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Desert Year: Shedding Leaves and Jobs

by Skip Laitner • August 22, 2011 @ 9:17 am

John ‘Skip” Laitner is an economist, enjoying a desert year while on research sabbatical  from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Skip is discovering some surprising insights from his time in the desert that can inform the way one looks at the economy and social systems. In a series of posts entitled Desert Year, Skip lends us his new insights, as well as his 40 years of experience as an energy and natural resource economist, to probe the economic, climate, and energy challenges that confront us.

An Interesting Adaptation

The Ocotillo plant, up close and personal, right here in the Arizona Sonoran Desert, is an intriguing desert shrub. It knows how to survive. 

After the first serious rain it can grow its leaves amazingly fast in just a couple of days. And then it holds them for as long as the rains continue – whether into the spring or during the current monsoon season. 

But it drops its leaves just as quickly when the rains end. It grows them fast, and sheds them just as fast. 

The Octillo Plant

On the other hand, we have the example of  the Hampton, Maryland‑based clothing retailer, Jos. A. Bank, which seems to be thriving in spite of the economy’s current sluggishness.  Curiously, it even offered at one point to take back its suits from men who had been laid off.

 Hmmm…  A common thread?  An interesting adaptation?

 I’m one of those economists who think the new normal will be a very sluggish economy for some years to come. (more…)

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Response to Hearing on EPA Regulations and Jobs

by Guest • April 6, 2011 @ 10:49 am

This is a response by Dr. James Heintz of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst to issues raised by Dr. David Montgomery in his written testimony before the Subcommittee on Energy and Power Committee on Energy and Commerce United States House of Representatives Hearing on EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations and Their Effect on American Jobs, March 1st, 2011.

On March 1st, 2011, Dr. David Montgomery testified before the Subcommittee on Energy and Power Committee on Energy and Commerce United States House of Representatives Hearing on EPA’s Greenhouse  Gas Regulations and Their Effect on American Jobs. In the written testimony, Dr. Montgomery critically reviews a recent study released by Ceres/PERI in February 2011, New Jobs, Cleaner Air: Employment Effects Under Planned Changes to EPAs Air Pollution Rules, which examines the employment that might be created by investments in new electricity generation capacity and pollution control technologies under proposed changes to air pollution standards for electrical utilities (the ‘Utility MACT’ and Transport Rule). This brief response addresses several issues raised by Dr. Montgomery in his written testimony and corrects a number of factual errors. (more…)

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