News Release

* Trade Deficit * Jobs

MARK WEISBROT
Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Weisbrot said today: “The newly released record trade deficit numbers underline the fact that the United States cannot go on borrowing more than 5 percent of GDP each year, indefinitely, from the rest of the world. This current account (mostly trade) deficit has gotten very little attention as compared to the federal budget deficit, although it is at least as important. Some implications: (1) developing countries that are offering costly concessions (in such proposed agreements as the FTAA or CAFTA) in exchange for access to the U.S. market will find this market unavailable for them as the dollar falls and our trade gap narrows over the coming decade; (2) the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates even in a weak economy, in order to counteract the inflation that results from the dollar’s inevitable decline.”
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KAREN HANSEN-KUHN
Hansen-Kuhn is the international coordinator of the Alliance for Responsible Trade. She said today: “Citizen groups around the world have been discussing for years comprehensive trade policy alternatives that would benefit people, not just corporations, both North and South.”
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FRANCES FOX PIVEN
Coauthor of Regulating the Poor and The Breaking of the American Social Compact and a distinguished professor at the Graduate Center of CUNY, Piven said today: “Tax cuts were supposed to spur recovery, but jobs are not recovering, the unemployment rate remains high, and more and more people appear to be dropping out of the labor market. Meanwhile, the programs created over the course of the 20th century to shield people from labor market instabilities are being whittled away. The Republican majority in the Congress stalls on the extension of long-term unemployment insurance, the president proposes to make welfare (which has always been the unemployment insurance program for less regular workers) harder to get, and harder to keep, and housing subsidies and even earned income tax credits are slashed. This is not a compassionate conservative regime; it is a hard right regime.”

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WILLIAM SPRIGGS
Director of the National Urban League Institute for Opportunity and Equality, Spriggs said today: “Many important issues remain overlooked: problems of unemployment for even highly educated workers; the issue of the significant share of long-term unemployed workers; and the problem of rising personal debt brought about because of stagnant incomes among workers who have been able to keep their jobs (even in the face of rising productivity).”
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CHARLES SHEKETOFF
JEFF THOMPSON
Sheketoff is the executive director of, and Thompson is a policy analyst with, the Oregon Center for Public Policy. Thompson said today: “Despite promises of economic recovery, the job markets in Oregon and most other states remain too weak to absorb unemployed workers or continued growth in the working-age population. Employment in Oregon remains 50,000 below levels from early 2001, before the U.S. fell into recession…. Elimination of federal extended unemployment insurance benefits is leaving thousands of unemployed workers empty-handed each month.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167