- 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 Jeff Madrick, SCEPA Senior Fellow
It is rare that I highly recommend a piece by Samuel Brittan, an intelligent and thoughtful, but often conservative, veteran Financial Times columnist. His column on February 10, 2012, entitled "Why the World Economy is Still Spluttering Away," is worth a look. He lays out in effortless brevity nine approaches being recommended to deal with the overhang of savings in the world, a glut led by the Chinese, and to many the source of our slow growth. To many of us, a glut is a misnomer, it is really a lack of demand. Brittan is weighed down by some free-market ideological baggage of his own, but he is typically an unstubborn pragmatist. He lists the approaches, almost all of which he thinks are wrong-headed, with the exception of demand stimulus. Most of these approaches are making matters worse, some much worse.
by Rick McGahey, SCEPA Faculty Fellow
Charles Murray is back. The notorious co-author of 1994's The Bell Curve, who claimed that racial differences in IQ tests and socio-economic status could be explained in part by genetic transmission of intelligence, is out with a new book. Coming Apart looks at growing differences between lower and upper-income whites, and notes that social problems—crime, divorce, unemployment—are growing for the lower income, while the upper income group prospers and is more socially stable.
Murray blames this not on income gaps, but, as a good neo-conservative will do, on liberals in the 1960s. "The '60s were a disaster in terms of social policy," Murray argues, saying that work and morality were de-incentivized, creating negative trends that "soon became self-reinforcing."
You would think the ensuing policy discussion would focus on how to get better-paying jobs for low income people, and how to improve schools that serve the poor, but instead (at least in The New York Times) it is about cultural difference between the rich and poor and early childhood education.
A new report by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, which includes an article by SCEPA's Teresa Ghilarducci, shows that Californians have less access to employer-sponsored retirement benefits than the rest of the nation, leaving a significant number of today's workers at risk for serious economic hardship in retirement. Much of the problem is that retirees don't have access to traditional pension plans and don't have enough savings for retirement, leaving many retirees to depend solely on Social Security in their golden years. As Ghilarducci notes in the article, titled "Fewer Employer Retirement Benefits Lead to High Retirement Insecurity in California," by Callie Shanafelt, "If something isn't done we'll have the biggest downward mobility since great depression."