Blog postings by CEPR staff and updates on the latest briefings and activities at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Heather Boushey moderated a panel on work/family class issues at a Barnard College conference, The Work/Family Dilemma: A Better Balance. The event featured a variety of speakers discussing low-income working women, the difficulties they face in supporting their families, and future policy proposals. Add a comment

Dean Baker submitted testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee hearing, The Causes of Economic Hardship for the Middle Class. Dean argues that the upward redistribution of wealth over the last 25 years was primarily the result of policy changes and not simply the natural workings of the market. He discusses four policy areas that should be improved: trade and immigration, Federal Reserve Board, labor-management, and corporate governance.

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After a year of drafting letters and organizing researchers to oppose the elimination of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), we are pleased that Congress has fully funded the SIPP for another year. More on the SIPP can be found at http://www.ceprdata.org/savesipp/index.php. Add a comment

Mark Weisbrot participated in a Financial Times online chat on Venezuela with FT's Latin America editor Richard Lapper and economist Francisco Rodríguez (includes transcript).

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CEPR Board Member Peter Barnes, co-founder of Working Assets, came to Washington, DC this week to discuss his new book, Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons. At the bookstore cafe Busboys and Poets, he talked about his vision for fixing capitalism to protect the commons and share resources for environmental and social goods.

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CEPR Director of Finance and Administration Nicole Woo presents Peter Barnes with a CEPR t-shirt.

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At a press breakfast in Washington, DC, Mark Weisbrot discussed the state of U.S.-Latin American relations with Dr. Riordan Roett, Director of Western Hemisphere Studies for the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). They examined how a new wave of Latin American leaders is changing the face of the region and its relations with the U.S., multilateral institutions, international financial markets, and foreign investors, while at the same time, U.S. influence in the region has waned significantly under the Bush administration. Audio files available. Add a comment
CEPR's Heather Boushey and Liz Chimienti joined John Quinterno from the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center to discuss the Bridging the Gaps project with researchers and advocates in Raleigh, Charlotte and Asheville, NC. Heather presented initial findings on the number of people eligible and receiving six public work supports in North Carolina. She also received feedback on the project from several of the governor’s staff. The trip was covered in the Asheville Citizen-Times. Add a comment
Dean Baker and Heather Boushey traveled to Chicago last week to participate in the Allied Social Sciences Association (ASSA) conference. Heather gave two presentations. In the first, she joined Randy Albelda from the University of Massachusetts-Boston to present the initial findings of the Bridging the Gaps project: Bridging the Gaps: Can Single Mothers Package Earnings and Government Benefits to Make Ends Meet? Heather's second talk, The Wage-Curve: Cognitive Ability, Schooling, Race, Unemployment Probabilities and the Black-White Wage Gap, was presented with William M. Rodgers, III from Rutgers University and William E. Spriggs from Howard University.
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For the next six weeks, John Schmitt will be working for CEPR from Barcelona, where he will be teaching at the Pompeu Fabra University. John has been a visiting professor there since 1999. This year he'll be giving two courses, one on political economy and another on labor markets. Add a comment
Thanks to Public Citizen for hosting our annual holiday party, and to CEPR's friends and supporters for helping us celebrate! Add a comment
Dean Baker spoke at a Center for American Progress lunch panel on The Economic and Policy Implications of the Housing Bubble (includes video and transcript). Excerpt from Dean's remarks: "I know everyone talks about housing -- the American dream -- and if you’re running for office you’d better say that, but...what we want to have is, on the one hand, people to have good, decent, safe, and secure housing. That can be done through rent. Secondly, we want people to be able to save for their retirement, for their kids’ education, or whatever it might be. Obviously one way to do that is through homeownership, but that’s not the only way to do that." Add a comment
The Center for Economic and Policy Research is celebrating our 7th anniversary this month. Thanks to all our colleagues, friends and funders for supporting us through the years. For a list of our activities since September, check out the latest CEPR Update. Add a comment
CEPR launched its newly designed website. New features include a growing library of radio and audio files (see Multimedia); an issue-by-issue list of our publications and commentaries (see Issues); and an RSS feed that enables subscribers to automatically receive our latest reports and op-eds. CEPR’s communications director Lynn Erskine led the hardworking web-transition team of Rozina Ali, Kathryn Bogel, Nihar Bhatt, and Rebecca Ray. Add a comment
Supporting Families, our five-part briefing series held on Capitol Hill, came to a close yesterday in a session that was extremely informative and well-attended. At the briefing, Opportunities for Policymakers to Make a Difference, we were proud to host three influential speakers: Eileen Appelbaum, professor and director of the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University; Heidi Hartmann, director of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research; and Kate Kahan, director of Work and Family Programs at the National Partnership for Women and Families. Each speaker addressed a different vital policy opportunity: adopting the Work and Family Bill of Rights; passing the Healthy Families Act; and expanding the Family Medical Leave Act. Following these presentations, staff from the eight co-sponsoring offices (Sens. Obama, Clinton, Dodd, and Kennedy; and Reps. DeLauro, Maloney, Miller and Woolsey) highlighted their current work and family legislative priorities. Pictures and audio files from the event are available on our website. Add a comment
Mark Weisbrot presented on the 25-year growth failure in developing countries, the protections included in so-called “free trade” agreements, and the downward pressure on U.S. wages, among other topics, at a discussion entitled "Globalization and Free Trade: Who Wins/Loses?" at American University’s Kay Spiritual Life Center. AU School of International Service faculty member Steve Cohen also presented. Over 140 students, faculty members, and others attended the event. Add a comment
The elimination of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) was named one of the most censored stories of 2006. Project Censored, a media research group based in Sonoma State University, produces a list of 25 news stories each year that are overlooked, under-reported, or self-censored in the mainstream media. In their story about the SIPP (number four on their list), they explain that the elimination of the survey will create a knowledge deficit on the efficacy of the government’s social programs. The article highlights that the efforts to save the SIPP have been primarily spearheaded by Heather Boushey and the rest of the staff at the CEPR. Visit our page for more information on the progress to Save the SIPP. Add a comment
Doughnut Hole Day -- the day millions of senior citizens would fall into the financial "Doughnut Hole" designed into the Medicare Part D plan -- brought thousands of meetings and demonstrations across the country to protest the design of the plan. As part of the campaign to raise awareness of the issue, Dean Baker spoke at a community meeting in Champaign, IL. He explained the inefficiencies that were designed into Medicare Part D and how the Doughnut Hole (designed in order to save the government money), is an unnecessary burden to millions of senior citizens. To learn more about the subject, see: "Waste in the Medicare Drug Benefit: Why the Doughnut Hole is Unnecessary." Add a comment
CEPR economist John Schmitt spoke in Krakow, Poland, last week at a conference on the future of Europe, organized by the European Parliament and the Polish Parliament. John presented an extension of his CEPR paper "Is the U.S. a Good Model for Reducing Social Exclusion in Europe?", co-authored with CEPR research assistant Ben Zipperer. Other speakers at the conference included the President of the European Parliament, Josep Borrell, and academics and politicians from across Europe. Add a comment

For our fourth Supporting Families briefing, CEPR was proud to host Ann Crittenden, award-winning journalist and author of If You've Raised Kids, You Can Manage Anything and The Price of Motherhood. Ms. Crittenden debunked the myth that since motherhood is a choice, employers should have no obligation to accommodate employees with children. Instead, she offered policy alternatives to address the needs of working parents. She suggested that policymakers who work to fill these needs could earn the support of millions of voting parents, regardless of political party. Materials and an mp3 recording of the briefing can be found here.

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Ann Crittenden talks to Congressional staff about policies that support working parents.

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Dean took part in a conference in Geneva on measuring the cost to developing countries of TRIPS plus provisions of trade agreements. The conference was sponsored by the World Health Organization, the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, and the World Bank Institute. Add a comment
Heather Boushey spoke to a packed room at the New America Foundation on Life, Work, and Debt for Generations X and Y." (Video and audio) Add a comment