US subsidies – Grantstation Trendtrack Tue, 04 May 2021 05:31:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 US subsidies – Grantstation Trendtrack 32 32 Uber and Lyft have California playbook to fight proposed US rules on workers Mon, 03 May 2021 23:08:00 +0000

Uber, Lyft, and other small-economy businesses face a new challenge from the Biden administration: using contract workers, but as they prepare to fight in Washington, they might turn to a lobbying manual. which helped them secure a decisive victory over California. regulators last year.

US President Joe Biden campaigned on the promise to provide legal protections and benefits to construction workers, who, as independent contractors, typically do not have access to unemployment insurance, sickness benefits and health insurance. US Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh said last week: “Many construction workers should be classified as employees.”

In Congress, Democratic lawmakers are pushing for a union-backed labor bill, the PRO Act, which is in part inspired by a California law called AB5 that reclassified most construction workers as ’employees.

AB5, however, is no longer the law in California for hail and food delivery workers, while it remains in effect for other freelancers. Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N), Lyft Inc (LYFT.O), DoorDash Inc (DASH.N) and Instacart, whose business model is based on a flexible workforce at low cost, have launched a campaign of 205 million dollars that overturned the law for the industry last November.

Among the tactics perfected in the fight in California, Labor companies used their apps to reach out to voters and drivers through messages, emails, mailed flyers, billboards, radio, and advertisements in line. They also urged workers at their platforms to denounce AB5.

Companies have threatened to end the ubiquitous food and hail delivery services that many consumers have become accustomed to during the pandemic if the drivers were classified employees.

The looming struggle over the status of workers in the odd-job economy comes amid a larger debate over business regulation. The federal government has exercised a light hand in regulating Uber, DoorDash and other companies in the digital economy by redefining traditional definitions of work, communications or retail. Now, Democrats and Republicans in Washington, for different reasons, are calling on the government to exercise more control over one-off startups that dominate important sectors of the economy.

Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart have so far this year spent $ 1.3 million lobbying the Biden administration and members of the US House and Senate, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2020, they spent around $ 5.7 million, more than half of which came from Uber.


Less than two weeks after Biden won the White House in November, companies banded together to form the App-Based Work Alliance, a Washington-based advocacy group. The group is now promoting statements from drivers and food delivery people saying they want to remain independent contractors and don’t want the PRO law because they fear it will deprive them of the opportunity to make money according to their own. own schedule for a few hours a week. .

Companies cite polls to say the majority of their workers, mostly part-timers, don’t want to be classified as employees.

While the surveys show overwhelming support for the remaining independent contractors, they also follow years of threats by companies to eliminate work opportunities if workers become employees. Some of the surveys are co-authored by researchers with connections to the company, sponsored by the companies, or supplemented with non-scientific methodologies by a blogger who sent emails and social media posts.

For example, a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research listed Uber Chief Economist Jonathan Hall as a co-author, and a 2020 survey of 1,000 drivers by Benenson Strategy Group and GS Strategy Group was funded by Uber. Uber said that although it paid for the survey, the survey was conducted by reputable research groups.

In California, the concert companies did not simply oppose any change in their employment practices. Instead, they campaigned for compromise, pushing for changes to labor laws to allow workers to remain entrepreneurs while receiving more modest benefits than required for employees.

DoorDash said its workers worked an average of just four hours a week, while Uber said 37% of its U.S. drivers and 58% of its delivery people worked an average of less than 10 hours a week in the last quarter of 2020. concerts would become impossible in an employment model.

But Uber data from the fourth quarter of 2019, before the pandemic, also showed California drivers working 25 or more hours a week made more than 60% of all trips in the state, suggesting that drivers on time full do most of the work. .


Gig Workers Rising, a workers ‘group that advocates for greater benefits and says it does not receive financial support from worker groups, rejected the companies’ compromise proposal in a statement.

“(The proposal) is not a model for workers’ rights, it is a plan of action for large companies and investors looking to maximize their profits,” the group said in a statement.

AB5’s defeat for app-based concert workers in California was a blow to organized labor groups, California Democrats and even Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, who had urged voters in the State to reject the concert industry’s proposal.

Although AB5 is gone, stage workers in California now have access to certain benefits, including health care subsidies, accident insurance, and minimum wage while passengers are in their cars. These benefits are significantly less costly to companies than employee benefits, and worker groups say drivers don’t know how to access them.

As the fight for the rights of small workers intensifies nationally, companies could roll out similar measures.

“At the moment there is no call to action, but if that were to happen, for example if a real law or a voting measure were proposed, we would certainly activate our pilot base,” he said. said a Lyft spokesperson.

Uber and DoorDash said they don’t have specific plans for an awareness campaign at this time. In August, Uber emailed all of its drivers across the country, outlining its proposal to change the law to combine independent contractor status with certain benefits.

(This story corrects to reflect that AB5 is no longer California law for hail and food delivery workers, instead AB5 is no longer California law for anyone, paragraph 5; also corrects the paragraph 20 to reflect that AB5 was defeated “for application-based concert workers.”)

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Housing subsidies reduce healthcare costs for vulnerable ex-combatants Mon, 03 May 2021 20:03:00 +0000

Ensuring that ex-combatants have stable housing not only reduces homelessness but also lowers the cost of providing them with state-funded health care, according to a national study by scientists from the University of Utah. The researchers found that veterans who received Temporary Financial Assistance (AFT) from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to acquire or maintain housing had fewer hospital visits and an average reduction in health care costs of $ 2,800 over a two-year period as veterans who did not receive this benefit.

Researchers say this model could help nonprofits and other federal, state and local governments better serve homeless Americans who are not veterans.

“Bringing homeless veterans into stable housing is desirable for a variety of social, health, economic and moral reasons,” says Richard E. Nelson, Ph.D., study lead author and professor. research associate in internal medicine at U of U Health. “In this case, the general conclusion of our research is that providing veterans with temporary financial assistance helps them find stable housing and reduces health care costs, especially hospital health care costs. the average person or the taxpayer. ”

The study appears in the May issue of Health affairs.

Every night, about 40,000 US veterans are homeless, according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Thousands more risk losing their homes every day, says Nelson.

Homelessness is associated with a myriad of health problems, including HIV / AIDS, malnutrition, skin infections, tuberculosis and pneumonia and drug addiction. As a result, VA’s specialized homelessness programs provide health care to nearly 150,000 homeless veterans each year.

In previous research, Nelson and colleagues found that homeless veterans or those at risk of becoming homeless who received AFE provided by the Veterans Family Support Services (SSVF ) VAs were more likely to have stable housing 90 days after enrolling in the program than those who did not receive the program’s short-term grants.

Based on this finding, the scientists set out to determine whether AFE also had an impact on the use of VA health care facilities by these veterans. They identified 29,184 ex-combatants who had received AFE through the AFS program in 49 states as well as 11,229 who participated in other aspects of AFE but did not receive AFE.

The researchers analyzed data on these veterans from two years before SSVF enrollment to two years after in quarterly increments. Overall, health care costs have risen sharply in the eight quarters leading up to SSVF enrollment. However, health care costs decreased by an average of $ 352 per quarter for SSVF veterans receiving SFA after enrollment compared to those who did not receive this benefit. This decrease was constant regardless of the amount of AFE received, which averaged about $ 6,000 during SSVF participation, or about three months on average.

The magnitude of the decrease was larger for those who were homeless at the time of enrollment than for those who were on the brink of enrollment but stayed at home because of their AFE allowance. Part of the reason for this difference is that homeless veterans are more likely to be hospitalized.

In some cases, decreasing health care costs have offset the total amount of AFE allocated to these ex-combatants, potentially reducing overall expenses for their care and well-being. The researchers say the finding could have implications for efforts to reduce homelessness and the health problems that accompany it in other populations.

“Historically, housing and health care have been seen as separate things,” says Nelson. “By showing that they are linked – that improving a person’s housing situation could also improve their health – this finding could have a big impact on how we approach these challenges among veterans and other citizens in the future. “

Among the limitations of the study, healthcare costs for veterans who use non-VA providers were not included in the analysis. Veterans are also more likely than the general population to be male and to have a higher risk of substance abuse and mental illness, two conditions commonly associated with homelessness.

In the future, the researchers plan to examine whether other SSVF services such as legal aid, credit counseling and obtaining VA benefits can improve housing and health care outcomes. for homeless or at-risk veterans. Additionally, since reducing health care spending does not necessarily improve health, they will explore more direct measures, such as mortality.

“Over the past 10 to 15 years, homelessness policies have evolved into interventions like the one we studied,” says Thomas H. Byrne, Ph.D., lead author of the study, researcher at the VA Bedford Healthcare System. in Bedford, Massachusetts, and assistant professor of social work at Boston University. “Yet, the evidence for their effectiveness is limited to date. Our findings help provide much-needed evidence on the impact of such interventions.”


In addition to Dr. Nelson, University of Utah health researchers Ying Suo, James Cook, Warren Pettey, and Tom Greene, contributed to this study. Other contributors included scientists from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Norte Dame, University of California Los Angeles, Boston University and the Health Sciences Center. from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The study titled “Temporary Financial Aid Reduced Health Care Costs for Unstable Veterans”, appears in Health affairs. It was supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Services Research and Development.

Warning: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of any press releases posted on EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information via the EurekAlert system.

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FILE: US nuclear power plant shutdown risk fluctuates with electricity policy and prices Mon, 03 May 2021 19:35:00 +0000

New York –
With a nuclear power plant prematurely retired in New York on April 30 and the fate of two other plants in Illinois in balance, the complexion of the US nuclear fleet is changing at a time when reducing CO2 emissions is a priority national.

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Currently, just over 8 GW of nuclear capacity is slated for retirement, with S&P Global Platts Analytics estimating approximately 5 GW of nuclear capacity at high risk of withdrawal before the license expires.

Assuming the high risk and advertised withdrawals were to be replaced with natural gas-fired generation with an average heat rate of 7,000 Btu / kWh, an additional 1.9 Bcf / d of energy consumed would result from replacing these generators decommissioned, or about $ 39 million. mt / year of CO2 emissions, or 2% of 2016 levels, according to Platts Analytics.

Analysts track the risk of nuclear power plant decommissioning based on electricity market conditions, the status of operating licenses, policy changes and other factors. Specifically, factories are rated from high to low risk, taking into account units that could potentially benefit from state-funded financial support or measures that price carbon emissions.

Plant closures

The 1,041 MW Indian Point Unit 3 in Buchanan, New York, about 20 miles north of New York City, was closed for good on April 30 after succumbing to political and economic pressures. Governor Andrew Cuomo and environmental groups including Riverkeeper have fought for years to shut the plant down over safety concerns, arguing that an accident so close to the global financial industry in the city would be catastrophic, among other things. concerns.

“Since becoming Attorney General, I have been deeply concerned about the safety of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant,” Cuomo said in a statement on April 29, adding that the plant did not belong “near the area. most densely populated in the country. “

Plant owner Entergy said Indian Point was struggling financially amid falling wholesale electricity prices, in large part due to the abundance of shale gas that drove the natural gas prices at around $ 2 / MMBtu for an extended period.

Three other nuclear power plants in upstate New York have remained open because they receive subsidies through taxpayer bills.

The New York Civil Service Commission created a clean energy standard in 2016 that states that four nuclear units in the state – Exelon Generation’s 597 MW Ginna, the 640 MW Nine Mile Point-1, 1362 MW Nine Mile Point-2, as well as Entergy’s 849 MW FitzPatrick – are eligible to receive zero-emission credit payments. Entergy in 2017 sold FitzPatrick to Exelon.

The investor-owned utility Exelon has also complained about low wholesale electricity prices which put pressure on the financial stability of some of its other nuclear power plants. The company received grants for its Quad Cities and Clinton factories in Illinois in 2016, which overturned the decision to shut them down before their licenses expired.

Exelon announced in 2020 that it will shut down its 2,347 MW power plants in Byron and 1,845 MW in Dresden, also in Illinois, in September and November 2021, as they face revenue cuts of hundreds of millions. dollars due to falling electricity prices and market rules that allow fossil fuel plants to underbid on own resources during the PJM interconnection capacity auction, the service said. public.

However, the state has public policy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate climate change that would be much more difficult to achieve without the carbon-free energy provided by nuclear power plants.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act was introduced on February 10 and is broadly similar to legislation introduced in previous sessions. As in the previous bill, Illinois utilities would need to obtain 45% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and 100% by 2050.

The Illinois legislature is also debating whether to grant additional off-market payments to prevent the closure of Byron and Dresden, and a report commissioned by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency recommended that approximately $ 350 million grants over five years could keep the units in service.

Valuing nuclear attributes

There is a vigorous debate regarding the financial stability of nuclear power plants located in deregulated power markets that operate on a merchant basis, meaning that their income comes solely from the sale of electricity, capacity and ancillary services at low prices. wholesale electricity which vary according to market conditions.

Nuclear power plants in regulated markets are less exposed to wholesale electricity prices because they can cover operating costs and earn profits through customer bill increases approved by utility commissions.

The nuclear industry trade group Nuclear Energy Institute, or NEI, recently published a study by a consultant that found that the cost of operating nuclear power plants at PJM is higher than expected revenues for years to come.

“The sharp declines in energy prices in recent years have disproportionately reduced revenues for nuclear units and attempts to replace this revenues with capacity payments often fail due to the current situation.” [PJM] capacity market design, ”NEI said.

The industry group said “insufficient income” at “most” of PJM’s nuclear power plants was leading to “increased economic pressure for retirement.”

However, a separate analysis from Monitoring Analytics, the PJM market watchdog, found “that no nuclear power plant is considered at risk of retirement.”

This debate is likely to continue in the absence of political support such as state-level subsidies for nuclear power plants or a price on CO2 emissions that would benefit non-emitting nuclear units.

Melissa Lott, director of research at the Center for Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, told a March event sponsored by NEI that the administration of President Joe Biden, with its pledge to decarbonize the electricity grid of by 2035, could stimulate the development of new technologies, including advanced ones. nuclear reactors, storage systems and transmission modernization.

It is not known which of these options will develop the most, but the premise of decarbonization rests first on another idea: “we are not deactivating the carbon-free products that we already have”.

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Intel invests $ 3.5 billion in New Mexico, 10-figure US government grants still not secured Mon, 03 May 2021 18:41:59 +0000

Intel NASDAQ: INTC announced Monday that it is committing to commit $ 3.5 billion to modernize its Rio Rancho, New Mexico plant to increase its advanced packaging capacity of Foveros by 40 percent.

Foveros is an advanced 3D packaging technology that enables vertical stacking of compute tiles. This packaging technology is a key component of Intel’s latest chips such as the 7nm Meteora Lake recently announced processors. In a blog post, Intel explained that Foveros enables the integration of various IT engines across multiple process technologies beyond what is possible with single-chip integration.

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Intel said it is in the process of hiring an additional 700 people as the facility expands. The company employs 1,800 people on site. Intel is expected to hire 1,000 construction workers starting this year and spend $ 550 million on construction and new infrastructure, according to a New Mexico government statement.

This all follows Intel’s new push into manufacturing with its IDM 2.0 foundry plan. Intel has pledged to invest $ 20 billion in Arizona for two new factories, as increasing domestic semiconductor manufacturing capacity becomes a hot topic in the United States.

Intel gets money from New Mexico

As part of Intel’s announcement, the state government of New Mexico announced that a portion of the taxes Intel pays on its construction expenses can be refunded to the company. This is expected to be valued at $ 14 million, split between state and local governments in Rio Rancho and the surrounding county.

In addition, the state has pledged an additional $ 5 million from a local development fund if Intel meets specific development goals. Sandoval County, home to the Intel plant, pledges an additional $ 500,000, with specific job goal requirements. The city of Rio Rancho has pledged $ 250,000 for the expansion of its development fund which Intel can also access through rebates.

But these are not the grants you are looking for

What New Mexico and the various levels of local government in the state are promising isn’t exactly staggering.10-figure grant from the US government because the maximum value of grants awarded by stakeholders is approximately $ 20 million. Understanding the subsidy and incentive process offered by different levels of government takes time and nuance.

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As a representative of the New Mexico Department of Economic Development explained: Wccftech, the figures shown are lifetime totals valid if Intel’s construction expenses reach $ 550 million (the $ 14 million is a maximum refundable value on sales taxes that Intel pays to local contractors) and they are hiring 700 new employees as promised. If these targets were not met, the amount would be less.

Intel’s build rebate is returned to the company 90 days after contractors’ payments are recorded. Employment subsidies are paid after 250 new employees are hired with additional disbursements after 250 and then 200 more.

It is also important to note that these initiatives are provided by the State Government of New Mexico, a separate and independent layer of government from the federal government in Washington, DC. All of this is entirely separate from the CHIPS law, which has yet to pay any grants because it is not yet funded – and even when it comes to Intel, nothing is specifically guaranteed as there will be plenty more fighting for it. same cake. Lawmakers have a long way to go in determining who gets what and there is nothing confirmed yet.

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Schumer says American Rescue Plan funding for child care is ongoing Mon, 03 May 2021 17:07:28 +0000


CORTLAND, NY (WSYR-TV) – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer was in Cortland on Monday, where he announced more than $ 1.8 billion from the U.S. bailout would go to service providers childcare and employers to meet ongoing needs. Schumer said COVID-19 has increased demand for child care and the funding will help many local families.

“Since the start of this pandemic, advocates for daycares and daycares in central New York have sounded the alarm that these places are critical to our reopening and need help to survive,” said Senator Schumer . “Today, I can report that this critical aid is on the way. These new funds will provide real help to families, children and even job seekers. “

Schumer said central New York is expected to receive a significant share of the $ 1.8 billion, and eligible parents will receive subsidies for child care, including essential workers. Local institutions will be able to use the funding to reimburse expenses for the past year.

Detailing the funds on the way to New York and Central New York, Schumer explained that they would be delivered to the state in two parts: 1) the Childcare Stabilization Fund – $ 1.1 billion in New York, and 2) the Child Care and Development Block. Grant (CCDBG) – $ 705 million in New York.

As part of the Childcare Stabilization Fund, New York will use federal funds to provide sub-grants to licensed and regulated childcare providers in central New York City that are either open or temporarily closed due to the pandemic. Qualified child care providers receive sub-grants based on their current operating expenses, including costs associated with providing these services during the pandemic. New York must also make the grant application available online. Child care providers in central New York City can use these funds to cover personnel costs, rent and mortgage payments, PPE, sanitation, training and professional development related to the child. health and safety, mental health services for children and staff, and other operational expenses. As a condition of the funds, child care providers who receive these funds must keep their payroll intact (provide full compensation to its employees) and, where possible, provide a co-payment and reduction in costs. tuition fees to the families they serve.

As part of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), New York has a lot of flexibility with dollars. New York may allocate child care services based on children’s enrollment rather than attendance. New York can also use the funds to provide child care grants to families, including essential workers (health workers, first aid workers, sanitation workers, and other workers deemed essential), regardless of their income. . This fund is expected to expand child care subsidies to approximately 875,000 children nationwide.

“Central New York will see a significant portion of that $ 1.8 billion in direct relief funds for child care,” Schumer added. “This will mean that children, families, essential workers and early childhood educators will be able to weather this pandemic and this sector will also be able to create local jobs, which will make it an integral part of the larger local recovery.”

Schumer also pointed out several other ways the US bailout will help Cortland County:

  • Direct payments: approximately $ 55 million in checks of $ 1,400 to approximately 22,000 households in Cortland County.
  • Child tax credit: approximately $ 17 million in CTC payments for families
  • Local Governments: over $ 14 million for Cortland County governments, including over $ 9 million for Cortland County, over $ 2 million for the Town of Cortland and over $ 3 million for local governments. towns and villages
  • Higher education: $ 16.8 million for SUNY Cortland, half of which is to be used as student financial aid
  • FQHC: $ 2.6 million for the Cortland family health network

The County of Cortland will also receive a significant portion of the following funds:

  • Kindergarten to Grade 12 schools: $ 9 billion for New York
  • Purchase and test of new Covid-19 vaccines: $ 4 billion for New York
  • Emergency rental and homeless assistance: $ 1 billion for New York
  • Nutritional assistance: $ 1.07 billion for New York
  • Earned Income Tax Credit: $ 786 million for New York
  • Broadband connectivity: $ 632 million for New York
  • Airports: $ 418 million for New York
  • Head Start: $ 59 million for New York
  • Rural transit: $ 12 million for New York
  • Support for small businesses, restaurants and live sites: $ 57.8 billion nationally
  • Support for agriculture and farmers: $ 4 billion nationally
  • Aid to rural hospitals: $ 8.5 billion nationwide
  • Increase in FMAP Medicaid: $ 2.7 billion for NY ($ 2.1 billion already provided by Schumer pushing President Biden to extend until the end of the calendar year, in addition to about 600 million dollars). ” improved FMAP targeted for home and community services under this legislation)

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The two big risks to Biden’s American family plan Mon, 03 May 2021 17:00:47 +0000

Wednesday’s address to the nation began rolling out President Joe Biden’s plan for American families. The proposal promises to expand tax credits for families, provide funding for preschool education, and strengthen child care and paid time off. The president hopes to address significant gaps in the country’s social safety net. American women – especially women of color – have long been painfully aware of the financial and social costs of childcare, maternity leave, choosing to stay home, and the thankless chores of unpaid domestic work. The coronavirus pandemic has only exposed and exacerbated long-existing tensions.

The United States has never really embarked on a large-scale program to tackle these problems. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t historical examples that might help us assess Biden’s proposal. In the early 1950s, East and West Germany initiated programs to try to help women and families in crisis deal with many of the issues that Biden’s proposal targets. to solve. The lesson: One-off reforms and limited funding could dash any hope that America’s plan for families will actually improve these age-old problems.

On May 8, 1945, the Allies formally defeated Nazi Germany. The four allies – the Soviet Union, the United States, Great Britain and France – quickly occupied the devastated lands.

Almost immediately the Allies became obsessed with the “family crisis”. During the war, German women had taken on the “double burden” of full-time employment and domestic work while their husbands and partners left to fight. Towards the end of the war and in the immediate post-war period, many of these women had to uproot their families as they fled Allied bombardments or the approaching Soviet Red Army, seeking refuge elsewhere.

Many men have never returned home, leaving their working widows with little relief unless they remarry or enter non-traditional family structures, such as living with relatives. For those who returned home, domestic violence, verbal abuse and marital disagreement were not uncommon, leading to a skyrocketing divorce rate. For many women affected by these upheavals, there seemed to be no end in sight.

A decade later, the political situation in Germany had changed considerably. The outbreak of the Cold War led to the semi-permanent division of the country into the capitalist and liberal democratic Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, West Germany), allied with the United States and the Communist German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany), supported by the Soviet Union.

However, the situation is changing much less quickly on the ground for women and their families. Even when the immediate housing and food crises were resolved, wartime demographic imbalances, the gendered division of labor, and the ‘double burden’ of women remained topics of public discussion in Germany. East and West. Many policymakers and observers have argued that without state intervention to redress gender roles, East German and West German society would remain in turmoil.

Both states have therefore pursued piecemeal family policies and new laws designed to help women and families in crisis in the short term, while strengthening traditional gender roles and encouraging reproduction in the name of long-term stability.

In 1950, East Germany passed the Maternity and Child Protection and Equal Rights of Women Act, which guaranteed women grants for every birth (with additional one-time payments for more. of two children), allocating 200,000 additional places in nurseries. and day care centers (and earmarked 40,000,000 Deutsche Mark in funding specifically for these businesses) and offered better maternity care, longer paid maternity leave and other protections in the workplace. Although ambitious and a signal of ideological commitment to the emancipation of women, the East German government has not followed through on the promise of the law.

The one-party Communist government had the political power to pass the legislation but was unwilling to devote much money to these enterprises. In the early 1950s, the government remained focused on achieving the goals set out in its five-year plans, namely heavy industrial production, rather than the production of material goods and social services. The government further reduced rationing and social allowances for single mothers, raising the overall cost of living and forcing single women – many of whom were mothers – to work as wage earners. This failure left East German women to shoulder the burden of full-time employment and child rearing.

Not much has changed in the past two decades. The East German government took small steps in the late 1950s, such as increasing the production of consumer goods, but many women were still frustrated by the lack of major reform and the continued ‘double burden’. .

In the 1970s, a new East German administration finally turned its tide, devoting more money and attention to these issues. He embarked on new policies, including up to one year of paid maternity leave and state-subsidized childcare services – and most importantly, fully implemented and better funded these programs. These changes contributed to an extremely high female employment rate in 1990, when German reunification took place, forcing East Germany to fall back – and its gender policies – into the West German system.

In the West, similar debates had taken place. In the early 1950s, West German women’s organizations lobbied the Christian Democratic Union-led government and parliament (Bundestag) to change family law and related policies. In 1952, West Germany adopted its own law for the protection of mothers.

Like its East German counterpart, this law expanded workplace protections for pregnant women, allowing them paid maternity leave before and after childbirth, prohibiting heavy lifting and hazardous work, and limiting Night and Sunday shifts. But although the law is supposed to protect pregnant workers from losing their jobs, employers have subsequently found ways to circumvent these provisions. When the center-left Social Democrats attempted to push through broader changes, they encountered resistance from the current Christian Democrats. In the end, the Social Democrats compromised on key measures.

It is therefore essential that West German law does not contain provisions relating to childcare or crèches.

Although the rapid economic growth attributed to the adoption of social market economic policies in the 1950s ensured West German prosperity and abundant funding, this family-friendly legislation was the victim of compromise and attempts at bipartisanship which ultimately limited its provisions and funding. For West German women, therefore, the law has done little to ensure that hiring practices (especially for pregnant or married women) remain fair or that working women receive state aid for the job. child care.

This failure and related policies had long-term consequences. In 1990, only around 56% of West German women worked full time. The West German state has long encouraged married mothers to quit full-time jobs and stay at home by offering family allowances to supplement men’s wages. In addition, other existing barriers, such as the half-day school system, combined with the scarcity of publicly funded child care, have made it difficult for mothers to work full time without their children. are not guaranteed. These failures kept women’s labor force participation low compared to their East German counterparts and made life much more difficult for mothers who had to work.

Even as East and West Germans engaged in Cold War competition, aimed at demonstrating the superior ability of each system to deliver a quality of life, both underfunded and compromised on proposals to help women and families struggling with childcare challenges. Although both developed policies that, if fully realized, could have solved the family’s problems, they each had critical shortcomings that dashed those hopes.

This experience exposes the problems associated with piecemeal reforms and limited funding to solve the types of problems the American Families Plan aims to address. It is only with adequate funding that child care programs can alleviate some of the burden on working women. And the limited reach of West German programs demonstrates that while political compromise has its advantages, it can create programs with gaps and weaknesses that leave women with the same double burden that weighs them down in the States today. United.

Alexandria N. Ruble is Assistant Professor of European History at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. This piece was written for the Washington Post.

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Fiftieth birthday of a loser Mon, 03 May 2021 16:28:50 +0000

Fifty years ago, last Saturday, May 1, Amtrak operated its first passenger trains, a fact that President Biden celebrated a early day. Biden wants people to think Amtrak is successful enough to merit $ 80 billion in additional funding. But the reality is, it’s just a big loser.

Rail fans remember May 1, 1971, as the day America lost more than half of its passenger trains. On April 30, ten trains left the Midwest for the West Coast: the empire builder, Western star, Limited north coast, and Mainstreeter (who all went to Seattle with sections in Portland), City of Portland, Portland Rose, City of San Francisco, Chief of San Francisco, City of Los Angeles, and Super chef. The next day, Amtrak killed them all except the empire builder (and he killed the leg in Portland), Super chef, and City of San Francisco (which has been reduced to three days a week). It is a loss that is difficult to forgive.

Business analysts recall that the idea of ​​a national passenger railroad was sold to Congress as a profitable business, but it turned out to be a big loser. Rather than a normal government agency, Amtrak was founded as a for-profit corporation with shareholders and, potentially, investors. The railroads were supposed to give him seed money based on the amount of money they claimed to have lost over the previous three years. After spending that to start, Amtrak was supposed to make money.

In fact, after quickly burning its starting money, Amtrak went deeply in debt and needed $ 1.5-2 billion a year (in today’s money) in federal support to keep it going. Anthony Haswell, sometimes known as “Amtrak’s father,” admitted 30 years later that he was “personally embarrassed” by the railroad’s continued demand for grants.

Transportation analysts know that under Amtrak, passenger trains have lost travel market share in the United States despite billions in subsidies. In 1970, private railroads carried a 0.29 percent of passenger travel to the United States. By reducing that many passenger trains, Amtrak immediately fell to about 0.16%. By 1991, Amtrak’s ridership had returned to 1970s levels, but other modes of passenger transportation also increased, so Amtrak’s share was still 0.16%. After that, it fell to 0.10% in 2005, which is roughly where it stayed in 2019.

Coronavirus followers know Amtrak has lost more than 70 percent of her runners during the pandemic, and she may never get them all back. Thanks to even more federal grants, he continues to run the trains, but they are almost empty.

Amtrak is trying to market itself as a solution to global climate change. How can this be a solution when it carries less than 0.1% of passenger transport and 0.0% of freight? Nearly empty Amtrak diesel trains generate tons of greenhouse gases per hour without saving anywhere else. Even before the pandemic, intercity buses emitted less greenhouse gases per passenger-mile than Amtrak’s Diesel trains, and they receive none of the transportation funds offered by Biden.

Amtrak’s electric trains can generate less greenhouse gases than its Diesels, but like economist Charles Lave highlighted over 40 years ago, if you want to save energy, “the biggest components matter most”. This also applies to greenhouse gases, and it means making cars and airplanes more energy efficient will do much more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than increase Amtrak’s share of travel. from 0.10% to 0.11%, which is probably more than Biden’s plan. .

Most of the $ 80 billion Biden would allocate to Amtrak will be spent on digging tunnels, building bridges, replacing ties and rails, and other rehabilitation work in the northeast corridor, which has at least $ 52 billion capital replacement needs. This will do little more than maintain the status quo, so it will not increase Amtrak’s ridership. But that would generate huge amounts of greenhouse gases.

Amtrak is proposing to use some of the Biden dollars to add some new routes, but since I shown previously these would attract few passengers as Amtrak would face intense competition from airlines and buses. Ultimately, the question is: why should a transportation agency that carries 0.1% of passenger travel and no freight get 26% of transportation dollars in Biden’s infrastructure plan?

Amtrak is therefore a loser on several occasions. He lost most of the country’s passenger trains; it lost market share on travel to the United States; he lost tens of billions of dollars; it lost most of its passengers during the pandemic; and it loses its credibility when it claims to save greenhouse gases. It’s time to recognize that Amtrak is a loser and stop subsidizing it.

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New funding opportunities and Biden’s policy proposals for healthcare Mon, 03 May 2021 16:20:33 +0000

The continued efforts to increase funding for COVID-19 relief, along with the Biden administration’s ambitious policy agenda, have sparked a wave of change impacting the healthcare landscape. This GT Alert contains notable updates, including unprecedented funding opportunities and healthcare budget proposals.

Plan of American families

On April 28, 2021, President Biden released details of the “Plan of American familiesThe long-awaited second phase of the largest federal infrastructure set in the administration. The plan includes $ 1 trillion in new spending and $ 800 billion in new tax credits. Prior to the plan’s release, there was speculation on whether the healthcare proposals would be included in the package and, if so, to what extent. Some Democrats have pushed the president in recent weeks to include sweeping healthcare policy changes in the plan, including tackling drug prices and lowering the age of Medicare eligibility. However, the current version of the plan does not include drug pricing or Medicare updates, but only addresses health care reform by permanently implementing the Temporary Grant Extensions of the Act. affordable care that was included in the “American rescue planThe COVID-19 relief package released on March 11, 2021 (discussed in more detail below).

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA or the Act), a $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief program designed to strengthen support for hospitals, healthcare systems health, rural health care providers, state and local governments. and those affected by COVID-19 across the country. The Act creates substantial funding flows, and qualifying entities should consider seizing these opportunities as soon as possible while providing for ongoing and sometimes new review and oversight of regulatory enforcement. The key categories follow below.

Financial support for health care providers

A significant amount of funding under the Act is allocated to affected healthcare providers during COVID-19, due to the influx of COVID-19 patients requiring treatment, increased demand for personal protective equipment and other supplies, and loss of income due to a moratorium on elective procedures. While the CARES law (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security), adopted in March 2020, included financial support for providers who lost income or incurred increased expenses due to COVID-19 (i.e. the Provider Relief Fund (PRF)), ARPA goes further, adding even more direct financial support to providers beyond the funds available under the FRP.

Notably, ARPA is creating an $ 8.5 billion funding pool for rural Medicare and Medicaid providers to help address the specific challenges these providers face in combating COVID-19 and serving often vulnerable populations. . Similar to the FRP requirements, these additional funds are available to reimburse both health care expenses and lost income due to COVID-19. ARPA directs the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a process to apply for funding, and requests must include a statement justifying the supplier’s need for payment, the supplier’s tax identification number and assurance that the supplier will maintain and make available reports to ensure compliance with all requirements imposed by the HHS. However, HHS has not yet finalized the application process.

In addition to the $ 8.5 million for rural vendors, ARPA is providing $ 500 million in grants to eligible rural entities through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including municipalities and public counties, for cover expenses related to COVID-19. Eligible expenses include increased telehealth capacity, vaccine administration costs, and the purchase of necessary medical supplies.

ARPA also includes additional funding for mental health and addiction treatment, an area of ​​particular concern during the COVID-19 pandemic. The law provides approximately $ 4 billion in funding to address behavioral health and addiction issues, including funding through grants or contracts for professional health schools, academic health centers, state or local governments, Indian tribes and tribal organizations, and other public or private not-for-profit organizations. entities to support behavioral health treatment, as well as behavioral health workforce issues.

Additional funding for vaccines and testing capacity

ARPA is also allocating significant sums to increase immunization and testing capacity, including $ 7.66 billion for state, local and territorial health departments to increase public health workforce and procure equipment and other supplies needed to support testing and vaccinations. More so, the law also provides $ 10 billion to conduct activities under the Defense Production Act to strengthen the vaccine supply to the United States, including the expansion of domestic vaccine manufacturing and personal protective equipment.

Expanded access to health care

The law also focuses on expanding health care coverage to ensure vulnerable people have access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatment, as well as continued health care coverage. Provisions to extend coverage include:

  • Mandatory Medicaid coverage of COVID-19 vaccines and treatment without cost sharing of registrants.
  • Elimination of the Medicaid drug rebate cap and inclusion of ambulatory drugs used for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 to be included in the Medicaid drug rebate program.
  • Expansion of health care coverage for individuals, including a two-year increase in grants in scholarships above 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), with a premium contribution capped at 8.5 % and the federal government subsidizing 100% of COBRA insurance premiums for employees who lose their jobs due to the pandemic and for their covered loved ones.
  • Option for states to extend Medicaid and CHIP eligibility to pregnant women for 12 months postpartum.

Overview of the 2022 discretionary budget

In addition to the funds allocated under ARPA, on April 9, President Biden released the Overview of the 2022 discretionary budget which expanded the priorities included in ARPA, as well as the proposed US Jobs Plan. The proposal includes additional funding for home and community-based services (HCBS), rural health, and behavioral health and substance abuse treatment, among other priorities.

Key elements of the proposal include:

  • $ 551 million for HCBS, which would be in addition to the $ 400 billion already included in the administration’s proposed infrastructure plan.
  • $ 6.5 billion to launch the Advanced Health Research Projects Agency, which would increase direct federal spending on health research and development. The focus would be on cancer and other diseases, such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • $ 10.7 billion to address the opioid crisis, including investments in medical treatment, research and development of the behavioral health workforce. This funding would be intended to support communities with specific needs, including Native Americans, older Americans and rural populations.
  • More than $ 200 million to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity across the country, including strengthening maternal mortality review committees, expanding the program of mid-term maternity and obstetrics management strategies rural, implementing implicit bias training for health care providers and establishing state home programs for pregnant women.

The changes summarized in this GT Alert present significant opportunities in healthcare. Expert advice can help eligible entities identify and navigate new avenues open to them.

© 2021 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 123

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UAW denounces GM investment in Mexico Mon, 03 May 2021 14:22:18 +0000

Members of the United Auto Workers march in the Labor Day Parade in Detroit, September 2, 2019.

Photo AP / Paul Sancya

DETROIT (AP) – An announcement by General Motors that it would invest more than $ 1 billion in a Mexican factory that will build electric vehicles has angered the United Auto Workers union.

GM said on its Mexican website on Thursday in Spanish that it would invest in its Ramos Arizpe plant, which will become its fifth factory to manufacture battery-powered vehicles. Three more are in the United States and one in Canada.

UAW Vice President Terry Dittes said in a statement that the investment comes as GM asks the US government to subsidize purchases of electric vehicles. He calls the investment a slap in the face for American workers and says GM vehicles sold in the United States should be made in the country, employing Americans.

“Taxpayer money shouldn’t go to businesses that use labor outside of the United States while receiving grants from the US government,” Dittes said. “This is not the America that none of us signed on to.”

The company says in a statement that it is committed to creating jobs in the United States and that it is investing more than $ 9 billion in electric vehicle factories in the United States or battery factories in a joint venture. with LG Energy Solution. The factories would employ around 9,000 people.

“As a global company that manufactures and sells products around the world, we will take the appropriate steps to evolve our manufacturing footprint to support our all-EV vision,” the company said in a statement.

GM has set a goal of converting all of its new passenger vehicles from internal combustion to electricity by 2035. It has pledged to deploy 30 new electric vehicles around the world by the end of 2025.

The Ramos Arizpe plant will receive a new paint shop that will start operating in June, along with equipment to make it the company’s fifth electric vehicle production site. The plant will build electric vehicles for various GM brands from 2023, and it will build batteries, drive units and other electric vehicle components from the second half of this year. GM has not identified which EV models would be built at the plant.

The plant will continue to manufacture the Chevrolet Equinox and Chevrolet Blazer gasoline SUVs for Mexico and will export to more than 40 countries, including the United States, GM said. The factory now has 5,600 workers, the company said.

President Joe Biden plans to spend $ 15 billion to build half a million electric vehicle charging stations by 2030, as well as to offer unspecified tax credits and rebates to lower the cost of vehicles.

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Ecological realism is the key to biodiversity conservation Mon, 03 May 2021 12:59:44 +0000

If the worsening climate crisis teaches us anything, it’s that we are anchored in the natural world and ignore this reality at our peril. At last month’s Climate Leaders’ Summit, US President Joe Biden urged the world’s major economies to cut greenhouse gas emissions and unveiled the US’s own plans to do so. The US commitment was impressive, but necessarily provisional. It remains to be seen whether a politically divided United States can deliver on the administration’s promise to cut emissions by 50 to 52 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Still, the ambition scale suggested realism. nascent ecological – a belated recognition of the plight and wealth of nations and, indeed, human survival are inextricably linked with the health of the biosphere.

Climate change, of course, is only one facet of the planet’s poor environmental health. The other major ecological emergency is the collapse of biodiversity, which threatens the myriad benefits humans derive from nature. We often take them for granted and, because they are undervalued or not at all, we are tempted to degrade them and exploit them to the point of exhaustion – the fate of many fisheries, for example. In the aftermath of Earth Day, it is worth taking a step back to consider the financial value of these ecosystem services, the cost of deteriorate and ignore the planet’s natural capital assetsand whether adjusting our traditional economic and governance models could help put the world on a more sustainable path.

Scientists classify nature’s contributions to people into three categories. Regulatory benefits are the functions that organisms and ecosystems play to create conditions conducive to human life, including regulating air quality, pollinating crops, enriching the soil, filtering pollutants, ensuring fresh water, controlling pests and diseases and protecting against floods and storms. The benefits of sourcing encompass the many ways in which nature directly supports human existence, including providing food, fiber, biofuels, timber, genetic resources, and herbal medicines. Non-material services include the subjective psychological, spiritual, and recreational benefits that humans derive from healthy ecosystems.

Many environmentalists are reluctant to place a monetary value on the environment, arguing that nature has intrinsic merit. But it can help its advocates reach economists. In 2014, an influential study estimated the total annual value of the planet’s ecosystem services is between $ 125 trillion and $ 145 trillion. Yes, billions.

Unfortunately, humans jeopardize all these services by degrading the planet’s biodiversity. A cavalcade of heartbreaking reports documents dramatic declines in ecosystems and species around the world, driven by a global economic system that does not value the biosphere beyond what can be mined in the short term and assumes that innovation can overcome the ecological constraints of a finite planet. This path is not viable. According to the Global Footprint Network, it would take almost five Earths so that the 7.8 billion people of the world enjoy the same standard of living as the 331 million Americans today.

Many environmentalists are reluctant to place a monetary value on the environment. But it can help its advocates reach economists.

Late, an intellectual revolution is underway. In January 2020, the World Economic Forum reported that at least half of global GDP was heavily or moderately dependent on the increasingly threatened benefits of nature. More importantly, this February saw the release of a massive report titled “The economics of biodiversityBy Bangladeshi-British economist Sir Partha Dasgupta. Quickly dubbed the “Stern Biodiversity Report,” he threw a hand grenade at traditional economic models, which he took to task on assuming that “the biosphere is external to the human economy ”; to focus on building physical and human capital “while ignoring natural capital”; and for assuming that “human ingenuity and market incentives can lead to perpetual growth and development, regardless of their impact on the biosphere”.

Dasgupta’s report underscores the world’s urgent need for a new growth model that both explains and encourages the conservation of Earth’s natural capital assets. GDP, the orthodox measure of wealth and economic progress, does neither. A more accurate measure of national welfare and long-term productive capacity is inclusive wealth, which encompasses the value of natural capital as well as human and product capital.

Raising the status of natural capital in global economic models would have several salutary implications. First, it would encourage governments to tackle the many environmental externalities generated by the global economy. These arise because many goods and services in the biosphere have no cost and sometimes even a negative price due to perverse subsidies, thus encouraging their overexploitation. An immediate priority is to adopt new regulations and deploy incentives to get market players to bear the costs of such behavior. Governments should also reduce and ultimately eliminate environmentally harmful subsidies, including for fisheries, fuel and water, on which they spend a great deal. estimated at $ 500 billion per year– well above their conservation expenditure.

Second, a natural capital perspective would encourage authorities to compensate actors for the preservation or restoration of ecosystem services. This can and is happening at local and national levels, such as when communities and governments pay landowners to maintain healthy watersheds. But it can also happen internationally. The Biden administration is is currently negotiating a multi-billion dollar deal pay Brazil to preserve its Amazon rainforest as a carbon sink and repository of biodiversity.

Third, natural capital accounting could encourage a more sustainable global trading system, especially with regard to resource extraction. The global timber trade, for example, often damages ecosystems at the expense of people in exporting countries, costs that are not incorporated in the operations of forestry companies or consumers at the end of the supply chain. A more sophisticated and transparent system of accounting for natural capital, supported by civic activism, could correct these failures. Importing countries should also be allowed to use border adjustment taxes to reduce the gap between the economic and environmental costs of this trade.

Fourth, a natural capital approach would encourage governments to invest significantly more resources in protected areas. Many countries have already adopted the “30×30” campaign, which aims to permanently protect 30% of the Earth’s land and sea surface by 2030. It may seem like an expensive proposition, but a recent study estimates the cost at $ 140 billion per year, which equates to 0.16 of global GDP and about a third of what governments currently spend on nature-destroying subsidies.

Finally, the natural capital lens has the potential to transform the global financial system in a nature-friendly way. This is particularly evident for national governments, central banks and multilateral financial institutions, which seek to correct market failures and deliver public goods. But the natural capital perspective is also making inroads into the private sector, as companies – led unsurprisingly by the insurance and reinsurance sectors –come to see the loss of nature as a threat to their bottom line. Asset managers are under increasing pressure to view environmental damage and risks as part of their fiduciary responsibility.

These trends underscore a central theme of the Dasgupta journal: when it comes to managing the Earth’s natural capital, “we are all asset managers”.

Stewart Patrick is the James H. Binger Principal Investigator at the Council for External Relations and author of “The Sovereignty Wars: Reconciling America with the World” (Brookings Press: 2018). His weekly The WPR column appears every Monday.

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