- 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.
On June 24, 2013, University of Massachusetts Amherst Economics Professor Nancy Folbre described the retirement crisis as sinking rowboats. Her point is clear - our current 401(k)-dominated retirement system doesn't work for the individual doing yeoman's work trying to get to retirement security.
She backs up this statement with numerous reports and data, including the National Institute on Retirement Security, books by Jacob Hacker and SCEPA Director Teresa Ghilarducci, the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, and the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). These sources support Folbre's conclusion, that we need a retirement security system that puts us all in the same boat...an ocean liner.
On June 9, 2013, NPR's story, "Golden Years Tainted as Retirement Savings Dwindle" reports on a new study on the next generation's ability to retire. "Gen. X looks to be the first generation that will not exceed the wealth of the group that came before them, and to potentially face downward mobility in retirement," says Erin Currier, director of economic mobility for the Pew Charitable Trusts.
SCEPA's Retirement Income Security project has documented the current retirement system's failure to support future retirees. NPR quotes SCEPA Director Teresa Ghilarducci: "There has to be new institutions that guarantee a modest but safe continual rate of return," she says. "And we can do that by adding to the Social Security system, a place where people can save their money and get a rate of return that's safe."
by Rick McGahey, SCEPA Faculty Fellow
This morning's release of the May employment report shows an American economy still stuck in low gear. There were 175,000 new jobs created, and the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 7.6%.
While positive job growth is a good thing, this level of job growth is not enough to restore the economy's health. According to the Economic Policy Institute, at this rate of job growth it would take over six years to get back to our pre-recession unemployment rate.
The federal government should be doing more to encourage job growth. But instead, the federal budget is dragging the economy down, as we feel the full effects of the budget sequester. Federal government employment fell by 15,000 jobs last month, with 45,000 jobs being lost in the past three months. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the total sequester will withdraw $85.3 billion in spending from this weak economy.
CBO expects these negative effects to accelerate in the coming months as the full sequester kicks in, cutting not only direct federal jobs but also jobs where contractors, state and local governments, and nonprofits depend on federal spending. Economists estimate that the sequester has already taken more than one full percentage point off GDP growth in the past six months.
Instead of cutting spending, the federal government should be increasing it - especially because interest rates for federal borrowing are so low. Just like a smart home shopper, the federal government should be locking in low interest rates now for these investments. At a minimum, the Obama administration should resist any further spending cuts and instead press Republicans in Congress to increase spending and job creation to get the economy out of this slump.