Climate Change Negotiations Exclude the Most Impacted: the Young and the Poor

Next week, global leaders in industry, government, and finance will descend on Paris for the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). With a significant focus on private sector innovation, more than 25,000 delegates will aim to produce the first legally binding agreement on industrial greenhouse gas emissions, as well as financial incentives for more efficient models of sustainable growth. While it remains to be seen whether international leaders can achieve the lofty goal of legally binding yet ecologically sound carbon emission standards, what is clear is that UNFCCC forgot to invite an entire generation to this discussion table.

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The Gender Gap in College Scorecards and the Problem with 10-Year Earnings Data

In September, the Department of Education unveiled its new College Scorecard website. The scorecards are a major step forward in unleashing the power of educational data, as they allow prospective students to compare outcomes at different schools, providing data on costs, graduation rates, graduate indebtedness, and student earnings, among other metrics. But the scorecards have shortcomings, too, ranging from the limits of the data sample—the tax returns of students who received federal aid—to their reduction of a college education to a purely economic exchange. Among its most significant oversights, the scorecard data fails women.

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Thoughts on Bernie Sanders’s Democratic Socialism and the Primary

Bernie Sanders gave a major speech yesterday outlining his definition of democratic socialism and how it relates to both his candidacy and American history. In doing so, he also described an expansive vision of economic security and fairness. The speech is important because it shows some of the strengths and weaknesses of left-liberalism at this moment, both through what it describes and, more interesting, what it doesn’t. It also clarifies how he can better contrast with Hillary Clinton on policy.

Here are eight random thoughts about the speech.

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Six Problems with the GOP Debate on Financial Reform

Last night’s GOP debate was the first to have an in-depth financial reform discussion. Unfortunately, the Republicans seemed like they were being introduced to these issues for the first time rather than a reflecting a deep understanding of debates that have been ongoing for eight years. (There was a weird detour into whether or not deposit insurance exists, which I’ll skip, and the less said about their embrace of the gold standard, the better.)

But it’s worthwhile to dig in now, as these talking points will be with us through the rest of the campaign. There are six statements I want to examine, the first four of which I believe to be outright wrong. This misdiagnosis causes Republicans to seek out the wrong solutions in the wrong places. The last two statements are interesting to debate. (Transcript via Washington Post.)

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Understanding and Ending Short-Termism: New Papers From Roosevelt

Today the Roosevelt Institute’s Financialization Project is releasing two new papers on short-termism:

Understanding Short-Termism: Questions and Consequences (pdf) by J.W. Mason.

Ending Short-Termism: An Investment Agenda for Growth (pdf) by Mike Konczal, J.W. Mason, and Amanda Page-Hoongrajok.

The first answers 12 common questions and complaints that are brought up when it comes to short-termism. It’s especially clear showing that investment in the most recent recovery is the weakest since the Great Depression, and that there’s no way to understand buybacks and dividends as representing funding for new businesses.

The second is our policy agenda, which goes beyond simply tackling short-termism by itself. Instead, it focuses on rebalancing power overall, limiting bad actors but also empowering good ones. This trend can only be combated by emboldening countervailing power in the marketplace while also emphasizing a new role for government.

I hope you check them out! Below is the Table of Content for policy agenda items and the questions about short-termism we answer in the two documents.

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New Short-Termism Papers and DC Event this Friday

With so much attention on short-termism these days, I’m excited to announce the Roosevelt Institute’s Financialization Project is launching two papers this Friday, November 6th, in Washington DC.

The first paper is from J.W. Mason, and it is an answer to the three most common criticisms about this topic. Namely, it isn’t happening, it is happening but is great for growth, and that it may not be great but it’s appropriate and even necessary. J.W. push back on all three. (Sneak previews of his responses to the first and second issue are already floating out there.)

The second is from me, J.W. Mason and Amanda Page-Hongrajook, and it’s a ten point policy agenda to combat short-termism. The points are broad, focusing on everything from pension guarantees to regulation of stock exchanges, but story is simple: the agenda needs to focus on building countervailing power when it comes to the strength of short-term interest holders.

I’m looking forward to sharing these with you, and I hope they move the debate forward on this crucial but still understudied and underdeveloped area. To RSVP, please contact Eric Bernstein

Event Details

On Friday, November 6, please join Roosevelt Institute Fellows Mike Konczal and J.W. Mason, with keynote speaker Senator Tammy Baldwin and moderator Jim Tankersley of The Washington Post, at the National Press Club as we release two papers on corporate short–termism. Opening remarks by Senator Baldwin will be followed by a panel with Cornell University’s Lynn Stout and the AFL-CIO’s Heather Slavkin Corzo.

An Agenda to End Short–Termism
Location: National Press Club
529 14th Street Northwest, Washington, D.C.
Breakfast will be available at 8:30 a.m.,
with the program to begin promptly at 8:50 a.m.

Rising shareholder payouts and declining investment have touched off widespread concern and debate about the corporate focus on short-term profits over long-term growth. In this set of papers, Mike Konczal proposes a broad policy agenda for curbing short–termism and J.W. Mason presents new research showing the depth of the problem and addressing common critiques.

To RSVP, please contact Eric Bernstein.

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