Next Social Contract Initiative

Archives: Next Social Contract Initiative Policy Papers

Productivity and the Health Care Workforce

  • By
  • Shannon Brownlee,
  • Joe Colucci,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Thom Walsh, Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science
October 2, 2013

Productivity Measurement in the United States Health System

  • By
  • Joe Colucci,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Rick McKellar, Harvard Medical School, and Michael Chernew, Harvard Medical School
October 2, 2013

Improving productivity in health care is, unquestionably, among the most important challenges facing policy makers and health care systems. Advances in medicine have greatly improved lives over the last century and ideally will continue to do so in the future. However, medical care also consumes a rapidly increasing proportion of society’s time and resources. That trend has continued to the point that growth in health care spending is considered a drag on the remainder of the economy.

Beyond the Low Wage Social Contract

  • By
  • Joshua Freedman,
  • Michael Lind,
  • New America Foundation
September 10, 2013

The issue of low wages has moved to the center of American public debate recently, thanks to protests against the low pay of fast food workers, the large share of poorly-paying and part-time jobs that have been created in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and proposals by President Obama and others to raise the minimum wage. But while the debate may be recent, today’s low wages are neither new nor surprising. On the contrary, they are the result of decades of public policy.

The Next Social Contract: An American Agenda for Reform

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • New America Foundation
June 10, 2013

The American social contract is in crisis. Even before the Great Recession exposed its inadequacy, it was clear that the existing American social contract — the system of policies and institutions designed to provide adequate incomes and economic security for all Americans — needed to be reformed to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. What is needed is not mere incremental tinkering, but rather rethinking and reconstruction. Policies that have worked should be expanded, while others that have failed should be replaced.

Renewing the American Social Contract: A New Vision for Improving Economic Security

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • Joshua Freedman,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Greg Anrig, The Century Foundation; Steven Attewell, University of California -- Santa Barbara; Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research; Bruce Bartlett, The Fiscal Times; Lauren Damme, New America Foundation; Steven Hill, Author and Researcher; Robert Hiltonsmith, Demos; Mike Konczal, Roosevelt Institute; Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect and Demos; Peter Lindert, University of California - Davis; Jeff Madrick, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis; Steven Teles, Johns Hopkins University; Bruce Stokes, Pew Research Center; Ron Unz, The American Conservative
April 29, 2013

Expanded Social Security

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • Joshua Freedman,
  • Steven Hill,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Robert Hiltonsmith, Demos
April 3, 2013

Executive Summary
The conventional wisdom about Social Security is profoundly misguided. According to today’s mistaken consensus, the U.S. as a society cannot afford to allocate the money to pay for the present level of Social Security benefits for retirees in future generations. The solution, it is widely argued, is to cut benefits – either directly by means-testing or indirectly by raising the retirement age or allowing inflation to erode their real value over time. In this narrative, tax-favored private savings vehicles like 401(k)s and IRAs should be expanded in order to compensate for the allegedly necessary cuts in Social Security.

Public Attitudes Toward the Next Social Contract

  • By Bruce Stokes, Pew Research Center
January 15, 2013

The recent deliberations in Washington about the fiscal cliff have triggered a national debate in the United States about the nature, extent and future sustainability of key elements of the U.S. social safety net: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, support for education, the unemployed and the poor.

Social Contract Budgeting: Prescriptions from Economics and History

  • By Peter Lindert, University of California - Davis
December 17, 2012

If there is to be any durable hope for a social contract that transcends left-right partisanship, that contract must rest upon a majority consensus about policies that are efficient, fair, and sustainable. Once the smoke has cleared from this November’s battle over the role of government, what will endure are several policy prescriptions kept alive by an objective reading of economic history and a general consensus among economists.

Kludgeocracy: The American Way of Policy

  • By Steven M. Teles, Johns Hopkins University
December 10, 2012

The last thirty years of American history have witnessed, at least rhetorically, a battle over the size of government. Yet that is not what the history books will say the next thirty years of American politics were about. With the frontiers of the state roughly fixed, the issues that will dominate American politics going forward will concern the complexity of government, rather than its sheer size.

Competing Visions of the Past: Learning from History for the Future of American Social Policy

  • By Steven Attewell, University of California-Santa Barbara
December 6, 2012

In his 2012 nomination acceptance speech in Charlotte, President Obama argued that this election represented “a choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.” It is also true to say that we faced a choice between two fundamentally different visions of the past. And despite Obama’s reelection, the debate rages on in a closely-divided electorate and in Washington. Underneath disagreements over Obamacare, Medicare advantage cuts and Medicare vouchers, and individual retirement accounts, there is an argument about which model of social policy is best for the country.

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