- On Capitol Hill
- On Wall Street
- In the Press
- Policy Reform Work
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.
Economic growth starts with clusters of economic activity – groups of companies and other institutions working in similar fields. This takes place primarily in cities, which are the source of innovation, bringing together concentrations of capital investment, highly educated labor forces, advanced infrastructure, and institutions such as universities that create innovation and jobs. The challenge remains how to connect these forces for job creation, especially for the unemployed.
Here are a few of the many resources that provide ideas and examples of how market economies can jumpstart job creation at decent wages and working conditions:
- Los Angeles has figured out a way to create jobs and achieve economic growth through smart investment. Each time LA provides subsidies to private companies or plans infrastructure development, the contracts are contingent on providing jobs at livable wages and environmental improvement.
- The Annie E. Casey Foundation promotes economic growth with equity. Their report, "Big Ideas for Job Creation," describes nonconventional but practical policies for creating demand and investment.
- PolicyLink works in Detroit and other cities with large pockets of unemployment. Its economists argue that equity is not a consequence or output growth, but that polices promoting economic equity can foster growth and improve social conditions.
- "Back to Full Employment," a book from New School graduate and professor at U Mass. Amherst Robert Pollin, argues that a nation can use a green platform to stimulate job creation with revenue from a tax on financial transactions.
- Green For All is a leader in combining environmental concerns with job creation, focusing on how environmental improvements can create employment for low-income and poor populations.
- Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, headed by Bruce Katz, concentrates on how cities are the center of metropolitan regions and those regions, in turn, create economic growth for a nation.
On October 23, 2013, the Maryland legislature will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 1051, the Maryland Private Sector Employees Pension Plan sponsored by Senator James Rosapepe. The bill will be heard in Annapolis by the Maryland Joint Committee on Pensions. SCEPA submitted written testimony regarding the state of future retirees in Maryland based on our March 2013 report, "Are Maryland Workers Ready for Retirement?" The report received headlines in the state last spring for its findings that '40% of older households in Maryland are ill-prepared for retirement' and that '49% of those working in Maryland are not enrolled in an employee-sponsored retirement plan.'
SCEPA testified at a hearing in the Maryland House of Delegates on similar legislation sponsored by Delegate Tom Hucker that would increase access to a retirement savings plans by giving workers the option of opening an individual Guaranteed Retirement Account (GRA) through the existing Maryland State Retirement and Pension System. The Guaranteed Retirement Account (GRA) is based on Ghilarducci's STATE GRA plan, which was recently enacted in California.
Carol Hymowitz of Bloomberg News introduces us to Tom Palome, former Vice President for Oral-B, in her September 23, 2013, article, "At 77 He Prepares Burgers Earning in a Week His Former Hourly Wage."
At age 77, Tom is working two minimum wage jobs just to make ends meet. At the height of his career he was making over six figures a year, paid off his mortgage and put his kids through college.
Like 60% of seniors, Tom did not have enough saved for retirement. After his employer relocated to the west coast, Tom opened a consulting firm. Because he was self-employed, he didn't have a 401(k) account or tax-deferred IRA. Without a retirement savings plan, he managed to save $90,000. Investment experts estimate that retirement savings should be 10-20 times more than their annual working salary. So, while not nearly enough for retirement, he lost most of it in the 2008 financial crisis.
This article describes our ridiculous approach to retirement, where "59 percent of households 65 and older currently have no retirement account assets, according to Federal Reserve data analyzed by the National Institute on Retirement Security."
"'People who built successful careers, put their kids through college and saved what they could, are still facing downward mobility," said Teresa Ghilarducci, an economist at The New School, who has studied the finances of seniors."
"It's about to get worse. Right behind the current legions of elderly workers is the looming baby boomer generation, who began turning 65 in 2011 and are reaching that age at a rate of about 8,000 a day. They're the first generation expected to fund their own retirements, even as they live longer lives."