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By David Brodwin
Posted on: August 29, 2014
Even as unemployment falls and wages firm up, more young adults are moving back with their parents and staying there. This trend was reaffirmed recently in a Goldman Sachs report, which confirmed earlier data from Pew. Upwards of 36 percent of 18 to 31-year-olds now live with their parents (or in college dorms at their parent’s expense), significantly more than a decade ago, and breaking a 40-year record. Many commentators misunderstand this trend. Some attribute it to the recession and the difficulty of getting decent jobs. But the recession is now more than five years behind us, and the... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: August 28, 2014
One of Aesop’s classic fables describes a magical goose that lays a golden egg every day. After years of being cared for by a wise and patient owner, the unfortunate goose slipped under the control of new management. The new owners figured they could get rich quick by slaughtering the goose and getting a lot of gold all at once, but they miscalculated: All they got was one last golden egg and a plate of goose flesh. (O.K., a bit of foie gras, too.) Businesses get slaughtered too, for the same short-sighted reasons. Slaughtering a business triggers a transfer of wealth between society at large... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: August 15, 2014
Toledo, Ohio residents had no water to drink for 56 hours this week, thanks to a massive bloom of toxic algae in Lake Erie, the city’s source of drinking water. The economic damages are still being tallied, but they are big, probably around $40 million. Lost revenues to restaurants alone will likely top $10 million. The rest of the damage reflects losses incurred by other water-using businesses, lost wages to the employees of these businesses, and productive hours lost by Toledo’s half-million residents as they scrambled to queue for scarce bottled water. Events like these bring out the... read more
By Richard Eidlin
Posted on: August 8, 2014
The Obama Administration sent a clear message on the importance of good workplace practices last week when the President signed the Executive Order on fair pay and safe workplaces. Although its impact is limited to federal contractors, it is still an important step towards bringing the country’s workplaces into the 21st century. The order says that prospective federal contractors must disclose labor law violations, and it gives federal agencies more guidance on how to consider those violations when awarding contracts. It will also better protect workers whose paychecks are inaccurate, or... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: August 8, 2014
The Walgreen Company is as American as the proverbial apple pie. More than 100 years old, it operates more than 8,500 drug stores nationwide and employs nearly a quarter million people. It posted 2013 revenues of $72 billion. It’s the quintessential American business, but probably not for long. Walgreens plans to purchase a Swiss based drugstore operator, shift its official home to Switzerland and give up its status as an American business icon. This shift will save Walgreens about $4 billion in U.S. taxes, but it will continue to have predominantly American operations and a predominantly... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: August 1, 2014
In 1969, the Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire for the 13th time in its sad 100 year history as an industrial dump and sewer. The fire, commemorated in song, spurred the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 and the passage of the Clean Water Act soon after. The EPA has since cleaned up many of America’s rivers, lakes and bays. But now a thorny jurisdictional problem has arisen that hampers EPA efforts to stop the remaining pollution. Small business owners appreciate the value of clean water and they want the problem fixed. Pretty much everyone agrees that the EPA has... read more
By Michael Peck
Posted on: July 28, 2014
Ownership is the new black, orange, blue and green – socially cool in “new economy” advocacy circles with an economic justice edge, growing in corporate and cooperative numbers, and claiming superior sustainable practices. Divided into land, home, individual, and workforce “communities of practice,” ownership appeals to historically admired American values. Cooperatives (member-based, worker and union affiliated) and companies with varying degrees of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), individual proprietorships and partnerships connect ownership with cultural ideals of freedom,... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: July 25, 2014
Those who fight forest fires sometimes deliberately start a second fire ahead of the one they’re trying to put out. The second fire, called a “back burn,” exhausts the fuel in front of the main fire, causing the main fire to die. Similarly, many who oppose all gun regulation say the best answer to guns in the hands of criminals is to have yet more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens. Now, the principle of fighting fire with more fire – and fighting gun-related crime with more guns – has been brought to politics. It’s a proposal to fight the problem of too much money in politics with —... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: July 21, 2014
Five years ago this month, the minimum wage reached the lofty sum of $7.25 per hour, the last step in a series of increases Congress set in motion in 2007. It hasn’t been raised since, and after taking inflation into account, the minimum has fallen to an adjusted level of only $6.54. That may change soon. Support for a higher minimum wage now comes from an unlikely source: the owners of America’s small businesses, and CEOs of some the nation’s largest and most respected brands. Meanwhile, recently published research shows that wage hikes at a modest level don’t kill growth and jobs. In fact,... read more
By Richard Eidlin Fran Teplitz
Posted on: July 14, 2014
 A Look at Carbon Pricing Most often “the business voice” represented in the media on U.S. energy policy is the perspective of the largest global corporations and the associations that represent them. The millions of small to mid-size businesses across the U.S. that play a crucial role in our national economy and in job creation also have valuable business insights into energy policies that can best serve our nation. Small business leaders understand that climate change is real, that it poses serious risks to business today, and that robust federal policies are needed to address it. Small... read more