The report, Expanding Economic Opportunity for More Americans, notes that a cornerstone of the AESG is promoting bipartisanship in economic policymaking, and to that end they gathered senior counselors to Democratic and Republican presidential administrations to author the three discussion papers contained within the report. The result is a collection of recommendations that should have appeal to a diverse audience.
In looking at developing a policy agenda to build human capital for the modern, global economy, the report focused on post-secondary skill development. The authors call for new investments in America’s system of community colleges that would be contingent upon institutional outcomes and at a similar scale to the Morrill Land Grant Acts of the 19thcentury. Other ideas in the report revolve around expanding apprenticeship programs, what works in career and technical education, and it includes some cautionary advice for those wanting to leverage online educational programming for academically at-risk students.
In trying to address the rural/urban divide in employment rates and economic prosperity, author James Ziliak argues for both people-based and place-based policy approaches, including relocation assistance and investments in rural broadband. Another option to increase the labor force participation rate addresses the role of incarceration in limiting employment options, and calls for prison reform and education, and post-release strategies to help support reentry into society.
Tackling the issues surrounding private sector wages and jobs is the third of the policy goals outlined in the report. Calling on decades of combined experience in economic policy, AESG members Jason Furman and Phillip Swagel acknowledged the political difficulties inherent in creating the conditions necessary for long-term job and wage growth. They focus more on options that would affect take-home pay for low-income workers in the short run and advocate for the expanding the existing Earned Income Tax Credit and setting up a new structure for wage subsidies for these workers.
The strategy group’s co-chairs, Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Erskine Bowles, detailed the approach they used in formulating the policy suggestions contained in the report in a piece that ran in the Washington Post.