J.W. Mason is a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, where he works on the Financialization Project, and an assistant professor of economics at John Jay College, CUNY. His current research focuses on the history and political economy of credit, including the evolution of household debt and changing role of financial markets in business investment. He also works on history of economic thought, particularly the development of macroeconomics over the twentieth century.

He did his graduate work at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and his B.A. is from the University of Chicago. He has recent or forthcoming articles in the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, Economic and Political Weekly, and Rethinking Marxism. In addition to his scholarly work, he has done policy work for the New York Working Families Party, the New York City Independent Budget Office, and the AFL-CIO, and has published popular articles in The Nation, In These Times, The American Prospect, The Baffler, Jacobin, and The New Inquiry, among other venues. He blogs on economics and politics at slackwire.blogspot.com.

At its December meeting, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate a quarter point. The move, while widely expected, represented a clear rebuke to President Trump, who has repeatedly urged the Fed to keep rates low. He took to Twitter after the move to attack Fed head Jerome Powell as a golfer who has

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Donald Trump misses no opportunity to boast about the strength of the U.S. economy in his first year in office. And it’s true: There has been some good news recently. Business investment spending is rising again, after years of stagnation. Unemployment is down, and the share of the population with jobs has gone up—which shows

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By J.W. Mason “Right now,” wrote Senator Chuck Schumer in a New York Times op-ed on Monday, “millions of unemployed or underemployed people, particularly those without a college degree, could be brought back into the labor force” with appropriate government policies. With this seemingly anodyne point, Schumer took sides in a debate that has sharply divided economists

Today’s dominant story, told by the Federal Reserve, the media, and many prominent economists, is that the economy has recovered from the recession and is growing about as fast as it can without overheating. This outlook has led the Fed to increase interest rates four times since December 2015, ending the historically low rates it

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The goal of this paper is to address the most common objections to the idea that short-termism—the focus on short time horizons by both corporate managers and financial markets—is a serious problem for the U.S. economy. These objections fall into three broad categories: short-termism is not real (because of an apparent increase in business investment),

This paper provides evidence that the strong empirical relationship of corporate cash flow and borrowing to productive corporate investment has disappeared in the last 30 years and has been replaced with corporate funds and shareholder payouts. Whereas firms once borrowed to invest and improve their long-term performance, they now borrow to enrich their investors in

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