When we teach our introductory entrepreneurship class at MIT, we take it for granted that each of our 75 students will be able to start an American company upon graduating.
But many of them lack one thing they need to be able to do so—permission from the United States government to continue working in our country.
In this academic year, three in 10 MIT students, including four in 10 graduate students, are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. So for them our entrepreneurship class is likely to remain just an academic exercise. Their student visas expire when they graduate, leaving them with two options, to leave the country or find an existing company to sponsor them for a chance at an H-1B visa.
With regard to financial reform, the outcome of the November election seems straightforward. At the presidential level, the too-big-to-fail banks bet heavily on Mitt Romney and lost; President Obama received relatively few contributions from the financial sector, in contrast to 2008. In Senate races, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sherrod Brown of Ohio demonstrated that it was possible to win not just without Wall Street money but against Wall Street money. Read More »
The major cell phone companies recently bowed to pressure from consumer activists and the Obama Administration and agreed to warn users via text message when they are about to exceed the limits of their calling plans. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and President Obama himself hailed the agreement. Consumers Union Counsel Parul P. Desai said, “Ultimately, this is about helping people protect their pocketbooks, so we applaud the FCC and the industry for this effort to do right by consumers.”
But would this move to prevent “bill shock”—those big, unexpected charges on monthly bills— really make consumers better off?
The news from Europe, particularly from within the euro zone, seems all bad.
Interest rates on Italian government debt continue to rise. Attempts to put together a “rescue package” at the pan-European level repeatedly fall behind events. And the lack of leadership from Germany and France is palpable – where is the vision or the clarity of thought we would have had from Charles de Gaulle or Konrad Adenauer?
President Obama’s job plan has triggered lots of talk if not action. With the economy struggling, any conversation about job creation is good news. But from the President on down, we sometimes pay too much attention to the number of jobs being produced and not nearly enough attention to the quality of those jobs.
In Good Jobs America: Making Work Better for Everyone (Russell Sage Foundation), a book co-authored by me and Beth Shulman being released this month, we document how a very large percentage of American adults today work in jobs that pay at levels below what is needed for a decent standard of living.
The main focus of our book is to show how bad jobs can be made into good ones. We show that education is a necessary but not sufficient element in the solution, that the persistence of low wage work cannot be laid at the door of immigration, and that it is possible to improve job quality without negatively impacting economic growth.