April 15, 2016
This election cycle the issue of the trade deficit has been a topic of great debate, with front-running candidates suggesting that the deficit is an example of how the U.S. is losing or being “ripped off’ economically. As of February this year, the balance in trade of goods and services stands at $47.1 billion. While this isn’t the largest trade deficit in recent years, some academics and politicians continue attempting to draw a relationship between the trade deficit and job losses.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, the trade deficit with the 11 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) economies cost 1,057,200 manufacturing jobs in 2015. Overall, EPI claims that the trade deficit...
April 11, 2016
Puerto Rico is in crisis and drowning in debt. Now it looks like the island’s Development Bank, set up to raise living standards in the territory, will collapse. Congress is rushing to provide some help, but it needs to consider the effects of regulatory impositions on the island. Foremost among these is the federal minimum wage.
The heavily indebted nation demonstrates the ill-considered consequences of forced minimum wage raises out of sync with the market price for labor. Between 1974 and 1983, Puerto Rico was forced to increase its minimum wage in line with the federal figure, where it has remained since 1983. The results of imposing this standardized federal minimum wage have been “substantially...
April 8, 2016
We hear an awful lot from politicians, unions, and progressive organizations on the importance of earning a decent living wage. Yet, while small businesses struggle to stay afloat with the ever rising costs associated with minimum wage and workers benefits, UNICOR, also known as Federal Prison Industries (FPI), a government-owned corporation employing over 12,000 prison inmates for as little as 23 cents an hour, is destroying jobs and causing some small businesses to close operations altogether.
Firstly, it is important to point out that there is little empirical evidence to suggest any correlation between the FPI “jobs training program” and reduced recidivism rates. In fact, a 2012 study, Kerry Richmond, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Lycoming College, looked at the impact of FPI employment...
March 31, 2016
USA Today reports that lines at airports are getting longer and people aren’t signing up for the registered traveler program, TSA PreCheck, in sufficient numbers. Given what happened in Brussels last week, we can expect those lines to get longer and more people to suffer government intrusion into their lives when they want to travel peacefully. This is precisely what should not happen.
Shortly after the attacks, Sascha Tamm of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation wrote an article (in German) on the universal risks of terrorism and the important implications they have for individual liberty. Tamm...
February 26, 2016
A new report from JP Morgan Chase & Co. finds that the summer employment rate for teenagers is nearing a record low at 34 percent. The report surveyed 15 U.S. cities and found that despite an increase in summer positions available over a two year period, only 38 percent of teens and young adults found summer jobs.
This would be worrying by itself given the importance of work experience in entry-level career development, but it is also part of a long-term trend. Since 1995 the rate of seasonal teenage employment has declined by over a third from around 55 percent to 34 percent in 2015. The report does not attempt to examine why summer youth employment has fallen over the past two decades. If it had, it would probably find one answer in the minimum wage.