We are economists who think that the economy should serve people, the planet and the future.

Rules are as important in an economy as they are in sports. When gamblers rig the game, players flout the rules, or competent referees are not on the field, the result is a charade and not a fair contest.

Yet some claim that regulations are always bad for the economy. They believe that “freeing” business from rules that protect public health, maintain competitive markets, and ensure financial solvency is the route to prosperity. This ideological opposition to regulation, epitomized by the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, dismantled the firewall between commercial banking and investment banking, and opened the door to the greed and reckless behavior that culminated in our current economic crisis.

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We are economists who think that the economy should serve people, the planet and the future.

The United States ranks first in the world in health care spending per person, but only 45th in life expectancy. The average American sees a doctor less often than the average Canadian, the average Briton, or the average resident of most industrial democracies. The average life expectancy of white Americans without a high school degree has fallen since 1990 by three years for men and five years for women.

This paradoxical combination of first-class costs and second-rate performance is a result of a multi-payer health care system whose enormous administrative bureaucracy absorbs nearly one-third of our health care dollars. The aim of this private bureaucracy is to police patients and doctors, not to add value or protect human health.

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We are economists who think that the economy should serve the people, the planet and the future.

Four million families have lost their homes to foreclosure in the Great Recession. Today another four million or more face the same fate. This devastation was triggered by unscrupulous financiers and exacerbated by government policies that put banker bonuses ahead of homeowner solvency.

Some blame families for foolishly pursuing the American Dream of homeownership. They think government assistance for banks is OK, but homeowners should be left to take free-market medicine.

Some claim that the solution for the housing crisis is to extend and pretend, to perpetuate make-believe values on bank balance sheets rather than to modify principal based on real housing prices. These policies may be a dream for bankers, but they’re a nightmare for homeowners.

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Econ4.org, a new platform for discussing and promoting urgent structural changes needed for a healthy American economy, is now introducing a five part video series called The Bottom Line. The videos will cover Jobs, Housing, Healthcare, Regulation and The New Economy. In the first one, Jobs, they argue that tax cuts and spending cuts, far from stimulating job creation, are counterproductive. They make the case that government has a significant role to play in generating employment growth.

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