EB/EPPD Takes First Prize at State of the Union Bingo Contest (Economic Bureau/Economic Policy and Public Diplomacy for those who haven’t memorized State’s alphabet soup)At the annual Center for Global Development (CGD) State of the Union Bingo contest, the bingo card for EPPD’s office director won first prize, with the combination of policy words: Global, Environment, Children, Women, and Free CGD Bingo Space. Dave is now the proud owner of a CGD logo T-shirt embossed with “Ending poverty one regression at a time.” State’s representative at this event was frustrated at the lack of the speech’s early mentions of vaccines, foreign aid, gender, trade, debt relief, and prosperity, among other policy wonkisms. This is the intent of CGD’s otherwise raucous fun evening at a small restaurant in DC’s Adams Morgan area - to call attention to what is, and what is not, emphasized by the administration to advance the cause of global development.“Off the Record Bar” at the Hay Adams Hotel, Washington, D.C.: The manager of the Hay Adams Hotel reportedly insisted printed copies of CGD’s State of the Union Bingo cards be left with him so that patrons at the “Off the Record Bar” could play, too. (For our outside-the-beltway readers and those who don’t recognize it from re-runs of the West Wing, Off the Record Bar is a regular hangout for White House staff of all administrations.) We’d like to tell you who won over there and what the crowd reaction was but…read the name of the bar.Reports are trickling in of CGD State of the Union bingo being played in Columbus, Ohio (over margaritas); Lexington, Kentucky (over bourbon?); Napa, California (definitely over wine); and Dhaka, Bangladesh (a breakfast bingo, with mimosas perhaps?).In all the venues, the following words helped bingo players score and seemed to garner the most interest:Global climate change Rumors circulated prior to the speech that President Bush would break new ground on global warming, but when he uttered the words “global climate change”, he focused on energy security and failed to make the link between human-generated greenhouse gas emissions and the threats that global warming pose to economic growth, agriculture production, mortality and poverty in developing and rich countries alike (CGD has recently launched a new initiative to help address some of these problems, see Confronting Climate Change .)CGD bingo players contrasted President Bush’s tepid proposals with the call to action the previous day in which CEOs of 10 major corporations urged the president to support mandatory reductions in climate-changing pollution and establish reduction targets.Migration policy: The president called for Congress to help him pass a “comprehensive immigration reform” policy that would include a temporary worker program. Recent CGD research published by Lant Pritchett in Let Their People Come: Breaking the Gridlock on Global Labor Mobility estimated that if rich countries were to permit a mere 3 percent increase in the size of their labor force by easing restrictions on temporary guest workers, the benefits to citizens of poor countries would be $305 billion a year--almost twice the combined annual benefits of full trade liberalization ($86 billion); foreign aid ($70 billion) and debt relief (about $3 billion in annual debt service savings). Bush argued that a guest worker program would take the pressure off the borders; CGD research suggests that it would also make hundreds of thousands of very poor people much better off while also adding to the U.S. economy.Lant Pritchett argues in his book that a politically palatable migration, or labor mobility, policy must have six features. While not articulated in the State of the Union itself, the president’s full proposal includes all of Lant's feature except number 5:
- Have bilateral agreements between host and sending countries,
- Allow for temporary movement of persons in a regime separate from immigration,
- Have numerical quotas for specific occupational categories,
- Enhance the development impact of the labor movement through agreements with the sending-country government and voluntary arrangements,
- Enlist sending-country enforcement by imposing automatic penalties on the sending country (and host-country employer) for laborers who overstay, and
- Protect the fundamental human rights of laborers.
CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.