and proposals by President Obama and others to raise the minimum wage. But while the debate may be recent, today’s low wages are neither new nor surprising. On the contrary, they are the result of decades of public policy.

The Next Social Contract: An American Agenda for Reform

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • New America Foundation
June 10, 2013

The American social contract is in crisis. Even before the Great Recession exposed its inadequacy, it was clear that the existing American social contract — the system of policies and institutions designed to provide adequate incomes and economic security for all Americans — needed to be reformed to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. What is needed is not mere incremental tinkering, but rather rethinking and reconstruction. Policies that have worked should be expanded, while others that have failed should be replaced.

Expanded Social Security

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • Joshua Freedman,
  • Steven Hill,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Robert Hiltonsmith, Demos
April 3, 2013

Executive Summary
The conventional wisdom about Social Security is profoundly misguided. According to today’s mistaken consensus, the U.S. as a society cannot afford to allocate the money to pay for the present level of Social Security benefits for retirees in future generations. The solution, it is widely argued, is to cut benefits – either directly by means-testing or indirectly by raising the retirement age or allowing inflation to erode their real value over time. In this narrative, tax-favored private savings vehicles like 401(k)s and IRAs should be expanded in order to compensate for the allegedly necessary cuts in Social Security.

Public Attitudes Toward the Next Social Contract

  • By Bruce Stokes, Pew Research Center
January 15, 2013

The recent deliberations in Washington about the fiscal cliff have triggered a national debate in the United States about the nature, extent and future sustainability of key elements of the U.S. social safety net: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, support for education, the unemployed and the poor.

Gun Violence is a National Security Issue

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
December 18, 2012 |

The proliferation of semiautomatic weapons in the hands of Americans of the types that were used in the Newtown massacre is sometimes framed as a public health issue in the United States.

There is considerable merit to the notion of treating gun violence as a public health matter. After all, homicides -- around 70% of which are accomplished with firearms in the United States according to an authoritative study by the United Nations -- are the 15th leading cause of death for Americans.

Social Contract Budgeting: Prescriptions from Economics and History

  • By Peter Lindert, University of California - Davis
December 17, 2012

If there is to be any durable hope for a social contract that transcends left-right partisanship, that contract must rest upon a majority consensus about policies that are efficient, fair, and sustainable. Once the smoke has cleared from this November’s battle over the role of government, what will endure are several policy prescriptions kept alive by an objective reading of economic history and a general consensus among economists.

Kludgeocracy: The American Way of Policy

  • By Steven M. Teles, Johns Hopkins University
December 10, 2012

The last thirty years of American history have witnessed, at least rhetorically, a battle over the size of government. Yet that is not what the history books will say the next thirty years of American politics were about. With the frontiers of the state roughly fixed, the issues that will dominate American politics going forward will concern the complexity of government, rather than its sheer size.

No Discount: Comparing the Public Option to the Coupon Welfare State

  • By Mike Konczal, Roosevelt Institute
December 3, 2012

The fundamental ideological conflict surrounding the Welfare State in the U.S. is no longer over the scope of government, but instead how the government carries out its responsibilities and delivers services. The conservative and neoliberal vision is one of a government that provides a comparable range of benefits as conventional liberals, but rather than designing and delivering the services directly, it provides coupons for citizens.

Economic Recovery and Social Investment

  • By Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect
November 26, 2012

Today’s prolonged economic slump is fundamentally different from an ordinary recession. In the aftermath of a severe financial collapse, an economy is at risk of succumbing to a prolonged deflationary undertow. With asset prices reduced, the financial system damaged, unemployment high, consumer demand depressed, and businesses reluctant to invest, the economy gets stuck well below its full employment potential.

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