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EconomicPolicyInstitute July 29, 2011

EPI Celebrates 25 Years of Putting Working Families First

This year marks the Economic Policy Institute’s 25th year of championing American workers and their families.  On Tuesday, November 1, 2011, EPI will celebrate these 25 years of hard-won successes on behalf of America’s workers with a reception and dinner appropriately titled, “Putting Working Families First.”

On this occasion, we will honor Ray Marshall and Paul Krugman, two of the most influential individuals who have helped advance EPI’s goal of shared prosperity for all. Marshall is one of EPI’s original founders, a current board member,  and a regular contributor to EPI’s research and advocacy. He served as the Secretary of Labor under President Jimmy Carter. Krugman is one of the nation’s pre-eminent economists, 2008 recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, and op-ed columnist for the New York Times. In his weekly column, Mr. Krugman provides incisive analysis on the economic and fiscal realities of the day.

                                

Another highlight of the dinner will be a tribute to leaders of Wisconsin’s labor community. Representatives of this movement will be on hand to receive recognition for their fight to preserve public employee rights in their state, turn back a reactionary budget and repel an attack on the middle class. This will be a night to celebrate their efforts.

In the current political and economic climate, the need for EPI’s expertise is greater than ever. The 25th Anniversary event will kick off our next 25 years and reaffirm our commitment to developing and promoting responsible policies that strengthen the economy and improve the lives of working families. We hope you can join us for this night of celebration.

“Putting Working Families First”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Reception: 6:00 p.m.
Dinner: 7:00 p.m.

Mayflower Renaissance Hotel
1127 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036

Even worse than we thought: Anemic GDP growth explains increase in unemployment rate

“Today’s report on gross domestic product indicates that the U.S. economy has grown at a disastrously slow 0.9% rate for the entire first half of 2011. This anemic growth is why the unemployment rate stopped falling and actually began rising during these same six months. Worse, Washington’s rush to fiscal austerity will make the problems of slow growth and joblessness even worse,” said EPI economist Josh Bivens.

Targeted tax rebate more effective than payroll tax cut

The dismal state labor market has reminded some policymakers of the need to energize the economy, though the ongoing deficit debate continues to be in the spotlight.  In A bigger and better economic boost, Federal Budget Policy Analyst Andrew Fieldhouse finds that a targeted, partially refundable tax rebate would be a more effective stimulus than extending the current payroll tax cut, which President Obama endorsed in his speech Monday night.  Not only would a modified version of the lump-sum tax rebates that were part of the 2008 Economic Stimulus Act (ESA) cost the government roughly the same amount as the payroll tax cut but it would also generate more economic activity while doing more to alleviate poverty and help working families.

In the paper, Fieldhouse also explains that because the payroll tax cut was not targeted to low- and middle-income workers—the workers most likely to spend it—it was not as effective in generating economic activity as a lump-sum tax rebate would have been.

Though the refundable tax rebate will not wholly address the jobs crisis, it will do more than the payroll tax cut.  “Compared with extending the payroll tax cut,” Fieldhouse concludes, “ this refundable tax rebate proposal would help working families and their children, the non-working elderly and veterans, the 25 million un- and underemployed workers, and the U.S. businesses in need of more customers. “

Recalculating Social Security cost of living means deeper cuts to oldest retirees

Many deficit reduction proposals under discussion reportedly include a lower cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits that would reduce it by an estimated 0.3 percentage points per year.  This week’s Economic  Snapshot shows how this seemingly small cut would affect all Social Security participants, including current retirees. It goes on to explain how it is even worse than an across-the-board benefit cut, because the reduction compounds over time: the oldest retirees tend to be the poorest ones.

EPI Around Town

On Saturday, July 23, EPI president Larry Mishel spoke at the National Council of La Raza’s annual conference.  He presented at the Town Hall on the theme, “Giving up on the middle class? Not so fast!”  With more than 25,000 attendees, the conference is the largest gathering of its kind and seeks to engage participants in discussion about issues that affect the Hispanic community.

EPI in the news

In the past week EPI’s experts have been cited in over 350 television, radio, and print media outlets. Some of the highlights include:

MarketWatch writer Ruth Mantell quoted EPI president Larry Mishel on wage stagnation in her article, “Pay gap between workers is growing.”  ‘“In America today, wages are hardly growing at all,” Mishel said. “The last 30 years have not been good for wage growth.”’ Mishel also discussed America’s job crisis in the New York Forum interview, “A phenomenal lack of jobs: Q&A with Dr. Lawrence Mishel.”

EPI’s recent work on social security has been covered by multiple outlets including MSN Money, Daily Kos, and Think Progress.

Algernon Austin, EPI’s Director of the Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy program, was quoted in the Christian Science Monitor on the startling lack of job prospects for African American men.  The Associated Press also cited his work on the recession’s calamitous impact on black households.

From the EPI Blog
Lawrence Mishel and Will Kimball
The Top 1 Percent of Wage Earners Falters in 2013—Was it a Temporary Event?
Joshua Smith
Myths and Facts About Corporate Taxes, Part 2: Will Congress’s Idea of “Base-Broadening, Rate-Lowering Tax Reform” Fix What’s Wrong With Our Corporate Tax Code?
Ross Eisenbrey
Corporations Are Stealing Your Constitutional Rights: Forced Arbitration Clauses
Lawrence Mishel
Chair Yellen Is Right: Income and Wealth Inequality Hurts Economic Mobility
Ross Eisenbrey
Businesses Agree—It’s Time To Raise the Minimum Wage
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