Tag Archives: UC Berkeley

Making More In America

America needs to make things again.

Stacey Lawson's "Making More in America" Jobs Plan

Why? Because the kinds of jobs that send kids to college and provide a secure retirement are not minimum-wage jobs. Creating high-wage jobs, middle-class jobs and steady year-round jobs will take revitalizing the American manufacturing economy.

The average wage for manufacturing work in America is 20 percent higher than the overall average wage – a premium that reflects the tremendous value added to our economy from the manufacturing sector. Each manufacturing job produces up to four other jobs and, according to a recent report, each $1 spent in manufacturing creates $1.43 in other sectors. That’s a “multiplier effect” nearly twice that of other parts of our economy.

When we make things, we keep vital skills in this country. We keep our balance of trade healthy – so we have control of our economic future. We keep the high-wage manufacturing industries that fund research and development, so our economy doesn’t fall behind.

And manufacturing isn’t just big factories anymore. The “buy local” and “maker” movements have shown the tremendous economic and creative energies released, and the environmental benefits gained, when we stay local.

Manufacturing is also one of the few sources of steady and secure jobs for those who do not graduate from four-year colleges – and that helps build a just economy that creates opportunity for everyone.

Of course, we are not going to bring every manufacturing job back. And we might not want to invest our national efforts in the very lowest wage manufacturing jobs. But we can target the kinds of jobs that will help create a path for American families to the middle class.

That’s exactly the path my own family followed. When I was young, we lived in a trailer in a logging town on the coast of Washington State. I watched my dad start a small trucking business with a single truck he drove himself. Through his hard work, I was able to go on to college, earn a degree in chemical engineering and then an advanced degree – and use my education to start a company that created technology to help U.S. manufacturers compete in the global market place.

Later, I co-founded the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at UC Berkeley – and today, I teach bright young engineers and entrepreneurs the skills they need to maintain America’s lead in technology.

All of my experience creating jobs and sparking innovation has led me to one simple conclusion. We can’t outsource our way to prosperity. We need to do more than just design, and then consume, products. We need to make things again.

As tough as the American economy is right now, there is reason for hope when it comes to Making More in America again. Over the past two years, the economy has added 334,000 manufacturing jobs – the strongest two‐year period of manufacturing job growth since the late 1990s. Manufacturing production grew 5.7 percent on an annualized basis since its low in June of 2009, the fastest pace of growth of production in a decade. But we still have a long way to go to recover from the more than two million manufacturing jobs lost in the recession.

Consider this math: if we could return to the level of the late 1970s when about 20 percent of jobs were in the manufacturing sector – we would create 12 million new jobs directly and spur another 30 million new jobs in downstream support services. Why is that number so important? Because that’s just about the number of jobs we need to restore and create over the next ten years to get back to full employment in the U.S.

To get there, we need more than promises.

That’s why I’ve published a detailed plan at www.StaceyLawson.com designed to restore the manufacturing jobs that sustain the middle class – manufacturing employment. It’s called “Making More in America,” and it lays out seven major priorities to get us there.

Restoring our manufacturing economy won’t be easy, and it isn’t the only thing we need to do – it is just a start. But if we care about restoring the middle class and creating the kinds of jobs that pay decent living wages – wages that help buy houses, pay college tuitions, fund decent retirements – this is exactly where we should start. So let’s get going.

Stacey Lawson is a Congressional candidate in California’s newly drawn Second District.  She is an educator and small business owner living in San Rafael, CA.

You can download a copy of Stacey Lawson’s “Making More in America” jobs plan here: http://staceylawson.com/making-more-in-america-jobs-plan/

Green Makes Green ($): How Sustainability Creates Jobs

The #1 argument by corporations and politicians who oppose reducing pollution, fighting climate change and moving America to a cleaner, greener, more sustainable future is that doing so will cost the country jobs and hurt the economy. In fact, since many corporations and politicians claim to believe that climate change is a serious issue that must be dealt with (eventually), the “sustainability = job killer” argument is essentially the only one they have.

And it’s a lie — scaremongering from dirty energy companies so they can keep polluting at current levels, protect their unsustainable energy monopoly and maximize their short-term profits. They claim that responsibly cleaning up their own poisonous mess — instead of “socializing” the cost of dealing with it by spewing it into the air or dumping it in our oceans and streams — will force them to raise energy rates. This is a way to blackmail small businesses into defending the status quo and joining their efforts to kill any legislation that promotes efforts to reduce pollution or invest in sustainable energy. But the dirty energy companies are simply fighting to be the last of the dinosaurs, forestalling the inevitable day when they join the fossils that created their fortunes.

The green economy isn’t some untested theory or pie-in-the-sky fantasy — it’s already here, and its kicking butt. So here are some links that show why reducing pollution and embracing sustainable energy and green technology will create jobs and give our economy the boost it needs.

If you think the green economy won’t create jobs, you might want to tell those dirty hippies at the multinational bank HSBC, who found this in a 2009 report:

Global revenues from climate-related businesses such as energy efficiency rose by 75 percent in 2008 to $530 billion and could exceed $2 trillion by 2020, HSBC Global Research estimated on Friday.

In the 2006 Stern Review on the economics of climate change, climate-related revenues were forecast to climb to $500 billion by 2050.

“We can see that this seemingly huge figure has already been surpassed well ahead of time as more and more businesses adapt their business model,” said Joaquim de Lima, global head of quant research for equities at HSBC.

You also might want to tell the Chinese. A January New York Times article found that China’s decision to become the leader in producing solar panels, wind turbines and other renewable energy technologies is paying off:

Renewable energy industries [in China] are adding jobs rapidly, reaching 1.12 million in 2008 and climbing by 100,000 a year, according to the government-backed Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association.

The Pew Charitable Trusts released a report finding that, despite “a lack of sustained government support”, America’s clean energy economy grew two and a half times faster than overall jobs from 1998 to 2007.

Pew found that jobs in the clean energy economy grew at a national rate of 9.1 percent, while traditional jobs grew by only 3.7 percent between 1998 and 2007.  There was a similar pattern at the state level, where job growth in the clean energy economy outperformed overall job growth in 38 states and the District of Columbia during the same period.

A group of economists at Economics for Equity & Environment released a study this week that found that reducing emissions, becoming energy independent through clean energy and embracing the green economy would generate net job growth. The study goes on to debunk many of the myths that say reducing emissions and investing in the green economy would hurt the larger economy. A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists came to the same conclusions about the green economy generating job growth, as did a recent study conducted by UC Berkeley that examined the effects that implementing the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) would have on California’s economy.

But the clean, green gravy train is leaving the station, and if America isn’t careful, we could miss it. Michael Northrop tells us that “the clean energy gold rush” has already begun. However, due to a lack of policies to provide a stable marketplace for green tech investment, we’re letting that $2 trillion slip through our fingers:  

Even with growing unemployment, America seems incapable of recognizing a golden opportunity. With no goal or effective policy framework, not only are we shipping oil dollars to the Middle East, we are watching our solar, wind, and other renewable energy dollars begin flowing to Asia. (snip)

Without the economic security of guaranteed purchase contracts, companies will keep relocating overseas. Evergreen Solar, an up-and-coming solar manufacturer in Massachusetts, recently disclosed all of its manufacturing will be based in China.

So don’t let yourself or anyone else be fooled by the dirty energy industry’s lies. They want our heads in the tar sands because relying on fossil fuels makes them money, regardless of what it does to the environment, your health or anything else. And they’re not the only ones. As Thomas Friedman wrote in a NYTimes op-ed this week:  

Indeed, I suspect China is quietly laughing at us right now. And Iran, Russia, Venezuela and the whole OPEC gang are high-fiving each other. Nothing better serves their interests than to see Americans becoming confused about climate change, and, therefore, less inclined to move toward clean-tech and, therefore, more certain to remain addicted to oil.

Wreading, Writing, and Writhmetic

Have you ever wanted to take a class with a Nobel laureate, listen to the classic works of Shakespeare on your way to work, or take guitar lessons? You can start today, and the only cost of admission is a computer with an Internet connection.

With Internet access rising at an exponential rate, opportunities to further one’s education have ballooned. Here’s a small sample:

  • iTunes U offers hundreds of lectures from universities large and small, including UC Berkeley, Stanford, and MIT;

  • Speaking of UC Berkeley, their lecture archive is arguably the best in the world (Go Bears!), including courses from as far back as 2002 (my appearance at Professor Alan Ross’ Election 2008 seminar is here). They also webcast special events hosting some of the sharpest minds alive today;
  • LibriVox offers hundreds of open-source audio books;
  • PodCast Alley hosts thousands of podcasts on just about every subject you can imagine; and
  • YouTube is home to a number of users who contribute instructive lessons on thousands of subjects, including guitar lessons, cooking lessons, math lessons, and more. Ever wanted to learn Thai? There are videos for that too.
  • More over the flip…

    The material available is impressive and growing rapidly, and from the retirement home to home room, we have not yet fully appreciated the value of media already at our fingertips.

    To appreciate continued learning throughout life keeps one’s mind active and spirit lifted. And studies show that keeping the mind engaged is especially important for the elderly. While there is yet no cure for Alzheimer’s, studies at UC Irvine and the University of Pittsburgh suggest that learning appears to slow the onset of the disease. For people who may have difficulty reading because of age, disease, or disability, webcasts and podcasts offer an easily accessible opportunity to explore the boundaries of human knowledge in a way that was substantially more difficult even five years ago.

    And as free interactive and digital learning materials continue to blossom, they will provide our country’s hardworking teachers with helpful tools to enhance lesson plans and provide avenues for students to pursue knowledge beyond the classroom. Most cash-strapped public schools can’t be expected to offer much instruction on modern art or ancient philosophy, but the Internet can.

    Never before in human history have we had access to so much instructive materials at so low a cost of entry. Nevertheless, we must recognize barriers to entry still exist in impoverished communities and communities without access to broadband Internet (not surprisingly, these are often synonymous). The United States ranks 17th in broadband speed, and I’m glad President Barack Obama is committed to a strong investment in our Internet infrastructure. We must not fall further behind the digital curve.

    The future is now; let’s learn some new tricks.

    John Garamendi is California’s Lieutenant Governor, a University of California regent, and a California State University trustee. He is running for Congress in California’s 10th Congressional District. A primary election will be held on September 1st. For more information, see http://wwww.garamendi.org.

    Prop 13 Forum at Berkeley Ignores Rent Control

    With all the hype today on the 30-year anniversary of Prop 13 — today’s SF Chronicle wouldn’t stop talking about it — it’s incredible that NOBODY is talking about rent control and how Prop 13 paved the way for it.  In today’s Beyond Chron, I take my alma mater to task for hosting a one-day conference on Prop 13 without mentioning rent control.

    I majored in political science at Cal – and while I had an excellent education, the Political Science Department was always a bit out of touch.  Today, UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies will host a one-day conference on the 30th Anniversary of Prop 13 – where a field of experts will evaluate its “political, economic and fiscal impacts.”  Incredibly, none of them will talk about rent control (at least none of them are experts on it), although one of Prop 13’s most significant effects was the passage of rent control ordinances in cities throughout California.  Tuesday’s crushing defeat of Proposition 98 – sponsored by the same Howard Jarvis Taxpayers’ Association that pushed Prop 13 in 1978 – demonstrates a statewide mandate for laws that protect tenants.  Any serious reflection on Prop 13’s thirty-year legacy must involve rent control.

    In June 1978, the right-wing Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association pushed Proposition 13 on the ballot – amid rising property taxes and a deadlocked state legislature that wouldn’t solve the problem.  No doubt Prop 13 passed because elderly homeowners were afraid of losing the “American Dream,” but residential landlords also played a factor in making it happen.  Tenants were told that if Prop 13 passed, landlords would pass their property tax savings in the form of lower rents.  After they broke that pledge, rent control was born.

    Nowhere is this more obvious than Berkeley – where tenant groups tried in vain to pass rent control in the 1970’s.  After a crushing defeat in 1977, rent control was presumed dead until Prop 13 passed the following year.  In November 1978, Berkeley voters passed Measure J – which mandated that landlords pass 80% of their Prop 13 savings to renters.  Two years later, voters enacted a permanent rent control ordinance – which is alive today.

    A similar thing happened in San Francisco.  In 1978, voters narrowly defeated a measure to have landlords pass 100% of their Prop 13 tax savings to tenants.  Sensing that a rent control ordinance was inevitable, the Board of Supervisors and Mayor Dianne Feinstein passed one in 1979 – which is why many San Franciscans can still live in the City today.  

    Similar rent control ordinances also passed in Santa Monica, West Hollywood, East Palo Alto and Cotati – along with weaker measures in Los Angeles, San Jose and Oakland.  Over 100 cities in California also have rent control for mobile home parks.  Today, over one million households across the state are covered by some form of rent control.

    By 1980, landlords were so concerned about the growing momentum for rent control that they placed a statewide Proposition on the ballot to abolish it.  But a strong grass-roots movement defeated this measure, including TV commercials with actor Jack Lemmon.  Landlords did get the state legislature to pass the Ellis Act in 1986 and Costa-Hawkins in 1995, but they have never succeeded in completely killing rent control for thirty years.

    Of course, Prop 13 had a huge impact on the California state budget that still haunts us today – along with decreased property taxes that have ruined our local public schools.  So it makes sense for the UC Berkeley forum to include budgetary experts.  But besides Terri Sexton, an economics professor at Cal State Sacramento who will talk about “Prop 13 and Residential Mobility,” none of them touch on housing.  And “residential mobility” will probably focus on Prop 13’s effect on homeowners (rather than just renters.)

    It’s not like Berkeley’s Political Science Department could not find rent control experts to talk about Prop 13’s effect.  Myron Moskovitz (who was one of my law professors at Golden Gate University) wrote Berkeley’s Rent Control Ordinance, convinced Governor Jerry Brown to veto rent control repeal and is the state’s foremost expert on landlord-tenant law.  Marty Schiffenbauer led Berkeley’s rent control campaigns, both before and after the passage of Prop 13.  Both still live within walking distance of the Cal campus.

    They could have also invited Christine Minnehan of the Western Center on Law & Poverty, who lobbies the state legislature on rent control issues – and was an aide to State Senate President David Roberti.  I can’t think of a better expert on the politics of rent control today, and she could provide detailed knowledge about Prop 13’s impact.  She lives in Sacramento, and could have come down to the forum.

    Prop 13 plays a major role as to why Californians support rent control.  If homeowners have the stability of knowing that their property taxes won’t rise more than 2% a year, renters deserve to know their landlord can’t spike their rent during a real estate boom.  In 1978, homeowners voted for Prop 13 because they were afraid of losing their homes.  In 2008, tenants voted against Prop 98 because they were afraid of losing their homes.

    When I was an undergrad at Cal, the Political Science Department sponsored a panel for students about what they can do with their political science degree.  But without thinking it through, they scheduled it on Election Night at 7:00 p.m.  I was too busy getting people out to vote, so did not attend – but I expressed my displeasure with the Department’s secretary.  Today’s forum proves that an “ivory tower” mentality still governs a public university that boasts one of the best Political Science departments in the nation.

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Paul Hogarth graduated from UC Berkeley with a Political Science degree in May 2000.  He was elected to the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board later that same year, got his J.D. at Golden Gate Law School in 2006, and is now a tenants’ rights attorney in San Francisco.