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By David Brodwin
Posted on: December 19, 2014
This week, in a show of bipartisanship, Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama pushed forward a $1.1 trillion funding bill – known as the "cromnibus" – to keep the government open. In the bill, the Republicans proposed and Democrats accepted the repeal of regulations that keep banks from speculating in derivatives with taxpayer-guaranteed funds. With the repeal of this crucial safeguard, the chances of another financial crisis and taxpayer bailout went up significantly, and the American public got one more reason to distrust our government and both political parties. Liberals and... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: December 15, 2014
One of the biggest challenges in building a sustainable economy is protecting the regulators who exist to protect the rest of us. We create structures to keep the economy healthy, like the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Communications Commission. But such entities are stealthily co-opted by the very interests they are supposed to regulate. Keeping regulators on track requires vigilance to stave off constant efforts to dilute, evade, preempt and compromise their function. The latest casualty of the regulatory wrecking crew is the small... read more
By Kate Williams
Posted on: December 5, 2014
Imagine: Provocative panels with well-spoken business and policy leaders; buzzing breaks during which every attendee was engaging and outgoing; thoughtful roundtable sessions that facilitated invaluable cross-sector connections; policy sessions with elected and agency staff that showcased the role of policy in sustainable business development. All of this took place a few short weeks ago at the American Sustainable Business Council’s (ASBC) annual Business Summit from November 12-14, 2014 in Washington, DC. I was thrilled to be there, and am so grateful to our partner ASBC for their success... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: November 28, 2014
This month, President Barack Obama urged the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the Internet under what is called “Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.” The call for Title II was immediately misunderstood and widely criticized. “Why should we tie the Internet to something set up 80 years ago?” the skeptics ask. It turns out there are several good reasons, and they get to the heart of how the Internet helps our economy. The most important issue is simply the cost and speed of the Internet connections that Internet Service Providers offer to their customers. This has nothing... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: November 24, 2014
Six years past the Great Recession, job growth has rebounded. Corporate profits and top-tier incomes have soared. Unfortunately, most Americans have yet to see their incomes budge. This divergence has prompted searching questions about capitalism itself, and whether our grasp of economics has kept up with a changing world. Entering the debate now is McKinsey & Company, the elite consultancy that advises many of the world’s leading corporations. In a recent article in the McKinsey Quarterly, Eric Beinhocker, a McKinsey alum now leading the Institute for New Economic Thinking, and Nick... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: November 18, 2014
Local communities and environmentalists are working hard to stop fracking practices that release toxic chemicals into the air and groundwater. The latest tests show high levels of benzene, formaldehyde and other cancer-causing chemicals in the air around fracking sites. Not surprisingly, recent reports show a steep and alarming rise in health problems afflicting people who live near the wells. As new scientific studies reaffirm the dangers, the energy industry is rolling out hardball tactics to discredit them and protect fracking revenues. This summer, Richard Berman, a consultant to the... read more
By David Levine
Posted on: November 11, 2014
Entrepreneurship is the pathway that many choose, leading to 66 percent of new jobs being created by small businesses. That’s why the federal government and so many others believe it is important for them to succeed. We agree. We appreciate the loans, technical assistance, and help navigating new rules and standards that are key components of the Small Business Administration’s mission. But this study by the Center for Effective Government raises important concerns about the role the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy is playing in the federal rulemaking process. The report... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: November 7, 2014
“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” said philosopher George Santayana. This week, seven major U.S. regulatory agencies agreed to forget one of the most important lessons from the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007-2008. This can’t help but end badly. One of the most important lessons from the mortgage crisis is that banks should keep some skin in the game when they originate and sell loans. Otherwise, banks have an incentive to write loans carelessly, pocket as much money as they can, and sell the loans to investors before borrowers begin to miss payments. It’s bad... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: October 31, 2014
After a rough start dealing with America’s first Ebola cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention appear to be getting the problem under control. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be more incidents; a health care worker was diagnosed with the virus in New York yesterday after returning from West Africa. But the CDC now seems better able to control secondary infections, particularly among health care workers, who are at the greatest risk. As the 21-day incubation period lapses without new infections in Texas, dozens of people are being cleared from the watch list. But Ebola lingers... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: October 24, 2014
In the fanciful world of economic theory, markets are highly competitive and self-correcting. This implies that the best thing government can do is to stay out of the way. Trust the market to get it right In the real world, many important markets are not competitive. If you don’t believe me, try to get a price quote for an appendectomy. Or, more simply, check your bill for Internet service. In San Francisco (where I live) competition among internet service providers is robust; I can get a high-speed connection for about half the price that Comcast Corp. or AT&T Inc. demand. But few... read more