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CEPR News July 2012

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Written by Dawn Lobell   
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 13:15

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

CEPR on the Minimum Wage

July 24 marked the third anniversary of the last increase in the federal minimum wage, and CEPR marked the occasion with several op-eds and blog posts. The current federal minimum of $7.25 an hour comes to just over $15,000 a year for a full-time worker. CEPR Co-Director Dean Baker wrote this piece for Truthout and discussed it (MP3) on Sirius XM Radio’s Stand Up! with Pete Dominick. CEPR Director of Domestic Policy Nicole Woo penned this one for the U.S. News and World Report, and CEPR Senior Economist John Schmitt weighed in on the CEPR Blog.

CEPR has long argued that the current minimum wage is too low. Several news articles on the anniversary - including this one in McClatchy - cited CEPR’s work. (For a full listing of CEPR research on the topic click here)

CEPR on the Mexican Elections
CEPR Co-director Mark Weisbrot had this op-ed published in the New York Times that highlighted Mexico’s failed economic policies in the wake of the recent elections. Mark also discussed credible allegations of vote-buying and other irregularities that affected the elections in thisGuardian column, and described how problems in the 2006 elections provide important context for understanding these elections and the popular skepticism and protest against them. CEPR’s work related to Mexico’s elections, especially our June paper, “The Mexican Economy and the 2012 Elections", was cited in media coverage such as this article in The Nation and this op-ed in Foreign Policy.

CEPR on Jobs

In CEPR’s latest paper, “Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone”, co-authors John Schmitt and CEPR Research Assistant Janelle Jones find that despite substantial increases in the education, age, and quantity and quality of technology over the last three decades, the share of workers with a “good job” has fallen since 1979. “The standard explanation for this loss of the economy’s ability to create good jobs is that most workers' skills have not kept up with the pace of technological change,” said John. “But, it is hard to reconcile that view with the fact that even workers with a college degree are less likely to have a good job now than at the end of the 1970s.” The authors suggest, instead, that the decline in the economy’s ability to produce good jobs relates to a deterioration of the bargaining power of workers.

The paper was picked up by several media outlets, including Yahoo! Finance and Mother Jones. Mark Weisbrot published this McClatchy column that outlines steps the U.S. government can (and should) take to reduce unemployment. The column appeared in the Sacramento Bee, Tampa Tribune and over a dozen other newspapers across the country. Dean was on CNBC’s Kudlow and Company talking about “What the Jobs Report Means for You.” See CEPR’s July Jobs Byte for more in-depth coverage of the jobs numbers.

One of CEPR’s prescriptions for the unemployment crisis, work sharing, is explained by Thom Hartmann in this video. And here is Dean on Marketplace Money talking about work sharing.

CEPR on Inequality
As the debate on rising inequality heats up in the U.S., the OECD weighed in, recently publishing a book examining trends in inequality around the world. Dean Baker and CEPR Economist David Rosnick examined the OECD report and found that it fails to accurately describe the causes of inequality. Dean and David also discovered errors in the OECD’s data. David wrote this piece on the study that appeared in U.S. News and World Report, and he discussed the rise in inequality in the U.S. with Press TV. Dean’s Guardian op-ed debunks the claim that technological innovation is responsible for income redistribution (Dean shows that policy, not technology, is to blame).

In a series of five posts featured on CEPR’s blog, CEPR Research Associate Shawn Fremstad critiques this front page piece in Sunday's New York Times by reporter Jason DeParle that touts family structure as a neglected factor in the increase in income inequality. Shawn asserts that family structure is overrated as an explanation for family inequality, and he backs up his claim in five separate blog posts: Click here to read part one, part two, part three, part four and part five, and here to hear Shawn’s interview with Counterspin about his analysis.

CEPR on Haiti
Since its inception, CEPR’s Haiti blog has been increasingly seen as a reliable source of information on a myriad of issues facing the country. This past month, CEPR’s Haiti blog has featured reports on a lack of transparency in reconstruction efforts, and an important new congressional letter calling for the UN to take responsibility for causing the cholera outbreak that has killed over 7,000 Haitians and infected half-a-million more. The blog also offered an exclusive on MINUSTAH’s cover up of an assault on a 14-year-old boy by Pakistani officers as well as a two-part series examining a New York Times investigation into the much-hyped Caracol industrial park.

CEPR’s International Communications Coordinator Dan Beeton was quoted in this Inter Press Service article on cholera in Haiti, and CEPR co-sponsored a July 18 congressional briefing on the deadly epidemic that included a screening of the award-winning film, “Baseball in the Time of Cholera.”

CEPR on the Financial Transactions Tax (FTT)
Nicole Woo posted this piece on CEPR’s blog showing how a small tax on financial transactions can help cut the deficit and raise billions over the next ten years. Meanwhile, Dean writes that a tax on Wall Street is the remedy to inequality, as well as a way to address corruption. Also Scholars Strategy Network is featuring a policy brief by Dean on the FTT on its homepage.

CEPR on Honduras

Senior Associate for International Policy Alexander Main submitted written testimony for the U.S. Congress Lantos Human Rights Commission’s hearing on “Worldwide Threats to Media Freedom,” focusing on murders and other attacks on journalists in Honduras. Alex’s testimony includes a list of all 24 journalists killed since the current president of Honduras, Pepe Lobo, assumed office, and details other attacks and their context in the wake of the 2009 U.S.-supported coup d’etat against the democratically elected government.

Alex also appeared on CBC’s As It Happens radio show, talking about the July shooting of a pilot by the DEA in Honduras, and also commented on the shooting in this Associated Press article that was picked up by numerous news sources.

CEPR New and Noteworthy

--Mark wrote two columns related to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s request for asylum from the Ecuadorean government, for Folha de São Paulo (Brazil), “Ecuador Should Grant Political Asylum to Wikileaks Founder” and The Guardian, “Human Rights Defenders Should Support Assange’s Right to Asylum, Rather than Attacking Ecuador.”

-- Dean was one of five economists from across the ideological spectrum chosen by part of NPR’s Planet Money Team to create an economic platform for a presidential “dream candidate.” Listen to the original piece here, then click here to read Dean’s explanation of why the dream candidate "will have to do a bit more work to get my vote, even if I did help to design the platform."

--Nicole moderated a panel titled "Economics for People Who Are Not Economists" at Campus Progress’ National Convention on July 25th. Speakers included Mike Konczal, Fellow, The Roosevelt Institute; Noel Ortega, New Economy Working Group Coordinator, Institute for Policy Studies; and Heather Boushey, Senior Economist, Center for American Progress.

-- In case you missed it, here is a Guardian video of Dean discussing the widening gap between the rich and the poor. The video was filmed in June in London, where Dean was the keynote speaker at an event titled “After Austerity.” Dean presented a paper, “Attacking the Treasury View, Again” that analyzes 'the treasury view' - the idea that in a downturn, government spending has no effect on economic activity or unemployment.

-- CEPR Domestic Intern Eric Hoyt’s CEPR Blog post “Poor Sales, Not High Wages, Worry Small Businesses” was picked up by Nation of Change and was the “chart of the day” at Progressive Congress News Daily.

-- David Frum of The Atlantic reviewed Dean’s book “The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive.”

-- Shawn Fremstad wrote this issue brief on Social Security and Direct Care Workers.

-- Dean wrote this letter to Senator Pat Toomey for CEPR’s Social Security Monitor, calling out several misleading statements made by Senator Toomey in a speech on the budget. Dean’s Truthout column, “The CEO Plan to Steal Your Social Security and Medicare,” was mentioned on several blogs, including Nation of Change.

-- CEPR Senior Economist Eileen Appelbaum was on Australian TV, discussing banking regulation.

-- On July 9th, Eileen took part in a breakout session of the 2012 National Summit on Paid Sick Days and Paid Family Leave titled "Turning Research Into Action." Panelists also included Kevin Miller of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and Doug Hall from the Economic Policy Institute. Vicki Shabo, National Partnership for Women & Families, moderated.

-- Dean was part of a roundtable discussion on Medicare as part of Bloomberg's Social Security and Medicare Forum, held July 10th. Les Funtleyder, healthcare strategist at Miller Tabak + Co., LLC also participated. Drew Armstrong, healthcare reporter at Bloomberg News, moderated. More information can be found here.

-- On the 23rd, Dean participated in a discussion titled "Equality Matters: The Wealth Gap and Tax Credits for Working Families" as part of the RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund International Conference to End Poverty and AIDS 2012, more information here.

-- Boston.com (of the Boston Globe) featured CEPR’s chart showing parental leave policies in 21 countries (click here to see where the U.S. ranks).

-- John Schmitt penned this post for the CEPR Blog on his article with Heather Boushey, “Why Don’t More Young People Go to College?” in the current issue of Challenge magazine.
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