jobs

Why we’ll see a minimum wage increase, whether we need it or not

Folks, there is going to be a minimum wage increase.  Despite the fact that only a fraction of workers actually draw minimum wage, and despite the fact that folks are actually living better on minimum wage than they did 20 years ago, we are going to see the minimum wage increase.

One of the problems with democracy is that the rule by the masses means that those who feel they have a tough spot in life will automatically vote with anyone who offers to make it better, while those who feel sorrow for such people will often vote along the same lines out of either guilt or pity.  This is why we have entitlement programs that, while having done absolutely nothing in the war on poverty, are here to stay.

Support for increasing the minimum wage is high.  In a recent report from the Wall Street Journal:

Americans strongly favor boosting the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour but oppose raising it above that, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds. In the survey, 63% supported a rise to $10.10 from the current $7.25 rate. Senate Democrats have proposed an increase of that size and it is supported by President Barack Obama.

In the poll, 43% said they backed an increase to $12.50 an hour. Only 28% backed a $15 wage—the rate sought by union-linked demonstrators at fast-food restaurants across the country.

Huntsman wrongly criticizes Paul unemployment benefits comments

Congress will soon weigh whether or not to extend benefits for unemployed Americans for another year, at a cost of $26 billion. Though the country has seen growth and job creation has picked up the pace, many Americans haven’t been able to find work in what is still a slow-moving economy.

During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) questioned the wisdom of extending unemployment benefits past the normal six-month period.

“When you allow people to be on unemployment insurance for 99 weeks, you’re causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy,” Paul, a potential Republican presidential candidate, told host Chris Wallace. “And it really — while it seems good, it actually does a disservice to the people you’re trying to help.”

Jon Huntsman, for Governor of Utah and Ambassador to China, criticized Paul on the issue on Monday. “This is language that’s suitable for the Republican primary, plain and simple,” he said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, according to Politico. “This isn’t the language that’s good for all Americans and that gets us closer to solving the problem,” emphasizing the need for bipartisan solutions.

Huntsman, a failed Republican presidential candidate in 2012 who has made rumblings about 2016, may not like the “language,” but he didn’t do anything to prove Paul’s underlying point wrong. Why? Because he can’t.

Rand Paul proposes “Economic Freedom Zones” for Detroit, other challenged cities

Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) plans to introduce legislation that would empower impoverished cities to break the chains of big government tax and regulatory policies that have prevented economic opportunities.

In a speech in the heart of Detroit, arguably the most financially troubled city in the country, Paul detailed the principles behind the legislation — The Economic Freedom Zone Act — and explained that the resilience and optimism of its residents and economic freedom are a way to break the stagnation in which they currently find themselves.

“Detroit’s future…will not come from Washington. The magic of Motown is here in the city,” Paul said on Friday at the Detroit Economic Club. “It’s not in some central planner’s notebook. What Detroit needs to thrive is not Washington’s domineering hand — but freedom from big government’s mastery.”

“To thrive, Detroit needs less government and more freedom — less red-tape, less punitive taxes, more money left in Detroit,” he said. “The answer to poverty and unemployment is not another government stimulus, it’s simply leaving more money in the hands of those who earned it.”

“These ‘freedom zones’ will dramatically reduce taxes and red-tape so that Detroit businesses can grow and thrive,” he explained, noting that the idea is similar to one proposed by the late Rep. Jack Kemp (R-KY). “This bill will lower personal and corporate income taxes in Detroit to 5%. My bill will also lower the payroll tax — 2% for the employees, 2% for the employers.”

Obama’s economy: Labor participation drops again, recovery far below average

The October jobs report surprised analysts, many of whom thought that the government shutdown would have a negative impact on the economy. Not only were 204,000 jobs added last month, the two previous months were revised upward by 60,000.

The bad news is that the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 7.3%, as did the U-6 unemployment rate, now at 13.8%. The worse news is that number of workers not in the labor force exploded by 932,000 in October, according to Zero Hedge, bringing the labor participation rate to 62.8%. Not only is this the lowest rate since the aftermath of the 2007-2008 recession, it’s the lowest since 1978.

(Chart via Zero Hedge - click to enlarge)

The Employment Policy Institute (EPI), a leftist think tank, offered a rather grim take on the jobs report and the long-term outlook.

Aetna CEO explains why Obamacare is causing insurance premiums to skyrocket

Many Americans who have been pushing into Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges have experienced sticker shock at the cost of health insurance plans available to them. Some are wondering why this has happened after President Obama promised Americans “affordable” health insurance.

During an interview last week, Maria Bartiromo, host of CNBC’s Closing Bell, asked Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini about some of the insurance premium horror stories that she and others in the media are hearing and asked what exactly is causing the cost of plans to necessarily skyrocket.

“[W]e spoke with two people yesterday who so upset. Intitially, her plan cost her, I think it was $250 a month. It’s gone up to $600 a month, the new plan. And then the other, it was costing her $500, it went up to $2,000,” noted Bartiromo. “I mean, the numbers are skyrocketing in terms of what these new plans are costing. Is it just because there’s just a lot more things in there, and many of these things, they don’t even want?”

“I mean, they said, ‘I don’t need this, I don’t need that. I don’t need child care, that’s not what I’m looking for.’ How come it’s so much more expensive, the new plans?” she asked.

Bertolini explained that there are three factors that are behind the skyrocketing premiums, taxes and fees, Obamacare’s “minimum essential benefits.”

“The largest factor is that the essential benefits requires a minimum of a 60% actuarial benefit,” noted Bertolini. “For most Americans and more than half of Americans who buy individual coverage, there current benefit plan is below 50%. So if you just move up to 60%, that’s a 20% increase out of the box.”

Shaquille O’Neal backs Chris Christie for re-election

Chris Christie

Basketball great Shaquille O’Neal has endorsed Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) and shot an ad for his re-election bid in the Garden State.

“I don’t endorse many politicians, but Chris Christie is different. He’s working with me to bring jobs back to our cities and on a new program to help kids in tough neighborhoods get ahead,” said O’Neal, who played in the NBA from 1992 to 2011, winning four championships and one MVP award in that time. “Gov. Christie has provided more funding for schools, given parents more choices in what schools their kids can go to and merit pay for good teachers.”

“He’s a good man. Excuse me, he’s a great man. Please join me in supporting Chris Christie for governor,” he added.

O’Neal, a New Jersey native, joined Christie’s urban youth initiative, “Just Play,” earlier this month. “I do think you’re cool, very cool,” the ex-NBA star told Christie during a press conference announcing the initiative.

Sugar protectionism pushing American candymakers overseas

sugar cane

American-owned candymakers have gotten tired of the protectionism that driving up the cost of sugar, according to the Wall Street Journal, and they’re responding to the market-distorting policy by taking their operations overseas:

The squeeze explains why Atkinson Candy Co. has moved 80% of its peppermint-candy production to a factory in Guatemala that opened in 2010. That means it can sell bite-size Mint Twists to retailers for 10% to 20% less.

“It wasn’t like we did it for profit reasons. We did it for survival reasons,” said Eric Atkinson, president of the family-owned candy maker, based in Lufkin, Texas. “These are 60 jobs down there…that could be in the U.S.,” he added. “It’s a damn shame.”

Jelly Belly Candy Co. is finishing its second expansion of a factory in Thailand that was opened by the Fairfield, Calif., company in 2007. The sixth-generation family-owned firm sells about 20% of its jelly beans, made in flavors from buttered popcorn to very cherry, outside the U.S.

Sugar makes up about half of the ingredients and cost of a typical jelly bean, said Bob Simpson, Jelly Belly’s president and chief operating officer. Thailand is the world’s fourth-largest sugar producer and gives Jelly Belly access to cheaper sugar, labor and other raw materials than the candy maker has in the U.S.

ObamaCare to get free promotion on NBC News

NBC News

With the unpopular law’s health insurance exchanges set to open tomorrow, NBC News will began airing a series of reports today to help the Obama Administration sell ObamaCare to a skeptical American public:

NBC News announced Friday that it will present a special series of programs and reports next week intended to “help Americans get the most out of the Affordable Care Act,” according to a press release.

Timed to coincide with the rollout of new insurance exchanges, “Ready or Not, the New Healthcare Law” begins airing Monday, Sept. 30. The series will appear on such network mainstays as “NBC Nightly News” and “Today,” as well as on social media and other digital outlets.

The programs will provide interactive tools “to help shed light on what the healthcare act means for [consumers] and explain how to enroll” in the new marketplaces opening on Oct. 1, according to the statement. Additionally, the series will include reporting on the Obama administration’s messaging, primary-care physician shortages, changes to emergency rooms and other topics related to the law’s rollout.

House Democrat welcomes “stealth socialism” in America

Alan Grayson

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) says that “stealth socialism” has been “created” in the United States through the Federal Reserve’s bond buying program, which essentially monetizes the government’s debt. What’s more he’s happy about it.

“The one good thing that’s happened in the past five years, in the sense of making people hopeful that the economy might survive a collapse, is that the Federal Reserve’s unconventional monetary policy put us back on a low-level track toward growth,”Grayson, a far-leftist firebrand, told Salon.com in a recent interview. “They showed that monetary policy in extremis can work to some degree.”

In a surprise move, the Federal Reserve announced last week that it would continue the bond buying program, known as “quantitative easing,” in hopes that it would stimulate an economy that is still struggling to recover from the 2008 recession. This is the third round of quantitative easing (QE3) since 2009, bringing the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet, according to the Los Angeles Times, “to nearly $3.7 trillion from about $900 billion in mid-2008.”

“We’ve had a government takeover of the bond market. Stealth socialism’s been created. Government simply ends up owning more and more and more,” he said. “If government had taken over the steel industry, maybe it would have been more noticeable. They’ve taken over the financing of housing industry as well, with a desired result.”

Georgia-based healthcare provider to layoff 100 workers, ObamaCare partly to blame

Emory Healthcare

Yet another employer is has announced big changes as they deal with the costs of ObamaCare, joining an ever-growing list of businesses that have cut hours, rolled back health benefits, or laid off workers because of the law.

Atlanta’s WSB-TV reported Emory Healthcare, a healthcare provider connected to Emory University, announced recently that 101 workers will be laid-off in mid-November, partly because of ObamaCare:

Channel 2 Action News has confirmed that more than 100 Emory Healthcare employees will lose their jobs, in part, because of the Affordable Care Act.

An upset viewer alerted Channel 2’s Erica Byfield to the development.

A letter the viewer provided from Emory Healthcare’s Chief Human Resources Officer reads, “This notice is to inform you that Emory Healthcare is restructuring and consolidating its Psychiatry Services Program.”

A spokesperson from the health system confirmed the letter was mailed to 101 employees on Sept. 9. 
[…]
An Emory spokesman, Vincent Dollard, said the new health care law backed by the president played a role in the layoffs. Dollard added the economy was also a factor.

Here’s the video from WSB-TV:

 
 


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