Paid time off isn’t a luxury; it’s essential

Across our country, people are standing up and demanding fair working conditions. These debates are about more than just pay and hours worked. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the fact that people’s lives do not solely revolve around their jobs.

Democracy is no longer good enough

It really was only a matter of time before the two rallying cries of the far right — election fraud and gun rights — came together in the most dangerous ways. The deadly Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection offered just a taste of the radicalism that the Republican mainstream has nurtured by refusing to condemn extreme acts of violence and the political leaders who encourage it — including former President Donald Trump. All signs suggest this extremism is only going to get worse because GOP leaders fear losing power if they alienate the far right wing. Given the current trajectory, it’s not going to end well.

The debt-ceiling nonsense has gone on long enough

The recurring farce of lifting the US government debt ceiling began again this week. As total debt surpasses $31.4 trillion — the current statutory limit — the Treasury is undertaking a series of bookkeeping maneuvers to disguise new borrowing and keep the government operating. At some point, these methods will be exhausted. If Congress doesn’t vote to increase the limit, new borrowing could be halted and outright debt default is possible.

Could AI help decide Baseball Hall of Fame inductees?

Today the new members of the Baseball Hall of Fame will be announced, and the debate will ensue as to who does or does not belong, who has been unjustifiably snubbed and how banned substances should be factored into the decision. Around 400 sports writers determine who will be enshrined among baseball’s all-time greatest players in Cooperstown, New York, on July 23.

US cities need more, not less, adventurous public art

The hammers are out for a Boston public artwork honoring Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy. Sure, “The Embrace” is untraditional. People are entitled to their opinions on this and any other sculpture. Art creates conversation, and public art, more so.

Eliminating noncompete contracts will empower employees and entrepreneurship

The Federal Trade Commission has proposed an imminent ban on noncompete contracts. Prohibiting these contracts is an important step toward assuring we still have access to the American Dream. It will help businesses innovate in our tight labor market, ensure workers are not stuck in dead-end jobs and make the United States more competitive with regards to our foreign counterparts.

Once again, Republicans are threatening to tank the economy to get their way

Like the hockey-masked villain in some cheesy horror flick, the GOP’s debt ceiling caucus just keeps coming back. Once again, the party’s more radical members are threatening to hold America’s full faith and credit hostage by refusing to raise the nation’s debt limit. The Treasury hit that $31.4 trillion limit Thursday, meaning it will have to be raised — as it routinely has been over the years, under both parties, to cover expenses incurred by both parties.

Biden, Trump both mishandled classified materials

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are both being investigated over their handling of classified materials. While publicly disclosed information reflects that the cases are clearly different, the investigatory processes should not be.

The problem(s) with China’s population drop

China’s population declined last year, for the first time since the mass deaths associated with Mao Zedong’s disastrous Great Leap Forward in the 1960s. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that China has announced that its population declined. Many observers are skeptical about Chinese data. I’ve been at conferences when China released, say, new data on economic growth, and many people responded by asking not “Why was growth 7.3%?” but rather “Why did the Chinese government decide to say that it was 7.3%?”