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.
SCEPA Statement on Co-Chairs’ Proposal for the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
- Published on Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Today, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, Co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, released a draft proposal for federal budgetary reform. They presented their Co-Chair's Proposal in a press meeting announced just this morning - and apparently not endorsed by the other 16 members of the Commission. Bowles and Simpson consider the draft a foundation for concrete debate among the group as they craft the final Commission Report due on December 1st. Whether the other members accept the draft as an initial platform remains to be seen and Obama has declined to comment on the Commission's work until the finalization of the official document.
Bowles and Simpson's attempt forges a comprehensive reform plan that touches every aspect of the federal budget even while they avoid repercussions that would exacerbate our current economic stagnation by planning for changes that take effect no earlier than 2012. The proposal identifies cuts in mandatory as well as discretionary spending, advocates extensive tax reform, and even addresses rising health care costs. Separately, the draft offers suggestions for cuts to Social Security that would have no effect on the federal budget but which would reorganize the program to ensure 100% solvency for the next 75 years. It is an ambitious work.
- Published on Tuesday, December 07, 2010
The Rockefeller Foundation's Campaign for American Workers is supporting innovative work to develop "innovative products and policies to increase economic security within the U.S. workforce, particularly among poor and vulnerable workers." The Foundation has recognized that one of the most critical problems facing the workforce is the inadequate provision of retirement security. The Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA) is poised to help solve this problem by advancing policies that will enable all workers to invest regularly for their retirement, including changing tax incentives and subsidies so that all workers have access to the efficient and professional pension institutions available to public sector employees, college professors, and some private sector employees.
- Published on Tuesday, December 07, 2010
by Teresa Ghilarducci, SCEPA Director, and Lauren Schmitz, SCEPA Research Assistant
We don't blame anyone for being confused about budget talks in Washington. President Obama just agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts at the same time he said he was focused on shrinking the deficit. Now, letting tax revenue slip through our fingers by allowing tax breaks for the rich to expire could make sense - if the tax cuts got us out of the recession. But they don't.
Economists who were supposed to disagree about that stimulative effect of tax cuts didn't. They agreed.
At a Demos, EPI, and the Century Foundation conference in October, three economists - one from the right wing, Martin Feldstein (a dignified Harvard economist who has taught economic principles to thousands of students and chaired Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers); one from the left wing, blunt Paul Krugman (Nobel prize winning Princeton professor and New York Times writer); and one on the "up wing," Jan Hatzius from Goldman Sachs - agreed that tax breaks for people earning over $250,000 per year had little stimulative effect.
But if you want revenue, that's where the money is. If all Bush tax cuts were allowed to expire, it would cut the deficit by 54%, or $226 billion, in 2015.
If you tax only the rich, according to the New York Times analysis of the federal budget deficit (David Leonhardt's recent "Fix the Deficit Puzzle"), by allowing taxes to go up for households earning income above $250,000 a year, the take would be $54 billion in 2015 (or 13% of the projected $418 billion 2015 budget shortfall) or $115 billion in 2030 (or 9% of the projected $1,345 billion budget shortfall in 2030).
If the tax cuts for the bottom 98% of households - those making under $250,000 a year - were allowed to expire, the projected savings to the deficit would be $172 billion (or 41.15% of the total deficit) in 2015 and $252 billion (or 18.74% of the deficit) in 2030.
In sum, if all Bush tax cuts were allowed to expire it would cut the deficit by $226 billion in 2015 or by a whopping 54 % of the total projected deficit in 2015 (27% of the total deficit in 2030).