Over the summer there was some concern in the media about falling wages during the current barely perceptible economic recovery. Nationwide, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that inflation-adjusted average hourly wages have been trending downward since late 2010. Similar wage declines occurred, starting at various times in 2009 or 2010, in most major industries. Because wages don’t usually fall even during the most severe recessions, this is (bad) news.  In the latest edition of Brookings’ MetroMonitor, I looked at where these wage declines were occurring. Using inflation-adjusted average


Nationwide, the economic recovery looks more fragile than it did just a few months ago. GDP is growing at a moderate pace but not nearly as rapidly as at the end of last year. Almost no private sector jobs were created in May. The unemployment rate dipped from 9.9 percent in April to 9.7 percent in May, but mostly because fewer people were looking for work. Nearly half the unemployed in May were out of work for more than six months.


Pass or Fail

In my new book The Death and Life of the Great American School System, I argue that the current movement to fix schools will not improve American education. In fact, it may very well harm it. Today’s reformers--few of whom are educators--say that changes in incentives and sanctions and in the governance of schooling will lead to improved achievement. They believe that a stronger emphasis on testing and accountability and an expansion of privately managed charter schools will raise student performance.


Harold Pollack is the Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and a Special Correspondent for The Treatment. There's been more positive attention of-late to the idea of high-risk pools. Some concrete numbers underscore why the idea doesn't deserve it. Most recently, Ross Douthat responded to a nice Treatment piece in which Jonathan Cohn explained why high-risk pools are an infeasible and inhumane response to the lack of health insurance coverage.


Bad Bet

Political corruption comes in two forms. Most familiar is the hand-in-the-till variety: bribes, payoffs, influence-peddling, lobbyists lining the pockets of public officials in exchange for access and favors. This corruption thrives in secrecy, and is usually condemned when exposed. But another kind of corruption arises, by degree, in full public view. It involves no theft or fraud, but rather a change in the habits of citizens, a turning away from public responsibilities. This second, civic corruption, is more insidious than the first. It violates no law, but enervates the spirit on which go