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 Tuesday, December 20, 2011
On December 12, 2011, SCEPA was proud to host New York State Comptroller Tom P. DiNapoli for the annual Irene & Bernard L. Schwartz Lecture. Presenting a lecture on "The Promise of Public Pensions," DiNapoli, the sole trustee of the $146.9 billion New York State Pension Fund, discussed the health and affordability of the New York State Pension Fund, analyzed the potential economic and human costs of leading pension reform proposals, and considered the wider implications of the ongoing erosion of retirement security for both public and private sector employees.
- Published on Tuesday, December 13, 2011
On December 13, 2011, SCEPA hosted a panel of New School economists to discuss the deep divide among economists around questions of austerity and to analyze policy responses outside the U.S. The event featured a lively discussion between panelists and audience members of how draconian budget cuts came to be the dominant policy prescription, why so many economists and policymakers support the illogical contention that cutting public sector jobs and spending will spur employment and consumption, and alternatives to the dominant economic voices advocating austerity as a cure for slow growth.
The presentations included:
Richard McGahey, Professor of Professional Practice, Public Policy and Economics, Urban Policy Program, Milano School: "Congressional Supercommittees and the End of Berlusconi: the US and Europe"
Michael Cohen, Professor of International Affairs and Director, Graduate Program in International Affairs, Milano School: "Do Budget Cuts Lead to Growth? The Experience of Latin America"
- Published on Friday, December 02, 2011
by Rick McGahey, SCEPA Faculty Fellow
This morning's unemployment report for November has some good news in it, but not as good as it might seem at first glance. The unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent, the lowest rate since March of 2009. Jobs increased by 120,000, and job figures were revised upward for September and October, showing 72,000 more jobs.
So are we out of the woods? Not by a longshot. First, the number of jobs being created is still far too anemic for a broad and fast recovery. And both Europe and the U.S. are enacting contractionary fiscal policies, which will slow economic growth in the coming year.
The economy lost jobs during the Great Recession at a rate we haven't seen in the post-World War II period. Around 7.5 million jobs were lost and the recovery thus far has only added back around 1.5 million, leaving a gap of 5.9 million jobs just to get back to the pre-recession level. If monthly job growth stays at November's level, it will take over four more years to recover those lost jobs.
So economic losses were very severe, and the pace of recovery is very anemic. This graph from Calculated Risk shows job losses and recoveries from recessions since World War II, as of November. You can see how deep the losses were, and how slowly we are recovering. Today's data are welcome, but don't do much to change this picture.
And our weak economic growth is going to be challenged by increased austerity and budget cuts. Economic woes in Europe led the OECD to downgrade their forecast for U.S. economic growth for 2012 from 3.1 to 2.0 percent. And extended unemployment insurance and the current Social Security payroll tax cuts are set to expire at the end of this year, which will cause further job losses; the Economic Policy Institute estimates that the loss of extended unemployment benefits alone will cost the economy over 500,000 jobs.
So do not treat this welcome, but very modest, growth in jobs as any reason to reduce government efforts to create jobs through fiscal stimulus and other means. We are far from a real recovery, and the weak one we have is very fragile.