Monthly Archives: January 2010

Epstein offers alternatives to current financial system in The Real News Network interview

Gerald Epstein, UMass Economics Professor & Co-Director of PERI

Gerald Epstein, UMass Economics Professor & Co-Director of PERI

Gerald Espstein, UMass Amherst economics professor and co-director of  the Political Economy Research Institute, was recently interviewed by The Real News Network.  Epstein discusses solutions to the problems created by large amounts of capital and the speculation it creates that isn’t connected to the everyday economy.  Alternatives to our current financial system, Epstein suggests, could include publicly controlled or oriented financial institutions that are engaged in credit for real investment, as well as democratizing the Federal Reserve.
(The Real News Network, 1/27/10)

Folbre examines FMLA in her Economix blog: Right or privilege?

Nancy Folbre, UMass Amherst Economics Professor

Nancy Folbre, UMass Amherst Economics Professor

In her most recent New York Times Economix Blog, UMass Economics Professor Nancy Folbre examines the Family and Medical Leave Act (F.M.L.A.).  She argues that even if an employee qualifies, (their employer must have more than 50 employees and the employee has to meet the federal workplace eligibility requirements) a significant percentage of workers can’t afford to take unpaid leave.

January 25, 2010, 6:50 a.m.
Family Leaves: Right or Privilege?
By Nancy Folbre

Do you have the right to take an unpaid family leave from work? And could you afford to take one if you needed to?

The federal government guarantees some American workers the right to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave from paid employment in order to cope with their own illness, that of a spouse or parent, or the birth or adoption of a child.

But recent research on the Family and Medical Leave Act (F.M.L.A.) signed into law by President Clinton in 1993 suggests that limited coverage, poor compliance and economic constraints combine to reinforce existing inequalities between men and women, rich and poor.

Badgett testifies that same-sex couples prefer marriage

Lee Badgett, UMass Economics Prof. & Director of CPPA

Lee Badgett, UMass Economics Professor & Director of CPPA

During the trial over the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, M.V. Lee Badgett, UMass Amherst economics professor and director of the center for public policy and administration, testified that same-sex couples prefer marriage over domestic partnerships, citing the fact that just 2,077 couples chose partnership while 18,000 chose marriage in 2008 when marriage was legal. (Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Mercury News, Yahoo, 1/19/10)

Folbre Accounts for Kids in Economix Blog

Nancy Folbre, UMass Amherst Economics Professor

Nancy Folbre, UMass Amherst Economics Professor

In her most recent New York Times Economix Blog, UMass Economics Professor Nancy Folbre discusses public spending on children and why overall, we spend so little on them. She sees two trends in public spending on children: it amounts to about 2.2 percent of the national gross domestic product, compared to 5.3 percent spent on the elderly; and spending per child goes up after age 6 despite research showing that younger children benefit from early-childhood education. (New York Times Economix blog, 1/18/10)

January 18, 2010
Remembering the Little People:  Accounting for Kids
By Nancy Folbre

[excerpt]

Largely as a result of differences in public subsidies, full-time, year-round child care for young children costs more than public university tuition in 44 states.

Evidence also suggests that young children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of poverty. Yet 19 percent of children in the United States lived in poverty in 2009.

Badgett: Evidence Backing Gay Marriage is In

Lee Badgett, UMass Economics Prof. & Director of CPPA

Lee Badgett, UMass Economics Professor & Director of CPPA

UMass Amherst economist Lee Badgett testified during a trial on California’s same-sex marriage ban that gay marriage does not undermine traditional marriages.  In Massachusetts, same-sex marriages have been allowed since 2004, with no affect to marriage and divorce rates for straight couples, according the statistics she cited.  “I don’t think we need to wait any longer to see what the impact will be. I think we know,” Badgett said. “Everything I’ve looked at leads me to the conclusion that there is no impact.”  (Associated Press, 1/20/2010)

Friedman: VT’s state employee’s pension plan is “in good shape”

Gerald Friedman, UMass Amherst Economics Professor

Gerald Friedman, UMass Amherst Economics Professor

Gerald Friedman, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, has been consulting with the Vermont State Employees Association as to whether or not the Vermont Legislature should enact changes to the employees’ pension system.  These changes, recommended by a special commission headed by Treasurer Jeb Spaulding, would, according to Spaulding, save the state as much as $29 million next year.

Last week, Friedman made a presentation to the the House Government Operations Committee.  He argued that he didn’t see a crisis necessitating the changes Spaulding and the commission had recommended.  “I see a pension plan in good shape,” he said.  “My suggestion to you would be to punt for a while. You don’t have to do anything.”
 (BurlingtonFreePress.com, 1/16/2010)

Boyce Shapes California’s Carbon Permit Allocation Plan

James Boyce, UMass Economics Professor

James Boyce, UMass Economics Professor

In June 2009 James Boyce, UMass Amherst economics professor, was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee, charged with advising the state of California on implementing a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gases.

The Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee released its final recommendations earlier this week.  The committee recommends that California “rely principally, and perhaps exclusively, on auctioning as the method for distributing allowances,” and that roughly 75% of the auction revenue “should be returned to households either through lump-sum payments or through cuts in individual income or sales tax rates.”  The committee recommends that the remaining 25% be devoted to public investments in the clean energy transition.

For more information:

Press release from California Environmental Protection Agency
View the full EAAC Report
The Wall Street Journal 
Fox Business News
Daily Climate News and Analysis

Badgett Testifies in Proposition 8 Trial

Lee Badgett, UMass Economics Prof. & Director of the CPPA

Lee Badgett, UMass Economics Prof. & Director of the CPPA

M.V. Lee Badgett, UMass Amherst economics professor and director of the center for public policy and administration, testified today in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial.  This case is challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8,  the California referendum that, in November, 2008, overturned a state Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex couples to marry.  (Law Dork, 1/15/2010)