* As of May 2011, a noteworthy EPI board member was Bennett College president Julianne Malveaux,
who, as an expression of her contempt for conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, once publicly expressed her hope that Thomas might “di[e] early, like many black men do, of heart disease.”
Information on Specific EPI Policies:
Budgets and Deficits: A January 2010 EPI publication warned: “For the next year or two at least, the biggest threat regarding deficits is that they will not be large enough to support the public relief and investments needed to pull the economy into a sustained recovery.”
Immigration: According to EPI, a policy of amnesty and family reunification for illegal aliens would benefit the American economy because “once undocumented workers attain legal status, they no longer fear incarceration or deportation, and are more likely to make long-term investments, such as buying a home or starting a business, or going back to school to get a degree or learn a trade.”
Minimum Wage: As “part of a broad strategy to end poverty,” EPI favors minimum-wage increases that would disproportionately benefit “disadvantaged workers”—meaning women, blacks, and Hispanics. According to EPI, there is “no evidence” that previous minimum-wage hikes have led to elevated unemployment rates; rather, “minimum-wage increases stimulate the economy through increased consumer spending.”
Stimulus Bill: EPI boasts that in 2008, it was “among the first” to call for an “economic stimulus that included substantial infrastructure investments to combat the forthcoming recession.” A number of its recommendations were later incorporated into the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, signed into law by President Obama.
Retirement: EPI contends that “growing retirement insecurity is not related to Social Security, a government program originally designed to supplement retirement funds that is doing fine and will be for decades with only minor changes.” Rather, “the new insecurity stems mainly from the disappearance of traditional pension plans” from the workplace. To address this problem, a 2007 EPI publication called for the establishment of a government-managed pension plan for all Americans. Two years later, EPI partnered with four other organizations—the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, the Pension Rights Center, the SEIU, and the AFL-CIO—in an initiative designed to promote such a system.