Benchmark Blog

Burning down the house

*This piece is the second of a multi-part series by Brian Isom on wildfires. Click to read parts one, three, and four. Just over one month ago, Paradise, California, issued its first rebuild permit since the Camp Fire devastated the community last November. The town of 26,000 residents was all but wiped off the map, taking with it 86 lives. This […]

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Optimism will save the world

This week marks the 49th Earth Day, a celebration of the natural wonders of the planet. Started in the United States in 1970, Earth Day is now a global environmental movement with 192 countries participating. This year, Earth Day comes on the heels of announcements from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) that Americans used more energy in […]

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The new identity politics

In what is being called “the first known example of a government intentionally using artificial intelligence for racial profiling,” China is using facial recognition technology and its network of surveillance cameras to identify and track Uighurs, a mostly Muslim minority in China’s Xinjiang region. As the New York Times reported, this marks yet another dramatic shift in who […]

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Is America Full?

During a visit to the US border with Mexico, President Trump announced that the US was full. His comments, given during a press briefing in Calexico, California, are part of his administration’s work to prevent illegal immigration. The President was reviewing and touring an area of repaired and updated fencing at the Mexican border. The President’s comments echo similar […]

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The electrical grid is changing

The electrical grid is changing. While at one time those interwoven lines and poles carrying power from electricity generators to you only flowed in one direction, that isn’t always the case anymore. Traditionally someone—usually far outside of your city — ran coal-powered power plants that sent electricity into cities. Today, we have a variety of […]

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Announcing the CGO’s Innovation Policy Fellowship

Come work with us! Atthe Center for Growth and Opportunity, we are dedicated to producing ideas that transform lives, improving individual well-being, and breaking down barriers that are holding back progress. As a part of this, our research team is focused on finding optimistic and actionable solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges and […]

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Smokey Bear’s big lie

*This piece is the first of a multi-part series by Brian Isom on wildfires. Click to read parts two, three, and four. Last year, as devastating wildfires burned across much of the Western United States, arguments raged over the key cause of the burns. President Trump lambasted California via Twitter, threatening to cut off relief aid for fire […]

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Does our immigration system encourage crime?

Concerns about immigration’s effects on public safety and crime rates have become a consistent theme in public discussions, and are currently driving calls to build a wall. President Trump has now spent the last month threatening to declare a national emergency to get the funds to do it without Congressional approval. These, however, claims are divorced from statistical analyses […]

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The US Economy has changed. Tax policy should change too.

The technological change that has dramatically reshaped industries hasn’t stopped at transportation and manufacturing. Almost every facet of the US economy has been touched. And perhaps the most underrated — and important — shift has taken place in consumer spending. From 1929 to the end of the 1960s, consumers purchased more goods than services. 90 […]

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Instead of replacing fossil fuels, let’s fix them.

While we’ve spent much time discussing “green energy,” we’ve found little agreement over what the term even means. To some, any technology that emits zero greenhouse gasses qualifies as green. Others, however, are hesitant to include nuclear as green technology. Just take the hotly-debated Green New Deal as the latest example of the confusion. The resolution aims […]

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Toward a better Green New Deal

Much has already been made of the Green New Deal (GND), and it has become the focal point for discussions about the federal government’s role in addressing climate change. It lays out an ambitious list of 10-year goals, including net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, infrastructure investments and improvements, and upgrading all existing buildings in the United States. While we […]

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No one reads online privacy policies

Perhaps the most common activity on the internet today is mindlessly agreeing to terms of service (ToS). We’ve all been there. If you have ever signed up for new services at websites like Google, Facebook, Uber, or Amazon, the odds are that you agreed to the terms without reading any of them. If you feel […]

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Who benefits from the gig economy?

Much has been written about the growth of the gig economy, and many have tried to estimate just how fast it’s growing. In 2016, economists Lawrence Katz and Alan Krueger released research showing that the percentage of the American workforce made up of alternative work arrangements had grown by more than 50 percent. Katz and Krueger found […]

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What fracking can teach us about solving climate change

January 15th, the US Energy Information Administration released a report highlighting expected trends in energy production and consumption through 2020. Among those highlights was a forecast that US carbon emissions are expected to fall in both 2019 and 2020, continuing a decade-long trend of carbon emission reduction in the US. This is encouraging for multiple reasons. […]

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Parks over politics

The current government shutdown is now the longest in U.S. history. Because of its length, it’s also turning out to be more painful than any other before it, and government employees face the prospect of a second missed paycheck. And while the government shutdown has exposed that many are unprepared for financial shocks, either economic or political, it has exposed other […]

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We should welcome the future of work

Last year, Pew Research Center highlighted the growing concern across the world that robots and computers pose a significant threat to future work opportunities. In every country surveyed, a majority of respondents said that robots and computers will “probably” or “definitely” take over most of the jobs we have today. Note: Find the full study here. Responses vary […]

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Is data privacy a market failure?

In the high-stakes fight over privacy regulation, we seem to be forgetting the most important question. This article was originally posted on the Medium publication The Benchmark In his opening remarks during this past September’s Senate Commerce Committee

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