EPI News

The erosion of employment-based health insurance

[EPI briefing paper]
EPI’s new Briefing Paper by Elise Gould documents the chilling trend in the erosion of the health insurance most Americans receive, employer-provided coverage. The situation has steadily worsened since 2000, as evinced by both the national and state-level data contained in this report. (News release [PDF]) On a related note, some analysts claim that the increase in the uninsured has been due, in part, to more immigrants living in the United States. An Oct. 31 Economic Snapshot examines the numbers and lays the claim to rest. New EPI Snapshots are posted to our home page every Wednesday. For past Snapshots on a diversity of topics, visit the Snapshot Archive.

[EPI policy memo]
Why SCHIP matters
Despite passing the Senate with substantial bipartisan support, President Bush vetoed the SCHIP expansion on “philosophical” grounds. For a clear understanding as to why this is wrongheaded, read Monique Morrissey’s EPI Policy Memo, Why SCHIP Matters.

[network news]
Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Michael MichaudGPN brings attention to CAFTA debate
Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Michael Michaud spoke to the press in San Jose, Costa Rica about why they oppose CAFTA. The legislators were invited to Costa Rica by the Global Policy Network (GPN) to help the NO campaign in a CAFTA referendum held in early October. Following last minute threats by the White House, the anti-CAFTA referendum lost by a narrow margin. GPN is now working with progressive Costa Rican legislators who want to block CAFTA implementation by legal means. GPN is working with Sen. Sanders, Rep. Michaud, and other legislators from the United States and Latin America to develop a template for a fair trade agreement that actually would benefit working people rather than multi-national corporations.

[on the Web]
EPI in the blogosphere
EPI’s home page links to blog postings by EPI’s experts, including EPI economist Jared Bernstein’s recent contributions to the TPM Café, “Obituary: Conservative Economic Policy” from Oct. 19 and the follow-up on Oct. 29.

[EPI briefing paper]
Strengthening unemployment insurance
In conjunction with the Agenda for Shared Prosperity, Urban Institute Expert Wayne Vroman critiques a proposal to replace unemployment insurance with wage insurance and private “temporary earnings replacement accounts.” Vroman suggests that making unemployment insurance more broadly available is a higher priority than wage insurance and personal accounts are bad policy. Read the entire report and the news release [PDF] online.

[network news]
EARNEARN groups gather for annual strategy session
The EPI-coordinated Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) of 55 research, policy, and advocacy organizations held its annual conference in Minneapolis in September. The 2007 conference drew nearly 200 representatives of state and national organizations from across the country to share information and strategize for moving a pro-active, effective policy agenda in a variety of areas. Over 50 speakers addressed issues such as health care, poverty, immigration, child care affordability, trade, and creating energy policies to deal with climate change. Speakers included Rose Brewer (author of The Color of Wealth), Mary Beth Maxwell (executive director of American Rights at Work), Dean Baker (director of the Center for Economic Policy Research), and EPI staff members President Larry Mishel, EARN Director Michael Ettlinger, Liana Fox, Jared Bernstein, John Irons, and Nancy Coleman.

[EPI issue brief]
Bush bragging on historically weak job growth
The White House and its partisans have nothing to boast about in regard to the job growth in this business cycle, something made clear in this EPI Issue Brief by Jared Bernstein comparing the current recovery to those of the past.

[EPI briefing paper]
Globalization and American wages
The continuing integration of the rich United States with a far poorer global economy has provoked much anxiety among American workers. EPI’s Briefing Paper, Globalization and American Wages, makes clear that such anxiety is well-founded. In fact, contrary to popular rhetoric, conventional economic theory argues that American workers will indeed be harmed by this integration. This analysis by EPI economist Josh Bivens also provides empirical estimates of integration’s effect on American wages and inequality, and uses some prominent forecasts about the future of service-sector offshoring to explore the possible wage implications of going further down this road.

  • EPI board member and founder Ray Marshall delivered the keynote address and EPI Vice President Ross Eisenbrey spoke on a panel at Wake Forest University’s three-day conference on “Immigration: Recasting the Debate” on October 3-5.  Marshall presented the ideas addressed in his Agenda for Shared Prosperity paper, Getting Immigration Reform Right, and Eisenbrey debated Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation and Daniel Griswold of the CATO Institute on federal immigration policy.  Eisenbrey argued that amnesty is an essential part of the solution to the problems posed by 7 million undocumented workers and pointed to the AgJobs bill as a first step toward compromise and eventual comprehensive reform.
  • EPI President Larry Mishel and Vice President Ross Eisenbrey joined a group of 50 experts from business, labor, government, and academia to discuss policies to achieve better results from trade and global integration.  The event, in New York City on October 11, was sponsored by the Sloan Foundation and American Prospect magazine, and featured presentations by Sen. Sherrod Brown and Nobelist Joseph Stiglitz, among others.
  • EPI Vice President Ross Eisenbrey was quoted in a front page Washington Post story on the “UAW-Big 3” contract negotiations: “I’d say the two sides are pretty much balanced now… That’s why they worked out an agreement that was a real give and take. The union took into account the true financial state of the company and neither side ran over the other.”

Agenda for Shared Prosperity
Save the date: Nov. 20
EPI’s next Agenda for Shared Prosperity event tackles the issue of retirement security with three new briefing papers from Teresa Ghilarducci (University of Notre Dame), Nancy Altman (Pension Rights Center), and Virginia Reno (National Academy of Social Insurance). The event will be held in EPI’s conference hall on the morning of Nov. 20. Invitations with an opportunity to RSVP will be forthcoming.

Agenda for Shared ProsperityMissed a past event?
For those who couldn’t make it to the recent Agenda for Shared Prosperity events on alleviating poverty or Robert Reich’s new book, Supercapitalism, visit the SharedProsperity.org Web site for video, audio, and written transcripts of the presentations and PDF versions of the briefing papers that were released.