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By David Brodwin
Posted on: March 21, 2016
As different as Donald Trump and independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are, they have one important policy goal in common. It’s a dangerous goal, one that elites in both parties must counter, before a new public consensus is formed and grave damage is done to the economy.Both Trump and Sanders are, at their heart, protectionists. They both believe in tariffs and other obstacles to prevent foreign-made goods from competing with American-made goods, and keep foreign worker salaries from driving down Americans’ pay. Trump is the most direct and vocal about it, calling for tariffs as high as 45... read more
By Manisha Paralikar
Posted on: March 16, 2016
Are you an idealist?  Do you believe in sustainability?  Has idealism led corporations to embed sustainability throughout their operations? Wait, is that last part even a reality?Some might question whether it has, or if it can even be. Others – including me, and probably you – work in your business every day toward that goal in the face of obstacles, hypocrisy, and as Christine Bader notes in The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist, even our own contradictions.  Using Bader’s decade-long experience promoting human rights standards within BP as a backdrop, Evolution is a fast-paced, fun book... read more
By Warren Taylor
Posted on: March 10, 2016
Food labeling is the ground on which the battle for the future of America’s food system is being fought. Consumers increasingly want to know more about how their food is produced and processed. They support labeling foods with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) - to the tune of 89 percent, according to polling from last year. They want to know where it comes from, and what goes into it. This market trend is undeniable.Despite this trend toward more organic and non-GMO food, the industrial agriculture lobby group Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food is advocating a national food labeling... read more
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