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What makes leaders effective in an environment that is rapidly changing, volatile, and unpredictable? And what makes those effective leaders get the most out of life?


There's value in wading through junk—or through venues historically viewed as all the “wrong places”—to realize breakthrough insights and innovations.


April 16, 2013

Early this year, the Administration said the health insurance exchanges at the heart of the Affordable Care Act wouldn't be ready in time. The Department of Health and Human Services granted waivers to a number of states that were way behind schedule, and implementation will not happen, in some cases, for another year or more. In January, one smart commentator even suggested codifying a one-year delay of all ACA programs to match the widespread de facto delays. In recent weeks, the Administration has acknowledged major delays of additional ACA provisions, such as the small business exchange program and the Basic Health Plan. Democrats are increasingly upset with the tardiness and chaos and are voicing their displeasure.

April 15, 2013

Happy Tax Day! To help you “celebrate,” we at the U.S. Chamber Foundation would like to keep you informed with these fast facts on everyone’s favorite tax.

  1. The Tax Code is 3,951,104-words-long—longer than two King James Bibles and the complete works of Shakespeare combined.
  2. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has received 96.6 million tax returns and processed 93 million of those, as of April 5, 2013. The government has issued over $214 billion in refunds so far, which is a 4.5% decline from last year.
  3. The average tax refund is $2,953. 
  4. Regulations surrounding the Tax Code total some 10.48 million words across 20 volumes
  5. Complying with the time burden of federal taxes alone translates into 45 hours per American. 
  6. Ninety percent of all tax returns are filed through paid preparers or tax prep software, costing taxpayers roughly $34.1 billion
  7. Income tax revenues are projected to total about 15.8% of GDP. Before the Great Recession, America had over 50 years with revenues over 16%, but no longer.  
April 15, 2013

I am unfortunately skeptical of the current corporate tax reform process in Washington. At minimum, we should end up with a statutory rate at the OECD average of 25% with fewer tax loopholes/breaks/deductions.

But congressional tax writers are having a hard time getting anywhere close to that number without harmful gambits such as “paying” for the rate reduction by a slowdown in depreciation deductions. Not only does such a plan take with one hand what it gives with the other, but it penalizes new investment in favor of old. And if the rate can’t be lowered close to the OECD average, the whole process is likely to collapse anyway as Corporate America passes.

So maybe it’s time to give up on tinkering. Maybe it’s time to just scrap the corporate income tax. Matthew Yglesias:

April 11, 2013

The old adage, “You only have one chance to make a first impression,” is timeless, a lesson many of us have learned from experience. In today’s consumer landscape, there is another adage gaining ground – companies only get one chance to make a bad impression. A wealth of consumer data is revealing that customer service can mean the difference between business success and missed opportunity.  

Recall the Soup Nazi character from the sitcom, Seinfeld, who on receiving any customer interaction that deviated from his rigid process would snatch away his much-desired product, proclaiming, “No soup for you!” While the Soup Nazi’s Mulligatawny and Crab Bisque may be worth the abuse suffered by Jerry and the gang, this isn’t the ‘90s and today’s consumers are just as quick to declare, “no sales for you.” 

In a recent Oracle survey, more than half of respondents indicated they would immediately switch to a competitor following a negative customer service experience, while only 39% said they would give the company a second chance. Odds are there will be no third chance, underscoring the importance of making a positive impression on every interaction.