The following newsletter highlights CEPR’s latest research, publications, events, and much more.
• CEPR’s international program joined the rest of the world in condemning the assassination of Honduran environmentalist and indigenous rights activist Berta Cáceres, who was murdered on March 3rd. CEPR issued this press release soon after the news of her killing had been announced, calling for an independent, international investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice. CEPR was also mentioned in this article in The Nation by Greg Grandin titled “The Clinton-Backed Honduran Regime Is Picking Off Indigenous Leaders.” Grandin writes of Hillary Clinton’s role in the Honduran coup: “Later, as Clinton’s emails were released, others, such as Robert Naiman, Mark Weisbrot and Alex Main, revealed the central role she played in undercutting Manuel Zelaya, the deposed president, and undercutting the opposition movement demanding his restoration. In so doing, Clinton allied with the worst sectors of Honduran society.” CEPR’s Honduras work was also cited in this post on NPR’s Latino USA, and this post on the Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting blog.
CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot discussed Clinton’s role in the coup in this video by the Campaign for America’s Future, and CEPR International Intern Ming Chun Tang summarized Mark’s points in this post for CEPR’s Americas Blog.
CEPR International Communications Director Dan Beeton wrote this post for the Verso Books blog on Berta Cáceres’ legacy, while CEPR Senior Associate for International Policy Alexander Main accompanied members of Cáceres’ family to meetings on Capitol Hill and with various officials, including OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro and U.S. State Department staff. CEPR co-sponsored a congressional briefing on March 23rd hosted by Representative Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) featuring Cáceres’ daughter, Laura Zúñiga Cáceres and Gaspar Sánchez, Member of the General Coordination of the organization Berta co-founded (COPINH) and its Coordinator for LGBTQ Rights. CEPR International Program Assistant Becca Watts wrote this post on the briefing for the Americas Blog, which includes video of the briefing.
• CEPR released an update to its much-cited paper regarding raising the retirement age. The new paper, “Still Working Hard: An Update on the Share of Older Workers in Physically Demanding Jobs” by CEPR Co-Director Dean Bakerand CEPR Research Associate Cherrie Bucknor, found that although there was a significant decline in the share of older workers who worked in jobs that had high physical demands in 2014 compared to 2009, those declines disproportionately went to better educated and higher paid workers. The study indicates that many workers – especially racial and ethnic minorities, less educated workers, and lower earners – would face serious hardship if the retirement age were raised. “Forcing older workers to work later into their life would pose a serious hardship for the millions of workers who work in physically demanding jobs or in difficult working conditions,” said Cherrie. The paper was featured in the Huffington Post, which focused on the impact of raising the retirement age on older Latino workers
• CEPR Senior Economist Eileen Appelbaum co-authored a paper on domestic outsourcing for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Chief Evaluation Office. Eileen and co-authors Annette Bernhardt, Rosemary Batt, Susan Houseman set out a comprehensive research agenda to analyze trends in domestic outsourcing in the U.S. — firms’ use of contractors and independent contractors — and its effects on job quality and inequality.
• CEPR has continued to closely monitor the electoral crisis in Haiti. On Friday, March 4, representatives from the Organization of American States and the U.S. State Department joined two visiting Haitian human rights leaders and two U.S.-based academics in a discussion on Haiti’s current electoral crisis. Organized by the Haiti Advocacy Working Group (a coalition of which CEPR is a partner) and sponsored by Representative Yvette Clarke (D-NY), the discussion focused on the fraud, irregularities and disputes behind the current electoral crisis, the selection of Provisional President Jocelerme Privert, and efforts to move the electoral process forward. A full description of the briefing as well as video can be found here.
CEPR’s Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Blog provided coverage of the ongoing electoral crisis, including this post on senate candidate and former paramilitary leader Guy Philippe’s threat that a “civil war” would occur if the Privert government fails to hold elections on April 24. Another post looks at the ramifications of the rejection of prime minister nominee Fritz Jean by Haiti’s chamber of deputies. Appointed by Jocelerme Privert, Jean’s rejection has all but eliminated any chance that elections can be held in April. CEPR Research Associate Jake Johnston explains these and other developments in an op-ed for AlterNet titled, “As Haiti Political Crisis Deepens, International Organizations Reducing Aid Just as the Country Needs It Most.”
• CEPR Domestic Program Assistant Kevin Cashman’s November 2015 CEPR Blog post on the cost of diapers continues to receive attention. The post looked at average expenditures for diapers by income. Recently, the White House blog cited Kevin’s post, noting that “the lowest-income quintile of families with infants pay 14 percent of their income for diapers alone”. The Washington Post wonk Blog also cited the post, including the graph.
• Alex was interviewed by The Real News about President Obama’s recent trip to Cuba, while Mark went on Burt Cohen’s show “Keeping Democracy Alive” to discuss whether Obama’s trips to Cuba and Argentina indicate a change in U.S. policy toward Latin America. Ahead of Obama’s trip, Mark wrote this op-ed for The Hill on the new right-wing Argentine government’s settlement with holdout vulture funds.
• Dean wrote several op-eds and Beat the Press posts on trade this past month. In this BTP post Dean said “The first point that everyone should remember is ‘free trade’ is just a term that the proponents of these deals throw around to make themselves feel virtuous and so that they can call their political opponents names. These deals are actually about selective protection, where protections that benefit some groups are left in place, while other groups (i.e. ordinary workers) are forced to compete with much lower paid workers in the developing world.”
Here, Paul Krugman backs Dean in his critique of Neil Irwin’s critique of Donald Trump’s trade scorecard. Dean also took on Kevin Drum (in two posts, here and here), David Ignatius, Robert Samuelson, Thomas Friedman and Eduardo Porter. Dean wrote this post and this op-ed on the Trans Pacific Partnership and Big Pharma, and in an op-ed comparing Trump’s trade positions with President Obama’s. • Dean wrote this working paper on publicly funded Drug Trials. Under this pilot proposal, government(s) would set aside a limited amount of funding to finance clinical trials and bring drugs through national approval processes. In addition to making potentially important new drugs available to the public, this pilot will set a model for transparency in research.
• Mark wrote an article for Boston Review that draws on themes of his recent book, “Failed: What the ‘Experts’ Got Wrong about the Global Economy. Mark discussed the eurozone and other topics he covers in his book on March 29 at the New School for Social Research in New York, and is speaking tonight at 6:00pm at the CUNY Graduate Center (details here).
• Dean wrote this piece on the gig economy in the CQ Researcher, and also gave his take on how full employment can help in the fight against poverty on the Talk Poverty blog. Here, Dean puts the odds that a new recession is coming at 15% (although he notes that slow growth is likely to continue).
• Mark’s op-ed titled “Venezuela: Dismantling a Weapon of Mass Destruction” on Venezuela’s black market for the dollar appeared in several publications including Venezuela’s largest circulation newspaper Últimas Noticias, the Triple Crisis and Dollars & Sense blogs, Tercera Información, and The Huffington Post.
• See Dean’s quote in an op-ed by Thomas B. Edsall on Donald Trump, here.
Dean and CEPR Research Assistant, Nick Buffie, wrote this post showing how wage inequality hurts low-wage workers more than the Social Security tax. Nick also wrote a post titled “Employers Aren’t Competing to Hire Workers – Workers Are Competing to Be Hired”, as well as this post commenting on the Federal Reserve Board’s Open Market Committee (FOMC) vote to not to raise interest rates at meeting. Nick noted that their statement indicated that they are still very much looking toward further rate hikes this year, although there appears to be little reason for this urgency. Dean also commented on the Fed and their Quest to raise rates.
CEPR Domestic Intern Rynn Reed wrote this post on recent CPI data, noting that much of the inflation in the core index is driven by the shelter component as rents have been rising at more than a 3.0 percent annual rate.
Beat the Press
In addition to the posts mentioned above some highlights from March include this post where Dean asks “Can We Stop with the Fear of Deflation Stuff Already? “ Here is Dean on Krugman on China, Trump and Romney, while here Dean recycled a BTP post on public pensions in response to a piece in the Wall Street Journal that recycled a piece in the New York Times. Here Dean took on George Will on Social Security while here he gives some quick thoughts on the TARP.
The Americas Blog
In addition to the posts mentioned above, The Americas Blog featured several posts from Ming including this one on Paul Singer and the recent settlement between Argentina and the vulture funds, and this post on what many are calling a “coup” in the making in Brazil.
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