The Commons

Unemployment and the Labors of Love Share This

Amber Lapp | Aug 10, 2021 | unemployment

The Tolls of Uncertainty: How Privilege and the Guilt Gap Shape Unemployment in America, by Sarah Damaske (Princeton University Press, 336 pp. $28) As I was reading sociologist Sarah Damaske’s new book, The Tolls of Uncertainty: How Privilege and the Guilt Gap Shape Unemployment in America, I was struck by a realization: though I’ve spent […]

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When Work Doesn’t Seem to Pay Share This

Sasha Burns | Aug 04, 2021 | Edgerton Essays

Every day is a struggle when you’re living in poverty. You never know when you might lose your next meal or a place to live. You never know if something unexpected will come around the corner and knock you down, and how you’d find the strength to get back up again. I never had an […]

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Moving Beyond Surviving to Thriving Share This

Ethel Hunter | Jul 29, 2021 | Edgerton Essays

There are highs and lows in everything, and many of us experience both. We are all just one decision or one missed paycheck away from seeing a different side of life. That should be humbling for us all. But too often people assume the worst about people in difficult circumstances. I’ve been faced with an […]

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Don’t Leave Social Media Regulation to the Platforms—Bring in the FCC Share This

Marshall Auerback | Jul 22, 2021 | Big Tech

Coming to terms with the importance of free speech means coming to terms with the reality that free speech will sometimes be used for abhorrent purposes. We protect bad speech on the grounds that the alternative—censorship—is even worse. But the rise of social media as both a powerful distribution framework and disseminator of content has […]

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Our Policies Are Failing Working Mothers Share This

Kelly Nicole | Jul 21, 2021 | Edgerton Essays

When I was in my 20s, I was confident I’d be a stay-at-home parent if I had children—I simply didn’t give the alternatives much thought. But sometimes life goes in different ways than you expect. I got married in November 2019 at age 33. Three months later, in February 2020, we had a surprise positive […]

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The Surprising Nordic Lesson for U.S. Welfare Share This

Michael Jindra | Jul 20, 2021 | Welfare State

Cash payments to families with children will begin this month, thanks to the Biden administration’s stimulus that significantly enlarges and extends child benefits. This won’t end the debate over the best way to reduce poverty—it will only become more pressing as the benefit’s one-year expiration date approaches. Is this the best way to help struggling families? Some […]

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Enabling Families to Support Each Other Share This

MeChell Roache-Johnson | Jul 12, 2021 | Coronavirus

Although I know that some of my opinions are solid and will not be changed, I usually keep them to myself—and wish a lot of other people would as well sometimes. This is a personal topic to me, but since we just celebrated Pride month, it’s important for me to be honest: I have a […]

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Why Do Libertarians Support User Fees but Not a Family Wage? Share This

Michael Lind | Jul 08, 2021 | Economics

If there is one thing that libertarians, free-market conservatives, and even many center-left neoliberals agree on, it is the logic of paying for highways and other forms of infrastructure out of user fees rather than general taxes. This approach, they argue, is both fairer and more efficient: fair because it ensures those who use the […]

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A Template for Harnessing the Private Sector for the Public Good Share This

Marshall Auerback | Jul 01, 2021 | Industrial Policy

Markets do not naturally tend toward “equilibrium.”  They are wrecking balls if not properly harnessed. High levels of debt, which can be a source of strength (by enabling higher levels of investment than could be financed otherwise), can also be a source of vulnerability if the government fails to coordinate investment, curb excess capacity, and […]

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“Family Policy” Should Include Caring for Maternal Health Share This

Bianca Labrador | Jun 29, 2021 | Edgerton Essays

Lots of people have been talking about “family policy.” Let’s not forget that family policy starts with mothers. More than half of new mothers experience the “baby blues,” but for some, it becomes even more serious. I know firsthand. In 2014, I had my first daughter. I managed to stay upbeat, though worn out from […]

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High School and Beyond: Creating Pathways to Opportunity Share This

Bruno Manno | Jun 23, 2021 | Education

The high school movement, an early 20th century American grassroots shift in secondary education, produced “a spectacular educational transformation,” according to Harvard economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz. Between 1910 and 1940, 18-year-old enrollment grew from 19% to 71%, and graduation rates rose from 9% to more than 50%, boosting the country to the forefront […]

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Operation Warp Speed Accelerated Biotech Innovation. Now What? Share This

David Adler | Jun 22, 2021 | Coronavirus

Operation Warp Speed (OWS) was a nearly miraculous COVID-19 vaccine success story. What is less widely recognized is that it has also unlocked a biotech revolution. The mRNA technologies that OWS helped bring to market have numerous potential applications, ranging from cancer treatments to hormone replacement therapies to radical new ways to treat infectious disease. […]

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