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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
By Greg LeRoy
Posted on: July 7, 2014
States and cities spend about $70 billion per year on economic development subsidies. This race to the bottom or economic war among the states is unfair to small business: entrepreneurs get shortchanged on incentives and get stuck with higher taxes and poorer public services. The good news is that responsible business groups in some states are pushing back and making a difference. Good Jobs First, the non-profit resource center in the middle of this debate, urges businesses such as those that comprise the American Sustainable Business Council to join this fight. Just how unfair are these... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: July 3, 2014
The ranks of climate deniers grow thinner by the day. On Monday, prominent Republican Henry Paulson, a George W. Bush administration treasury secretary, broke ranks with deniers in a prominent op-ed in the New York Times. On Tuesday, a new group of business and civic leaders, led by former N.Y. mayor Michael Bloomberg and Paulson, condemned the decades-long delay in addressing climate change and called for prompt and bold action. The general public agrees: More than two-thirds of Americans support tough new carbon emissions rules, according to a recent Wall Street Journal poll. More than half... read more
By Althea Erickson
Posted on: June 30, 2014
The maker economy is on the rise. Already, there are over one million Etsy sellers worldwide, who together sold more than $1.35 billion in goods in 2013. This is not a charming little trend. It’s a movement. And it matters. The maker economy has the potential to transform lives, communities, and the economy. Thanks to the Internet and platforms like Etsy, makers can bring their unique products to market for very little money, earning income and gaining the satisfaction that comes from building something themselves, be it a handcrafted table or a successful small business. Though these... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: June 27, 2014
Since 1828, the Cove Point lighthouse on Chesapeake Bay has guided mariners safely through darkness, storms and fog. Now its light illuminates a stormy debate over America’s energy future. In recent years, U.S production of natural gas has surged as its cost has fallen. This boom parallels the growth of from fracking – hydraulic fracturing – a process that uses a pressurized stew of chemicals and water to shatter rock and release the natural gas locked inside. Fracked gas appeals to some for two reasons: When burned, it releases less carbon, per unit of energy produced, than coal does. And... read more
By Richard Eidlin Ann Pratt
Posted on: June 23, 2014
As state legislatures across the country wrap up their deliberative sessions it’s a good time to review what they accomplished on behalf of working families and small businesses. From Minnesota to Hawaii, states considered and passed minimum wage increases. States also looked at providing seniors with a more secure retirement and low-income workers with the safety of earned leave for illness or family care. These policies represent our vision for the economy, one that is pro-worker and pro-business and make our workplaces healthier, drive more customers to local businesses, secure a future of... read more