Attacking the Core of Our Economy

Testimony Before the House Democratic Policy and Steering Committee

SOURCE: Center for American Progress

CAP Senior Economist Heather Boushey testifies before the House Democratic Policy and Steering Committee. Read the testimony (CAP Action).

No less than the role of the public sector and the endgame of who benefits from our nation’s economic growth is what’s at stake in the battle over collective bargaining. America’s middle class has seen decades of hollowing out but the attack on collective bargaining could be the proverbial “last straw” for the viability of the middle class and for the prosperity it has brought our nation.

Unions aren’t the problem with our economy. We continue to live in one of the richest nations on the planet—the third among the developed nations that belong to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Even so, in recent decades, the gains of our productivity have accrued only to the very top.

Just three years after a massive financial crisis, profits are rising rapidly but companies are not investing. The nonfarm nonfinancial business sector was holding more than $1.9 trillion in cash in the third quarter of 2010, the highest level since the fourth quarter of 1959, while investment is at the lowest level in more than four decades.

Yet here we are having a conversation about whether we can afford to allow schoolteachers and police officers to have basic labor rights.

CAP Senior Economist Heather Boushey testifies before the House Democratic Policy and Steering Committee. Read the testimony (CAP Action).