CEPR News July 2011

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The following newsletter highlights CEPR's latest research, publications, events and much more.

CEPR on Debt Ceiling Deals and Deficits

CEPR has followed the debt ceiling talks closely. CEPR Co-director Dean Baker has commented on the impact of several of the potential deals, including this statement on using the Chained Consumer Price Index to determine Social Security Cost of Living Adjustments, arguing that “while it is often claimed that this switch will make the COLA more accurate, this is not clear. What is certain is that the switch would lower benefits.”

Dean restated his explanation in his Guardian column and in this op-ed on Al Jazeera English. He also discussed the debt ceiling debate on NPR’s Morning Edition, CNBC’s Kudlow Report,  the Nightly Business Report (PBS) and MSNBC’s The Ed Schultz Show. He was quoted in this article in the Los Angeles Times, and he sent this letter to Speaker John Boehner, countering Boehner’s assertion that entitlements are the biggest “drivers of the debt and deficits” and reminding Boehner that “ Social Security and other social insurance programs have no place whatsoever in the debt ceiling debate”. CEPR Co-director Mark Weisbrot weighed in on the debt ceiling negotiations in this piece on To the Point with Warren Olney.

Dean also participated in several related events on the hill. On July 27th Dean joined Congresswoman Barbara Lee and the co-chairs of the Congressional Out of Poverty Caucus in a press conference on the debt reduction plans and their possible impact on social safety net programs for people facing or living in poverty. And on the 28th, he took part in a panel discussion, along with Representative Xavier Becerra and speakers from the Aspen Institute on a soon-to-be-released brief, "Social Security: The House that Roosevelt Built."

CEPR on Greece
Mark Weisbrot has become one of the most cited economic experts on the Greek debt crisis, and his analysis on Greece has had a major impact on the debate (see for example his appearance on the PBS Newshour).. Mark was one of the first to suggest that Greece should put default on the table rather than accept the austerity measures being pushed by European authorities and the IMF. Mark’s perspectives on the possibility of Greece leaving the euro are also now being talked about more widely in the press. Mark’s Guardian column, here, questions whether the euro is worth saving – a provocative idea that led to feature interviews with Global Post and The Real News. He was also mentioned in this article in TheGuardian about parallels between the situations in Greece today and Argentina at the beginning of the decade.

Mark also participated in a congressional briefing on lessons the austerity debate in Europe could offer the U.S. The briefing, “How Will Austerity Affect Middle Class America? Lessons From Europe and the States”, examined questions about the economic effects of austerity measures already happening in Europe and at the state and local levels in the U.S. Other speakers included Robin Harding, U.S. Economics Editor at the Financial Times; and Adam Hersh, economist at the Center for American Progress (and former CEPR fellow).


CEPR on Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Workers

CEPR’s latest release is an in-depth report on the state of Asian American and Pacific Islander Workers.  The report, “Diversity and Change: Asian American and Pacific Islander Workers 2011",  follows an earlier CEPR paper that looked at the union advantage for AAPI workers. The latest study reviews five decades of government data and provides the most in-depth picture to date of the AAPI workforce in the United States. 

“This report provides essential information on the Asian Pacific Islander workforce that is useful for labor and community organizations, scholars and students, and policy makers and government leaders.  The research reflects the complexity and diversity of the API workforce, and challenges the stereotypes that are perpetuated by the model minority myth,” said Kent Wong, director of the UCLA Labor Center and a co-author of the report.

CEPR’s Director of Domestic Policy Nicole Woo who was also a co-author of the report, presented the findings at the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance 2011 Convention, which was held in Oakland, CA on July 21-24, 2011. Lucia Lin of the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment also participated in the presentation. Click here for more information on the convention.


CEPR’s “Right to Rent” Gaining Support

This article in the Wall Street Journal states that senior Obama administration officials as considering a plan that would allow foreclosed homeowners to stay in their homes as renters. Dean Baker first conceived of the right to rent concept several years ago and CEPR has long promoted it as a viable solution to the continuing foreclosure crisis. According to the article, even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is warming to the idea, stating in testimony to Congress last week that “trimming the glut of unsold foreclosed homes on the market is 'worth looking at’."

Dean started tweeting in July…follow him @deanbaker13. He’ll be sure to tweet the release of his latest book “The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive”. The book is scheduled to be released as an e-book sometime in August. Follow Dean on Twitter, and look to CEPR’s website, facebook page, and Twitter for more information on the book.


Mark Weisbrot on Venezuela, Brazil and U.S. Healthcare
Mark Weisbrot has contributed a chapter to the new book, The Revolution in Venezuela: Social and Political Change under Chávez, edited by Thomas Ponniah and Jonathan Eastwood and published by Harvard University Press. Mark's chapter examines the Venezuelan economy under Hugo Chávez.

Mark’s column for Brazil’s largest newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo is now bi-weekly. The latest, on why Brazilian troops – and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti that they head up – should leave Haiti, can be found here. Mark continues to write regular columns for McClatchy Tribune Information Services and The Guardian as well. His latest piece for McClatchy, outlining problems with the U.S. Healthcare system, has been printed in a number of U.S. newspapers and can be found here.


CEPR on the Road
Sunday, July 24th marked the second anniversary of the most recent increase in the minimum wage, which was one of the most important legislative achievements of the last decade for low-wage workers. CEPR joined The National Employment Law Project, Economic Policy Institute and Lake Research Partners in a briefing highlighting recent research and public opinions demonstrating the continued economic benefits and strong popularity of the minimum wage. Dean Baker moderated the session.

Dean was asked to participate in the National Labor Relations Board’s open meeting on its recently-proposed election rule amendments, which was held on July 18th and 19th.  Dean presented the findings of two papers by John Schmitt and CEPR Senior Research Associate, Ben Zipperer, on the risk of dismissal in the course of a unionization drive.  John and Ben used data on reinstatements from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to update prior work on the probability of a worker being dismissed in the course of a unionization election.

On July 16th, As part of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement's 2011 Annual Convention, CEPR Co-director Dean Baker took part in a workshop and a panel discussion titled "What Will it Take to Reclaim Our Democracy?"

John Schmitt spent part of July in Barcelona, as visiting professor in the Masters of Public and Social Policy program at the Pompeu Fabra University. John taught a course on "Labor Markets, Social Policy, and Inequality."

On July 14th, CEPR Domestic Intern Jane Farrell participated in the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI)'s event "Demystifying Social Security: Academy for Interns 2011." Jane’s panel was titled "Now What? - How Can I Use This Information and Experience?"

As part of the 2011 National Summit on Paid Sick Days and Paid Family Leave, co-hosted by the National Partnership for Women and Families and Family Values at Work, CEPR Senior Economist Eileen Appelbaum took part in a panel discussion on "Paid Family Leave Research and Its Implications for Action." The summit took place July 11-12.

On July 8th, Dean Baker co-moderated a debate on the need for a securities transaction tax. Also moderating the debate was Gus Sauter, Chief Investment Officer of Vanguard Group. Robert Pollin, professor at UMass (Amherst), argued for the tax, and Jim Angel, professor at Georgetown University, argued against it. The debate will be televised at a later date on C-SPAN.


CEPR Welcomes a New Board Member
CEPR is honored to have Katherine McFate join its Board of Directors. Ms. McFate, the newly-appointed Executive Director of OMB Watch, attended CEPR’s July board meeting. Welcome to CEPR, Katherine!