The Social Security trust fund is expected to run out of money by the mid 2030s. Without changes to it, benefits would be cut and the payout would only be about 75% of promised benefits.
A number of states and municipalities have passed minimum wage laws and advocates have pushed with their protests and marches for $15 an hour. Minimum wage hikes are seen as some sort of panacea for low wage workers. In a recent speech on workforce development by Federal Reserve Chairwoman Yellen, she stated that it is crucial for younger workers to establish a solid connection to employment early in their work lives. Yet, studies have shown that higher minimum wages have reduced entry level jobs, especially for younger workers. Some cities and states that passed higher minimum wage laws are now considering the consequences. Should minimum wages be increased to $15 an hour?
President Trump received a lot of criticism for what some call a disappointing first 100 days in office. However, what many pundits seem to have overlooked is the steady stream of executive and other actions he put in place to deregulate the economy. Were his moves to deregulate good for the economy? Will these moves improve the business environment? Should the deregulation continue? There are currently 6 bills passed by the House to further ease regulations. Should they be passed by the Senate? What is the “Right Thing to do?”
President Trump emerged from his first 100 days in office with a mixed bag of results. He got his Supreme Court nominee confirmed, but was unable to get an agreement to repeal and replace Obamacare to meet his self imposed deadline last month. Several of his key appointments have not been confirmed and many more nominees have yet to be named. There are questions as to the status of several other campaign promises and whether or not he can deliver. There are 5 key upcoming deadlines that will determine whether or not he will gain the momentum to pass the legislation to fulfill many of those promises. Let’s take a look at those 5 deadlines and determine “What is the “Right Thing to do.”
Legislation that would severely limit the ability of citizens to join class action lawsuits has sparked debate, with supporters saying it would reduce lawyer driven litigation and opponents saying it would minimize consumer rights. Another legislative initiative in California would limit cookie cutter lawsuits regarding the American Disabilities Act. The regulations are seen as guaranteeing lifetime employment for building consultants and have spawned an industry of attorneys who jam federal courts with suits that require defendants to pay attorney fees while plaintiffs aren’t entitled to damages under federal law. Should class action and ADA lawsuits be limited? Are there abuses to the system with payouts to attorneys with little or no compensation for plaintiffs? Does this type of legislation limit consumers’ rights? Who benefits the most for these suits, the attorneys or the plaintiffs? What is the “Right Thing to do?”
Middle skill jobs, those requiring education and training beyond high school, but less than a 4 year degree are in high demand by employers. Democrats in the Michigan House want to amend the state constitution to include a right to literacy for all children. The State Superintendent of Public Schools has proposed another life line for the 38 failing schools in Michigan. The state passed a rescue for Detroit Public Schools with $617 million authorization to pay off its debt and to fund improvements.
Now that the attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare has been withdrawn, it appears that tax reform is the next issue for Congress to consider. However, by the end of April, Congress must pass a budget for the current year. The budget has been delayed at least twice because Congress could not agree and instead passed continuing resolutions. Whether or not Congress can agree for this year a bigger battle appears on the horizon for 2018. President Trump has unveiled his initial budget for 2018. What are the key provisions of his proposal? What is the likelihood that his budget will be passed? Should the bulk of his budget be passed? What is the “Right Thing to do?
Republicans are bound and determined to pass legislation repealing and replacing Obamacare before they pass tax reform. The legislation House Republicans have offered is facing major pushback from both Republicans and Democrats leaving tax reform in limbo. The stock market has experienced what could be called an expectation rally based on the promise to enact tax reform, reduce regulations and to pass an infrastructure bill. Has the rally been based on expected health care reform?
President Trump created a firestorm with his executive actions to halt immigration from 7 countries. More chaos seemed to arise as immigration enforcement appeared to increase or at least the media reported that an increase has occurred. The President also called for hiring thousands of additional border and immigration officers. Silicon Valley sounded the alarm that many of their foreign workers were potentially threatened. Funding was requested to build the wall along the Mexican border. Meanwhile, there are really no plans coming from the Republicans or Democrats to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
US companies are shifting work once considered core to contractors. The US has lost 7 million factory jobs since manufacturing employment peaked in 1979, yet factory output more than doubled over the same period. What have been the causes of these changes and what are the implications?
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