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Next Social Contract

The Politics of Poverty and Social Policy

Thursday, June 21, 2007 - 1:15pm

American social policy, and the debate about poverty and inequality, are constrained by assumptions about politics: That only universal programs will win political acceptance and programs targeted toward the poor will always be poor programs. That the modest American welfare state was built in two great waves, The New Deal and The Great Society, the likes of which we'll never see again. That tax credits and incentives are a subtler and more effective way of delivering benefits than direct government programs.

Financial Times Cites New America's Next Social Contract Event

June 5, 2007

Earnings of the average US workers with an undergraduate degree have not kept up with gains in productivity in recent decades, according to research by academics at MIT that challenges traditional explanations of why income inequality is rising.

The findings, which will be presented to the New America Foundation today, come amid widespread unease about the sluggish trend in middle class income growth, both in ab-solute terms and relative to the new superstar class of chief executives, hedge fund managers and other financiers.


Inequality and Institutions

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 - 1:30pm

When it comes to the economy, it's often said that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Yet most economists have been confounded by the failure of recent productivity gains to significantly raise the incomes for the majority of American workers.

Employee Benefit Adviser Interviews Jacob Hacker on Middle Class

June 1, 2007

Many Americans appear to be doing fine. They’ve got nice cars. They’ve got good jobs. They’ve got families. But they also have an abysmal savings profile and mountains of debt. The slightest disruption — a job loss or health incident — can and does destroy the perceived image of American middle class harmony.

The Next Social Contract

  • By
  • Ray Boshara,
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
May 17, 2007 |

The initial round of presidential primary debates leaves no doubt that the presidential horserace has already broken from the gates. While some may lament the early departure -- given that votes will not be cast for another 8 months -- the absence of incumbents vying for each party’s nomination has created a wide open race, one where the stakes are remarkably high.

Create a College Access Contract

  • By
  • Michael Dannenberg,
  • New America Foundation

America’s financial-aid system provides too much taxpayer support to banks that make college loans, asks too little of students who assume them, and burdens families with too much debt. We need to rethink the system in order to improve college access and affordability. Federal higher-education policy largely fails to reward rigorous college-preparatory work in high school. It penalizes students who hold jobs while in college.

Going for Broke

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which struck the Gulf Coast with such ferocity in late August 2005, Americans were shocked by the broadcast images of desperately poor people left to fend for themselves. The depth and consequences of poverty in America, normally hidden from public view, had once again become the subject of debate and national soul-searching. And yet, a year and a half later, the subject of poverty has fallen so far off the public’s radar screen that President Bush did not give it a mention in his recent State of the Union Address.

Will A New Right-Left Synthesis Transform American Politics?

Thursday, February 8, 2007 - 12:30pm
American politics is in a time of upheaval, as old ideological lines dissolve and the changing economy demands a rethinking of the social contract. Recently, several prominent thinkers have proposed new policy and political syntheses that marry approaches usually favored by the right with solutions from the left.

Ten Big Ideas for a New America

February 2, 2007

The recent turnover in Congress, combined with a wide open presidential election cycle, creates a rare opportunity to bring new ideas into the political process. The spirit of this new era will be captured by those-from either party or no party-who embrace innovative yet pragmatic solutions to the foremost challenges facing our nation. We offer this collection of Big Ideas as fuel for an overdue bipartisan debate about how to update our national policies for the common good.

Read My Lips: Raise Taxes

  • By
  • Mark Schmitt,
  • New America Foundation
January 31, 2007 |

The greatest challenge in politics is to understand when a political era is closing and the door to a new one is ready to be opened. Thirty years ago, a small band of conservatives understood that what they called the era of “tax and spend” -- in which government grew inexorably on a tide of invisible tax increases through Republican and Democratic administrations -- was ready to be challenged.

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