Spring 2017 Quarterly CPEG Notes

Click below to read the Spring 2017 edition of CPEG Notes, a series of quarterly analyses of current economic reality by the Chicago Political Economy Group. In this edition: Luis Diaz-Perez on the early days of the Trump Administration, Joe Persky summarizes the bleak domestic economic scene, Bruce Parry and Bill Barclay tackle the political crisis and party system fiasco represented by last year’s presidential election results, Ron Baiman explores how macro-economic stagnation and recovery play out in employment terms, and Dr. Parry’s second contribution looks at how computerization, automation and other technological trends limit global employment possibilities.

U.S. 2016 Unadjusted Exit Poll Discrepancies Fit Chronic Republican Vote-Count Rigging, Not Random Statistical Patterns

Despite months of consistent polling indicating otherwise, Donald Trump was declared president-elect after the U.S. Presidential election on November 8th, 2016. However, a new statistical analysis conducted by CPEG’s Ron Baiman shows that the discrepancies between the reported results and unadjusted election polls fit a profile of chronic republican vote-count rigging, not random statistical patterns. Baiman explains that it is necessary to “analyze ‘unadjusted exit poll’ (UEP) results that have been captured by screen shots of exit polls publicized as soon as possible immediately after the closing of state election polls. These UEP results are the best real exit poll data that we have in the U.S. as Edison does not release UEP results in any other fashion”.

Download the full statistical analysis (PDF)

CPEG Testimony Helps Win Cook County Minimum Wage Increase

On October 25th, 2016, CPEG Member Joe Persky testified before the Cook County (Illinois) board about the potential effects of raising the county minimum wage. Subsequent to testimony provided by CPEG and many other groups, the county board voted to raise the minimum wage from $8.25 to $10 per hour on July 1, 2017. It will then rise by $1 per year until reaching $13 an hour in 2020! This is a major victory for low-wage workers in Chicago and all of Cook County.

As noted by Dr. Persky in his testimony, “Empirical evidence gathered throughout the country as well as here in Illinois supports the proposition that raising minimum wages increases incomes of low wage workers and their households without reducing employment. Cook County owes its low wage workers a serious increase in their minimum wages.

Download Dr. Persky’s Expanded Testimony (.pdf) before the board.

New Books by CPEG Members

Check out two recently released books authored by CPEG members Joe Persky and Ron Baiman!

The Political Economy of Progress
John Stuart Mill and Modern Radicalism
Joseph Persky – Oxford Studies in the History of Economics

Description:

While there had been much radical thought before John Stuart Mill, Joseph Persky argues it was Mill, as he moved to the left, who provided the radical wing of liberalism with its first serious analytical foundation, a political economy of progress that still echoes today. A rereading of Mill’s mature work suggests his theoretical understanding of accumulation led him to see laissez-faire capitalism as a transitional system. Deeply committed to the egalitarian precepts of the Enlightenment, Mill advocated gradualism and rejected revolutionary expropriation on utilitarian grounds: gradualism, not expropriation, promised meaningful long-term gains for the working classes. He endorsed laissez-faire capitalism because his theory of accumulation saw that system approaching a stationary state characterized by a great reduction in inequality and an expansion of cooperative production. These tendencies, in combination with an aggressive reform agenda made possible by the extension of the franchise, promised to provide a material base for social progress and individual development.

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Waging Class War: Donald Trump’s Attack on Equality

The issue of income and wealth inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time and it is the great political issue of our time.

– Senator Bernie Sanders, May 2015, announcing his candidacy for president

The driving force behind both the decision of Bernie Sanders to seek the presidency and the firestorm that his campaign unleashed is the same as that of Occupy Wall Street: the 1% vs. the 99%. The unifying theme of Sanders rallies, speeches and policies has been the denunciation of “the billionaire class.” Sanders understands better than most that the obscene level of income and wealth inequality in the U.S. – we’re No. 1 among wealthy countries – makes all other problems more difficult to solve.

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