With grim economic news coming from many directions, it is easy to get discouraged about our ability to repair the damage of years of failed economic policies. And yet, there are pragmatic solutions to our biggest challenges, including ways to restore health care and retirement security, to create family-supporting jobs, and to re-establish a leadership role in the global economy. Collaborating with some of the nation’s top progressive thinkers, EPI researchers have been exploring and refining solutions for the better part of two years. Now, just in time for national debates on economic direction, EPI has compiled the best of these proposals into a small, easy-to-read policy handbook called A Plan to Revive the American Economy. Hard copies of the 96-page booklet will be available soon. For detailed reports, video of panel discussions, and more on the ongoing effort to build a better way forward, please see www.sharedprosperity.org.
Why we need solutions
In this week’s Economic Snapshot, EPI economist Heidi Shierholz shows how the 2000s business cycle compared to that of the 1990s. In a word: dismal. Job growth was far slower in the latest cycle—0.6% versus 1.8%—and was insufficient to keep up with population growth. For the first business cycle on record, the employment-to-population ratio declined over the 2000s, dropping by 1.5 percentage points. Over the 1990s the employment-to-population ratio increased by 1.7 percentage points.
Developing a better trade policy
The Global Policy Network, an EPI-affiliated network of policy and research centers around the world, has started work on developing a model trade agreement that would promote fair and sustainable growth, in contrast to current models. GPN organizer Tony Avirgan traveled last month to Medellin, Colombia, where he met with participants from Brazil, Colombia, and Costa Rica to begin the process. A second brainstorming session is set for next week at EPI’s Washington, D.C. offices. The effort was made possible by a grant from the Ford Foundation.