Middle-Out Economics

The Summer 2013 issue of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, out today, has a symposium on “middle-out economics,” a term which has come to mean investing in the broad middle class, so that working families, and not the “one percent,” are the engine of economic growth.

The symposium includes my call for a large increase in the federal minimum wage. I propose setting the federal minimum high enough –with future values appropriately indexed– that it would reconnect low-wage workers with productivity gains in the overall economy. This kind of increase, appropriately phased-in, would help low-wage workers, but also have positive spillovers for middle-wage workers as well.

The whole special section includes many excellent contributions:

The True Origins of Prosperity by Eric Liu & Nick Hanauer

Burying Supply-Side Once and for All by Neera Tanden

A Truer Form of Capitalism by Eric Beinhocker

Family Policy: The Foundation of a Middle-Out Agenda by Heather Boushey

National Income: Paying Work, Not Capital by Bruce Bartlett

Job Training: Cultivating the Middle-Skill Workforce by Mona Sutphen

Labor: Building a New Future by David Rolf

Environment and Energy: Revitalizing the Green Jobs Agenda by Ethan Pollack

Trade: Boosting Exports to China by Ed Gerwin

The same issue of Democracy also includes an excellent, provocative, article by Rich Yeselson, who advocates what he calls “Fortress Unionism” as an answer to the many challenges facing private-sector unions in the United States.

Leave a Reply