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CEPR News June 2011

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Written by Dawn Lobell   
Thursday, 30 June 2011 12:28

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

CEPR on Greece
CEPR Co-director Mark Weisbrot’s views on the Greek debt crisis continue to garner media attention. Mark was one of the first to suggest that Greece at least consider defaulting on its debt rather than accepting further austerity measures. Mark has become a sought-after expert on the Greek debt crisis. He appeared on Democracy Now! On June 29th, commenting on the breaking news that the Greek parliament had approved the harsh austerity package of budget cuts and tax increases.  

In his latest Guardian column, Mark discusses the potential impact of the Greek crisis on the U.S., and asks “Where is the U.S. government?” As Mark pointed out on NPR’s All Things Considered, the austerity demands being pushed on Greece by the IMF and European Central Bank are a form of collective punishment against the Greek people. But as Mark explained on Bloomberg Television, default might be a better option for Greece than continued recession.

Mark also wrote about the recent protests in Greece in thisGuardian column, and was cited in coverage by the BBC, Voice of America, and Firstpost (India’s largest news site), among others. Mark has also discussed Greece’s debt crisis on a string of radio programs. Mark’s, and CEPR’s, perspective on Greece have carried into the Greek media, where Mark continues to be interviewed by a variety of outlets, and other European coverage as well. His latest interview with the BBC can be seen here.

CEPR on the U.S. Debt Ceiling and Deficits
As debt ceiling talks heat up (and break down), CEPR released a primer on seven key facts you should know about the deficit.  “7 Things You Need to Know about the National Debt, Deficits, and the Dollar,” covers seven key points about the national debt, budget and trade deficits, and the dollar and shows why a clear, unfiltered understanding of them is crucial to current policy debates.

CEPR Co-director Dean Baker discussed the debt ceiling negotiations on CNBC’s Kudlow Report. Dean also wrote this column on the debt ceiling. Here Dean takes down the deficit hawks, and in this article in the Nation from earlier this month he comments on President Obama’s silence on the debt ceiling talks. He also penned this op-ed for the New Republic.


CEPR on Work Sharing and Financial Transaction Taxes

A new CEPR paper on work sharing shows that it may be the most effective way to avoid many layoffs and quickly return the economy to full employment with little additional spending. According to the paper’s author Dean Baker: "The labor market in the United States is still suffering the effects of the last recession. With the economy operating well below its full capacity, work sharing could be a significant factor in preventing layoffs and lowering the unemployment rate."

Dean discussed Germany’s experience with work sharing with Bloomberg News, and he talked about jobs and work sharing on MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan show. The Today Show’s Life Inc. featured a graph from CEPR Senior Economist John Schmitt’s May 2011 paper on recent labor-market performance of 21 rich countries that focused on Germany and Denmark. And Representative John Conyers’ SHARE Act is featured as one of the five smartest congressional bills you’ve never heard of in this Nation article. The article mentions Dean’s and Paul Krugman’s support of work sharing. Coincidently, both the Center for American Progress and the New America Foundation also published issue briefs about work sharing on the same day as CEPR, a sign perhaps that work sharing is an idea whose time has finally come.

CEPR’s other prescription for economic recovery, the financial transaction tax, received an endorsement by the European parliament. Dean’s 2008 paper, "Benefits of a Financial Transactions Tax", was cited in the preamble of the resolution.


CEPR on the Brazilian Economy
CEPR Research Associate Franklin Serrano and his colleague Ricardo Summa released a paper that looks at the combination of external changes and changes in macroeconomic policy that contributed to an annual growth rate of 4.2% from 2004 – 2010. Mark Weisbrot wrote this related op-ed on the Brazilian economy for Folha de Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest newspaper.

CEPR’s most recent Latin American Data Byte also focused on Brazil. As CEPR Research Associate Rebecca Ray reports, Brazil’s first quarter GDP shows continued expansion, driven by manufacturing and private consumption. CEPR’s Latin American Data Bytes offer brief, timely analysis of official data releases from governments and multilateral organizations.  Published approximately three times every month, the Bytes will cover topics such as GDP, inflation, employment, and other key indicators of economic development.


CEPR on the Road
On June 2nd, Shawn Fremstad,  Director of CEPR’s Inclusive and Sustainable Economy Initiative, took part in a panel on "Challenges and Successes of Using Scanner Data for Public Policy" at this conference. It was moderated by Ephraim Leibtag of the USDA's Economic Research Serivce and other panelists included Mary Muth (RTI International), Mark Lino (Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, USDA), and Helen Jensen (Iowa State University). Shawn's talk was based in part on a report he authored titled "Income, Inequality, and Food Prices."

On June 6th, CEPR Senior Economist Eileen Appelbaum chaired a panel discussing the role of finance in the real economy and its effect on firms, jobs, and labor relations. Panelists included Damon Silvers of the AFL-CIO, Rosemary Blatt of Cornell University, and William Millberg of the New School for Social Research. On June 9th Eileen participated in an event co-sponsored by CEPR and the Economic Policy Institute titled “Flexible, Family-Friendly Labor Policy: Maximum Benefit for Minimal Costs”. The forum examined the issues of paid family and sick leave in the United States and Australia. The featured presenter was Marian Baird, Professor of Work and Organizations and Director of the Women and Work Research Group at the University of Sydney Business School. Eileen and EPI’s Elise Gould were on the panel.

CEPR Senior Economist John Schmitt joined researchers from several policy organizations for a roundtable discussion on jobs, wages and public-sector collective bargaining on June 6th.  On June 9th, John traveled to Cleveland, OH for the 2011 Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Policy summit. John took part in a panel on the interrelationship between housing markets and labor markets. Other speakers on the panel included Abigail Wozniak, assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame, and Joseph Tracy, executive vice president and senior adviser to the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Dean Baker traveled to Wilmington, DE on June 21st for an event sponsored by the Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council. Dean spoke on how non-profits and community activists may want to frame their arguments when discussing economics, tax rates and government spending. He was on Capitol Hill on June 27th for a briefing on Social Security. Other speakers included Joan Entmacher, vice president for Family Economic Security at the National Women's Law Center, and Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners. The briefing was moderated by Alison Reardon, legislative director for the Strengthen Social Security Campaign.


More CEPR Noteworthy News
--CEPR’s paper “Ex-Offenders and the Labor Market” by John Schmitt and CEPR Program Assistant Kris Warner was featured in a Drug Policy Alliance report released by the ACLU of Ohio. Kris also provided additional data for the report.

--John Schmitt was asked to join the EARN (Economic Analysis and Research Network) advisory group. EARN is a network of state and regional multi-issue research, policy, and advocacy organizations.

 

--Dean Baker appeared on PBS’s Newshour, discussing pensions. He was also on CNBC’s Kudlow Report making the economic argument against a tax holiday on U.S. business’ overseas profits. On the 27th he was on The Big Picture with Thom Hartman, talking about the debt ceiling and work sharing. And on the 28th, he was on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor”, where he explained the origins of the recession to Laura Ingraham.

--Eileen Appelbaum published this op-ed on paid sick days for the Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity. She also penned this one for Alternet  that outlines how the push for austerity harms the U.S. economic recovery, and this one for Truthout.org that lays out the argument against a tax holiday.

--CEPR research on the loss of wealth caused by the collapse of the housing bubble was featured in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times titled “The Nest-Egg Myth”.

--Mark Weisbrot’s column, “Fed Needs Accountability, Not Secrecy, Starting at the Top”,  appeared in the Sacramento Bee and was re-printed in 16 other newspapers across the country.

--June was another busy month for CEPR’s Social Security Monitor, with members of Congress earning letters from both Mark and Dean after they made false statements about Social Security. As part of CEPR’s Congressional Accuracy Letter Writing Campaign, Mark sent a letter correcting misstatements to Representative Joe Heck (R-NV), and Dean sent letters to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Representative Sam Johnson (R-TX), Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), and Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND).

--Mark wrote two columns for The Guardian and Peru’s La República newspaper on Peru’s presidential elections – the latest Latin American election to elect a candidate, Ollanta Humala, opposed to neoliberal economic policies. Mark was also cited in news coverage  of the election, and interviewed by various radio shows.

--CEPR’s blog “Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch” continues to attract considerable attention, with recent posts on Wikileaks documents, cholera, and other topics receiving several thousand hits.

--CEPR’s 2007 report “No-Vacation Nation” continues to be mentioned in the press. Recent hits include articles in the Indiana News and Tribune, the Palm Beach Post, the Dayton Daily News and the Denver Examiner. The report, a review of  international vacation and holiday laws, found that the US is the only advanced nation that doesn't guarantee its workers and paid vacation or holidays.

--Dean's book The Conservative Nanny State is now available free of charge in a variety of e-book formats, including Amazon's Kindle and Barnes and Noble's NOOK. Look for Dean's new book to be released in August (more details coming in July's CEPR News – stay tuned!)

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