EPI News

As the economy crumbles…

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EPI economists continue to monitor and provide insight on the faltering U.S. economy, particularly on the issues of housing and jobs.

This week, senior economist Jared Bernstein joined Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), chair of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, for a conference call with reporters on pending foreclosure legislation. All three urged immediate action, saying the crisis is growing worse by the hour. Bernstein said housing prices still need to drop substantially before the market can recover. He noted that working families have not fully recovered from the last recession and that many are heavily in debt and losing a good chunk of their most valuable asset.

Algernon Austin, who directs EPI’s Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy program, wrote in The Daily Voice that African Americans and whites view the housing crisis differently, with whites favoring a “tough-love approach” for irresponsible homebuyers and African Americans tending to place much of the blame for the crisis on exploitation by racially biased predatory lenders. More information is needed to reconcile those differences, he wrote, advising lenders to open their books to resolve questions about discrimination.

Getting tough on China

Economist Rob Scott engaged in a running debate on the Council on Foreign Relations Web site about “whether the next U.S. president should get tougher with China on trade.” His debating partner was Daniel J. Ikenson, associate director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Trade Policy Studies. Scott argued that China’s policy of propping up its currency was having negative impacts at home and in the United States, and that U.S. policy should push for a revaluation.

The new EPI board

As part of an initiative to broaden EPI’s reach, we have added 12 new directors to our board, bringing the total to 31. We are excited about the depth of knowledge and geographic diversity these new members bring to the EPI mission. We have introduced them, in alphabetical order, through four installments of EPI News. This is the final installment.Rep. Linda Sanchez

Rep. Linda Sanchez, (D-Calif.), has been a member of Congress since 2003. An alumna of UC Berkeley and UCLA, she was an attorney specializing in labor law prior to entering public service. In 1998, Sanchez joined the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 441, and became a compliance officer. In 2000, she was unanimously elected to be Executive Secretary/Treasurer of the Orange County Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO. Her sister, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, also serves in Congress.

William SpriggsWilliam Spriggs is a professor and chairs the Department of Economics at Howard University in Washington D.C. A former EPI senior fellow, Spriggs is now a senior fellow with the Community Service Society of New York. During the Clinton administration, he led the staff of the National Commission for Employment Policy and worked at the Department of Commerce and at the Small Business Administration. He has served as a senior economist for the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. Spriggs serves on the boards of the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute, the National Employment Law Projects, and the National Advisory Council of Corporate Voices for Working Families. He is also a member of the Black Enterprise Magazine Board of Economists.Raul Yzaguirre

Raul Yzaguirre, a professor in community development and civil rights at Arizona State University, is among the most widely recognized national leaders in the Hispanic community, with three decades of involvement in key legislative and public policy issues. As president and chief executive officer of the National Council of La Raza, a leading Hispanic think tank in Washington D.C., he followed his mission to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans.

To read about all 31 EPI board members, visit our web site.