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CEPR News October 2012

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Written by Dawn Lobell   
Thursday, 01 November 2012 13:00

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

CEPR Launches The Americas Blog: Analysis Beyond the Echo Chamber
CEPR’s latest blog seeks to present a more accurate perspective on economic and political developments in the Western Hemisphere than is often presented in the United States. It provides information about Latin America that is often ignored, buried, and sometimes misreported in the major U.S. media. CEPR’s economic expertise also allows for analysis of important economic data and trends that are missed by other sources. CEPR has repeatedly been ahead of the curve in identifying important economic trends in the hemisphere, including the United States.

Recent blog posts have included these two posts by CEPR’s International Communications Director Dan Beeton on Honduras and this one on Latin American elections by CEPR Program Assistant Sara Kozameh. In addition, CEPR Research Associate Jake Johnston provides daily headlines – summaries of news items from across Latin America.


CEPR on Unemployment
A new issue brief by CEPR Co-director Dean Baker assesses the cause of U.S. unemployment. The brief, “The Problem with Structural Unemployment in the U.S.,” provides evidence that a lack of demand caused by the collapse of the housing bubble is at the root the unemployment crisis, not a mismatch between the skills of the unemployed and the types of jobs available as some have argued. The brief was mentioned several times in this piece in the Washington Post’s Think Tanked blog.

Dean schooled former chief executive of General Electric, Jack Welch, on how the BLS compiles the unemployment numbers in this op-ed on CNN.com.  Dean also explained the jobs numbers to Fox Business News. You can read Dean’s analysis of the September numbers in this Jobs Byte. And here’s a graph that shows the unemployment rate for select sectors.


CEPR on Venezuela
CEPR closely followed the recent presidential election in Venezuela. Prior to the election on Sunday, October 7, CEPR released a report by Economist David Rosnick that utilized polling data from the various polling firms in Venezuela over the years 2004-2010 to adjust the most recent polling data for polling firm bias in past elections. The paper was cited in a Washington Post blog post that noted CEPR had predicted the election would not be close (incumbent president Hugo Chávez finished with an eleven point margin of victory over challenger Henrique Capriles). Prior to the election, CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot highlighted the unreliability of Venezuelan polling in this Guardian op-ed – another example of CEPR differing with the conventional wisdom (of a close election) repeated in major U.S. media, and turning out to be right.

Mark wrote other op-eds during the lead up to the elections, including this one on how the press contributes to the demonization of Chávez. He was also interviewed by Al Jazeera’s Inside Story as well as KPFK’s Sojourner Truth (mp3), and he was quoted in several news stories including this one on CNN.com.

CEPR live-blogged the day of the election, from 7:00 a.m. to almost 11:30 at night, offering up to the minute observations from election monitors in Venezuela, news reports, and other sources. Mark published this op-ed in the New York Times online the day after the election, explaining to readers that Chávez’ overwhelming victory was not unexpected by those who know about his government’s accomplishments, including a reduction in poverty and a rise in living standards.

Mark was quoted by numerous media sources about the election results, including Salon, the major Spanish newswire EFE, and Truthout. He appeared on RT’s The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann (here), and was interviewed by the Real News (here).  He was also interviewed a second time by Al Jazeera’s Inside Story. He also gave several radio interviews (here and here (mp3)).

CEPR’s work on Venezuela was also cited extensively in the Venezuelan and Spanish-language press, including major Venezuelan papers El Mundo, Ultimas Noticias, and El Universal. Mark offered additional insight and analysis on the election in these posts for CEPR’s The Americas Blog.
 

CEPR on the Presidential (and VEEP) Debates

CEPR listened in to the Presidential debates, and we had a few things to say. Mark was part of a panel of foreign policy experts asked by The Guardian to comment on the third debate. “It was a victory just to have drones mentioned,'’ said Mark (here’s the rest of his analysis).

Meanwhile, Dean had his own debate with Grover Norquist on The Kudlow Report prior to the Vice-Presidential debate, and he offered some post-VP debate analysis in this piece in Marketwatch.

Dean also wrote several op-eds calling out President Obama for saying that there was little difference between his position on Social Security and Governor Romney's, as well as the President’s comments during the first debate that Social Security needs to be “tweaked.” “When President Obama links arms with Romney on Social Security, it is not good news for supporters of the program. Nor was the situation made better by the desire to ’tweak‘ the system,” wrote Dean. He reiterated those thoughts in this piece for Yahoo! News.

And in this op-ed that appeared in over 20 newspapers across the country (including the Sacramento Bee, the Charlotte Observer and the Dallas Morning News) Mark examines the imperfect election-related question “are you better off than you were 4 years ago?” and how much it pertains to the current election.
 

CEPR on Haiti

Jake Johnston wrote this Alternet article about Chemonics, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s largest private contractor in Haiti, and was cited in these articles by the AP and Global Post on Chemonics’ lacking progress, despite the millions it has received in U.S. taxpayer dollars. Jake and other CEPR staff have been following reconstruction efforts in Haiti in the years after the earthquake through CEPR’s Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch blog. Recent blog posts discuss the ongoing cholera epidemic two-years after U.N. troops caused the outbreak, chronicled the problems with the highly-touted Caracol Industrial Park, and analyzed the continuing housing crisis.
 

CEPR on Private Equity

CEPR Senior Economist Eileen Appelbaum has written extensively on the role of private equity in the U.S. economy. Her latest piece in Truthout suggests that companies would benefit from a “pre-nup” agreement to prevent asset-stripping if taken over by PE. Eileen was also quoted in this extensive article on private equity.
 

CEPR: More Bang for the Buck

CEPR has been called a “rather effective David” when compared with other think tanks in Washington, and a recent listing of the top 50 bears this out. CEPR ranked 16 out of 50 in the Linktank Blog’s recently-published list of the most popular D.C. think tanks. 

We’re especially proud of this ranking when you compare our budget with those of the other contenders. Take, for example, the American Enterprise Institute: They are ranked only 2 spots higher (at number 14 on the list), yet their budget is 15 times larger than CEPR’s. And we placed higher on the list than several other well-known (and well-funded) names such as the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Aspen Institute.

CEPR has consistently ranked first in media hits per budget dollar of all major think tanks, based on an analysis of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting’s think tank media citation rankings and organizational budgets. We’ve also consistently ranked first in web hits per budget dollar. 

Maybe next year they will rate the think tanks on effective use of funds.  If so, Heritage will have a real fight on their hands.

CEPR New and Noteworthy
-- Eileen Appelbaum was recently appointed to the Editorial Board of the ILRReview (formerly the Industrial and Labor Relations Review), the premier U.S. journal in this field. Eileen also serves on the editorial boards of two international journals, Human Resource Management Journal and International Labour Journal, and the International Advisory Board of the British Journal of Industrial Relations. Eileen was also recently elected to serve on the Board of the Industry Studies Association.

-- Dean and Paul Krugman have a friendly argument…

-- This CEPR Blog post by Domestic Intern Mark Azic looks at U.S. debt projections as a percentage of GDP, and shows what those projections would look like if the U.S. healthcare system had the same cost per person as Australia, Canada, or Germany. [Hint: Future debt would be a lot lower.]

-- The Washington Post’s WonkBlog’s Dylan Matthews revised this article after CEPR’s David Rosnick pointed to errors in Matthews’ data source.

-- On October 28, Dean took part in a Q & A following a screening of Brad Lichtenstein’s "As Goes Janesville” at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC. The documentary follows three years in the lives of laid-off workers trying to reinvent themselves, business leaders aligned with the Governor to promote a pro-business agenda that they believe will woo new companies to town, and a state senator caught in the middle, trying to bring peace to his warring state and protect workers' rights. 

-- Dean traveled to Tucson on October 8, where he took part in a panel discussion on the "Future of Retirement Security" as part of the National Council on Teacher Retirement's Annual Convention. On the 16 he was in New York, where he took part in a forum sponsored by Physicians for a National Health Program, on the threats Medicare faces post-election and during a lame duck Congress. 

-- On October 4, Dean participated in a panel discussion on financial transaction taxes. Held in Washington at the D.C. Bar, the discussion focused on recently enacted and proposed financial transaction taxes in Europe, including France's new tax on high frequency orders, as well as the potential for some form of financial transactions tax in the United States. Other panelists included Thornton Matheson, Economist, Tax Policy, International Monetary Fund; Lee Sheppard, Contributing Editor, Tax Notes; and Steven Rosenthal, Visiting Fellow, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (Moderator).

-- Here is Dean on Bloomberg Television's "Surveillance,” talking about taxes, deficits and stimulus with Luigi Zingales, a professor of finance at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business.

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