Public spending must support everyone, not just the rich
Written on the occasion of Biden’s inauguration:
“Americans occupy increasingly separate economic spheres. Each year, more Americans struggle to afford housing, access quality education, pay for health care, and retire above poverty. A majority of Americans lack enough savings to weather a short spell of unemployment or a costly car repair. Our schools are more economically and racially segregated now than in the 1950s. Gaps in access to the Internet, paid sick leave, remote work, and health insurance have been ruthlessly exploited by the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the vast majority of public spending — especially tax expenditures — benefits households in the top 20%, who hold nearly 90% of the nation’s wealth. Democrats have perpetuated this distortion; Biden’s tax pledge defines “middle class” as households earning up to $400,000 — the top 1.8% of taxpayers. Services on which most Americans rely — mass transportation, unemployment insurance, public schools, Social Security — have been steadily undermined with little fanfare. Anti-poverty policies do just enough to keep people from the brink. Wealth begets wealth, blessed by the federal tax code.
If we are to sustain a meaningful democracy, the Democrats need a compelling campaign to fix our public spending so that it supports the majority of Americans on whose backs the economy has been resting.”
From Berkeley News, January 22, 2021: Berkeley scholars: Here’s what Biden should accomplish right away
Written on the occasion of Biden’s inauguration:“Americans occupy increasingly separate economic spheres. Each year, more Americans struggle to afford housing, access quality education, pay for health care, and retire above poverty. A majority of Americans lack enough savings to weather a short spell of unemployment or a costly car repair. Our schools are more economically […]
How did the recession affect the more entrepreneurial functions of the local state? Economic development was one of few areas of discretionary spending that local governments could cut or defer in response to mid-budget cycle revenue shortfalls. Did cities maintain or alter their approach to facilitating private development in the years following the crisis?
Update of my July data brief on the public sector impacts of COVID-19, with October data
This brief summarizes the Great Recession’s impact on public employment and the public sector job losses driven by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Our analysis points to the importance of focusing on the public sector as policymakers respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
Published May 14, 2020 as part of the UC Berkeley Labor Center’s Covid-19 Series: Resources, Data, and Analysis for California. The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have been severe: at least 30 million people have lost their jobs and millions of others have seen their incomes decline. Governments are spending billions of dollars on public health and the safety net. […]
I spoke with an sfgate.com reporter recently about how the COVID-19 crisis could impact Bay Area local governments. As always, there is a lot I said that didn’t make it into the article so here’s a bit longer ramble. I’m working on updating the numbers and data underlying these thoughts, so this is just some […]