Source: Queens Gazette

By John Toscano

Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY-12), senior House Democrat of the Joint Economic Committee, introduced the Measuring Real Income Growth Act of 2018. The legislation would require the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to publish distributional analyses of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). These new reports would give policymakers a clearer picture of how economic growth is distributed among Americans of all income levels, providing perspective on economic inequality.

Specifically, the bill would require the BEA to analyze Gross Domestic Product by each decile of income earners and the top one percent. It would also require the agency to produce quarterly and annual reports, beginning in 2020.

Joining her as original co-sponsors of the bill are Congress Members Don Beyer (VA-8), John K. Delaney (MD-6), Alma Adams (NC-12), Mark Takano (CA-41), Gregory Meeks (NY-5), Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), Bill Foster (IL-11), Yvette Clarke (NY-9), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL- 23), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Earl Blumenauer (OR-3), Adam Smith (WA-9), and Sander Levin (MI-09).

“This legislation will lead to much-needed discussions about how we can make sure Americans of all income levels are benefiting from economic growth,” said Rep. Maloney. “Currently, we don’t have enough data on how economic growth is spread across income brackets, and to what extent hardworking Americans are getting left behind.”

“We commend Representative Maloney for introducing this legislation,” said Heather Boushey, executive director and chief economist of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. “Proponents of last year’s tax cuts have been touting GDP growth as evidence of their success. But the question we need to ask is who benefited from that growth? Did it mostly go to those at the top of the income ladder – just like the tax benefits themselves? This bill is a critical step towards answering these kinds of questions and helping us ensure broadbased economic growth.”

Since the 1930s, it has been known that an aggregate calculation of national income is a misleading measure of the economic wellbeing of the country and its citizens. Robert F. Kennedy later said that “GDP measures everything… except that which makes life worthwhile,” Maloney noted.

“With 80% of US venture capital investment going to only five metro areas, clearly we’re not doing a good enough job of aligning federal incentives to benefit the communities and populations that most need it,” said Rep. Delaney. “Income-driven analysis will provide a better understanding of how we can help those at all levels of the income spectrum – and this bill begins that important conversation.”

“Although President Trump touts the strength of the economy as an indicator of success, millions of hard-working American families continue to face issues such as food insecurity, homelessness, stagnant wages, and increasing costs of gasoline and basic necessities,” said Rep. Adams. “This legislation will help us to better understand the state of our nation’s economic growth and how it impacts Americans at all income levels.”

“Like many Americans I am deeply concerned about rising economic inequality. Last year’s GOP tax scam only made the problem much worse,” said Rep. Beyer. “This bill would help us understand the true scope of the issue and inform our efforts to find solutions.”

The companion bill was introduced in the US Senate by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM).