- 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.
by Rick McGahey, SCEPA Faculty Fellow
This morning's release of the August employment report continues the run of weak economic news that we've seen throughout the summer. Total employment rose by an anemic 96,000 jobs; with a slight decline in government employment, private sector jobs rose by 103,000. The unemployment rate edged down to 8.1 percent, due to fewer people looking for work, not vigorous job growth. After July's somewhat encouraging job growth of 163,000, we seem to be back on a weak trendline.
Monthly job growth this year has averaged only 139,000, compared to a not-much better average of 153,000 in 2011. The effects of the too-weak federal stimulus have now run their course, and there are no other drivers of growth from the private sector. Although the Federal Reserve retains the option to take further action, they have been hesitant to move, and monetary policy is not the primary medicine for this economy. Fed Chairman Ben Bernacke's speech at the annual Jackson Hole conference said that economic growth is "far from satisfactory" and the Fed will be "forceful" in pushing for a stronger recover.
Job creation by Republicans? "Zee-ro!"
The recent political conventions provided little hope of further stimulus. Republicans remain set on cutting federal spending and providing deeper tax cuts to the wealthy. Romney has said he will replace Bernacke when the chairman's term expires in January 2014 and the Republican platform, in a nod to libertarian Ron Paul, hints at exploring a return to the gold standard, couched as investigating "possible ways to set a fixed value for the dollar."
President Obama warned against Republican policies, but told Americans we face a "hard path" to full economic recovery. Democrats, especially Bill Clinton, put the best face possible on the weak recovery (Clinton had an effective rhetorical device trope about who had created jobs in the recovery: "President Obama? 4.4 million. Republicans? Zee-ro."). But continuing weak employment will make this a nail-biter right down to November, when the October report will be released on Friday, November 2, just four days before the election.
On August 31, 2012, the California State legislature sent bill SB1234 to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature. The legislation would create a statewide retirement program for private workers, targeting those who are not covered by a retirement plan at work. The proposal is based on SCEPA's State GRA plan and was introduced by Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles.
SCEPA's 2012 Annual Robert Heilbroner Memorial Lecture on the Future of Capitalism was given by Deirdre N. McCloskey, Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
In a lecture titled, "The Treasured Bourgeoisie: How Innovation Became Ethical, 1600-1848," McCloskey argues that a change in attitude towards the bourgeoisie and its innovations made the modern world. In the third volume in her four-volume treatise on The Bourgeois Era, she documents the Bourgeois Revaluation from Shakespeare to early Dickens.
A well-known economist, historian and rhetorician, McCloskey has written sixteen books and around 400 scholarly pieces on topics ranging from technical economics and statistics to transgender advocacy and the ethics of the bourgeois virtues. Her latest book, Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World (University of Chicago Press, 2010), is the second in a series of four on The Bourgeois Era. With Stephen Ziliak she wrote in 2008, The Cult of Statistical Significance (2008), which criticizes the proliferation of tests of "significance."
SCEPA's Annual Lecture on the Future of Capitalism honors the life and work of a Robert Heilbroner. In 1963, Robert Heilbroner earned a Ph.D. in Economics from the New School for Social Research, where he was subsequently appointed Norman Thomas Professor of Economics in 1971. He taught at The New School for the next 20 years. Each year, SCEPA hosts a lecture by a distinguished scholar on long-term economic trends to honor Heilbroner's life work.
This annual lecture is used to gain a greater understanding of questions of economic justice and how the profit-seeking activities of private firms might also serve broader social goals. To use his words, "capitalism's uniqueness in history lies in its continuously self-generated change, but it is this very dynamism that is the system's chief enemy."
The event features a distinguished, scholarly talk on long-term economic trends. Past speakers include John Eatwell, Nancy Folbre, James K. Galbraith, Sanford Jacoby, William Lazonick, and Stephen Marglin.