Lawrence Mishel

Lawrence Mishel is president of the Economic Policy Institute, an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that researches the impact of economic trends and policies on working people in the United States and around the world. EPI's mission is to inform people and empower them to seek solutions that will ensure broadly shared prosperity and opportunity.

Recent Articles

Waging Inequality

President Bush recently indicated that additional taxation of top wage earners is “on the table” in future negotiations to address Social Security's financial shortfall. The ensuing public discussion should also focus on the dramatic growth over the last two decades of wages at the top, while middle-class wages have been relatively stagnant. The consequences are extraordinary inequalities and the undermining of Social Security's financing.

Torts Flim-Flam

In an era of great economic flimflams, “tort reform” is one of the greatest. “Lawsuit abuse” has become one of just a handful of issues that the Bush administration and its business allies say must be addressed in order to generate more growth and jobs. Yet, it turns out, there's not a shred of evidence anywhere that the proposed changes in the tort system have anything to do with either economic growth or job creation.

Schoolhouse Schlock

The dustup over charter schools reached the big time a few weeks back when it landed on the front page of The New York Times under the headline “Charter Schools Trail in Results, U.S. Data Reveals.” The story, which centered on a study by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), led this way: “The first national comparison of test scores among children in charter schools and regular public schools shows charter school students often doing worse than comparable students in regular public schools.”

Excuses, Excuses

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says the economy has hit a "soft patch." The recent flurry of bad news makes that pronouncement feel like quite an understatement. First, the 4-percent-plus growth we enjoyed for four straight quarters dropped to only 3 percent in the second quarter (April to June). Then came the news that only 32,000 jobs were created in July -- more than 100,000 less than we need just to keep up with population growth. Obviously, this news doesn't jibe with the White House message that "America's economy is strong and getting stronger." Just as obviously, the president will not take responsibility for the economy's poor performance or the policy choices that got us here.

Tax Man

The Bush administration has a mantra that we hear whenever some jobs are created: "The tax cuts are working." But are they? Mark Zandi, president of and a highly respected economic forecaster, gave us the answer in a new report analyzing the factors in the past three years of growth; the administration's tax cuts, principally for the rich, have had very little to do with it. Increased government spending (particularly on defense) and tax cuts for middle- and lower-income people each contributed more to growth than tax cuts for higher-income people.