News Release

Myths About Build Back Better


The Center for Economic and Policy Research recently released an assessment: “Building Back Better Could Be Better.”

Executive Action Tracker:
Out of 77 actions Biden could take without Congressional mandate identified by The American Prospect, there are 15 yes, 11 partial, 6 no, and 1 no longer applicable. For example, the magazine notes that Biden could: “Implement free public college by using existing statutory authority to forgive loans equal to average public-college tuition on a rolling basis for two- and four-year public colleges.” Another example: “Write rules to crack down on IRA stuffing, ending the possibility that someone like Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) can have $100 million in an IRA.”

Paid Leave:
CEPR co-founder Dean Baker notes in “NYT Spreads Fox News Style Misinformation on Family Leave and Childcare” that: “An article discussing the future prospects for paid family leave dismissed the claim by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand that almost every country in the world has paid family leave, by saying that most of these countries actually do not expect women to work after they have had children. …

“While it is true that many women in developing countries with paid family leave do not work outside the home, most wealthy countries with paid leave actually have higher rates of women’s labor force participation than the United States. According to data from the OECD, 83.8 percent of women between the ages of 25 and 64 were in the labor force in Finland. In Germany, the figure was 84.4 percent; in France, it was 79.3 percent. By comparison, in the United States, it was just 77.2 percent, a figure that puts it well behind most other wealthy countries.”In short, the story is the exact opposite of what the New York Times told readers. The U.S. workforce relies less on women than most of the wealthy countries that provide paid family leave.”

Taxing the Rich:
The Washington Post reported recently: “Billionaire tax out, corporate minimum tax in: Where the White House landed on tax plans.” The Post notes that one thing that did make it is a 5 percent surcharge on annual income greater than $10 million and a 3 percent surcharge on income greater than $25 million. Baker, responding to dropping many tax measures aggressively targeting the rich, said: “With the surtax, there’s no question of its constitutionality. It seems much safer. … But it will do less about inequality, because this is not a hit to the richest people whereas the other one would have been.”

Max B. Sawicky, senior research fellow at CEPR, just gave this overview in In These Times magazine: “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in the Build Back Better Deal.”

For interviews with CEPR economists, contact: Karen Conner,