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EconomicPolicyInstitute September 21, 2012

A fiscal obstacle course, not a cliff

In the new report A fiscal obstacle course, not a cliff: Economic impacts of expiring tax cuts and impending spending cuts, and policy recommendations, EPI Research and Policy Director Josh Bivens and budget policy analyst Andrew Fieldhouse explain that the “fiscal cliff”—the impact of tax cuts set to expire and spending cuts due to take effect at the end of the year—is not one piece of take-it-or-leave-it legislation. Rather, it is composed of several distinct policies, or “obstacles,” that stand in the way of rapid economic recovery and lower unemployment. The authors examine each obstacle, assess its economic impact, and pinpoint which provisions should be extended or ended to promote economic recovery and jobs in the near term.

Women much more likely to earn poverty-level wages

This week’s Economic Snapshot, from The State of Working America, 12th Edition, shows that 32.0 percent of women earned poverty-level wages or less in 2011, compared with 24.3 percent of men. Overall, 28.0 percent of workers, more than 1 in 4, earned poverty-level wages in 2011.

EPI unveils The State of Working America, 12th Edition at the National Press Club

On Wednesday, EPI economists Lawrence Mishel, Elise Gould, and Heidi Shierholz presented the key findings of The State of Working America, 12th Edition at the National Press Club in Washington. During the event, the authors discussed the book’s compelling statistics and graphs and fielded audience questions.

Now’s the time to focus on the middle class

Political pollster Stan Greenberg covered similar territory at a talk hosted by EPI on Thursday, in which he detailed the deterioration of the middle class and proposed policy prescriptions to restore it. In It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!, Greenberg and his co-author, political commentator James Carville, track the decline of the middle class, using EPI charts to frame their argument. Greenberg explained why restoring the middle class should take priority over every other issue this election season.

A Hero of American Education

In a post on her blog, education policy expert Diane Ravitch (historian of education and research professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development) praised EPI research associate Richard Rothstein’s many years of championing public education and shedding light on poverty’s impact on education. “For his courage, for his intelligence, for his dedication to democratic ideals, Richard Rothstein joins our honor roll as a hero of American public education,” she wrote.

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Josh Bivens
Why Tax Cuts Aren’t the Answer to Wage Problems
Daniel Costa
President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration Will Improve the Wages and Working Conditions of Unauthorized Immigrants and U.S.-Born Workers Alike
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