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Interesting 3/16

1. Paid Sick Days Good For Business, Employees By LOUIS LISTA The Hartford Courant

Earlier this year, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy addressed the Connecticut Business and Industry Association and voiced his support for legislation requiring large businesses in Connecticut to provide employees with a few paid sick days a year. The CBIA, the state’s main business lobby, was up in arms. To hear them tell it, granting a few paid sick days a year is just too expensive for Connecticut’s employers.

As a successful business owner and CBIA member, that’s not how I see it. In my experience, providing a few paid sick days is smart business — not to mention vital to the health and economic well-being of my employees.

2. Wonkbook: The disaster we refuse to see coming By Ezra Klein

On Monday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee marked up Republican-backed legislation to bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases. Democrats proposed a series of amendments that simply admitted the reality of global warming — they didn’t require regulation or a carbon tax. Just an admission of the state of the science. Rep. Diana DeGette’s amendment was particularly careful in its language: “’The scientific evidence is compelling’ that elevated concentrations of greenhouse gases resulting from anthropogenic emissions ‘are the root cause of recently observed climate change,’” it read.

Not one of the 31 Republicans on the committee voted for it, or any of the amendments. Not one. Confronted by one of the most significant threats our planet faces, the 31 House Republicans charged with coordinating America’s response refused to even admit the underlying facts. “I would say it’s not settled,” said Rep. Joe Barton.

3. Hidden workforce challenges domestic economic recovery

Overshadowing the nation’s economic recovery is not only the number of Americans who have lost their jobs, but also those who have stopped looking for new ones. These workers are not counted in the Labor Department’s monthly unemployment rate, yet they say they are willing to work. Since the recession began, their numbers have grown by 30 percent, to more than 6.4 million, amounting to a hidden labor force that could stymie the turnaround.

Adding these workers to February’s jobless rate pushes it up to 10.5 percent, well above the more commonly cited 8.9 percent rate. An even broader measure of unemployment, which includes people forced to work part time, stands at nearly 16 percent.