The following highlights CEPR's latest research, publications, events and much more.
CEPR on Haiti
CEPR has been out in front calling for the United Nations to take responsibility for bringing cholera to Haiti over two years ago, writing numerous op-eds, papers and blog posts on the issue over the course of the past several years. CEPR released this press release after the U.N. finally announced a plan to deal with the crisis. CEPR Co-director Mark Weisbrot called the U.N.’s plan a “welcome step,” but he noted that it “falls short, as the key components of water and sanitation infrastructure upgrades would be ‘needlessly delayed’.” Mark explained further in this column for Al Jazeera.
Filmmaker Oliver Stone recently launched a petition to push the U.N. to end cholera in Haiti. CEPR posted several posts on the issue in its Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch blog, including this one about Haitian groups protesting on Human Rights Day, and this one on the U.N. announcement. CEPR International Communications Director Dan Beeton was quoted in this article in the Miami Herald, and CEPR Research Associate Jake Johnston was quoted in this Al-Jazeera piece.
CEPR on the “Fiscal Cliff” and Why the Chained CPI is a Bad Idea
Meanwhile, CEPR’s domestic policy team has been out in front on the so-called “fiscal cliff” debate. CEPR Co-director Dean Baker took to the airwaves and to the printed page to remind everyone that the statement "if we don’t get a deal by the end of the year we’re going to see the economy collapse" is dishonest, at best. Dean appeared on Bloomberg’s Business Week, Democracy Now!, CNBC’s Street Signs, and Background Briefing with Ian Masters to set the record straight. He was also on the Voice of Russia radio, and KPFA.
CEPR Director of Domestic Policy Nicole Woo also countered fiscal cliff scare stories with appearances on CNBC and WUSA 9. Nicole was also on WPFW radio’s What’s at Stake as well as Pivot Point with Maya Rockeymoore, among others.
Dean took on the media in his blog Beat the Press, posting numerous critiques of news coverage of the issue. (Yes, each word is linked to a separate critique…and there’s still more).
On the heels of the news that the White House is considering a budget deal under which the annual cost of living adjustment for Social Security benefits would be indexed to the
chained consumer price index, CEPR released a report titled The Chained CPI: A Painful Cut in Social Security Benefits and a Stealth Tax Hike. The paper, by Nicole Woo and CEPR Domestic Communications Director Alan Barber, points out that switching to the Chained CPI would result in cuts to already modest Social Security benefits. The brief also notes that the Chained CPI is likely not an accurate measure of the inflation rate seen by seniors.
Dean posted his thoughts on the Chained CPI in the CEPR blog and wrote several Beat The Press posts on the effects of the proposed change. He was on Minnesota public radio with Kevin Hassett talking about the future of SS and Medicare, and he also appeared on WBAI’s Wakeup Call. Nicole appeared on WBAI’s Talk Back! with Hugh Hamilton and Alan Nathan's BattleLine . CEPR was also mentioned in this article on UPI.com.
CEPR Senior Research Associate Shawn Fremstad weighed in with this CEPR blog post on how the Chained CPI would also harm children, low-income working-age adults and people with disabilities in the here and now, not just after they retire.
Last but not least, Dean wrote a CEPR blog post on the “demographic crisis”, calling it “nonsense”. He explains his reasoning to NPR’s Planet Money, here.
CEPR on Venezuela
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s PSUV party won 20 of 23 states in the country's December 16 election. In a blog post for CEPR’s The Americas blog, Mark analyzes the election results. In an Al Jazeera op-ed, Mark writes that Obama continues to alienate the vast majority of Latin American governments by following the advice of Cold Warriors in his government. Mark also wrote this critique of the Washington Post’s coverage of Venezuela for CEPR’s The Americas Blog.
CEPR on Poverty and Children’s SSI
CEPR Senior Research Associate Shawn Fremstad took on Casey Mulligan, Rick Santorum and Nicholas Kristof (twice) in several posts for the CEPR Blog. In this post from December 5th, Shawn counts the ways in which Rich Santorum is wrong when he names three ways to avoid poverty. In this post from December 13th, Shawn explains to Casey Mulligan that “Real Poverty Really Did Rise During Recent Recession.”
Shawn devoted two blog posts (here and a follow-up post) to Nicholas Kristof’s New York Times op-ed where he tells us that he hopes “budget negotiations in Washington may offer us a chance to take money from SSI [Supplemental Security for low-income children with severe disabilities] and invest it in early childhood initiatives.” As Shawn says, this is like saying that “we need destroy an effective social insurance program for children with severe disabilities in order to … Save the Children!” Shawn followed-up with another post that notes that Kristoff continued to tweet the disputed figures, despite his and others’ criticism of the data in Kristoff’s op-ed.
Shawn also wrote an op-ed for Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity on the necessity of supplemental security with Rebecca Vallas,an attorney and policy advocate at Community Legal Services and co-chair of the national SSI Coalition for Children and Families.
News from the CEPR Blogosphere
CEPR’s newest blog, The America’s Blog: Analysis Beyond the Echo Chamber, posted some wide-ranging, thought-provoking posts this month. Dan Beeton penned this post on the recently passed bill designed to limit Iran’s dealings and interests in the Western Hemisphere, calling it the “Monroe Doctrine of 2012.” He also wrote this critique of an interview with Honduras’ Miguel Facussé Barjum that appeared in the Los Angeles Times.
Jake Johnston wrote this piece about a New York Times article on Argentina’s media while CEPR Senior Associate for International Policy Alexander Main wrote this post on how the Spanish-language media twisted the words of Julian Assange on Ecuador.
In addition to the posts on cholera mentioned above, CEPR’s Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch blog posted this informative piece on a new report on how economic insecurity puts Haitian girls at risk of violence.
And from the CEPR Blog: CEPR Senior Economist John Schmitt critiques a New York Times piece by Steven Erlanger on the "Young, Educated and Jobless in France", noting that the article “might leave its readers with the wrong idea about the real labor-market challenges facing Europe and the United States. “ In this CEPR blog post, Domestic Program Assistant Milla Sanes compares part time employment rates between men and women, and explains why women might “choose” to work part time at a higher rate than men. And in this blog post, CEPR Economist David Rosnick examines the latest OECD Economic Outlook: and asks “Just How Broke Will the United States Be In 2042?”
In Other CEPR News…
— Mark wrote this op-ed on ending the war in Afghanistan that appeared in Stars and Stripes as well as dozens of newspapers including Newsday and the Denver Post. Mark also wrote this post for CEPR’s The America’s Blog on how the battle over President Obama’s reported intention to appoint former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense may affect Latin America policy as well.
— The New York Times includes the financial transaction tax in its list of tax reform proposals.
— Dean was named the 12/15/12 Truthdigger of the week.
— Mark’s McClatchy News op-ed “Smart initiatives by our federal government can put economy on a fast track” was published in dozens of newspapers across the country, including the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and the Kansas City Star.
— Dean wrote this Guardian column on free trade in Medicare as an alternative to austerity.
— In this Huffington Post Christmas piece, Dean shatters two myths. Warning: Not safe for children!
— CEPR’s work was cited in publications by the Center for American Progress and the Economic Policy Institute.
— Thanks to everyone who donated to CEPR’s end-of-the-year fundraising plea (a special thanks from our holiday poster-dog Olive, who says it’s not too late to give.) We appreciate the support, and wish everyone a happy and healthy 2013.