This Friday will feature the second monthly employment report for 2015 and news reports indicate that the White House is planning to celebrate the news. How safe is the plan to celebrate?
Progressives are clever at appropriating the public debate by wrapping their policies — however ill-designed — in such appealing marketing phrases as inclusive prosperity or “middle-class economics.” But what exactly does middle-class economics mean? Or, more importantly, what should it mean?
Perhaps there is hope for bipartisan policy in this Congress after all. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Pat Toomey have collaborated on a bill to repeal the ethanol mandate embedded in the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). The RFS was created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and expanded in 2007.
Today the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) will vote on Chairman Wheeler’s proposed “net neutrality” regulation. The fundamental notion in network neutrality — namely, that all users on the Internet should have fair access to content — is intuitively appealing. Unfortunately, the reality of classifying the Internet like a public utility (“Title II regulation”) is far less rosy.
Yesterday, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen delivered the Fed's semiannual economic report before the Senate Banking Committee. After keeping the target federal funds rate — the target rate for overnight borrowing by large banks — near zero for six years, the Fed is faced with normalizing interest rates.
Another day, another round of “executive action.” As reported by Bloomberg, the president promised "Financial advisers absolutely deserve fair compensation,” he said in remarks Monday to AARP, the nation’s biggest lobby for retirees. “But they shouldn’t be able to take advantage of their clients.” Using that as his springboard, the president called on the Department of Labor (DOL) to issue new regulations regarding financial advisors.
Fridays — especially late afternoon — are exciting times on the regulatory watch, as it is the Administration’s favorite time to try to minimize the bad publicity associated with its new rules. This past Friday saw a $1.2 billion rule proposed by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
Walmart announced yesterday it was spending $1 billion on training and raising the wages of its workers. The result is raises for about 40 percent of its 1.3 million U.S. employees. Some of the business press have interpreted it as an attempt to shed Walmart’s image as a low-wage employer and shed the attacks that it is subsidized by Medicaid, food stamps, and other social safety net programs.
The economy is increasingly threatened by the West Coast port slowdown/shutdown that may cost as much as $2 billion daily. President Obama has dispatched Labor Secretary Perez to mediate the talks between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the management group, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).
As noted by Drew Altman, valuable recent reports from the Altarum Institute indicate that the pace of national health care spending is rising. Specifically, it estimates that national health spending grew 5.6 percent between December 2013 and December 2014.