- 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.
In a report published on May 29, 2012, Demos, a nonprofit advocacy group and SCEPA partner on retirement security, published a report "The Retirement Savings Drain: Hidden and Excessive Costs of 401(k)s." The report, written by Policy Analyst and New School PhD student Robbie Hiltonsmith, reveals the excessively high fees and costs associated with 401(k) retirement plans that are hidden from plan holders. Hiltonsmith finds that the average two-member household will lose over $150,000 over their lifetime from their retirement savings to pay these fees - without their knowledge. More than 40 media sources and columns have covered the report, including an exclusive with Consumer Reports and pieces in Reuters and the New York Post, among others. The media coverage has hinted toward other possibilities for retirement income security such as Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRAs). "What we need is a low cost set-it-and forget-it option," Hiltonsmith says. "You get your four percent return, the balances don't go up and down like a yo-yo and at retirement you get all or part of it as an annuity."
On June 20, 2012, Hiltonsmith appeared on Fox Business Network's Willis Report to discuss the dangers of hidden 401(k) fees. He says, "someone's going to be retiring off these 401ks but it's not going to be the ones saving."
Teresa Ghilarducci is billed as a top expert in retirement security and labor economics on TopWonks.org. Top Wonks is a directory of public policy experts that provides access and connections for policy makers and the media. The website includes a listing of her recent works, including books and news clips searchable by issue and content type.
On May 29, 2012, SCEPA Director Teresa Ghilarducci discussed the history of retirement security in the U.S. and the current status of 401K-based retirement with Tom Ashbrook on NPR's On Point, "Is the 401(k) Working?" She describes the fundamental flaw in the current system, "You're on your own." She draws attention to the possibilities for government, especially state and local, to help provide additional retirement funding for its citizens, a major area of focus for new SCEPA research, through measures such as state-level Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRAs).