As a longtime policy geek, there’s a soft spot in my heart for progressive analysts and economists who closely scrutinize the numbers and reveal why the stock market, GDP, unemployment figures and other trusted indicators don’t tell the full story.
In fact, one of the proudest moments of my communications career was ghostwriting a “fan letter” to Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman on behalf of a former employer. To correspond with such a brilliant and influential mind felt like truly entering the big leagues – even though Mr. Krugman never wrote back. (Surely, he was preoccupied with analyzing the global economy and foretelling solutions for making the world a better place).
Similarly, I appreciate the wit and wisdom of the prolific political economist (and former Secretary of Labor) Robert Reich. Though Mr. Reich is a bit too fixated on the presidential campaign these days, I closely follow his commentary as it pops up on my Facebook feed or NPR. Despite being a bona-fide member of the academic elite, Reich’s observations genuinely reflect the concerns of working men and women who make up the vast majority of America – those who too often feel the squeeze or are downright excluded from the so-called “economic recovery.”
But when it comes to true “street cred” in matters of economic disparity and how they impact low- to middle-income Americans, few analysts can match Lawrence Mishel, president of the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute and the keynote speaker of CCLP’s Pathways from Poverty Breakfast, Oct. 9 at the History Colorado Center. Indeed, the great Krugman himself argued in Nov. ’08 that, given the centrist makeup of President Barack Obama’s economic inner circle, the new Economic Recovery Advisory Board should “give progressive economists a voice.” He suggested Mishel among other progressive economists as suitable candidates.
For his part, Reich called Mishel’s The State of Working America “the most-trusted source for a comprehensive understanding of how working Americans and their families are faring in today’s economy.” Mishel writing on wage stagnation and income inequality has brought these serious labor issues to the national forefront. Here is what he had to say in a recent column in The New York Times: “Contrary to conventional wisdom, wage stagnation is not a result of forces beyond our control. It is a result of a policy regime that has undercut the individual and collective bargaining power of most workers. Because wage stagnation was caused by policy, it can be reversed by policy, too.” Also, listen to what Mishel said about income inequality on WHYY, NPR’s flagship station in Philadelphia. His blogs and op-eds posted on EPI’s website (and elsewhere) always worth checking out.
As much of the national discussion on economic policy turns to wage stagnation and income inequality, it should be noted that Mishel was talking about these issues before anyone else. In fact, those concerned about such matters are advised to set up Google alerts for Mishel and EPI to keep abreast of matters pertaining to working Americans. Under Mishel’s guidance, EPI is regarded as the go-to think tank for policies that will protect and improve the living standards of American families.
He is a dynamic speaker who will engage the audience with telling insights and data about forging pathways from poverty in Colorado and nationwide.
When Mishel makes his appearance on Oct. 9, I will be interested to hear what he has to say about the state of the nation and the way forward. And I hope I get the chance (along with other registrants at the Pathways from Poverty Breakfast) to shake his hand.
You can get that opportunity too by registering now for this inspiring and thought-provoking event.
- Bob Mook