Category Archives: Economics

New Op-Ed: The New Toll of American Student Debt in 3 Charts

New Op-Ed: Tara Siegel Bernard & Karl Russell, The New Toll of American Student Debt in 3 Charts,, July 11, 2018.


New Article: Inner-City Anti Poverty Campaigns

New Article: Anthony Victor Alfieri, Inner-City Anti Poverty Campaigns, UCLA L. Rev. 64 (2017), University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-16. Abstract below:

This Article offers a defense of outsider, legal-political intervention and community triage in inner-city anti-poverty campaigns under circumstances of widespread urban social disorganization, public and private sector neglect, and nonprofit resource scarcity. In mounting this defense, the Article revisits the roles of lawyers, nonprofit legal services organizations, and university-housed law school clinics in contemporary anti-poverty, civil rights, and social justice movements, in part by chronicling the emergence of a faith-based municipal equity movement in Miami, Florida. The Article proceeds in four parts. Part I introduces the notion of community triage as a means of addressing the impoverished and segregated aftermath of urban development in a cluster of postindustrial inner cities. Part II examines the First Wave of antipoverty campaigns launched by pioneering legal services and public interest lawyers and their evolving community triage models. Part III surveys the Second Wave of anti-poverty campaigns pressed by more client- and community-centered legal services and public interest lawyers and their alternative community triage paradigms. Part IV appraises the Third Wave of anti-poverty campaigns kindled by a new generation of legal services and public interest lawyers and their site-specific community triage approaches in the fields of community economic development, environmental justice, low-wage labor, immigration, and municipal equity in order to discern legal-political lessons of inner-city advocacy and organizing. Taken together, the four parts forge a larger legal-political vision imagined and reimagined daily by a new generation of social movement activists and scholars — a renewed vision of theory-driven, clinical practice tied to empirical research and experiential reflection about law and lawyers in action.

New Article: Rebellious Social Movement Lawyering Against Traffic Court Debt

New Article: Veryl Pow, Rebellious Social Movement Lawyering Against Traffic Court Debt, 64 UCLA L. Rev. 1770 (2017). Abstract below:

The prominence of Black Lives Matter in American society today signals the revitalization of alternative forms of participatory democracy—from localized community organizing to widespread social movements—as political expression among racial minorities. For social movement lawyers, this historical moment demands an urgent clarification as to their role and the strategies they should undertake: How should lawyers connect their preexisting advocacy with the broader social movement? Must lawyers be relegated to the background, or might they assume an active role that enhances the leadership of grassroots community members within the movement? What are concrete tools lawyers might deploy in advancing the struggle?

Through a case study of challenging traffic court debt in South Los Angeles, a statewide system that entraps low-income communities of color in cycles of poverty and involvement in the criminal justice system, this Comment proposes a new theory— rebellious social movement lawyering—to resolve these questions. Rebellious social movement lawyering contemplates an active role for lawyers in movements, so long as they are guided by two principles: first, that social movements are necessary to achieve structural social change; and second, that the participation and leadership of grassroots community members, more than professionals and formal social justice organizations, is necessary to sustain such movements. The strategies deployed by rebellious social movement lawyers must be fluid and flexible, ranging from traditional legal devices to confrontational demonstrations, with each decision stemming from community collaboration and the lawyer’s self-questioning as to how a proposed tactic contributes to building the social movement on the one hand, and to enhancing grassroots participation and democracy on the other.

Rebellious social movement lawyering is meant both as a theoretical intervention in rebellious lawyering, movement lawyering, and Critical Race scholarship, and as a methodology to guide public interest legal practitioners. In grounding my theory in a concrete case study, I hope that practitioners across other areas of public interest law will recalibrate their own advocacy as rebellious social movement lawyers working collaboratively to challenge the underlying structures producing material harms for their clients.

New Op-Ed: Can a New Kind of Payday Lender Help the Poor?


New Op-Ed: Susie Cagle, Can a New Kind of Payday Lender Help the Poor?, July 9, 2018.

New Op-Ed: Chocolate is a luxury. The people who produce it live in extreme poverty

cocoa_opedNew Op-Ed: Hans Theyer, Chocolate is a luxury. The people who produce it live in extreme poverty, Wash. Post, July 7, 2018.

New Article: Deregulation and the Subprime Crisis

New Article: Paul G. Mahoney, Deregulation and the Subprime Crisis, Virginia Law Review Association, 2018. Abstract below:

Many popular and academic commentators identify deregulation as a cause of the 2007–2008 financial crisis. Some argue that the GrammLeach-Bliley Act (“GLBA”) and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (“CFMA”) removed barriers to risk-taking
by commercial and investment banks, while others contend that these statutes limited regulators’ ability to respond to changing market conditions. A more general argument is that stringent regulation of banking from the New Deal to the late 1970s produced a quiet period in which there were no systemic banking crises, but subsequent
deregulation led to crisis-prone banking.

This Article examines the deregulation hypothesis in detail and concludes that it is incorrect. The GLBA and the CFMA did not remove existing restrictions that would have prevented the principal practices implicated in the subprime crisis, but instead codified the status quo. Although the two statutes prevented regulators from banning affiliations between commercial banks and securities firms and curbing over-the-counter derivatives markets, those actions would likely not have prevented the crisis or significantly reduced its severity.

The Article further argues that the era of stable banking was the result of a benign and predictable macroeconomic environment, not regulation of deposit interest rates. That era ended with the severe inflation and interest rate volatility of the 1970s. Policymakers had to either ease restrictions on the interest rates banks could pay their depositors or force savers to lend to banks at negative real rates of return. Interest rate risk caused both bank failures and bank deregulation.

New Op-Ed: Benefits, Work, and Poverty

There’s nothing a like a good chart. As work requirements appear all the rage, Krugman importantly asks a simple question to keep things in perspective: With a superior macroeconomic situation (U.S. near full employment), why are so many more Americans in poverty than in the “welfare states” of Europe? Hint: Don’t blame state generosity.


New Op-Ed: Paul Krugman, Benefits, Work, and Poverty,, July 15, 2018.

New Article: Injury in the Unresponsive State: Writing the Vulnerable Subject into Neo-Liberal Legal Culture

New Article: Martha Albertson Fineman, Injury in the Unresponsive State: Writing the Vulnerable Subject into Neo-Liberal Culture, Emory Legal Studies Research Paper Forthcoming In Injury and Justice: The Cultural Politics of Harm and Redress, Bloom, Engel, and McCann Eds., Cambridge Studies in Law and Society, 2018. Abstract below:

State neglect of the needs of those individuals living in poverty or suffering under social, economic, and material disadvantage is not seen as requiring legal or political remedy. Quite the contrary: state inaction is typically viewed as the appropriate manifestation of state restraint in the face of individual liberty or autonomy rights that condemn any move toward the “redistribution” of private wealth or property. “Private” structures, such as the family, market, charity, or the workplace, are designated as the prime mediating institutions to provide for the needs of individuals. Arguably, the state may be seen as having some responsibility in regard to the conduct and operation of those institutions, but at best the state is seen as an incremental and contested residual actor when they fail. This understanding of state inaction as not constituting injury or harm is both validated and compelled by the ways in which, over the course of American political history, the political subject and social contract have been understood as anchored in liberty and autonomy.

New Op-Ed: Bussed Out: How America moves its homeless

New Op-Ed: Outside in America team, Bussed Out: How America moves its homeless,, Dec. 20, 2017.

New Report: Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing


New Report: National Low Income Housing Coalition, Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing, 2018.

This is the newest annual edition of NLIHC’s report, a vital piece advancing understanding of the affordable housing crisis across the nation.