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COMING MONDAY: NEW REPORT – HOW RISING HEALTH COSTS SLOW WAGE GROWTH. PPI uncovers a new source for growing income inequality in America: soaring health care costs. PPI contributors Steven Nyce and former Social Security Advisory Board Chairman Sylvester Schieber find that rising premiums are savaging workers' salaries and stifling job growth. Among their findings:

  • The cost of worker benefits in 2010 was four times what it was in 1950--a rate of increase that far surpasses the growth in wages.  
  • Rising health care costs have added as much as 3% to the unemployment rate in the last 30 years.
  •  High health care costs especially discourage companies from hiring lower-wage workers. This in turn exacerbates joblessness and poverty among the less-educated Americans who are falling on the wrong side of the growing income and wealth divide.

Their report shows that controlling health care costs matters not just for the future of entitlement spending but for the future fabric of American society. 

SMART, SIMPLE, DOABLE: MORE ACESS TO MONEY FOR SMALL BUSINESSES. In what Politico called the "Odd Couple of capital formation," President Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor have teamed up in support of a suite of ideas aimed at increasing access to capital for small businesses. Among the specific ideas likely to be included in this package is an idea that PPI has supported: raising the number of investors a small business can have before it's forced to "go public." Read HERE. Among the ideas that should be included: raising the currently arbitrary limit on the amount of small business lending credit unions can do. Read HERE.

ON THE HOMEFRONT: Senior fellow Jason Gold muses on this week's top news in housing. Read his entry on this week's mixed signals on housing: After some hopeful news on housing starts, home values fall to their lowest since 2006. Read HERE.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: WHAT MATTERS MORE--MODERATION OR BIPARTISANSHIP?  Sen. Olympia Snowe's announcement of her pending retirement has provoked a fresh round of lamentations over the demise of Republican moderates. But the dwindling number of centrist Republican politicians means that hopes for ending gridlock will now rest more heavily on the small but equally important group of Republican electeds who may not be moderate but are at least bipartisan. This includes such conservative stalwarts as Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and others who have bravely co-sponsored legislation with their Democratic counterparts. These members in some ways deserve more credit for traveling a longer distance to meet the other side in the middle


Enriching the Progressive Debate