- 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.
Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times/Redux
Economists Paul Krugman and Robin Wells provide a conscientious, thorough review of Jeff Madrick's new book, Age of Greed, in The New York Review of Books. Titled, "The Busts Keep Getting Bigger: Why?" the review states:
"The Age of Greed is a fascinating and deeply disturbing tale of hypocrisy, corruption, and insatiable greed. But more than that, it’s a much-needed reminder of just how we got into the mess we’re in—a reminder that is greatly needed when we are still being told that greed is good.
Madrick also does an especially persuasive job of demythologizing Milton Friedman, who provided intellectual heft for the antigovernment movement. As Madrick points out, although Friedman offered some important economic insights, he often shoehorned real-life data to fit into a one-sided narrative, gaining his theories wider acceptance than was ultimately justified. And Friedman, like Reagan, preferred “overly simple assertions of free market claims,” discarding the caveats."
by Jeff Madrick, SCEPA Senior Fellow
The Federal Reserve's Ben Bernanke could not avoid admitting this week that the American economic recovery was faltering. GDP growth of less than 2 percent annualized in the fourth quarter was a severe disappointment. Responsible economists do not expect it to grow much faster for the rest of the year. The World Bank just forecast that it expects U.S. annual growth to remain below 3 percent through 2013.
Good thing President Obama's chief economist, Austan Goolsbee, is leaving town. His calm, conventional and well-schooled thinking apparently led to a devastating underestimation of how Americans are suffering in these times. Of course, we don't know quite how the conversation has gone in the White House. But the administration has been adopting the old Clinton strategy of admitting to no bad news if it can help it. It evinced no passion about the poor state of employment before the last election.
The bad employment data for May was a serious challenge to the administration's wishful thinking that the economy would grow at a 3 to 4 percent rate. Some of those who have met with out-of-office Larry Summers say he was still making this claim only a couple of weeks ago. Then the Case Shiller index reported that housing prices also sunk.
But that's not by any means the main problem. This is basically a jobless and wageless economy. A few weeks ago at the Harvard Club in New York City, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner claimed that American economic policy has done well to reestablish growth. In fact, he proudly noted, on average we had done better than Europe.
In the Harvard Business Review Alumni Bulletin, SCEPA Senior Fellow Jeff Madrick discusses his early years as a journalist, witnessing the events that would lead to the economic crisis. He begins, "When I graduated from HBS in 1971, I chose journalism (at BusinessWeek) over business, a career decision that enabled me to observe “up close and personal” the coming Wall Street revolution."