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What's Got MDC Buzzing?

What's Got MDC Buzzing?

It might not have been a good day for Julius Caesar, but it’s a good day for a links post. Here’s a sampling of what we’ve been reading this week:

This New York Times op-ed from Charles Blow warns of a “dangerous ‘new normal’” in student debt, drawing on findings from a new State Higher Education Executive Officers Association report. The new normal, which will be familiar to those following the student crisis, means continuing declines in state support for public education, institutions absorbing those budget cuts, and seemingly inevitable increases in the cost of tuition. And that all leads to college becoming more unaffordable, at the very time, as Blow points out, that we need “a more knowledgeable work force to be competitive.” 

One of the fastest growing parts of that work force is home-health aides. Sy Mukherjee delves a little deeper into working conditions for this part of our health-care system. While home-health aides provide essential services for the elderly, disabled, and chronically ill, most are paid less than minimum wage and often need to rely on work supports to make ends meet. As we add more jobs, we need to ensure they’re the sorts that enable individuals to be economically self-sufficient. This animation on wealth inequality in the United States shows that we’re a long way from that kind of economic recovery.

There are, of course, a lot of theories about economic recovery and how we ought to get there—or what “recovery” actually looks like. In his review of Mark Blyth’s Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea, Henry Farrell explores Blyth’s theory on why some economic ideas have political power, why they keep showing up in policy debates (in spite of making bad showings in previous decades), and  why it might not be a bad idea to come up with some new ideas.


  • Jared Bernstein at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities makes the connection between support for low-income families and helping kids succeeds. (And there’s video!)
  • Want more videos? Achieving the Dream is posting videos from the 2013 DREAM conference. One of our faves: student speaker Ricsy Sanchez, a student at Davidson County Community College here in North Carolina.
  • There are some Workforce Innovation Fund lessons learned on the Jobs for the Future blog this week. The headlines: partnership, data sharing, fear. Curious? Read it here.
  • Checkout this AP article on new 2012 census estimates released yesterday: 1 in 3 U.S. counties are dying (that’s negative population growth, folks).