Just after the new year, the American Economic Association and experts in the various other economics specialties met in Boston. Many of the sessions are small conversations among a narrow band of economic inquiry. But some sessions include key economic policymakers who, when speaking to their “own,” are sometimes candid about how economists are viewing the policy dilemma of this global slump.
With the debate in Washington set to return to the budget and the economy after the August congressional recess, President Obama today said, “The stakes for our middle class could not be higher.” In the first of several speeches set for coming weeks on the economy, Obama told the audience at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., that because of a Republican-led "endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball."
The union movement’s election outreach and mobilization—which ends with a massive “Final Four” GOTV drive—has made “the working class rejection of the Bush-Romney-Ryan economic agenda the defining issue of this election,” says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
Overwhelmingly core economic issues, like protecting Medicare, ending tax cuts for the rich, creating good jobs and rejecting the failed economic policies of the past, are driving working-class voters to Barack Obama and away from Republican economics and wedge issues—as long as people have the information on both candidates’ real records.
There are wonks, then there are “Top Wonks,” and our very own Damon Silvers, AFL-CIO policy director, has been named a “Top Wonk” on the economy. Top Wonks is a directory of experts in a broad range of public policy issues. It is widely used by journalists, researchers, public officials and others to find top policy experts.
MIT's Paul Osterman has a provocative piece in the Boston Review about some myths standing in the way of turning lousy, low-wage jobs into good jobs. The convention wisdom, he says, is "to let the economy generate jobs of whatever quality firms choose and then, if necessary, compensate by enabling people to avoid the bad ones or by shoring up people who are stuck. The nature of available jobs is a given." His arguments bolster the union movement's case that we need direct intervention in the labor market to make bad jobs into good jobs through collective bargaining, labor standards, public-sector leadership, training and career ladders and more.
In a broad statement today at its annual winter meeting in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on “How to Fix What Is Wrong with Our Economy,” the AFL-CIO Executive Council details the step-by-step policy decisions by business and government and the rise of corporate power over the past decades that brought the economy to its knees and outlines ways to fix the economy for the long term.