Events this weekend showcased the intense bifurcation of America into two separate realities. As our country observed the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, former presidents gathered, sans Donald Trump, in New York for a solemn ceremony — wearing masks even though they are fully vaccinated and were outside. In Shanksville, Pa., George W. Bush leveraged the occasion to take a not-very-veiled shot at the MAGA movement, comparing its most fervent adherents to the 9/11 terrorists.
Meanwhile, at stadiums across America, massive crowds of rowdy, unmasked college football fans tailgated, packed into stadiums, and also recalled the grim events of 2001, but in far more boisterous displays of patriotism.
This same-day divergence highlights the sharply divided nation of 2021. That chasm will now only widen as Joe Biden targets many of those same people, the ones unwilling to live under the thumb of onerous government virus mitigation restrictions. These ineffective mandates may nominally emanate from science, but they moreover stem from a preference for coercion and control by Democrat politicians, all with the assistance of powerful business interests, including Big Tech and Big Pharma.
While the state of California and multiple counties continue to settle with churches after imposing unconstitutional restrictions against them, one county is expanding its efforts to pursue damages against a church, claiming their worship services are a public nuisance.
In its latest request, filed Aug. 31, Calvary Chapel has asked the court to dismiss the public nuisance claim along with the $2.8 million in fines levied against it, arguing the county has not provided any evidence to support the accusation that the church has caused any harm to the public.
The battle between the county and the church began in late spring 2020 after the state and county encouraged residents to protest the death of George Floyd without numerical limitations or public health restrictions, even as the same authorities imposed severe constraints on houses of worship.
by Cole Lauterbach Afghan refugees looking to resettle in the U.S. are being discouraged from picking California as a destination, despite the state having significant Afghan population centers. In the days after the U.S. announced it would resettle refugees fleeing a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, governors across the country…
While the unemployment rate for Americans dropped in August, there is a political time bomb buried in the statistics for President Joe Biden and a Democratic Party increasingly focused on equity: black joblessness shot up significantly.
In other words, the president who fondly boasts of a domestic policy promising to leave nobody behind has an economic recovery that is leaving a key Democratic constituency in worse shape.
“The rise in black unemployment in August is certainly troubling, considering their unemployment rates were already much higher than any other group,” Elise Gould, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, said on Twitter.
With Labor Day upon us, it’s time to take a look at which are the hardest-working states in America, and why. It has been a year that daily and weekly work routines have dramatically changed for tens of millions of Americans.
Researchers for WalletHub, a personal finance website, have once again set out to determine which states are home to the hardest working Americans in their annual report. They compare the 50 states based on both direct and indirect work factors, and then apply 10 different metrics to reach an overall score to rank each state.
The direct work factors, according to WalletHub, include “average workweek hours, employment rate, the share of households where no adults work, the share of workers leaving vacation time unused, share of engaged workers, and idle youth.”
Prominent economic historian Niall Ferguson said current inflation could be in line with where it was in the 1960s during the period that preceded a decade of high consumer prices, CNBC reported.
“What is interesting about disasters is that one can lead to another,” Ferguson said in a Friday interview with CNBC. “You can go from a public health disaster to a fiscal, monetary and potentially inflationary disaster.”
During the 1960s, inflation stayed low before shooting up in the 1970s, according to government economic data. Consumer prices ultimately peaked in 1980 before rapidly declining.
The U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs in August and the unemployment rate fell to 5.2%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.
The number of unemployed people decreased to 8.4 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Economists projected 720,000 Americans — roughly three times the actual number — would be added to payrolls prior to Friday’s report, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“Despite the delta variant, there is still an opening up of the service sector of the U.S. economy,” Nationwide Mutual Insurance Chief Economist David Berson told the WSJ. “While that started some months ago, it’s not nearly complete.”
Apple and Google might change their app store business practices because of a new South Korean law similar to recent legislative efforts by U.S. lawmakers.
The new law would prohibit app stores, including Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store, from forcing developers to use the tech giants’ payment systems, The Wall Street Journal reported. The bill, passed by South Korea’s National Assembly, will become law once signed by President Moon Jae-in.
The Korean bill is similar to a bipartisan bill introduced by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Amy Klobuchar, and Marsha Blackburn to the U.S. Senate earlier this month that seeks “to promote competition and reduce gatekeeper power in the app economy, increase choice, improve quality, and reduce costs for consumers.” Both bills prevent app stores from requiring the use of their billing systems and take aim at the tech giants’ commission structure.
An index measuring inflation surged at an annual rate of 4.2% last month, reaching its highest level since 1991, according to the Department of Commerce.
The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index, which measures prices, increased 4.2% in the 12-month period between August 2020 and July 2021, according to a Department of Commerce report published Friday. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the index spiked 3.6%, the report showed.
The last time consumer prices increased this much in one year was more than three decades ago in January 1991, CNBC reported. The figure reported Friday is in line with what economists expected.
House lawmakers are set to return from recess Monday and will likely take up the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill the Senate passed last week — and with it, a controversial and last-minute cryptocurrency tax provision.
The bill contains a tax reporting mandate forcing cryptocurrency “brokers” to disclose gains and transactions to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as part of a scheme designed to help cover part of the infrastructure bill’s cost. However, the bill’s definition of “broker” has been criticized by the cryptocurrency community and pro-crypto lawmakers as vague, expansive and potentially unworkable, with many fearing it could stifle the industry and force crypto companies to collect personal information on their customers.
The provision defines a broker as “any person who is responsible for regularly providing any service effectuating transfers of digital assets on behalf of another person,” and forces brokers to report transactions to the IRS in a form similar to a 1099. This means brokers have to collect and report customer information such as names, addresses, and taxpayer identification numbers.
A conservative digital media company’s focus on the culture wars in America appears to be paying off, as it is the fastest-growing private advertising and marketing business in the U.S., according to the 2021 Inc. 5000 list released Tuesday.
“We focus on working with groups that are advocating for or otherwise advancing conservative causes or conservative beliefs,” Olympic Media Founder and CEO Ryan Coyne told the Daily Caller News Foundation on Thursday.
Olympic was founded in 2018 and has had many high-profile clients, such as Reps. Elise Stefanik, Jim Jordan, and Madison Cawthorn, Sen. Bill Hagerty and Turning Point USA.
Retail sales in the U.S. declined in July as the number of coronavirus cases spiked, localities renewed some restrictions and businesses delayed their return to in-person work.
Sales dropped 1.1% in July compared to June and totaled $617.7 billion, according to the Census Bureau report released Tuesday. The decrease was driven mainly by declining used and new car sales, clothing purchases, building materials sales, sports goods sales and furniture purchases.
Economists expected retail sales to fall 0.3%, a relatively modest drop compared to the actual decline, CNBC reported. All major stock market indices declined between 0.5% and 0.8% on Tuesday morning following the worse-than-expected report.
What is all this “Biden inflation tax” talk really about? What is the actual effect of inflation on the lives of real people?
Well, below is a chart that compares yearly wage and inflation rates for each month from 2017 through July of this year using Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Wage rates are in blue and inflation (as measured by the consumer price index) is in red. When blue is on top, as it was during the entire Trump administration, workers’ wages are beating inflation and their standards of living are improving. When red is on top, they’re not.
While President Biden claims that it is “indisputable” that his jobs plan “is working,” this chart unequivocally shows that it is not, at least not for American workers. Rather, inflation is surging, more than wiping out any wage gains those workers might have experienced.
President Joe Biden has proposed amending the inheritance tax, also known as the “death tax,” but farmers around the country are raising concerns about the plan.
In the American Families Plan introduced earlier this year, Biden proposed repealing the “step-up in basis” in tax law. The stepped-up basis is a tax provision that allows an heir to report the value of an asset at the time of inheriting it, essentially not paying gains taxes on how much the assets increased in value during the lifetime of the deceased. This allows heirs to avoid gains taxes altogether if they sell the inheritance immediately.
Under Biden’s change, heirs would be forced to pay taxes on the appreciation of the assets, potentially over the entire lifetime of the recently deceased relative.
A new report released Wednesday lists the states with a marriage penalty on citizens’ income taxes.
The Tax Foundation, a non-partisan policy think tank, lists 15 states that penalize couples for being married.
Minnesota is one of those states. North Dakota and Wisconsin join the state in punishing marriage.
The U.S. economy reported an increase of 943,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate fell to 5.4%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.
Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 850,000 in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, and the number of unemployed persons decreased to 8.7 million. Economists projected 845,000 Americans would be added to payrolls prior to Friday’s report, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“The jobs recovery is continuing, but it’s different in character to any we’ve seen before,” payroll software firm ADP economist Nela Richardson told the WSJ. “I had been looking at September as a point when we could gain momentum—with schools back in session and vaccines widely available. But with the delta variant, we need to rethink that.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer set up a critical vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill Saturday after talks to expedite the process fell apart late Thursday.
Both Republicans and Democrats engaged in marathon talks Thursday in a bid to vote on a package of amendments and to advance the sweeping public works package. Doing so, however, required approval from all 100 senators, and Tennessee Republican Sen. Bill Haggerty refused to go along even as his Republican colleagues urged him to do so.
In a statement, Hagerty attributed his objection to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimation that the bill would add $256 billion to the national debt over 10 years.
The $3.5 trillion spending bill set up to follow the $1.1 trillion infrastructure bill (which has little to do with infrastructure) should be called what it really is: The Higher Inflation and Bigger Debt Act.
The Democrats would like you to believe it is only a reconciliation bill. This is vital to them because a reconciliation bill only takes 50 senators and the vice president to pass the U.S. Senate.
However, this additional $3.5 trillion comes after trillions of emergency spending prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider what the Congressional Budget Office has written about the fiscal situation before the $1.1 trillion and $3.5 trillion bills are passed:
Here is what the Congressional Budget Office forecasts (not counting Biden’s enormous spending plan):
“By the end of 2021, federal debt held by the public is projected to equal 102 percent of GDP. Debt would reach 107 percent of GDP (surpassing its historical high) in 2031 and would almost double to 202 percent of GDP by 2051. Debt that is high and rising as a percentage of GDP boosts federal and private borrowing costs, slows the growth of economic output, and increases interest payments abroad. A growing debt burden could increase the risk of a fiscal crisis and higher inflation as well as undermine confidence in the U.S. dollar, making it more costly to finance public and private activity in international markets.”
A new executive order from the Biden administration has accelerated the timeline for electric vehicles and raised questions about the economic impacts of the transition away from gas-powered vehicles.
President Joe Biden signed the executive order Thursday aimed at making 50% of vehicles zero emission in the U.S. by 2030, an aggressive push toward electric vehicles. About 2% of new cars sold each year in the U.S. are currently electric, according to the Pew Research Center.
“The Executive Order also kicks off development of long-term fuel efficiency and emissions standards to save consumers money, cut pollution, boost public health, advance environmental justice, and tackle the climate crisis,” the White House said.
A new Democratic proposal to increase the capital gains tax could cost 745,000 jobs, a study published by the Regional Economic Models Inc. (REMI) projects.
The Sensible Taxation and Equity Promotion (STEP) Act, which would tax unrealized capital gains when heirs inherit assets, among other things, would have a “significantly negative impact” on the economy, including average job losses of 745,000 over 10 years, the report found.
The analysis, conducted for the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, found that sustained annual job losses from eliminating a tax benefit on appreciated assets known as the step-up in basis could eliminate between 537,000 to 949,000 jobs, with models predicting a base of 745,000 lost jobs through 2030.
Up to 1.95 million households across America will owe a collective $15 billion in back rent when the eviction moratorium expires Saturday, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia estimates.
That number will reach 2 million by December, according to the report released Friday. In Pennsylvania, about 60,000 renter households will owe $412 million come August.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made one final 30-day extension of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program through July 31. President Joe Biden’s administration said its “hands are tied” by the courts on the matter and any further relief must come from Congress itself.
Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos offered to waive $2 billion in payments to secure his spaceflight company Blue Origin a NASA contract.
Bezos asked NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in an open letter Monday to award Blue Origin a contract to construct a Human Landing System (HLS), a lunar-landing vehicle, as part of the Artemis program, offering to waive up to $2 billion in fees. Elon Musk’s space company SpaceX had been awarded the $2.9 billion contract in April, beating out Blue Origin’s bid, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Artemis program is intended to return human astronauts to the Moon, with a manned mission to Mars planned as well. Though the program was initially planned as a joint contract, it was awarded solely to SpaceX due to budgetary constraints which Bezos’ offer sought to alleviate, according to the letter.
“Blue Origin will bridge the HLS budgetary funding shortfall by waiving all payments in the current and next two government fiscal years up to $2 billion to get the program back on track right now,” Bezos wrote in the letter.
The country is opening up and travel is increasing, but visitors are finding the rental car landscape a bit empty.
Rental car companies are continuing to have a hard time keeping up with demand after selling off fleets to stay afloat during the pandemic.
“The fundamental thing that’s causing it is the very rational corporate response to the pandemic and the almost shutting down of international and domestic travel for most of 2020 and the first half of 2021,” Gregory Scott, spokesperson for the American Car Rental Association (ACRA), told The Center Square. “Airport rentals dropped 70-90% in March and April of last year, and as a result there were literally tens of thousands of vehicles sitting unrented and unwanted because people stopped traveling.”
As more federal data show a major spike in inflation, another top federal official said the U.S. is in for more aggressive inflation for the rest of 2021.
Federal officials have been pressed to speak on rising inflation after \data released earlier this week showed that the all items index increased 5.4% over the last 12 months, the biggest spike since the 2008 financial crisis.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen commented on the rise in inflation, saying it would grow worse this year.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell tried to calm lawmakers’ fears about rising inflation but also said it would probably remain elevated for months to come.
Testifying before Congress this week, Powell said the Federal Reserve was willing to step in to address the situation, but that inflation should level out next year.
“As always, in assessing the appropriate stance of monetary policy, we will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and would be prepared to adjust the stance of monetary policy as appropriate if we saw signs that the path of inflation or longer-term inflation expectations were moving materially and persistently beyond levels consistent with our goal,” Powell said in his prepared testimony.
Wildly excessive federal spending is causing major inflation and shortages, which may lead to a recession and perhaps a financial crisis. Despite the evidence of inflation, Congress is proposing to spend $3.5 trillion on top of the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill passed earlier this year and the intended $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. For comparison, federal revenue is only expected to be $3.8 trillion this year.
Evidently, the Democratic Party and President Joe Biden have adopted Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) to the peril of every American citizen. MMT, which is similar to Keynesian economics, says that the U.S. should not be constrained by revenues in federal government spending since the government is the monopoly issuer of the U.S. dollar. MMT is a destructive myth that provides cover for excessive government spending. And it’s not modern, since reckless government spending has been around for thousands of years.
Embracing MMT is similar to providing whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. We know the outcomes will not be good.
U.S. retail sales jumped in June, boosted by states widely loosening coronavirus restrictions and businesses returning to full capacity.
Retail sales increased 0.6% and totaled $621.3 billion in June, according to the Department of Commerce report released Wednesday. The monthly increase was driven by general merchandise, including food service, clothing, personal care, electronics and gasoline sales, the report showed.
“Sectors that were buoyed by the pandemic are slowing down a little bit, but not to a degree that I’d be concerned about,” Square economist Felipe Chacon told The Wall Street Journal. “Household finances have been bolstered by a few rounds of stimulus spending, so it bodes pretty well.”
Inflation surged 5.4% over the 12-month period ending in June, the quickest spike since August 2008, a Department of Labor report showed.
The consumer price index (CPI) increased 0.9% between May and June, according to the Labor Department report released Tuesday morning. Economists projected the report would show that CPI ticked up 4.7% between July 2020 and June, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“We’re in a transitional phase right now,” Joel Naroff, the chief economist at Naroff Economics, told the WSJ. “We are transitioning to a higher period of inflation and interest rates than we’ve had over the last 20 years.”
The state government of California has been revealed to have spent $13 million on providing security for 120 empty houses for five months, even as a homeless crisis ravaged the state, Fox News reports.
In a report broken by local outlet Fox 11, the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) paid $9 million to the highway patrol from November 2020 to April 2021, and gave another $4 million to a private security firm over the same period, all for the purpose of protecting the vacant houses in Pasadena.
In a statement addressing the report, CalTrans said that the houses had been purchased by the government 60 years ago, when there were plans for a change in the local infrastructure by connecting the 710 freeway to the 210. However, that project “is no longer moving forward,” the government statement declared.
Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Minnesota will get $50 million from the settlement of the state’s lawsuit against the Sackler family’s company Purdue Pharma, which manufactured the opioid drug Oxycontin that contributed to the deadly opioid crisis nationwide.
The resolution will make public more than 30 million documents related to Purdue’s role in the opioid crisis and require the Sacklers to pay $4.3 billion for prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts in communities across the country.
Minnesota’s share of those payments is expected to exceed $50 million over nine years, the spending of which will be overseen by the State’s Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council.
President Joe Biden has pushed for beefing up IRS audits of corporations to raise revenue for his new spending proposals, but Republicans are raising the alarm about the potential consequences of the plan.
Biden unveiled his “Made in America Tax Plan” earlier this year as a strategy to help fund his trillions of dollars in proposed new federal spending that includes several tax hikes. Despite this, a bipartisan coalition in the U.S. House and Senate have agreed to a basic framework for Biden’s proposed infrastructure plan, but one element has been the theme of the negotiations among Republicans: no new taxes.
The GOP pushback against raising taxes, though, puts more pressure on the Biden administration to find ways to fund his agenda. Aside from Biden’s controversial tax hike proposals, the president also has proposed adding $80 billion in funding to the IRS so it can increase audits of corporations.
While the tech giant Amazon has publicly endorsed proposals to raise the corporate tax rate in the United States, the company has been secretly lobbying to keep its own tax rates low, Politico reports.
Last year, during the 2020 presidential election, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos openly supported then-candidate Joe Biden’s proposals to raise taxes on American corporations. Those proposals have re-emerged in recent weeks as a possible means of funding a possible infrastructure bill, and Biden has been advocating for other countries around the world to adopt higher corporate tax rates as well.
But recently, Amazon has been stepping up its lobbying efforts to try to convince Congress and the White House to allow the company to keep using certain tax breaks in order to keep its own rates low. The retail giant hired a tax lobbyist named Joshua Odintz, who formerly worked as a Democratic aide on Capitol Hill and then as an official in the Obama Administration. In addition to Amazon’s own efforts, similar lobbying has been undertaken by a group known as the “R&D Coalition,” which consists of several companies and organizations including Amazon, Intel, and the National Association of Manufacturers.
President Joe Biden’s competition and antitrust executive order will harm American consumers, groups representing both large and small businesses said.
The leading groups — including the Chamber of Commerce, Job Creators Network (JCN) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) — slammed Biden’s executive order, arguing that it will harm competition and present a host of challenges to small businesses. The business groups said the order is an example of big government attempting to exert control over the free market via onerous rules and regulations.
“This executive order amounts to a bizarre declaration against American businesses, from the largest to the smallest,” Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBE) Council Chief Economist Raymond Keating said in a statement. “It’s hard to understand why a White House would go down such a path, especially as the economy is digging out from the COVID-19 disaster.”
The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims increased to 373,000 last week as the economy continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics figure released Thursday represented a slight increase in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending June 26, when 371,000 new jobless claims were reported. That number was revised up from the 364,000 jobless claims initially reported last week.
Economists expected Thursday’s jobless claims number to come in around 350,000, The Wall Street Journal reported.
A child’s death is devastating to all parents. But for Chinese parents, losing an only child can add financial ruin to emotional devastation.
That’s one conclusion of a research project on parental grief I’ve conducted in China since 2016.
From 1980 to 2015, the Chinese government limited couples to one child only. I have interviewed over 100 Chinese parents who started their families during this period and have since lost their only child – whether to illness, accident, suicide or murder. Having passed reproductive age at the time of their child’s death, these couples were unable to have another child.
The U.S. economy reported an increase of 850,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate ticked up to 5.9%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.
Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 850,000 in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, and the number of unemployed persons increased to 9.5 million. Economists projected 700,000 Americans would be added to payrolls prior to Friday’s report, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“This is a trickier phase of the recovery,” Wells Fargo senior economist Sarah House told The New York Times.
The only grocery store in Point Roberts, Washington, will be forced to close if travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada aren’t lifted by July 15, the Associated Press reported Thursday.
Point Roberts Marketplace store owner Ali Hayton said the market relies on shoppers who haven’t been able to visit for more than 15 months and that government assistance did little to help the struggling shop, the AP reported. The store received two loans from federal pandemic relief programs, though the funds were used in a week.
“Now that I see that there is absolutely no end in sight, I can’t do it anymore,” Hayton said, according to the AP. “I cannot financially keep subsidizing all of this by myself.”
The Minnesota House approved the housing budget on a vote of 72-59.
The $125 million measure aims to fund a plethora of programs to create more affordable and stable housing.
Included in the budget is an off-ramp to the eviction moratorium.
Renters can only be evicted for “seriously endangering” another tenant or property or who is eligible for renter’s assistance but won’t apply.
A majority of respondents believe that the federal government should push policies that reduce income inequality in the United States, according to a poll released Friday by Axios.
The Axios poll shows 66% of respondents say the government should work to lower the level of income distributed unevenly, up 4% compared to 2019.
Republicans surveyed who agreed the government should tackle income inequality increased by 5%, and Independents who responded similarly increased by 2%, according to the poll. Democrats saw an increase of 7% in favor of such policies compared to 2019.
A key index used by the Federal Reserve to measure inflation showed that consumer prices leapt quicker over the last 12 months than they have in three decades.
The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index surged 3.9% in the 12-month period between June 2020 and May, according to the Department of Commerce report released Friday. The PCE index excluding volatile food and energy prices increased 3.4%, the biggest leap since the 1990s, CNBC reported.
Energy prices increased 27.4% while food prices increased 0.4% over the last 12 months, the report showed.
Just 14 states saw positive employment growth between April and May while the majority of the growth was concentrated in a handful of states, according to the Department of Labor.
Fourteen states led by California, Florida and Texas experienced significant job growth, 35 states experienced stagnant job growth and Wyoming saw a decline in employment last month, according to a Department of Labor report released Wednesday. Overall, the unemployment rates in 21 states decreased between April and May while every state’s employment improved compared to May 2020.
While the U.S. continues to report increased job growth, the report showed that the vast majority of the growth has come from about a dozen states.
The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims decreased to 411,000 last week as the economy continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics figure released Thursday represented a decrease in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending June 12, when 418,000 new jobless claims were reported. That number was revised up from the 412,000 jobless claims initially reported last week.
Economists expected Thursday’s jobless claims number to come in around 380,000, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Are you having a hard time understanding why the housing market is heating up, and why the cost of essentials such as milk, eggs, and gas is climbing? Are you in the market for a used car? Then you know how expensive those are right now. And why can’t businesses find employees, yet millions remain unemployed? Economists agree the recovery isn’t like anything we’ve seen before. That’s because we’ve never had a situation before where the heavy hand of government shut down private enterprises on a nationwide scale. The market distortions are enormous. As states reopen, there is a herky-jerky feel to the economy that has many people unsettled.
Former Federal Reserve vice chairman Alan Blinder wrote in the Wall Street Journal recently, “the recovery is not linear. Rather, it is proceeding in fits and starts. Sales of physical goods, for example, dipped only briefly when Covid hit, recovered quickly, and are now well above their pre-pandemic levels. In stark contrast, businesses that deliver personal services, such as restaurants and hotels, suffered a devastating depression and are still below their pre-pandemic levels.”
By far the most uneven outcome so far since the economy crashed in spring 2000, besides the 7.6 million fewer jobs compared to pre-pandemic levels, has been inflation, which is up 5 percent the past 12 months.
Paying college athletes has been a hotly debated topic for years, but now the U.S. Supreme Court has released a ruling on the issue.
A group of current and former student athletes brought the lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association, arguing that the organization violated antitrust laws when it prevented student athletes from accepting certain education-related benefits.
The case, filed in 2018, challenged the NCAA and the biggest conferences including the Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, and ACC. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the students Monday, saying the NCAA could not deny those benefits, which could include things like “scholarships for graduate or vocational school, payments for academic tutoring, or paid posteligibility internships.”
Founding father and the second president of the United States John Adams once said that “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” What he meant was that objective, raw numbers don’t lie—and this remains true hundreds of years later.
We just got yet another example. A new data analysis from Harvard University, Brown University, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation calculates how different employment levels have been impacted during the pandemic to date. The findings reveal that government lockdown orders devastated workers at the bottom of the financial food chain but left the upper-tier actually better off.
The analysis examined employment levels in January 2020, before the coronavirus spread widely and before lockdown orders and other restrictions on the economy were implemented. It compared them to employment figures from March 31, 2021.
Lumber prices have begun to drop following record highs, with futures closing Monday at their lowest price in over two months.
Lumber futures reached their highest-ever price in early May according to Nasdaq, trading at $1,711.20 per thousand board feet. Futures closed Monday at $966.20 per thousand board feet, still well above pre-pandemic levels which hovered around $400.
Prices skyrocketed due to a variety of factors, including supply chain disruption due to COVID-19 restrictions, labor shortages, and higher demand due to the surge in the housing market, according to a report by Wells Fargo economists. The report noted that while prices were unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels, restarting domestic lumber production and restoring domestic supply chains would stabilize the market.
Joe Biden signed an executive order updating the United States’ list of blacklisted Chinese companies, dropping the ban on at least one company that was originally put on the list by President Donald Trump, the Washington Free Beacon reports.
Biden lifted the blacklist on the company Sugon, which was first banned by President Trump in November of 2020. The company is responsible for selling “supercomputers” to the Chinese military, for use in nuclear weapons research. Sugon also specializes in facial recognition software, cloud computing, and other surveillance technology that has been used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) against the Uyghur Muslim population.
Although Biden’s updated list still maintains bans on such companies as Huawei and Hikvision, the removal of Sugon was noted as “strange” by Michael Sobolik, a fellow with the American Foreign Policy Council.
Four states will be cutting pandemic unemployment increases three months early, ending the supplemental $300 in federal aid.
Alaska, Iowa, Missouri, and Mississippi will end pandemic-related unemployment relief on June 12. An additional 21 Republican-led states will slash federal aid before it expires on Sept. 6, according to Business Insider.
Conservatives continue to advocate an end to the increased benefits, saying they are no longer needed now that the pandemic is contained and speculating that the high payouts are discouraging would-be workers from returning.
Opponents of minimum wage laws tend to focus their criticism on one particular adverse consequence: by artificially raising the price of labor, they reduce employment, particularly for the most vulnerable in society.
“Minimum wage laws tragically generate unemployment, especially so among the poorest and least skilled or educated workers,” economist Murray Rothbard wrote in 1978. “Because a minimum wage, of course, does not guarantee any worker’s employment; it only prohibits, by force of law, anyone from being hired at the wage which would pay his employer to hire him.
Though some economists, such as Paul Krugman, reject Rothbard’s claim, a recent study found the overwhelming body of academic research supports the idea that minimum wage laws increase unemployment.
The Chinese government has carried out a massive population control campaign since the 1970s with the hope that it would generate economic prosperity. The government unremorsefully forced women to receive abortions, pressured or forced millions of women to be sterilized, and punished families with multiple children with debilitating fines. More than 300 million children were aborted under China’s one-child policy.
Last week, the Chinese government ended the two-child policy, which had been in effect since 2016, and instead enacted a three-child policy. The new policy is essentially an admission that the Chinese Communist Party’s heinous population control policies will not give it the riches it had hoped for. Instead, the population control program will deliver a demographic disaster, which will ravage the country’s economy for generations.
Many economists recognize that population control never improved China’s economy — that was the result of increased freedom in the marketplace and foreign investment. And the Malthusian crisis the government was so desperately trying to avoid with population control was an entirely false specter.