*Editor's Note: Happy New Year dear readers. May you and your families enjoy a safe and wonderful coming year.
In the latest Heron video, DBL's Nancy Pfund discusses why venture capital is important for communities traditionally left behind.
And stay tuned for a longer length video discussing our aspirations for framing a new economy.
Speaking of a new economy, Nexus Media offers up discussion of what it means for renewing coal country:
Grassroots organizations in coal states have been reaching out to people in coal communities — and seeking financial support from local, state, and federal governments — with initiatives to help ease the difficult transition. Piece by piece, they have begun investing in those areas and gradually introducing alternatives...
Local organizations in coal states have begun training former coal workers and their young adult children— who, during an earlier time, likely would have followed their fathers into the mines — to install solar systems, perform energy audits and retrofitting, even write computer code. They are also helping them get credit and financing so they can start their own small businesses.
“We’re trying to give them an opportunity to reimagine not just their own careers, but their entire communities,” said Dan Conant, founder of Solar Holler, West Virginia’s first solar job training program. “We can’t leave these people or these communities behind.”
The Center for American Progress takes another look at the trend of working mothers as either the sole or primary breadwinner:
It should not be surprising, given that so many women with children work outside the home, that the majority of mothers contribute significantly to their families’ bottom lines. Married and unmarried, most mothers with children under age 6 and those with school-age children, regardless of race or ethnicity, work for pay. At the same time, single mothers, because they are the sole parent, are more likely to work than married women, and the employment rates of mothers increase as their children age and enter school. As a result, breadwinning mothers are more common today in the United States than ever before...
Most mothers work, and in most families, their earnings are important to their households’ economic well-being, yet a number of barriers continue to persist that prevent women from reaching their full potential for themselves and their families. While some of these problems are rooted in sexism and outdated gender norms, the fact that the nation’s workplace policies have not been updated to reflect the nature of today’s working families holds back working women, as well as men who also have family caregiving responsibilities.
In Generocity, a look at the state of impact investing in Philadelphia:
Philadelphia funders from both the private and philanthropic sectors have been pushing for the city to become a leader in impact investing, the venture capital strategy for funding for-profit businesses with a social mission.
That’s manifested in a few different ways:
There was the formation of ImpactPHL, a nonprofit formed by local impact investors including John Moore and Tom Balderston with a mission to rally more funders around strategy, this past summer.
The Philadelphia arm of national impact investing network Investors’ Circle, one of the strongest local branches in the country, appointed a new president in Annarie Lyles when Moore stepped down to chair ImpactPHL and advocate for the practice.
Wharton Social Impact Initiative (WSII), a national leader in impact investing academia, saw the departure of senior director Jacob Gray. Gray made his return to the private sector and is rallying impact investments by way of Center City-based firm Threshold Group.
In the Nation, Mike Konczal argues Donald Trump is taking advantage of the "end of steady employment" and liberals need to better speak to labor precariousness:
One useful tool in this regard is The Fissured Workplace: Why Work Became So Bad for So Many and What Can Be Done to Improve It by David Weil. This underappreciated book describes the “fissured workplace”: the result of corporations increasingly distributing activities through an extensive network of contracting, outsourcing, franchising, and ownership. Workers are less likely to work for the corporation that ultimately profits from their labor; instead, they work for a loose network of middlemen or as independent contractors. Their work is still monitored and controlled as closely as any other office worker, but they lose the protections of labor law and the ability to fully enjoy the rewards of economic growth.
This is the new reality for workers in the 21st century. Elites and professionals are less likely to experience it, as they tend to cluster at the top of the new corporate hierarchy. Research by the economists Lawrence Katz and Alan Krueger shows that “alternative work arrangements”—a term that covers temporary, on-call, contract, and independent workers—increased 5 percentage points in the past 10 years, while the number of people employed in traditional jobs declined slightly.
Similarly, over at Vox Sean Illing looks at new research that shows the white working class feels they have lost it all:
Justin Gest is a professor of public policy at George Mason University and the author of The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality. A product of six months of fieldwork, mostly in Ohio, the book is a badly needed primer on Middle America’s political rebellion.
Gest’s thesis is that white working-class voters have been radicalized by a sense of loss. Suspended “between the vestiges” of their power “and its perceived loss,” poor whites are alienated from a system that previously advantaged them but now is seen as “overcompensating” for its historical missteps.
The ascendant nativism, on Gest’s account, is the result of lower-class whites seeing themselves as victims. If they’re angry at ethnic minorities, he claims, it’s not so much due to racism but rather to a belief, a perception, really, that those minorities are afforded social advantages at the expense of the white underclass.
In the New York Times, Leslie Picker reports on whether a corporate tax holiday as proposed by Trump would create jobs:
Mr. Trump has said he wants to repatriate such corporate profits with a one-time rate of 10 percent. That is about a third of what is required by the current law, which says companies need to pay up to 35 percent of their earnings to the government, and then get credited for taxes they have already paid overseas, which usually is not much.
If they were to bring that capital back, those companies could use it to invest in their businesses, which may in turn create jobs. Yet that is only one of several options...
Job losses did result the last time Congress initiated a tax holiday, in 2004. The top 15 repatriating companies brought home $150 billion but reduced their work force by 20,931 jobs, according to a 2011 studycommissioned by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
Some of those cuts were tied to mergers and acquisitions. As part of the study, Oracle explained how its repatriated funds were used for two acquisitions: Retek, a software provider to the retail industry, and PeopleSoft, a rival in enterprise software. After buying both for a combined $11 billion, Oracle “eliminated thousands of jobs,” the study found.
Also in Vox, a look at trade adjustment plans from the GOP that corporate America doesn't really want. Meanwhile, Crains New York looks at some of the potential industries that will fair well or potentially suffer under a Trump administration. For most it is a mixed bag but big in the win column is the banking sector:
Commercial banks are poised to thrive because the difference between short- and long-term interest rates has widened in recent weeks on expectations that Trump’s economic policies will produce inflation down the road. Smaller banks make most of their money by borrowing cash at one rate and lending it out at a higher one, so higher rates spell increased profits for them. Rising long-term interest rates are also good news for insurers and pension plans, both of which invest heavily in bonds and have struggled to generate attractive returns for several years. Large banks including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase stand to benefit from regulatory reform as long-dormant trading desks roar back to life. Bond trading has already shown signs of revival, and stock-trading volumes have perked up as well. Meanwhile, asset managers such as BlackRock will do well, as investors are lured deeper into a stock market that is regularly setting all-time highs.
In the Atlantic, Connor Friedersdorf looks at the incoming president's "charitable giving" based on the reporting of the Washington Post's David A. Fahrenthold:
The public learned that the Donald J. Trump Foundation once spent $20,000 on a portrait of Donald Trump; that $258,000 from his charitable foundation was used to settle legal problems; that he misled the audience of The Celebrity Apprentice about his giving...Fahrenthold noted in September that “Trump paid a penalty this year to the Internal Revenue Service for a 2013 donation in which the foundation gave $25,000 to a campaign group affiliated with Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi (R).” In other words, his foundation illegally used money that was supposed to go to charity for politics.
In the Huffington Post, Arthur Delaney and Alissa Scheller look at who is on food stamps and what it means in the current political climate:
Republicans are conducting a review of nutrition assistance with an eye toward figuring out how to nudge more people into the workforce. In recent years Republicans have lamented that a growing share of recipients are able-bodied adults without children — a group that made up 10.2 percent of beneficiaries in 2011, up from 6.6 percent before the onset of the Great Recession in 2007. (The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that 1 million people will be kicked off the rolls by next year as states reimpose time limits on childless, non-disabled adults.)
Similarly, over at The Week, Ryan Cooper discusses whether Republicans will "wage war" on the poor by dismantling of the social safety net:
For years now, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has been talking in his earnest Wisconsin way about how much he cares about poverty. Republicans care about the poor, he insists, they just don't want to trap them in dependency — thus his proposals for a panopticon surveillance bureaucracy to coerce poor people into getting jobs and following bourgeois moral values...
Taken together, the actual policy agenda here is reasonably clear. Republicans think rich people have too little income, and poor people too much. They will thus cut programs serving the bottom of the income ladder to make budget headroom for immense tax cuts for the rich. Paul Ryan will go on Meet the Press and smile and calmly buffalo the dim DC political reporters with a lot of wonky-sounding nonsense. But the upshot of this agenda is a great increase in desperation in America — more hungry people, more uninsured people, and more people dying of preventable illness.