Jared Bernstein & Ben Spielberg

Jared Bernstein is a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).

Ben Spielberg is a research associate with the CBPP, where he manages its Full Employment Project.

Recent Articles

Protect the Dreamers

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
On September 5, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that DACA—the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy enacted by the Obama administration in 2012—was being rescinded. The policy allowed “Dreamers” who came to the United States when they were 15 years old or younger to apply for temporary work authorization and assurance that they wouldn’t be deported. Now, under the terms of the Trump administration’s decision (assuming Trump’s recent dinners with “Chuck” and “Nancy” and tweets fail to prompt a reversal), new applications will no longer be processed, application renewals will be discontinued after March 5, 2018, and people who currently benefit from DACA protections will begin to lose those benefits beginning on March 6. Sessions’s attempted justification of this action, like that of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders , was based in economic falsehoods. He says that DACA “...

Democrats’ ‘Better Deal’ on Trade Is Better Than What We Have Now

But it has a way to go before it truly makes our trade policy fair and open.

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
In an effort to “show the country that [they] are the party on the side of working people,” as their Senate leader, Chuck Schumer, put it, the Democrats have unveiled a new agenda, entitled “Better Deal,” which addresses, among other things, one of their political Achilles’ heels: their position on international trade. Their description of the problem with our trade policy gets a lot right. “For too long,” their white paper notes, “corporations have dictated how trade deals and foreign acquisitions are negotiated and the American worker has been left without a seat at the table.” They also correctly note the lack of transparency in past trade-negotiation processes and provide some worthwhile policy recommendations to begin to address these problems. If they’re serious about making trade deals work better for low- and middle-income Americans, however—not to mention for low- and middle-income people in other countries...

Does the Fed Think Black Lives Matter?

Putting the brakes on the economy would disproportionately damage black America.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
trickle-downers_35.jpg For many Americans, the country’s 241st birthday last week was an unqualified cause for celebration. For many other Americans, however, this Fourth of July was a reminder that United States policy has yet to live up to the Declaration of Independence’s aspirational language. When the words “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” were written, in fact, many groups of people were excluded—including enslaved black Americans. It required our bloodiest war to banish slavery. And while we elected our first black president in 2008, and while today’s Congress, though still overwhelmingly white, is more diverse than it’s ever been, racism persists in all our institutions. A multitude of structural barriers block pathways to economic opportunity across generations of black families, imperil many black Americans’ physical safety, and diminish investment in black communities and businesses. Stubborn racial disparities...

Hot Investment Tip: The Health of Poor Children

Support for low- and middle-income families can benefit the broader economy.

AP Photo/Jacqueline Malonson
trickle-downers_35.jpg Though our economy is doing better than that of most other advanced economies, the United States still has at least three major economic problems. There’s the macro problem of growth—especially productivity growth—that’s slower than we’d like. There’s the micro problem that any growth we have continues to leave too many people behind. And there’s the political problem that the Trump administration and Republican Congress propose to make these other two problems worse. Each of these problems is easy to document. Productivity growth —a key determinant of overall living standards—averaged almost 3 percent annually between 1995 and 2005. Since then, it’s been growing at less than half that pace, and even slower since 2010. Though unemployment is low, wage growth remains tepid for too many workers. In fact, real weekly earnings are up less than half a percent over the past year for blue-collar workers...

Why a $15 Minimum Wage Is Good Economics

Opponents of minimum-wage increases have long focused on the wrong economic questions.

(Photo: AP)
trickle-downers.jpg In our last column , we offered two bold policy ideas: Medicare for All and a job guarantee. Now, we’re pleased to see Democrats in the House and the Senate step up with an idea of their own: raising the minimum wage to $15. The Raise the Wage Act of 2017, co-sponsored by Senators Patty Murray and Bernie Sanders and House members Bobby Scott and Keith Ellison, would hike the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. It would then index the minimum wage to the median wage (to keep low-wage workers’ pay changing at the same pace as the pay of middle-wage workers) and would gradually phase out the loopholes in federal minimum-wage law that set subminimum wages for tipped workers, teenagers who’ve just started their jobs, and workers with disabilities. The value of the federal minimum wage peaked in 1968, at $9.68 in inflation-adjusted terms. Based on forecasts of inflation, a $15 minimum wage in 2024 would be worth about $12.50 in 2016 dollars,...

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