Over ten years ago, on December 26, 2004, an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia triggered one of the deadliest tsunamis ever recorded, an event that ushered the destruction of over 200,00 lives -- and even more livelihoods -- throughout Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the east coast of Africa.
As the job market has gradually tightened, I've expected to see some upward movement in the labor force participation rate, as labor demand pulled more people into the workforce. The fact that this has yet to occur suggests that there is much more slack than the 5.3 percent unemployment rate suggests.
Though inequality has been rising for decades, the Great Recession catapulted the issue to the top of the policy agenda, costing millions of Americans their jobs and widening the gap between rich and poor. As the United States looks to reverse this trend, it faces a historic opportunity to lead a global transition to an inclusive model of economic growth.
Right now, too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve. That's partly because we've failed to update overtime regulations for years -- and an exemption meant for highly paid, white collar employees now leaves out workers making as little as $23,660 a year -- no matter how many hours they work.
That means adding a track to the 9.8-mile segment of the Long Island Rail Road's Main Line from Floral Park to Hicksville. The extra track would eliminate the current bottleneck where so many branches converge. It would increase the frequency of trains and enable effective reverse commuting to take place.