There is a way to strengthen the U.S. economy and invest in the nation’s infrastructure and workers, contrary to what you hear in the mainstream media and from the mouths of politicians, according to a new report out from the Economic Policy Institute.
“A long-term plan for growth is needed, and it certainly doesn’t involve austerity,” according to the AFL-CIO, which endorsed the plan and sent out a press and member advisory on it this week.
Yale University Professor Jacob Hacker and Roosevelt Institute Founder Nathaniel Loewentheil this week released a new paper, Prosperity Economics: Building an Economy for All, at the Economic Policy Institute. The report provides a comprehensive plan to grow the nation’s economy “in a way that works for everyone.”
“Restoring the middle class means reversing the disconnect between wages and productivity, which means giving workers power to collectively negotiate for better terms of employment and a larger share of the rewards of growth,” Professor Hacker says.
The agenda for shared prosperity builds upon Hacker’s understanding of the central role of workers, their unions and collective bargaining to address the full range of our society’s economic ills—our jobs and infrastructure deficits, our housing crisis, the hollowing out of our manufacturing sector, the disconnect between wages and productivity, the health care and retirement security crisis and the particular toll that these crises have taken on communities of color and women.
“Prosperity Economics offers a future worthy of America in place of the failed policies of austerity,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in responding to the report. “Prosperity Economics means jobs, it means investment and it means growth.”
Trumka says we must strengthen Social Security and Medicare, not cut them, build on the Affordable Care Act by adding a public option with the clout to push back against insurance companies so that every American has access to affordable, quality health care, and finally end the Bush tax cuts for the rich, which he says are “the single largest contributor to our current revenue shortfall.”
Economists agree this is critical to funding the job creating investments that are essential to the nation’s future competitiveness. The report proposes $1.5 trillion in investments in infrastructure, new manufacturing technologies and education over the next six years.
The report argues that current austerity policies have failed and are holding back growth and increasing inequality in the United States. The paper calls on the federal government to “start rebuilding the American dream.”
The Prosperity Economics report focuses on three pillars: Growth, security and democracy, and proposes that the federal government should to the following.
* Invest $250 billion per year for the next six years to rebuild our nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, ports, airports and public transportation.
* Guarantee every worker has a voice in the workplace, including a quick, fair process for workers to choose union representation and have the power to bargain collectively. Enforce stronger penalties on companies that violate labor laws.
* End the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%. The Bush tax cuts are the largest single contributor to our current revenue shortfall.
* Restore America’s manufacturing base by ending the trade deficit and tax incentives for offshoring.
* Provide help to states and localities to hire back teachers, first responders and other public servants.
* Implement a financial transaction tax to discourage short-term speculation and reduce the chance of financial crises while funding job creation and public investment.
* Protect existing pensions and provide a simple, universal mandatory pension for all that would guarantee a lifetime benefit to provide real retirement security to workers.
* Protect the right to vote to ensure every voice is heard in the political process. Repeal disenfranchisement and voter ID laws and adopt same-day voter registration, provisional voting and other measures to maximize voter access.
* Free government from corporate interests by reinstating the firewalls between investment and banking.
Professor Hacker was joined by the AFL-CIO, Center for Community Change, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Economic Policy Institute, SEIU and the National Council of La Raza. The AFL-CIO and these organizations—along with other leading labor, community and advocacy groups—will use the core propositions in the paper to urge Congress to pass meaningful jobs legislation and economic policy that benefits American workers.
Read the full report here.
© 2012 – 2015, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.