Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Proposes Policy Agenda to Spur Economic Growth, Strengthen Middle Class
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Proposes Policy Agenda to Spur Economic Growth, Strengthen Middle Class

Washington, D.C. — A new report released today by the Center for American Progress presents a long-term, wide-ranging policy agenda to strengthen the middle class, spur job creation, and grow our nation’s economy. The report builds upon recent CAP research arguing that deficit reduction should no longer be Washington’s primary economic concern. A report released last week by the organization made the case for why the time has come for policymakers to refocus on pro-growth investments and immediate measures to boost job creation.

“The biggest challenge facing our country is growing our economy and making sure that growth is more broadly shared,” said Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress. “Long-term economic growth begins with strengthening and growing the middle class, which in turn will provide the sustainable demand our economy needs as well as an innovative and well-educated workforce. To do that, we need to strengthen human capital–helping each individual operate at the top of his or her talents–and make sure that we have a competitive economic environment that allows American workers and businesses to succeed at home and abroad.”

The policy proposals detailed in the report, titled “300 Million Engines of Growth,” are an important step to redefining the nation’s economic prospects and to restoring the American Dream of a better life for each succeeding generation. The policies are grounded in both economic theory and empirical analysis. They would build a stronger economy and provide means to adapt to changing times.

The recommendations detailed in the report are broken into two sections:

Strengthening the American people: policies that build our human capital; ensure that work pays; and acknowledge that immigration reform is central to our economic-growth prospects. Highlights include:

  • Pre-K-12 education: Establish early childhood education system; and use federal grant programs to promote effective teacher evaluation and professional development, upgrade STEM teaching, and reform compensation systems
  • Postsecondary education and training: Improve public disclosure about postsecondary programs to enhance decision making; policies to translate veterans’ experience to the classroom and workplace; and create 1 million apprenticeships
  • Policies to raise workplace standards: Give workers access to SAFE retirement plans; create Social Security Cares; expand access to subsidized child care; and require adequate severance packages for all employees of companies that have “golden parachutes”
  • Immigration reform: Enact comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship

Strengthening the economic environment: policies that build a more competitive economic environment in which American workers and businesses can succeed at home and abroad. Highlights include:

  • Strategy: Reorganize federal trade and business agencies to focus on business and competitiveness; conduct regular strategic economic assessments based on improved data; and establish clear criteria for intervention at the industry and company level
  • Energy: Institute a $25 per ton carbon tax on large power plants; launch a comprehensive clean-energy-investment program; and launch Home Star, Building Star, and Rural Star to eliminate waste
  • Science and innovation: Double funding by 2020 of NSF, NIST, and DOE’s Office of Science; institute a new Research and Development tax credit; and invest in grand challenges via a $100 million Frontier Prize purse
  • Trade: Create a process of “automaticity,” tracking clear-cut violations via a National Trade Compliance Database; enforce a currency misalignment trigger; raise funding for ITEC to $52 million; and strengthen and clarify international law around state-owned enterprises
  • Infrastructure: Add $58 billion in new annual federal infrastructure investments; launch a National Infrastructure Council to better align agencies; and create a National Infrastructure Bank
  • Housing: Replace Fannie and Freddie with government-chartered, privately funded entities that guarantee qualifying mortgage-backed securities and are backed by government reinsurance; and require lenders to forgive the underwater portion of mortgage balances when doing so would return more value to investors than allowing foreclosure
  • Capital markets: Finalize Dodd-Frank implementation; institute a small financial transactions tax; and support small-business lending
  • Tax and budget: Implement comprehensive individual income tax reform; reduce federal health care costs by introducing reforms that will enhance competition and cut administrative expenses; and create a framework for the key components of corporate income tax reform

Read the report: 300 Million Engines of Growth: A Middle-Out Plan for Jobs, Business and a Growing Economy

See also: It’s Time to Hit the Reset Button on the Fiscal Debate by Michael Linden

To speak with an expert on this topic, contact Katie Peters at [email protected] or 202.741.6285.