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Civil Rights Leader Bob Woodson on 1776 Unites & Race in America

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Robert Woodson, Sr., founder and president of the Woodson Center that supports neighborhood-based initiatives to revitalize low-income communities, as well as author and editor of the May 2021 book, “Red, White, and Black.”

Public Statement on the MA Legislature’s Blanket Pension Giveaway

Beacon Hill just put on full display what happens when it is awash in money. House Bill 2808 is entitled, “An Act relative to providing a COVID-19 retirement credit to essential public workers.”  It calls for adding three years of additional retirement credit to state “employees who have volunteered to work or have been required to work at their respective worksites or any other worksite outside of their personal residences during the COVID-19 state of emergency…” But upon reading the brief bill, it quickly becomes clear that this legislation is irresponsible in the extreme.

Independent Institute’s Dr. Morgan Hunter on Teaching Greco-Roman History to High Schoolers

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Dr. Morgan Hunter, Research Fellow at the Independent Institute in California, and co-author with Dr. Victor Davis Hanson and Dr. Williamson Evers, of the white paper, Is It Time for a “490 B.C. Project”?: High Schoolers Need to Know Our Classical Heritage.

Ely Kaplansky Goes from Immigrant to Inc. 5000 Insurance Entrepreneur

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Ely Kaplansky, President & CEO of Kaplansky Insurance. Since 1974, Ely has created hundreds of jobs in Massachusetts and beyond, with 85 employees in 15 offices across the state today, and he has grown his business during the pandemic, such that Kaplansky Insurance was named to Inc. magazine’s “5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America” list. His success fulfilled the dreams of his parents when they moved from Israel to America in 1955, with just the clothes on their backs and an aunt to take them in. Their journey began in the concentration camps of Germany, and Ely’s story is all about the opportunity and freedom America offers.

Aurora Institute’s Susan Patrick on Digital Learning Lessons from COVID-19

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Susan Patrick, the President and CEO of Aurora Institute and co-founder of CompetencyWorks. Susan shares observations about the long-term implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for American K-12 education, and the prospects for expanding digital learning.

Jo Napolitano on the Inspiring Stories of Immigrant Children

This week on JobMakers, Host Denzil Mohammed talks with Jo Napolitano, journalist, former Spencer Fellow at Columbia University, and author of the new book, The School I Deserve: Six Young Refugees and Their Fight for Equality in America, about the enterprising spirit of immigrants and refugees across the nation and at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Alzheimer Breakthrough Disillusionment: Confusion on FDA’s Approval of Expensive and Possibly Ineffective Drug

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with precision medicine expert Hannah Mamuszka and Pioneer Institute’s Bill Smith about the promises and pitfalls of the newly approved Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm, and the challenges presented when new, expensive drugs of dubious benefit are introduced to the nation’s formulary.

Umesh Bhuju Seeks a Fair Deal for Immigrants, Farmers & the Environment

This week on JobMakers, Host Denzil Mohammed talks with Umesh Bhuju, owner of Zumi’s Espresso in Ipswich, Massachusetts, about how a business model based on selling nothing but fair-trade products can thrive in a world driven by profit. He describes his early experiences in his homeland of Nepal, where he witnessed child labor, and how that has shaped his pursuit of the American dream.

Study Says Massachusetts Surtax Proposal Could Reduce Taxable Income in the State by Over $2 Billion

As voters now begin to weigh the potential impact of a ballot proposal to increase taxes on business owners, retirees and wealthier households, a new literature review by Pioneer Institute shows that many existing academic studies find that wealthy individuals are particularly sensitive to changes in tax policy. Other studies explicitly warn policymakers that behavioral responses to taxing the rich could erode the tax base and ultimately strain state budgets.

New York Times Best Seller Paul Reid on Winston Churchill, WWII, & the Cold War

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Paul Reid, co-author, with William Manchester, of the New York Times best-selling biography of Winston Churchill, The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965. Reid shares how he was enlisted to complete William Manchester’s biographical trilogy on the greatest political figure of the 20th century, which became a best-seller.

Unintended Tax Consequences: Modeling the Effects of the Millionaire’s Tax on Massachusetts’ Economic Future

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with Beacon Hill Institute President Dr. David Tuerck about his recent analysis of the proposed 4% surtax on incomes over $1 million in Massachusetts, and his estimate of the number of individuals who will leave the state as a result. Tuerck, an economist, used STAMP modeling tools comparing the static projections offered by proponents of the so-called “Fair Share Amendment” with a model simulation that accounts for the unintended effects of the tax.

Dr. Babak Movassaghi on Winning in Football & Healthcare Innovation

This week on JobMakers, Host Denzil Mohammed talks with Dr. Babak Movassaghi, founder of InfiniteMD (acquired last summer by ConsumerMedical), which connects patients with top U.S. medical professionals through second-opinion video consultations, guiding patients to better care. When the world shut down due to COVID-19, Dr. Movassaghi’s company was already prepared to serve patients via telehealth. In this episode, they discuss his fascinating pivot from physics and professional football in Germany, to healthcare and innovation here in the U.S., an extension of his ability to navigate multiple identities as an Iranian-German living the American Dream.

This Is No Time for a Tax Increase

This is no time to threaten Massachusetts’ prospects for an immediate economic recovery and the long-term competitiveness of the Commonwealth’s businesses. As Massachusetts lawmakers prepare to vote on whether to send a proposed constitutional amendment that would impose a 4 percent surtax on residents who earn $1 million or more in a year to the statewide ballot in 2022, Pioneer Institute urges them to recognize that tax policy sizably impacts business and job location decisions and that jobs are more mobile than ever.

Valuing Life-Saving Drugs: What is the Price of Life and Who Decides?

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with Pioneer Institute visiting fellow Dr. Bill Smith about Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALY) standards, and the ways in which so-called objective cost-containing strategies use expert opinion to determine the value of a life and thereby disadvantage the elderly, disabled, and those with less common vulnerabilities to disease.

Jitka Borowick on Starting a Small Business during COVID

This week on JobMakers, Guest Host Jo Napolitano talks with Jitka Borowick, Founder & CEO of Cleangreen, a cleaning service committed to environmentally-friendly practices, and Nove Yoga, launched during COVID. Jitka grew up under communism in the Czech Republic. Determined to learn English, she made her way to the U.S., initially with plans to stay for only one year – but ended up making it her home. Jitka shares the difficulties of learning another language and culture, her pathway to entrepreneurship, her courageous decision to open a new business during a pandemic, and how her companies have successfully adapted to the challenges so many small businesses have encountered over the past year.

Study: Massachusetts Should Retain Additional Healthcare System Flexibility Granted During Pandemic

Massachusetts’ emergency declaration for COVID-19 ends on June 15, and with it some enhanced flexibility that has been allowed in the healthcare system.  Some of the added flexibility highlighted barriers that make the system more expensive, harder to access and less patient-centered, and the Commonwealth should consider permanently removing these barriers, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

Blended Learning Expert Heather Staker on Student-Centered Lessons During COVID-19

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Heather Staker, founder and president of Ready to Blend. They discuss her work with the late Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen and Michael Horn on disruptive innovation and schooling, as well as her book, Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, and her recent publication, Developing a student-centered workforce through micro-credentials. 

Shepherding Infrastructure Spending: Project Labor Agreements’ Effects on Community Public Construction Projects

This week on Hubwonk, host Joe Selvaggi talks with Suffolk University Economics Prof. Jonathan Haughton about his research into the effects and costs attending the adoption of Project Labor Agreements in large construction projects. The discussion focuses on Prof. Haughton’s two research pieces, The Effects of Project Labor Agreements in Massachusetts, and Do Project Labor Agreements Raise Construction Costs?, and the implications of PLAs on future projects in Massachusetts.

Study Finds Deep Flaws in Advocates’ Claims that the Massachusetts Tax Code is Regressive

Proponents of a state constitutional amendment to add a 4 percent surtax on all households with annual income above $1 million frequently cite 2015 data from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, which argues that the Massachusetts tax code is regressive, but a new study published by Pioneer Institute debunks many of the underlying assumptions used in ITEP’s 2015 report.