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TN: Walmart’s Billion $ Tax Avoidance

TN: Walmart’s Billion $ Tax Avoidance

Walmart avoids $1 billion a year in taxes through federal loopholes. The losers are the working-class consumers who think they’re getting a good deal by elbowing through the mob surrounding the Xbox floor display. An even more convenient source of “savings” for Walmart operates on the retail level, through the pockets of consumers and workers who rely on taxpayer-funded federal welfare programs.

HP: Clinton Economically Out Of Touch

HP: Clinton Economically Out Of Touch

Bill Clinton’s economic worldview spells trouble, both for a party that’s still reeling from defeat and for a nation where millions of people struggle just to make ends meet. Hillary Clinton, the heavily-favored contender for the Democratic nomination, has made Bill’s presidency and her role in it an essential part of her resume. But “Clintonism,” the Wall Street-friendly economic ideology of a bygone era, has passed its sell-by date. The former president’s latest remarks confirm that. If Hillary Clinton disagrees with the former president’s views, she hasn’t said so. When Bill Clinton speaks on economic issues, he reveals a deep wellspring of neoliberal belief and a profound detachment from the lived experience of most Americans. It’s true that, for the extremely wealthy, the “trend lines” are positive indeed. For the rest of the nation, not so much.

DS: The Zombie System

DS: The Zombie System

Six years after the Lehman disaster, the industrialized world is suffering from Japan Syndrome. Growth is minimal, another crash may be brewing and the gulf between rich and poor continues to widen. Can the global economy reinvent itself?

WP: Congress Rarely Works Full Week

WP: Congress Rarely Works Full Week

Of the 13,000-plus days since Jan. 1, 1978, both chambers of Congress have been in session at the same time for about 4,700 of them — about a third of the total time and a little fewer than half of all weekdays. The Senate has worked more than the House, having been in session about 42 percent of the time to the House’s 39 percent. A look at the the past 37 years of Congressional activity reveals that your likely stereotypes about the amount of time Congress spends doing the people’s work is probably about right.

RE: 25% of Americans Wish To Secede

RE: 25% of Americans Wish To Secede

For the past few weeks, as Scotland debated the wisdom of independence, Reuters has been asking Americans how they would feel about declaring independence today, not from the United Kingdom, but from the mother country they left England to create. Almost a quarter of those surveyed said they were strongly or provisionally inclined to leave the United States, and take their states with them. The sense of aggrievement is comprehensive, bipartisan, somewhat incoherent, but deeply felt. This should be more than disconcerting; it’s a situation that could get dangerous.

NYT: A New Life for Refugees

NYT: A New Life for Refugees

Harsh winters have been one of the challenges of living in Utica, an old manufacturing city in upstate New York, for Sadia and her family, members of the Somali Bantu tribe. They arrived here from a Kenyan refugee camp almost a decade ago after a stint in St. Louis. Sadia’s family belongs to the Mudey clan and over 100 extended family members live within blocks of one another. Family ties are everything, yet Sadia and her sisters have stitched together American and Somali Bantu identities. This might seem like an unexpected corner of America to plant roots for Somali Bantus who have fled persecution, but in fact they are part of a remarkable story: the evolution of Utica into a city of refugees. A large concentration of immigrants who have come here seeking sanctuary, including Vietnamese, Bosnians and Burmese, have transformed this once-fading industrial town.

FA: New World Order

FA: New World Order

Recent advances in technology have created an increasingly unified global marketplace for labor and capital. Some have argued that the current era of rapid technological progress serves labor, and some have argued that it serves capital. The real winners of the future will not be the providers of cheap labor or the owners of ordinary capital, both of whom will be increasingly squeezed by automation. Fortune will instead favor a third group: those who can innovate and create new products, services, and business models.

PM: Myth of US Golden Age

PM: Myth of US Golden Age

The Obamians seem bewildered that the country is not more thankful to its government for having prevented another Great Depression. They saved the banks, and in doing so, they saved the economy from a once-in-a-hundred-year storm. And they proudly point out that all the money given to the financial sector has been more than repaid. But in making such claims, they ignore some critical realities.

HP: Cooperation for Growth

HP: Cooperation for Growth

The United States passed a major milestone last month, having now regained all 8.7 million of the jobs lost during the Great Recession. But many American families, businesses, and communities are still living with the legacy of the most severe contraction in decades. Wages have stagnated, poverty has increased, social mobility has decreased, and too much human potential is being left untapped.

NYT: Noncompete Clauses

NYT: Noncompete Clauses

Noncompete clauses are now appearing in far-ranging fields beyond the worlds of technology, sales and corporations with tightly held secrets. From event planners to chefs to investment fund managers to yoga instructors, employees are increasingly required to sign agreements that prohibit them from working for a company’s rivals.

NYT: Democrats in Coal Country

NYT: Democrats in Coal Country

It took little time for Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who is challenging Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican minority leader, in the most high-profile Senate race this year, to distance herself from the Obama administration’s proposal for sharp cuts to emissions from power plants.

NYT: Europe’s Secret Success

NYT: Europe’s Secret Success

Europe’s financial and macroeconomic woes have overshadowed its remarkable, unheralded longer-term success in an area in which it used to lag: job creation. The truth is that European-style welfare states have proved more resilient, more successful at job creation, than is allowed for in America’s prevailing economic philosophy.

TN: US Race Segregation Getting Worse

TN: US Race Segregation Getting Worse

Progress is an essential tenet of America’s civic religion. But as with any religion, when faith is pitted against experience, faith generally wins. And at that point, optimism begins to look suspiciously like delusion. If the civil rights movement had been about getting black faces in new and high places, its work would now be done. But it wasn’t. It was about equality. And the problem is not that we still have a great deal of progress to be made or that progress is too slow—it’s that we are regressing. In many areas, America is becoming more separate and less equal.

R: Apple and Google Wage Conspiracy

R: Apple and Google Wage Conspiracy

Four major tech companies including Apple and Google have agreed to pay a total of $324 million to settle a lawsuit accusing them of conspiring to hold down salaries in Silicon Valley. The case was based largely on emails in which Silicon Valley rivals hatched plans to avoid poaching each other’s prized engineers.

NC: Slavery Benefit to Corporations

NC: Slavery Benefit to Corporations

Slavery, in its various forms of physical and mental torment, has been a part of U.S. history from the beginnings of our country to the present day. There are numerous modern-day corporations who profited immensely from slave labor. The 13th Amendment bans slavery “except as punishment for crime.” The 14th Amendment bans debt servitude. But each inmate in a modern-day private prison, according to Chris Hedges, “can generate corporate revenues of $30,000 to $40,000 a year.”

WRI: US Manufacturing Resurgence

WRI: US Manufacturing Resurgence

U.S. manufacturing—and the jobs that go with it—have been steadily increasing since 2010. Whether the resurgence of U.S. manufacturing jobs continues depends on a range of factors—including environmental initiatives. While the future of U.S. manufacturing jobs is uncertain, energy-efficiency and clean-energy investment can help ensure that this sector continues to thrive.

TG: Orwell a Terrorist?

TG: Orwell a Terrorist?

If George Orwell were to return from the Spanish civil war today, he would be arrested under the Terrorism Act 2006. If convicted of fighting abroad with a “political, ideological, religious or racial motive” he would face a maximum sentence of life in prison, but not, strangely, if he possessed a financial motive. Far from it: such motives are now eminently respectable. You can even obtain a City & Guilds qualification as a naval mercenary. Sorry, “maritime security operative”. As long as you don’t care whom you kill or why, you’re exempt from the law. But what clearer case could there be of the “use or threat of action … designed to influence the government … for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause” than the war with Iraq?

AN: Obama and Haiti’s Minimum Wage

AN: Obama and Haiti’s Minimum Wage

The Obama Administration fought to keep the Haitian minimum wage to 31 cents an hour. Haiti passed a law in 2012 raising its minimum wage to 61 cents an hour. America corporations like Hanes and Levi Strauss vociferously objected, claiming such an increase would irreparably harm their business and profitability.

PS: Income Inequality Policy

PS: Income Inequality Policy

US President Barack Obama recently declared that growing income inequality and the inequality of opportunity that it creates are the defining challenges now facing America. These problems have risen to the top of the political agenda in the United States, but they are not uniquely American problems.

NYT: Europe v Amazon

NYT: Europe v Amazon

On its home territory, Amazon.com is routinely hailed as a jobs machine. The recession might have cut deeper in Europe, making the question of new jobs even more crucial, but the attitude there is much cooler toward Amazon and its high-tech ways. In Britain, the warehouses that so impressed President Obama have been compared, in a February story in The Financial Times, with a “slave camp.”

TE: Funding Infrastructure

TE: Funding Infrastructure

It might seem like a marriage made in heaven. Infrastructure projects take a long time to build but then deliver cashflows over an extended period. Pension funds have liabilities that stretch over several decades. Why not get the latter to finance the former? But the couple have barely survived the first date, let alone made it to the altar. A new report from the OECD estimates that global pension funds have just 0.9% of their portfolios in pure infrastructure plays.

TE: Cash to the Poor

TE: Cash to the Poor

Unconditional Cash Transfers work better than almost anyone would have expected. They dent the stereotype of poor people as inherently feckless and ignorant. But Conditional Cash Transfers are usually better still, especially when dealing with the root causes of poverty and, rather than just alleviating it, helping families escape it altogether.

NYT: Mutilated Economy

NYT: Mutilated Economy

One of the main things keeping the economy weak is the depressing effect of cutbacks in public spending justified in the name of protecting the future from the wildly exaggerated threat of excessive debt. By tolerating high unemployment we have inflicted huge damage on our long-run prospects. America will probably spend decades paying for the mistaken priorities of the past few years.

PS: Best Brightest Least Productive

PS: Best Brightest Least Productive

Are too many of our most talented people choosing careers in finance – and, more specifically, in trading, speculating, and other allegedly “unproductive” activities? We surely need some people in trading and speculation. But how do we know whether we have too many? As economists like to point out, traders and speculators provide a useful service, but these people’s activities also impose costs on the rest of us.

NoC: Plot Against Pensions

NoC: Plot Against Pensions

As state legislatures prepare for their upcoming sessions, you will no doubt hear a lot about public pensions. More specifically, you will hear allegations that states are going bankrupt because of their pension obligations to public employees and that states must renege on their pension promises to retirees. A plot that uses pension money to enrich the already rich should be called what it is: not just tragic or unacceptable, but downright immoral and inhumane.

PS: Five Years in Limbo

PS: Five Years in Limbo

While some are congratulating themselves on avoiding another depression, no one in Europe or the United States can claim that prosperity has returned. We have done some things to improve financial markets, but other problems have gone unaddressed and some have worsened. The financial system may be more stable than it was five years ago, but that is a low bar – back then, it was teetering on the edge of a precipice.

AN – RIP Middle Class

AN – RIP Middle Class

For the majority of human history – and in the majority of countries today – there have been only two classes: aristocracy and peasantry. Twentieth century America temporarily escaped this stratification, but now, as statistics on economic inequality demonstrate, we’re slipping back in that direction.

WP: Americans and Retirement Funds

WP: Americans and Retirement Funds

When lawmakers added a subsection to the tax code called the 401(k) more than three decades ago, they could not have imagined that this string of three numbers and a letter would become a fixture in the financial lexicon. But the rise of the 401(k) has steadily shifted more financial responsibility onto the shoulders of many Americans who are – let’s face it – clueless.

Marketplace: 401(k)s Fail Americans

Marketplace: 401(k)s Fail Americans

By the mid ’90s, 30 million Americans had 401(k) plans. Do-it-yourself retirement seemed easy in the decade’s bull market, but in 2000 the dotcom bubble burst, and then in the financial crisis the average 401(k) plan lost 27 percent. Today, the typical middle-class household nearing retirement has saved $120,000 — one-tenth what many say it needs.

WP: 401(k)s Making Inequality Worse

WP: 401(k)s Making Inequality Worse

The once-dominant defined benefit pension plan–which pays out a fixed amount after an employee retires–is on its way to becoming an historical artifact. According to a new analysis from the labor-oriented Economic Policy Institute, the effect has been a stratification of retirement savings by education, income, and race–which could deepen inequality among the elderly as the population ages.

AN: School is a Prison

AN: School is a Prison

Peter Gray discusses the repercussions of our approach to schooling, specifically how the school system we maintain is a holdover from another time that we should reform so as to better take into account the need to develop self-motivation in students. The current system is based on a top-down, teach and test, rewards and punishments method derived from the time of the Protestant Reformation and the authority-based scriptural lessons that schools then provided. What is needed now is something different – a system that nurtures critical thought, creativity, self-initiative, and the ability of students to learn on their own. This type of school is not unknown – longstanding examples exist that focus on employing the children’s inherent curiosity, creativity, and zest for learning.

Economist: Overcrowded Prisons

Economist: Overcrowded Prisons

For decades American politicians have assumed that mass incarceration works, wooing voters with ever-tougher sentencing laws. The dramatic fall in crime since the 1990s has persuaded many that they were right. Prison has diminishing returns, and America long ago passed the point where jailing more people makes sense.

BBC: Turning to Farming

BBC: Turning to Farming

A small but – anecdotally – growing group of Americans are leaving the structure and security of an office job for the gruelling, yet rewarding work of earning money from the land. Some want to be a part of improving the food supply for themselves and their community; others are excited by the prospect of becoming self-sufficient, or simply working outdoors like their ancestors did.

NYT: Surveillance and Behavior

NYT: Surveillance and Behavior

A new research paper shows in detail how significant the surveillance effect on behavior can be. The researchers measured the impact of software that monitors employee-level theft and sales transactions, before and after the technology was installed, at 392 restaurants in 39 states. The research suggests that the surveillance effect on employee behavior is striking.

Economist: Retirement Benefits

Economist: Retirement Benefits

Detroit may be an extreme case of fiscal incontinence. But its bankruptcy highlights a long-term problem faced by many American cities and states; how to fund generous pension and health-care promises that are no longer affordable. Now Detroit, like other cities, faces a choice. It has made promises to creditors and retirees that it cannot meet in full. How should it share the pain?

Jessica Jackley: Social Entrepreneur

Jessica Jackley: Social Entrepreneur

Jessica is a social entrepreneur focused on empowering others through entrepreneurship and access to capital. She currently serves as a Venture Partner with the Collaborative Fund, focused on investing in creative entrepreneurs who want to change the world through emerging technologies.

Muhammad Yunus: Economist

Muhammad Yunus: Economist

Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus’s vision is the total eradication of poverty from the world. This work is a fundamental rethink on the economic relationship between the rich and the poor, their rights and their obligations. Credit is the last hope left to those faced with absolute poverty. That is why Muhammad Yunus believes that the right to credit should be recognized as a fundamental human right.

Ken Robinson: Educationalist

Ken Robinson: Educationalist

Why don’t we get the best out of people? Sir Ken Robinson argues that it’s because we’ve been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies — far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity — are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences. “We are educating people out of their creativity,” Robinson says.

NoC: Obscenities of Capitalism

NoC: Obscenities of Capitalism

The less free-market thinkers are regulated, the less they seem to care about others. They ignore the fact that America’s most productive eras were driven by progressive taxes that funded entrepreneurship in the middle class. And they fail to see the deficiencies in a system that relies solely on profit-making to the exclusion of social responsibility.

NYT: CEOs Overpaid?

NYT: CEOs Overpaid?

The median compensation of chief executives at 200 of the nation’s biggest public companies came in at $15.1 million last year, a 16 percent jump from 2011. Is that excessive? One way to answer that question would be to look at the pay gap, the ratio of the pay of the chief executive to that of the company’s employees. But nobody really knows what the gaps are.

Thought Maybe

Thought Maybe

There’s already a lot of information on the Internet, so our goal is to cut through the noise and garbage, to present valuable information in a clear way, so it’s accessible, useful and easily digested. This is a website that aims to provoke your thoughts not only about these important issues, but many other pertinent topics relevant to modern society, industrial civilisation and globalised dominant culture.

NoC: Tax Avoidance

NoC: Tax Avoidance

CEOs are legendary for defending their tax paying records, and eager to imply that government is responsible for any of their tax delinquencies. For example, just 32 companies avoided enough in 2012 taxes to pay the entire 2013 federal education budget. Changing the tax rules is a specialty of big business, but so is flouting the tax rules.

NoC: Tales of Redistribution

NoC: Tales of Redistribution

It is widely recognized that economists are not very good at economics. That is why we are looking at a decade of economic stagnation with tens of millions of people being unemployed or underemployed in Europe and the United States. We recently had the opportunity to see that economists are no better at moral philosophy than economics.

Economist: State Pensions

Economist: State Pensions

Few fiscal problems are as grave, or as little understood, as underfunded state and municipal pensions. The funding gap for all state schemes is estimated at $4 trillion—25% of GDP. States granted these benefits on the basis of recklessly optimistic assumptions, such as that pension fund assets would continue to generate the same returns as during the 1980s and 1990s.

Brookings: Social Mobility – 13 Facts

Brookings: Social Mobility – 13 Facts

Long-term prosperity is best achieved by fostering economic growth and broad participation in that growth. In the context of social mobility, broad participation in growth contributes to further growth by providing families the ability to invest in their children and communities, optimism that hard work and efforts will lead to success, and openness to innovation that lead to new economic growth.

Nation of Change: Good Jobs

Nation of Change: Good Jobs

The fact that the economy is “steadily healing” back to the old economy is the problem, not the solution. That economy featured growing inequality and a declining middle class. It was built on debt and speculative bubbles. Trade deficits hit new records as multinational companies shipped good jobs abroad.

NYT: Danish Welfare

NYT: Danish Welfare

While much of southern Europe has been racked by strikes and protests as its creditors force austerity measures, Denmark still has a coveted AAA bond rating. But Denmark’s long-term outlook is troubling. With little fuss or political protest — or notice abroad — Denmark has been at work overhauling entitlements, trying to prod Danes into working more or longer or both.

NYT: Warning Behind the Numbers

NYT: Warning Behind the Numbers

The United States’ gross domestic product expanded at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the first quarter; but this figure masks disturbing signs: an economy whose recovery has failed to match the pace of past expansions may now be facing a deceleration in its own modest growth rate.

NYT: 401(k) World

NYT: 401(k) World

Something really big happened in the world’s wiring in the last decade, we went from a connected world to a hyperconnected world. Connectivity and creativity has created a global education, commercial, communication and innovation platform on which more people can start stuff, collaborate on stuff, learn stuff, make stuff (and destroy stuff) with more other people than ever before.

The Economist: Education

The Economist: Education

Mr Obama’s biggest initiative in education, Race to the Top, awards grants on a competitive basis to states and school districts that present the best plans for such improvements. Nineteen states have now received RTT grants, and all but four have applied for them. The result has been a dramatic acceleration of reforms in America’s public schools, at least on paper.

The Economist: Energy

The Economist: Energy

Cheap shale gas is translating into cheap electricity. Economists at Citigroup and UBS predict that the shale gale will lift America’s GDP growth by half a percentage point a year for the next few years. Indeed, cheap energy is cited as one factor by those who predict a manufacturing renaissance in America.

New Yorker: Shut Up Savers!

New Yorker: Shut Up Savers!

It’s easy to understand why savers feel like collateral damage in the Fed’s fight against recession, but too much sympathy for their plight is dangerous. It may be hard for people to live off their savings these days, but the far more urgent problem is that it’s even harder for people who don’t have jobs, or whose wages are stagnant, to save anything at all.

Brookings: Development Solutions

Brookings: Development Solutions

The global development community is teeming with different ideas and interventions to improve the lives of the world’s poorest people. Whether these succeed in having a transformative impact depends not just on their individual brilliance but on whether they can be brought to a scale where they reach millions of poor people.

Bloomberg: Disaster Response

Bloomberg: Disaster Response

Many analysts predict that climate change and development in high-risk zones will only increase those costs as sea levels rise and weather becomes more extreme. So there’s plenty of incentive to prevent and reduce losses, and a massive opportunity for those with ideas of how to go about doing so.

Whole Planet Foundation

Whole Planet Foundation

Whole Planet Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization established by Whole Foods Market that provides grants to microfinance institutions in Latin America, Africa and Asia who in turn develop and offer microenterprise loan programs, training and other financial services to the self-employed poor.

Economist: The Great Mismatch

Economist: The Great Mismatch

Better vocational education is hardly a cure-all for the global jobs crisis: millions of young people will be condemned to unemployment so long as demand remains slack and growth sluggish. But it can at least help to deal with an absurd mismatch that has saddled the world not just with a shortage of jobs but a shortage of skills as well.

Foreign Affairs: It’s Hard in America

Foreign Affairs: It’s Hard in America

One of the United States’ major successes in the last half century has been its progress toward ensuring that its citizens get roughly the same basic chances in life, regardless of gender or race. Yet this achievement has been double edged. Today, people who were born worse off tend to have fewer opportunities in life.

Incarceration Nation

Incarceration Nation

The war on drugs has succeeded only in putting millions of Americans in jail. The U.S. has 760 prisoners per 100,000 citizens. That’s not just many more than in most other developed countries but seven to 10 times as many. In 1980 the U.S.’s prison population was about 150 per 100,000 adults. It has more than quadrupled since then.

The Economist: True Progressivism

The Economist: True Progressivism

BY THE end of the 19th century, the first age of globalisation and a spate of new inventions had transformed the world economy. But the “Gilded Age” was also a famously unequal one, with America’s robber barons and Europe’s “Downton Abbey” classes amassing huge wealth: the concept of “conspicuous consumption” dates back to 1899…

CNN: We’re No.1!…We’re…uh…not?

CNN: We’re No.1!…We’re…uh…not?

The United States is not No. 1 in several measures; Businesses admit shortcomings, why is it hard for government to do so? Other countries offer lessons in health care, education, even business. Current political polarization doesn’t help; we need some pragmatism.

Neil Postman: Educator

Neil Postman: Educator

Neil Postman (1931-2003) was an American critic and educator. He authored seventeen books including: Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985), Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology (1992), and End of Education (1995).

IGLHR

IGLHR

The mission of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights is to promote and defend human, women’s and worker’s rights in the global economy. With a highly experienced team of international advocates, the IGLHR supports exploited workers all over the developing world.

Oxfam International

Oxfam International

Oxfam International is part of a global movement for change, to build a future free from the injustice of poverty. We work directly with communities and seek to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods, and have a say in decisions that affect them.

EPI: Regulatory Policy

EPI: Regulatory Policy

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) Regulatory Policy Research program debunks claims that regulations impede job creation and addresses attempts to roll back laws that protect the environment and guarantee worker protections.

EPI: Public Investment

EPI: Public Investment

The Economic Policy Institute’s (EPI) research shows a need for significant public investment to reverse decades of neglect to US infrastructure and society. Investment will create jobs and modernize the US economy. Experts include Josh Bivens, Andrew Fieldhouse, Ethan Pollack, and Rebecca Thiess.

GA: Pensions

GA: Pensions

The Geneva Association’s Four Pillars Programme is a research programme set up with the aim of studying the key importance in the new service economy of Social Security, Insurance, Savings and Employment. The programme focuses on the future of pensions, welfare and employment.

EPI: Labor Policy

EPI: Labor Policy

The Economic Policy Institute’s research reflects its belief that strong unions and employees’ rights to organize foster a strong middle class, especially in times of high unemployment and overall job insecurity.

EPI: Jobs, Wages, Living Standards

EPI: Jobs, Wages, Living Standards

The Economic Policy Institute’s thorough research in this area is as critical as ever and focuses on understanding the intricacies of high unemployment, mass underemployment, and sluggish wage growth in the U.S. labor market.

EPI: Immigration

EPI: Immigration

The Economic Policy Institute proposes comprehensive immigration reform that improves wages for American workers while helping address the needs of U.S. employers during shifting labor market conditions.

GAO: Government Operations

GAO: Government Operations

The Government Accountability Office provides public access to its wide-ranging research related to Government Operations. Covered topics include Streamlining Government, Management, Social Security, Federal Employees, US Postal Service, Lobbying, Federal Contracting, and Transportation.

GAO: Employment

GAO: Employment

The Government Accountability Office provides public access to its wide-ranging research related to Employment. Covered topics include disability employment, workplace safety and health, defined contribution plans, private pensions, unemployment insurance, and budget and spending.

CBO: Employment and Labor Markets

CBO: Employment and Labor Markets

CBO analyzes the causes and consequences of unemployment, the effects of the unemployment insurance program, the impact of various policy proposals that might affect employment, and other issues concerning labor markets such as people’s participation in the labor force.