Rep. Maloney Reintroduces Bill to Require Reporting of Economic Growth by Income Level

Jan 23, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY-12), Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, this week introduced the Measuring Real Income Growth Act of 2019. 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 new perspective on economic inequality. The Congresswoman first introduced a similar bill in the last Congress.

Specifically, the bill would require the BEA to analyze Gross Domestic Product by each decile of income earners and the top 1 percent. It would also require the agency to produce quarterly and annual reports, beginning in 2020. 

“The data from this legislation will help us to figure out how we can make sure Americans of all income levels, not just those at the top, are benefitting from our country’s economic growth,” said Congresswoman 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. I want to make sure we have an economy that works for all the people, not just the fortunate few and the information we will get thanks to this bill will help us get there.”

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

“We commend Representative Carolyn Maloney for re-introducing this important legislation,” said Heather Boushey, Executive Director and Chief Economist of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. “Many members of the new majority campaigned against the 2017 tax bill, which gave big tax breaks to the already affluent. Voters still care about inequality and Representative Maloney’s bill is a critical first step in addressing it. The bill ensures that in the future policymakers know who benefits when the U.S. economy grows. Is overall growth mostly accumulating to those at the top of the income spectrum, just like the tax cuts are? How are living standards for average Americans faring as the economy grows? Passage of this bill will allow those questions to be answered so that policies can be designed to promote broad-based economic growth.”

Joining her as original cosponsors of the bill are Representatives Don Beyer (VA-8), Alma Adams (NC-12), Mark Takano (CA-41), Gregory Meeks (NY-5), Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), Bill Foster (IL-11), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Adam Smith (WA-9), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Hank Johnson (GA-04), Mark Desaulnier (CA-11) and John Garamendi (CA-03).