It is Time for the Next Greatest Generation

Sitting in my home office, one of millions appropriately practicing social distancing and adjusting to a new way of life in the face of the Coronavirus,  I see a country confronted with one of the most uncertain and difficult times many of us may have faced.  At the same time, I am also reminded of our history as a country, and the incredible dedication and contributions of the Greatest Generation. Tom Brokaw, author of the 1998 book, “The Greatest Generation” profiled the brave Americans who came of age during the Great Depression and went on to fight in World War II, as well as those who contributed to the war effort on the home front. Brokaw wrote that these men and women fought not for fame or recognition, but because it was the “right thing to do.” My dad, a U.S. Marine Iwo Jima survivor, passed away last year at the age of 95.  My brothers and I always understood how difficult his early years were, being raised as an orphan. And then suddenly, at 19 years of age and confronted with the need to defend our country, he bravely and patriotically volunteered to enlist and do what had to…

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Green New Deal: An Economist’s Perspective

As climate change and policies to address it take center stage, it is important to have a constructive discussion that will bring productive and long-lasting results to this important problem. There is no doubt the Green New Deal (GND) has provoked that discussion with its ambitious goals. As ACCF has stated before, we agree that there is a need for policies that will reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. However, we also need to understand the impact of the policies suggested on other sectors of the economy to make any kind of judgement on their feasibility. Without a reliable and consistent estimate, it is difficult to render judgement.  Many back of the envelope calculations have put the cost of the Green New Deal, which currently lacks details, at trillions of dollars. Obviously, there are a lot of discussions to be had surrounding many aspects of the Green New Deal. We wanted to focus on the more technical aspect, whether the Green New Deal can be modelled and analyzed to inform us about its costs and benefits. Who better than David Montgomery, Ph.D., with more than 40 years of experience in economic modelling and energy markets, to answer some of our questions:…

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Does New Congress Threaten Trump Energy Agenda? Not So Fast

Congress returns with a renewed focus on climate change and clean energy under the direction of the newly minted House Democratic majority. But with President Donald Trump still in control of the White House and a Republican majority in the Senate, prospects for major shifts in policy remain slim. Even in the House where a crush of new progressive freshmen are pushing the party further to the left, climate and energy issues may take a backseat to oversight and the broader goal of serving as a check on the administration. But even if the divided 116th Congress is unlikely to result in a consensus on major legislation, the refocusing of the debate on energy and environmental policy on climate change is notable. Unrequited priorities tend to pop up in other, unrelated debates as amendments or poison pills, infrastructure for example. Longshot policy proposals can also form the foundations of future law. Look no further than criminal justice reform to see how, with enough time, a minority proposal can evolve into the majority consensus. Climate change policy fits that bill. Drawing the most headlines on the climate front is the proposal championed by newly elected New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez…

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Access to Stock Market Data – Transparent, Detailed, and Timely Data is King

The SEC has recently focused its attention on transparency regarding all aspects of the capital markets. This is seen by many as an attempt to ensure that Main Street investors have detailed and timely information necessary to make informed investment decisions. One area that has come under review is how, when, and at what cost do investors have access to market data. Under the SEC’s Regulation National Market System, exchanges such as the NYSE and Nasdaq must make their “best bids and offers” data available to Securities Information Processors (SIPs).[1] This data is seen as crucial to inform investors on the status of the market. The SIPs are coincidentally also managed by the exchanges to ensure that this vital data is made public in a non-discriminatory manner and at a reasonable cost. However, in addition to this quasi-public data, the exchanges offer more detailed data on limit orders at prices below “best bids and offers,” which is extremely valuable in getting a full assessment of the securities market. This more detailed, valuable, and arguably necessary data is considered proprietary and as such is offered at a premium. However, even though this more detailed data is considered proprietary, the fees assessed…

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What the Midterms Mean for Energy & Environment Policy

Big picture – voters rejected policies that would raise energy costs on consumers when put before them on the ballot last night – the carbon tax initiative in Washington state, renewable energy mandate in Arizona and limits on exploration and drilling in Colorado and Alaska. In Arizona, voters overwhelmingly rejected a 50-percent renewable energy mandate. In Washington, voters rejected placing a proposed fee on carbon emissions for a third time. In Nevada, voters approved a 50-percent renewable energy mandate, but rejected a proposal to deregulate the state’s power market. At a local level – House members who signed on to or flirted with carbon tax legislation lost (Curbelo & Love) or barely hung on (Fitzpatrick). Only Rooney – who focused more on a hyper local issue (nutrient driven algae blooms) managed a decisive victory. With the defeat of Leonard Lance in NJ-7, all 8 Republicans who voted for cap and trade in 2009 have been defeated or retired. Democrats lost three members of the climate caucus and Republicans lost thirteen. The climate caucus recruits in pairs to keep the membership bipartisan. Democrats immediate task is to recruit 10 Republican House members into the caucus to give it balance. With a…

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