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Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King on Poverty Measurement Print
Monday, 09 December 2013 14:27

Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary opening statement at his 1964 trial in Pretoria includes this on poverty:

"The government answers its critics by saying that Africans in South Africa are better off than the inhabitants of the other countries in Africa. I do not know whether this statement is true. But even if it is true, as far as the African people are concerned it is irrelevant. Our complaint is not that we are poor by comparison with people in other countries, but that we are poor by comparison with the white people in our own country, and that we are prevented by legislation from altering this imbalance."


Jobs Data Flash: Broad Based Job Gains Lead to Big Drop in Unemployment Print
Written by Dean Baker   
Friday, 06 December 2013 00:00

The economy added 203,000 jobs in November after adding a revised 200,000 in October, the first time the economy has seen consecutive months of 200,000 plus job growth since November and December of last year. The strong job growth led to a drop of 0.3 percentage points in the unemployment rate to 7.0 percent. This drop was due to increased employment as the employment-to-population ratio rose by 0.3 pp to 58.6 percent, reversing a fall of the same amount reported for October.



President’s Inequality Speech Pretty Good, Except for the Part Calling for Block Granting Food Stamps Print
Thursday, 05 December 2013 14:15

Wordle: Obama's Inequality Speech

I’m with Larry Mishel in thinking that President Obama mostly hit the right notes in his speech on inequality yesterday, while also agreeing with Larry and Dean Baker on some of the “misguided distractions” in the speech.



Beyond the So-Called Poverty Line: The Income-Hardship Gradient Today Print
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 12:52

My former CBPP colleague Arloc Sherman has a great, just-the-facts post on the extent to which Americans experience economic hardship, like difficulty affording adequate food, living in overcrowded housing, not being able to pay rent or the mortgage on time, or having utilities cut off. As Sherman notes, Census recently found that several measures of specific economic hardships increased between 2005 between 2011.



Work Sharing: A Win for Both Employees and Employers Print
Tuesday, 03 December 2013 10:20

In their new book, Jared Bernstein and CEPR's Dean Baker feature work sharing (a.k.a. short-time compensation) as a way to have more jobs in this economy. They highlight the program's striking success in Germany, where "its unemployment rate has actually fallen by more than 2.0 percentage points from its pre-crisis level, in spite of the fact that its economic growth has been no better than that of the United States."



More Bad Mommies in Poverty From Nick Kristof Print
Monday, 02 December 2013 13:18

In his Thanksgiving Day column, Nick Kristof highlights Bad Mommies in Povertyincluding:

  1. Alcoholic Mommy of preschooler;
  2. Teenage Mommy who “drinks so much during pregnancy that her child is born with fetal alcohol effects”; and
  3. Abusive, Stressed-Out Single Mommy “who doesn’t read to her children and slaps them more than she hugs them.”


CEPR News November 2013 Print
Monday, 02 December 2013 12:53

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

CEPR on Honduras

CEPR’s paper, “ Honduras Since the Coup: Economic and Social Outcomes,” [PDF] examines Honduras’ economy and finds that much of the economic and social progress experienced from 2006 – 2009 has been reversed in the years that followed. The paper, by CEPR researchers Jake Johnston and Stephan Lefebvre, shows that economic inequality in Honduras has increased dramatically since 2010, while poverty has worsened, unemployment has increased, and underemployment has risen dramatically, with many more workers receiving less than the minimum wage.



Every Day Low Wages Print
Written by Janelle Jones and John Schmitt   
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 14:29

Workers at retail establishments across the country are gearing up for Black Friday sales. Workers at Walmart are also preparing for a series of actions across the country to protest low-wages at the retail giant.



Miracle of Miracles: Good Reporting on Modern Family Structures in the NYT Print
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 16:02

Over the last year or so, the NYT has repeatedly dropped the ball in news stories and commentaries that involve modern family structures, particularly when it comes to working-class families and ones headed by an unmarried parent(s).



The “War on Poverty” was a Fairly Conservative Initiative (Contra Ron Haskins, Cato, Heritage, AEI, and the Tea Party) Print
Monday, 25 November 2013 16:12

Over at the Brookings site, Ron Haskins rehearses the standard conservative story about the “War on Poverty” (which I’ll abbreviate here as WoP).



Skills and Growth Print
Monday, 25 November 2013 14:24

The OECD recently released an enormously useful 466-page report(pdf) on labor-market skills in its member countries. The document is the first of what will be an annual series of OECD Skills Outlook reports, in the style of the organization’s regular Employment Outlookand Economic Outlook publications.



Living Wages for Workers Print
Monday, 25 November 2013 11:04

In Local Living Wage Ordinances: Experience, Evidence and Best Practice, a recent report by the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS), author Jody Knauss makes the case for increases in the minimum wage and discusses the most beneficial components of living wage laws.



Labor Market Policy Research Reports, November 9- November 22, 2013 Print
Friday, 22 November 2013 15:29

The following labor market policy research reports were recently released:  



Don't Blame the Robots Print
Friday, 22 November 2013 11:28

Earlier this week, the Economic Policy Institute and CEPR released a paper (pdf) by Larry Mishel, Heidi Shierholz (both of EPI) and me, which argues that the evidence in favor of the view that technology is causing economic inequality is weak.

The paper covers a lot of ground and is fairly technical, so I won’t attempt to summarize it in a blog post. You can read a one paragraph summary here and a longer executive summary at the EPI web site.



Paul Ryan Getting Advice on Poverty Policy From K Street Organization that Receives Most of Its Funding From Government Print
Thursday, 21 November 2013 15:20

This should have been the title of the Washington Post story earlier this week on Paul Ryan. The story says that Paul Ryan has sought the help of Bob Woodson to “gather community leaders for an event next year, and to help him compare the results of their work with the 78 means-tested programs that have cost the federal government $15 trillion since 1964.” This is interesting since Woodson is the CEO of a tax-exempt corporation with a K Street address that receives most of its funding from government grants, a relevant fact, which alas, the WaPo does not provide to its readers.



Why Doesn’t Nick Kristof Hate Food Stamps Too? Print
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 14:35

In this Sunday’s NYT, Nick Kristof calls readers to the barricades to fight against proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). As he puts it, “slashing food stamp benefits—overwhelmingly for children, the disabled and the elderly—wouldn’t be a sign of prudent fiscal management … it would be a mark of shortsighted cruelty.”



Extra! Extra! Read All About It! Print
Tuesday, 19 November 2013 12:54

Reporters Everywhere to Adopt Baker Standard for Budget Reporting



If Tina Rosenberg Really Wants to “Fight Obesity”, She Should Start by Getting Her Facts About Federal Nutrition Programs Right Print
Monday, 18 November 2013 16:25

In an NYT online commentary, Tina Rosenberg argues that low-income workers should not be allowed to use SNAP benefits (food stamps) to purchase foods that are not “healthful.” The main argument she makes involves WIC, a federal food program that provides vouchers to purchase certain specified foods that supplement the diets of low-income children under age 5 and certain women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or postpartum. According to Rosenberg, changes in late 2009 to the WIC food package may explain a small but significant drop in obesity rates the CDC recently observed among low-income preschoolers in 18 states between 2008 and 2011.



Top Secret Trade Deal WikiLeaked: It Is What We Expected Print
Friday, 15 November 2013 11:15

WikiLeaks once again provided a valuable public service, releasing a working draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s (TPP) chapter on intellectual property. The chapter has many of the provisions that critics had feared.



CBO's Curious Claims About Supplemental Security for Children with Severe Disabilities Print
Friday, 15 November 2013 00:00
In a discussion about the budgetary impact of cutting federal expenditures by roughly .26% of the federal budget by completely taking Supplemental Security benefits away from working-class children with severe disabilities, the Congressional Budget Office makes a couple of curious claims:


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