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By David Brodwin
Posted on: March 2, 2016
Now that politicians on both left and right have agreed that inequality has increased, the argument turns to the question of why. Both sides point to worker productivity as a factor, but the two sides disagree on the fundamental question of whether productivity is rising or falling.Recently, from the right, we hear that worker productivity has actually fallen. The Wall Street Journal, for example, calls out "abysmal" levels of U.S. productivity.But from the left, we hear that productivity is rising but the gains are being taken from workers by senior executives and investors.The analysis of... read more
By Leif Elgethun
Posted on: February 29, 2016
As the Clean Power Plan moves forward, and states begin to discuss how they’ll develop their plans to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) goals for reducing carbon emissions, it’s worth asking: What’s the discussion been like in certain states?Here in Idaho, the state has engaged the Governor’s Office of Energy Resources (OER) to lead efforts to understand how the Clean Power Plan will affect Idaho businesses and citizens. The OER has worked to outline state concerns to the EPA; primarily, the state does not believe the federal government has jurisdiction to require the state to... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: February 17, 2016
The military has long been criticized for backward policies towards women who serve, but recently it took a big step forward. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced a major policy change that benefits women in the armed forces and their families as well.The change provides for:12 weeks of 100 percent paid maternity leave.Paternity leave increased from 10 days to 14 days.Extended hours of child care on bases.Coverage for fertility treatments such as freezing sperm and eggs.Greater flexibility to accommodate reasonable requests to defer relocation.With these changes, the DOD has... read more
By Claudia Viek
Posted on: February 8, 2016
Let's face it: investing in women-owned businesses translates into wealth creation. Even if the wealth that’s created is modest, it means more sustainable household income and healthier communities.Last year in another ASBC blog “Boosting Women-Owned Businesses Will Boost the Economy”, I wrote that small business ownership is a key strategy for creating wealth and helping women close the wealth gap.“Households with a woman microbusiness owner earn an average of $13,000 more than households with only wage earners. That can make the difference that allows a family to sending their kids to... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: February 4, 2016
For nearly two years now, the residents of Flint, Michigan, have been slowly poisoned by lead in their drinking water. Now, as the National Guard delivers bottled water, the media and politicians debate who's to blame. If this plays out the usual way, some low-level people will be forced to resign. (That's already started.) And senior decision-makers will dodge accountability by claiming "no one could have foreseen" what happened.But this is too expensive and important a problem to accept the usual blame game. We need to look past the witch hunting and address the underlying, systemic causes... read more
By John O'Neill
Posted on: January 26, 2016
Just before Christmas, Congress passed dozens of tax-law changes that affect businesses large and small, and since many apply retroactively, their impact is immediate.Some of the changes will advance a sustainable economy, by supporting the use and production of renewable energy for instance. Others will inhibit it, for example, by enabling U.S. companies to shift income offshore. All will drive up the deficit because few, if any, are paid for.The changes add certainty to the tax code because Congress made permanent more than 20 temporary tax breaks (the so-called tax extenders). These... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: January 22, 2016
The on-demand economy (which includes companies like Uber, Airbnb and TaskRabbit) has brought a firestorm of controversy about the nature of work and the meaning of the social contract. On one side of the controversy are the entrepreneurs in these companies. On the other side are advocates for worker rights. The entrepreneurs emphasize the freedom and opportunity created for workers who can pick their own hours and, in some cases, their pay rates. The worker advocates emphasize the loss of protections like minimum wage, employer-paid health care and other benefits – which apply to employees... read more
By Hazel Henderson
Posted on: January 20, 2016
Robert Pollin, author of Greening the Global Economy and Joseph Romm of the Center for American Progress, author of Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know, are both influential in the USA but little known to global audiences.  Both argue that climate change generated by the burning of fossil fuels and other unsustainable human activities can best be addressed by more efficient use of all resources and an accelerated shift to renewable energy: solar, wind driven by the Sun, hydro and geothermal from within the Earth.Joseph Romm reaches his conclusion as a physicist with deep scientific... read more
By Tara Ritter
Posted on: January 15, 2016
A group of rural organizations, leaders and experts in the U.S. recently outlined the challenges climate change pose to rural communities and developed a set of policy priorities. The document, entitled “Rural Climate Policy Priorities: Solutions from the Ground,” is endorsed by 23 organizations (including ASBC) and identifies transformative and long-term policy approaches to climate change that encourage resilience, equity, democracy and local ownership and control.Why the specific focus on rural? On average, rural residents are more food and energy insecure and have higher rates of poverty... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: January 15, 2016
Ever since Adam Smith wrote "The Wealth of Nations" in 1776, politicians and economists have debated why some countries prosper while others remain poor. Recently, the debate has become even more heated, as national leaders tackle sustainability issues. For example, last month heads of state gathered in Paris to debate carbon emissions, and challenges flew back and forth. No country wants to suffer from rising seas and other aspects of climate change, but at the same time, no country wants to place itself at a disadvantage, for example, from rising fuel costs.To date, there has not been much... read more