By: Bob Lucore
In today’s economy the problem, as pointed out in this space last week, is austerity economics. The solution, as outlined in a new report, is Prosperity Economics.
Jacob Hacker and Nathaniel Loewentheil of Yale University released a paper last Tuesday titled, Prosperity Economics: Building an Economy for All, at an event hosted by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
Hacker and Loewentheil were joined by leaders from the AFL-CIO, the Center for Community Change, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, EPI, the Service Employees International Union and the National Council of La Raza. They outlined a detailed set of solutions to two problems: (1) The immediate problem of recovering from the recent recession, and (2) The lack of shared prosperity that has undermined our economic prospects for more than a generation.
The report confronts five myths:
• Spending/deficits are the top problems in the economy;
The current policy consensus in Washington is highly conservative and revolves around these myths. Hacker and Loewentheil decimate these myths and go on to outline a detailed and workable progressive program.
Their program is built on three pillars:
• Innovation-led growth based on job creation, public investment and expanding opportunity;
More specifically the program calls for investing $250 billion per year for the next six years to restore America’s public infrastructure. It puts forth policies to eliminate the trade deficit and restore our manufacturing base. It calls for aid for the states to re-hire teachers, first responders and other public servants. It proposes guarantees for worker’s rights, including union representation rights. It recommends a pathway for citizenship for undocumented workers. It calls for monetary policies that promote full employment rather than Wall Street priorities. It suggests ways to expand education and job-training opportunities
The program addresses enhanced environmental security, by investing in new forms of energy and transportation, putting a price on carbon emissions, and ending subsidies for industries with large negative environmental externalities. It addresses health security, suggesting ways to improve on the Affordable Care Act. It proposes a more secure retirement system based on expansions in Social Security and a universal pension system with a guaranteed lifetime benefit for workers. Furthermore, the Prosperity Economics includes detailed proposals for paying for these proposals.
Finally, Prosperity Economics recognizes that such proposals cannot be sustained without a strengthened democracy. It provides a detailed roadmap for increasing accountability and inclusiveness in the political process.
This post cannot do justice to the entire report. It should be read by every community organizer, public official, labor leader and concerned citizen. It provides a guidebook for all those who seek an alternative to the tired old myths of economic austerity.
Bob Lucore, a long-time ADA board member, is the former Director of Research and Policy for the United American Nurses and has worked for the Teamsters and the Department of Economic Research at the AFL-CIO. . He taught economics for several years at Centre College and Colorado State University and is currently studying Library and Information Science at San José State University. Bob is a member of UAW Local 1981, the National Writers Union.Back