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CEPR News November 2011

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Written by Dawn Lobell   
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 14:30

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

CEPR on the Eurozone
As the eurozone debt crisis continues to deepen, CEPR Co-directors Mark Weisbrot and Dean Baker released this joint statement calling for the Federal Reserve to intervene where the European Central Bank (ECB) won’t, and stabilize European bond markets by buying Italian and Spanish bonds – and other sovereign bonds as necessary – thereby lowering interest rates on these bonds. Dean followed up with this piece in Al-Jazeera that expands on the argument for why such intervention may be needed, Senior Economist Eileen Appelbaum was interviewed about it on Canada’s Business News Network, and Mark was interviewed for this piece that appeared in the Global Post.

CEPR has written extensively on Greece, Italy, the ECB and the future of the eurozone. CEPR’s research has had an influence on the debates, as evidenced by this article on CBS’s Moneywatch blog that references CEPR’s work on Argentina as a possible model for Greece, and this debate that Mark Weisbrot did opposite Dutch MEP Corien Wortmann-Kool with Channel 4 in the U.K. Mark also debated University of Bologna economist Paolo Manasse, in this video for The Real News Network.

Mark, who has appeared repeatedly on NPR, PBS, the BBC, and other media outlets to discuss the eurozone crisis over the past year, has continued to write attention-grabbing columns on the topic, such as this one for The Guardian, which argues that the ECB’s ideological commitment to austerity is driving the crisis deeper. Dean made a similar case against the ECB’s policies in columns for The Guardian and Al-Jazeera, and discussed these ideas on Irish national radio (RTE) and Pacifica’s KPFK among others.

Mark took this important analysis to Europe, where he presented at a conference in Riga, Latvia organized by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. Mark’s participation was widely covered in the Latvian media, and he was interviewed by numerous TV, radio, and newspaper outlets. Videos of Mark’s presentation, and a post-presentation interview, are available here.

Mark also participated in a discussion titled “The Future of Europe - How to Solve the Euro Crisis?” sponsored by the Georgetown University European Club. Other speakers at the November 14th event included Georgetown Professors Jeffrey Anderson and James Vreeland; and Heiko Hesse, an economist at the IMF and President of Washington European Society.


CEPR on the Not-So-Super Supercommittee
Dean’s take on the failure of the “Supercommittee” can be found in this Guardian column.
He was also quoted in this piece on ABCNews.com. Dean discussed the supercomittee with Dylan Ratigan and with Larry Kudlow on their respective shows.

CEPR’s Director of Domestic Policy Nicole Woo also weighed in, here discussing the fallout from the failure of the supercommittee to reach a deal on Background Briefing with Ian Masters, and here on WBAI’s Wake Up Call. Nicole also spoke with Radio France International.

CEPR on Unions
A recent CEPR paper concluded that the national political environment, not globalization or technology, is the most important factor driving long-run changes in unionization rates in the United States and other rich countries. The paper, by CEPR Senior Economist John Schmitt and Domestic Intern Alexandra Mitukiewicz, examined union membership and coverage in 21 wealthy economies from 1960 through 2010.  The paper attracted attention from U.S. and European bloggers including Andrew Watt at Social Europe,  the AFL-CIO blog, and Jonathan Tasini at workinglife.org.

In other union-related coverage, CEPR Program Assistant Kris Warner authored a blog post on the National Labor Relations Board. And CEPR’s March 2009 paper “Dropping the Ax: Illegal Firings During Union Election Campaigns, 1951-2007” by John Schmitt and CEPR Senior Research Associate Ben Zipperer was mentioned in a recent Truthout article on the firing of union organizers.

CEPR on the Financial Transactions Tax
Support continues to build for a financial transactions tax, or FTT. Dean released this statement on the announcement of the Wall Street Trading and Speculators Tax bill that was recently introduced by Senator Harkin (D-IA) and Representative DeFazio (D-OR):

Dean wrote this article on the FTT for the International Relations and Security Network. He also wrote this blog post debunking Obama Administration’s criticisms of the FTT.

Paul Krugman once again endorsed the FTT, recently declaring financial transactions as one of  “two areas in which it would make a lot of sense to raise taxes in earnest.”

On November 28th, Dean and Nicole met with the European Commissioner for Taxation Algirdas Šemeta, whose team drafted the proposed European Commission legislation on financial transactions taxes and carried out an impact assessment. Others in attendance included Valere Moutarlier, Member of Semeta's Cabinet, Bert Zuijdendorp, Head of Unit, Direct Tax Policy and Cooperation, European Commission, Michaela Muranova Chen, Senior Trade Advisor, Delegation of the European Union and other representatives from Americans for Financial Reform, Institute for Policy Studies, Wealth for the Common Good, International Trade Union, congressional legislative staff and the AFL-CIO.

CEPR @ #Occupy
On November 9th, Dean participated in “The Occupied Super Committee Hearing of the 99%,” a hearing that examined how to create a fair economy for all Americans. The event, held at Occupy Washington D.C.‘s Freedom Plaza encampment, featured several economists and activists.

Alexandra Mitukiewicz has been blogging on the Occupy Movement. You can follow her posts here, here and here.

Dean’s Truthout column “Time to Retake Politics from the One Percent in Both Political Parties”  speaks to many of the concerns of the 99%. The column was re-posted on several websites including Common Dreams.

CEPR on Right to Rent
CEPR’s right to rent plan, which would give foreclosed homeowners the option to stay in their house while paying a fair market rent, gained several notable endorsements this month, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Arianna Huffington wrote this impassioned plea in support of right to rent, mentioning several supporters that span the political spectrum.

The Washington Post’s Think Tanked blog also mentioned Dean’s work on right to rent, pointing out that this New Yorker piece draws heavily from Dean’s work. And Felix Salmon wrote this post for his Reuters blog that was picked up by several others.

CEPR on Paid Family Leave
As part of their study of California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) program, CEPR Senior Economist Eileen Appelbaum and colleague Ruth Milkman of CUNY surveyed registered voters in California in September 2011 to assess their awareness of the state’s PFL program. They found that since 2003, awareness of the program has grown substantially. Although fewer than half of voters (44.9 percent) were aware of PFL in 2011, this is a dramatic increase over 2003, when the figure was 29.7 percent.

The results of the field poll were released in Sacramento on November 16th at a televised event that was attended by members of the press. Later that same day, Appelbaum presented the results at a policy briefing on maternal and child health. The field poll was mentioned in this article in Ms. Magazine (blog) and in this piece in the California Work and Family Coalition blog.

CEPR on Social Security
As part of CEPR’s Social Security Congressional Accuracy Campaign, Senator
Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Representatives Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
received letters correcting misstatements they made about the solvency of the Social Security program. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also received a letter, his second.

Mark wrote this letter to the Washington Posts’ Obudsman, Patrick B. Pexton regarding Pexton's defense of a story published on October 29th that portrayed Social Security as "cash negative." Dean had previously criticized the article in this Beat the Press post.

In other Social Security news, CEPR released an issue brief by Senior Research Associate Shawn Fremstad that examines the essential role that Social Security plays in bolstering the retirement security of poorly compensated workers. CEPR also published an additional paper by Fremstad that looks at the importance of Social Security for direct care workers.  And Nicole Woo presented findings of the report she co-authored, “The Impact of Social Security Reform on People of Color,” to grassroots groups at a meeting sponsored by the Center for Community Change.

CEPR on Work-sharing
As Nicole Woo points out in this piece for the CEPR blog, work-sharing is a concept that has garnered support from across the political spectrum. The Wall Street Journal published this article that highlights a Rhode Island company’s successful use of work-sharing — reducing workers' hours instead of laying them off, with the workers getting partial unemployment benefits to make up much of their lost pay. Dean Baker was interviewed about work-sharing by the PBS program “Need to Know.” Dean was also interviewed in this piece for NPR’s Planet Money blog.

CEPR: New and Noteworthy
CEPR Senior Economist Eileen Appelbaum penned this op-ed on the story behind the Friendly’s restaurant chain’s filing for bankruptcy for the Huffington Post.

Nicole Woo participated in a congressional briefing entitled "Unemployed, Not Undeserving: Asian Americans, Unemployment, & Job Creation." The briefing, which was sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Education Fund, in cooperation with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, focused on unemployment in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.  Nicole presented findings from CEPR’s July 2011 paper, “Diversity and Change: Asian American and Pacific Islander Workers.”

John Schmitt traveled to Framingham, MA where he gave a talk on “Incarceration and the Labor Market.” The event was sponsored by the Sociology Department of Framingham State University.  John also spoke to students in three classes on incarceration, low-wage work, and the causes of rising economic inequality.

CEPR Economist David Rosnick traveled to Los Angeles to participate in a debate on “How to Solve the Unemployment Problem: Views from the Left, Right and Center” with Roger E.A. Farmer, chair and distinguished professor, UCLA Department of Economics; and Peter Schiff, CEO and chief global strategist at Euro Pacific Capital. David presented the view from the left in the debate, which was moderated by Tom Petruno, financial writer at the Los Angeles Times.

Dean Baker was also in southern California in November. Dean gave the keynote presentation at a summit on long- and short-term strategies to address unemployment, workforce development and growing the Long Beach, CA economy. The event was co-sponsored by Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Board, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, The Long Beach Ministerial Alliance and The California Endowment.

Prior to his trip to CA, Dean joined Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, in a discussion on how progressives can build a new economic order that is equitable, productive and responsive to the needs of all Americans. The discussion was part of Center for American Progress' Progressivism on Tap series. A video of the event is available here.

CEPR in the CFC, and the CSECC
Federal employees, remember that you can help support this work through the Combined Federal Campaign, CFC # 79613. And this year, California state employees can support CEPR through the California State Employee Charitable Campaign, CSECC # 26311.

On a related note…if you’d like to avoid the annual end-of-year fundraising email, click here. That’s right, if you donate now, we promise to take you off the list. One less plea in your inbox! Thanks (in advance) for including CEPR in your holiday giving plans. We really couldn’t do it without you.

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