Economist Robert Kuttner visited AFL-CIO's book club earlier this week to discuss his forthcoming book, Debtors' Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Possibility. In the book, Kuttner argues that policymakers are focused on the wrong kind of debt in making laws and attempting to fix the economy. Rather than a heavy emphasis on reducing the public debt, which leads to misguided policies of austerity, Kuttner says, reducing personal debt would go much further toward improving the economy and spurring job growth.
AFL-CIO will be hosting two powerful Book Club events in Washington, D.C., that will help explain the current state of the U.S. economy, income inequality and the politics of austerity. On Monday, April 15, Nobel Prize-winning author Joseph Stiglitz will be discussing his book The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future. On Tuesday, April 16, Robert Kuttner will talk about his book Debtors' Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Possibility.
As word spreads that President Obama’s budget proposal will call for Social Security and Medicare benefit cuts, other voices are calling for increasing the successful programs instead as the medicine struggling families and a weak economy need.
A report for the New America Foundation highlights the crisis in retirement security and proposes expanding Social Security.
A group of 350 prominent economists, including economic experts from the AFL-CIO, issued a joint statement warning that the type of austerity measures favored by Republicans and suggested by the bipartisan commission, led by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, would further harm the economy and weaken the social safety net that millions of working families rely upon. They argue that the seemingly obsessive focus on the deficit obscures what the country really needs to focus on—creating jobs.
The assault on the middle class and working people by some Republican governors and state legislatures has generated a backlash among voters, who recognize the need for a counter-balance against powerful corporations and the politicians who do their bidding.