A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) shows the country needs to increase union membership significantly, create universal health care, a universal retirement system (beyond Social Security), expand college attainment and achieve gender pay equity to create more "good" jobs in the United States.
In real sciences, when a researcher claims to have made a major discovery, the researcher has to make the data he or she used public and other scientists immediately test it to see if it can be replicated. The results aren't accepted as valid, let alone acted on or relied on, in fields where people could get hurt—like medicine or engineering—until they are tested. And if you withhold the data from your colleagues, you are not a scientist, you are a quack. And then there is economics.
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama joined a growing chorus of voices demanding that the national minimum wage be raised. Tuesday, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representative George Miller (D-Calif.) announced they will introduce the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013.
According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, more than 40 million Americans work in jobs where they have no access to paid sick days. In addition to the potential loss of wages and jobs for working families, the lack of paid sick days forces many people to go to work when they are contagious and get co-workers and customers sick and decreases productivity for workers who show up unable to perform to their normal level of ability. More and more cities and states are recognizing the realities of the damage having a workforce without paid sick leave does to workers and to the economy.
At one time it was an economic tenet for America's worker: Work smarter, better, faster and harder and you’ll reap the rewards. That’s exactly what America's workers have done for the past four decades plus. But while worker productivity has soared, workers’ wages have been tightly tethered to the ground. So much that economist Dean Baker writes:
If the minimum wage had risen in step with productivity growth [since 1968], it would be over $16.50 an hour today. That is higher than the hourly wages earned by 40 percent of men and half of women.
One of the proposals floated for months in the fiscal bluff debate in Washington, D.C., is a change to the formula used to measure inflation for Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs) called the "chained" CPI. Let's be clear: This is a benefit cut. These COLAs make sure seniors' income keeps pace with the rising costs of housing and food. The "chained" CPI would cut future Social Security benefits by as much as $2,432 for someone who is 17 years old today. Studies from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) show that not only is the "chained" CPI a benefit cut, it eventually will lead to higher taxes for most working people.
Who says economic policy has to be wonkish and dry? Not John Schmitt, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). He gets right to the point in his new report, “The Minimum Wage Is Too Damn Low.”
We asked economist Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), to expand upon recent reports that show a marked improvement in the nation’s jobs picture. In January, 243,000 jobs were created and unemployment dropped significantly for some of the hardest-hit workers. Baker’s intepretation of the data presents a still-mixed economic picture, but one bright point stands out clearly: President Obama’s support of the U.S. auto industry has been key to improving job creation for America’s workers. Be sure to pick up a copy of Baker’s latest book, The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive.
Last week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) spent a great deal of effort touting an economic report from the Republican staff of the Joint Economic Committee. That should be your first warning to step back, take a deep breath and adjust your skepticism meter.
Put this under the heading of “voodoo economics.” The argument goes that the nation’s 8.9 percent unemployment rate—after nearly two years between 9 and 10 percent—is the new “normal” unemployment rate. Proponents of this absurd claim say it’s workers’ fault because they don’t have the skills to fill the jobs or don’t live near the jobs that are available.