This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with John Dearie, founder and president of the Center for American Entrepreneurship, a Washington, D.C.-based research, policy and advocacy organization. Immigration is core to his mission to build a policy environment that promotes entrepreneurship because he knows all too well that the United States was and continues to be built by entrepreneurial immigrants who had the drive and determination to pick up, leave everything they know behind, and build a new life in a new homeland. So to John, it is no surprise they are twice as likely to take another risk: start a business. He’s also seen across the country frustration among business owners, both U.S.-born and foreign-born, at an immigration system that works against this country’s interest. Why? Because it doesn’t seek to actively attract or retain talent from the rest of the world. John sees the decline in U.S. entrepreneurship and believes that more immigration, not less, would power the nation’s economy and innovation, which have made us the global leader. Instead, he’s seeing an unnecessarily partisan and toxic approach to immigration that, he says, harms us all and is inherently unamerican, as you’ll discover in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on Hubwonk (our debut video & audio edition), Host Joe Selvaggi talks with research analyst Andrew Mikula about the findings from his recent report, A Timely Tax Cut, in which he explored the relationship between state tax rates and policy and the direction of interstate migration.

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Biden Strikes Again!

 

One more time, Biden is supposedly going to rescue the country. This time he’s going to solve the supply chain mess. And you’ll never guess what he’s done: He’s “convinced” the port authorities to work 24/7 to unload the containers stuck on ships. Depending on whose estimates you accept, there are 500,000 to 1 million containers waiting to be unloaded.

Biden also boasted about how businesses were going to help him out:

This week on JobMakers, Host Denzil Mohammed talks with Dr. Bernat Olle, co-founder and CEO of Vedanta Biosciences, about his journey from Catalonia, Spain, to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he continued his Chemical Engineering studies at MIT. Navigating the complex immigration system while seeking purpose in his career, he eventually found his calling and was lucky enough to remain in the U.S. to see it through: designing a new class of medicines to modulate the human microbiome. They duscuss how everyone wins when foreign-born talent is welcomed into vibrant, entrepreneurial ecosystems like those in the U.S., when they’re able to collaborate with others from the U.S. and around the world and come up with incredible ideas to benefit all people. Bernat also expresses a sense of kinship with immigrants far removed from the labs and boardrooms. He knows that the same aspiration – opportunity – attracted those who came here with nothing but a suitcase and a dream, as you’ll discover in this week’s JobMakers.

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Dr. Bernat Olle is a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vedanta Biosciences. He has been a member of the founding teams of several companies of the PureTech portfolio and served as a member of the Board of Directors of Vedanta Biosciences and Follica Biosciences. In 2013 Dr. Olle was named “Innovator of the Year” in MIT Technology Review Spain’s “Innovators under 35” awards. He also received the 2019 Barry M. Portnoy Immigrant Entrepreneur Award from The Immigrant Learning Center. He completed his doctoral work at the Chemical Engineering Department at MIT, where he developed a novel method for large-scale bacterial culture. During his graduate work, Dr. Olle was awarded the “la Caixa” fellowship. Dr. Olle received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Universitat Rovira i Virgili, in Catalonia, his M.S. and PhD. in Chemical Engineering Practice from MIT, and his M.B.A. from the MIT Sloan School of Management. He has published his work in journals including Nature and Nature Biotechnology.

Labor Markets Don’t Need The Antitrust Cudgel

 

Modern progressive thinkers are united in their newfound determination to ramp up antitrust enforcement to respond to their perception of greater monopoly risks. Lina Khan, the new head of the Federal Trade Commission, spearheaded the agency’s decision on a straight party-line (3–2) vote to withdraw the revised Vertical Merger Guidelines the FTC and the Department of Justice had issued in June 2020. The reason: to combat the twin problems of rising prices and shrinking wages, without saying exactly how these means and ends are connected. That wage motif was even more prominent in acting head of the Antitrust Division Richard Powers’s assertion that any violation of the antitrust law is “just as irredeemable as agreements to fix product prices and allocate markets, conduct that the division has prosecuted for over one hundred years.”

Powell’s remarks did not arise in a void, but were inspired by a large body of recent scholarship that claims that powerful quantitative techniques induce large wage reductions through excessive concentration in labor markets. As in other areas, the antitrust violations could be of two sorts. First, competitors may explicitly seek to lower wages or divide markets, using, as in the tech industry, so-called “no-poach” agreements, as between different tech firms. Here, the issues of proof are relatively easy, because the needed evidence is all on the paper record, so that all that remains is to apply sound, well-established antitrust principles.

Often these “naked” restraints justify some combination of financial penalties looking backward and injunctive relief looking forward, just as in the market for products and services. But often a “rule of reason” analysis is appropriate to let firms explain why their behavior is efficient. For example, there is a constant risk that workers know the trade secrets or customer lists of their current employers, which they could easily carry to their competitors if allowed to freely shift jobs. The competitors can then improve their relative position by the cost advantage they obtain by using, without charge, valuable information generated by their competitors.

Join Greg and Rob Long as they try to figure out exactly what’s causing hundreds of Southwest Airlines flights to be cancelled for the third day in a row. The airline is clearly lying but is this resistance to the vaccine mandate or something else? And if it is about the mandates, what happens next? They also shudder as the Biden administration joins most other countries in supporting a global minimum tax for corporations. And they cry foul as some Virginia Democrats look to loosen absentee voter requirements now that the Virginia governor’s race might not be going their way. They also touch on Columbus Day and the latest insane law in California.

 

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome Sen. Manchin’s furious response to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s partisan response to extending the debt ceiling. They also wince as the job numbers for September come in way below expectations and the unemployment rate drops for the wrong reason. And they fire back as Dr. Leanna Wen suggests the U.S. adopt vaccine mandates for planes and trains and forcing people to get the shot if they want to see their family members. Plus, they assess Pres. Biden’s shaky vaccination math.

 

Be Kind or Leave!

 

Ever since some restaurants have opened up full time following partial or full shutdowns due to the pandemic, many of them are experiencing an uptick in abuse by customers. One restaurant owner in Erie, Pennsylvania, Chris Sirianni, decided he’d had enough. He decided to hold customers accountable for their bad behavior. Recently he posted the following sign on his business window:

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with Boston Athletic Association’s CEO Tom Grilk about the leadership challenges of cancelling the world’s oldest continuous marathon, a $200-million benefit to the region involving eight municipalities and 10,000 volunteers, in the face of a pandemic – and how cooperation among stakeholders brought back the epic event to be run this October.

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This week on JobMakers, Host Denzil Mohammed talks with Jim Stergios, executive director of Pioneer Institute, about why Pioneer collaborated with The Immigrant Learning Center to produce this podcast. They discuss the overrepresentation of immigrants in terms of job creation in America, contrary to the myth that immigrants “take” jobs. For Jim, it is a story that needs to be told because it is at the core of American enterprise, innovation and prosperity; but it is also personal. He describes his own family’s history of starting a business as young immigrants to the U.S. from Greece, and connects it to the common story of America, a nation of immigrant families old and new. And Jim believes the entrepreneurial spirit of yesteryear is the same among today’s immigrants, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.

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Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with NFIB’s Chris Carlozzi and Retailers Association of Massachusetts’ Jon Hurst about the challenges and future prospects for businesses as they adapt to widespread consumer confusion caused by vague and often conflicting public health messaging from our political leadership.

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Member Post

 

Went to an In-N-Out Burger drive-thru last night (my turn to prepare dinner). I paid the charge of $15.28 with a $20 bill. The exceedingly helpful young woman asked if I had the 28 cents, since she had no change. I gave her a quarter and a dime, and she said, “I don’t have any […]

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Immigrants innovate. Kendall Square in Cambridge or Silicon Valley wouldn’t be what they are today without the innovation and ingenuity of immigrants. But the dense and convoluted immigration system doesn’t always allow for that retention of skill and talent. This week on JobMakers, Host Denzil Mohammed talks with Jeff Goldman, immigration attorney and Chair of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s Advisory Council on Immigrants and Refugees, about how best to ensure that highly skilled and innovative immigrants can remain in the U.S., start companies, and create jobs for Americans. Jeff co-founded the Massachusetts Global Entrepreneur in Residence program for immigrant university students to continue learning, teaching, and innovating. Jeff sees how much skilled immigrants add to our economic vibrancy and innovative edge, and he’s also keenly aware of the tremendous impact on our daily lives of undocumented immigrant workers and what Massachusetts has done to enable them to thrive.

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Customer Surveys are Useless

 

I know we have the destruction of the Republic and basic liberty to fight against, but I want to divert briefly from such weighty topics with a rant about the uselessness of most customer surveys. I think we have discussed this topic before here on Ricochet. A note provided by a hotel on a recent trip reminded me of the uselessness of so many customer surveys. Maybe some Ricochetti are plugged into organizations in such a way that they can encourage those organizations to rethink how they score customer surveys.

What set me off was we recently drove across the western United States and stayed at several properties associated with one particular lower mid-priced hotel brand (the kind that provides a basic room and serves a basic buffet breakfast, not fancy). One such property supplied guests with a note that said,

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome Sen. Joe Manchin’s warning that another massive spending bill would saddle our nation with a lot more inflation and debt. They also wince as the August jobs numbers come in far below expectations. Is it really all due to the Delta variant or is there more to it? And they refuse to throw any shrimps on the barbie for the Australian government as the country goes crazy with COVID lockdowns and crushing freedom.

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with Pioneer Institute Visiting Fellow in Life Sciences Dr. William Smith about how the price control features of the emerging $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill might affect the pharmaceutical Industry, both nationwide and here in Massachusetts, and what effect that change will have on drug consumers.

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Misinformation and disinformation about immigration in the U.S. is ubiquitous. For Prof. James Witte, director of the Institute for Immigration Research, getting the facts about U.S. immigration out to the public is a challenge. The Institute for Immigration Research is a joint venture between George Mason University and The Immigrant Learning Center of Malden, Massachusetts, the co-producer of this podcast. One of the goals of the Institute’s work is to position the immigration data, research and stories within a framework of inclusiveness, so Americans will understand that they are not disconnected from immigration. Rather, we all, U.S.-born and foreign-born, help fuel this country’s economy, enrich its culture, and make it the powerhouse that it is.  Prof. Witte also helps explain the resistance to immigrants and facts about them, and how we can counter that, in this week’s JobMakers. 

James Witte is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Director of the Institute for Immigration Research (IIR). Witte, who earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1991, has been a professor at Clemson University and Northwestern University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Carolina Population Center and a lecturer in sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Dr. Witte has written numerous articles that have appeared in journals such as The European Sociological ReviewPopulation and Development Review and Sociological Methods and Research.  He has also published three books, Labor Force Integration and Marital Choice, the Internet and Social Inequality and The Normal Bar.  The Normal Bar, co-authored with Chrisanna Northrup and Pepper Schwartz, was released in 2013 and made the New York Times bestseller list. Dr. Witte came to Mason in the fall of 2009 to take over leadership of CSSR.  Since then CSSR has grown in the amount and range of funded research it conducts. Major projects have included the privately funded Institute for Immigration Research, the National Science Foundation funded Digital Archive Project, and the University Partnership with the University of Karachi funded by the U.S. State Department.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome the news that President Biden’s anti-gun nominee to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is unlikely yo get confirmed by the U.S. Senate. They also groan as Biden cracks down on emission standards as part of a massive push toward making us buy electric vehicles. And they push back as Rep. Rashida Tlaib wants taxpayers to pay $40 billion to cover the utility bills of low-income Americans because of the pandemic.

This week on JobMakers, Host Denzil Mohammed talks with Sonny Vu, serial entrepreneur and investor, about his work across continents to develop new technologies, processes and products that have, what he calls, “positive, planet-level impact.” This is impact that makes lives and environments safer and better, which Sonny views as the core of his faith. Embracing diversity, change and the unknowns of new knowledge was what Sonny’s parents instilled in him from the beginning. Their journey as refugees to the U.S., leaving under cover of darkness, sailing below deck to a camp in Malaysia, finally to be resettled in Oklahoma City, meant they were survivors, and they embraced the transformational change of life in the U.S., as hard as it was at first. People who have been through unimaginable tragedy and hardship often know how to be creative and inventive to survive, even among totally foreign lands, cultures, and languages. Transformational change is what Sonny is all about today, as you’ll discover in this week’s JobMakers.

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