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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 January 18, 2013, SCEPA Director Teresa Ghilarducci weighed in on PBS Newshour's Business Desk blog on the detrimental impact of raising the retirement age. Ghilarducci writes that despite conventional rhetoric, the physical and mental demands of older workers' jobs have intensified, making raising the retirement age poor economic policy.
As a recent SCEPA policy note documents, job quality for older Americans from 1992-2008 has declined due to an increase in jobs that require physical demands or traits, such as good eye sight. The increase in physically-demanding jobs is associated with service sector jobs, a decline in bargaining power, and increased unemployment among older Americans. There is no way to distinguish between older workers who are unfit for working longer than those whose jobs can be performed well into a worker's late 60s or 70s. For these reasons, raising the retirement age or the medicare eligibility age would harm vulnerable older Americans in low-paying and difficult jobs.
The Brookings Institution Press will publish research by SCEPA Research Assistant Lauren Schmitz in a forthcoming book, Creative Communities: Art Works in Economic Development, about new growth theory and the arts. Schmitz’s chapter, "Do Cultural Tax Districts Buttress Revenue Growth for Arts Organizations? Evidence from Colorado's Scientific and Cultural Facilities District" examines the impact of voter-approved sales taxes to sustain and develop small arts organizations. Schmitz finds these public funds help “crowd in” additional private dollars to support the arts, which contradicts theories that public dollars "crowd out" private funds.
On December 12, 2012, CNN.com posted SCEPA Director Teresa Ghilarducci's response to IBM's decision to contribute to employees' retirement funds only once a year.
"IBM looks better than most companies because most companies are whacking their workers' retirement plans or don't sponsor any at all. GM offered its salaried, white-collar workers a lump sum -- the worst way to get a retirement account because people spend a lump sum too fast -- instead of an annuity. Ford will follow GM's example next year. Fortunately, very few auto managers and workers are taking up such an offer; they must know an annuity is more valuable.
What is there to stop companies from ending retirement accounts altogether? Nothing.
Unions represent less than 11% of the private sector workforce and the unemployment rate is high enough that anyone who has a job feels lucky to have a job. I don't see anything on the horizon that will encourage companies to maintain or improve retirement programs at the workplace.
Political leadership and bravery is needed to call out the failure of the voluntary retirement system and to secure retirement income and savings for all American workers."