Yesterday, EPI welcomed Charles Schumer, senior United States Senator from New York, to address the jobs crisis and debt limit debate.
Senator Schumer, Vice Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus and Chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, proposed a “Jobs First” Agenda that includes building critical infrastructure, making a platform to leverage private-sector investment for vital projects, and creating clean energy jobs. Watch the full event.
Prominent economists call on Congress to raise debt limit
On Wednesday, the Economic Policy Institute and the Center for American Progress sent a letter urging policymakers to immediately raise the federal debt ceiling without making drastic cuts to federal spending. Two hundred thirty-five world-renowned economists signed the letter, including six Nobel Laureates, four John Bates Clark winners, and five former American Economic Association chairs.
Not raising the limit “could force a dramatic and sudden cut in federal spending that would destroy jobs and threaten the recovery” and in the worst case, “push the United States back into recession,” the letter explained. Read the full letter.
The Critical Need for Paid Sick Days
Far too often, U.S. workers must choose between going to work sick or staying home to care for their health and possibly losing their jobs. Nearly 40 million workers nationwide lack access to paid sick days for their own illness, and millions more do not have access to paid sick days when their child, spouse or a close relative is sick or needs preventive medical care. In The Need for Paid Sick Days, EPI’s director of Health Policy Research Elise Gould with Kai Filion and Andrew Green show that access to paid sick time is critical for providing economic security to working families.
“For many, there really is no choice—missing work and losing a day’s pay might mean being unable to pay rent for the month or buy food or medicine,” the authors explain. However, going to work sick (known as “presenteeism”), poses its own problems, as sick workers are often less productive or more prone to mistakes which could lead to possible termination.
Gould further elaborated on these issues at the panel discussion “Mandatory paid sick days critically important for family financial security,” co-sponsored by the National Partnership for Women & Families on Wednesday, June 29. She was joined by Liz Weiss (Labor Policy Advisor at the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee) and Vicki Shabo (Director of Work and Family Programs at the National Partnership for Women & Families). They focused not only on the drastic impact not having paid sick days has on working families, but also on the ongoing campaigns to make paid sick days a national priority, and how Congressional champions are working to pass a national paid sick days law.
Two Years After the Recovery Began and Still Little Progress
June marks the two-year anniversary of the “official” end of the recession that began in December 2007 and ended in June of 2009. Next week EPI will release two papers exploring what is unique andnot unique about this recovery compared to those in the past. EPI researchers Heidi Shierholz, Josh Bivens, and Isaac Shapirowill show that the labor market has actually only marginally improved since the depth of the downturn and that the loss of government jobs, particularly at the state and local level, has been a major obstacle in the recovery.
EPI in the News
Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) also cited EPI’s work on trade issues in a piece for The Nation. “If we imposed a currency manipulation fee on China and other low wage countries, the Economic Policy Institute has estimated that we could raise $500 billion over 10 years and create 1 million jobs in the process,” he wrote.