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EconomicPolicyInstitute April 25, 2011

EPI Launches Regulatory Policy Research Program

Government regulations of everything from clean air to financial markets are accused of being too costly and a threat to job creation, and the new House majority has made curtailing regulations a priority for the 112th Congress.  With the April 12 release of the briefing paperRegulation, Employment, and the Economy: Fears of job loss are overblown, EPI’s latest research examines the economic effects of government regulation. In this paper economist Isaac Shapiro, who directs EPI’s research on governmental regulatory policy, and John Irons compare the benefits of regulations to their costs, investigating their effect on jobs and the economy. The new report also assesses the studies used by the federal government and industry in the process of crafting regulations.  Shapiro pointed out in a press conference that “certain regulations have the explicit design and effect of keeping the economy strong, thereby promoting job growth…it is important to keep in mind that regulations can be vital to keeping the labor market healthy.”

Budget Battles for 2012

Analysis of the Republican budget proposal
Despite having avoided a government shutdown recently, the battle over a fair budget for 2012 is far from over.  EPI’s policy analysis, All Would Suffer From Chairman Ryan’s Budget Cuts, explores the economic impact of the Republican budget for 2012 and finds that, in addition to dismantling Medicare and Medicaid, the cuts to the non-security discretionary (NSD) budget would result in stunning job losses—2.2 million jobs over the next two years.  Furthermore, the NSD portion of the budget funds programs that invest in a more capable workforce and a more dynamic economy.

People’s Budget offers sound alternative to Ryan’s plan

Press conference announcing the People’s Budget. Members of the Progressive Caucus and others (left to right): Rep. Lynn Woolsey, Rep. Judy Chu (behind Woolsey), Sheila Jackson Lee (podium), Rep. Hank Johnson (behind Jackson Lee), Rep. Mazie Hirono, Rep. Mike Honda (back row), Jeffrey Sachs (Director of theEarth Institute at Columbia University), Rep. Raul Grijalva (front row), Rep. Keith Ellison, EPI’s John Irons (behind Ellison).

In a recent working paper, the Economic Policy Institute has analyzed and scored the specific policy proposals in thePeople’s Budget that was introduced into Congress by the Congressional Progressive Caucus in early April. According to EPI Research and Policy Director John Irons, the Progressive Caucus’ budget proposal puts forth a credible, deficit-reducing alternative to Chairman Ryan’s plan.

This proposal by the Progressive Caucus took many of its policy cues from Investing in America’s Economy, a budget blueprint put forth in December 2010 by Our Fiscal Future, a collaboration between EPI, Demos, and The Century Foundation. This plan emphasized that national budget policy should create jobs, invest in long-term growth, reform the tax code, and put the debt on a sustainable path while protecting the economic security of low- and middle-income Americans. The Congressional Progressive Caucus’ budget proposal achieves all of these same goals.

Other recent research and Congressional testimony

Other recent research by EPI includes:

  • Depressed States, an examination of black, white, and Hispanic unemployment rates at the state level by EPI’s Director of the Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy program,  Algernon Austin;
  • Discounting Public Pensions, in which EPI economist Monique Morrissey explains why concerns about pension fund shortfalls are grossly exaggerated;
  • The Class of 2011: Young workers face a dire labor market without a safety net, an analysis by EPI economist Heidi Shierholz and researcher Kathryn Anne Edwards that shows why the Great Recession has been particularly difficult for young workers; and
  • EPI Vice President Ross Eisenbrey testified before the House’s Education and Workforce Committee on thebenefits of the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires the payment of locally prevailing wages on federal construction contracts.

EPI in the news

  • CBS Evening News’ story on jobs included a segment with EPI’s Heidi Shierholz.
  • CNN.com published an op-ed about the People’s Budget by EPI’s President, Lawrence Mishel, U.S. Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (D.-Arizona), and U.S. Rep. Mike Honda (D.-California).
  • In stories on taxes, the New York Times‘ Charles Blow cited EPI in his recent column, and the Washington Postsyndicated columnist Harold Meyerson cited EPI’s State of Working America.
  • The Kansas City Star and other media outlets picked up EPI’s recent snapshot on how paid sick leave is a rarity for low-wage workers.
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