EPI News

Reaction to the financial market meltdown

When news broke of the Fed-brokered fire sale of Bear Stearns to JPMorgan Chase, EPI quickly responded with a statement that the emergency action was necessary but inadequate, and left underlying market instabilities unaddressed. Research and Policy Director John Irons said, “If and when taxpayer money is used, the government should insist on full transparency, broad structural reforms, and perhaps an equity stake in companies that benefit from the bailout.  And taxpayer money should not be used to fully offset the costs of excessive risk-taking by companies and their directors; these companies and individuals must bear some of the costs too.” After the purchase price was renegotiated from $2 a share to $10 a share several days later, Irons said the deal looked increasingly like a bailout.

Why the falling dollar is not necessarily a bad thing
In two new analyses, EPI economist Robert Scott shows that the dollar’s decline relative to other currencies is beneficial for the overall economy because it boosts U.S. exports, creates jobs, and helps tame the nation’s enormous trade deficit. Scott’s International Picture shows that the combination of the dollar’s revaluation and growth abroad has begun to level international playing fields. In this Economic Snapshot, he compares the dollar’s value against the currencies of U.S. trading partners, and shows that further gains on the trade deficit will depend on convincing Asian nations, especially China, to end policies that keep the dollar artificially high against their currencies.

The new EPI board
As part of an initiative to broaden EPI’s reach, we have added 12 new directors to our board, bringing the total to 31. We are excited about the depth of knowledge and geographic diversity these new members bring to the EPI mission. We are introducing them, in alphabetical order, through four installments of EPI News. This is the third installment.

Note: In an earlier EPI News, board member Ernest Green was erroneously described as having worked as an assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Carter. In fact, he was assistant secretary for employment and training at the U.S. Department of Labor. We regret the error.

Debra L. NessDebra L. Ness is the president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, and was previously executive vice president for 13 years. She has played a leading role in positioning the organization as an effective advocate for today’s women and families. Ms. Ness also serves on several boards, including the National Committee for Quality Assurance, the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), and Emily’s List.

Pedro NogueraPedro Noguera, Ph.D., is a professor in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University, and executive director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education. Dr. Noguera, an urban sociologist, focuses on the ways in which urban schools are influenced by social and economic conditions. He has advised and engaged in research with several large U.S. school districts, and has conducted research in the Caribbean and Latin America. He previously was on faculty at the University of California at Berkeley.

Manuel PastorManuel Pastor is a professor of Geography and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, where he directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity. He speaks frequently on issues of demographic change, economic inequality, and community employment, and has contributed numerous opinion pieces to media outlets including the Los Angeles Times and the Christian Science Monitor. His most recent book, co-authored with Chris Benner and Laura Leete, is Staircases or Treadmills: Labor Market Intermediaries and Economic Opportunity in a Changing Economy (Russell Sage 2007).