Chairwoman Maloney Introduces Bill to Improve Transparency of Economic Growth by Income Level
Washington, D.C. (Mar. 10, 2021)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee of Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Don Beyer introduced the Measuring Real Income Growth Act to require the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to publish distributional analyses of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to show how economic growth is distributed among Americans of all income levels.
“As families continue to suffer from both the public health and economic crises created by the coronavirus pandemic, we must focus on an equitable recovery for individuals and families at every income level,” Chairwoman Maloney said. “Having more precise and descriptive GDP data will allow us to better understand the progress of our economic recovery and ensure that increases in GDP are helping all families more equitably.”
“The pandemic and economic crisis have underscored a fact that was always true: the way we measure economic growth in this country conceals inequity and struggle for lower income Americans,” Rep. Don Beyer said. “The K-shaped recovery we are currently experiencing is a particularly egregious case that has laid bare how important it is to capture economic data by income groups. Without this data, we will continue to rob policymakers and the public of key insights into how much of the country is faring, which will only reinforce policies that drive income inequality.”
“Representative Maloney’s Measuring Real Income Growth Act is more important than ever as we fight an unprecedented recession,” Austin Clemens, computational social scientist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, said. “We learned after the Great Recession that aggregate statistics aren’t enough to use to judge the health of the economy. Although GDP growth after 2009 suggested a steady recovery, the majority of American families struggled for years to recover economically, and saw little income growth. That is why the government must begin producing real-time data on income for families up and down the income ladder. The Measuring Real Income Growth Act will give Congress the data to craft policies for an equitable expansion and will give the public data to hold their elected officials accountable.”
The Measuring Real Income Growth Act would direct the BEA at the Department of Commerce to report total GDP growth by income decile and for the highest 1% of income earners.
In 2019, Congress passed a spending bill (P.L 116-6) which included a provision encouraging the BEA to report income growth by deciles. In 2020, BEA published the prototype statistics in accordance with the law, presenting data between 2007-2018. The Measuring Real Income Growth Act would codify the data reporting, providing a new perspective on economic inequality.
Click here to read The Measuring Real Income Growth Act.
Click here to read the one-pager.