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Goodbye, NAFTA. Hello, USMCA.

Four years ago, Donald Trump promised to replace the "worst deal ever made" — known to the rest of us simply as NAFTA, the massive 1994 trade pact linking the US, Canada, and Mexico.

Now, he's officially done so. The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which replaces NAFTA, comes into effect on July 1st.

How did we get here, and what does it mean?

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COVID cases jump. The world reopens anyway.

Six months since the first coronavirus case was identified in Wuhan, China, the number of new daily COVID infections peaked last week with more than 177,000 cases reported globally. Yet, though the virus continues to spread like wildfire — mostly in emerging market economies — reopening plans continue to unfurl. Why?

The answer is straightforward: survival. For many people in the developing world, going to work is the difference between food on the table and starvation. There's only so much governments can do, therefore, to force people to stay at home. Ordering a lockdown when large numbers of people will simply ignore the order isn't good economics or good politics.

That's why the blueprint for slowing the spread of the virus in the US and Europe won't always work in countries that rely on informal economies to stay afloat. Here are four cases in point.

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Coronavirus Politics Daily: Mexico's deadly healthcare, South Korea's lockdown, Qatar's contact tracing fiasco

Mexico's healthcare system kills: Years of underinvestment in its healthcare system has left Mexico woefully underprepared for the emergency now plaguing its 128 million people. As a result, many Mexicans are dying not from the virus itself, but from medical malpractice or other mistakes as overstretched hospitals fail to manage the surging caseload. Anecdotal evidence from cities like Mexico City and Tijuana reveals that a shortage of medical workers means patients in critical care units can go up to eight hours without a visit from an attending physician. That has resulted in otherwise preventable deaths from clogged breathing tubes and septic shock. Meanwhile, scarcity of basic equipment to monitor patients' vitals, like heart monitors, for example, has resulted in what one Mexican doctor called "dumb deaths," referring to patients dying as a result of improper medical care. Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has acknowledged that the country has 200,000 fewer healthcare personnel than it needs to manage the crisis, but has done nothing to meaningfully address the problem. The stakes are climbing. Mexico has now recorded more than 8,500 deaths from COVID-19 (and has one of the highest daily death tolls in the world), though authorities acknowledge this is likely an undercount because of the country's low testing rate.

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Latin America's two big coronavirus challenges

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, many Latin American countries were struggling with low prices for their commodities exports, a Venezuelan refugee crisis, and a surge of street protests across the region.

Then came the worst global public health crisis in a hundred years.

So far, there are about half a million confirmed cases in Latin America and about 25,000 deaths, but spotty testing and reporting mean both figures are too low.

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How would the new tariffs on Mexican imports affect the price of avocados?

With the new tariffs on Mexican imports, will I still be able to afford avocado toast?

Answer: It's going to get more expensive. To back up, President Trump announced 5% tariffs on goods imported from Mexico on June the 10th, to go up to 25% tariffs in October — beginning of October. While the President talks about these tariffs, it makes it sound like the Mexican government is going to cut a check to the US government. In fact, what happens is these costs are borne by companies as they import goods into the US, and therefore is borne by, and passed along to, the US consumer. So this can have the impact — and will have the impact — of dampening the economy, and by quite a bit. There's an economic consulting firm in Texas that says the tariff could cost the US more than 400,000 jobs and $40 billion of GDP. So it's going to hurt the cost of your avocado, as well as everything else that comes from Mexico, and will hurt the economy as well, which is why you're seeing some stock market volatility right now.

It's Pride Month! How can we use our dollars to celebrate?

Answer, of course, is by spending those dollars or investing those dollars with LGBTQIA-owned companies. As well as in the workplace, hiring, promoting, mentoring, giving references to LGBTQIA individuals, and really building an inclusive environment. Because the research tells us that when people feel like they belong at a company, they are three and a half times more likely to fully contribute.

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