SEARCH: Public Finance

Economic Strategy for Higher Wages and Expanded Labor Participation

In this chapter, authors Jason Furman and Phillip Swagel propose two alternative policy options for promoting increased earnings and employment of low-income households: expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) among childless workers, and implementing a wage subsidy for low-income workers that would be administered through employers.

Introduction: The Need to Expand Economic Opportunity

The pursuit of economic opportunity for all Americans is as important to the health of the country’s economy as it is to the strength of its democracy. The promise that hard work and determination will yield economic success is a central American ideal, but it has been called into question as secular economic forces and institutional changes have reshaped the American economy and had an uneven impact on Americans’ ability to prosper.

The Higher Wages Tax Credit

In this chapter, author David Neumark proposes a Higher Wages Tax Credit (HWTC) to partially offset the costs imposed by minimum wage increases on firms that employ low-skilled labor. Following a minimum wage increase, the HWTC would provide a tax credit of 50% of the difference between the prior minimum wage and the new minimum wage, for each hour of labor employed; the credit would phase out at wages higher than the minimum wage, and as wage inflation erodes the real cost of higher nominal minimum wages.

Expanding Economic Opportunity for More Americans

Over the course of the past year, the Aspen Economic Strategy Group collected policy ideas to address the barriers to broad-based economic opportunity and identified concrete proposals with bipartisan appeal. These proposals are presented here.

Maintaining the Strength of American Capitalism: Introduction

A national debate about the strength and fairness of American capitalism is taking place against a backdrop of vast levels of income and wealth inequality, growing pessimism about the state of economic opportunity and mobility, increased market concentration in many sectors, and a precarious fiscal situation.

Maintaining the Strength of American Capitalism

The essays contained in this volume seek to clarify the lines of debate on some of the greatest economic policy challenges of our time and present evidence- based analysis on how to address them. It examines the hypothesis that growing market concentration is inhibiting a dynamic and competitive economy.

Fiscal Policy With High Debt and Low Interest Rates

Gale argues that although historically low interest rates reduce the cost of government borrowing, they are not­ a "get out of jail free card." Rising debt will slowly but surely make it harder to grow the economy, boost living standards, respond to wars or recessions, address social needs, and maintain the nation’s role as a global leader.

Can Innovation Policy Restore Inclusive Prosperity in America?

Van Reenen argues the U.S. should pursue a robust innovation policy composed of tax credits, direct subsidies, and human capital investments, which have been shown to spur innovation and wage growth. He proposes combining these approaches into a 10-year $1 trillion Grand Innovation Challenge, which would reinvigorate R&D investment, promote American technological leadership, and advance policy goals of inclusive growth.

Wealth Taxation: An Overview of the Issues

Viard argues that a wealth tax in the U.S. would pose administrative and constitutional challenges. As an economic matter, such a tax would decrease savings and investment, thereby lowering the capital stock, making workers less productive, and slowing wage growth. The potential revenue that would be gained is unclear.