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EconomicPolicyInstitute September 23, 2011

Disturbing racial wealth gap

Wealth for the median black household has all but vanished, decreasing by more than 65 percent from $6,300 in 1983 to $2,200 in 2009.

As this week’s Economic Snapshot illustrates, while median wealth has fallen substantially among both white and black households since 2007, at $97,900, white median wealth remains higher than the 1983 level of $94,100. White median wealth is now 44.5 times higher than black median wealth.

Last week’s Economic Snapshot highlighted the huge wealth gains of the richest 5 percent of Americans since 1983. The report was widely covered by multiple media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Slate.com, Daily Kos, and the Huffington Post.

“Since the recession hit, the country’s rich have kept on getting richer,” wrote Annie Lowrey of Slate.com.

And from MSNBC: “A new graphic from Economic Policy Institute shows that the old adage about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer has proven true in recent years.”

U.S.-China trade deficit has eliminated or displaced nearly 2.8 million U.S. jobs since 2001

In Growing U.S. trade deficit with China cost 2.8 million jobs between 2001 and 2010, EPI’s Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research Robert Scott, finds that all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico suffered lost or displaced jobs as a result of the growing U.S.-China trade deficit.  The trade deficit with China has grown from $84 billion in 2001, when China entered the WTO, to $278 billion in 2010.

Of the nearly 2.8 million jobs lost or displaced, 1.9 million of them were in manufacturing, representing almost half of all U.S. manufacturing jobs lost between 2001 and 2010. “The growing U.S. trade deficit with China has displaced millions of jobs in the United States and contributed heavily to the crisis in U.S. manufacturing employment, and the relationship needs a fundamental change,” said Scott.

Scott’s report has been covered by numerous media outlets, including Daily Kos, Firedoglake, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

EPI reports clarify economic impact of new EPA rules as House begins debate on regulations

EPI’s report The Combined Effect of the Obama EPA Rules by Director of Regulatory Policy Research Isaac Shapiro, disproves claims that the new major Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules would harm the faltering economy.  Though a number of policymakers have said the rules would hinder job growth and are lobbying to prevent their implementation, EPI’s briefing paper, the only comprehensive tally of the combined costs and benefits, finds that the dollar value of the benefits of the major rules exceeds the rules’ costs by an exceptionally wide margin.  Furthermore, the health benefits in terms of lives saved and illnesses avoided will be enormous and far outweigh the costs of all finalized and proposed rules.

Referencing EPI’s report to dismiss the notion that the proposed rules will kill job creation, Politico’s Josh Boaks concludes the new “regulations represent just 0.1 percent of the economy — a burden for some but not the job-killing death blow that many Republicans complain about.”

Fix America’s Schools Today (FAST) legislation introduced in the Senate

Earlier this week, Sen. Sherrod Brown introduced the Fix America’s Schools Today (FAST) legislation in the Senate. First proposed by EPI and the 21st Century School Fund, FAST would allot $30 billion to fix tens of thousands of America’s public schools in desperate need of repair while employing up to 300,000 construction workers.

“Millions of school children and their teachers will benefit from safer, healthier, more energy efficient schools that are more conducive to learning,” said EPI Vice President Ross Eisenbrey.  “We applaud President Obama for calling for this legislation and Sen. Brown for responding so decisively,” Eisenbrey concluded.

Don’t forget to visit EPI’s blog Working Economics for real time analysis of economic news and policies.

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