05/24/2022

News

High-Flying California Charts Its Own Path — Is A Cliff Ahead?

When progressive journalists, including those in Texas, speak about the California model, they usually refer to the state’s economic performance since 2010, which has been well above the national average. Yet this may have been only an aberrant phenomenon. Since 2010, Texas’ job count has grown by 20.6 percent compared to 18.6 percent for California. If you pull the curtain even further, to 2000, however, the gap is even bigger, with employment growing 32.7 percent in Texas compared to 18 percent in California. The main problem is that California’s once remarkably varied and vital economy has become dangerously dependent on the Bay Area tech boom. Since 2010, the Silicon Valley-San Jose economy and San Francisco have been on a tear, growing their employment base by 25 percent. Job growth in the rest of the state has been a more modest 15 percent. “It’s not a California miracle, but really should be called a Silicon Valley miracle,” notes Chapman University forecaster Jim Doti. “The rest of the state really isn’t doing well.”

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Is Real Medicaid Reform Possible? Two States–Indiana And Rhode Island–Show That It Is

TWO STATES, Rhode Island and Indiana, have been able to make major changes to the traditional Medicaid programs, which allowed them to curb costs and enhance their recipients’ quality of care. Patient satisfaction went up sharply. In 2009 Rhode Island sought and won an unprecedented waiver from Washington. . . As Alexander noted, “These reforms, in turn, gave patients greater independence and better outcomes, and their satisfaction soared. . . . The imaginative remedies we implemented were so responsive and customized to our patients’ needs that their experiences and health improved even as we spent less.” . . . Indiana instituted even better Medicaid reform. The Hoosier State has long pushed the idea of health savings accounts (HSAs) coupled with high-deductible health insurance that covers catastrophic medical expenses. As the state has observed: “About 96% of [the state’s] employees have voluntarily elected to enroll in a consumer-driven health plan option. In its first four years of offering [such options] to state employees, the state saved 10.7% annually, as employees used hospital emergency departments at lower rates, had fewer physician office visits, lower prescription costs and a higher generic-medication dispensing rate.” . . .Now the Hoosier State is expanding this state-employees concept and applying it to its Medicaid recipients.

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Trump Administration Saves The Sharing Economy

State and local regulatory battles continue to plague sharing economy companies like Uber and Airbnb. However, their business models faced an existential—though underappreciated—threat from President Obama’s Department of Labor. In a positive step for independent workers and the consumers that they serve, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta rescinded the problematic Obama-era regulatory guidance on independent contractor status this month . Sharing-economy users and workers should celebrate this long-overdue change. The problems started in summer 2015 when the then Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Commissioner David Weil issued an administrator’s interpretation that, if taken seriously by courts, would have made it more difficult for workers to be independent contractors. This so-called “guidance” could be more accurately deemed “lawmaking through blog post” because did not have to go before the public for comment and it was never voted on by Congress—even though it could have destroyed the work arrangements that have driven the sharing economy’s growth. The interpretation threatened to turn people who partner with online platforms from independent contractors to employees, resulting in restricted flexibility and opportunity. Based on her public remarks on the sharing economy, Hillary Clinton would have likely embraced this regulatory change if she would have won the election. (For more information on this administrator’s interpretation, see my House Education and the Workforce Committee testimony.)

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Where Manufacturing Is Thriving In The U.S.

Although the share of industrial jobs has shrunken from 10.5% of all nonfarm employment in 2005 to 8.5% today, manufacturing continues to have an outsized influence on regional economies, as is spelled out in the latest paper from the Center for Opportunity Urbanism. This stems in large part from the industrial sector’s productivity gains since 2001 — almost twice as much as the economy-wide average,  according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — and it has a far higher multiplier effect (the boost it provides to local job and wealth creation) than virtually any other sector. Manufacturing generates $1.40 in economic activity for every dollar put in, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, far greater than the multiplier generated by business services, information, retail trade or finance.

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Opinion: Renewable Jobs Claims Based On Deception, False Comparisons

For solar jobs, Hoffman references data reported by the solar power industry. I looked up and found the Solar Foundation paper Hoffman references. What Hoffman defines as “workers” who are “employed” by the U.S. solar industry are actually defined by the Solar Foundation as jobs which the solar industry “supports.” The Solar Foundation liberally defines jobs “supported” by the solar power industry as to include every component on the solar industry chain, plus additional jobs like lawyers, lobbyists, public relations professionals, government employees overseeing the solar power industry, permitting officers, plumbers, electricians, salesmen, land acquisition specialists, and financiers.

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100% Renewables by 2050 — Germany Pays the Price for its Ambition

The financial losses by Germany’s two energy giants raise fundamental questions about who will pay for the country’s ambitious renewable energy program. To date, German households and small businesses have borne the burden in the form of high electricity prices. Now the shareholders of E.ON and RWE are being asked to step up. If they continue to face losses and cut dividends, they will not be able to attract the capital necessary for Germany’s electricity grid to survive. At that point, Germany’s tax payers will be invited to the payments window to keep companies like E.ON and RWE in business.

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Opinion: Obama’s Legacy: 2016 Ends With A Record-Shattering Regulatory Rulebook

And the printed version of the Federal Register, the daily depository of all things regulatory, has topped off at 97,110 pages, by far an all time record. . . That dwarfs last year’s count of 80,260 pages, and it shatters the 2010 all-time record of 81,405 by 15,705 pages

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Thanks To ‘Fight For $15’ Minimum Wage, McDonald’s Unveils Job-Replacing Self-Service Kiosks Nationwide

As the labor union-backed Fight for $15 begins yet another nationwide strike on November 29, I have a simple message for the protest organizers and the reporters covering them: I told you so.

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California’s Boom Is Poised To Go Bust — And Liberals’ Dream Of Scandinavia On The Pacific

To be sure, since 2010 California’s job growth has outperformed the national average, propelled largely by the tech-driven Bay Area; its 14% employment expansion over the past six years is just a shade below Texas’. But dial back to 2001, and California’s job growth rate is 12%, less than half that of Texas’ 27%. With roughly 10 million fewer residents, Texas has created almost 2.8 million jobs since the turn of the millennium, compared to 2.0 million in California.

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Marijuana’s $40 Billion Dollar Green Rush

“It is predicted that by 2020 the industry will grow to be over $40 billion dollars. It also means a lot more competition,” Bannink (or “Super Joint” as he’s affectionately called by the Grasscity community) told me via email. “There are thousands of brands competing to try and do what we’re doing. Grasscity is extremely lucky to have a 16 year head start on building customers, users, and industry partners.”

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Commentary: The Ugly Truth About A $15 Minimum Wage

These young adults who face long spells of unemployment now are at a long-term disadvantage relative to their employed counterparts. One study released by the Employment Policies Institute found that high-school seniors with part-time work experience earned 20% more per year on average, 6-9 years after graduating, relative to their fellow students who didn’t work. Ironically, today’s minimum wage mandate for higher pay will be condemning young adults to lower-paid and less-successful futures.

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Opinion: Unions’ $15 Minimum Wage About-Face

Recent discussions within Los Angeles labor groups reveal inherent hypocrisy within the “Fight for $15” campaign. Unions paid plenty of lip service toward this effort, which would raise the minimum wage to $15. . . It seems that unions should be celebrating this supposed win for workers – yet union leaders are currently seeking an exemption to the $15-an-hour minimum wage for union members.

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California Punishes Its Farmers With More Bad Policies

We tried to make the case that with diesel and gas prices at $1.00 / gal higher then AZ, the higher CARB [California Air Resources Board] standards on sprinkler pumps, higher electrical rates in California, restrictions on insecticides, fungicides and fumigants and a plethora of government agencies capped by one of the highest income tax rates in the nation, all combine to put us at an economic disadvantage.

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Second Q4 GDP Estimate Shows Stronger Than Originally Forecast Economic Growth

Real gross domestic product increased 1% in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to a second estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis Friday. The data is an expansion from the 0.7% growth initially reported last month.

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Opinion: Rise of the Licensing Cartel

Occupational licensing has grown not because consumers demanded it, but because lobbyists recognized a business opportunity where they could use government power to get rich at the public’s expense. . . Consumers end up paying $200 billion in higher costs annually, prospective professionals lose an estimated three million jobs, and millions more Americans find it harder to live where they want due to licensing requirements that vary by state.

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