News Release

Interviews Available on Major Economic Stories


Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Weisbrot wrote the article “Economists in Denial” in today’s Washington Post. He said this afternoon: “[Treasury Secretary Paul] O’Neill is visiting countries in the grip of serious economic and financial crisis: Argentina’s economy has collapsed, and Brazil is headed toward default on its debt. And this comes at the end of a long period of economic failure: over the last 20 years, the income of the average Latin American has barely grown — by 7 percent — as compared to 75 percent growth over the previous 20 years (1960-1980). In the United States, the failure has been distributional: despite considerable economic growth, the median wage here is barely above what it was 29 years ago. Granting fast-track authority to pursue more of the same polices is not going to help. It is time for policy-makers to ask some serious questions about what has gone wrong.”
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The front page of today’s Wall Street Journal features an article headlined: “Enron Criminal Probe Focuses on Alleged Corruption Abroad.” The piece cites Wysham, a fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies and author of “Enron’s Pawns: How Public Institutions Bankrolled Enron’s Globalization Game.” As detailed in the article, the Justice Department’s previously undisclosed inquiry into possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by Enron examines Enron’s efforts to win foreign pipeline, power and water-privatization projects, some reaching as far back as the mid-1990s. Although Enron has declared bankruptcy for its domestic operations, much of its overseas operations remain intact, thanks to long-term financial backing from U.S. taxpayer-financed institutions, such as the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the World Bank, the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank. Wysham said this afternoon: “These public agencies still have not been held accountable for their roles in Enron’s continued activity abroad, which is the real scandal here. In this era of globalization, public agencies are selling out public resources for the private gain of CEOs and their collaborators. Bribery and other forms of corruption and coercion are the rule, not the exception, in many development projects abroad. Enron is not just one rotten apple; the whole barrel of government-corporate collusion in development contracts is rotten, and is forcing developing countries to accept deals that are not in their, or our, long-term interest.”
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CECIL E. ROBERTS, via Doug Gibson
George W. Bush spoke at a celebration of the miners’ rescue in Pennsylvania today. Roberts, international president of the United Mine Workers of America, pointed out a number of policies the administration has pursued that are harmful to the well-being of miners.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167