MEDIA ADVISORY:

FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN BERNANKE TO TESTIFY AT JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE ON THE U.S. ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

 JEC Hearing Will Be Fed Chair’s First Congressional Testimony Since March FOMC Meeting and Recent Decision to Inject $200 Billion into Credit Markets
 
Schumer Invited Bernanke for His Views on Looming Recession, Spreading Credit and Housing Crisis, Declining Dollar, and Overall U.S. Economic Health
 
 
Washington, D.C.U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), will hold a hearing on the Economic Outlook for the United States with Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Ben Bernanke, on April 2, 2008 at 9:30 am in  Room 106  of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.  Chairman Bernanke will provide his first Congressional testimony following the March Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting and recent announcement that the Fed will inject $200 billion into the credit market.  While a key question is whether the U.S. is already in a recession or heading into one, the JEC will explore additional measures to address this serious financial crisis.   
 
            WHAT:     Joint Economic Committee Hearing on “The Economic Outlook”
            WHO:       The Honorable Ben Bernanke
                              Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
            WHEN:    9:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 2, 2008
            WHERE: 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building
 
The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.

FLOOR STATEMENT OF SEN. CHARLES E. SCHUMER
Chairman, Joint Economic Committee
Humphrey Hawkins Budget Debate
March 11, 2008

Mr. President, today we are looking at an economy on the verge of a recession. The economic hits to middle class American families just keep on coming. Before I talk about the Democratic budget package, which is far superior to thePresident’s budget, I’d like to use this Humphrey Hawkins Act debate time, as the Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, to talk about the economy. In the last week alone, we have learned:

We are experiencing record home foreclosures in the subprime and the prime mortgage markets from coast to coast. Every single state has been affected by an increase in foreclosures, according to an analysis by the Joint Economic Committee.

 Home prices in every major market are falling, and families have historically low equity in their homes. Moody’s Economy.com estimates that 8.8 million homeowners—over 10% of all homeowners—by the end of this month – will owe more money than their homes are worth.

 Just this past Friday, the Labor Department reported back to back months of job losses, with serious losses this past month in the manufacturing, construction, and retail sectors.

 • Today the Commerce Department released data showing rising trade deficits with China and oil-producing nations like Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia.

 • Americans are paying a record average of $3.22 per gallon of gas today.

 

 • And if that isn’t enough, oil is selling for over $110 per barrel – an all-time record.

 • As we put forward a more sensible budget plan for our country this year, we have to recognize the pressure on families has been made worse since President Bush took office. Over the last seven years, Americans have been squeezed by skyrocketing energy, health care and education costs:

 • Energy costs have ballooned 64.0 percent during Bush’s tenure.

 

 A gallon of regular grade gasoline has increased almost 60 percent in real terms, up from $1.62 in January 2001. The average middle-class family is paying more JUST IN HIGHER GASOLINE PRICES than they received in Bush tax cuts.

 There are 7.2 million more people uninsured since Bush took office in 2001, and the average cost of health insurance for families who do have it has increased nearly 40 percent since 2000.

 Inflation-adjusted tuition for four-year public colleges increased 36.3 percent between the 1999-2000 and 2005-2006 school years to $5,526 per year.

 • In February 2008, 4.9 million people were working part-time for economic reasons but wanted full-time work, and the UNDER-employment rate is almost 9 percent, up 1.6 percentage points since 2001.

 • That’s 1.4 million fewer people with jobs since Bush took office.

 

 The bottom line is that this administration is the owner of the worst jobs record since Herbert Hoover, and the last two months of losing nearly 90,000 jobs secures that unfortunate place in history.

 The significant jobs losses in the manufacturing and construction sectors have continued since the housing market has been in trouble and doesn't seem to be getting better.

 • It isn’t a surprise to many economic experts that we are on the brink of recession oralready in one – although the administration has done an excellent job of hiding its head in the sand.

 • And the job losses in the retail sector are particularly troubling because it indicates that consumer spending, which has driven this economy, has alsodeclined measurably.

The president’s ‘hear no evil, see no evil’ policies on our economy simply do not work.

It is only a matter of time before consecutive months of job losses, falling home prices, rising energy prices, and cutbacks in consumer spending lead us to a fullblown recession. It is crystal clear to everyone, but the Bush Administration, that we are inevitably heading towards a recession.

 

 

For the last seven years we have been governed by a one-size-fits-all economic strategy guided solely by massive tax cuts. That strategy has produced burgeoning budget deficits, a serious global trade imbalance, and has brought us to the precipice of a recession.

This unmistakable economic downturn began early last year as the subprime mortgage mess unfolded. The spillover effects into the broader housing market, the credit markets, and the overall economy are tremendous.

According to the JEC’s conservative estimates, by 2009 at least 1.3 million foreclosures will occur as the riskiest subprime mortgages (the two- and three-year adjustable rate mortgages) reset over the course of this year and next. This will lead to the destruction of approximately $100 billion in housing wealth, including an estimated $71 billion in direct losses on foreclosed properties and a decline in the value of neighboring properties by an additional $32 billion.

And overall housing prices continue to fall, as seen in the almost 10 percent decline of the S&P/Case-Shiller national home price index since the first quarter of 2006.

Last week, the Federal Reserve released data showing that American families hold less equity in their houses than at any time since the Fed began tracking this data in 1945. Under the Bush Administration, the primary source of wealth for most Americans – the equity in their houses – dropped by nearly 10 percentage points, from a 57.8 percent equity stake when Bush took office to a current low of 47.9 percent.

Given that housing wealth totaled about $23 trillion in 2006, the decline in household balance sheets is now between one and two trillion dollars. Declines in house prices are likely to have significant negative effects on consumer spending and a host of other deleterious effects on the economy.

We are borrowing to pay for this war in Iraq as well. The economic cost of the Iraq War is truly staggering. According to Professor Joe Stiglitz, who testified at the JEC last month, the war could cost $3 Trillion, that TRILLION with a “T.” According to a report our committee did in November, the war will cost nearly $37,000 per household.

The federal government is increasingly reliant on the rest of the world to buy our public debt, and with a falling dollar and skyrocketing debt, who knows how much longer we can count on such financial largess from our trading partners.

President Bush turned huge budget surpluses into huge deficits in a few short years. In January 2001, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that from 2002 to 2011, those surpluses would total $5.6 trillion. In 2001, CBO’s projection was for a surplus of $573 billion in 2007. In reality, the deficit was $163 billion. That’s a turnaround of $736 billion, or more than $100 billion for every year that President Bush has been in office.

This remarkable turnaround in the budget picture shows a reckless disregard by the administration for living within our means and has frankly jeopardized the future economic success of families across the country.

He may have passed some big tax cuts for his well-off friends, but he has not been very compassionate to future generations, who will be paying the interest on this increased debt for generations to come.

The Democratic budget provides some measure of sanity and order to our budget priorities, and hopefully will put our country back on more solid economic footing.

I want to commend Senator Conrad for crafting a budget resolution that gets us started on the road to recovery from these misguided policies. There is much work to do, but we are off to a good start with this budget resolution.

One of the important things about Senator Conrad’s budget is that by restraining spending and making the right choices on long-term tax cuts, it provides room for important middle-class tax cuts to ease the middle-class squeeze, such as the tax cuts provided for in Senator Baucus’s amendment. These tax cuts are not a fix for what ails our economy in the long term, but they will help middle-class families make ends meet.

Senator Baucus’s amendment is broad-based tax relief targeted to the middle class, plain and simple. Everyone benefits, but the middle class gets most of the benefit. That’s how we ought to be providing tax relief in this country – not providing more and more tax breaks to the top one-tenth of one percent, whose incomes have shot into the stratosphere. Tax cuts for those that need them, not for those that won’t notice them.

If we look at the tax cuts that passed in 2001, we know which ones should be made permanent, and which ones shouldn’t. The $1,000 per child tax credit, marriage penalty relief, and the 10 percent bracket are all sensible tax cuts that can be made permanent with the surpluses provided for in the Conrad budget.

The Baucus amendment does some other sensible things as well. Across the country, parents are struggling to manage the crunch of work and family. According to a report issued by the JEC, full-time child care costs average about $7,300 per year in the United States, almost 20 percent of the median income of families with young children. The Baucus amendment will permanently extend the tax credit for child care expenses, again providing essential benefits for working families.

Senator Baucus’s amendment also includes provisions to offset the impact of rising local property taxes, an issue that I hear about from my constituents every week. And the amendment will make permanent the important military tax benefits that passed both the House and Senate last December. These benefits are particularly targeted towards our servicemen and women and their families. Given the multiple rotations many of our servicemen and women have endured, these tax relief provisions are supported by all and they are the least we can do.

I urge my colleagues to support the budget, and to support the Baucus amendment when it is offered. Mr. President, I yield the floor.

 

 

SCHUMER ON JOBS REPORT: "HOW MANY WAKE UP CALLS DOES HIS ADMINISTRATION NEED?"


In response to the Labor Department's jobs report today, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, released the following statement:

“How many wake-up calls does this administration need -- foreclosures yesterday, jobs today?  The president’s ‘hear no evil, see no evil’ policies on our economy simply do not work."

"The bottom line is that this administration is the owner of the worst jobs record since Herbert Hoover, and the last two months of losing nearly 90,000 jobs secures that unfortunate place in history.  The significant jobs losses in the manufacturing and construction sectors have continued since the housing market has been in trouble and doesn't seem to be getting better.  But the job losses in the retail sector are particularly troubling because it indicates that consumer spending, which has driven this economy, has also declined measurably."

“It is only a matter of time before consecutive months of job losses, falling home prices, rising energy prices, and cutbacks in consumer spending lead us to a full-blown recession.  It is crystal clear to everyone but the Bush Administration that we are inevitably heading towards a recession and today's dismal jobs report is just another warning sign that Washington needs to do much more to help our economy than it’s done so far."

The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
www.jec.senate.gov

SCHUMER RELEASES NEW JEC ANALYSIS OF MBA
 FORECLOSURE DATA
 
Washington, D.C. – Today Sen. Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released a state-by-state analysis showing that subprime mortgages in foreclosure have increased from the third to the fourth quarter last year in EVERY state, and prime mortgages in foreclosure have increased in all but two states (Montana and South Dakota).  The JEC analysis of the Mortgage Banker's Association record-setting foreclosure data in the fourth quarter of 2007 is attached and can be found here:  New State by State Foreclosure Analysis.
 
"Foreclosures are spreading from one end of the nation to the other and from the subprime to the prime mortgage markets.” Schumer said.  “The record number of foreclosures from coast to coast demands quick action from Washington.  Unless the administration and its Republican allies in Congress drop their opposition to a meaningful housing stimulus bill, this foreclosure and housing crisis will only get worse and property values will continue to deteriorate." 
 
 The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
JEC REPORT FINDS FORTUNE 100 COMPANIES OVERWHELMINGLY OFFER 6-8 WEEKS OF PAID FAMILY LEAVE
 
Maloney: Our Most Profitable Companies are a Model for a Basic Paid Leave Standard, but Not the Gold Standard
 
Washington, D.C. – The Joint Economic Committee today released a report, requested by Vice Chair Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), finding that three-quarters of Fortune 100 companies offer mothers some form of paid leave when they have a new child, typically lasting six to eight weeks. Family leave has become an increasingly important workplace policy because most families no longer have a stay-at-home parent to provide care for a new child and they often cannot afford to take unpaid leave.  As a guide for policymakers, the Joint Economic Committee examined how firms design their paid family leave policies by asking Fortune 100 companies about the length of paid leave that they provide for new parents.
 
“Fortune 100 companies' policies should offer a model for implementing paid family leave as a basic employment standard for all workers in our nation,” said Vice Chair Maloney. “Both Ozzie and Harriet go to work now. Families need time to care for a new child and businesses need these policies to attract and retain valuable workers. Our most profitable companies are providing a basic standard for their workers, but it’s still not the gold standard found in other industrialized countries.”
 
Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, said, “In a world where two parents working is the norm, we need to do more to make sure moms and dads are given the time they need to care for their families. There's nothing more wonderful than having children, and nothing more demanding.  Paid family leave policies ensure that parents can fully enjoy and tend to their growing families without having to worry about their next paycheck."
 
Key findings from the JEC report, Paid Family Leave at Fortune 100 Companies: A Basic Standard, But Still Not the Gold Standard:
   Three-quarters (73.6 percent) of the Fortune 100 companies that responded offer mothers a specific paid parental leave program – such as paid family or disability leave – for the birth of a child, typically lasting six to eight weeks.
   Fathers are less likely to be offered family leave, have access to fewer weeks of paid leave, and generally use paid sick days for their leave. One-third (32.1%) of the companies report that they offer fathers paid parental leave and among those offering paid leave, the length is typically only 2 weeks. 
   Nine-out-of-ten (88.7%) of the Fortune 100 firms that responded offer parents some form of paid leave when they have a new child.  Many workers must cobble together leave from various programs: family leave policies, pregnancy-related disability leave, and the allowable use of paid sick days. When combining paid leave from all available sources, Fortune 100 companies typically offer mothers 12 weeks of paid leave and fathers six weeks of paid leave.
   A significant share of Fortune 100 companies (39.6%) provide employees with both paid (including leave policies, pregnancy-related disability leave, and the allowable use of paid sick days) and unpaid leave for the birth of a child.  Employees in these firms typically have a total of 6 months (26 weeks) of unpaid, job-protected parental leave, on top of any paid leave they have access to.
   Roughly ten percent (11.4%) of the companies reported offering employees no paid leave of any kind.
-    While Fortune 100 companies offer more leave than typically provided by other U.S. companies, the length of leave remains far below that offered in the European Union and nearly all other advanced economies.

Workers need a new set of workplace policies that allow them to meet the competing demands of work and family, the report concludes. The U.S. is the only industrialized country that does not ensure paid family leave for all workers. Fortune 100 companies' policies offer a model for implementing paid family leave in the U.S. These firms offer a basic set of leave policies which, while not as generous as in Europe, are consistent with the lengths of leave being proposed in the states and offered by Congressional offices.

Fortune 100 firms overwhelmingly offer paid leave to new mothers, in addition to paid sick days, according to the report. Employees need sick days in case they or their children get sick. Further, like the FMLA, paid family leave should allow both mothers and fathers similar lengths of time to care for and bond with a new child. While mothers need more time to recover physically from the rigors of childbirth and to breastfeed, fathers are also needed at home to help care for the new child.

 
 
 The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.

MEDIA ADVISORY:

JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE TO HOLD EMPLOYMENT HEARING ON RELEASE OF NEW FEBRUARY JOBS REPORT

With Unemployment on the Rise, JEC to Address Newly Released Jobs Figures from BLS and Examine the Growing Problem of Long-Term Unemployment

Maloney and Schumer to Explore Benefits of Unemployment Insurance with BLS Commissioner

Washington, D.C.U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Representative Carolyn Maloney, Chairman and Vice-Chair of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) respectively, will hold a hearing on the newly released Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) monthly employment figures with Commissioner Keith Hall on Friday, March 7, 2008 at 9:30 am in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 628. The hearing, entitled “The Employment Situation: February 2008” will address the new jobs report to be released that morning. The new jobs report examines the change in national unemployment rates and non-farm payroll employment figures over the past month. The hearing’s second panel will focus on the long-term unemployed and unemployment insurance benefits. As more Americans struggle economically, with job growth stalling and wages falling, the committee will analyze the latest developments in the labor market, the best barometer of our nation’s economic health.

WHAT: JEC Hearing: “The Employment Situation: February 2008”
WHO:   Panel 1: Dr. Keith Hall, Commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics
            Panel 2: Dr. Rebecca Blank, Professor of Economics at the University of Michigan
Robert V. Kerr Visiting Fellow at The Brookings Institution
Christine Owens, Executive Director, National Employment Law Project
Dr. Lowell Gallaway, Distinguished Economics Professor, Ohio University
WHEN:  9:30 a.m., Friday, March 7, 2008
WHERE: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 628

    The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.

    www.jec.senate.gov

MEDIA ADVISORY
 
JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE AND HOUSE FEDERAL WORKFORCE SUBCOMMITEE TO WEIGH BENEFITS OF PAID PARENTAL LEAVE FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES
 
Joint Economic Committee and House Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce to Explore the Benefits of Paid Parental Leave and Highlight Federal Government’s Competitive Disadvantage in Not Offering this Benefit
 
Washington, D.C. – Joint Economic Vice Chair Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Chairman Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Subcommittee of Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia will hold a hearing examining the merits of the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act of 2007 (HR 3799) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 9:30am.  The Hearing, entitled “Investing in the Future of the Federal Workforce: Paid Parental Leave to Improve Recruitment and Retention,” will highlight the benefits of providing all federal employees with eight weeks of full pay for leave taken for the birth or adoption of a child. Currently, the federal government only provides employees with access to 12 weeks of unpaid leave through the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, which many workers cannot afford to take. Witnesses will include representatives from the federal government, leading policy analysts specializing in paid family and medical leave, unions that represent federal workers, and an employee who will recount the challenges she has faced because of the unpaid leave policy currently in place.   
 
WHAT:      Joint Economic Committee and House Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia Hearing “Investing in the Future of the Federal Workforce: Paid Parental Leave Improves Recruitment and Retention”
WHEN:      Thursday, March 6, 2008 – 9:30 am
WHERE:    Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2154
WHO:        Panel I:
Dr. Daniel Beard, Chief Administrative Officer, U.S. House of Representatives
Ms. Nancy Kichak, Associate Director for Strategic Human Resources Policy, U.S. Office of Personnel Management
                 Panel II:
Dr. Jane Waldfogel, Professor of Social Work, Columbia University
Ms. Sharyn Tejani, Senior Policy Counsel, National Partnership for Women & Families
Dr. Vicky Lovell, Director of Employment and Work/Life Programs, The Institute for Women’s Policy Research
                 Panel III:
Ms. Colleen Kelley, President, National Treasury Employees Union
Ms. Mary Jean Burke, First Executive Vice-President, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIOMs.
Amy Costantino, Federal Employee, Washington, D.C.
 
The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
 
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MEDIA ADVISORY:


WITH FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF IRAQ WAR NEARING, JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE TO EXAMINE THE INCREASINGLY HIGH COSTS OF WAR

Nobel Laureate Economist Stiglitz, Bob Hormats, and Rand Beers To Offer Views on the Continued and Increasing Economic, Military, and Security Costs of the War in Iraq
 
Washington, D.C. – In advance of the five year anniversary of the war in Iraq, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chairman, and Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) will hold a hearing to examine the true cost of the war. The hearing entitled, “War at Any Cost? The Total Economic Costs of the War Beyond the Federal Budget” will be held Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 9:30 am in Room 106 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Nobel Prize winner and former World Bank Chief Economist, Joseph Stiglitz, will testify along with former National Security Council (NSC) adviser Robert Hormats, and Rand Beers, who also served Democratic and Republican presidents on the NSC. Professor Stiglitz has been the leading economist to quantify the costs of the war in Iraq; Mr. Hormats has questioned deficit spending to pay for the war; Mr. Beers is a leading expert on the costs of Iraq war to our national security, military readiness, and reputation abroad.

WHAT: Joint Economic Committee Hearing “War at Any Cost? The Total Economic Costs of the War Beyond the Federal Budget”
WHO: Professor Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University, Nobel Laureate
Robert Hormats, Vice Chairman, Goldman Sachs (International)
Rand Beers, President, National Security Network
Scott Wallsten, Vice President for Research and Senior Fellow at iGrowthGlobal
WHEN: 9:30am, Thursday, February 28, 2008
WHERE: Room 106, Dirksen Senate Office Building

The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.

www.jec.senate.gov

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Yesterday, Sen. Charles Schumer sent a letter to Commerce Secretary, Carlos Gutierrez, urging the Bush administration to keep the EconomicIndicators.gov website open to the public and the information on it free. Today our office received a phone call saying that the site would continue operations due in part to Schumer's letter, and www.economicindicators.gov contains an affirming message that it will continue to keep its website and email alerts going due to public outcry.

Schumer congratulated the administration for making the right decision and said, "The administration took the right step in keeping this important economic indicators website and email alerts free and open to the public. This is no time to pull back on the free flow of critical information about our quick-changing economy, and I'm glad the administration agrees that shutting down this website would be penny wise, but pound foolish." The original press release and letter are below:

 

SCHUMER URGES BUSH ADMINISTRATION TO KEEP CRITICAL ECONOMIC DATA SITE FREE AND INFORMATION FLOWING

Award-Winning Government Economic Data Website, Widely Used by Public, To Be Shut Down March 1st to Cut Costs

On the Brink of a Recession, Commerce Department's Decision to Shut Down Popular Economic Indicators Website Boggles the Mind

Washington, DC—Today, Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, urged Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez not to shut down free public access to the Commerce Department’s Economic Indicators website. Administered by the Commerce Department’s Economic and Statistics Administration, the website compiles critical information about the state of the U.S. economy, ranging from Gross Domestic Product (GDP) statistics to information about retail sales. The website, which can be found at: www.economicindicators.gov is particularly useful because people can sign up to receive free e-mail announcements as soon as new economic data across government agencies becomes available. Current subscribers to the economic indicators emails will have to pay to continue receiving this helpful information in the future.

Schumer said, "On the brink of a possible recession, the Bush Administration's decision to shut down the free flow of economic data boggles the mind. Wasteful government spending should be cut, but shutting down an award-winning website that gives Americans easy-to-use economic information during troubling economic times is penny-wise and pound-foolish."

Schumer noted that once the fixed costs of creating a website have been paid, the operational costs of maintaining such a site should be small. He asked Secretary Gutierrez to provide information on the maintenance costs for the site and the costsavings expected as a result of shutting it down; and he asked for data on the number of users who may be cut off from this information with such a move.

A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter appears below.


February 20, 2008
Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez
U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20230

Dear Secretary Gutierrez:

I was deeply concerned to learn of the Department of Commerce’s decision to shut down free public access to its Economic Indicators website as of March 1, 2008.

As you know, the Economic Indicators website, administered by the Department’s Economic and Statistics Administration, compiles critical information about the state of the U.S. economy, ranging from GDP statistics to information about retail sales to Census Bureau information. Economic Indicators is particularly valuable because people can sign up to receive e-mail announcements as soon as new economic data across government agencies becomes available. Data compiled through Economic Indicators is so comprehensive that Forbes Magazine recently recognized the site with its “Best of the Web” award stating that trying to compile the type of information provided on this site by yourself “is an exercise in futility”.

Given the current state of the U.S. economy, public access to information about the health of the economy has never been more critical. As important economic policy decisions are being made that will certainly have a lasting impact on this country’s well being, easy and free access to Economic Indicators is essential to ensure a robust dialogue about the wisdom of particular policies. Shutting down this website will significantly increase the cost of getting this economic data; and it will effectively limit the public’s ability to remain informed.

I was further troubled to learn that after this website has been shut down, members of the public may still receive e-mails with compilations of this type of data for a fee. Provision of accurate, easily accessible information about the state of the U.S. economy is one of the most basic government functions, and I find it appalling that taxpayers will now have to pay for data that the federal government already collects and compiles.

I find it hard to believe that shutting down this important information portal will result in any significant savings to the Department. Since the fixed costs of website creation have been paid, the operational costs of maintaining such a site must be relatively small. Can you please provide me with the cost of maintaining this site, as well as the cost-savings expected as a result of shutting it down? Additionally, I would like to know the number of e-mail subscribers who will no longer have free access to email updates as a result of shutting down this portal. I would appreciate a response within two weeks of receipt of this letter.

I strongly urge the Department to reconsider its decision to terminate the Economic Indicators website. The information previously provided through the site is a public good and must be made widely available to all Americans.

Sincerely,
Charles E. Schumer


The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.

www.jec.senate.gov
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JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE: PREDISENT'S ECONOMIC REPORT WRONGLY INSISTS ECONOMY IS SOUND, DESPITE SERIOUS WORRIES IN HOUSING, CREDIT, JOBS MARKET

President’s Report Predicts Higher than Expected GDP Growth, Admits to Higher Deficits, Suggests Housing Market Decline May Aid Growth in Other Sectors

Schumer and Maloney Urge a New Direction on Economic Policy to Help Middle Class Families

Washington, D.C.Senator Charles E. Schumer and Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairman and Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee respectively, responded to the Economic Report of the President (ERP), delivered to Congress today. The report, authored by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, summarizes the administration’s views on the state of the United States economy. The report reviews the last year of economic data and projects the economic health of our country in the future.

Sen. Schumer said, “Despite agreeing to a much-needed economic stimulus package, the President still seems to be looking at our economy with rose-colored glasses. The administration needs to recalibrate its overly-optimistic economic assumptions in order to seriously address the declining fortunes of the middle class families. The crisis in the housing and credit markets and the weakening jobs market should have been a wake up call for this administration to jump into action and shed its ideological blinders. This report indicates that the last year of the Bush presidency will be more of the same – more economic anxiety for American families and slower economic growth for the nation.”

“This year’s Economic Report of the President predictably examines many aspects of the economy, but also predictably fails to recognize the depth of the problems that American families face as the housing and labor markets weaken and the economy slows,” said Rep. Maloney. “The report predicts anemic job growth and rising unemployment, and provides little hope that wages will be able to outpace rising living expenses in the coming year. The President has worked with Congress to implement a stimulus plan to temporarily boost the economy, but he offers no proposal to bring lasting relief to the millions of Americans who are feeling the squeeze of high energy costs and falling real wages. The President’s rationale for making his tax cuts permanent lacks credibility as we teeter on the brink of an economic downturn. Middle- and lower-income families continue to pay the price for the President’s tax cuts and the costly war in Iraq, as programs that help ordinary Americans cope with economic or health care insecurity have become candidates for budget cutting. The Bush economy simply continues to leave behind most American families.”

The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.

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