Jake Blumgart's blog

Protecting the Clean Air Act: Getting the Jobs and Investment Story Right

September 13, 2010 - 1:00pm

By Laurie Johnson. Posted on the Natural Resources Defense Council's Switchboard blog. September 13, 2010.

With stalled clean energy legislation in DC, opponents of environmental protection have shifted their focus away from pro-active legislation toward dismantling existing environmental protection laws. Against the Supreme Court’s mandate, industry-funded politicians and the lobbyists that support them (e.g. National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)) are trying to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from doing its job: requiring polluters to reduce global warming pollution. Predictably, they are making the same argument they’ve always made—one that’s never come true: “Protecting the environment will destroy jobs; it will be impossible for firms to meet any new requirements and stay in business at the same time.”

A New Labor Standard: Paid Sick Leave

September 3, 2010 - 3:35pm

By Jake Blumgart. Orginally published in the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Huffington Post. September 3, 2010.

You wake up Monday morning with a throbbing headache, achy muscles and a hacking cough. Do you miserably trudge into work, likely prolonging your recovery time and exposing your co-workers to infection? Or do you give your body the time it needs to heal, and call in sick? Can you afford to?

For almost 40 percent of the nation's private workforce, the answer to that last question is no. A recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows only 33 percent of workers earning $10.50 an hour or less have access to paid sick leave, compared with 81 percent of those earning $24.22 an hour or more. This means, perversely, that if you can afford to take an unpaid sick day, you generally don't have to.

Truth in Labeling: The Current Backlash Against Consumer Financial Regulation Sounds Awfully Familiar

November 25, 2009 - 6:31pm

By Larry Glickman, The American Prospect, November 25, 2009.

The Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906 is today remembered as one of the highlights of Progressive reform. In an urbanizing and industrializing era when Americans no longer lived near the sources of their food and in which unregulated patent medicine promised miraculous cures, this law offered an assurance of safety that consumers, no matter how vigilant, could not provide on their own.

The History of Consumer Protection Scares

September 9, 2009 - 6:24pm

By Tim Fernholz. The American Prospect. September 9, 2009.

I've got a story today on how the Chamber of Commerce and other business interests are trying to kill the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency with 'death panel' tactics -- exaggerating the affects of the legislation and making it seem as though it would harm ordinary Americans. But these kinds of moves aren't unusual. In the 1970s, there was momentum toward creating a Consumer Protection Agency that would act, essentially, as a kind of clearinghouse for consumer complaints, rather than an actual regulator with enforcement powers. But as Lawrence Glickman chronicles, its opponents also reacted with outrageous rhetoric:

Report: Bush’s Voluntary Program Didn’t Help Job Safety and Health

June 19, 2009 - 10:27am

by Mike Hall, AFL-CIO, Jun 19, 2009.

An investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirms what union and other workplace safety advocates have charged for years—the Bush administration’s reliance on voluntary policing by employers of their safety and health actions did not improve worker safety.

The Historical Record of Job Growth and Environmental Protection: A Convenient Truth for Climate Legislation

June 18, 2009 - 11:09am

By Laurie Johnson. Posted on the Natural Resources Defense Council's Switchboard blog. June 18, 2009. 

Over three decades of experience with environmental regulation show that investments in environmental protection, coupled with GDP growth, led to an increase in jobs that were orders of magnitude larger than any job losses caused by environmental requirements. The dire job loss predictions by industry simply never came to pass. Instead, tens of thousands of new jobs were created every year, much more than the job reductions per year that various government agencies and academic analyses found after the fact, in only a few sectors.[1] We detail the data further below.

Wind the tape back to before environmental regulations were passed, and we see that the opponents of the day, just like today's climate obstructionists, made dire job loss forecasts. They never came true.