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If you're not a black person, suppose you were. Suppose you were also born in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward, which was already in poverty before it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. So you sought to better your life by getting a job in Chicago. But then US government officials forced you not to take the job, because DNA tests proved that you are not closely related to any white person.
Everyone says August in Washington, D.C. is quiet. That is of course, unless you are planning to attend the presidential conventions and from what I can tell, just about everyone is sending someone to the conventions. And this time around, CGD is going to both of them.
This is a joint posting with Vijaya Ramachandran
The World Bank Group's board appears to be operating under a severe case of cognitive dissonance, supporting efforts to save tigers - threatened in India and Bangladesh by habitat loss due to climate change - while helping build coal-fired power plants that will only speed up this process.
Back in June the Bank launched a campaign to help governments develop and better manage forests inhabited by endangered tigers, including in the Sunderbans. This massive mangrove forest spans the India-Bangladesh border and is home to the Bengal tiger. While the Bank has a less-than-stellar conservation track record in Sunderbans, more important is the fact that this impoverished World Heritage site would be one of the hardest hit by climate change, whether from rising sea levels or the disappearance of the glacier that feeds the Ganges river.
But the Bank's commitment to poverty reduction and biodiversity stands in stark contrast to its bread-and-butter financing choices. As the Bank planned its save-the-tiger campaign, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Bank's private sector arm, was putting together a deal to finance $450 million of the misguided $4+ billion Tata Mundra Ultra Mega coal-fired plant in India. Financing 10% of the cost of a plant being built by India's largest company will help propel India's power sector emissions to third highest in the world within a few years, behind China and the U.S. Is this a smart use of scarce international public resources?
Last week I had the pleasure of hosting a lively and useful discussion of Nancy Lee's idea for improving economic integration in the Americas -- via a focus now on investment rather than trade. Joining the discussion were economists and regional experts from the public and private sectors, some with a good nose for the politics as well as the economics. (Nancy Lee's proposal is a good example of a "practical idea" grounded in independent research, to invoke the Center's tag line.
Most economists who saw it no doubt reacted with skepticism to the recent assertion (by an organization pushing for stricter enforcement of migration restrictions) that undocumented workers are leaving the United States in record numbers because of increased Citizenship and Immigration Services enforcement. A far more likely cause is the housing market debacle and the resulting decline of jobs in construction and other housing-related sectors, where immigrant jobs are concentrated.
Despite showing leadership in opposing a pork-laden farm bill, the administration failed to do so yesterday. EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson denied Texas Governor Rick Perry's request to cut in half the government-mandated level for ethanol in gasoline to help reduce soaring corn prices.
A subcommittee of the U.S. Congress has just approved a bill that would let modestly more foreign nurses work in the United States. New York Times reporters are concerned that measures like this, by encouraging movement of nurses out of developing countries that need them, could literally kill children.