CEPR News April 2014
|Thursday, 01 May 2014 12:33|
The following newsletter highlights CEPR's latest research, publications, events and much more.
CEPR on Capital in the Twenty-First Century
CEPR’s Co-director Dean Baker was a panelist with Kevin Hassettof the American Enterprise Institute at a book discussion held at the Urban Institute on April 15th that featured opening remarks by Piketty. Tax Policy Center DirectorLen Burman moderated the discussion (a video of the event can be found here and Dean’s comments are here). That same evening CEPR Senior Economist John Schmitt attended a dinner sponsored by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth to honor PIketty and later wrote a CEPR Blog post commenting on the policy implications of the book. John argued: “Piketty makes one core recommendation: a high, progressive, tax on wealth, preferably implemented on a global scale to minimize evasion. I know very few on the left that would disagree with that as a policy goal. I know even fewer people of any political stripe who think that such a policy stands much of a chance of happening any time soon.”
Dean laid out an alternative strategy for fighting inequality: “If we want to counter the rise in inequality that we have seen in recent decades we are going to have to find other mechanisms for reversing this upward redistribution. Specifically, we will have to look to ways to reduce the rents earned by the wealthy.” Dean’s recommendations include breaking up the too big to fail banks, curtailing tax breaks for the private equity industry, eliminating patent monopolies for prescription drugs, and imposing a modest financial transaction tax, to name but a few.
CEPR on Paid Sick Days, Paid Family Leave and the Minimum Wage
The report, by CEPR Senior Economist Eileen Appelbaum and CEPR Research Associate Helene Jorgensen, analyzes the Department of Labor’s 2012 FMLA Worksite Survey to paint a fuller picture of leave policies already in place at small U.S. firms, and business’s experiences with those policies.
“Our analysis found that small firms with leave policies that met the standards of the FMLA rarely reported any negative impacts on their business as a result of offering leave to their employees,” said Helene. Eileen added, “Less than one percent of small firm worksites characterized their experience complying with the FMLA standard as very difficult or even somewhat difficult. Extending coverage to all firms would provide job-protected leave to an additional 35 million workers.”
The new study was cited in this article in Eurasia Review. Eileen’s previous study of paid family leave in California was recently mentioned in this piece on the Pew Charitable Trust’s website. Eileen and CUNY’s Ruth Milkman (co-author of the previous report) were also mentioned in a recent piece on policies to address the rise in inequality for the New York Times’ Opinionator blog, which noted that they “have found that access to paid leave has kept families out of bankruptcy, and kept low-wage workers in their jobs.”
And CEPR’s March 2014 publication titled “Good for Business? Connecticut’s Paid Sick Leave Law” by Eileen continues to receive attention from the media. This article by the Associated Press appeared in the Detroit News. Eileen also wrote an op-ed titled “Paid Sick Days in Connecticut Not a Burden for Employers” that was published in Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity,and the study was featured in this piece on the Center for American Progress’s labor news page.
CEPR’s work on the minimum wage also received attention this past month. John participated in a press call organized by Faith in Public Life and Interfaith Worker Justice on the minimum wage that included Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez, Senator Corey Booker and several religious leaders.
CEPR Director of Domestic Policy Nicole Woo and CEPR Domestic Intern Jeffrey Gianattasio ‘s March 28th post for the CEPR Blog was cited in this recent piece for CBS’ MoneyWatch, which noted thatthe 13 states that increased their minimum wage in January had faster employment growth than the remainder of the states where the minimum wage was unchanged. And CEPR’s April 2012 paper on the demographics of low wage workers was cited inthis recent article in the San Francisco Gate.
CEPR on Trade
President Obama’s recent trip to Asia and the administration’s renewed push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership has put the TPP back in the news. This recent article in the Washington Post cited CEPR’s September 2013 paper by Economist David Rosnick, noting that the research indicated that “90 percent of workers in the United States would see a decrease in real wages under the TPP.” The piece also reported CEPR’s findings that “cumulative GDP gains in the United States won't be much more than 0.13 percent by 2025 -- not much more than a rounding error.” Campaign for America’s Future also cited the same CEPR report in a recent blog post.
Dean discussed the TPP with NPR’s Morning Edition, where he made the point that the secretive agreement would include many costly protections in terms of patents and trade in highly-paid professionals, and also would threaten sovereignty with an investor-state dispute mechanism allowing corporations to directly sue governments over perceived “barriers to trade.”
Dean also talked trade deals on BBC’s Business Daily [mp3] as well as the Workers Independent News’ Labor Report. Dean took on David Ingnatius in Beat the Press: “David Ignatius' column in the Washington Post touting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP) is badly mistaken in connecting these deals with free trade. The agreements have very little to do with free trade, rather they are about imposing a business-friendly regulatory structure that would almost certainly not be approved through the normal democratic process in the countries that are parties to the deal.”
In advance of the publication, Eileen and Rose gave several book talks, one in Los Angeles at UCLA's Institute for Research on Labor and Employment on April 2nd, and another on April 9th at Rutgers University sponsored by Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations and Rutgers Center for European Studies. The also participated in a press conference call with members of the national press from Dow Jones, the Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg BNA.
Eileen has written several op-eds and articles on the topic of private equity. In this op-ed for the Bratleboro Reformer, Eileen and co-author Elaine McCrate, Professor of Economics at the University of Vermont, discuss the implications of the acquisition of 22 drug treatments centers by a chain of 154 centers owned by private equity firm Bain Capital.
The book was mentioned in this piece in the Wall Street Journal’s At Work Blog. Eileen was also quoted in this post on the WSJ’s Private Equity Blog, which included a critique by a representative of the Private Equity Growth Capital Council, who admitted that he hadn’t yet read it. And this article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette includes numerous quotes from Eileen and Rose as well as examples of private equity at work in Pittsburgh.
And just in time for April 15th, Eileen wrote this op-ed for Fortune that asked “Private equity tax breaks: How long will they last?” Eileen and Rose wrote an op-ed for The Hill titled “Time to Close Private Equity’s ‘Carried Interest’ Loophole”. Dean also weighed in with an op-ed in Truthout titled “The Hedge Fund Managers Tax Break: Because Wall Streeters Want Your Money.”
Dean penned several other op-eds on the issue of taxes, including this one for the McClatchy News Service that appeared in 20 newspapers across the country, which highlighted “four simple tax changes that could raise lots of money by taking away subsidies for rich people.” He also wrote a piece for Truthout that asked whether taxpayers should subsidize the bloated salaries paid to some top executives at non-profits (he points to the reported $1 million a year paid to former Senator Jim DeMint heading up the Heritage Foundation as a prime example).
CEPR on Venezuela
Mark discussed the exchange rate system in this interview with the Real News, and he wrote this op-ed for Brazil’s leading newspaper Folha de São Paulo on the true story behind the recent protests in Venezuela. Mark critiqued Human Rights Watch’s recent statements that overlooked serious human rights violations by anti-government protesters in this post for the CEPR’s Americas Blog. Mark also wrote this detailed rebuttal of a post on Nate Silver’s new site FiveThirtyEight.com that looks at economic growth in Venezuela both pre and post-Chavez and compares that with the rest of Latin America. As the title of Mark’s post suggests, they got it wrong on both accounts.
CEPR on Mothers’ Work
The paper was presented at the 75 Years of the Fair Labor Standards Act Conference at the Department of Labor on November 15, 2013.
Eileen and Heather wrote a recent op-ed for U.S. News and World Report on the need for workplace flexibility, stating “Our workplace laws and business employment practices date back to a far different, male-centric era, yet our economy and our society today rely on women to support their families at work and at home. It’s time for Congress to recognize this massive social shift by updating our workplace laws to match these new workplace realities.”
And CEPR Economist David Rosnick was quoted in a piece for CNN Money titled “The Leisure Revolution That Never Came” that compared predictions about leisure made in 1970 with current data on American’s work hours. The article called back to David’s paper last year examining the U.S. and European models of more work hours and more “stuff”, versus less stuff and more leisure time, respectively.
*not literally, although CEPR does offer paid vacation time to its hard-working staff.We just don’t all take it at the same time…
CEPR on USAID
CEPR Director of International Communications Dan Beeton wrote a post titled “USAID Subversion in Latin America Not Limited to Cuba” for CEPR’s Americas Blog. Dan’s analysis of State Department cables recently made public by Wikileaks reveal details of USAID/OTI subversion in Venezuela and other countries. As Dan writes in the post, “Mark Weisbrot described in an interview with radio station KPFA’s ‘Letters and Politics’… USAID and OTI in particular have engaged in various efforts to undermine the democratically-elected governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, and Haiti, among others, and such ’open societies’ could be more likely to be impacted by such activities than Cuba.”
The Latest From the CEPR Blogsosphere:
Nicole penned this post announcing an event that was held at the National Press Club on April 2nd. Lawrence Summers, former U.S. Treasury Secretary gave the keynote address at the event, which focused on importance of full employment as a goal for this nation. The event was convened by Jared Bernstein (Dean’s co-author and Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities) and featured a panel that included Dean and economists Laurence Ball, Kevin Hassett, and Susan Houseman, and other renowned public policy experts. The post also includes a video of a recent book talk by Dean and Jared that was moderated by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
The Americas Blog: Analysis Beyond the Echo Chamber
Beat the Press
Dean also takes the New York Timesto task for more bad budget reporting, and he asks why they think that doctors and other professionals need protection from foreign competition? He also notes that the NYT reports Republican misrepresentations without comment and he calls them out for misrepresenting Medicare scam stories as well.
He says that the Washington Post is confused about inflation, but he also gives the WaPo some credit for running a “nice piece on work sharing,” adding “Those of us who have been working on work sharing forthe last five yearsmight be a bit frustrated with the delay, but if even the Washington Post can learn, there is hope for America.”
Tie for best headlines this past month: High Speed Trading and Slow-Witted Economic Policy vs.The Economy Is Far Too Simple for Economists to Understand #47,654
Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch
Another post revealed that two privately-owned companies received millions of dollars from the USAID’s Office of Transition Initiative, yet very little is known about where the money went.
Zedillo was elected to Citigroup’s board of directors in April 2010. Two years later, in an extraordinary move, shareholders voted by a margin of 55-45 percent to reject the board of directors’ $14.9 million pay package. Less than 3.0 percent of CEO pay packages received a no vote from shareholders that year. The stunning, albeit nonbinding, rejection of the directors’ and CEO’s performance was understandable, given that in the 12 months since the previous shareholders meeting Citigroup had woefully underperformed the S&P average. During Zedillo’s tenure thus far as a Citigroup director, the financial giant has fared far worse than the S&P average.
And Judith Rodin:
-- CEPR Senior Research Associate Ha-Joon Chang was recently voted one of the top 10 world thinkers by the U.K.’s Prospect Magazine. And CEPR Senior Research Associate Shawn Fremstad was recently named a 2014 Ford Foundation Public Voices Fellow for his “history and commitment to advancing the rights of women and other underrepresented groups.” Congratulations to both Ha-Joon and Shawn!
--Dan wrote a review of a new book from former New York Times correspondent Stephen Kinzer, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War, for NACLA’s Report on the Americas.
--In an op-ed that garnered the top spot at the Huffington Post, Dean asks “What Problem Is Privatizing Fannie and Freddie Meant to Solve?” And in this piece for CNN Money, he says it’s silly season at the Fed.
--CEPR Senior Associate for International Policy Alex Main wrote this article for Dissent Magazine. In the piece, titled “Honduras: The Deep Roots of Resistance,” Alex writes about the rise of the Honduran resistance movement and the LIBRE party, and he explains how it is related to political developments in other parts of Latin America.
--John and former CEPR Program Assistant Kris Warner’s 2010 paper, “The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration” was mentioned in this recent article in the Financial Times, that included the following quote from John: “The broader macroeconomic climate is the biggest barrier that workers with a criminal record face.”
CEPR On the Road
--Dean was back in LA at the end of the month for a panel on “Jobs in the Developed World” at the Milken Institute’s annual Global Conference. Dean was joined by Steven Rattner, Kevin Hassett, Diana Farrell and Beth Ann Bovino at the April 29th event.
--In addition to her work with CEPR, Eileen is also Visiting Professor in the Department of Management at theUniversity of Leicester, UK. On April 29th she was one of the keynote speakers at the inaugural conference for the University of Leicester's Centre for Sustainable Work and Employment Futures. She spoke about ‘Work Futures in the United States.’
--Eileen will be in San Francisco on May 27th for a discussion on working families. The event is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor and is one of several regional events held around the country in advance of the June 23rd White House Summit on Working Families.The regional discussions will help inform the national Summit, which will build momentum around key policy goals and best practices to help both workers and businesses succeed. Please stay tuned to CEPR’s Events page for more details.
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