Helping workers requires more than silver bullets

To improve workers’ skills, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren call for free college for all. To raise wages, many call for a rapid increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour as well as resurgent unionism. And Andrew Yang continues to call for “universal basic income” in response to potentially large-scale job displacement from automation.

But no single silver bullet solution exists that can solve our skills and earnings problems.  Why? Because no single or dominant cause explains stagnating earnings or rising inequality in the US. Thus, simplistic “silver bullet” policies would likely be ineffective or even do more harm than good.

Brookings Institute OP-ED