[OPE] Letter to Congress in Support of a New Economic Stimulus Package

From: Gerald Levy <jerry_levy@verizon.net>
Date: Thu Nov 20 2008 - 09:26:45 EST

"Economists' Letter to Congress in Support of a New Economic Stimulus Package"The following letter was signed by many well-known heterodox - including Marxian -
economists. It claims that a new stimulus package would have "little downside and
much potential gain". Do you agree with that accessment? Is this what radical
economists should be supporting?

Some current (Anwar S, Bruce R, Fred M, Michael P) and former subscribers
of OPE-L (Jim Devine, Patrick Mason, Michele Naples) signed the following. Other
heterodox and progressive economists who signed included Drucilla Barker, Ron
Blackwell, Howard Botwinick, James Crotty, Carmen Diana Deere, Gary Dymski,
Art MacEwan, Gerald Epstein, Susan Feiner, Robert Guttmann, Heidi Hartmann,
Doug Henwood, David Levine, Shane Mage, Michael Meeropol, William Millberg,
Larry Mishel, Doug Orr, Marty Hart-Landsberg, Julie Nelson, Bob Pollin, Paddy
Quick, Jean Shackleford, Harley Shaiken, Frank Thompson, Mark Weisbrot, and
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh.

In solidarity, Jerry

Economists' Letter to Congress in Support of a New Economic Stimulus Package
November 19, 2008 The Honorable Henry Reid
      Senate Majority Leader
      Washington, DC 20510 The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
      Speaker of the House
      Washington, DC 20515
      The Honorable Mitch McConnell
      Senate Minority Leader
      Washington, DC 20510 The Honorable John Boehner
      House Minority Leader
      Washington, DC 20515

Dear Sen. Reid, Sen. McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, and Rep. Boehner:

We, the undersigned economists, urge Congress to pass a new stimulus package as quickly as possible. The need to deal with financial turmoil has directed attention away from the "real" economy. But the latest data clearly show that the economy is entering a serious recession, initiated by the collapse of homebuilding and intensified by the paralysis of credit markets. Without a fast an effective response by government, the economy could continue to spiral downward, leading to a large increase in unemployment and a sharp decline in GDP.

The potential severity of the downturn suggests that a boost to demand on the order of 2.0-3.0 percent of GDP ($300-$400 billion) would be appropriate, with the goal being to get this money spent quickly. The list of targets includes:

  1.. aid to state and local governments that are being forced to make emergency cutbacks as revenues fall;
  2.. extending unemployment insurance and increasing other benefits targeted toward low and moderate income households who are likely to spend quickly;
  3.. moving forward infrastructure projects that have already been planned and scheduled; and
  4.. providing tax credits and other support for "green" projects that can be done quickly, such as retrofitting homes and businesses for increased energy efficiency.
The sharp falloff in demand resulting from the collapse of the housing bubble and the destruction of financial wealth means that there is little reason to fear that enlarged deficits will raise interest rates and deter private investment. It is far more likely that an effective stimulus package will promote investment by improving prospects for higher sales and profits.

With little downside risk and much potential gain, it is important that Congress move quickly and decisively. Delay can only deepen and prolong the recession.


Organizations listed for identification purposes only.


George Akerlof, Nobel Laureate, University of California, Berkeley
Sylvia A. Allegretto, University of California, Berkeley
Peter Berck, University of California, Berkeley
Clair Brown, University of California, Berkeley
Susan Carter, University of California, Riverside
Carol Chetkovich, Mills College
Mussaddeq Chowdhury, University of Redlands
Cecilia Conrad, Scripps College
Richard Cornwall
James Cypher, California State University, Fresno
Paul A David, Stanford University
James Bradford DeLong, University of California, Berkeley
James Devine, Loyola Marymount University
Gary Dymski, University of California, Riverside
Elena Foshay
Deborah Garvey, Santa Clara University
Lisa Grobar, California State University, Long Beach
Greg Hunter, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Michael Intriligator, University of California, Los Angeles
Dorene Isenberg, University of Redlands
Sanford M. Jacoby, University of California, Los Angeles
Lori Kletzer, University of California, Santa Cruz
Tom Larson, California State University, Los Angeles
David Levine, University of California, Berkeley
Yan Liang, University of Redlands
Victor Lippit, University of California, Riverside
Diane Macunovich, University of Redlands
Mark Maier, Glendale College
Eric Nilsson, California State University, San Bernardino
Michael Perelman, California State University, Chico
Steven Raphael, University of California, Berkeley
Michael Reich, University of California, Berkeley
Lynda Rush, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Harley Shaiken, University of California, Berkeley
Todd Sorensen, University of California, Riverside
Roger Sparks, Mills College
Frank Stricker, CSU Dominguez Hills and CA Faculty Union
Myra Strober, Stanford University
Richard Sutch, University of California, Riverside
Chris Tilly, University of California, Los Angeles
Gavin Wright, Stanford University
Carol Zabin, University of California, Berkeley


Alexandra Bernasek, Colorado State University
Elissa Braunstein, Colorado State University
P. Sai-wing Ho, University of Denver
Scott Lazerus, Western State College of Colorado
Tom Mayer, University of Colorado
Tracy Mott, University of Denver
Anita Pena, Colorado State University
Charles Revier, Colorado State University
Steven Shulman, Colorado State University
Rudiger von Arnim, University of Denver
Richard Wobbekind, University of Colorado
Yavuz Yasar, University of Denver
Michael Zimmerman, Colorado Public Utilities Commission


Jane D'Arista, Financial Markets Center
Catherine Forman, Quinnipiac University
Candace Howes, Connecticut College
Miguel Ramirez, Trinity College
Rasika Ranasinghe, Connecticut College


Henry Aaron, Brookings Institution
Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research
Barbara R. Bergmann, American University
Charles Betsey, University of Michigan
Josh Bivens, Economic Policy Institute
Ron Blackwell, AFL-CIO
Rebecca Blank, Brookings Institution
Gary Burtless, The Brookings Institution
Mary Lou Egan, Bendick and Egan Economic Consultants, Inc.
Kai Filion, Economic Policy Institute
Jessica Gordon Nembhard, CEJJES Institute and National Economic Association
Heidi Hartmann, Institute for Women's Policy Research
Ariane Hegewisch, Institute for Women's Policy Research
Harry Holzer, Georgetown University
Helene Jorgensen, Center for Economic and Policy Research
Hank Leland, Service Employees International Union
Marc Mealy, US ASEAN Business Council
Lawrence Mishel, Economic Policy Institute
Austin Nichols, Urban Institute
Aaron Pacitti, American University
Andrew Reamer, The Brookings Institution
John Schmitt, Center for Economic and Policy Research
Heidi Shierholz, Economic Policy Institute
Mark Weisbrot, Center for Economic and Policy Research
Howard Wial, The Brookings Institution


Robert Burkhardt, University of Florida
Carmen Diana Deere, University of Florida
Carole Green, University of South Florida
Patrick Mason, Florida State University
Charles Rock, Rollins College


Tanweer Akram
Sarah Jacobson, Georgia State University


Peter Fisher, The Iowa Policy Project
Ismael Hossein-zadeh, Drake University


Martin Orr, Boise State University
Sergio Romero, Boise State University


Ron Baiman, DePaul University
Marianne Ferber, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Mark Johnson, Chicago State University
Paul Lockrd, Black Hawk College
Joseph Persky, University of Illinois at Chicago
Samuel Rosenberg, Roosevelt University
Calvin Trapp, Roosevelt University


Charles Davis, Indiana University - Purdue University Indiana
Amitava Dutt, University of Notre Dame
Lawrence Marsh, University of Notre Dame
Jaime Ros, University of Notre Dame
Martin Wolfson, University of Notre Dame


Jennifer Ball, Washburn University
Philip Mauceri, University of Northern Iowa
Joshua Rosenbloom, University of Kansas


Malcolm Robinson, Thomas More College
James Ziliak, University of Kentucky


Frank Ackerman, Stockholm Environment Institute and Tufts University
Randy Albelda, University of Massachusetts Boston
M. V. Lee Badgett, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Jim Campen, Americans for Fairness in Lending
Jessica Carrick-Hagenbarth, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Arthur Casimir, Western New England College
Karen Conway, University of New Hampshire
James Crotty, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Anita Dancs, Western New England College
David Danning, University of Massachusetts Boston
Peter Diamond, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Gerald Epstein, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Colleen Fahy, Assumption College
Ellen Frank, University of Massachusetts Boston
Gerald Friedman, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Heidi Garrett-Peltier, University of Massachusetts
Neva Goodwin, Tufts University
Carol E. Heim, University of Massachusetts Amherst
James Heintz, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Adam Hersh, University of Massachusetts
Arjun Jayadev, University of Massachusetts Boston
J K Kapler, University of Massachusetts Boston
Thomas Kochan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Laurence Kotlikoff, Boston University
Supriya Lahiri, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Charles Levenstein, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Catherine Lynde, University of Massachusetts Boston
Arthur MacEwan, University of Massachusetts Boston
Julie Matthaei, Wellesley College
Ellen Meara, Harvard Medical School
Michael Meeropol, Western New England College
Fred Moseley, Mount Holyoke College
Philip Moss, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Julie Nelson, University of Massachusetts Boston
Laurie Nisonoff, Hampshire College
Paul Osterman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Karl Petrick, Western New England College
Karen R. Polenske, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Robert Pollin, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Joseph Ricciardi, Babson College
Helen Scharber, University of Massachusetts
Juliet Schor, Boston College
Mark Silverman, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Peter Skott, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert M. Solow, Nobel Laureate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Peter Spiegler, University of Massachusetts Boston
Joanne Spitz, University of Massachusetts Boston
Mary Stevenson, University of Massachusetts Boston
Peter Temin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
David Terkla, University of Massachusetts Boston
Stanley Warner, Hampshire College
Christian Weller, University of Massachusetts Boston
Jeannette Wicks-Lim, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Brenda Wyss, Wheaton College
Ben Zipperer, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Gar Alperovitz, University of Maryland
Jon Goldstein, GTBEconomics
Robert Lynch, Washington College
Ralph Sonenshine, American University
Richard Wertheimer
Evelyn Wright, International Resources Group


Susan Feiner, University of Southern Maine
Barbara Fraumeni, Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine
Michael Hillard, University of Southern Maine
Bruce Roberts, University of Southern Maine


David Arsen, Michigan State University
Michael Belzer, Wayne State University
Sheldon Danziger, University of Michigan
David Doane, Oakland University
Karl D. Gregory, Oakland University
Margaret Levenstein, University of Michigan
Hannah McKinney, Kalamazoo College
Sid Mittra, Oakland University
Kevin Murphy, Oakland University
Frank Thompson, University of Michigan
John Tower, Oakland University
Jennifer Ward-Batts, Wayne State University
Thomas Weisskopf, University of Michigan


David Karjanen, University of Minnesota
Pareena Lawrence, University of Minnesota, Morris
Ann Markusen, University of Minnesota


Erik Olsen, University of Missouri Kansas City


Marianne Hill, Center for Policy Research


Charles Becker, Duke University
Victor Schoenbach, University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill


Eileen Appelbaum, Rutgers University
Oliver Cooke, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
Reza Ghorashi, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
Deborah Figart, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
Douglas Kruse, Rutgers University
Melaku Lakew, Stockton State College
Daniel Lawson, Drew University
Ellen Mutari, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
Michele Naples, The College of New Jersey
Cordelia Reimers, Hunter College, City University of New York
Yana Rodgers, Rutgers University
Subarna Samanta, The College of New Jersey
Bernard Smith, Drew University
Paula Voos, Rutgers University


S. Charusheela, Univeristy of Nevada, Las Vegas
Bernard Malamud, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Marcellus Andrews, Barnard College
Radhika Balakrishan, Marymount Manhattan College
Erol Balkan, Hamilton College
Nesecan Balkan, Hamilton College
Peter Bell, State University of NY
Lourdes Beneria, Cornell University
Howard Botwinick, SUNY Cortland
Howard Chernick, Hunter College, City University of New York
Kimberly Christensen, Sarah Lawrence College
Paul Christensen, Hofstra University
Gregory DeFreitas, Hofstra University
Thomas DelGiudice, SUNY, College at Old Westbury
Rosemary DeRiso, Hofstra University
Ranjit Dighe, SUNY Oswego
Alan Dye, Barnard College
Max Fraad Wolff, New School University
Anthony Gabb, St. John's University
David Gabel, Queens College, City University of New York
Chris Georges, Hamilton College
Teresa Ghilarducci, The New School
Ulla Grapard, Colgate University
Christopher Gunn, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Robert Guttmann, Hofstra University
Doug Henwood, Left Business Observer
Conrad Herold, Hofstra University
David Howell, The New School
Jerome Joffe, St. John's University
Brent Kramer, City University of New York
Laurence Krause, SUNY, College at Old Westbury
Rachel Kreier, Hofstra University
Henry Levin, Columbia University
Mark Levinson, UNITE HERE
Jeff Madrick, New School University and Challenge Magazine
Shane Mage, Collier's Encyclopedia
Thomas Masterson, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
Roberto Mazzoleni, Hofstra University
Patrick A. McGuire, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Judith McKinney, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Perry Mehrling, Barnard College
Martin Melkonian, Hofstra University
Tom Michl, Colgate University
William Milberg, New School for Social Research
Fatemeh Moghadam, Hofstra University
Jamee Moudud, Sarah Lawrence College
Michael Nuwer, State University of New York at Potsdam
Jose Antonio Ocampo, Columbia University
Pierre Ostiguy, Bard College
Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
James Parrott, Fiscal Policy Institute
Michael Pendleton, Buffalo State College
Marilyn Power, Sarah Lawrence College
Paddy Quick, St. Francis College
John Roche, St. John Fisher College
John Sarich, Cooper Union
Ted Schmidt, SUNY College Buffalo
Amy Schwartz, New York University
Bhaswati (Bonu) Sengupta, Hofstra University
Sumitra Shah, St. John's University
Anwar Shaikh, New School for Social Research
Myron Sharpe, M.E. Sharpe, Inc.
Perry Singleton, Syracuse University
Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate, Columbia University
Sharon Szymanski, Empire State College/SUNY
Alexander Thompson, Vassar College
Renee Toback
Robert W. Turner, Colgate University
Dale Tussing, Syracuse University
Leanne Ussher, Queens College, City University of New York
Don E. Waldman, Colgate University
William Waller, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Lucy Law Webster, Economists for Peace and Security
David Weiman, Barnard College
Andrw Wyler-David, SUNY Purchase
June Zaccone, Hofstra University
Ajit Zacharias, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College


Robin Bartlett, Denison University
Rudy Fichtenbaum, Wright State University
Susan Helper, Case Western Reserve University
Barbara Hopkins, Wright State University
Ida Mirzaie, The Ohio State University
Sirisha Naidu, Wright State University
Paulette Olson, Wright State University
Edith Rasell, United Church of Christ Justice & Witness Ministries
Jim Rebitzer, Case Western Reserve University
Jeffrey Stewart, University of Cincinnati


Patricia A. Atkinson, Portland State University
Alison Butler, Willamette University
Michael Fogarty, Portland State University
Marty Hart-Landsberg, Lewis and Clark College
Mary King, Portland State University
Sheila Martin, Portland State University
Alok Ray, Portland State University
Sarah Tinkler, Portland State University
Linda Wilcox Young, Southern Oregon University
Helen Youngelson-Neal, Portland State University


Nina Banks, Bucknell University
Chuck Barone, Dickinson College
Roger Bove, West Chester University (retired)
Irene Buhalo, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC
Brendan Cushing - Daniels, Gettysburg College
Bob Drago, Penn State University
David Elesh, Temple University
Lonnie Golden, Penn State Abington
William Holmes, Temple University
Benjamin Kohl, Temple University
Ebru Kongar, Dickinson College
Peter Karl Kresl, Bucknell University (emeritus)
Michael Moohr, Bucknell University
Mark Price, Keystone Research Center
Geoffrey Schneider, Bucknell University
Sanford Schram, Bryn Mawr College
Jean Shackelford, Bucknell University
James Stewart, Penn State Greater Allegheny
Ramya Vijaya, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
John Zink, Franklin and Marshall College


Barry Shelley, University of Massachusetts, Amherst


Drucilla Barker, University of South Carolina


Green Ekadi, Meharry Medical College


James Galbraith, Economists for Peace and Security
Diana Strassmann, Rice University


Nursel Aydiner Avsar, University of Utah
Gunseli Berik, University of Utah
Cihan Bilginsoy, University of Utah
Gail Blattenberger, University of Utah
Codrina Rada von Arnim, University of Utah
Stephen Reynolds, University of Utah
James Rock, University of Utah
Hande Togrul, University of Utah
Matias Vernengo, University of Utah
Norman Waitzman, University of Utah
Anne Yeagle, University of Utah


John James, University of Virginia
Andrew Kohen, James Madison University


Jane Knodell, University of Vermont
Peter Hans Matthews, Middlebury College
Elaine McCrate, University of Vermont
Robert Prasch, Middlebury College
Stephanie Seguino, University of Vermont
Jim Tober, Marlboro College


Peter Bohmer, The Evergreen State College
Jeff Chapman, Washington State Budget & Policy Center
Colin Danby, University of Washington, Bothell
Peter Dorman, Evergreen State College
Robert Francis, Shoreline Community College
Heather Grob, St. Martin's University
Douglas Orr, Eastern Washington University
Timothy Payne, Shoreline Community College
Diana Pearce, University of Washington
Hector Saez, Washington State University
Marjolein van der Veen, Bellevue Community College


James Carpenter, Milwaukee Area Technical College
Martin David, University of Wisconsin-Madison (emeritus)
Laura Dresser, Center on Wisconsin Strategy, University of Wisconsin-Madison
William Holahan, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Marc Levine, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Cheryl Maranto, Marquette University
Marcelo Milan, University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Jack Norman, Institute for Wisconsin's Future
Andrew Reschovsky, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Michael Rosen, Milwaukee Area Technical College
Timothy Smeeding, Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs


David Cormier, West Virginia University/ILSR
Saranna Thornton, Hampden-Sydney College


Siobhan McGrath, University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Alejandra Arroyo, UAM-I, Mexico
Silvia Berger, FLACSO, Argentina
Colin Cavell, University of Bahrain
Anthony D'Costa, Asia Research Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark
Togmid Dorjkhand, Ministry of Finance, Mongolia
Robert Scott Gassler, Vesalius College, Belgium
Alicia Giron, Instituto de Investigaciones Economicas UNAM, Mexico
Gustavo Indart, University of Toronto, Canada
Robert Shelburne, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

This letter was made available on the Web site of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Download the letter in PDF at <cepr.net/documents/publications/Economists_letter_2008_11_19.pdf>.

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Received on Thu Nov 20 09:32:07 2008

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