The following newsletter highlights CEPR’s latest research, publications, events, and much more.
— CEPR Senior Associate for International Policy Alexander Main penned this op-ed for the The New York Times on corruption in Honduras. In the piece, Alex writes that a growing number of Hondurans are insisting on an independent, United Nations-backed body to investigate corruption charges against the current president and others in his party. Alex also notes that 54 members of Congress have urged Secretary of State John Kerry to support this demand.
The piece was picked up — and commented on — by several media outlets in Honduras, and it even sparked an editorial cartoon there, here. Alex was interviewed about the op-ed by The Real News, and was cited in this Think Progress article.
— CEPR is happy to see that the Washington Post is finally taking financial transaction taxes (FTTs) seriously: “They [FTTs] represent a ‘tempting’ option that might help the United States raise revenue while curbing speculative excess”. This follows a supportive op-ed in the The New York Times that ran in January. CEPR has written extensively on the benefits of FTTs for years and we see this shift in the debate as a real victory for CEPR and all groups advocating for the FTT.
— CEPR Senior Economist Eileen Appelbaum’s January 14, 2016, testimony in support of Bill No. 21-415 (The Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015) before the Washington D.C. Council can be read here. Eileen testified on her research showing the economic and financial benefits of paid family and medical leave for workers and businesses. CEPR Domestic Intern Rynn Reed penned this post for the CEPR Blog on the case for paid leave. And Eileen’s 2014 study of the employment effects of Connecticut’s Paid Sick Days law was citedin this op-ed in the Baltimore Sun on how paid sick days are a win-win for Maryland workers and businesses.
— CEPR’s Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch blog cross-posted this update on Haiti’s elections from the Haiti Elections Blog, a collaboration of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, CEPR, 1804 Institute, Haiti Support Group, the National Lawyers Guild International Committee, and International Association of Democratic Lawyers. The post discusses the political crisis in Haiti, which persists despite the recent election of Jocelerme Privert as provisional president by the National Assembly. CEPR Research Associate and Haiti Blog contributor Jake Johnston was in Haiti this month as political leaders and representatives of the international community worked to broker a solution, and was interviewed on the election crisis for CBC Radio’s “The Current,” BBC World News, and other outlets.
The Haiti Blog also posted this piece on a scandal in the electoral bureau of Haiti’s Artibonite department, as well as this earlier piece on a survey of Haitian attitudes regarding the electoral process. The survey found that a majority of Haitians lack faith in the current electoral process, but it also indicated that faith could be restored if certain actions are taken to prevent fraud and abuse.
— CEPR Co-director Dean Baker wrote this op-ed on money and politics. CEPR also weighed in on the debate over University of Massachusetts economist Gerald Friedman’s analysis of Bernie Sanders’ economic platform. Friedman’s analysis has been criticized by many, including four former heads of the Council of Economic Advisors, who, as Dean pointed out in this Huffington Post piece, neglected to offer any evidence to back up their criticisms of Friedman except their own economic “expertise”. Dean questioned the New York Times’ definition of a left leaning economist in this Beat the Press critique of an article critiquing Sanders’ proposals, while an article in Jacobin titled “When Wonks Attack” featured a chart showing labor force participation rates by CEPR Economist David Rosnick.
Dean posted several other BTP posts calling out inaccuracies in both Friedman’s analysis as well as the media’s reporting of the impact of Sander’s plans. And while he was at it, he also took on Paul Krugman (here and here) as well as the New Yorker, here.
Speaking of the presidential candidates, The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler gave Donald Drumpf four Pinocchios for stating that allowing Medicare to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs would save $300 billion per year (on a program that in 2014 cost a total of $78 billion) Kessler cited a previous CEPR study that showed savings of between $230 billion to $541 billion over 10 years. Dean was also quoted in the piece on the high cost of prescription drugs, saying “As an economist, I find it utterly absurd that we are paying thousands of dollars for drugs that might sell for $10 or $20 a prescription in a free market.” (Dean also wrote this op-ed on the related topic of publically funded drug trials.)
— CEPR Co-director Mark Weisbrot wrote this op-ed for Fortune outlining four measures that Venezuela could take to create a path toward economic recovery, including making life affordable for poor and working Venezuelans, stabilizing the currency, eliminating dysfunctional price controls and adjusting to lower international oil prices. The op-ed also appeared in El Huffington Post and ÚltimasNoticias, among other outlets.
An audio version of Mark’s new book, "Failed: What the 'Experts' Got Wrong About the Global Economy," is now available, here, from Audible. Mark will discuss the book on March 29 at 4:00 pm at the New School for Social Research in New York (details here).
— CEPR Research Assistant Nicholas (Nick) Buffie wrote an op-ed for the Hill titled “Congress Needs to Press Yellen on Mistaken Rate Hike”, noting that “Since the Fed announced its rate hike, we've received nothing but sobering economic news.”
— CEPR Program Assistant Kevin Cashman wrote a CEPR Blog post on a calculator that he created showing when various wage incomes, if spread evenly throughout the year, reach Social Security tax freedom day — the last day when it’s subject to any Social Security taxes. As Kevin notes, that happened to fall on Valentine’s Day for people making $1,000,000 per year. The calculator was featured in the Huffington Post.
— Dean wrote this op-ed for the Los Angeles Times on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could be expected to worsen inequality, and he was quoted in the PBS News Hour’s Common Sense blog on wage growth.
Dean started off the month with this post looking at the January jobs numbers.
Former CEPR Director of Domestic Policy Nicole Woo wrote a post on work sharing, noting that the President’s 2017 budget provides $1.8 billion over ten years to expand work-sharing programs. Nicole joined Kevin and CEPR Research Associate Cherrie Bucknor in writing a post that asks “Who are the middle class?” And in this post Nicole and Cherrie looked at who would pay more if the Social Security payroll tax cap were raised.
Kevin also penned this FedWatch post noting that “Low Interest Rates in the Late 1990s Led to 4.2 Million More Workers Employed.”
Nick wrote several posts this past month, including this one on inequality and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections, this one — co-authored with Rynn — on declining labor force participation, this one on voluntary quits by black workers during the recession, this one on long-term unemployment and this one on how employers are hiring people who aren’t unemployed.
Beat the Press
In addition to the posts mentioned above, Dean took on perennial BTP fave Robert Samuelson, here, here and in this post titled “Robert Samuelson’s Candor Deficit.” He also noticed that Ross Douthat has trouble remembering the 1990s. He reminded Fareed Zakaria that the left does have solutions to address inequality (but he won’t find them in the WaPo), while here he took issue with the WaPo’s fact checker on privatizing Social Security. Nick joined Dean to pen this post on the CBO and budget deficit mania, while here Dean called strike three on the CBO.