Job Retraining and the Future of Work

                                                                                                            (Source) In recent years, the face of work in the United States has been rapidly changing. As the nation begins to adopt new technologies and automation in the workplace, the demand for unskilled labor is simultaneously declining. With the expansion of alternative energy sources, the American tech sector, electric vehicles, etc., the need for technical workplace skills and advanced training is becoming more prevalent. While this new industrial revolution offers convenience and utility to consumers, it presents the national labor force with an interesting predicament. Absent some sort of intervention, one would imagine that this change could drastically increase unemployment, particularly in those who lack the skills or educational backgrounds required to perform the skilled labor high-tech firms will demand. To adequately address this evolving issue, the federal government may be forced to explore various solutions including job retraining programs or perhaps, universal basic income. The [read more]

Marking the End of Forced Arbitration in Sexual Misconduct Cases

                                                                                                             (Source)            On February 10, 2022, the U.S. Senate passed the “Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021.” This bipartisan bill seeks to amend the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) to make it easier for victims of sexual misconduct to litigate their legal claims in court instead of being forced to arbitrate. The bill invalidates and renders unenforceable pre-dispute arbitration agreements in cases involving sexual assault or sexual harassment. It fixes the ‘broken system’ by barring businesses and employers from using forced arbitration clauses in employment contracts to silence the victims of workplace sexual misconduct. The Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) applies to employment contracts except those involving employees working in interstate transportation. Section 2 of the FAA states that written agreements to arbitrate “shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or [read more]

Why is tuition rising and what can we do about it?

                                                                                                          (Source) Tuition is rising at an extraordinary rate. Over the past 20 years, the average tuition and fees have increased by 144% at private universities, and by over 170% at public universities. Over the same period, inflation has only increased by 54%. This phenomenon is not happening due to a single factor. While many theories try to explain how this phenomenon arose, I will explore some of the predominant ones, and then discuss some ways we can try to solve the issue of rising tuitions. The first theory stems from the Bennett Hypothesis. The idea is that the more money students can borrow, the more colleges are able to charge. Currently, the government can give students federal loans up to the cost of attendance.  Since students can borrow up to whatever the cost of attendance is, there is much less demand elasticity due to the price. Thus, [read more]

We Need an Afghan Adjustment Act

(Source) This article originally appeared in the New York Daily News on Apr 9, 2022. Since the fall of the Afghan government in August 2021, the United States’ treatment of our Afghan allies has fallen short of anything humane. Now, while the world’s attention justifiably turns to the devastation in Ukraine, the recent more favorable treatment of Ukrainian refugees highlights how the United States has unacceptably failed our Afghan allies. During the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban takeover, the U.S. military evacuated around 123,000 people from Afghanistan. The U.S. military brought 83,000 of these Afghans into the United States. Others were taken to third countries. These evacuated individuals were our allies in Afghanistan. They supported and joined the U.S. military’s work in the country and worked for American NGOs. They stood with us against the Taliban, putting their lives at risk. Before evacuating these allies, the U.S. vetted them and identified them as being at risk of harm from the Taliban. While those evacuated from Afghanistan were lucky to make it out of the country alive, this sudden departure from their homeland was nonetheless a traumatic experience. Many fled without getting to say goodbye to their loved [read more]

I See You, Survivor: A Call to Dismantle the Troubled Teen Industry

(Source) The “Troubled Teen” Industry is composed of various Congregate Care Facilities or Congregate Care Programs (CCFs/CCPs) that claim to provide housing and treatment for teens displaying “troubled” behaviors such as addiction, eating disorders, low self-esteem, general disobedience, and at times even targeting sexual orientation and gender identity. These facilities are often privately run by various companies, nonprofits as well as faith-based organizations. There are anywhere from 120,000–200,000 teens estimated to be currently enrolled in these CCF/CCPs. Despite the deceptively benign intentions behind the programs, the experiences of the youth forced into these programs are often anything but pleasant.  These programs often limit and manipulate communication between parents and their children, inflicting a form of punishment known as “Code Silence.” This punishment isolates the child not only from contacting their loved ones at home but also isolates them from others residing at the program by not allowing them to speak. The Breaking Code Silence movement is meant to counter the indoctrinated command to remain silent and urges victims to speak out. Social media has long been used as a means of political activism, so it was no surprise when victims of the “Troubled Teen” Industry took to the social media [read more]

Is Build Back Better’s Paid Leave Provision Really a No-Brainer?

(Source) America is one of very few nations that lack a national paid leave program. The Build Back Better Act passed by the U.S House of Representatives attempted to remedy this by instituting a uniform paid leave policy for those working in the private sector. This would have been the most significant expansion of the scope of paid leave since the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted in 1993. However, paid leave has always been a hotly debated topic with both sides of the argument expressing valid concerns. This time too, the paid leave provisions of the Build Back Better Act has divided people across and within Party lines. After slicing down the initial proposal heavily, the Democrats completely excluded paid leave from the Act for a lack of sufficient consensus.       1. The Paid Leave Provision in the Build Back Better Act Paid leave was an important part of President Biden’s agenda when he was voted into office. As a section of the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better package, the proposal initially envisioned twelve weeks of paid leave per year. In an attempt to secure higher support for the provision, the paid leave was reduced to four weeks [read more]

The West Coast Migration: How California’s Battle with Climate Change Has Affected the Cost of Living

(Source) Boasting the fifth largest economy in the world, the Golden State is a beacon for various American industries, such as entertainment, technology, and agriculture. Yet population growth has halted. Some who reject the “California Dream” attribute the decline in growth to a so-called West Coast migration, pointing to Tesla’s recent move to Texas, along with that of tens of thousands of other Californians. Others attribute it to a baby bust and a downward trend in international immigration. While these factors, along with the devastation of an international pandemic, have led to the state’s population standstill, the high cost of living seems to remain at the heart of the issue. Although housing costs are largely to blame for the rising cost of living, numerous natural disasters have posed an insurmountable direct and indirect cost to residents. California’s public policy response to climate change could serve to foreshadow what is to come for the nation as a whole.  Among the most outspoken states in favor of zealous climate change policy, California is also one of the most vulnerable, encountering some of the first largescale effects of climate change in the United States. It has most notably been struck by worsening drought, [read more]

20 Years On: Why Congress Should Repeal the Post 9/11 AUMFs

(Source) I. Introduction Three days after the September 11 attacks, the 107th Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force (“2001 AUMF”). Section 2 of the 2001 AUMF authorized the President of the United States (“President”) to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United Stated by such nations, organizations or persons.” This sixty-word broad authorization served as a blank check for the U.S. to conduct military operations in Afghanistan. The counterpart of the 2001 AUMF was the 2002 AUMF, which authorized military force against Iraq. While the initial focus of the 2002 AUMF was to address the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s regime, the U.S. used it for the “dual purposes of helping to establish a stable, democratic Iraq and of addressing terrorist threats emanating from Iraq.” For example, President Obama used the 2002 AUMF to conduct the counter-ISIS military campaign in 2014. Similarly, in January 2020, after invoking both the Article II powers and the 2002 AUMF, President [read more]

The State of New York Should Pass a Right to Counsel in Eviction Proceedings

(Source) The start of the COVID-19 pandemic brought heightened attention to a common occurrence in the United States: evictions. On September 4, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a moratorium on evictions across the nation in an effort to curtail the rapid spread of the virus.  The agency’s rationale for promulgating this order is that evictions increase the spread of the virus by raising the risk of homelessness.  Homeless individuals are more likely to move into congregate settings, such as homeless shelters, which places them at an increased risk of contracting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.  Evictions also make it more difficult for State and local governments to implement stay-at-home orders and make it difficult for individuals who become ill to self-isolate.   The spread of COVID-19 is not the only detriment resulting from evictions.  Evictions break up families, impair careers, and marginalize Black and Brown communities.  Evictions are associated with higher rates of stress and depression, addiction, suicide, parental abuse, and other mental health conditions.  Evictions cause an increase in the risk of homelessness, and elevate long-term residential instability.  In some cases, evictions result in a (modest) decrease in earnings as well as credit access.  [read more]

Light and Dark: Dazzled Americans Seek Illumination

(Source) The constant march of technology has often created the need for new and sometimes even strange legislation and regulations, which come after the technology has been introduced. The large, well developed regulatory system often allows for great manufacturer freedom with reasonable restraints to avoid public harm. In the case of headlights, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108 (FMVSS 108) governs a complicated laundry list of requirements relating to lighting and illumination.  Today the current regulation for headlights dictates that headlights operate with two types of beams, high and low. While a driver could flash their beams, have them automatically cycle between on and off, along with disabling them manually, the American driver is unable to do much more than that. The current regulations governing headlights has failed to be updated despite concerted efforts by large manufacturers, with recent attempts to allow more advanced lights being stuck in limbo. In contrast, drivers in other countries including Germany, England, and Japan can enjoy massive benefits with greater illumination offered that does not impede others.  Current illumination systems rely on a ruling that is antiquated and defines beams by luminescence and discreet modes offered. Rather than wrap, avoid, or target [read more]
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