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Brad DeLong: Worthy reads on equitable growth, August 3-9, 2021

Summary:
Worthy reads from Equitable Growth: 1. Getting social insurance to people who need it during the coronavirus pandemic also entails getting a lot of extra resources to people who really do not need it. Why? Precisely because the income support infrastructure in the United States is so weak. We could have done the income support job much more cheaply and fairly amid the pandemic. Not that I regret the effort. I do not regret it at all. But continuous improvement is the watchword. And there is a huge amount that we could have done beforehand, and that we could do now, to improve our nation’s social infrastructure. Read Liz Hipple and Alix Gould-Werth, “Weak income support infrastructure harms U.S. workers and their families & constrains economic growth,” in which

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Worthy reads from Equitable Growth:

1. Getting social insurance to people who need it during the coronavirus pandemic also entails getting a lot of extra resources to people who really do not need it. Why? Precisely because the income support infrastructure in the United States is so weak. We could have done the income support job much more cheaply and fairly amid the pandemic. Not that I regret the effort. I do not regret it at all. But continuous improvement is the watchword. And there is a huge amount that we could have done beforehand, and that we could do now, to improve our nation’s social infrastructure. Read Liz Hipple and Alix Gould-Werth, “Weak income support infrastructure harms U.S. workers and their families & constrains economic growth,” in which they write: “People in the United States access income support from a wide range of programs. … Many people who need this support are blocked from accessing it. During the COVID-19 crisis, the existing income support infrastructure has been wholly insufficient. … What is it, precisely, that stops people from accessing income supports? … Eligibility rules are too strict. Benefits are too hard to access even when people are eligible. Benefits amounts are too low. … These weaknesses in our nation’s income support system prevent the U.S. economy from reaching its full potential through lowered labor force participation, a weakened macroeconomy during economic recessions, and underinvestment in the human capital of the next generation of workers.”

Worthy reads not from Equitable Growth:

1. The Washington Center for Equitable Growth is co-hosting EconCon 2021, to be held on October 6 and 7. Register now. This has been among the very top events that I have attended. Highly recommended—and they have a very interesting virtual platform this year. Here are some of the details: “Building an Economy that Works for All of Us: A virtual conference where you will hear from and connect with experts, organizers, and advocates shaping our economy. Now more than ever, we need once-in-a-generation policy changes and transformative investments in our communities. And they are possible if we can marshal the political will to enact needed policy change. Come connect, learn, and share what it will take for us to build an economy that works for all of us! EconCon is co-hosted by Center for American Progress, Center for Popular Democracy, Community Change, Dēmos, Economic Policy Institute, Economic Security Project, Groundwork Collaborative, Omidyar Network, Roosevelt Institute, and Washington Center for Equitable Growth.”

Bradford DeLong
J. Bradford DeLong is Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was Deputy Assistant US Treasury Secretary during the Clinton Administration, where he was heavily involved in budget and trade negotiations. His role in designing the bailout of Mexico during the 1994 peso crisis placed him at the forefront of Latin America’s transformation into a region of open economies, and cemented his stature as a leading voice in economic-policy debates.

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