Benchmark Blog

Here at The Center for Growth and Opportunity, we have a unique way of confronting challenges. Relentless optimism. Bold commitment. Fearless innovation. We want to leave the world a better place than when we got here. Whether it’s our award-winning students, or our world-class researchers, we look to work together to find creative solutions to today’s most pressing issues. We’re committed to turning ideas into action.

The surprising leaders in the fight against climate change

U.S. companies are succeeding where the federal government has failed Inthe months since Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez released the Green New Deal (GND), Democratic presidential hopefuls have been promoting their own climate proposals. Some have thrown their full support behind the Green New Deal, while others like former Representative Beto O’Rourke have unveiled plans that take a more […]

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Remote work and the screen-time debate

Screens are winning, and that’s not a bad thing In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the country are working from home at unprecedented levels. Although remote work has been on the rise for some time now, up until the pandemic, the trend was relatively slow. Gallup found that from 2012 to 2016, the percentage […]

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Which jobs and industries are most affected by COVID-19?

State-level analysis and implications for future aid packages he COVID-19 pandemic continues to create an unprecedented effect on the economy, increasing unemployment to levels not seen since the Great Depression. Many jobs have been lost, and claims for unemployment insurance have surpassed by far the all-time high. In fact, as figure 1 shows, over the […]

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The Apple Google API is a supplement to manual tracing, not a substitute

This week Apple and Google rolled out a new application programming interface (API), which is meant to help in the fight against COVID. The “Exposure Notification API” gives public health officials and other selected developers the ability to create new mobile applications that would alert users if they came into contact with someone positively tagged as […]

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The value of sanctuary

And its benefits to society Even before he was elected, President Trump campaigned on anti-immigration issues. And since he took office, Trump has fought immigration more than any other recent President. He has made out immigrants to be “bad hombres” — criminals who are disrupting the American way of life. His efforts to reduce immigration include building a border […]

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We’re finally doing telehealth the right way

Virtual doctor visits can, and should, be the new normal Renewed discussions this week surrounding the next wave of relief efforts for COVID-19 have also reignited discussions surrounding telehealth. Telehealth is the use of technology, including interactive telecommunication, to deliver medical and other health services via virtual platforms. The CARES Act appropriated $200 million to […]

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Scrap DACA In Favor of Long-term Reform

The Supreme Court is expected to announce its ruling on the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) any day now. Whatever the ruling, it will affect a little under a million migrants. DACA protects immigrants who were brought to the United States as children without authorization. It provides employment authorization and peace of […]

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Unemployment vs. direct cash payments

What kind of aid works best? On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released new estimates for the number of Americans who are now jobless. The news isn’t good. Unemployment in America has now reached rates not seen since the Great Depression, with 14.5 percent of workers unemployed. These high levels of unemployment have largely been driven by the […]

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How the education system can adapt to COVID-19

In an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing, schools have closed for nearly all K-12 students in the U.S., and at least 46 states have ordered or recommended closing schools for the rest of the academic year. These school closures have impacted over 55 million students from over 124,000 schools. Although the pandemic […]

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The US is deporting coronavirus

It’s time to stop Inat least two countries, Guatemala and Honduras, US deportees have tested positive for COVID-19. Deportations pose health risks to the receiving countries and the deportation staff. Despite early efforts by these countries, such as closing their borders, continued deportations undermine those policies. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is not […]

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Cash for COVID?

Will direct payments help keep Americans afloat? Since the World Health Organization first declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic on March 11, the virus has spread quickly through the U.S. According to the CDC, there have now been over one million confirmed cases in the United States and over 60,000 deaths, with both numbers increasing every day. To […]

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Licensing in the age of COVID-19

Give workers a fresh start Senate Majority President Mitch McConnell hinted that the next COVID-19 aid package may come with strings attached. As he told reporters, “We’re not writing a check to send down to states to allow them to, in effect, finance mistakes they’ve made unrelated to the coronavirus.” The specific area that McConnell pointed to was […]

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Improving the Magna Carta of environmental law

A response to Brookings The National Environmental Policy Act is sometimes called the Magna Carta of environmental law. The law is popular with NIMBYs and environmental activists because it gives them an effective veto over any project that the federal government touches. A NEPA lawsuit can bring an infrastructure project to a standstill; not a […]

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Innovation’s green thumb

Technology is helping drive us towards a cleaner future Earth Day turns 50 years old today. First celebrated in 1970, it is the closest thing the modern environmental movement has to a birthday. And while social distancing and closed parks are preventing many of us from celebrating the way we’d like, the pandemic has given […]

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Three Cheers for Density

An Earth Day celebration of green cities Density has gotten a bad rep because of COVID-19. Some of the places that are most vulnerable to the pandemic are large, dense cities like Madrid, Seattle, and New York City. All three of these cities have had some of the highest infection rates and death rates. The spread of COVID-19 in […]

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Immigrants are essential

Suspending immigration is the wrong move OnMonday night, President Trump announced that he would sign an executive order halting immigration into the U.S. The 38-word tweet was short on details. Most immigration is stopped already, leaving rumor mills to spin as more information emerged from other sources. Trump’s motivation for further suspending immigration was clear–COVID-19 necessitates more restrictions to protect U.S. […]

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Antitrust can’t fix social media bias

Everybody in DC seems to hate Facebook but they can’t agree why Itdoesn’t take much to find accusations of bias by today’s big tech companies. On one side, tech companies are accused of bias against conservatives for removing too much political speech. At the same time, these companies are accused of favoring conservatives for not taking down enough harmful […]

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Remote work is here to stay

COVID-19 and the American worker Coauthored by CGO student research fellow Ellie McDonald. Today marks my 24th day of working from home due to COVID-19. Whether they like it or not, more and more employees like me are being pushed into remote work due to the public health crisis currently sweeping the globe. In early […]

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Did an 8-year-old merger cause today’s ventilator shortage?

Last week, President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to order General Motors to produce badly needed ventilators in the fight against COVID-19. How bad has this shortage become? New York State, for example, alone needs 30,000 additional ventilators to respond to the crisis adequately. According to a recent The New York Times report, a merger within the […]

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Regulatory uncertainty made COVID responses difficult

The introduction of COVID-19 has moved markets and sparked incredible changes in civil society and at federal agencies. But there is disagreement about whether or not official institutional responses have been effective and well-timed. Mark Lutter, founder and executive director of the Charter Cities Institute, chided the response, saying, “A functioning government could have prevented the crisis, […]

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Should state lines stop doctors?

How temporary reforms to lessen healthcare burdens from COVID-19 could translate to broader healthcare access in America AsI write this piece in my makeshift home-office, I am entering week three of self-imposed quarantine due to COVID-19. Like my coworkers and countless others around the world still fortunate enough to remain employed, I am learning to […]

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ICE should release detainees

Asof March 21, 2020, ICE holds 38,058 immigrants in detention centers across the country. Today, those immigrants are at substantial risk of contracting COVID-19, or the coronavirus. To prevent a mass outbreak at detention centers, ICE needs to release half of those people as soon as possible. We get how this proposal sounds. Detained individuals are generally considered dangerous. The word […]

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NYC lifted its ban on e-bikes

Let’s make it permanent Tocontrol the spread of coronavirus, New York City announced last week that all restaurants and bars would close for dine-in customers, leaving restaurants and hungry residents to rely on delivery and take out. To ease the burden on overworked delivery workers, de Blasio allowed previously illegal e-bikes to operate in the […]

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Cooperation over isolation

Inclusive immigration policy can slow the spread of COVID-19 OnMarch 18, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it is delaying most of its removal operations because of COVID-19. Immigration activists and public policy researchers celebrated the move. Early the next morning, however, Acting Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli set out to correct misunderstandings of the policy change. Referring to the original […]

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Why are we so slow today?

Five amazing facts about environmental review Weused to do things fast, and Patrick Collison has proof. The Stripe CEO maintains a list on his personal web page of feats of rapid, decisive action. Tegel Airport was built in 92 days in 1948 to support the Berlin Airlift. The Empire State Building took 410 days to construct. The […]

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Targeted help or universal income?

UBI would let people decide for themselves Last week Senator Bernie Sanders announced his plan to roll out a federally-funded universal program for childcare and early education if he is elected president. Sanders stated, “Childcare must be guaranteed for every child regardless of their parents’ income, just like K-12 education.” The plan would come with […]

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Welcome to the kill zone?

A closer look at merger and start-up data suggests it’s a cultivation zone Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued special orders to Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft to provide information on transactions the companies completed between 2010 and 2019. Under a law known as the Hart–Scott–Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (HSR), companies […]

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Waste storage or waste of money?

It’s time to move on from Yucca Mountain Earlier this month, when President Trump released his proposed budget, there was a noticeable line-item missing. In each of his previous three budget proposals, Trump included appropriations of around $120 million to re-start the licensing process for the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository. Each year those appropriations have been […]

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Immigrants give more than they get

The public charge rule doesn’t make sense OnJanuary 27th, the Supreme Court allowed the implementation across most of the country of stricter standards for immigrants seeking to come to the United States. Known as the public charge rule, the recent change allows the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to deny green cards or permanent […]

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We should be tackling disinformation

And there are better ways than criminalizing speech Last week, presidential hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren released a new plan meant to tackle voter disinformation campaigns online. The proposal includes laudable goals, like convening a summit of countries to enhance information sharing. It also makes critical missteps and misdiagnoses the problem of political disinformation. Platforms have been active […]

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