Our projects are designed to empower policy makers to create positive change. With a focus on collaboration and outreach, we provide original, standards-based research on key policy issues.
SCEPA joined with the Economic Policy Institute on Capitol Hill to brief congressional staff and policy experts on tax expenditures, or incentives given through the tax code without scrutiny by Congress.
SCEPA economists are working on the prospects for a more progressive economic order to emerge from the shock of the recession. They have published papers and documents that place current events in a longer-term context as well as policy proposals to deal with short-term concerns. They are also documenting the emerging discussion of how the discipline of economics is reacting to the Great Recession and the questioning of conventional economic analysis.
Lance Taylor, a SCEPA Faculty Fellow, presents an overview of his new book, Maynard’s Revenge, in a Google Tech Talk.
The book, published this November by Harvard University Press, is a timely analysis of mainstream macroeconomics, posing the need for a more useful and realistic economic analysis that can provide a better understanding of the ongoing global financial and economic crisis.
The government spends $143 billion through tax breaks in an effort to expand pension coverage and security. Yet, over half of the American workforce does not have a pension. Retirement insecurity hurts business plans, workers’ lives and retiree well-being. Reform is needed.
SCEPA’s Guaranteeing Retirement Income Project, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and in collaboration with Demos and the Economic Policy Institute, has a plan to guarantee safe and secure retirement income for all Americans.
- Published on Monday, August 27, 2012
As our region begins to recover from the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, conversations about climate change hit even closer to home. On November 15, 2012, Mark Z. Jacobson, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program at Stanford University, joined SCEPA to present the inaugural lecture of SCEPA's new Economics of Climate Change Speaker Series. His presentation was titled, "Wind, Water and Sunlight: How to Address Global Warming, Air Pollution, and Energy Security."
This event was generously supported by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the Consulate General of Germany in New York, and the Macroeconomic Policy Institute (IMK).
- Published on Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Sanjay Reddy, SCEPA Faculty Fellow, joins the Triple Crisis blog in an August, 2012, post titled, "Will Hollande Go to Germany?" Reddy assigns the French President the necessary task of convincing his closest European partner that austerity is failing Europe and the euro. Reddy presents three reasons why the current approach of demanding austerity from crisis-hit countries as a quid pro quo for support is failing:
"The first is that austerity is having a counter-productive consequence, leading to economic contraction which makes debt-burdens all the more difficult to bear. The second is that austerity-oriented policies are perceived as unjustly punitive and distributively blind, leading to social and political resistance that makes them difficult to implement and sustain. The third is that austerity cannot succeed, by itself, at restoring the confidence of the 'markets'."
He also presents three measures as a solution, all of which require "the consent of the Germans." Read more about the details and his call on the French President to help prevent an alternative as described by Yeats: 'Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world'.
- Published on Friday, August 03, 2012
by Rick McGahey, SCEPA Faculty Fellow
This morning's release of July's employment report breaks with the downward employment trend of the past three months. New jobs rose by 163,000, with private sector employment up by 172,000. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly, from 8.2 to 8.3 percent. The 163,000 figure for July's job growth is more than twice the monthly average for the second quarter, which was a dreadful 75,000 per month.
But we still have a very weak economy, and although July's job number is good news, it is no panacea. If we have this level of job growth for the next two months prior to the presidential election, it will barely move the unemployment rate—using the Atlanta Fed's jobs calculator suggests this level of job growth would only bring the unemployment rate down to around 8.1 percent in two months. An entire year of monthly job growth at this rate would only get unemployment down to 7.7 percent.
Today's report also needs to be viewed against other negative factors. Real GDP growth in the second quarter slowed to 1.5 percent. Some analysts believe that at least 2.5 percent growth is necessary to keep the unemployment level from rising. If economic growth doesn't speed up, we could see a worsening employment situation.
Congressional action on jobs has long been blocked by Republicans eager to see economic stagnation, believing it will enhance their electoral prospects in November. And due to the Tea Party's growing power over the Republicans, Congress is currently so dysfunctional that they've gone home to campaign without enacting any annual appropriations bills, adopting a popular farm bill, renewing protections for women against domestic violence, or passing legislation endorsed by the Pentagon and other security experts against "cyberterrorism". If the pork-laden farm bill, a favorite of legislators from both parties, cannot pass, there is no prospect of sensible economic action prior to the election.
That leaves the central banks, but both in Europe and the United States, they are staying on the sidelines. Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank (ECB) said recently that they would do "whatever it takes" to save the Euro, and then the ECB did nothing, driving European markets into a frenzy.
In the U.S., the Fed is not taking further action, even though Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellin is calling for action to "insure against adverse shocks" that could set off a "self-reinforcing spiral of downward weakness."
So today's employment report could have been worse. But it isn't very good, and it is hard to see how employment gets much better prior to the November election. President Obama will have to hope that Mitt Romney keeps refusing to release his tax returns—Obama won't be able to campaign on very much good economic news.