The United States has committed $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which aims to fund environmentally sustainable international development projects. However, Congress has been reluctant to budget for the GCF, deeming it a "non-essential" program. In World Politics Review, TCF policy associate Neil Bhatiya makes the national security case for the GCF and argues that cutting funding is a mistake:
Regarding climate change appropriations as “non-essential” represents a very narrow view of what constitutes prudent national security decision-making in the 21st century. There is growing recognition within the foreign policy community about the role climate change may now be playing, and will certainly play in the future, as a driver of political instability and potentially armed conflict. For the United States to be effective in pursuing its goals internationally, policymakers in Washington must recognize these facts and deploy the tools necessary to address the challenge.
The full column is available here.
In Pando, Dan Raile profiles an Uber driver looking to organize fellow drivers with an app and discusses the prospects for labor organizing through new forms of technology. Raile also speaks with TCF fellow Moshe Marvit, one of the authors of this month's Virtual Labor Organizing:
Marvit said that the idea behind the paper was to ask, "why doesn’t this exist?" and lay out some ideas for what virtual labor organizing could look like. A "killer app" has yet to emerge in the "labor organizing space." Though nearly all unions and labor organizations today have websites and maintain some social media presence, Marvit finds them generally lacking in functionality.
The full article is available here.
In the context of the recent Charleston shooting, TCF fellow Robert Hockett recalls his experience helping to rebuild a Missionary Baptist church burned down in a hate crime in the 1990s.
When I first saw the film clips of the Bible study session being held in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church shortly before the violence began last week, the first thing that struck me was how familiar it all looked. This was exactly the kind of Wednesday night that I had known so many weeks over so many years. The second thing that struck me, though, was how much more familiar was the solemn and determined dignity of these inspiring congregants — just like my old friends who rebuilt what became our church with their own labor and materials. I wish, now, that I were one of them again, even way up here in New York state.
The full column in The Hill is available here.
The last six decades have seen an explosion of international trade, but since the Great Recession that growth has slowed. TCF fellow Mark Thoma asks whether this was a temporary slowdown due to the recession or a longer-term trend.
Without doubt, the last economic downturn caused a large part of the fall in trade. The recession led to a decline in the demand for goods and services, and that in turn led to a drop-off in the volume of trade between countries. But while the Great Recession is a large part of the reason for stalling growth of international trade, longer-term structural factors must be considered as well.
Read Thoma's full column here.
In The Guardian, TCF fellow Michael Cohen looks to make sense of an extraordinarily eventful ten-day stretch in American history:
Nations do not usually change course on a dime and one must be careful not to overstate what’s happened. But in the 10 days after a uniquely American tragedy, this diverse, rancorous, often conflicted nation became slightly freer, slightly more generous, slightly more cognizant of its past and slightly more progressive than it was before. To paraphrase vice-president Joe Biden, that’s a big deal.
Read Cohen's full column here.
This month, TCF released Virtual Labor Organizing, a report calling for an app to streamline the process of labor organizing. TCF president Mark Zuckerman, one of the authors of the report, spoke with Dissent magazine's Belabored podcast about the idea.
What if you could run a workplace organizing campaign through your smartphone or counter anti-union propaganda through instant social media blasts to co-workers? We speak with Mark Zuckerman, president of The Century Foundation, about the potential of “virtual labor organizing,” and how unions can use digital platforms to facilitate unionization and empower workers.
Listen to the full episode here.
Last Thursday, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act's federal subsidies. TCF fellow Michael Cohen spoke with healthcare experts, including TCF fellow Harold Pollack, to contemplate what improvements could be made to Obamacare.
There needs to be more money and better training for health care navigators, exchange websites need to be made more intuitive to help consumers make the best insurance decisions, and, above all, insurance companies should be forced to maintain up-to-date provider lists so consumers know, in advance, which doctors they can see. Now that Obamacare is free from legal challenges, perhaps the private sector can fill some of this gap.
Cohen's full column is available here.
With today's Supreme Court King v. Burwell decision, the Affordable Care Act has been upheld, and millions of Americans will remain covered by the law of the land. TCF fellow Harold Pollack discusses the decision and why he's glad that the "trolling exercise" is over and that politicians on both sides of the aisle can now get back to work on improving health care.
The government’s emphatic victory certainly embeds ACA more firmly in American life. Of course the political battle continues into the 2016 presidential election. If a Republican wins, major components of ACA will be constrained or altered. If a Democrat wins, many more states will participate in ACA’s Medicaid expansion. The components of ACA will become a more normalized arena of American interest-group and party politics. In either case, now that millions of people receive subsidized health coverage, and millions more enjoy other benefits associated with the new law, ACA is here to stay.
Read Pollack's piece in POLITICO.
TCF policy associate Clio Chang argues that Dylann Roof, the gunman who opened fire in a Charleston, South Carolina church, should not be given the death penalty, because doing so would continue to allow minorities to be targeted recipients of the punishment. Parity of punishment, Chang suggests, is not and never will be the answer to combating racism.
American racist sentiment informs our economic, social and judicial policies. The people who suffer the most from punitive policies have always been, and will continue to be in the foreseeable future, people of color. Thus, advocating for the death penalty, in any case and under any circumstances, will continue to punish minorities first and foremost.
Read Chang's full article featured in Newsweek.
In the past few years, two progressive social movements—the Fight for $15 and Black Lives Matter—have grown in parallel. TCF fellow Amy Dean discusses how the two movements have been able to collaborate toward common goals:
The cross fertilization between these two campaigns makes a lot of sense. As in the Memphis sanitation workers strike, people of color disproportionately share the burdens of police brutality and unconscionably low wages. The Department of Labor’s most recent “Profile of the Working Poor,” found that “Hispanics and blacks were more than twice as likely as whites and Asians to be among the working poor.” And ProPublica recently confirmed that young black men, in particular, are at far, far greater risk of being killed by the police than any other racial group.
Dean's full column is available here.