04/19/2018

News

Working on Food Stamps

House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway on Thursday will introduce a farm bill, though food stamps absorb much of the cost. More than 40 million Americans are in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the official name for food stamps, and the figure is up from about 17 million in 2000. The size of the benefits has […]

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U.S. Manufacturers Worry Tariffs Could Undermine Recovery

Manufacturing, long the sick patient in the U.S. economy as multinationals outsourced jobs, has added nearly 300,000 positions since the November 2016 election, increasing payrolls in 16 of the past 17 months. That included 22,000 positions last month. Overtime hours are up and orders are on the rise, making the current stretch among the strongest […]

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A debt crisis is coming. But don’t blame entitlements.

A group of distinguished economists from the Hoover Institution, a public-policy think tank at Stanford University, identifies a serious problem. The federal budget deficit is on track to exceed $1 trillion next year and get worse over time. Eventually, ever-rising debt and deficits will cause interest rates to rise, and the portion of tax revenue […]

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The New Science of Smog

Liberals are claiming that the Trump Administration’s plans to roll back the Obama fuel-mileage rules will increase pollution. Perhaps they should read up on the latest scientific evidence about the sources of air pollution. A recent study in the journal Science traced and measured volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Los Angeles. In the presence of […]

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Cobalt Extends Roaring 2017 Run, Fueled by Use in Batteries, Computer Chips

A metal used in the rechargeable batteries that power iPhones and electric cars is one of this year’s best-performing assets, surging more than 20% and outpacing other commodities. Cobalt prices have extended a record run with demand forecasts holding steady and the supply outlook looking uncertain because of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s dominance […]

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One Year of ‘College’ With No Degree, But No Debt And a Job at the End

MissionU, which enrolled its first class in September, is part of new breed of institutions that bill themselves as college alternatives for the digital age. The schools—whose admission rates hover in the single digits—comparable to the Ivy League, according to the schools—offer a debt-free way to attain skills in hot areas and guaranteed apprenticeships with […]

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Test Scores Show Students Made Little Progress in National Exam

American students had nearly flat results in math and reading on a national exam, continuing a pattern of stagnation over most of the past decade, as some of the lowest performers fell further behind. Eighth-graders made the only statistically significant gain—1 point—in reading, for an average score of 267 out of a possible 500, according […]

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Do What Works to Help Welfare Recipients Work

In forthcoming research, my colleagues and I find that minimum wages are counterproductive, leading to higher poverty and an increased reliance on public assistance in disadvantaged neighborhoods. The EITC, in contrast, reduces poverty and dependence on public assistance, with one caveat: It may be less effective in severely disadvantaged neighborhoods where there is insufficient labor […]

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Is It Wrong to Cut a Homeless Man’s Hair Without a License?

In the 1980s, the District of Columbia government shut down Ego Brown’s shoe-shining business, citing a 1905 ordinance forbidding shoeshine stands in public spaces. Mr. Brown employed homeless people, providing them not only with a job but a shower and a tuxedo uniform. Then-Mayor Marion Barry ignored repeated requests to reform the district’s shoeshine ordinance. […]

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Americans Face Highest Pump Prices in Years

Americans are spending more at the pump than they have in years. Prices could rise even higher just as drivers hit the road for family vacations. “This summer, in terms of average gas prices, will likely be the highest since 2014,” said Patrick DeHaan, petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, a fuel-tracking app. “There’s been very little […]

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U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Hold Below 300,000 for Longest Streak on Record

The number of Americans claiming new unemployment benefits has never been so low for so long. Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., decreased by 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 233,000 in the week ended April 7, the Labor Department said Thursday. This means claims have now held below 300,000 for 162 […]

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EPA Will Ease Vehicle-Emissions Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency moved to ease Obama-era vehicle emissions standards, siding with car makers who say the rules don’t work in an era of cheap gasoline, and setting up a fight with environmentalists and the state of California. The rules, finalized in the waning weeks of the Obama administration, would require auto makers to […]

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Businesses Beg for More Low-Skill Visas, Putting White House in a Bind

Demand for low-skilled worker visas for the summer season starting Sunday is again far outstripping supply, with the Trump administration forced to choose between helping businesses seeking more visas or trying to save those jobs for American workers. Some lawmakers tried and failed this month to secure an increase in the number of H-2B visas […]

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In Pricey Cities, New Residents Make Much More Than Those Leaving

Families of more modest means are leaving expensive American urban areas and being replaced by more affluent newcomers, and the income gap between those arriving and leaving hot spots is widening. New research from Issi Romem, chief economist at building-data website BuildZoom, finds that metropolitan areas such as San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and […]

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Iowa’s Employment Problem: Too Many Jobs, Not Enough People

It is a problem playing out in many parts of the Midwest, a region with lower unemployment and higher job-opening rates than the rest of the country. Employers, especially in more rural areas, are finding that there are just too few workers. That upends a long-running view in Washington, D.C., and many state capitals, where […]

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