Archive for the 'Green public policy' Category

SBA Poll Results: Climate Change?

The Question:
What do you think is the impact of human behavior on the climate of the Earth?

11% - Climate change is real and dangerous, and humans are the cause

27% - Climate change is real, but humans are only part of the reason

48% - The climate was changing for millions of years before humans

14% - Climate change is a religion practiced by environmental zealots

My Comments:
As you can see, only 11% of our respondents think human behavior is causing climate change, while 63% think humans are not responsible.

Allow me to direct you to an article I wrote about this a few months ago, which should add some perspective on what American businesses have done based on innovations and business decisions, not hysteria.

SBA Poll: Climate Change, what do you think?

The Question:
President Obama says climate change is “the global threat of our time.” What do you think?

12% - The president is right.

8% - Climate change is real, but not our greatest threat.

34% - What threat? The planet has been warming for 10,000 years.

46% - Climate change zealots are the global threat of our time.

My Comments:
As you can see, only a little more than one-in-ten respondents to our poll agree with President Obama’s strong position on climate change, with another 8% taking a less extreme position on the topic. The rest, 80%, disagree with the president, with almost half of those warning of the dangers of climate change zealots.

Global warning, aka climate change, is not settled science. There are plenty of things about this issue that can and should be debated. But President Obama doesn’t like to debate. He likes to declare something to be so, and arrogantly accuse anyone who disagrees with him to be either part of the problem, ignorant, or even malevolent. But the climate change policies the president and other zealots want to impose will have a dramatic impact on America’s future, because their solutions to address this “global threat” will unilaterally impact Americans in a very dangerous way.

I’m going to have more to say about this soon in my Feature Article. Stay tuned…and thanks for participating.


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America needs jobs in all the Crayola colors

It is generally stipulated among political experts and interested observers of the 2012 election cycle that the presidential contest will be heavily weighted toward the condition of the economy, especially unemployment.

The unemployment metric most often cited by the media and politicians, called U-3, is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and was recently reported to be 8.3%, or just over 12 million Americans. This number does not include those who have given up looking for a job or transferred onto Social Security disability.

But there is another statistic tracked by the BLS called U-6, which covers a more comprehensive unemployment universe, including those who have stopped looking and those who are involuntarily underemployed. The most recent U-6 number came in at 14.8% of the workforce, or more than 22 million Americans. Expect to hear more about U-6 between now and November 6.

It can also be stipulated that the Obama Administration has been keen to promote “green jobs,” seemingly, at times, at the expense of not-so-green jobs. We wanted to know what small business owners think about this type of economic focus, so we asked this question in a recent online poll: “Emphasizing ‘green jobs’ has been a big part of the Obama Administration’s plan for the direction of the U.S. economy. Do you agree with this plan?” Here’s what we learned:

Those who said, “Government should significantly influence conversion to a green economy,” came in at 15% of our sample. The other 85% said, “Innovation and customers should decide how the marketplace converts to green.” This topic apparently brings out strong feelings, because none of our respondents were “Uncertain.”

Another stipulation we can make is that everyone likes it when a “green job” is created. First, it’s a job. Second, it’s good for the environment. And third, well, it just makes us feel good. But right now, what America needs is for the millions of small businesses to create any kind of jobs – period! It shouldn’t matter if it’s green, brown, periwinkle, or any other color in the Crayola box; we need all kinds of jobs – and we need millions of them as soon as possible.

In America’s free market economy, jobs are a product of opportunity and a casualty of fear and uncertainty. Small businesses are telling Washington to promote opportunity for all jobs with policies that minimize fear and uncertainty.

A single-minded focus on green jobs isn’t good economics, policy or politics.


Yesterday on my radio program I talked more about the focus on green jobs and why I - and 85% of my viewers - believe the government should provide opportunities for all businesses, not just green ones. I’ve also had a conversation with Ray Keating, Chief Economist of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council about why there are policies and regulations that favor green jobs, sometimes at the expense of other jobs. Click on the links below to download or listen.

Also, leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on whether the government should create specific policies for and subsidize green jobs.

What kind of jobs does President Obama like? with Ray Keating

America needs jobs in all the Crayola colors with Jim Blasingame

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Look for your sustainability letter

This article is about three letters to small businesses.

The first letter was born in the 1950s, when the quality ideas of an American, Edwards Deming, reversed “Made in Japan” from a metaphor for cheap to quality. During the 1980s, after American industry had lost competitiveness with Japan, quality processes like ISO and Six Sigma were adopted and “Made in America” returned to prominence.

By 1990, now with their in-house quality act together, big businesses realized they needed similar commitments from integrated vendors. That’s when small businesses started getting letters from customers requesting evidence of their quality process – or no new contracts.

The seed for the second letter was planted by computer programmers in the 1960s. To conserve expensive data storage, program date codes were written with six digits, as in 121565, for December 15, 1965. They didn’t realize they had created the Y2K ticking time bomb.

Around 1995, experts started worrying that when the clock ticked midnight, January 1, 2000, zillions of lines of date-sensitive computer calculations would fail by going back a century – 010100 would be January 1, 1900 – instead of forward to 2000. Consequently, the codes in millions of programs had to be fixed. And by 1998, small businesses started getting letters from their larger customers requesting evidence of their “Y2K compliance” – or no contracts with eight-digit dates.

The third letter was born in the middle of the 20th century, when we started realizing that the solution to pollution was not dilution. Since then, environmental stewardship has evolved from not polluting to sustainability.

Sustainability means doing more with less, including making waste useful – especially water. It’s the right thing to do, but businesses are also learning that sustainability can be profitable and good for public relations.

The sustainability letter hasn’t been sent yet – but it’s coming. Within the next five years, small businesses should expect to hear from big customers about their sustainability plan. And like the quality and Y2K letters, your first motivation will be to keep a customer.

Start thinking about the resources your business uses, including energy, consumables, production waste – especially water. Establish programs for recycling, reusing, conserving, etc., and document your execution. So when you get that first “Sustainability Letter,” you won’t look like a deer in the headlights.

Sustainability is good business, good public relations and good karma.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Nature emphasizes human insignificance

An earthquake is arguably the rudest of nature’s reminders of how insignificant we humans are. And even though we’re no longer shocked to hear about one happening somewhere else, still, it’s difficult to imagine how devastating a 9.0 earthquake can be. Even though footage of the associated tsunami, further emphasizing the awesome power of nature, may take our breath away, we’ve come to expect this one-two punch when the planet’s tectonic plates shift near an ocean.

But when nature performs the hat trick by unleashing its force under, around and over volatile man-made devices called nuclear power plants, as recently happened - and is still happening - in northeastern Japan, the needle of our disbelief meter pegs off the chart.

Here in the U.S., it was looking like the more than 30-year nuclear power plant construction moratorium, created by the 1979 Three Mile Island accident, was just about to end. Now what? Is this a sign from God, or just a disastrous coincidence.

Political and environmental interests seek desperately for non-carbon energy alternatives. But in the face of what’s still unfolding in Japan, what is the nuclear energy appetite of Americans? We wanted to know what you think about this, so we asked the following question last week in our weekly poll in the Newsletter and our website. “The Japanese disasters have put the potential risks of nuclear power in focus. Do you think we should continue to build more nuclear plants?” Here’s what you said:

Those who thought we should put things on hold at least until we see how things turn out in Japan represented 5% of our respondents. Surprisingly, only slightly more, 8%, said the Japanese disaster proves that nuclear energy is not worth the risks. But a resounding 88% of our sample said the U.S. should continue to develop nuclear energy, acknowledging that no energy alternative is without risks.

We continue to live the Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.” It will indeed be interesting to see how the alternative energy debate plays out over the next few of years. And while thinking about where you want to take your small business, remember what a wise person once said, “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.” And, as we’ve come to know too well, nature is a big part of life.

On The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked with Andrew Sherman, partner at the global law firm, Jones Day and author of many books, including Be the Truck, Not the Squirrel, whether the events in Japan could have been predicted.

Japan and Middle East Black Swan events with Andrew Sherman

I also talked with Bob McTeer, Distinguished Fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis and former President/CEO of the Dallas Fed, about the global impact of the disasters in Japan.

Global repercussions from the Japanese disaster with Bob McTeer

Please click on the interviews and take a few minutes to listen to our discussions. We’re also interested in your comments, so please tell us what you think.

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