Jeff Madrick

Jeff Madrick is the director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Re­discovering Government Initiative at the Century Foundation and editor of Challenge Magazine. His new book is Seven Bad Ideas: How Mainstream Economists Damaged America and the World.

  • The Cost of Child Poverty

    May 8, 2015

    The US has a higher proportion of children in poverty than any other developed country except Romania. It also is the only major developed country that does not provide cash allowances to poor children.

  • The Real Lesson of Lehman

    October 4, 2014

    What would have happened if the federal government had saved Lehman Brothers back in September 2008? Could the Great Recession have been avoided?

  • Stuck on Inflation

    September 16, 2014

    Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen is under a lot of pressure from inflation hawks on the Fed’s Open Market Committee to raise interest rates. This would be a huge mistake.

  • Inequality Begins at Birth

    June 26, 2014

    Over the past year, the lack of universal pre-kindergarten for American four-year-olds has become a national issue. But new research is making it increasingly clear that educational disparities start much earlier.

  • Inequality Is Not the Problem

    April 24, 2014

    What matters more than inequality is the degree to which the economy can produce rising wages for all.

  • Obama's Toughest Job

    January 29, 2014

    The jobs situation in the United States is not merely a concern. It is a crisis. By making jobs the centerpiece of the speech, President Obama gave one of his best, most politically adroit State of the Union addresses.

  • America's Jobless Generation

    September 3, 2013

    Our current employment crisis has less to do with technology or globalization than with the administration’s failure to adopt policies to support young workers.

  • The Sequester's Hidden Danger

    March 4, 2013

    The sequester is dangerous, but not for the reasons we think. The sequester will not plunder the economy in 2013. Fueled by deficit-cutting mania, its damage will be long term, if less obvious.

  • Either Way We're Going Over the Cliff

    December 20, 2012

    The strenuous debate between President Obama and House Speaker Boehner over how to reduce the immediate impact of the fiscal cliff is obscuring a larger and more disturbing issue: whichever way the negotiations go, the result will be slow economic growth next year at best, and possibly outright recession.

  • Our Crisis of Bad Jobs

    October 2, 2012

    With domestic policy as the theme of Wednesday’s presidential debate, the Obama campaign is facing a weakening economy. The Commerce Department just reported that GDP grew at an annual rate of only 1.3 percent in the second quarter. Job growth has been tepid, with continued high unemployment and underemployment. When one counts all those looking for full-time jobs and unable to get them, the true unemployment rate is close to 17 percent. Meanwhile, the US faces looming threats of a new European recession and a slowdown in China and other parts of the developing world.

  • The Republicans' Medicaid Cruelty

    July 30, 2012

    The essential American soul,” claimed D.H. Lawrence, “is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer.” While the rejection by five state governments of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion may not precisely illustrate Lawrence’s heated observation, it does suggest a contemporary vein of cruelty in America that is deeply disturbing.

  • The Eurozone Crisis: An End to Austerity?

    May 17, 2012

    The announcement Wednesday by Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, that her nation is ready to discuss economic stimulus to keep Greece in the eurozone is—if serious—a hugely important development. But the critical test will be what policies emerge from this announcement.

  • How Austerity Is Killing Europe

    January 6, 2012

    The European Union has become a vicious circle of burgeoning debt leading to radical austerity measures, which in turn further weaken economic conditions and result in calls for still more damaging cuts in government spending and higher taxes. Rarely do we get so stark an example of bad—arguably even perverse—economic thinking in action. How could the EU so misread history and treat with contempt the teachings of John Maynard Keynes, who showed that during recessions governments must expand economies through spending and tax cuts, not the opposite? By ignoring this, European policy makers will deepen, not solve, the financial crisis and millions of people will suffer needlessly.

  • America's New Robber Barons

    November 16, 2011

    With early Tuesday’s abrupt evacuation of Zuccotti Park, the City of New York has managed—for the moment—to dislodge protesters from Wall Street. But it will be much harder to turn attention away from the financial excesses of the very rich—the problems that have given Occupy Wall Street such traction. Data on who is in the top 1 percent of earners further reinforces their point. Here’s why.

    Though the situation is often described as a problem of inequality, this is not quite the real concern. The issue is runaway incomes at the very top—people earning a million and a half dollars or more according to the most recent data. And much of that runaway income comes from financial investments, stock options, and other special financial benefits available to the exceptionally rich—much of which is taxed at very low capital gains rates. Meanwhile, there has been something closer to stagnation for almost everyone else—including even for many people in the top 20 percent of earners.

  • How to Save Europe

    October 26, 2011

    The financial crisis is the next great test: it will mark the success of one of the great political and social experiments of our time if the Europeans come together to remedy it; it will be tragic for Europe and for the world if they do not.

  • A Zuccotti Park Education

    October 11, 2011

    Since the beginning of last week, the shift in the attitude of the press toward Occupy Wall Street—and the support across the country the movement is suddenly drawing—is remarkable. The occupation started on September 17 and grew from the beginning. But since two Sundays ago, unions have joined a large and boisterous march and few if any hesitate any longer to visit Zuccotti Park. Friends now bring their children. The press, almost uniformly derisive during the initial weeks, shows signs of understanding that the group touches a deep-seated anger and confusion in America. President Obama had to respond to a question about it last week, and said he understood the concerns. Occupy Wall Street is truly national—indeed international.

  • Why Fannie and Freddie Are Not to Blame for the Crisis

    July 13, 2011

    A debate has erupted anew in Washington over whether Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused the credit crisis of 2007 and 2008. Their critics claim that these two Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) deserve a lot of the blame because they encouraged mortgage lending to low-to-middle-income Americans, a goal that Congress required and Bill Clinton advocated. The debate, which faded after a brief fluorescence in 2008, has been revived by a new book, Reckless Endangerment, by the respected New York Times reporter Gretchen Morgenson and the dogged financial analyst Josh Rosner.

  • Budget Fallacies: Why the Ryan Plan Won't Work

    April 19, 2011

    Among the economic fallacies embraced in Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, two are particularly egregious: that getting rid of Medicare will reduce health care costs and that enacting yet further tax cuts for the rich will spur growth and investment.

  • Obama’s Lesser Evil

    February 18, 2011

    President Obama’s budget proposal this week shows just how thoroughly austerity economics now dominates the policy debate for both Democrats and Republicans.

  • The Big Lie About Social Security

    October 29, 2010

    With the midterm elections days away, Republicans and quite a few Democrats have once again been attacking Social Security for running up the federal deficit. The president’s own deficit commission is likely to make Social Security reform a priority. In view of all the rhetoric, voters may be surprised to find out how little Social Security will actually contribute to the future budget gap. In fact, most would probably be stunned.

  • Obama's Jobs Crisis

    September 6, 2010

    Why has there been so little urgency in the White House to confront the issue that will most directly affect the outcome of the November elections?

  • Obama’s Risky Business

    July 15, 2010

    The financial reregulation package just passed by Congress is far from a comprehensive reform of American finance. Despite the enormous threat to the world’s financial markets created by the failure of Lehman Brothers and the stunning excesses of insurance giant AIG and banking conglomerate Citigroup, the reforms are in truth modest. Neither the Obama administration nor Congress opted to cut banks down to size, and the bill is only placing mild limits on risky banking activities. The giant financial institutions, meanwhile, are as big—even bigger—than ever and bankers’ compensation is once again at stunning levels.