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Matt Sedlar



Articles by Matt Sedlar

An Impending Crisis: COVID-19 in Haiti, Ongoing Instability, and the Dangers of Continued U.S. Deportations

3 days ago

Prepared remarks by Jake Johnston to Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson’s forum on COVID-19 and ICE’s deportation of detainees to Haiti
First, I want to thank Congresswoman Wilson for convening this forum and for her leadership on this issue. The introduction of legislation mandating a halt to these deportations is a concrete and necessary step. I’d also like to thank all the members present here today for prioritizing this necessary discussion.
On Tuesday, May 26, the Trump administration deported 30 Haitians. It was the eighth deportation flight to Haiti since early February. Though the US has pledged to conduct preflight testing of all deportees, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is utilizing a 15-minute rapid test that is highly unreliable. Tuesday’s flight included at least

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We Can’t Trust the IMF and World Bank to Lead the COVID-19 Recovery

4 days ago

Jacobin
See article on original site

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank played a central role in shaping our current model of globalization, imposing policies that held countries back from climbing up the income ladder, weakened health systems, and subordinated development outcomes to the whims of private capital. As the vulnerabilities of this model are yet again laid bare, now through the crisis caused by COVID-19, the institutions are portraying themselves as experts that stand ready to guide the world through this crisis.
This rebranding strategy is not new. For decades, shifts in rhetoric and superficial reforms have allowed the IMF and World Bank to deflect criticism and avoid accountability for the damage they have caused around the world. These successful

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The Impact of Upward Redistribution on Social Security Solvency (2020 Update)

5 days ago

Economic inequality in the US has ballooned since the early 1980s. Wage and salary growth at the top of the earnings distribution has significantly outpaced that at the bottom and middle, resulting in decades of unabated upward redistribution of income. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated this divide. In addition to the immediate problems highlighted by the crisis, the growing chasm between the rich and everyone else has long-term implications for the nation’s social safety net, specifically for the continued solvency of the Social Security trust fund. 
Previous discussions of Social Security’s sometimes overstated financial woes have tended to focus on the aging US population. Though demographic changes do present challenges for the program, preoccupation with retiring baby

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Joe Biden’s Friend From JPMorgan Chase

6 days ago

The American Prospect
See article on original site
Much has been made of Joe Biden’s public “pivot to the left” in recent weeks, from calling for a stimulus “a hell of a lot bigger” than $3 trillion to seating Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive populists on major policy committees. But while Biden seems sincere about bringing progressives into the fold for November, he remains the candidate who told high-dollar donors he “may not want to demonize anybody who has made money.”
Back-to-back Bloomberg reports showed that side of Biden recently. First, a survey of Wall Street donors found that far from worrying about their hold on Biden, banksters are giddily picking out which executive branch jobs they want for themselves and their friends. Then on Thursday, Biden’s team shut out

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Should Progressives Abandon the Earned Income Tax Credit?

6 days ago

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is an annual means-tested money benefit available to eligible tax units with earned income and administered through the tax system. In 2019, about 25 million tax units received a total of $63 billion in benefits from the EITC. The vast majority of these benefits went to below median income households with children. 
The amount of the credit a tax unit is eligible to receive increases along with labor earnings up to a maximum that varies by filing status and the presence and number of children in the tax unit. For tax year 2020, a single filer with no children is ineligible if they have earnings or adjusted gross income (AGI) above $15,820. A married couple filing jointly with three children is ineligible if they have earnings or AGI above $56,844. Nearly

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In Defense of the Earned Income Tax Credit

6 days ago

This is a response to a recent critique by Matt Bruenig of the People’s Policy Project that has provoked a renewed scrutiny of EITC by the left. The critique, The Myths of the Earned Income Tax Credit, is hereinafter referred to as EITC Myths. In addition, there is an accompanying piece by Bruenig, It’s Time for Democrats to Abandon the Earned Income Tax Credit, in the socialist magazine Jacobin. 
Like other benefits that depend on work, such as the exclusion of employer-paid health insurance from taxable income, the EITC has strengths and weaknesses. In an era of mass unemployment, benefits conditional on employment are clearly inadequate.
Is there a case for work-conditioned benefits (WCBs) in the absence of income guarantees, or as a substitute for them? Here are a few:

WCBs

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Lives Depend on Argentina’s Debt Talks

13 days ago

The New York Times
See article on original site
Governments won’t be able to contain the pandemic if they are forced to use scarce foreign currency to make unsustainable debt payments.
Argentina is currently engaged in intense negotiations with its creditors over at least $65 billion in government debt. The most important part of that negotiation, which can make or break Argentina’s economic recovery, is foreign currency debt. That is mostly in dollars, and mostly owned by foreigners.
Argentina’s 45 million residents, as well as hundreds of millions of people on this planet, have a large stake in the outcome of these negotiations. With vital foreign exchange earnings plummeting in the world recession, how much will be used for essential imports such as medicine or food, and how much to pay

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Social Security is Strong and it Deserves more Support

17 days ago

Last month the Social Security Trustees published their annual report on the state of Social Security. Although two of the appointed trustee positions are vacant and the Trump administration has repeatedly called for cuts to the program, the Trustees (all Trump appointees) agree the program’s long-term outlook is optimistic. 
Social Security, the program that provides retirement and disability benefits to millions of Americans every year, has a projected shortfall equal to 3.21 percent of taxable payroll over the next 75 years. The program’s benefits are fully funded through 2034, after which they are 79 percent payable, assuming no changes are ever made. 
The projected shortfall means that to fully fund the program, payroll taxes would have to be increased by 3.21 percentage points. This

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US Should Release Occupational Data in COVID-19 Death Reports

18 days ago

Earlier this week, the Guardian reported that UK women working in care occupations are two times as likely to die from COVID-19 as women in professional and technical occupations. In addition, UK men in low-paid, manual jobs are four times as likely to die from the virus as men in professional and technical jobs. The Guardian was able to report these precise estimates because the UK’s Office of National Statistics releases data on COVID-19 deaths among working-age people by occupational groups. The Table from their report, shown below, provides age-standardized death rates (deaths per 100,000) for working-age English and Welsh men in nine major occupational groups.

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El ministerio de las Colonias estadounidenses

19 days ago

Le Monde diplomatique en español, mayo de 2020 
Ver artículo en sitio original
Creada en 1948, en el marco del enfrentamiento entre Estados Unidos y la Unión Soviética (URSS), la Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA) constituye uno de los instrumentos de la proyección geopolítica de Washington en América Latina y los Estados del Caribe, los cuales fueron incorporándose a la organización, uno tras otro, a medida que obtenían su independencia entre las décadas de 1960 y 1980. Por su parte, Canadá, que sólo es miembro de la OEA desde 1990, en la mayoría de las ocasiones se limita a presentar una versión moderada de la línea defendida por la Casa Blanca.
Al igual que hiciera Fidel Castro, la izquierda latinoamericana y caribeña percibe a la organización como el “Ministerio de las

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Etazini vle depòte yon gwo asasen an Ayiti

20 days ago

AyiboPost
Al gade nan atik sou sit orijinal la
An Anglè
Pandan pandemi COVID-19 la, prèske tout fwontyè ak ayewopò nan mond lan fèmen men avyon Imigrasyon leta Ameriken (ICE) kontinye vole. Chak 2 a 3 semèn, yon vòl depòtasyon konpayi Swift Air, LLC opere, ateri nan ayewopò Pòtoprens. Apre youn nan vòl sa yo te ateri nan mwa Avril ki sot pase a, te genyen omwen 3 nan moun ki depòte yo ki teste pozitif pou Koronaviris la. Pandemi a ap vale teren espesyalman nan sant detansyon ICE yo, kote yo kontinye mete lavi milye moun an danje pandan yap kontinye vòl depòtasyon yo.

Constant enplike nan krim tankou asasina anpil moun, e li pase 12 dènye lane yo nan yon prizon leta Nouyòk pou gwo vòl ak fwod

Lendi 11 Me k ap vini la a, gen yon lot vòl depòtasyon ICE Air ki planifye pou li rive Ayiti.

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Consumer Price Index Plunges 0.8 Percent, Core Falls 0.4 Percent

20 days ago

Food prices rose 2.6 percent in April, reflecting a large increase in store-bought food. 
The overall Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell 0.8 percent in April, driven again by large price declines in sectors that were hit hard by pandemic-related shutdowns. Gas prices fell 20.6 percent, following a drop of 10.5 percent in March. They are now 32.0 percent below their year-ago level. Apparel prices had an extraordinary 4.7 percent decline, following a drop of 2.0 percent in March. Prices are now 5.7 percent below year-ago levels.
There were also huge declines in hotel prices and airfares, with the former dropping 8.1 percent and the latter dropping 15.2 percent. These April declines followed March price declines of 7.7 percent and 12.6 percent, respectively. These sharp price declines led to a

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Mothers on the Frontlines of a Pandemic Need More than Flowers

21 days ago

Daily Press Online
The Free Lance-Star
See article on original site
More than 30 million U.S. workers are employed in industries that put them on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. They include grocery store clerks, nurses, cleaners, warehouse workers and bus drivers, among others. Nearly one-in-four frontline workers — 7.5 million — are also mothers caring for minor children.
Mothers make up a larger share of the frontline workforce (23.8%) than they do of the workforce as a whole (16.9%). Nearly a third (32.8%) of workers in childcare and social services industries are mothers, as are more than a quarter (28.8%) of workers in health care industries.
On this Mother’s Day, we should honor and applaud these mothers. But what frontline mothers need most is a commitment to ensuring they

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Mothers in Frontline Industries Deserve Better

24 days ago

Prior to the arrival of COVID-19, over 30 million workers were employed across six broad industry categories that are now on the pandemic’s frontlines.These workers include grocery store clerks, nurses and assistants, cleaners, warehouse workers, and bus drivers, among others. Over 7.5 million of them — nearly one-in-four — are also mothers caring for minor children. The share of workers in frontline industries who are mothers (23.8 percent) is larger than the share of workers in all industries who are mothers (16.9 percent).
The Table below provides information about working mothers in six frontline industry categories. Nearly a third (32.8 percent) of workers in Child Care and Social Services industries are mothers, as are over a quarter (28.8 percent) of workers in Health Care

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Pandemic Causes Loss of 20,500,000 Jobs, Unemployment at 14.7 Percent

24 days ago

Temporary layoffs make up 78.3 percent of unemployment.
As expected, the April jobs report showed a catastrophic hit to the labor market stemming from the pandemic. The economy lost another 20,500,000 jobs in April after losing 870,000 jobs in March. This is an order of magnitude higher than any previous two-month decline on record. The unemployment rate jumped to 14.7 percent, up 11.2 percentage points from what had been a 50-year low of 3.5 percent in February. The employment-to-population (EPOP) ratio was down 9.8 percentage points over this period, as 25.4 million fewer people report being employed in April than in February.
There is some good news in this horrible picture, 78.3 percent of the unemployed are temporary layoffs, meaning they expect to get their old jobs back. That won’t

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How Private Equity Firms Will Profit From COVID-19

25 days ago

The American Prospect
See article on original site
It’s no surprise that the first big retailer to file for bankruptcy during the coronavirus pandemic is owned by private equity. J. Crew, acquired by PE firms Leonard Green & Partners and TPG Capital in 2011 in a leveraged buyout that loaded the company with debt, sought bankruptcy protection on May 4.
J. Crew joins a long list of private equity–owned retail chains that have made millions for their Wall Street owners, pillaging the companies they buy while costing hundreds of thousands of retail workers their jobs. Private equity owners shuttered stores at an alarming rate over the last decade, disrupting the lives of more than 590,000 retail workers. Some household names are out of business entirely: Toys “R” Us, Sports Authority,

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What Not to Do During a Pandemic: Business-As-Usual on Trade Negotiations

25 days ago

Asia Times
See article on original site
Reduce governments’ ability to respond to the needs of citizens and prioritize foreign investors. Constrain developing countries from investing in small-scale fisheries. Hand over control of more aspects of citizens’ lives, and data, to Google and Amazon.
These are not proposals you would think governments would be eager to negotiate in international treaties during the coronavirus pandemic. Yet some rich countries, including Australia, Canada, and Switzerland, as well as the European Union, are busy at the World Trade Organization (WTO) trying to pressure others into “virtual negotiations” on investment facilitation, regulation of domestic services, fisheries subsidies, and the digital economy, among other issues.
The overwhelming majority of WTO

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Apple Gets a Boot in Joe Biden’s Door

26 days ago

The American Prospect
See article on original site
One narrative from the money side of the 2020 Democratic primary held that Joe Biden just wasn’t popular with Silicon Valley mega-donors, who gravitated toward the Pete Buttigiegs of the world. But now that Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee, one Big Tech giant is leaning on an old hire to affect what’s arguably Biden’s most important decision at the moment: picking a vice president.
On April 30, the Biden campaign announced to surprisingly little fanfare that it had selected a committee of advisers who’d help pick his running mate. The only non-politician of the bunch is Cynthia Hogan, Apple’s top lobbyist since April 2016.
While Hogan hasn’t registered to lobby herself since 2018, as Apple’s vice president for public policy

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Workers in Frontline Industries in Chicago and Illinois

26 days ago

This analysis was originally prepared for a discussion convened by the Institute for Work and the Economy, based in Chicago. Members of the Cook County Commission on Social Innovation, leaders of Chicago-area community based organizations, the head of the Chicago-Cook Workforce Partnership, local government representatives, and others were invited to and participated in the conversation.
CEPR previously released a report profiling workers in frontline industries. Workers in these industries have always been essential to our economy, and the pandemic has drawn attention to the vulnerabilities these workers face at work. The six broad industries we define as frontline include: Grocery, Convenience, and Drug Stores; Public Transit; Trucking, Warehouse, and Postal Service; Building Cleaning

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Exportación de COVID-19: Inmigración estadounidense realizó vuelos de deportación a 11 países de América Latina, según datos aéreos

27 days ago

Un análisis de CEPR revela que es probable que hubo 232 vuelos de deportación del Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas de Estados Unidos (ICE, por sus siglas en inglés) a países de América Latina y el Caribe entre el 3 de febrero y el 24 de abril de 2020.

https://cepr.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/ice3.mp4
En 2019, el Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas de Estados Unidos (ICE, por sus siglas en inglés) deportó a 267.258 personas, de las cuales el 96% eran de América Latina y el Caribe. A pesar de que la mayoría de los medios se han enfocado en México (49,7% del total), Guatemala, Honduras y El Salvador (que juntas suman 45,1% del total), ICE deportó al menos a una persona a cada país de América Latina en 2019. Diez países de la región aceptaron vuelos de deportación

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Don’t Just Appreciate, Empower

27 days ago

Today is #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of unity and giving. In these times of stress and uncertainty, we are grateful to be part of a movement that promotes generosity, gratitude, and community spirit.  No group embodies that spirit more than the heroes of this pandemic, frontline workers. The grocery store clerks, nurses, cleaners, warehouse workers, and bus drivers who day in and day out, make it possible for the rest of us to shelter in place to protect our families. They deserve our applause and our support. We encourage you to find a non-profit that provides direct relief to these workers and give generously to ensure that they can survive the economic fallout caused by this pandemic.
Because as CEPR pointed out in this recent report, frontline workers weren’t just essential before

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Meatpacking Workers are a Diverse Group Who Need Better Protections

April 29, 2020

Yesterday, on Workers Memorial Day, President Trump issued an executive order that requires beef, pork, and poultry producers to continue operating. The executive order also directs the Secretary of Agriculture to issue any additional orders and regulations necessary to keep producers operating. On the same day, the United Food and Commercial Workers reported that there had been at least 20 worker deaths in meatpacking and food processing due to the virus. UFCW also reported that at least 6,500 meatpacking and food processing workers have been directly impacted by the virus — meaning they tested positive for COVID-19 or are awaiting test results, missed work due to self-quarantine, have been hospitalized, and/or are symptomatic — and 22 meatpacking plants have been closed at some point due

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GDP Shrinks at 4.8 Percent Annual Rate as Pandemic Brings Longest Recovery to End

April 29, 2020

Lower spending on health care services was responsible for almost half of the drop in GDP.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) shrank at a 4.8 percent annual rate in the first quarter, as the shutdowns in the second half of March more than offset the modest growth earlier in the quarter. This was the sharpest fall since the 8.4 percent decline reported for the fourth quarter of 2008, following the collapse of Lehman. 
The biggest factors in the decline were a 10.2 percent decline in consumer services, which subtracted 4.99 percentage points from the quarter’s growth; a 16.1 percent fall in consumer durables, which caused a 1.21 percentage point drop; and an 8.6 percent drop in nonresidential investment, which was responsible for 1.17 percentage points of the decline. 
Since these declines

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Informal Labor Markets a Hurdle for COVID Response in Latin America

April 22, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to expand around the world, Latin America is expected to become one of the hardest-hit regions. One of the biggest obstacles countries face in responding to the pandemic is that, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO), about 40 percent of all employment in the Americas in 2019 was informal. Many of these workers depend on day-to-day activities just to survive, and complying with stay-at-home orders is often a life-or-death decision. This indicates a worrying outlook for street vendors, domestic workers, and even small business owners. The ILO notes that there has been growth in the informal sector in the last few years, rendering the region even more susceptible to large economic damage from the COVID-19 pandemic. The International

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Want to Push Biden Left? Focus on These Appointments

April 20, 2020

In These Times
See article on original site
Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders ended his presidential campaign but assured his supporters that “the struggle continues.” And he’s right. In the coming weeks and months, the struggle will continue in the streets (although perhaps in cars for the time being), at the ballot box, in workplaces, and in our efforts to care for each other in these bleak times. 
Importantly, although perhaps less obviously, in the near term the U.S. Left must also work to influence the composition of a potential Joe Biden administration. With Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee, the people he empowers will help to shape—for better or for worse—the conditions under which the Left organizes for structural transformation. With that reality in mind, in the coming

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Comments on OMB’s Considerations for Additional Measures of Poverty

April 16, 2020

To: Office of the Chief Statistician
Re: Response to OMB’s Request for Comment on Considerations for Additional
Measures of Poverty, Docket Number OMB-2019-0007
PDF
The Process for Adopting Poverty Statistics
OMB should immediately publish a notice extending the comment period on this notice until at least 30 days after the end of the current National State of Emergency and any state emergency declarations related to COVID-19. As a result of the pandemic, many experts and advocates working for nonprofit organizations at the national, state, and local level simply do not have the bandwidth to provide comments within the current timeframe.1 A substantial number of national, state, and local nonprofit organizations have asked the federal government to extend the comment period. If the federal

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How Ecuador Descended into COVID-19 Chaos

April 16, 2020

In the last few days and weeks, media outlets around the world have been publishing shocking stories and images of the COVID-19 crisis in Ecuador. Scenes of corpses abandoned in the streets of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second-largest city, have shaken audiences in Latin America and beyond. Statistics, even the highly untrustworthy official ones, have confirmed the dire picture of a fast accelerating crisis. Whereas on March 17 just 111 people had tested positive for COVID-19, by April 13, 7,529 were reported to be infected, and 355 people were reported to have died. Bearing in mind the difficulties of cross-country comparisons and disparities in testing, Ecuador now has the highest per capita COVID-19 death toll in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the second-highest per capita number of

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COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Data Review

April 15, 2020

Though COVID-19 was slow to appear in worrying numbers in Latin America and the Caribbean, the number of infected people in the region is now rising rapidly. Between March 1 and April 1, total confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Latin America rose from 5 to 25,500. In the first half of April, that number nearly tripled to 75,200. The US currently has the highest rate of reported COVID-19 cases per capita of any country in the Western Hemisphere, but this may be primarily because it saw its first case weeks earlier. Latin America may still have a similarly overwhelming case load coming its way.
Like in other regions around the world, the impacts of the pandemic are not evenly distributed throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Infections are concentrated in certain countries and

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How Big Tech Is Preparing for a Biden Presidency

April 13, 2020

Washington Monthly
See article on original site
Three days after Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election, he took press questions standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a figure now vilified by his base: ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Back then, Big Tech didn’t need to ask if it had a seat at the table of a Democratic presidential transition. But times have changed. Now, Silicon Valley has to take a different route to gain power and influence. It floods the Beltway with cash spent on lobbyists, think tanks, Metro ads—anything to get the suits to back off.
If Joe Biden wins in November, you can bet that Big Tech’s representatives will do the same thing as every other industry’s political strategists: scour the list of more than four thousand appointments across the executive branch the new

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