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EconomicPolicyInstitute June 10, 2011

EPI has been sounding the alarm about the recession, highlighting its impact on America’s working families, and proposing policy solutions since September 2007, three months before the recession’s official start.   Our work has highlighted the need for economic policies that emphasize robust job and wage growth to ensure a strong recovery and that increase retirement and health security for low- and middle-income families. Such policies will yield long-lasting economic stability and income equality. EPI’s research and analysis informs and influences public discourse everyday on the state of working America.   I want to bring to your attention just some of the ways in the last week that we have highlighted the jobs crisis and illuminated progressive solutions in the ongoing budget debate.

The Jobs Crisis

On Friday June 3, the unemployment rate climbed to 9.1%.  On the first Friday of every month when the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its new data, EPI’s labor economist Heidi Shierholz analyzes the data, issues a report, and fields questions from reporters and other economists.  Shierholz’ analysis of the data was cited by multiple major news sources including the Associated Press, theChicago Tribune, and Bloomberg News.

From the Chicago Tribune:  “Those numbers are not enough to make a dent in the 11 million job shortfall,’ said Heidi Shierholz… Shierholz said economic indicators show the private sector is “not poised to take over with robust growth.”

Shierholz also discussed the labor market with Mitchell Hartman ofMarketplace Radio and noted that the country is now facing “an enormous across-the-board lack of demand for workers. In every occupation, in every industry, we’ve seen this increase of long-term unemployment.”  (Listen to the full interview.)

EPI economist Josh Bivens has been busy looking at a different aspect of the jobs crisis.  The June 6 New York Times article, “As Stimulus Funding Ends, Experts Weigh Law’s Impact on ‘Green Economy,’” highlights one of Bivens’ areas of research.  Explaining the impact that less stimulus funding will have on jobs, Bivens said: “As soon as the money stops, one imagines jobs stop being supported.  My guess is we’ve passed the peak effect of the Recovery Act on jobs.”

In all, EPI’s recent analysis of the latest job market trends was covered in 175 media outlets, including blogs, radio, print, and television.

The Debate over the Federal Budget

For the past 10 years, EPI has been a vocal opponent of the Bush tax policies that have done almost nothing to stimulate the economy and instead inflicted long-term damage, added trillions to the national debt, and unfairly benefitted the wealthy while ignoring the average working family.

In the policy memo “Tenth anniversary of the Bush-era tax cuts,” EPI policy analysts Andrew Fieldhouse and Ethan Pollack provided a comprehensive look at the deleterious effects the Bush tax cuts  on the U.S. economy.  This analysis was cited by a variety of major news sources from blogs to online newsmagazines, includingThe HillThe RootDaily KosMaddow BlogSlate Magazine, and The American Prospect.

From Slate Magazine: “So, to recap: The Bush tax cuts were followed by low GDP growth, negative median wage growth, and little job growth. Even before the Great Recession, growth in the Bush business cycle was the weakest since World War II. And the cuts cost about $2.6 trillion between 2001 and 2010, according to the Economic Policy Institute—adding to a debt future generations of taxpayers will pay for, plus interest.”

The Rachel Maddow blog praised the paper: “We find theEconomic Policy Institute offering the latest comprehensive breakdown (PDF) of the damage inflicted on the American economy by those tax cuts. It’s well worth reading all the way through.”

Thus far, EPI’s analysis of the disastrous effects the Bush tax policies have already had—and foregone opportunities if continued— on the nation’s economy was covered by dozens of media outlets.

Our commitment to promoting prosperity for every American also informs our perspective regarding the current debt debate.  We recently presented our progressive agenda at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s Solutions Initiative conference where we offered an update to Investing in America’s Economy, a budget blueprint EPI originally developed in partnership with Demos and The Century Foundation.  Our efforts to make sure the working person’s voice has been heard in this debate has been covered by the Wall Street JournalWashington PostThe AtlanticForbesC-SpanPolitico, and over 100 other media outlets.

As always, thank you for your support as we continue to bolster economic policies that are good for all working Americans.

Best Wishes,
Larry Mishel

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