EPI News

Data on income gains support 99ers’ gripes

EPI at 25: Celebrating a
Century of Success

As EPI approaches this milestone, we’re reflecting on some of the accomplishments that we’re proudest of. Previously, we highlighted the indispensable State of Working America and our work on helping raise the minimum wage. This week, we spotlight our Broader, Bolder Approach to Education campaign:

In 2008, the Economic Policy Institute played an instrumental role in launching the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education campaign. BBA acknowledges the impact of socioeconomic status on academic achievement and proposes evidence-based policies to improve schools and remedy conditions that limit many children’s readiness to learn. EPI’s in-kind and technical and logistical assistance continues to support the campaign.

Register here for the 25th Anniversary Dinner

Data on income gains support 99ers’ gripes

Income rising fastest at the top

The Occupy Wall Street protesters, dubbed the “99ers” because they are fighting for the 99 percent of Americans left behind economically, can back up their claims with economic data. This week’s Economic Snapshot shows that inflation-adjusted incomes of the top 1 percent of U.S. households increased 224 percent from 1979 to 2007, while the top 0.1 percent (the top one one-thousandth of households), saw their incomes skyrocket 390 percent in the same period. In contrast, incomes for the bottom 90 percent of U.S. households grew just 5 percent between 1979 and 2007.

Progressive revenue proposals would narrow budget gap by trillions

As policymakers continue mulling ways to address the nation’s deficit, it is imperative that their proposals seek to balance spending cuts with additional revenues. In For Joint Select Committee, many good options, Andrew Fieldhouse, a federal budget policy analyst for EPI and The Century Foundation, analyzes the president’s revenue recommendations for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. Fieldhouse shows that the administration’s revenue proposals, though laudable, would nonetheless leave revenue well below needed levels. The report offers a menu of alternative or supplemental progressive revenue options to reduce the deficit and finance job creation initiatives, including:

  • enacting a millionaire surcharge ($383 billion)
  • taxing capital gains as ordinary income ($168 billion)
  • enacting a financial speculation tax ($821 billion)

“Preserving most of the Bush-era tax cuts and shielding 98 percent of households from any form of tax increase, relative to our unsustainable tax policies, makes it exceptionally difficult to adequately fund our civil society,” said Fieldhouse.

What’s Happening at 1333 H St?

On Thursday, the Broader Bolder Approach to Education hosted a panel on federal support for comprehensive educational strategies. Leaders of four national organizations implementing comprehensive approaches to education discussed their efforts and ways to improve federal support for their work. BBA National Coordinator Elaine Weiss highlighted several federal bills that have been proposed, and Reggie Felton of the National School Boards Association moderated an audience Q-and-A session exploring how Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization could better support comprehensive education strategies.

EPI in the News

In the past week, EPI’s experts have been cited by more than 750 television, radio, and print media outlets. Following are some of the highlights:

  • EPI President Lawrence Mishel’s paper exposing fallacies in the claim that fear of regulation is behind the nation’s slow job growth is still garnering attention from policymakers and prominent media outlets, including the New York TimesWashington Monthlyand Huffington PostFor example, Times columnist Paul Krugman’s blog post, “Varieties of Uncertainty,” explained: “Some of the usual suspects have lately been touting a research paper by Baker et al that supposedly shows that policy uncertainty is an important factor in restraining the economy, and claiming that this vindicates the Republican view. Larry Mishel sets the record straight. As Mishel points out, the first thing you need to know is that the index of uncertainty is based on a count of news stories.”
  • Daniel Costa, EPI immigration policy analyst, spoke to the New York Times’ Julia Preston about the lack of government oversight of the J-1 Visa program, which has become the largest U.S. guest worker program in terms of annual admissions. The Times quoted Costa’s observation that “unlike the Department of Labor, the State Department does not collect employment data that would show, for example, how many students have been placed in factories like the Palmyra plant, or how recently.“
  • EPI Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research Robert Scott’s research on the impact of free trade agreements on the U.S. economy was cited by the Washington Post and National Journal. In “Calculating Job Growth from the Free-Trade Deals,” the National Journal’s Julia Edwards wrote: “The tens of thousands of jobs Obama touts would come directly from new trading partners’ increased demand for cheaper American products. But, according to Robert Scott of the Economic Policy Institute, Obama isn’t accounting for imports that could weaken the sale of U.S. goods at home.”