Posts Tagged ‘CEPR’


Foundation of austerity built on Excel spreadsheet error! Sorry about losing your job.

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Two Harvard economists — Carmen Reinhart & Kenneth Rogoff — analyzed macroeconomic data from 18 countries for a 2010 American Economic Review article. Special attention was given to seven nations that had experienced periods of high debt. They looked at the public debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio. They concluded that growth slows when the ratio exceeds 90%. Austerity aficionados grabbed onto the R&R magic threshold to justify making debt reduction top priority. Sadly, austerity is but one economic theory, one with drastic implications (economic, health & justice) for people subjected to cutbacks in necessary social services that only government can or will provide.

American politicians embraced austerity citing R&R as evidence. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan famously cited R&R when he presented his budget. The politicians now pushing for cuts in Social Security and Medicare cite R&R. States and cities have gone broke. Self-imposed sequestration at the federal level has deprived people of human services — Meals on Wheels, Head Start, Chemotherapy for cancer patients relying on Medicare, etc. Misery somehow justified by the R&R model.

Turns out the adage — garbage in/garbage out — is still true about data. Economists — Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, Robert Pollin — at the Univ. of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) could not replicate the R&R findings. So, they asked for the raw data.

Oops. Turns out R&R entered wrong figures for New Zealand. They had excluded four years of growth data in which it was above the 90 percent debt-to-GDP threshold. When these four years are added in, the average growth rate in New Zealand for its high debt years was 2.6 percent, compared to the -7.6 percent that R&R had entered in their calculation.

The PERI study findings contradicted R&R: when properly calculated, the average real GDP growth rate for countries carrying a public-debt-to-GDP ratio of over 90 percent is actually 2.2 percent, not −0.1 percent. The justification for austerity is an error, a lie by any other name.

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Posted in Commentary by G. Namie, Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Fairness & Social Justice Denied | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »



The demands of hard labor done by older workers

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Just because you use the internet, it is easy to assume that everyone enjoys light duty (except for the risk repetitive strain injury) to earn a paycheck. Turns out that 8.5 million workers age 58 and older have physically demanding jobs (lifting & moving objects, standing for long periods, kneeling, crouching)  or difficult physical working conditions (exposure to abnormal temperatures, contaminants, uncomfortable noise, hazardous equipment).  The NY Times tells the story of Findlay Ohio worker Jack Hartley who slings heavy rubber in a tire plant. He figures he won’t last until retirement age of 65 or 66, let alone a protracted delay until age 70 that Social Security opponents suggest. The Center for Economic and Policy Research released their report Hard Work? Patterns in Physically Demanding Labor Among Older Workers (August 2010).

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Posted in Fairness & Social Justice Denied | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Trends in HR Anti-Employee Tactics, Part 1

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

Fact: HR (“human” resources) is a management support service, low-credibility department in medium-size to large businesses. HR is NOT an advocate for employees. The evidence is compelling that the opposite is true. To see what HR is trying to accomplish, pay attention to the most current trends in training and services created for HR.

Here are 3 examples from May-June, 2009 seminar marketing to HR.

“When Employees Strike Back”
“Banish Bullies and their Lawsuits”
“Make Unions Irrelevant”
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Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things | 6 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



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