Mario Cuomo noted that “we campaign in poetry but govern in prose.” Trump’s campaign was hardly poetry—it was more like a sensationalist novel, with racy sex, clichéd dialogue and improbable plot twists. Now Trump & Co. are writing the screenplay for a movie and doing casting. And we wonder—some with hope and some with fear—whether the movie will be true to the book.
With Congress firmly in Republican hands, the policies reflected by Trump’s cabinet choices are steeped in Republican orthodoxy. While Trump may love a brawl, he can’t make America great again without winning votes in Congress. Read more »
There is nothing more debilitating than unemployment—both for the individual and society. The jobless are deprived of the dignity of work and the community is deprived of the benefit of their labor. We look to workforce development programs and higher education to match jobs and job seekers and, often, to help the unemployed gain the skills that are needed in the workplace.
Recent attention has focused on “middle skills,” those positions requiring some postsecondary technical education and training but not a four year college degree. A recent Harvard Business Review article[*] found that nearly half of new job openings from 2010 through 2020 will be middle-skills positions in fields such as computer technology, nursing, and high-skill manufacturing. Community colleges (such as Monroe Community College) are particularly well suited to addressing the middle skills gap and are exploring how they can best fill that need.
This leads to a reasonably neat policy prescription: If we have willing workers whose skills simply fall short, then the public’s role is to provide a bridge to employment through training. Easy, right? As one of the Rochester area’s most strategic training providers, Monroe Community College is continuously seeking better information on the needs of its market. Read more »
Workers cast adrift by technology. Last week we learned that the economy added 236,000 jobs in February. Better than a sharp stick in the eye, to be sure. But it still isn’t enough. Average job growth over the past six months has been about 190,000. At this rate, it will take the economy 5 years to absorb the increase in the ranks of the unemployed since 2007, plus new workers entering the labor force. And don’t forget the 8 million working part time who would prefer full time employment, 3.6 million more than in 2007.
How do we square persistently tepid job growth with the other big economic news of the week, that the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit new highs? Why can corporate profits be strong while employment growth remains weak? This brief essay will address only one of the many reasons: This recovery has simply left many workers behind. Read more »
I’ve had “one person, one vote” (OK, “one MAN, one vote”) drummed into my head since the 4th grade. Yet this didn’t apply to many legislative elections until the mid 1960s. Congressional seats, while allocated to states according to population, were distributed within the states many different ways. Only in a series of decisions handed down between 1962 and 1964 did the Supreme Court declare that Congressional and state legislative districts had to contain roughly the same number of residents, basing its decision on the “Equal Protection Clause” of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.
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School Board President Malik Evans and CGR are portrayed as being on different sides of this “mayoral control” discussion. Yet we agree that community opinion matters. The response of CGR was to conduct a poll with our partner, Metrix Matrix. At a forum televised by WXXI last Thursday, Mr. Evans suggested a referendum. But it amounts to the same thing—what the community thinks about this issue is important.
We’ve had two helpful forums on the topic. After the City Administration postponed several planned public meetings, the Rochester Business Journal’s forum was the first. School Board Commissioner Van White and Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski spoke against the proposal. In addition to remarks from Mayor Duffy, panelists Margaret Raymond from Stanford, Kenneth Wong from Brown, and Dennis Walcott, NYC’s Deputy Mayor for Education, spoke in support.
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The financial problems of the nation and many large states—California, Illinois, New Jersey and certainly New York—present a problem that is challenging economically and hazardous politically. Since it’s impossible to separate the economics from the politics, it is truly a Gordian knot – rather than untying the knot, Alexander the Great sliced the Gordian knot in two with a single, bold stroke of his sword.
The Congressional Budget Office forecasts the federal deficit to decline from about $1.5 trillion in 2009 to $608 billion in 2014, then rise to nearly $800 billion in 2020. This is a hefty deficit, particularly when you consider that we had a surplus as recently as 2000. Then consider that the cumulative public debt, which currently stands at $7.5 trillion, is expected to nearly double by 2020 to $14 trillion.
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When it comes to economic forecasts, I tend to be a “glass-half-full” kind of guy. Yes, there is some probability that gas will rise to $20 per gallon and we’ll start riding horses again. I think it more likely that gas prices will fall back to $3 per gallon and there will again (sadly) be a market for the Hummer.
My natural optimism was dealt a blow by a new assessment of fast-growing firms from the Small Business Adminstration (SBA). The study is an adaptation of the work of David Birch of Cognetics from the 1980s and 1990s. Firms with rapid revenue growth were dubbed “gazelles” by Birch. He found that these firms were responsible for most of the nation’s employment growth.
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