- 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 July 30, 2012, the New York Review of Books Blog published a column by SCEPA Senior Fellow Jeff Madrick titled, "The Republicans' Medicaid Cruelty," about the rejection of Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid Expansion by a number of Republican Governors. So far the governors of Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana and Mississippi have already rejected the plan for the expansion of Medicaid in their states provided by the ACA. And the governors of many other states have indicated they intend to do the same, including New Jersey, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Nevada. As Madrick points out, these states already have some of the highest levels of uninsured people in the entire United States. For example, "twenty-five percent of non-elderly Texans have no health insurance... compared to the national average of about 18 percent." He finds this "particularly troubling in view of how important the Medicaid expansion is to low-income Americans."
These governors argue they cannot afford it. But Madrick says, "the hard numbers simply do not support these arguments. The new CBO report estimates the federal government will cover 93 percent of all costs over ten years, and 90 percent after that. Moreover, because more of the poor will be covered, the costly emergency medical care they often receive at the last minute in ER rooms will be reduced, saving states money." He goes on to suggest, "one hint about the true motives of these states is that the governors who are either rejecting or leaning towards rejecting the federal program are overwhelmingly Republican. It has become clear that they are driven by political grandstanding about big government."
On July 29, 2012, the New York Times ran an op-ed by SCEPA Senior Fellow Jeff Madrick, "A Big Banker's Belated Change of Heart." Madrick discusses recent comments by former Citigroup Chairman Sanford I. Weill, who stated that the separation of commercial banking and investment banking should be re-established. This principle was the main purpose of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act that was repealed in 1999, with Weill's support. Madrick argues that Weill's claim that the one-stop shopping model of investment banking and commercial banking "was right for the time" couldn't be "further from the truth."
According to Madrick, Weill's support of financial conglomeration led to conflicts of interest that "led to investment in and promotion of risky, poorly run and, in some cases, deceitful companies." This practice, in turn, fueled first the technology and dot-com bubble and then the housing bubble. This was in part due to the changing role of investment analysis. "Traditionally, investment analysis on Wall Street had been fairly well-trusted as an independent opinion on which investors could rely. But there was a shift during the speculative boom of the 1990s, when analysts were directly compensated by their firms for promoting the sale of shares and the purchase of bonds for investment banking and loan clients."
Jeff Madrick conlcudes his piece by saying that Weill's changing views may be because he "no longer has anything to lose." Mr. Weill's comments about his time at Citigroup show he "hasn’t come to terms with the damage the financial giants did on his watch, which would have been a true test of his sincerity. Indeed, if he were still running Citigroup, he would almost certainly be singing a different tune."
We are proud to announce that SCEPA Faculty Fellow Willi Semmler was awarded a grant from the Fritz Thyssen Foundation to hold a speaker series as part of SCEPA's Economics of Climate Change project. These funds will bring distinguished scholars, policy experts and government officials to The New School over the next two years. Mark Z. Jacobson of Stanford University will deliver the inaugural lecture on November 15, 2012.
The series will address how the transition to low-carbon intensive technology and "green energy" can effectively help reduce the emission of green house gases, create energy independence, produce sufficient energy supply and contribute to economic stability and employment. This includes discussion of how market economies can be brought to a path consistent with prosperity and sustainabilty, which economic environments are most favorable for inducing entrepreneurs to invest in and adopt green technology and green energy, and how the public sector can encourage a green transition.
Initiated in 2010 with a comprehensive international conference, SCEPA's Economics of Climate Change project is questioning how to enact effective climate change policy in light of fragile domestic and global economies and the possibilities and practicalities of renewable energy. The project hosted a second conference at The New School in 2011, The Bottom Line On Climate Change, which addressed how to transition from high carbon-intensive technologies to low carbon-intensive technologies.