Thursday, March 29, 2012

Which Think Tank is the Most Union-Backed?

Which US think tank has the deepest connection to labor unions?  That would probably be Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

Here are some excerpts from an article about EPI written by Steven Pearlstein of the Washington Post.
And it’s not just lefty protesters who turn to EPI for data on wages, income and unemployment. So does just about every economist and economics reporter in the country, whether they agree with EPI’s liberal policy prescriptions or not.
With a staff of fewer than 40 and an operating budget of $7 million, EPI now punches well above its weight in Washington, in part by drawing on a network of contributing academics and regional economic think tanks.
EPI has not only been an incubator for data and ideas, but talent as well. Its alumni include Jared Bernstein, the telegenic former economic adviser in the Obama White House; Dean Baker and Eileen Appelbaum of the Center for Economic Policy Research; Michael Ettlinger and Heather Boucher at the Center for American Progress; and Thea Lee, policy director at the AFL-CIO.
EPI doesn’t hide its close ties to organized labor. Unions provide about a quarter of EPI’s funding, with the rest coming mostly from grants from mainstream foundations such as Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, and Anne E. Casey. Ten of the nation’s top labor leaders serve on its board and help set the research agenda.