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.

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

As of 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 […]

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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?

We used 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.
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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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The Space Launch System is an irredeemable mistake

How pork-barrel politics and exploding development costs created a rocket that only a military contractor could love The moon, I think, misses us. Of the twelve human beings who have ever walked on its surface, eight have now passed away. Not a soul has been there since 1972. Since the end of the Apollo program, no astronaut […]

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Is 2020 the year of micromobility?

Trial and error in American cities Last week the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced the extension of its electric moped pilot program in Washington DC. This extension will allow electric mopeds to remain in the city’s dockless vehicle program. The program is part of the city’s efforts to foster shared mobility transportation and reduce single-occupancy vehicles. The pilot program […]

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Bringing home the virtual bacon

Virtual reality and the future of work Employees of one startup now teleport to work. High Fidelity, a project started by Philip Rosedale, develops virtual office experiences for companies with remote workforces. Building a digital analogue to the analog world is a labor of love for Philip Rosendale. In 2003, he created Second Life, the online virtual […]

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The Benchmark: Bringing Home The Virtual Bacon

This article was originally posted on the Medium publication The Benchmark Employees of one startup now teleport to work. High Fidelity, a project started by Philip Rosedale, develops virtual office experiences for companies with remote workforces. Building a digital

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Lessons from the ashes

Why Australia is a stark reminder that wildfires remain a major risk to our forests and communities Chances are, at some point in the past few weeks, you have read or listened to news about the wildfires currently burning across Australia. Much like 2018 here in the United States, this fire season is setting records […]

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The Benchmark: Lessons from the ashes

This article was originally posted on the Medium publication The Benchmark Chances are, at some point in the past few weeks, you have read or listened to news about the wildfires currently burning across Australia. Much like 2018 here in the United States, this fire

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Sanctuary for immigrants?

Crime, trust, and community in America Across the country, hundreds of cities, states, and counties are having the same conversation about sanctuary policies for immigrants. In December of 2019, Madison, Wisconsin, became a microcosm of that discussion. The conclusions that each jurisdiction across the U.S. reaches may have dramatic effects on US immigration policy. The conversation […]

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All I want for Christmas is a shorter commute

Making transportation work for workers Discussions about the future of work often focus on the relationship between worker satisfaction and productivity. While we know that happy and fulfilled workers are more productive, an often-overlooked factor in workplace satisfaction is how we get to work in the first place. The great American commute continues to get […]

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The end of shopping as we know it?

How AI and data analytics are transforming retail Numbers are in, and 2019 was another record-breaking year for Black Friday Weekend. Yet once again, the lines and fights that have come to characterize Black Friday were conspicuously missing. Why? It’s simple: online shopping is fundamentally changing the way we buy. More than half of all Thanksgiving weekend sales […]

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The End of Shopping As We Know It?

This article was originally posted on the Medium publication The Benchmark Numbers are in, and 2019 was another record-breaking year for Black Friday Weekend. Yet once again, the lines and fights that have come to characterize Black Friday were conspicuously

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Was your Thanksgiving dinner radioactive?

Probably, but don’t call your doctor just yet Last month, I wrote a post about how misperceptions and misinformation surrounding nuclear energy has proven to be more dangerous than the technology itself. And, as luck would have it, just a week later, I got to witness an incident involving potentially radioactive material, public exposure, and misinformation […]

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The Benchmark: Was your Thanksgiving dinner radioactive?

This article was originally posted on the Medium publication The Benchmark Last month, I wrote a post about how misperceptions and misinformation surrounding nuclear energy has proven to be more dangerous than the technology itself. And, as luck would have it, just

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Let’s tear down the invisible wall

It’s time to fix our immigration system Extensive attention is given to proposals to build a wall along the United States’ southern border. By the end of 2020, for example, at least 450 miles of wall is expected to be built. In a way, a physical barrier would add a second wall around the US. Immigration scholars call the […]

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The future of education may not be what you think

College still matters, but it’s not the only option Ongoing discussions about the future of work continue to center around how to prepare people better to step into the rapidly growing tech field. In a recent survey, 80 percent of companies said they will need more employees with tech skills soon. Thanks to continued growth in tech-focused […]

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The opportunity cost of public transit

Why shiny new projects don’t produce results On November 5th, voters from 19 states passed 89 percent of the transportation measures on their election ballots. One of the most interesting votes occurred in Houston, where voters approved a bond of $35 billion to improve the city’s public transportation system. The bond is earmarked to fund 75 miles of Bus Rapid Transit […]

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With Nuclear Power, the Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself

Misconceptions about nuclear energy have proven to be far more deadly than atomic meltdowns Ask most people what they think about nuclear power these days, and the odds are that the conversation will involve some discussion of dangerous radioactive waste and nuclear meltdowns. For over half a century, nuclear energy has played a significant role […]

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