• Planned National Living Wage Surges Defy Economic Reality

    Planned National Living Wage Surges Defy Economic Reality

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    They would say that wouldn’t they?

    I expect that was the average reader’s reaction to the weekend story that the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) wanted forthcoming rises in the National Living Wage (NLW) to be delayed.

    Currently £7.50, the NLW (effectively a higher minimum wage for over-25s) is projected to rise to £8.75 by 2020, under plans to automatically link the rate to 60 per cent of median hourly earnings from then on.

    But strip away the self interest for a second, and the FSB has highlighted an extraordinary feature of the NLW: it takes no account of the health of the economy, or the ability of firms to pay. With GDP growth weak, and real incomes falling, the FSB believes further increases should be delayed. READ MORE...

  • U.S. Drone Strikes in the Philippines Would Be a Massive Mistake

    U.S. Drone Strikes in the Philippines Would Be a Massive Mistake

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    Here we go again. The United States is on the verge of carrying out military operations in yet another country as part of the war on terrorism. The Philippines — specifically the southern island of Mindanao — may soon become the latest target of the world’s busiest and most powerful military. The goal will apparently be to strike Islamic State elements that “could be a threat to allies in the region.” So far, U.S. officials have made no mention of a threat to the United States.

    Conducting drone strikes in the Philippines, however, would be a serious mistake. READ MORE...

  • Racist Policies Need to Go

    Racist Policies Need to Go

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    Like Vida B. Johnson, I was outraged at the t-shirt worn by a Metropolitan Police Department officer that glorified the use of “jump-out cars” and contained a common white supremacist symbol. Police and political leadership should actively identify and root out white supremacists from police departments throughout the country. At the same time, community leaders should examine policies that have disparate racial impacts in communities of color, even though those policies are facially color-blind or race neutral. Even without the taint of explicit white supremacy on the MPD officer’s t-shirt, the policy that produces jump-out cars in D.C. is racially problematic by itself. Although not publicly discussed as “jump outs,” the D.C. Metropolitan Police has been taken to court over the heavy-handed tactics associated with its Gun Recovery Unit (GRU). READ MORE...

  • Debt-Ceiling Fight Looms as next Big Test for Congress

    Debt-Ceiling Fight Looms as next Big Test for Congress

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    If you thought the recent fight over health-care reform was fun, get ready for the next big Washington circus: raising the debt ceiling.

    In October of 2015, Congress chose to avoid the usual fight over setting a symbolic debt target by agreeing to waive any limit on the debt for 17 months, until March of this year. For the past few months, the Treasury Department has engaged in what it calls “extraordinary measures” to extend the deadline through the end of September. By that time, the U.S. national debt will officially exceed $20 trillion. READ MORE...

  • Derp: The New York Times Leaks a Publicly Available Climate Report!

    Derp: The New York Times Leaks a Publicly Available Climate Report!

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    On Tuesday, The New York Times breathlessly reported it “obtained” a draft of an upcoming federal climate report. It even provided a link!

    Actually, anyone who wanted to could have “obtained” the same document. It’s been available online since January, making this hardly “news that’s fit to print.”

    The text is more circumspect, even as it sometimes suffers from cherry-picking of data in the service of an alarmist picture.

    The document, the “Climate Science Special Report” (CSSR) from the U.S. Global Change Research Program, is a “state of the science” summary on climate change. It’s a prelude to the fourth “National Assessment” of climate change impacts on the U.S. These are quadrennially mandated by the U.S. Global Change Research Act of 1990. READ MORE...

  • Looking for Bigotry? Try Public Schooling History

    Looking for Bigotry? Try Public Schooling History

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    Polling reveals that parents, especially African Americans, want school choice. Studies show choice students pulling even with public school kids even in laggard programs, and often surpassing them. And states keep expanding choice initiatives as families flock to them.

    Perhaps because of all this good news, opponents of expanding the options available to parents and their children have launched a new strategy, one employing grossly cherry-picked history to imply that school choice is fueled by bigotry. It is both hugely inaccurate history, and hugely ironic, because if any education system has been shot-through with bigotry, it is public schooling. READ MORE...

  • The Real Victims of Class-Warfare Taxation

    The Real Victims of Class-Warfare Taxation

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    Remember John Kerry, the former Secretary of State and Massachusetts Senator, the guy who routinely advocated higher taxes but then made sure to protect his own wealth? Not only did he protect much of his fortune in so-called tax havens, he even went through the trouble of domiciling his yacht outside of his home state to minimize his tax burden.

    I did not object to Kerry’s tax avoidance, but I was irked by his hypocrisy. If taxes are supposed to be so wonderful, should not he have led by example? READ MORE...