Better Work Access and Encourage Worker Freedoms

Better Work Access and Encourage Worker Freedoms

Better Work Access and Encourage Worker Freedoms

The Manhattan Institute recently released a report arguing that now is a key time to reform our nation’s safety-net system. The goal should be not to offer more income guarantees but to minimize downside risk so that workers are able to move up the economic ladder. The report comes on the heels of new data from the U.S. government showing that inflation continued to run hot in August—the consumer price index rose 5.3% from a year before.

The Georgia Center for Opportunity’s (GCO) take: “The pandemic only heightened our awareness of existing issues, but the issues existed long before the pandemic,” said Erik Randolph, GCO’s director of research. “As such, we can’t let quick-fix solutions based on the current scenario be our only response. We do not need a stop-the-bleeding plan but systemic change that addresses long-standing issues.Policy prescriptions like simply raising the minimum wage ignore the main issue—wages not keeping up with inflation.


The need for changes that promote worker freedom and a sense of security that comes in work will drive markets and empower the actions of individuals. We should promote policies that open accessibility to better work access and encourage worker freedoms. We do this by creating a vibrant market where employers incentivize and compete for workers.”


Erik - statement

Press Release on the U.S. Senate’s Social Services Expansion

Press Release on the U.S. Senate’s Social Services Expansion

Press Release on the U.S. Senate’s Social Services Expansion

PEACHTREE CORNERS—The U.S. Senate approved an entirely partisan reconciliation bill of at least $3.5 trillion that irresponsibly includes the biggest expansion of social services. In his own words, Senate Budget Commit- tee Chairman Bernie Sanders said the budget reconciliation bill “will be the most consequential piece of legislation for working people, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor since FDR and the New Deal of the 1930s.”

The Alliance for Opportunity, a three-state coalition to move people from dependence to the dignity of work and a flourishing life, believes we should learn from our history and expand pathways to success and opportunity with– out dictating a burdensome cradle-to-college path that will cost the American people trillions of dollars.

“When many are struggling from the consequences of the pandemic and government-imposed shutdowns, families want a return to normal with job opportunities so they can achieve their hopes and dreams,” said Kevin Roberts, Texas Public Policy Foundation Chief Executive Officer

We know that the governments’ closure of schools and the lack of affordable childcare has placed a huge burden on caretakers–who are largely women–over the last year. However, we should carefully consider options that pro- vide the freedom of sustainable, affordable options for caretakers rather than a costly system that removes choices for their families. Make no mistake, if the federal government funds one form of childcare, then other options are crowded out. Instead, there should be affordable solutions for parental freedom and a better utilization of existing funds for childcare under TANF and other state workforce programs.

“Despite spending trillions on social service programs, generations of Americans have become trapped in a cycle of government dependency leaving them unable to realize the full extent of the American dream. This expansion of social service programs will be no different. Instead of bankrupting future generations, it’s time to give Americans the opportunity to build a better life for themselves and their families,” said Daniel Erspamer, Chief Executive Officer at Pelican Institute for Public Policy.

“When writing public policy, we must carefully weigh the long term effects those policies might have on the very people we are attempting to help. What works in the short term may not help over the long haul,” said Randy Hicks, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Georgia Center for Opportunity

Americans can’t afford Sen. Bernie Sanders’ unprecedented spending and taxing along with continual borrowing against our future, especially at this critical time in the pandemic recovery. The Alliance for Opportunity urges an approach that puts families and local communities at the center of solutions for childcare, education, and middle class job opportunities, not politicians in D.C. or elsewhere.

Inflation’s Growing Problem: A warning shot for Congress

Inflation’s Growing Problem: A warning shot for Congress

Inflation’s Growing Problem: A warning shot for Congress

poor child in America inflation

The inflation rate in July—as measured by the seasonally-adjusted Consumer Price Index (CPI)—abated somewhat from June’s rate, increasing at 0.5% instead of 0.9%. But don’t cheer too much yet.

This is known by economists as disinflation, not deflation. The rate came down, but prices are still continuing to climb.

Annualized, the monthly inflation rates calculate to 5.8% for July and 11.4% for June. Both rates continue to exceed the Federal Reserve’s target of 2% annual inflation. Of course, as I discussed in this blog, the Fed’s 2% target rate is too high and compromises Congress’s original goal of promoting purchasing power that would benefit everyone.

Prices are Ratcheting Upwards

When the CPI inflation rate is viewed by its increase from the same month of the prior year, the trend is not good. 

Although the increase over the prior year held steady for July, prices were also increasing last year. That is, prices are still 5.3% higher than a year ago when prices were also increasing. The problem is compounding, and prices are ratcheting upwards.

Inflation not a problem?

Perhaps not surprisingly but definitely unfortunately, the Fed’s economists appear to have been caught off guard. When Fed Chairman Jerome Powell testified before Congress last month, he admitted as much as inflation has spiked higher than they anticipated. However, he still maintained that the inflation is based on temporary factors that will abate with time.

Mr. Powell’s comments may have been just for the inflation rate, and he may be overly optimistic. In the meantime, we must brace ourselves for an increase in the price level. 

To think that the price level may come down is probably unrealistic. That has not happened ever since we gave the Fed the responsibility to maintain purchasing power in 1946 that was dumbed down in 1978 to the weaker goal of “reasonable price stability.” Of course, this policy change happened during the complete failure of federal policymakers in both the Fed and Congress when the nation was suffering from double-digit inflation combined with stagnant economic growth.

Why does promoting purchasing power matter? 

Inflation hurts practically everyone. If your wages do not keep up, your purchasing power is eroding. 

This is truest for those in poverty, low-income families, and low-skilled labor. They will slip further behind, making income disparity worse and possibly causing Congress and state governments to spend more on safety-net programs that will only fuel inflation higher when Congress funds the increases with even more debt.

Businesses—who need predictability to make good entrepreneurial decisions—generally will also suffer, slowing down economic activity. 

Workers will have a harder time keeping up with rising prices and will demand higher wages, only fueling inflation further.  

More Cautious Approach to Government Spending is Needed

A likely major cause of the climbing price level is all the governmental debt-based spending to address the pandemic. Further debt-based spending will not ameliorate the problem but exacerbate it. 

Congress needs to exercise more restraint and caution now as it considers the expansive spending bills that appear likely to pass. It is very likely that they are setting up the nation for unpleasant economic times, hurting the poorest among us the worst. The growth in the Consumer Price Index is an omen for Congress to take a step back and trim those bills.


Why Mentoring Matters

Why Mentoring Matters

Why Mentoring Matters

As I write this, I can think of a handful of people who have impacted my life over the years. I consider these individuals to be mentors whether or not the relationship was a formal mentoring one, and I know I wouldn’t be the person I am without their influence. They have helped me by simply listening and cheering me on when I wanted to give up. They became a lasting network of trusted support I can reach out to when I need it.

In return, I value the opportunity to serve as this kind of support for others. It isn’t so much about sharing knowledge in my opinion as it is about walking alongside someone and sharing in their story, and I find that I learn as much from the people I get to mentor as they learn from me. This is particularly satisfying when I get the chance to connect with someone from an unfamiliar culture or background. It is in these situations that the relationship generates more personal growth and satisfaction. I have become a better leader because of these experiences.

Mentees can also benefit from working with mentors in several ways. Having someone who will listen and gently guide without judgement is invaluable for personalities from any background. This is particularly true for individuals who have not experienced strong role models in their past. It can also be a plus for those with a weaker support network to engage with a mentor who is prepared to model good communication skills and can result in the capacity to build their network in a way that impacts work success.

Mentoring can create a framework for individuals to explore options outside of their lived experience and will generally foster a network of career and social support. Having someone who will check in with you on a regular basis and allow you to share your ideas can help reduce anxiety. By connecting on a personal level and finding security and trust there, a person is more likely to become open to new ideas and experiences.

These relationships can also benefit someone with very little professional experience to see their true value. When a person is encouraged and able to see how they can add value to a relationship, they are more likely to stay in the game longer and have a greater level of commitment to whatever they put their hand to.

Ultimately mentoring is about relationships, and this is the key to a good mentor/mentee experience. Each partner benefits because a mentoring partnership flows both ways. Everyone has the opportunity to contribute to the relationship in a meaningful way. There are many programs that incorporate mentoring into their platform of support. BETTER WORK is one of those.


A BETTER life begins with BETTER WORK.

Giving Hope to Others

As a work mentor, you can help someone with more than just creating a resume or practicing for an interview. You can help them:

  • Find resources
  • Develop contacts
  • Explore careers
  • Set goals
  • See their value

If you would like to explore the world of mentoring, I encourage you to find a good program that provides training and will support you throughout your experience. BETTER WORK Columbus is one program that can provide you with the structure needed to make a mentoring impact.

To find out more and mentor with BETTER WORK Columbus, go to and select the “Become a Mentor” link in the menu bar.



Improve Your Life with a Growth Mindset

Improve Your Life with a Growth Mindset

Improve Your Life with a Growth Mindset

adults learning

Learning keeps you growing

Most people agree that learning is important. I’m just not sure we understand how important it really is. I can still remember as a child believing that I needed to know everything or people wouldn’t think I was smart and capable. I hear kids today (and even adults) saying, “You don’t have to tell me. I know that.” Saying this often enough can make it an automatic response to receiving new information.

There seems to be an inherent desire–starting at a very young age–to already have the knowledge we need to understand the world. It can be even more difficult for children to see the value of learning when our educational system (and usually our parents) place the focus on grades as the most important thing they have to achieve. And learning isn’t only important for kids. While it may start when we’re young, it surely doesn’t end there. If we are wise, we will be learning until the end of our lives.

Learning new information will help us grow personally in a way that allows us to better handle life’s challenges we face every day. As we continue learning into adulthood, it can actually improve our memory and help us relate to new information positively. It may even reduce our chances of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Learning can also help us adapt to new situations with less stress and anxiety. If you struggle to see change as good and prefer that things stay the same, this is a skill that will make your daily life more pleasant. It can also increase your value in the workplace because you’ll be able to easily “roll with the punches”. Learning even changes the way you think about the hard stuff. In short, it helps you embrace a growth mindset.

What is a growth mindset? This simply means you believe your abilities can be improved through dedication and hard work, and that your talents can be developed. It’s about more than just taking in feedback, learning from your experience, and coming up with strategies for improving. It’s also about knowing deep down in your gut that even when you fail at something, you will eventually succeed. In fact, it’s the knowledge that failing will only make you more likely to succeed the next time or the time after that! Every time you fail, your success muscle gets stronger.

Embracing this growth mindset will allow you to bounce back quickly from disappointment because you understand that every failure is an opportunity to learn something new and therefore a stepping stone toward your success. This helps us to be more resilient, and resiliency allows us to cope better with the hard things in life.



A BETTER life begins with BETTER WORK.

Learning equals confidence

In short, learning will make you more confident in yourself and in your future. Your perspective will change so you begin to see the journey of life differently. I encourage you to take the first step if you haven’t already. Find something new you want to learn today, and do it!

BETTER WORK communities have mentors who are available to walk alongside you during your journey. Visit to find out more.


Inflation is running wild — poor and low-income Americans will be hurt the most | QUAD CITY TIMES

Inflation is running wild — poor and low-income Americans will be hurt the most | QUAD CITY TIMES

In The News

Inflation is running wild — poor and low-income Americans will be hurt the most | QUAD CITY TIMES

How can we help working families the most? Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is a popular solution, but it’s a short-sighted one given the reality that inflation — the silent assassin of Americans’ livelihoods, particularly for the poor — is now running the hottest it has in decades.

The Consumer Price Index has increased 5.4% since last year, as announced on July 13 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The monthly rate was 0.6% in May but 0.9% in June. If this rate persists, our nation will experience double-digit inflation. A 0.9% monthly rate translates to an 11.4% annual rate, a level not seen since the 1970s….