McCormack Speaks

December 21, 2016
by McCormack Speaks
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The Lasting Legacy of John McCormack

by David W. Cash, Dean

John W. McCormackJohn W. McCormack, a Massachusetts congressman for four decades and speaker of the US House of Representatives from 1962 to 1971, was born 125 years ago today. And while his long life ended 36 years ago, we are all still beneficiaries of its fruits.

Modest and soft-spoken, McCormack never sought the limelight. No biography has yet been published, though one is expected next year. But it is fair to say that no member of Congress in the 20th century accomplished more that affects the everyday lives of nearly every American today.

McCormack would doubtless take pride in the continuing effectiveness of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to provide people with a real safety net. He would have reveled in the fact that Barack Obama, a beneficiary of civil and voting rights legislation of the 1960s, became president; he would have supported the many education, housing and aid programs that continue to promote economic opportunity and social justice.

All these policies owe a debt to McCormack — a doer if there ever was one. McCormack was the seventh of eight U.S. House speakers to come from Massachusetts—no other state has sent more than four (Kentucky and Virginia). Continue Reading →

October 28, 2016
by McCormack Speaks
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On the third presidential debate of 2016

by George Chichirau
Public Policy PhD student

             The final debate of the current campaign season touched on a large number of themes, and in far more detail than previous ones (although the bar was set very low early on). A significant amount of time was devoted to the economy, where Hillary Clinton marked the return of state-sanctioned dirigisme, and an end to laissez-faire. The reason given for such a stark break was simple: the absolute need to save the American middle class before it disappears, through increasing the minimum wage, fixing the health insurance marketplace, making universities more affordable and investing heavily in infrastructure and clean energy.

Continue Reading →

October 14, 2016
by McCormack Speaks
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Why Job-Promoting Policies are Needed

by Christian Weller
Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs

For years now, the policy lesson drawn from repeatedly modest employment reports has been the same. Policymakers, especially Congress, need to do more to boost economic and job growth. The Fed has done its job by keeping interest rates low and stabilizing the economy in the aftermath of the Great Recession. The next president will need to lead, and Congress needs to act on job-promoting policies.

The latest job numbers, while positive, only underscore this message.

Read more in Weller’s latest contribution to The Conversation.

October 3, 2016
by justinmaher
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The U.S. Economy is in Desperate Need of a Strong Dose of Fiscal Penicillin

by Christian Weller
Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs

Despite six years of “recovery” from the Great Recession, America’s middle class still struggles financially amid sluggish economic growth and middling job creation. The Federal Reserve’s near-zero interest rates have helped stabilize the economy after it nearly went into freefall in 2008 and 2009, but that policy is coming to an end, with at least one quarter-point hike expected this year and more in 2017 and 2018.

So what will support the economy once the Fed’s largesse begins to disappear?

Read more of  Weller’s latest piece on the state of the economy and the need for new fiscal policy in The Conversation.

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