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.

Everybody in politics hates how social media works

But that doesn’t mean platforms are biased This is the second installment in a series, find the first here. We hear a lot about “censorship” by online platforms. A certain vocal segment of right-of-center politicians and commentators regularly accuse Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms of bias against Republicans. Indeed, the Trump Administration recently issued […]

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The problem with today’s tech hearing, in 6 charts

New polling sheds light on why we should be skeptical about the techlash The CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are testifying before Congress today in a hearing billed as crucial for the future of both antitrust law and Big Tech’s relationship with Washington. Putting these companies under the glare of a national spotlight […]

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Children don’t belong in immigrant detention centers

They belong in school Recent reports have exposed just how bad life is for the children who find themselves in detention centers along our southern border. The New York Times has described filthy conditions lacking food and basic health care. Investigations have uncovered overflowing toilets, extreme heat, bedbugs, and days without showers. At a detention center in Clint, Texas, “the […]

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Towards an era of human-oriented computing

For computers to serve us, they must understand human contexts Power relationships can be deceptive, even those with inanimate objects. Who is in charge, you or your computer? I am old enough to remember booting up a DOS or Linux computer straight to a command line. The black screen displayed some apparently random symbols followed […]

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Consumers value Facebook to the tune of $1 trillion a year

On June 16, former presidential hopeful Andrew Yang took to Twitter to call out Facebook, Yang asks an important question, “How much of that value are users seeing?” Normally, economists use prices and quantity of sales to measure how much value a sector creates. Since social media services are said to be free, it is confusedly […]

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Remotely satisfied

The virtual future of work is closer than we think Inthe pre-COVID-19 world, the idea that remote meetings are second-best was pervasive in traditional corporate thinking. But insisting in-person is better is a flawed approach. It ignores the societal, economic, social, and mental benefits of remote work. It also downplays the functionality and promise of […]

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The Post-COVID world needs micromobility

*This is part 2 of a 2 part series on micromobility after COVID. Read part 1 here. Among its widespread impacts, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we get around. One of the biggest changes has been a decrease in the number of people who use public transportation. With people seeking to avoid exposure to COVID-19, they […]

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Micromobility in a post-COVID world

*Part 1 of a 2 part series on micromobility after COVID Ascities struggle to return to normal in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a looming fear that traffic will be worse than ever. To prevent the impending Carmageddon, cities around the world are backing micromobility. E-scooters, E-bikes, bikes, mopeds, and other forms […]

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It may finally be time for unstoppable social media platforms

There’s never a dull moment with Donald J. Trump. Twitter’s fact check of our esteemed President last week reignited a wonky debate over a law called Section 230, a longstanding pillar of U.S. Internet policy, as Trump and his allies such as Sens. Rubio and Hawley take aim at the provision. 47 USC 230 was originally […]

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A dangerous game

President Trump is, by all accounts, the first social media president. His use of these platforms allowed him to side-step political insiders, win the GOP nomination, and find his way into the oval office. The megaphone that sites like Facebook and Twitter have provided the president is unprecedented, and announcements traditionally made from rose gardens […]

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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 In at 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 […]

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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 On Monday 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 […]

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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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