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Matt Sedlar



Articles by Matt Sedlar

How BlackRock is on Track to Infiltrate a Biden Administration

3 days ago

AlterNet
CounterPunch
See article on original site
The Democratic base, still scarred from the 2016 election, is frantic not to count its chickens before they hatch. But Wall Street and corporate America have no such qualms. As Joe Biden leads in national polls and swing states, the most powerful firms in the country are seeking assurances that his administration won’t crack down on their crimes.
For many, that means tapping the Obama-era alumni and other well-connected Democrats whom they’ve strategically hired to see who’s ready to take a trip through the revolving door. This is why prominent House progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Katie Porter have called on Biden to ban corporate appointees from his administration.
The bellwether for corporate infiltration of a Democratic

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Mexico at the OAS General Assembly: Almagro undermined the OAS Charter and Damaged Bolivia’s Democracy

8 days ago

This week in Washington, D.C. the Organization of American States (OAS) held their 50th Regular Session of the General Assembly. In these meetings the General Assembly, the highest decision-making body of the OAS, is tasked with debating the organization’s course of action for the next year, as well as setting the standards of governance for the General Secretariat — the OAS’s central executive body, headed by Uruguayan diplomat Luis Almagro since 2015. 
The session arrives on the heels of another important political event for the Americas: Bolivia’s general election, which took place almost a year after President Evo Morales was ousted in a military coup d’etat. The justification for the coup was based primarily on allegations of electoral fraud that were promoted by an OAS Electoral

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El FMI impone más recortes para Ecuador, aunque predica lo contrario

9 days ago

OpenDemocracy
Ver artículo en el sitio original
In English
El FMI que se presenta en las reuniones anuales no es el mismo FMI que el que organiza los programas de préstamos, como se demuestra en el caso de Ecuador.
En su discurso de apertura de las Reuniones Mundiales Anuales de este año, la Directora Gerente del FMI, Kristalina Georgieva, advirtió de los peligros de una recuperación desigual y de una creciente desigualdad, y habló de la necesidad de una recuperación inclusiva. De lo contrario, advirtió Georgieva, corremos el riesgo de recrear el mundo distópico de la novela de Charles Dickens “Historia de dos ciudades”.
Apenas unos días antes de este discurso, el FMI publicó su último acuerdo de préstamo con Ecuador. En él, encontramos exactamente las mismas prescripciones políticas

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El MAS recibió más votos en 2020 en casi todos los 86 recintos sospechosos según la OEA en 2019

9 days ago

In English
El domingo 20 de octubre, los bolivianos acudieron a las urnas y, por abrumadora mayoría, eligieron como presidente a Luis Arce del partido MAS. Los conteos rápidos privados publicados la noche de la votación mostraron que Arce recibió más del 50% de los votos y tenía una ventaja de más de 20 puntos porcentuales por encima del candidato en el segundo lugar, Carlos Mesa. Hasta el miércoles por la mañana, un poco más del 88% de los votos se había contabilizado en el sistema de resultados oficiales, y la ventaja de Arce ha ido aumentando. El porcentaje de votos del candidato del MAS es, al momento de redactar este artículo, del 54,5 en comparación con el 29,3 para Mesa. A medida que se cuenten los votos finales, es probable que la proporción de votos de Arce aumente aún más.
En

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The OAS Helped Facilitate Last Year’s Coup Against Evo Morales. Now It’s Observing Today’s Bolivian Elections

9 days ago

Jacobin
See article on original site

Today, nearly one year after Evo Morales was ousted in a coup facilitated by the Organization of American States (OAS), Bolivia will finally vote in new elections. With Luis Arce, the candidate of Morales’s Movement for Socialism–Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples (MAS) party leading in polls, the OAS and the right-wing opposition are laying the groundwork to yet again claim fraud and reject the results.
To understand the threat from the OAS and its accomplices, it’s first necessary to rewind to last year.
On October 20, 2019, Bolivia held presidential and parliamentary elections, with then president Evo Morales seeking a fourth term. The next day, the OAS, which oversaw an observation mission for the elections, issued a press

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Biden’s Treasury Could Fight Climate Change, But Would Lael Brainard’s?

16 days ago

Common Dreams
See article on original site
If Joe Biden wins in November, he will have no time to spare to shift our trajectory away from climate disaster. He will need to move quickly to install forward thinking, dynamic, and aggressive advocates for climate action, especially in his Treasury Department.
What does the Treasury department have to do with climate change? The short answer is the fossil fuel industry depends on financial institutions to survive. And banks, for their part, pull in big profits from underwriting climate disaster. The Treasury Secretary has untapped capacity to push Wall Street to take the risks of the climate crisis seriously. Biden’s choice for Treasury Secretary is arguably among his most important climate policy decisions.
Wielding the tools of Treasury will

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Ecuador’s New Loan Program: A Tale of Two IMFs

16 days ago

OpenDemocracy
See article on original site

In her speech opening this year’s Annual World Meetings, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva warned of the dangers of an uneven recovery and increasing inequality and talked of the need for an inclusive recovery. Otherwise, Georgieva warned, we are at risk of recreating the dystopian world of Charles’s Dickens novel “A Tale of Two Cities”.
Just days before this speech, the IMF released its latest loan agreement with Ecuador. In it, we find the exact same policy prescriptions Georgieva warned against.
The gap between IMF rhetoric and its actions is not new. For years, the research department of the IMF has shown that austerity and many of the reforms imposed by the IMF worsen inequality, while leadership talked about an IMF that now

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Prop 22 Is a Dress Rehearsal for This Biden Cabinet Hopeful’s Confirmation Battle

17 days ago

The American Prospect
See article on original site
As Alex Sammon wrote in his recent profile of California’s Proposition 22 battle, gig economy companies like Uber, DoorDash, and Lyft are drowning California in $184 million of ad buys—more than any ballot proposition in U.S. history—to kill a state law which would finally provide workers with the basic rights and the dignities of full employment. Proposition 22 would essentially create a third category of laborer, besides employee or independent contractor, to apply to rideshare and delivery companies.
This third category would receive a handful of vaguely described rights, but nothing close to those of full employees. Most notably, these workers would be guaranteed a minimum payment, but only for the moments in which they are engaged in

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Overall and Core CPI Rise 0.2 Percent in September, as Pandemic Price Patterns Reappear

18 days ago

Price declines in several hard-hit sectors are likely in response to a resurgence of the pandemic.
The overall and core Consumer Price Index (CPI) both rose 0.2 percent in September, driven in large part by an extraordinary 6.7 percent jump in the price of used cars. The overall index is now up 1.4 percent from its year-ago level, while the core index is up 1.7 percent.
The most striking feature in the September price data is the return of pandemic price patterns in several hard-hit sectors. For example, hotel prices fell 0.5 percent in September, after sharp price rises in the prior three months. Hotel prices fell 16.7 percent between February and May. They are now 15.0 percent below year-ago levels. 

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Under Luis Almagro, the OAS is Advancing the Trump Agenda in Latin America

23 days ago

Le Monde diplomatique
See article on original site
En español
Founded in 1948 during the standoff between the US and the USSR, the Organisation of American States (OAS) is one of the instruments through which Washington projects geopolitical power over Latin America and the Caribbean states, which one by one joined the organisation as they won independence between 1960 and 1980. Canada only joined the OAS in 1990 and is mostly happy with putting forward a moderate version of the White House line.
If, like Fidel Castro, the left sees the OAS as ‘the ministry of United States colonies’ (1), elites treat it as something approaching the sacred. A Latin American or Caribbean ambassador at the OAS is one of the most important diplomats in his country. As to the secretary general, he weighs heavy

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The Biden Transition’s Ethics Pledge Is a Paper Tiger

24 days ago

The American Prospect
See article on original site
For all of his failures—at business, governing, and even just sitting still and receiving proper medical care for a deadly virus—the American public can always count on Donald Trump to put on a show. For four years, he has gripped the country’s attention with an unending stream of scandals. If current polling trends are any guide, however, the curtain may soon be closing. Without all the distraction, we’ll be left squarely facing a key question: How do we fix what Trump revealed to be broken?
To address it all, we will need governance reforms the likes of which we have not seen since Watergate. Joe Biden can help set us on the path toward more ethical, less captured governance. Unfortunately, the Biden team’s recently released transition

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Outdated Assumptions Mask True Poverty Rate

24 days ago

Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity
See article on original site
According to the Census Bureau, the poverty rate for the United States was 10.5 percent in 2019, “the lowest since estimates were first released for 1959.”  What the Census Bureau didn’t say is that the poverty measure it uses is still based on 1959 assumptions that have little to do with the realities of families today. If we had poverty measures that replaced these outdated assumptions with modern ones, the real poverty rate would be much higher, especially for children.
Several of these outdated assumptions relate to care, gender, and children’s developmental and participation needs. One of the bedrock assumptions of the Official Poverty Measure (OPM) is that every family includes a “housewife.” That is, a married woman

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If You Could Save a Million Lives, Would You Do It?

29 days ago

The Hill
See article on original site
If you had the opportunity to save a million people from preventable death, would you do it? People who would otherwise fall victim to the global pandemic and deep recession that most of the world is experiencing. This is not merely a rhetorical question, but one that members of the US Congress will have to answer in the present.
In an interview with The Economist last month, Bill Gates stated that millions of people in developing countries would die before the COVID-19 pandemic was over. He noted, importantly, that 90 percent of the deaths would not result from the virus itself, but from “indirect” effects. These include most prominently the economic impact of the pandemic, as well as other causes such as the overwhelming of medical and public health

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Economy Adds 661,000 Jobs in September, Unemployment Falls to 7.9 Percent

29 days ago

The large jump in long-term unemployment and people leaving the labor force are ominous signs for the future. 
The September employment report showed a sharp slowing in the rate of job growth, with the economy adding 661,000 jobs, less than half of its August rate. The unemployment rate fell by 0.5 percentage points to 7.9 percent, but most of this was due to people leaving the labor force. The employment to population ratio (EPOP) only rose by 0.1 percentage point. At 56.6 percent, it is still 4.4 percentage points below its year-ago level.
With jobs remaining in short supply, many people may permanently leave the labor force. The labor force participation rate is down 1.8 percentage points overall since last year, and 2.3 percentage points for women over age 20. The number of long-term

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The Debate We Had vs. the Debate We Needed

October 1, 2020

The American Prospect
See article on original site
We at the Revolving Door Project have a banal take on Tuesday’s debate: Donald Trump was horrifying, Chris Wallace overmatched and too Fox Newsy, Joe Biden decent but ineloquent. But we do have an idiosyncratic take on presidential debates themselves: We believe they should be about who would best run the executive branch of the federal government.
That might sound obvious, as it’s essentially the sum total job description. Yet generally, presidential elections are treated by campaigns and the media as about two things, neither of which has anything to do with how a president actually wields power. First, candidates put forward competing legislative agendas that they claim “will pass.” If we crack open our high school civics textbooks, we

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Trump’s Approach to a Coronavirus Vaccine May Leave America Behind

October 1, 2020

New York Daily News
See article on original site
As with everything else, Donald Trump likes to boast about how quickly we are moving toward developing a coronavirus vaccine. By historic standards, he has a case. We may have a vaccine through the final Phase 3 tests and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before the end of the year.

However, this pace may still leave us months behind China, which has four of the nine vaccines in the world now in Phase 3 testing. One or two months matters a great deal in this story. If we can begin to get people vaccinated sooner, it can mean hundreds of thousands fewer people will get infected and tens of thousands fewer will die. It will also mean that the economy and our lives can get back to normal one or two months sooner.

If

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How Academic Medical Centers Made Out on Coronavirus Bailouts

September 28, 2020

The American Prospect
See article on original site
Some of the most financially successful nonprofit health systems are academic medical centers and the systems they anchor. Despite being considered “nonprofit” hospitals, that doesn’t mean they don’t make a profit. Nonprofit is a tax status that means a hospital is exempt from paying federal, state, and local taxes if it meets certain vague requirements for giving back to the community.
In place of paying taxes—no matter how much those taxes might be worth—a nonprofit hospital has to dedicate some of its revenue to provide health services to its community, through either charity care for patients who can’t afford medical treatment, health education for community members, free health screenings, or some other mechanism. However, academic

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Re-Fund the EPA

September 24, 2020

The American Prospect
See article on original site

The wildfires and hurricanes plaguing the United States in the last month reflect the massive societal implications of climate change. Understanding the importance of this moment, Vice President Joe Biden has proposed a $2 trillion climate plan designed to transition the economy away from greenhouse gas emissions. The plan calls for an emission-free power sector by 2030, as well as an environmental justice component to address how climate policies have failed communities of color. Parts of Biden’s plan will require new legislation and others will deputize numerous federal agencies. But a major share of responsibility for success will fall on the Environmental Protection Agency.
Twenty years of stagnation, followed by a decade of

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Lo que la OEA le hizo a Bolivia

September 22, 2020

The Guardian
In English
Bolivia vive una pesadilla de represión política y violencia estatal racista desde que el gobierno democráticamente electo de Evo Morales fue derrocado por los militares el 10 de noviembre. Ese mes fue “el segundo mes más mortífero, en términos de muertes de civiles cometidas por fuerzas estatales, desde que Bolivia se convirtió en una democracia hace casi 40 años”, según un estudio de la Clínica Internacional de Derechos Humanos de la Facultad de Derecho de Harvard (HLS, por sus siglas en inglés) y la Red Universitaria por los Derechos Humanos (UNHR, por sus siglas en inglés) publicado hace un mes.
Morales fue el primer presidente indígena de Bolivia, el país que tiene el mayor porcentaje de población indígena de las Américas. Su gobierno logró reducir la pobreza

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What a Defiant Democratic Party Looks Like

September 22, 2020

The New Republic
See article on original site

On Friday night, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death shocked an already reeling country. What came next, however, was sadly unsurprising. Mere hours after Ginsburg’s passing, McConnell had already affirmed that he would hold a vote for Trump’s nominee to fill the vacancy, contravening the ersatz standard he set out in 2016. Or, as Senator Chris Murphy put it, “Nobody’s word means anything in this place anymore. All that matters is raw power.” It’s a bit of a belated realization: Republicans are unafraid to use their power to achieve their desired ends. Will Democrats respond in kind?
Contrary to their own representations, Democrats do have power to wield. Whether in the House, where they hold the majority, or in the Senate,

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Juicios políticos y vetos electorales en la batalla por la democracia en Ecuador

September 21, 2020

OpenDemocracy
Ver artículo en el sitio original
In English
El presidente ecuatoriano Lenín Moreno y sus aliados han hecho todo lo posible para evitar que el expresidente Rafael Correa y su movimiento político regresen al poder. Para lograr este objetivo, el gobierno actual ha perseguido a opositores y proscrito candidatos. El autoritarismo de Moreno, hasta ahora, ha pasado desapercibido internacionalmente. Con las elecciones programadas para febrero de 2021, es crucial que la comunidad internacional esté atenta a los persistentes intentos del gobierno ecuatoriano de pervertir el curso de la democracia.
La principal estrategia del gobierno de Moreno ha sido intentar impedir que el propio Correa sea candidato en las elecciones de febrero de 2021. El legado de Correa de reducir la pobreza y

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Political Trials and Electoral Bans: the Battle for Democracy in Ecuador

September 18, 2020

OpenDemocracy
See article on original site
Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno and his allies have gone to great lengths to prevent former president Rafael Correa and his political movement from returning to power. In order to achieve this goal, the current government has persecuted opponents and barred candidates from running. Moreno’s authoritarianism has, so far, gone largely unnoticed internationally. With elections scheduled for February 2021, it is crucial that the international community keeps a vigilant eye on the Ecuadorian government’s persistent attempts at perverting the course of democracy.
The Moreno government’s main strategy has been to try to block Correa himself from being a candidate in the February 2021 elections. Correa’s legacy of reducing poverty and inequality in the

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What the OAS Did to Bolivia

September 18, 2020

The Guardian
See article on original site
Bolivia has descended into a nightmare of political repression and racist state violence since the democratically elected government of Evo Morales was overthrown by the military on November 10. That month was “the second-deadliest month, in terms of civilian deaths committed by state forces, since Bolivia became a democracy nearly 40 years ago,” according to a study by Harvard Law School’s (HLS) International Human Rights Clinic and the University Network for Human Rights (UNHR) released a month ago.
Morales was the first Indigenous president of Bolivia, which has the largest percentage of Indigenous population of any country in the Americas. His government was able to reduce poverty by 42 percent and extreme poverty by 60 percent, which

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Biden’s Big Test: Selecting a White House Chief of Staff

September 17, 2020

The American Prospect
See article on original site
Vice President Joe Biden was angry. It was 2013, and Ron Klain, his trusted chief of staff, was leaving for the private sector. Biden needed someone dependable to replace him during the second term. But David Plouffe, President Obama’s campaign guru and top political adviser, kept shooting down his picks. First, he vetoed Kevin Sheekey, an adviser to then–New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, out of fear he’d be too loyal to the financier-oligarch. Biden conceded, and instead suggested Steve Ricchetti.
Ricchetti, a longtime political operative, was at the time the founder and chairman of the powerful lobbying firm Ricchetti, Inc. Though he hadn’t personally registered as a lobbyist in years, he did give the marching orders to a team of hired

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Interview with Mark Weisbrot on the US Election, the Brazilian Economy, and US-Brazil Relations

September 10, 2020

Carta Capital, based in Brazil, interviewed CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot about the upcoming US elections. The Portuguese version is on Carta Capital’s website here.
CC: The Trump administration’s economic performance was doing better than expected and had a 43 percent approval rating in April, according to Gallup. Last year, GDP grew 2.3 percent, but this year, according to projections, it will fall 5.9 percent. The elected President of the United States in November, therefore, will have the arduous task of managing the country’s economic recovery after a global pandemic that could take unemployment to levels never seen since the Great Depression. Between Donald Trump (Republicans) and Joe Biden (Democrats), which candidate has the most convincing plan to recover the American economy and

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Depatman Leta Ameriken Fè Yon Gwo Kontra ak Yon Konpayi Sekirite ki Gen Koneksyon Politik

September 9, 2020

In English
An Novanm 2019, nan kad sipò li pou PNH, Biwo Entènasyonal Dwòg ak Aplikasyon Lalwa nan Depatman Leta Ameriken bay bay lapolis yon kontra $73,000 pou pwovizyon “kit anti-manifestasyon” pou inite lapolis ki chaje kontwòl foul, CIMO, daprè enfòmasyon ki genyen nan baz done kontra gouvènman Ameriken.
Nan komansman ete a CIMO ak lot inite PNH te itilize gaz lakrimojèn ki fabrike Ozetazini pou yo dispèse aktivis ki te rasanble devan Ministè Lajistis e ki tap manifeste pou dwa a lavi pandan peyi a ap viv yon sitiyasyon prekòs. Lapolis fè zak represyon nan manifestasyon an aloske òganizate yo te resevwa lese pase nan men otorite legal yo avan yo manifeste. Sa se egzamp ki montre poukisa kontra Depatman leta sa yo enkyetan – pa selman poutet jan ekipman sa yo ap sèvi men poutèt

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The OAS Misused Its Own Data to Help Fabricate Its Accusation of Fraud Against Evo Morales

September 8, 2020

Jacobin
See article on original site
August 20 was a day that shook a small world of scientists that had all but given up — short of legal threats — on getting a glimpse into the data and methods behind the analyses that took down the Bolivian government. Slowed by stonewalling and gaslighting, researchers had managed to re-create some — but not all — of the results presented by the Organization of American States (OAS) in its case against the legitimacy of Evo Morales’s reelection last October 20.
The OAS had alleged, the day after the vote, that the preliminary count contained an “inexplicable change in trend” of the preliminary results — drastically skewing in Morales’s favor. But its claim was dubious to begin with. As early as October 22, we began raising serious questions

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Trump’s ‘America First’ Vaccine Agenda May Leave Us Last

September 4, 2020

The American Prospect
See article on the original site
There is a very real possibility that China will have an effective vaccine against the coronavirus before the United States. China had four of the first eight vaccines to go into the final phase of clinical testing, so it’s not far-fetched to think that they will end up with the first one to prove safe and effective.
If the U.S. is even one month behind in getting a vaccine approved and distributed, at our current rate of 40,000 infections daily, and more than 1,000 deaths, a one-month delay would mean another 1.2 million infections and 30,000 deaths. If the delay is as long as six months, we would be looking at more than seven million additional infections and 180,000 deaths. In short, this is a really big deal.
China’s relative

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Labor Day under Coronavirus and Depression: What is Our Government Doing to Labor?

September 4, 2020

Bozeman Daily Chronicle
ArcaMax
InsideSources
See article on original site
America has lost more than 12 million jobs in the last six months. An estimated 12 million people have lost their employer-sponsored health insurance during the worst pandemic in a century. Tens of millions report not having enough to eat.
But one month ago, tens of millions of unemployed Americans lost a lifeline that, for many, had been paying their bills for months: a $600 weekly federal unemployment insurance benefit that Congress failed to renew at the end of July.
How can this happen in a democracy? This is a question that everyone who works for a living ― or would like to do so if they could find a job ― might want to consider on this Labor Day.
Polls indicate that Democratic voters tend to blame Republicans,

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Economy Adds 1.4 Million Jobs in August, Unemployment Falls to 8.4 Percent

September 4, 2020

Even with strong job growth the last four months, we have recovered less than half the jobs lost due to the pandemic.
The August employment report showed the economy again adding back jobs at a strong rate. The reported gain of 1,371,000 somewhat overstates underlying strength since it includes the addition of 238,000 temporary Census jobs. However, even without these jobs, the gain would still be over 1.1 million. The unemployment rate dropped 1.8 percentage point to 8.4 percent, while the employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) rose 1.4 percentage point to 56.5 percent. (The Bureau of Labor Statistics warns that due to misclassification, the unemployment rate may actually be 0.7 percentage points higher than reported. The size of this error is considerably lower than in April or May, but

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