Participants: Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Donald Trump, John Kasich, Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina
NOTE: Kiddie table debate begins at 7pm and includes the following candidates: Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal
It took President Barack Obama only 2,604 days to reject the permit application for the Keystone XL pipeline.
In a statement today, Obama said the pipeline “would not serve the national interest of the United States.”
“America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change,” Obama added. “And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.”
Former Obama administration Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu hit the nail on the head: “The decision on whether the construction should happen was a political one and not a scientific one.”
Here are the top nine reasons Obama is wrong on Keystone XL.
1.) Jobs and economic growth. Opponents will minimize the job numbers, saying that the pipeline will create only “a handful” of permanent jobs – and that’s correct. In his speech Obama said, “So if Congress is serious about wanting to create jobs, this was not the way to do it.” But here’s what that argument misses: the tens of thousands of construction jobs that the pipeline project will create. In fact, simply building the southern portion – which didn’t need Obama’s approval – has already created 4,000 construction jobs. And if opponents are dismissive of Keystone XL, they should be dismissive of all construction projects, as they’re all temporary – because they’re construction jobs. Further, Keystone XL would add economic value, transport an important energy resource efficiently, and result in billions of dollars of tax revenue for states it runs through.
2.) Stable supply of oil from an important trading partner that will lower gas prices. The pipeline would carry up to 830,000 barrels of oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast, where U.S. refineries are already equipped to handle heavier crudes. The pipeline will efficiently provide supply from a secure source and a friendly and important trading partner. Contra Obama’s claim today that “the pipeline would not lower gas prices for American consumers,” increased oil supplies will lower gas prices, though the impact may be small.
3.) Safest mode of getting oil and gas to Americans. Many in the United States live near a pipeline without even knowing about it. America has more than 500,000 miles of crude oil, petroleum, and natural gas pipelines and another 2 million miles of natural gas distribution pipelines. When it comes to accidents, injuries, and fatalities, pipelines are the safest mode of transporting oil and gas.
4.) Should be a business decision, not a government one. In concluding with Secretary of State John Kerry’s assessment that the project would not be in the national interest, Obama said, “The pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy.” It is not the role of the federal government to make that determination. The federal government shouldn’t make that determination with the construction of a new restaurant or boutique shop. And it shouldn’t make that determination with a pipeline. After the State Department concluded that the pipeline was environmentally safe, the decision to build Keystone XL should have been a business decision – not a government one.
5.) We’ve done this before. The Keystone XL Pipeline is just a portion of the larger Keystone Pipeline System. You can view a map of the entire system here. Unbeknownst to many is the fact that the U.S. has already granted one of those presidential permits for the Keystone Pipeline System. For phase I of the Keystone Pipeline System, TransCanada filed an application with the Department of State (DOS) in April 2006, and the department began an environmental review in September 2006. TransCanada received its presidential permit for phase I in March 2008. From beginning to end, the process took 23 months. It has taken 86 months for Obama to say no.
6.) Environmentally safe. It was Albert Einstein who said the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” The State Department must be teetering on the edge of insanity, because after multiple environmental reviews concluding that Keystone XL poses minimal environmental risk to soil, wetlands, water resources, vegetation, fish, and wildlife, the Obama administration still rejected the permit application.
7.) Negligible climate impact. In a speech in June 2013, Obama said the climate effects of Keystone XL would have a major impact on the administration’s decision. These effects, however, would be minimal. The State Department’s final environmental impact statement concludes that the Canadian oil is coming out of the ground whether Keystone XL is built or not, so the difference in greenhouse gas emissions is minuscule. No matter your position on climate change, Keystone XL won’t make a difference.
8.) Can be built without the help of the taxpayer. Building and operating Keystone XL will result in real private-sector jobs that will grow the U.S. economy. This is very different from the president’s taxpayer-funded green jobs plan that merely siphons resources out of the market and forces pricier energy on the American public.
9.) The people want it. Lots of people want it. A CNN poll in the beginning of the year found that 57 percent of Americans support the project, while just 28 percent oppose it. Many unions want it. Former Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar called the project a “win-win.” Congress sent a bill to Obama’s desk, demonstrating their will to approve the project. Sadly, the Obama administration is catering to the small group of radical environmental activists who don’t want the pipeline.
Last April, the Washington Post slammed the Obama administration’s continued delay of a Keystone XL decision, calling it “absurd” and “embarrassing.” Rejecting the permit application is even more absurd and more embarrassing.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has a good point – America needs to be more like Denmark and the other Scandinavian countries. But he’s wrong about the reason why. He thinks socialism is the cause of their success, but the true cause is their older free-market culture and their recent efforts to return toward market and economic freedom.
Since the 1990s, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway have expanded private property rights, business freedom, investment freedom and financial freedom. Each of these countries has increased its score on the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom, and Denmark now outranks even the United States as a good place to do business.
Sanders sees the size of the Scandinavian welfare states and the relative health and happiness they enjoy, and thinks this correlation proves causation. A deeper look at the history and current affairs of Denmark and the surrounding countries tells a different story, however. These countries’ benefits arguably spring from their free-market pasts, not their brief dalliance with big government.
A Free Market Culture Under Attack
Scandinavian countries are well known for their unusually high levels of trust, a strong work ethic and an emphasis on individual responsibility. These traits are not the result of socialistic welfare states, but the explanation for why such bloated government programs could be implemented in the first place.
“In the early days, the unique culture of success in the Nordic countries meant that high taxes and welfare benefits could be introduced” with the negative side effects delayed, wrote Nima Sanandaji in her 2015 book Scandinavian Unexceptionalism: Culture, Markets and the Failure of Third-Way Socialism. During the early 1900s and following the Great Depression, Scandinavia’s small government and free markets fostered a culture of hard work that paid huge dividends in terms of prosperity.
The success of these countries enabled the government to expand, as the wealth of average citizens allowed them to pay more taxes. More importantly, the culture of hard work meant few people tried to live off of welfare and “game the system.” After big governments were introduced however, the culture changed – for the worse.
The Scandinavians who left for the United States mark this change well – Sanandaji notes that Americans with Nordic ancestry are thriving better than their relatives back in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Contrary to Bernie Sanders’ belief, the 1960s-1990s expansion of welfare states actually held the Nordic countries back.
After their experiment with socialistic welfare states, “Nordic citizens now have unusually high levels of sickness absence (despite being healthy societies), high youth unemployment and a poor record for integrating migrants into the labour force,” Sanandaji explains. Big government has weakened the strong culture which enabled welfare states in the first place, and these countries know it.
In 2013, a Danish woman on welfare made the news. A liberal member of Parliament challenged the free-market politician Joachim B. Olsen to actually visit a single mother of two on welfare, and see how hard her life is.
Olsen took the advice, and learned that being on welfare isn’t so hard after all. The 36-year-old single mother, known as “Carina,” was making more money than many of the country’s full time workers, the New York Times reported. “All told, she was getting about $2,700 a month, and she had been on welfare since she was 16.”
Reforming the System
“With little fuss or political protest – or notice abroad – Denmark has been at work overhauling entitlements, trying to prod Danes into working more or longer or both,” New York Times reporter Suzanne Daley continued.
“The welfare state here has spiraled out of control,” declared Olsen, the reform-minded politician who visited Carina. “It has done a lot of good, but we have been unwilling to talk about the negative side,” he added, saying that discussing the “Carinas” in public has long been considered “taboo.”
Denmark has been hard at work at reform, however. In 2013, it reduced early-retirement plans, and cut the term for unemployment benefits from four years to two. Reformers like Olsen have also pushed for limiting disability checks to those over 40 or with a severe mental or physical condition. In 2013, roughly 240,000 people – nine percent of the potential work force – were receiving disability checks, and about 33,500 of them were under 40.
In recent years, all the Nordic countries have decreased their corporate tax rates – each one is lower than in the United States. They also support free trade, unlike American Socialists like Bernie Sanders, who opposed the 1990s North American Free Trade Agreement.
Becoming More Like Denmark
Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark are tiny – and not very diverse – compared to the United States. Denmark is a nation roughly the size of Maryland with the population of Atlanta, and nearly 90 percent of its population is of Danish descent.
Nevertheless, there are clear lessons a huge, diverse country can learn from the recent experiences of these small, homogeneous nations. The biggest lesson might surprise Bernie Sanders – socialism doesn’t work.
A cradle-to-grave welfare state has transformed the strong work ethic of the Scandinavian countries into a sad complacency. People like Carina game the system, and feel no shame in doing so. Indeed, “Lazy Robert” Nielsen, 45, did not even ask for a pseudonym when he told the media that he has been on welfare since 2001. “Luckily, I am born and live in Denmark, where the government is willing to support my life.”
Lene Malmberg, who works part time as a secretary despite a serious brain injury which affects her short-term memory, told the New York Times about her sister, who was receiving benefits and getting more money than Lene was – when she worked full time before the accident. “The system is wrong somehow, I agree,” Lene said. “I wanted to work. But she was a little bit: ‘Why work?’”
People in the Nordic countries are suffering from the ill effects of the very socialism which Bernie Sanders wants to bring to America. They know it doesn’t work, and they are working hard to achieve robust, free-market reforms.
America cannot ever be Denmark, but we should strive to copy their recent reforms. They have woken up to the woes of dependency and big government. They have cut their corporate tax rates and have made their country a better place to do business. We should follow their example and do the same.
So Bernie Sanders is right, let’s copy Denmark.
Seattle, which recently passed a $15 minimum wage, has seen the loss of 700 restaurant jobs despite the rest of the state seeing huge increases, according to a Wednesday report.
In its report, the American Enterprise Institute looked at restaurant job growth in both Seattle and the rest of Washington. The state itself has gained 5,800 industry jobs since January. Seattle, however, lost 700 jobs in the same time. The state minimum wage is $9.47. Back in June Seattle passed its own minimum wage of $15 an hour. The city ordinance is designed to phase in over the course of several years. It will reach $15 an hour by 2017 for most employers.
“One likely cause of the stagnation and decline of Seattle area restaurant jobs this year is the increase in the city’s minimum wage,” the report speculated. “It looks like the Seattle minimum wage hike is getting off to a pretty bad start. Especially considering that restaurant employment in the rest of the state is booming, and nearly 6,000 more restaurant workers are employed today than in January.”
Seattle was the first place to pass a $15 minimum wage measure and became the first major victory for supporters. San Francisco and Los Angeles followed not long after and now many cities have either enacted it or are considering it. Some states are also giving the $15 minimum wage serious consideration. Currently it has not passed on the state level.
New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo first announced Sept. 10 his plan for raising the state minimum wage. If enacted, the increase will gradually put New York City to the $15 mark by 2018 and the rest of the state by 2021. Florida and Massachusetts have also began taking steps to pass it.
The impact minimum wage increases have on workers and employers is in dispute. Critics often argue increasing the minimum wage, especially as high as $15 an hour, will hurt the poor by limiting job opportunities. The problem is businesses need to offset the extra cost of labor by either raising prices or cutting workers. It is particularly troublesome for low-profit industries like restaurants who struggle much more to absorb the extra costs.
Supporters, though, say wage will help the poor by allowing them to afford basic necessities. The increased purchases would than stimulate economic activity. Fight for $15 has been the main advocate behind the push. The union-backed group has utilized rallies and media marketing campaigns in its efforts.
How about three cheers for Susan Adams, a Michigan gas station employee who kept cool when the heat was on, so to speak, and used her head.
That’s more than you can say for a motorist who was about ready to pump gas at the Center Line station, just north of Detroit, on Tuesday morning.
This fella, apparently scared to death of spiders, thought he saw one by his fuel door.
So he grabbed a lighter – you know, to burn it to death.
If there was a eight-legged critter crawling about, what happened next pretty much assured that the guy’s intentions were realized.
As soon as he ignited the lighter, flames shot from his gas tank and then engulfed the pump in seconds.
Somehow the customer escaped injury, got in the car, moved it away and then grabbed a nearby fire extinguisher to quell his big oops moment.
Inside the store, Adams quickly activated the pump’s kill switch and called the fire department, WJBK-TV reported.
Damage was limited to the one pump, which was destroyed, but the man’s car pretty much escaped injury. The gas station’s insurance is expected to pick up the tab, WJBK said.
The man later acknowledged that he’s quite afraid of spiders and that’s what brought about his ill-advised decision, WJBK added.
Employees at the station are getting a big chuckle out of the whole thing, placing their voices over the surveillance video as if it was the hapless motorist speaking.
At least he came back the next day.
“He was sorry,” Adams told WJBK. “He said he didn’t know. It is just one of those things that happen – stupidity.”
The Obama administration is just weeks away from imposing a new ozone particulate standard that manufacturers say will cripple jobs and productivity in the U.S. and leave some firms and industries clinging to life.
The National Association of Manufacturers released a study suggesting the standard would cost the U.S. 1.4 million jobs and $1.7 trillion in productivity by 2040 if the standard is lowered from 75 parts per billion to 65 parts per billion. The EPA could bring it as low as 60 parts per billion, which the study projects would be catastrophic.
For business owners like Summitville Tiles CEO David Johnson, the change would be devastating. The firm is based in Ohio, which relies heavily on manufacturing for jobs and economic growth. Johnson recently wrote a column explaining what’s at stake if the Obama administration get’s it’s way.
“We have 88 counties in this state and under this new ozone standard, all 88 of these counties would be out of compliance, just by the stroke of the pen of this executive order of the president,” Johnson said.
In addition to burdening existing manufacturers, Johnson said the new ozone standard would stifle new business.
“It would essentially stop any new projects from going forward unless there were reductions in emissions in other plants in other areas,” he said. “In other words, there’s a trade-off. If you’re going to add new emissions, you’d have to reduce emissions somewhere else. So (if you) shut down a factory or a company goes out of business, then and only then would you have a permit to expand your particular operations.”
According to Johnson, American manufacturing has never received a gut punch like this from its own government.
“This is not a bill that’s been passed by Congress, hasn’t been vetted, hasn’t been studied,” Johnson said. “It’s simply President Obama and his EPA’s effort to combat what they believe is global warming. So yeah, it would be the most expensive regulation in the history of regulations.”
A China Railway Group-led consortium and XpressWest Enterprises LLC will form a joint venture to build a high-speed railway linking Las Vegas and Los Angeles, the first Chinese-made bullet-train project in the U.S.
Construction of the 370-kilometer (230-mile) Southwest Rail Network will begin as soon as next September, according to a statement from Shu Guozeng, an official with the Communist Party’s leading group on financial and economic affairs. The project comes after four years of negotiations and will be supported by $100 million in initial capital. The statement didn’t specify the project’s expected cost or completion date.
The agreement, signed days before President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the U.S., is a milestone in China’s efforts to market its high-speed rail technology in advanced economies. The country has been pushing the technology primarily in emerging markets – often with a sales pitch from Premier Li Keqiang – as a means to project political influence. A $567 million contract last October to supply trains for Boston’s subway system was China’s first rail-related deal in the U.S.
The agreement also represents an important victory in China’s high-speed rail rivalry with Japan, as the two countries have competed for train contracts throughout Asia. The parent company of JR Central, Japan’s largest bullet-train maker, had expressed interest in the Los Angeles-Las Vegas line several years ago, and China and Japan are both expected to bid to supply train cars for a proposed high-speed rail line in California’s Central Valley.
“This is the first high-speed railway project where China and the U.S. will have systematic cooperation,” Yang Zhongmin, a deputy chief engineer with China Railway Group, said after a news conference in Beijing. “It shows the advancement of China-made high-speed railways.”
The Los Angeles-Las Vegas project will create new technology, manufacturing and construction jobs in the region, Shu’s statement said.
Through July, China had built more than 17,000 kilometers (10,565 miles) of domestic high-speed rail lines, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
Apart from the railway project, China National Machinery Industry Corp. and General Electric Co. signed a memo of understanding to invest $327 million to develop 60 wind power stations in Kenya, Shu said at the Beijing news conference.
During Xi’s visit starting next week, China and the U.S. are expected to reach agreements on trade, energy, climate, finance, aviation, defense and infrastructure construction, China Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Wednesday. Xi is due to visit Boeing Co.’s factory in Everett, Washington as China makes a push to build its own passenger planes.
“Economic and trade cooperation will be a major topic for president Xi’s visit to the U.S.,” Shu said in Beijing. “China and the U.S. share common interests and have solid foundation for cooperation.”
Here’s how the federal government rewards an energy company for upgrading its power plants to lower costs for families and businesses and improving the environment: slap them with a nearly a million dollar fine, force them to close power plant units and lay off employees and make them millions of dollars in environmental mitigation projects.
If that sounds backwards to you, well it is.
In a lawsuit that lasted 15 years, Duke Energy and the Environmental Protection agency (EPA) reached a settlement where Duke “will pay a civil penalty of $975,000, shut down a coal-fired power plant and invest $4.4 million on environmental mitigation projects.”
The EPA and Department of Justice brought the suit against Duke Energy in 2000 arguing that the company failed to comply with the Clean Air Act when the company modified 13 coal-fired units in North Carolina.
At issue is the New Source Review (NSR), one of the 1977 Clean Air Act amendments. Power plants must meet certain air quality standards, and companies must follow Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) rules to demonstrate that the construction and operation of new projects and major modifications will not increase emissions above a specified threshold.
Therefore, if a company wants to make plant modifications that improves the power plant’s efficiency, it will trigger New Source Review and the EPA will regulate the plant to meet the most recent emissions standards.
However, what constitutes a significant modification is subjective under the rules. The amendment excludes routine maintenance, repair, and replacement, but what falls under the definition of significant modification remains murky, despite multiple administrative attempts to clarify the meaning. The lack of clarification also forces companies into years, if not decades, of litigation over NSR violations. Such is the most recent case with Duke Energy.
Companies could be allocating resources to invest in new equipment and provide jobs that benefit energy consumers, but instead have to waste resources fighting ridiculously long and unnecessary lawsuits. Even though companies argue in court they complied with the law, the result will be a settlement where the federal government hands down millions of dollars in fines, and forces the closure of power plants, killing jobs in the process.
New Source Review is a cost to both the economy and the environment. Plant upgrades can improve efficiency and reduce operational costs, thereby lowering electricity costs for families and businesses, increasing reliability, and providing environmental benefits.
Nevertheless, because those upgrades trigger a New Source Review, the policy discourages new investment and keeps power plants operating less efficiently than they otherwise would.
Although increasing the efficiency of a plant will likely cause it to run longer and consequently cause the plant’s emissions to rise, NSR does not account for the emission reduction that would occur if a less efficient plant reduced its hours of operation to compensate for increases in operation of a more efficient plant.
That is why Congress should repeal New Source Review.
New Source Review is a bureaucratic mess that prevents plants from operating at optimal efficiency. Power plants are already clean because companies equip them with sophisticated, state-of-the-art pollution prevention technology to ensure safe operations no matter how long the power plant runs.
Repealing NSR would not be a free pass for companies to pollute but instead allow them to improve plant efficiency, reduce emissions and also increase power generation to meet U.S. energy needs.
With Missouri Republicans gearing up to vote on a veto override Wednesday to ban mandatory union dues, six of their union-backed colleagues are all who stand in their way.
House Bill 116 was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon back in June. The measure would have outlawed mandatory union dues or fees in the state. With seven Republicans opposed to the bill, it is unlikely supporters will be able to override the veto. All but one of the Republicans opposed are heavily endorsed by organized labor.
“All but one received significant support from unions and all representative districts have a union presence,” the Center for Worker Freedom (CWF) noted in an article. “These representatives need to put their own interests to the side and vote to give their citizens’ the freedom they deserve.”The contributors listed include the Teamsters Local 688, the Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA), Missouri AFL-CIO, Boilermakers Local 27 and the local chapter of the United Brotherhood Of Carpenters among others.
“Missouri unions are working against job creators and those who would spur the state’s economy by fighting right to work as part of a far left, liberal agenda that supports groups like Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club,” Jeff Bechdel, of Missouri Rising, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “On both counts, these unions are working against what’s best for Missourians.”
Missouri Rising, a nonprofit affiliate of the Republican super PAC, American Rising, also released a video. The video criticized Missouri union bosses for attempting to block the measure.
CWF found each Republican opposed has received several thousand dollars in union contributions. Some much higher. According to National Institute on Money in State Politics, Ruth has received $10,328 from various public sector unions, Black has accepted over $20,000 from general trade unions alone and Sommer has received over $11,000.
“Our endorsements are based on their views of educational issues,” Mike Wood, director of governmental relations for MSTA, told TheDCNF. “We don’t have a dog in the fight.”
Wood also noted MSTA isn’t technically a union. As an association they engage in union activities like collective bargaining but have a wider scope of responsibilities. MSTA has, he argued, contributed to those lawmakers that share a similar view on education. Meaning policies like right-to-work aren’t a factor.
The Boilermakers also noted it’s about which lawmakers they already share common ground with. A representative for the union told TheDCNF it doesn’t donate to influence lawmakers.
Nixon has also been under suspicion for union contributions as well. A week after the veto, the governor received a $50,000 campaign contribution from the United Automobile Workers (UAW). Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has since urged Nixon to return the money. Nixon has defended his decision to veto the measure, arguing the policy is bad for workers.
“This extreme measure would take our state backward, squeeze the middle-class, lower wages for Missouri families, and subject businesses to criminal and unlimited civil liability,” Nixon declared in a statement from June. “Right-to-Work is wrong for Missouri, it’s wrong for the middle-class – and it must never become the law of the Show-Me State.”
The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), however, has stated in a recent report the policy will benefit state residents. The report, titled, “Why Right to Work is Right for Missouri” estimated potential income loss associated with the state not having the policy between 1977 and 2012.
“In states where people have choice over whether to join a labor union or not, economic growth and personal income are demonstrably higher,” Trey Kovacs, a policy analyst for CEI, noted in a statement. “Missourians deserve the right to decide for themselves whether labor unions are meeting their needs.”
The seven Republicans opposed to the measure did not respond to a request for comment from TheDCNF.
The policy, also known as right-to-work, is usually opposed by unions. The union funded Republican opposition includes Kathie Conway, Kevin Corlew, Bart Korman, Becky Ruth, Linda Black and Chrissy Sommer. Rep. Bill Kidd is the only Republican expected to vote against the override that does not receive support from labor unions.
President Barack Obama on Monday ordered government contractors to offer their workers seven days of paid sick leave a year and, without naming them, knocked Republican presidential candidates for advocating what he said were anti-union policies.
Obama signed an executive order on sick leave during a flight on Air Force One to Boston, where he spoke at a union event. The White House said it would affect some 300,000 people.
Starting in 2017, workers on government contracts will earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Contractors can offer more generous amounts at their discretion.
Speaking to a friendly crowd without a tie or jacket, Obama said such policies were beneficial to employers.
“It helps with recruitment and retention,” he said.
Unions and organized labor are a key constituent to the Democratic Party whose support will be critical in the 2016 presidential election.
Obama, who joked that he was glad not to be on the ballot next year, made thinly veiled references to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for anti-union remarks and policies. He did not name them by name.
The executive order follows a series of measures by the White House to expand access to paid leave. In January, Obama issued a presidential memorandum directing the government to advance up to six weeks of paid sick leave for the birth or adoption of a child, or for other sick leave-eligible uses.
Obama is also pressing Congress to pass legislation giving government employees six additional weeks of paid parental leave. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said he could not say what the cost of implementing the seven-day paid leave rule would be to contractors.
“We believe the cost of implementing this rule is offset by the efficiencies that come with reduced attrition, increased loyalty, all of those things that have been documented in a number of studies of state laws that have been enacted,” Perez told reporters on a conference call on Sunday.
Obama also used the trip to Boston to renew his call for Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act, which would require all businesses with 15 or more employees to offer up to seven paid sick days each year.
According to the White House, an estimated 44 million private-sector workers, about 40 percent of the total private-sector workforce, do not have access to paid sick leave.
The number of people not in the labor force exceeded 94 million for the first time, hitting another record high in August, according to new jobs data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The BLS reports that 94,031,000 people (ages 16 and over) last month were neither employed nor had made specific efforts to find work in the prior four weeks.
The number of individuals out of the civilian work force represented a jump of 261,000 over July’s record of 93,626,000 people.
August’s labor force participation rate remained at the same level as the prior two months at 62.2 percent, the lowest level seen since October 1977 when the participation rate was 62.4 percent.
The civilian labor force also experienced a slight decline of 41,000 people, compare to July’s 157,106,000 people in the civilian labor force to 157,065,000.
In total 149,036,000 people were employed in August, 8,029,000 were unemployed, and 5,932,000 people who wanted a job.
Overall the Labor Department reported that the economy added 173,000 jobs in August. The unemployment rate was 5.1 percent, lower than July’s 5.3 percent.
The U.S. government’s $1.6 billion vocational program for at-risk youth was created decades ago to end poverty by offering poor teenagers free job training, but it’s a seriously mismanaged hotbed of violence rife with violent crimes that are routinely covered up by officials in charge.
The crisis appears to have plateaued recently when four youths participating in the program, known as Job Corps, brutally murdered a fellow student in a Miami, Florida job training center. The area’s mainstream newspaper reported that the Job Corps students confessed to luring a 17-year-old to the woods, where he was repeatedly hacked with a machete and forced into a shallow grave as he lay mortally wounded. The sickening details came right out of the police report. Months earlier a murder occurred at a Job Corps facility in St. Louis, Missouri.
The recent crimes are part of a much broader problem within the Job Corps, which serves about 60,000 low-income students ages 16-24 at 125 centers nationwide. The Department of Labor (DOL) administers Job Corps, which has also been plagued with fraud and corruption over the years, and insists it has a strict policy forbidding any kind of violence or illegal drugs. The reality is however, that crime is rampant at local centers around the country and seldom do cases get reported or adequately investigated. Often officials sweep incidents under the rug or downplay them to prevent the offenders from getting booted out of the taxpayer-funded program.
In fact, earlier this year a scathing DOL Inspector General report blasted the agency for failing to take action involving lax enforcement of Job Corps disciplinary policies that had been well documented in previous investigations. The “continuing deficiencies” have allowed “potentially dangerous students in the program,” investigators wrote, further revealing that an astounding 35,021 serious misconduct incidents occurred at 11 centers alone. In many cases serious infractions were not reported or were improperly downgraded to lesser infractions, the agency watchdog found. They include assault, illegal drugs and fighting among the students.
For instance, at a North Carolina center a violent physical altercation landed one student with enough injuries to require hospitalization yet the crime was downgraded and no disciplinary action was taken, in violation of established rules. At an Oklahoma center a student struck another student in the head with an object yet remained enrolled as if nothing ever happened, even though the injury required five stitches. At a Pennsylvania facility a student was busted with drugs on the Job Corps property yet faced no consequences. There are many more examples in fact, 51 students who should have been automatically discharged, remained in the program. Not surprisingly, they went on to commit other crimes, the IG confirms in its report.
Some of the Job Corps centers are operated by independent contractors, but many are directly run by the U.S. government which makes the violations all the more outrageous. For instance, of 47 centers that retained 177 students who should have been discharged for disciplinary reasons, eight were federally operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The public funds wasted to keep the 177 thugs enrolled could have been used to house and educate other at-risk youth who are more committed to be in the program, the DOL watchdog points out.
Job Corps has been in trouble for more than just covering up serious crimes over the years. There has also been fraud involving the waste of public funds and abuse of prepaid debit cards as well as unscrupulous contract practices. Last year a federal audit identified nearly a quarter of a million dollars in questionable personal purchases made by staff and students on government debit cards. A separate probe determined that Job Corps doled out hundreds of millions of dollars in questionable contracts and failed to keep proper documentation for others worth tens of millions of dollars.
Stocks plunged again Tuesday, continuing a rocky ride for Wall Street, after an economic report out of China rekindled fears that the world’s second-largest economy is slowing more than previously anticipated.
The sell-off adds to what has been a difficult few weeks for U.S. and international markets. U.S. stocks just closed out their worst month in more than three years. Tuesday’s drop also dashed hopes that, after some relatively calm trading Friday and Monday, the stock market’s wild swings were coming to an end.
“This market remains fragile,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank. “There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the U.S. economy, but we are going through this correction process. We’ve got a rocky road ahead of us.”
Stocks started the day sharply lower and never recovered, with the Dow Jones industrial average falling as much as 548 points. No part of the market was spared. All 10 sectors of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell more than 2 percent. Just three stocks in the S&P 500 closed higher.
“Monday’s relatively peaceful markets are a distant memory as Chinese data and shares sparked another severe … reaction from the developed world,” said John Briggs, head of fixed income strategy at RBS.
In the end, the Dow lost 469.68 points, or 2.8 percent, to 16,058.35. The S&P 500 fell 58.33 points, or 3 percent, to 1,913.85 and the Nasdaq composite fell 140.40 points, 2.9 percent, to 4,636.10.
As it’s been for the last several weeks, the selling and problems started in Asia.
An official gauge of Chinese manufacturing fell to a three-year low last month, another sign of slowing growth in that country. The manufacturing index, which surveys purchasing managers at factories, dropped to a reading of 49.7 in August from 50.0 in July. A reading below 50 indicates a contraction.
China’s stocks sank on the news, with Shanghai Composite Index closing down 1.2 percent. The index has lost 38 percent of its value since hitting a peak in June.
The Chinese economy has been a focus for investors all summer, and the concerns have intensified in the last three weeks. China devalued its currency, the renminbi, in mid-August. Investors interpreted the move as a sign that China’s economy was not doing as well as previously reported.
Investors moved into traditional havens like bonds and gold Tuesday. Bond prices rose, pushing the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note down to 2.16 percent from 2.22 percent on Monday. Gold rose $7.30, or 0.6 percent, to settle at $1,139.80 an ounce.
Faced with the possibility of slowing demand in China, the commodity markets once again took the brunt of the hit.
U.S. crude oil fell $3.79 to close at $45.41 a barrel in New York. Brent Crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell $4.59 to close at $49.56 in London.
Energy stocks were once again among the biggest decliners. Exxon Mobil fell nearly 4 percent and Chevron fell 2.5 percent. Exxon is down 22 percent this year, Chevron 30 percent.
In a sign of how battered energy companies have been this year, ConocoPhillips announced it was laying off 10 percent of its workers, roughly 1,800 workers, as a reaction this year’s plunge in oil prices.
Along with worries about China, speculation about whether or not the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates as soon as this month continues to weigh on markets. Traders say a lot hinges on the August jobs report, which will be released this Friday. Economists are forecasting that U.S. employers created 220,000 jobs in the month and that the unemployment rate fell to 5.2 percent.
The Federal Reserve meets September 16 and 17. Some economists are predicting that policymakers will be confident enough in the U.S. economic recovery to raise interest rates for the first time in almost a decade. While Fed officials are mostly focused on the U.S. economy, they cannot ignore problems in the global economy.
“China’s problems are totally a concern for the Fed,” said Tom di Galoma, head of rates trading at ED&F Man Capital. “With inflation remaining low here, I just don’t a reason why they would raise rates.”
Markets in Europe were broadly lower. Germany’s DAX fell 2.4 percent, France’s CAC-40 lost 2.4 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 index declined 3 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was also volatile, dropping 3.8 percent. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong sank 2.2 percent. Stocks also fell in South Korea and Australia.
The dollar fell to 119.68 yen from 121.20 yen on Monday. The euro rose to $1.1307 from $1.1225.
In other energy markets, wholesale gasoline fell 10.3 cents to close at $1.396 a gallon, heating oil fell 12.3 cents to close at $1.578 a gallon and natural gas rose 1.3 cents to close at $2.702 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Copper lost 4 cents to $2.30 a pound and palladium slumped $23.05 to $578.50 an ounce. The price of silver edged down four cents to $14.61 an ounce and platinum edged down $2.10 to $1,008.40 an ounce.
H/T Tell Me Now
The Internet company used by Hillary Clinton to maintain her private server was sued for stealing dozens of phone lines including some which were used by the White House.
Platte River Networks is said to have illegally accessed the master database for all US phone numbers.
It also seized 390 lines in a move that created chaos across the US government.
Among the phone numbers which the company took – which all suddenly stopped working – were lines for White House military support desks, the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, a lawsuit claims.
Others were the main numbers for major financial institutions, hospitals and the help desk number for T2 Communications, the telecom firm which owned them.
A lawsuit filed on behalf of T2 claims that the mess took 11 days to fix and demands that Platte River pay up $360,000 in compensation.
TROUBLE IN CHAPPAQUA: Hillary Clinton faces new questions and new levels of outrage as messages on her private email server were found to contain top-secret signal intercepts and information from spy satellites
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Platte River Systems was used by Hillary Clinton to maintain her server. Its website boasts that the Denver, Colorado firm, offers to ‘build better networks’
BOAST: The firm’s website describes it as having ‘connections in all the right places’.
National Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough told members of Congress in writing that two of Clinton’s emails were so sensitive that it would have been illegal to show them to any foreigner
The claims raise questions about the competence of Platte River, which is based in Denver, Colorado, to handle Mrs Clinton’s highly sensitive personal information while she was Secretary of State.
The Secretary of State’s emails would have been potentially a target for foreign espionage.
Mrs Clinton installed the system at her home in Chappaqua, upstate New York, and did not even have an official email address until the year she left office.
Earlier this week it emerged that she has handed over the server to the FBI which is investigating her and a number of her top aides.
Mrs Clinton acted after the Inspector General for the intelligence community said that he had found four emails that were stored on it were classified and two of those were Top Secret, the highest level of classification.
DOCUMENTED: The claim made against Platte River Networks and its co-contractors
KEY SECTION: The passage in the claim which makes clear that the White House’s military support desks and the Department of Defense had their phone numbers allegedly taken
Until now Mrs Clinton has insisted that none of the emails were classified at the time she sent or received them.
The lawsuit was filed by T2 in November last year and relates to a deal that went through in June.
By that time Mrs Clinton has left her post as Secretary of State; she was in office between 2009 and 2013.
T2 alleges that it had provided 16 phone lines to an insurance broker called Cambridge until they decided to switch providers and signed up with Windstream Communications, who worked with McLeod USA, a local exchange carrier owned by Windstream, and Platte River.
But instead of taking over the 16 lines, T2 claims that the companies asked for 390 more lines in what they called ‘intentional misappropriation’.
T2 alleges that they did this by illegally accessing the database for the Number Portability Administration Centre, the master agency which manages all US phone numbers.
The lawsuit states: ‘Under NPAC regulations, telecommunications providers are only allowed to access the NPAC data base for the exclusive purpose of routing, rating of calls, billing of calls, or performing maintenance in connection with the provision of telecommunications services.
‘Contrary to these NPAC regulations, Defendants accessed the NPAC database to find T2s 390 telephone lines as well as to obtain T2 and its customers’ proprietary network information for use in marketing T2’s lines to their existing and prospective customers.’
The lawsuit describes at length the chaos that resulted when the 390 numbers used by T2 customers suddenly stopped working.
SAFE FOR NOW? Clinton signed a statement under penalty of perjury, but there’s no indication when or whether her top staffers will follow suit
EYE IN THE SKY: The classification acronym ‘TK’ stands for ‘Talent Keyhole,’ a kind of taskable satellite that delivers high-resolution imagery like this from 200 miles or more above the earth
Among the lines which went dead was that for T2’s main number and its help desk, which meant customers were unable to contact the company at a time when they needed it the most.
THE AGENCY: The CIA’s headquarters campus in Langley, Virginia (shown) is likely buzzing over the former secretary of state’s apparent casual management of sensitive information
T2 employees’ numbers also stopped working as did lines for: ‘The Department of Defense, Department of Energy; multiple medical emergency facilities as numbers used for general, pre- and post-surgical contact, and obstetric or gynecological emergencies; Federal Contract Support Desks; White House Military Operations support desks, several financial institution’s main telephone numbers, multiple Denver-based Charter schools’ main and backdoor phone numbers, a US-Based telephone number for IBM China, multiple other information technology companies and their support and internal telephone numbers, as well as T2’s main telephone numbers’.
The lawsuit states that the lines were dead for at least 21 hours and that it took the company at least 10 days to ‘unwind’ the mess and get the numbers back.
Among the legal documents filed in the case is a third party complaint filed by Thomas W. Snyder, a lawyer, on behalf of Windstream and McLeod.
It goes into more detail about Platte River’s role in the deal and claims that the company worked as the sales agent for Windstream in connection with the Cambridge account.
It says that Platte River was responsible for ‘spotting any red flags’ and for ‘resolving any inaccuracies’ with the deal.
The document states: ‘Platte River acted negligently and breached this duty by failing to identify that the 390 additional lines were improper.’
The lawsuit adds a new twist to the row about Mrs Clinton’s email server that is refusing to go away amid intense pressure from Republicans.
Mrs Clinton has said that she exchanged about 60,000 emails over the four years in office on the system, of which half were personal and were deleted.
Mrs Clinton turned over the other half to the Department of State in December last year and they are being reviewed and slowly released to the public.
She has until now refused to hand over the server – which she has wiped clean – but changed her mind when it emerged that some of the emails were classified.
Mr Snyder declined to comment.
Daily Mail Online has reached out to Barbara Wells, a Denver lawyer who represents Platte River, Mrs Clinton’s campaign and T2’s lawyers for comment. We have not received any response.
The EPA may have been trying to hide the identity of the contracting company responsible for causing a major wastewater spill in southern Colorado, but the Wall Street Journal has revealed the company’s identity.
Environmental Restoration (ER) LLC, a Missouri-based firm, was the “contractor whose work caused a mine spill in Colorado that released an estimated 3 million gallons of toxic sludge into a major river system,” the WSJ was told by a source familiar with the matter. The paper also found government documents to corroborate what their source told them.
So far, the EPA has refused to publicly name the contracting company used to plug abandoned mines in southern Colorado, despite numerous attempts by The Daily Caller News Foundation and other media outlets to obtain the information. It’s unclear why the agency chose not to reveal the contractor’s name.
What is clear, however, is that ER has gotten $381 million in government contracts since October 2007, according to a WSJ review of data from USAspending.gov. About $364 million of that funding came from the EPA, but only $37 million was given to ER for work they had done in Colorado.
When contacted by phone, TheDCNF had been informed ER’s offices had closed for the day. The EPA did not return a request for comment on the WSJ’s story revealing the identity of the agency’s contractor.
ER contractors reportedly caused a massive wastewater spill from the Gold King Mine in southern Colorado last week. EPA-supervised workers breached a debris dam while using heavy equipment and unleashed 3 million gallons of toxic wastewater into Cement Creek. The toxic plume eventually reached the Animas River where it’s been able to spread even further, forcing Colorado and New Mexico to declare a state of emergency.
The EPA has taken responsibility for the spill and has officials on the ground working with local officials to remedy the situation. Still, local officials and Native Americans are furious with the EPA over the spill, and have not ruled out legal action to make sure the agency remains accountable.
“No agency could be more upset about the incident happening, and more dedicated in doing our job to get this right,” EPA Chief Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a press conference in Durango, Colorado Wednesday. “We couldn’t be more sorry. Our mission is to protect human health and the environment. We will hold ourselves to a higher standard than anyone else.”
According to a report released Sunday by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the $15 minimum wage has caused Seattle restaurants to lose 1,000 jobs – the worst decline since the 2009 Great Recession.
“The loss of 1,000 restaurant jobs in May following the minimum wage increase in April was the largest one month job decline since a 1,300 drop in January 2009, again during the Great Recession,” AEI Scholar Mark J. Perry noted in the report.
The citywide minimum wage increase was passed in June of last year. The measure is designed to increase the city minimum wage gradually to $15 an hour by 2017. The first increase under the plan was to $11 an hour in April. According to the report, Seattle restaurants have already faced severe consequences as a result. In contrast, in the six years since the 2009 financial crisis, the industry has been recovering in areas without the $15 minimum wage.
“Restaurant employment nationally increased by 130,700 jobs (and by 1.2%) during that same period,” the report also noted. “Restaurant employment in Washington increased 3.2% and by 2,800 jobs.”
Supporters of the $15 minimum wage often argue it will help the poor and stimulate economic activity. Opponents, however, argue such policies will actually hurt the poor by limiting job opportunities. How little or how much of either outcome usually depends on the study. Nevertheless, even the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) agrees at least some job loss is expected.
Studies also show that industries with low profit margins, like restaurants, are more likely to be hit the hardest. A June report from the investor rating service Moody’s claims the minimum wage doesn’t even have to go up to $15 an hour for negative effects to occur.
From rallies to media marketing campaigns, Fight for $15 has led much of the effort to raise the minimum wage in the past year. Though claiming to be a grassroots workers movement, the group is highly influenced and funded by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
The SEIU has been criticized by some, like Worker Center Watch (WCW), for using the Fight for $15 protests as a way of bypassing labor laws to more easily unionize fast food workers. Additionally, according to a report from the Center for Union Facts, a minimum wage increase would benefit the SEIU directly while hurting non-unionized SEIU competitors.
Fight for $15 and the Seattle City Council did not respond to requests for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation.
When Dan Price announced that he would cut his million dollar pay in order to give his employees a $70,000 minimum wage, all the stupid little progressive morons rushed out to praise his “inspiring” move:
I praise CEO Dan Price for raising the minimum wage of his workers to $70,000 and taking a pay cut himself: http://time.com/money/3831828/ceo-raise-70000-dan-price…
10:12 PM – 24 May 2015
6:50 AM – 1 Jun 2015
So as it turns out, guaranteeing employees a $70,000 salary is great for business. Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price… http://fb.me/1zDoeocyT
9:02 AM – 22 May 2015
Its a good thing what Dan Price of Gravity Payments is doing for his company. Paying a minimum salary of $70,000. Good idea in bad market
5:13 PM – 21 Apr 2015
CEO Dan Price, to their surprise, told his workers “that he thinks a $70,000 minimum wage is what everyone deserves.”
2:55 PM – 17 Apr 2015
Not so fast, proggies!!! Just a few months later, that dude’s business is falling apart! LOL!
From Fox News:
Dan Price, 31, tells the New York Times that things have gotten so bad he’s been forced to rent out his house.
Only three months ago Price was generating headlines – and accusations of being a socialist – when he announced the new salary minimum for all 120 employees at his Gravity Payments credit card processing firm. Price said he was doing it, and slashing his $1 million pay package to pay for it, to address the wealth gap.
“I’m working as hard as I ever worked to make it work,” he told the Times in a video that shows him sitting on a plastic bucket in the garage of his house. “I’m renting out my house right now to try and make ends meet myself.”
The Times article said Price’s decision ended up costing him a few customers and two of his “most valued” employees, who quit after newer employees ended up with bigger salary hikes than older ones.
“He gave raises to people who have the least skills and are the least equipped to do the job, and the ones who were taking on the most didn’t get much of a bump,” Gravity financial manager Maisey McMaster, 26, told the paper.
She said when she talked to Price about it, he treated her as if she was being selfish and only thinking about herself.
“That really hurt me,” she said. “I was talking about not only me, but about everyone in my position.”
Approaching burnout, she quit.
Grant Moran, 29, also quit, saying the new pay-scale was disconcerting
“Now the people who were just clocking in and out were making the same as me,” he told the paper. “It shackles high performers to less motivated team members.”
Price said McMaster and Moran, or even critic Rush Limbaugh, the talk show host, were not wrong.
“There’s no perfect way to do this and no way to handle complex workplace issues that doesn’t have any downsides or trade-offs,” he said.
The Times said customers who left were dismayed at what Price did, viewing it as a political statement. Others left fearful Gravity would soon hike fees to pay for salary increases.
LOL! I LOVE IT! This is almost as good as the Seattle minimum wage debacle! I really can’t say which is more satisfying – if y’all want to debate in the comments, be my guest. Now excuse me, I have a glass of delicious liberal tears to enjoy.
Just kidding, that would probably be disease-ridden.