Each week 2ndVote takes a look at popular companies that score poorly and then provides alternatives that better align with the 2ndVote values. This series is called The Company Contrast, and the company we will be focusing on this week is ExxonMobil (1.50).
Formed from the merger of Exxon and Mobil in 1999, both direct descendants of Standard Oil of Rockefeller fame, ExxonMobil is one of the largest major oil companies in the world. As one of the top Fortune 500 companies in the U.S., it is undeniable that ExxonMobile carries economic and even socio-political sway. Unfortunately, the oil and gas giant has used its influence to advocate for leftist agendas for the past several years. Not only has ExxonMobil matched employee contributions to Planned Parenthood, but they also maintain partnerships with organizations various organizations whose activism includes support for abortion, sanctuary cities, Common Core education, and the Equality Act, which contains provisions that infringe on religious liberty rights. For these actions, ExxonMobil receives significant point reductions across nearly all of the 2ndVote key issues; so best to avoid their fuel pumps.
Fortunately for motorists everywhere, Pilot Flying J (3.00) and Love’s (3.00) both offer neutral options when you’re in need of gas but don’t want your dollars going where they shouldn’t. With locations across the country, both Pilot Flying J and Love’s offer high-quality gas stations, often paired with food chains, with a variety of accommodations and amenities for those long summer road trips!
EDITORS NOTE: This 2ndVote column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.
http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.png002ndvote .comhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.png2ndvote .com2021-06-13 09:12:202021-06-13 09:13:17The Company Contrast – Exxon Mobil
In May, Youyang Gu, an MIT-trained engineer and data scientist, released data showing that government restrictions were not correlated with lower COVID mortality in America. Government restrictions were correlated with higher unemployment, however.
“In the US, there is no correlation between Covid deaths & changes in unemployment rates. However, blue states are much more likely to have higher increases in unemployment,” wrote Gu, the creator of covid19-projections.com, a pandemic modeling site. “More restrictions in a state is NOT correlated with fewer COVID-19 deaths. However, more restrictions IS correlated with higher unemployment.”
Is containing COVID-19 a requirement for preserving the economy? My analysis suggests: probably not.
In the US, there is no correlation between Covid deaths & changes in unemployment rates.
However, blue states are much more likely to have higher increases in unemployment.
The COVID-19 pandemic is finally winding down and more and more people are beginning to acknowledge some hard truths about the failures of the collective response to the virus.
George Orwell famously observed that during deceitful times telling the truth is a revolutionary act, so the fact that so many people are finally acknowledging hard truths appears to be a sign we are emerging from deceitful times.
For some, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, these truths are bitter medicine. As Hannah Cox recently observed, Fauci has been on the wrong side of numerous pandemic confrontations with Sen. Rand Paul—and has found himself on the losing end each time.
The harms of lockdowns, however, are undeniable: economic collapse, millions of jobs and businesses lost, rampant spending, surging debt and poverty, an explosion of drug overdoses, poor mental health, and a collapse of health screenings (including cancer) that will result in hundreds of thousands of excess deaths in the coming years—if not millions.
It will not be easy to acknowledge this failure. As The New York Times noted in 2017, humans struggle mightily to admit we were wrong.
“Mistakes can be hard to digest, so sometimes we double down rather than face them. Our confirmation bias kicks in, causing us to seek out evidence to prove what we already believe,” wrote Kristin Wong. “The car you cut off has a small dent in its bumper, which obviously means that it is the other driver’s fault.”
There’s a name for this psychological phenomenon: cognitive dissonance.
“Cognitive dissonance is what we feel when the self-concept — I’m smart, I’m kind, I’m convinced this belief is true — is threatened by evidence that we did something that wasn’t smart, that we did something that hurt another person, that the belief isn’t true,” Carol Tavris, a co-author of the book Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me), told the Times.
Tavris added that cognitive dissonance poses a threat to our sense of self.
“To reduce dissonance, we have to modify the self-concept or accept the evidence,” Tavris said. “Guess which route people prefer?”
‘Dizzy With Success’
Coming to grips with the failure of lockdowns is important for several reasons.
For starters, the pandemic of 2020 will not be the last pandemic Americans face. If we’re to avoid the painful experience in the future, we’ll need to better understand how the unorthodox pandemic response came about and determine which public health policies worked and which did not.
But there’s an even larger lesson that can be learned. In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, F.A. Hayek warned of the danger of mankind’s inability to recognize the limits of its knowledge and power.
“There is danger in the exuberant feeling of ever growing power which the advance of the physical sciences has engendered and which tempts man to try, “dizzy with success”, to use a characteristic phrase of early communism, to subject not only our natural but also our human environment to the control of a human will,” Hayek said.
Dizzy with success in this age of wonders, Hayek feared humans would be bewitched by their accomplishments and believe they could achieve anything if they could only control society—”a striving which makes him not only a tyrant over his fellows, but which may well make him the destroyer of a civilization which no brain has designed but which has grown from the free efforts of millions of individuals.”
We witnessed firsthand in 2020 the fruit borne from this effort to control society to save it. There’s an important lesson in humility there, if humans are wise enough to see it.
Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune. Bylines: Newsweek, The Washington Times, MSN.com, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, the Epoch Times.
http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.png00Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngFoundation for Economic Education (FEE)2021-06-13 08:49:322021-06-13 08:49:32MIT Data Scientist: Lockdowns Not Correlated With Fewer Deaths (But Are Correlated With More Unemployment)
Israel is quite literally a miracle. What other country could withstand a daily barrage of attacks and smears, and still thrive and prosper as the Jewish state does? The world’s leading corporations can’t get enough of Israel’s groundbreaking technology. #BDSFail!
Israel’s innovation technology sector broke another capital funding record this week and has now topped $10.5 billion since the start of the year – the same amount raised in all of 2020, according to Start-Up Nation Finder. This is the second major report to highlight 2021’s sizzling cash flow for blue-and-white startups in recent weeks.
“The market is clearly ‘red hot’ with a lot of money flowing into early and late-stage companies, some of which with valuations that don’t always make sense. Companies that raise now should manage their cash in a clever way, balancing between the desire to ‘push forward’ and gain a competitive edge while keeping some for a rainy day,” Lior Handelsman, General Partner at Grove Ventures, tells NoCamels.
Funding seems to be pouring into local startups especially in cybersecurity, fintech, and enterprise sectors, with companies in these spaces hauling in $6.2 billion or 60 percent of all investments.
The world demand for solutions in these fields — cybersecurity, fintech, and enterprise– are high in part due to the massive forward push of digitization in the wake of COVID-19.
“Part of that accelerated growth of course has to do with COVID-19, and continued low interest rates in the world, which is creating demand to invest in the tech sector,” Dekel Persi, co-founder and managing partner at TPY Capital, said in a statement.
According to the new report, Israel recorded an increase of 137 percent in funding growth for the first five months of 2021 compared to the first five months of 2020.
Most of the funding comes from foreign investors, according to the report. Investment performance worldwide stands at 89 percent, Europe has recorded an increase of 123 percent for the same period, the US has seen an increase of 91 percent and Asia has seen an increase of 69 percent, according to PitchBook data.
http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.png00Pamela Gellerhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngPamela Geller2021-06-13 07:52:472021-06-13 07:59:44Israeli Startups Smash Funding Records, Reel In $10.5B In Just Six Months
The Marxist Governor of California is lying and bragging simultaneously about a phony, rosy economic picture in the once Golden State. Gavin Newsom has crushed business and only a few Constitutional Americans have had the guts to say “no” to his unconstitutional attacks.
Graham Ledger speaks with the owner/operator of the Apple Bistro, Jennette Waldow, in Placerville, CA. about the price one restaurant is paying for standing up to a tyrannical government.
http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.png00Graham Ledgerhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngGraham Ledger2021-06-12 05:03:332021-06-12 05:03:33VIDEO: Tiny Bistro In Very Blue State Standing-up to Government Tyranny
Mike Fratantuono grew up in a restaurant. Literally.
For decades, Sunset Restaurant in Glen Burnie, Maryland, was the family business. Over the years, he’d done seemingly every job imaginable: busboy, bartender, and butcher; prep cook and plumber; handyman and manager.
Fratantuono says that’s what made it so hard to watch the family’s legacy become a COVID casualty in 2020.
“It kills me. We were supposed to be getting ready to celebrate our 60th anniversary this year, and instead we’re packing up and closing at the end of this month,” Fratantuono told the Washington Post last year. “I try not to get too sentimental about it, because it won’t change a damn thing, but sometimes the stress hits me and my heart starts going like crazy. I get frustrated. It makes me angry.”
Fratantuono is just one of the countless business owners across America who saw their dreams vanish before their eyes in the wake of government lockdowns that crushed their businesses. Now, in the wake of the pandemic, states across the country are advancing legislation to curb the powers of public health departments following one of the most destructive and contentious years in American history.
Reining in Public Health Agencies
In May, the Network for Public Health Law published a report showing that in recent months no fewer than 15 state legislatures have passed or are considering passing measures that would restrict the legal authority of public health departments.
Among the provisions passed or considered are the following:
Prohibitions on requiring citizens to wear masks;
Prohibiting health agencies from closing businesses or schools;
Banning the use of quarantines for people who have not been shown to be sick;
Preventing state hospitals and universities from requiring vaccinations for employees and students;
Preventing local governments from exercising emergency powers that are inconsistent with state health department guidelines;
Earlier this year, for example, North Dakota passed legislation making it unlawful for state officials to force citizens to wear masks—just one of a growing number of states to place restrictions on mask orders. In March, Kansas’s legislature passed legislation that removes the governor’s ability to shut down businesses during a public health emergency.
Meanwhile, more than 40 states passed legislation that made it unlawful for health departments to mandate COVID-19 vaccination.
A recent report found that no fewer than 15 state legislatures have passed or are considering passing measures that would curb the powers of public health departments.
The report concludes that opposition to “reasonable” public health measures poses serious dangers to life and health.
“Legislation to stop expert public health agencies from leading the response to health emergencies creates unforeseen, serious risks to life and health,” the report states. “These laws could make it harder to advance health equity during a pandemic that has disproportionately sickened and killed Black, Hispanic and Latino, and Indigenous Americans.”
Not mentioned in the report, however, are the unintended consequences of the actions taken by public health agencies across the country in 2020. The collateral damage of lockdowns included business closures, job losses, supply disruptions, massprotests, surging violence, increasedmental health problems, unprecedented drugoverdoses, and a collapse in cancer screenings.
Public health agencies, meanwhile, proved incapable of taming the coronavirus through the use of lockdowns. And these struggles were not confined to the United States.
“A new study by German scientists claims to have found evidence that lockdowns may have had little effect on controlling the coronavirus pandemic,” The Telegraphreported last week. “Statisticians at Munich University found ‘no direct connection’ between the German lockdown and falling infection rates in the country.”
The Lesson of Lockdowns
The devastating impact of lockdowns, combined with their failure to slow the spread of the virus, demonstrates why states are right to curb the powers of public health agencies.
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s the danger of unchecked executive power. Using emergency powers, governors and public health bureaucrats across the country took unilateral, sweeping, and indefinite measures that massively damaged livelihoods and infringed on the rights of millions of Americans. People were fined and arrested for simply gathering privately or exercising outside, walking a pet, paddling a boat on the water (alone), or taking a child to the park—even though most transmissions took place in homes and the coronavirus is rarely transmitted outdoors.
Americans may disagree on the precise role public health departments should play in society today. But the pandemic reminded us why checks and balances on concentrated power are so important.
The American constitutional system was deliberately designed to avoid concentrated power because the Framers feared it above all else.
“The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty,” wrote John Adams.
The authors of the Network for Public Health Law report express concern that public health agencies are being stripped of the power to act by dangerous radicals. The truth is that dangerously radical government agencies are being put in check.
Ohio, for example, passed a law in March that limits the length of a public health emergency order to 90 days unless it’s extended by the legislature. The same month, lawmakers in Utah passed legislation allowing the state legislature to override state health agency orders during public health emergencies. Missouri, meanwhile, has proposed a law that limits lockdowns to 15 days, after which extensions must be approved by legislative bodies.
These reforms are not radical. They are both reasonable and sensible. They do not represent an attack on science—which tells us what is, not what we ought to do—but are prudent checks on power from lawmakers acting within their rightful province.
“It is necessary to curb the power of government,” the economist Ludwig von Mises noted in Human Action. “This is the task of all constitutions, bills of rights and laws. This is the meaning of all struggles which men have fought for liberty.”
The preservation of liberty, protected by separating and checking power, is the ideal on which the American system was founded. Following a year that saw Americans’ rights, dreams, and health trampled by central planners wielding vast power with little restraint and few checks, it’s a vision Americans are right to rekindle.
Just ask Mike Fratantuono and the millions of other Americans whose lives were derailed in 2020.
Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune. Bylines: Newsweek, The Washington Times, MSN.com, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, the Epoch Times.
http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.png00Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngFoundation for Economic Education (FEE)2021-06-10 15:29:412021-06-10 15:41:1115 States Are Moving to Curb Public Health Agency Powers Following Lockdown Carnage
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein
In what will be probably the most useless and pathetic G7 meeting in beautiful Cornwall we are going to watch a ballet of carefully coordinated public appearances by our mentally challenged and pitiful so called President, otherwise known as Sniffer Joe as he sure likes sniffing little girls hair!! Anyway, I digress. In just over 4 months in office, an office stolen by the Democrats, we have seen a massive wholesale destruction of the United States and the New Socialist Democrat Party has been leading the charge. The Republicans have been pretty much silent apart from a few. Yes, the swamp runs deep in red and blue.
As Sniffer Joe’s Agenda finally appears to be stalling both here and abroad, he I am sure, is expecting to be taken seriously at the G7. Trust me, those other leaders will be like frenzied sharks in blood infested water ensuring they get every compromise and free dollar they can from this very weak Administration. They likely will.
Oh yes, the press Corp will ensure to attempt to make him look like a senior statesman, to the extent of probably even lying about him. Sure, his gaffes will not be overplayed and his stupidity will be hidden as the others act like a bunch of hyenas trying to get each and every last morsel of meat off the bone!!
I bet Sniffer joe has all sorts of tax money from our seemingly bottomless pits to throw away like the sand fairy. After all, there are important things to do there like open the skies! You know, begin travel again for us ordinary stiffs and not just politicians!
However, he will be the proverbial toothless British Bulldog as I guarantee nothing firm will come out of this meeting.
The UK/N. Ireland border tariffs and goods movement problems will continue especially as we get into the marching season despite admonishing statements from Sniffer Joe who thinks the UK will bow to him. Not going to happen.
The skies will not reopen anytime soon. The billions lost weekly due to this stupidity which saw the loss of approximately 10,000,000 plus travelers going across the Atlantic with their corresponding spending will continue. Oh yes, they will get a commission together to work on it. More jobs for the boys club!
America. We are a nation without teeth, intent on weakening our international status more daily. While America burns Sniffer Joe will be fiddling and acting like a fool. The world will snigger quietly, some more openly, as he fumbles his way through this G7 meeting. Every movement, every action and every word of his will be choreographed and practiced to try minimize the gaffes he will surely drop. His handlers and the friendly MSM will do their best to make him look stately and wise.
We and the world know better. He is incompetent. He can and has been bought. He is mentally incompetent to be meeting with the likes of the other G7 leaders. He is out of his depth as he has been his whole useless political career.
http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.png00Save America Foundationhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngSave America Foundation2021-06-10 07:56:412021-06-10 07:56:41Biden and the G7!
“Preventing commerce, jeopardizing local jobs, and compromising the health future of the port will only hurt Oakland and the region … Many port truck drivers only get paid if they pick up and drop off containers.”
Yes. And also, supporting Hamas’ genocidal jihad is not a good look, no matter how fashionable it is today among Leftists.
OAKLAND (CBS SF/BCN) — Hundreds of demonstrators protested the arrival Friday morning at the Port of Oakland of an Israeli ship from Asia as part of an effort to support Palestinians in their conflict with Israel, according to organizers and port officials.
The protesters carried signs and waved the Palestinian flags outside the port, blocking truck traffic from four marine terminals.
“We will no longer sit and watch as the Israeli government massacres Palestinians, as it continues 73 years of colonization of dispossession of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people,” said Mohamed Shehk of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center.
A number of truck drivers blared their horns in support of the gathering, with participants calling for an economic boycott of Israel after the 11-day Israeli-Palestinian armed conflict.
ILWU Local 10 President Trent Willis said while he and dozens of other longshoremen couldn’t work, he supports the demonstrators and said it’s their right….
A spokesperson for the Port of Oakland sent a statement saying in part while it supports free speech, “Preventing commerce, jeopardizing local jobs, and compromising the health future of the port will only hurt Oakland and the region … Many port truck drivers only get paid if they pick up and drop off containers.”
“We’ve declared victory for the morning,” Wassim Hage, a spokesman for the protesters, said at about 9 a.m. from the Port of Oakland.
Hage is with the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, which advocates in the Bay Area for the Palestinian movement and sponsored the protest aimed at stopping workers from unloading the ship….
http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.png00Robert Spencerhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngRobert Spencer2021-06-10 06:08:292021-06-10 06:09:54Oakland: Pro-jihad Arab Resource and Organizing Center Stops Israeli Ship From Unloading
After several days of watching his social media newsfeeds fill up with antisemitic and anti-Israel posts after the latest round of conflict between Israel and Hamas, Detroit-area restaurateur Jeremy Sasson took a pro-Israel stand on Facebook.
On Friday, May 14, he commented that Israel had the right to exist in peace. He also created a post with an Israeli flag captioned with the words “Am Yisrael Chai — the Jewish people live.”
The next morning, Sasson said his Facebook direct message inbox “exploded” with hundreds of hateful antisemitic messages. Then, he said, about 5,000 1-star reviews appeared on Yelp and Google about one of his restaurants, Townhouse Detroit, that alleged, among other things, that there were rats running around in the dining room and the chef had stuffed an Israeli flag into a patron’s steak.
The ironic thing — The Townhouse Detroit has been closed for months for renovations.
Sasson also owns Townhouse in Birmingham and Prime + Proper in Detroit, as well as a California-inspired project to open by the end of 2021.
“I ended up with 500 direct message requests with messages calling me a Zionist pig and that I was killing women and children,” said Sasson, who has family in Israel. “They threatened to kill my children and burn down my restaurant. In my 36 years, I have known there are people who are antisemitic, but I have never seen it at this scale.”
Sasson said he got a call from the Detroit health department from people calling in complaints of health violations.
“They thought it was odd to get so many health complaints about my restaurant because the city knows I was closed,” Sasson said. “However, as procedure, the health department had to call me to let me know that a formal complaint about rats is now on my restaurant’s record. Now, I must go through the process to expunge that. But it just goes to show you the aggression in today’s culture that [anti-Israel activists] have put out.
“Then you see all the videos of violent acts transpiring in New York and Los Angeles by Palestinian activists going after Jews sitting outside in restaurants. You see who is the real aggressor. It’s not like there’s anybody in the Jewish community walking around looking to go after Palestinians.”
Yelp and Google have shut down the review comment sections for the restaurant and the incident is being investigated by the Detroit and Michigan State Police departments. Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Michigan Regional Director Carolyn Normandin said the organization has had conversations with the office of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel to classify this as a possible hate crime, though formal complaints have yet to be filed to the AG office by the ADL on Sasson’s behalf.
“There are serious legal concerns I have about this incident,” said Normandin, who could not comment further on the issue.
Still, Sasson is hopeful and excited for this summer’s reopening of Townhouse Detroit and welcomes people of all backgrounds and viewpoints to be his patrons. He is taking no threats lightly and will do everything he can to protect the jobs of his workers and the well-being of his guests, he said.
“I’m in the hospitality business, and it’s my job to take care of people and make them feel good at any and all costs,” Sasson said. “I do this regardless of how someone feels about my faith or how they feel about a country where I have family.
“I am ever more grateful for those who dine in my restaurants because I know these people carry no hatred in their hearts.”
If “hate crimes” targeting Muslims do not exist, they must be invented. They’re simply too politically useful to do without. And so it is that the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is aiding a Muslim woman, Fatima Altakrouri, who claims that Southwest would not allow her to sit in a plane’s exit row because she was wearing a hijab.
Just for some perspective, in the last few weeks alone, in Nigeria, Islamic jihadis murdered a Christian pastor and his 3-year-old son. Elsewhere in the same country, Muslims screaming “Allahu akbar” murdered 37 Christians, all the while roaming freely in the presence of security personnel, who did nothing to stop them. In Indonesia, eleven Muslims were arrested for plotting jihad massacres at several Christian churches. In South Sudan, thirteen Christians were murdered in a village that, according to the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, “experiences frequent attacks by Arab Islamic militias.” In Pakistan, a Muslim mob murdered a Christian for trying to defend his sister whom Muslims had stripped naked in the street. In Uganda, Muslims beheaded and removed the tongue of a pastor who had debated Muslims and converted some of them to Christianity.
Now, I don’t mean to minimize the gravity of being denied a seat in the exit row, but compared to incidents of that kind, which take place more or less regularly, it doesn’t seem to be that big a deal. If this is an example of what CAIR can come up with in terms of “Islamophobia,” it’s pretty thin gruel. Yet “Islamophobia” in the U.S. and Europe gets far more international media attention than the global Muslim persecution of Christians. Now, why is that?
As for Fatima Altakrouri, according to USA Today, she has “filed a complaint with the Department of Transportation, saying she was not allowed to sit in an emergency exit row on a Southwest Airlines flight because she was wearing a hijab, but her sister was allowed to sit there without one.”
Altakrouri claims that after denying her request, a flight attendant mocked her as a terrorist: “As I was walking, I overheard her saying to the passengers in the seats that were around that area, laughing, saying that ‘If we sat her there, she’d bring down the plane in an emergency. You can imagine the shock I was in at that time.”
http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.png00Robert Spencerhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngRobert Spencer2021-06-08 06:32:492021-06-08 06:34:30If No Islamophobic ‘Hate Crimes’ Exist, They Must Be Invented. The Next Target Is Southwest Airlines
I recently went on my annual pilgrimage of fly-fishing in North Carolina. I drove this time in spite of the recent gas scare where the pipeline was allegedly sabotaged. Nonetheless, I traveled through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and of course, Florida. Along the way, in all of these states I saw signs clearly stating, “Hiring!” I primarily saw them at gas stations, fast food restaurants, laundromats, supermarkets, drug stores, even bait shops. I was also told by the locals there were numerous big companies in the area hiring as well.
After fishing early in the morning, a buddy of mine and I stopped in Spruce Pine, NC at a KFC/Taco Bell for lunch. Their sign out front invited job seekers to come in on Fridays for their Interview party. “Party?” I asked myself and began wondering if hats and horns were included. It was then I started noticing a change going on. When we ordered our food, the manager was a white woman, but everyone working in the back were all of Mexican heritage. I don’t have a problem with this off-hand except if I have a problem with an order, which I did that day, I couldn’t remember enough high school Spanish to let them know what was wrong. Oy!
I am now hearing more and more stories of companies trying “hiring parties” and other gimmicks to encourage people to come in and go through the hiring process, such as a signing bonus to work at a fast food restaurant. Down here in the Tampa Bay area, a local McDonalds’s made the news when they offered $50 for people to come in and be interviewed for a job. Despite the incentive, very few people applied. One of the managers claimed people didn’t even come in to scam them. The company stopped the experiment after two weeks.
The point is, as the Covid-19 panic dissipates, and companies want to return to normal, they face a brick wall in terms of employment. To illustrate, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest unemployment report states, “Both the unemployment rate, at 6.1 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 9.8 million, were little changed in April. These measures are down considerably from their recent highs in April 2020 but remain well above their levels prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (3.5 percent and 5.7 million, respectively, in February 2020).”
So what’s going on; why don’t people want to work? Quite frankly, why should they if the government is going to pay them not to work? To find out more, I checked with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity who claims, as a result of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which was signed into law on March 11, 2021, the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which provides an additional $300 for eligible claimants, has been extended to September 6, 2021. This includes former employees, and now, courtesy of the CARES Act, independent contractors and other workers who are ordinarily ineligible for unemployment benefits. Translation: just about everyone who asks for it can get it.
Keep in mind, the $300 is a supplement, not the main source of unemployment income. This means a lot of people can be collecting a substantial sum through September 6th. Consider this, if you are the second person in the household responsible for producing income, there is little incentive for you to return to work. Hence, the need for “Hiring!” signs.
To minorities, this is a golden opportunity to advance and obtain job security if they act and prove themselves accordingly. So much so, anyone staying at home to claim the unemployment money may find it difficult to secure a job when the gravy-train has ended.
The point is, while companies are begging for workers, and people are staying home to live off the government’s teat, now is the time to get a good job.
I’d never heard the term before today, but new reporting from the Washington Post explains how some companies are dealing with inflation in their supply costs by shrinking the sizes of their products, to avoid the customer backlash that comes with raising sticker prices.
“Consumers are paying more for a growing range of household staples in ways that don’t show up on receipts — thinner rolls, lighter bags, smaller cans — as companies look to offset rising labor and materials costs without scaring off customers,” the Postreports. “It’s a form of retail camouflage known as ‘shrinkflation,’ and economists and consumer advocates who track packaging expect it to become more pronounced as inflation ratchets up, taking hold of such everyday items such as paper towels, potato chips and diapers.”
Consumers are paying more for a growing range of household staples in ways that don’t show up on receipts as companies look to offset rising labor and materials costs without scaring off customers https://t.co/Hjl3tlV86k
“Consumers check the price every time they buy, but they don’t check the net weight,” consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky told the newspaper. “When the price of raw materials, like coffee beans or paper pulp goes up, manufacturers are faced with a choice: Do we raise the price knowing consumers will see it and grumble about it? Or do we give them a little bit less and accomplish the same thing? Often it’s easier to do the latter.”
This is just a crafty way companies are adapting to a surge in their expenses that isn’t their fault. But it’s more than a novel business trend worth noting—it’s yet more evidence that when policymakers make decisions that ultimately cause inflation, it hurts everyday citizens in their wallets in thousands of small ways. Each instance of paying 2 percent more for something or getting 5 percent less may pass without notice, but overall, you’re quietly getting poorer.
“Shrinkflation” just puts a name to this ongoing reality.
It’s important to remember that the current increases in inflation are directly attributable to policy changes the federal government has made. Rather than pay for their multi-trillion-dollar “stimulus” spending in full with taxes, politicians have opted to have the government simply print more money to pay for it all. This ultimately leads to indirect taxation of us all through inflation.
“Nearly one-quarter of the money in circulation has been created since January 2020,” FEE economist Peter Jacobsen explains. But printing more money doesn’t mean we actually have more stuff, and “if more dollars chase the exact same goods, prices will rise.”
Or, alternatively, packages will shrink. Either way, consumers like me and you lose thanks to Washington’s profligacy.
Like this story? Click here to sign up for the FEE Daily and get free-market news and analysis like this from Policy Correspondent Brad Polumbo in your inbox every weekday.
http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.png00Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngFoundation for Economic Education (FEE)2021-06-06 06:16:482021-06-06 06:17:42‘Shrinkflation’: The Latest Consequence of Reckless Federal Spending, Explained
President Biden has touted his proposed $2+ trillion in “infrastructure” spending, which also includes all sorts of unrelated partisan waste, as first and foremost, a jobs-creation bill. It’s right in the name: the “American Jobs Plan.” Biden himself calls it a “once-in-a-generation investment in America itself,” and has claimed that it would “create up to 16 million good-paying jobs.”
But a new study finds that the president’s multi-trillion-dollar spending plan would actually reduce overall employment.
Remember, the spending plan also includes trillions in corporate tax hikes to partially pay for it. Corporate tax increases are widely known for their job-killing effect, as companies have less money available to invest in and otherwise expand their enterprises.
So, the right-leaning Tax Foundation weighed the benefits of Biden’s proposal against the economic consequences the business tax hikes would have. As a result, the experts conclude that on net, the president’s multi-trillion “investment” would ultimately lead to lower economic growth, lower wages, and 101,000 fewer American jobs over the long run.
Using the Tax Foundation General Equilibrium Model, we find that the combined effects of the tax changes and spending in the #AmericanJobsPlan would reduce U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in the long run by 0.5 percent and result in 101,000 fewer U.S. jobs. pic.twitter.com/xSWNiOzm69
It’s mind-boggling to think that the White House is asking taxpayers to shell out trillions on a grand “investment” plan that will leave us with fewer jobs and smaller paychecks than we started with. But the takeaway from this story is more than just the fact that one policy proposal isn’t worth its costs. This is yet another reminder of the fallacy behind so many government “make work” schemes: the focus on visible benefits while ignoring less visible (but no less real) costs.
Henry Hazlitt famously explained this fallacy in Economics in One Lesson using the example of a bridge. Setting aside the merits of whether we need this particular bridge in a given spot, does building one “create jobs?”
“The argument is that it will provide employment,” Hazlitt writes. “It will provide, say, 500 jobs for a year. The implication is that these are jobs that would not otherwise have come into existence.”
“This is what is immediately seen,” he continues. “But if we have trained ourselves to look beyond immediate to secondary consequences, and beyond those who are directly benefited by a government project to others who are indirectly affected, a different picture presents itself. The bridge has to be paid for out of taxes. For every dollar that is spent on the bridge a dollar will be taken away from taxpayers.”
“Therefore for every public job created by the bridge project a private job has been destroyed somewhere else,” Hazlitt concludes. “All that has happened, at best, is that there has been a diversion of jobs because of the project. More bridge builders; fewer automobile workers, radio technicians, clothing workers, farmers.”
In fact, generally the diversion of resources via government spending is worse than just a neutral moving of jobs from one place to another. It usually results in resources being taken away from profit-driven, in-demand markets where society clearly needs investments and instead allocates them based on politics, lobbying, and politicians’ whims. It’s not exactly shocking that this tends to be a less efficient outcome.
As far as Biden’s “American Jobs Plan” is concerned, it’s easy to see the jobs it would “create” by putting people to work on infrastructure projects. But we are fooling ourselves if we stop our analysis there. When we consider all the private-sector jobs that will never come into being due to the increased corporate taxes, there’s no reason to believe that the president’s “once-in-a-generation investment” will have any positive return at all.
Global Inflation Just Hit the Highest Level Since 2008, International Organization Warns
Proponents of the federal government’s runaway spending and money-printing argue that the US data showing surging inflation are “transitory” outliers or otherwise not representative of a serious looming problem. But new data released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) show that globally, inflation in advanced nations is hitting highs not seen since 2008.
The OECD just revealed that prices across the advanced nations it monitors rose 3.3 percent from April 2020 to April 2021. Energy prices skyrocketed a shocking 16.3 percent, while food prices were less volatile, increasing by a more modest 1.6 percent.
It’s increasingly impossible to deny that both in the US and globally, prices are on the rise. Why does this matter?
Well, inflation acts as a stealth tax on everyday people. Their purchasing power is eroded and their quality of living deteriorates as a result. Inflation manifests itself in countless small yet pernicious ways.
For example, a top Costco executive recently warned that his retail chain is going to have to raise prices on essential basic goods like bottled water and chicken due to the skyrocketing costs it’s facing in its supply chain. Other consumers are getting hit with “shrinkflation” as stores shrink the size of packages for a given price, a sneaky approach for retailers wary of the backlash that comes with raising sticker prices.
Either way, we all lose.
And ultimately all of this can be traced back to policy decisions. Inflation doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s what happens when the government prints money to pay for spending, rather than directly raising taxes.
“Nearly one-quarter of the money in circulation has been created since January 2020,” FEE economist Peter Jacobsen recently pointed out. But printing more money doesn’t mean we actually have more stuff, and “if more dollars chase the exact same goods, prices will rise.”
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and there’s no getting around the costs associated with government spending. This is just how economics works, regardless of whether it’s here in the US or in nations across the globe.
Data of the Day: There are now 8.1 million open jobs in the US, the Wall Street Journalreports, despite the fact that millions of Americans remain on unemployment welfare rolls. Maybe, just maybe, the fact that the benefits pay more than many jobs is a problem?
Meme of the Day: Hey Siri, how does that whole “property” thing work?
Washington, D.C. – The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has submitted public comments to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), urging the agency to raise the wage rates employers are required to pay foreign workers and implement worker-protection rules that were promulgated under the Trump administration. The January 2021 rule, which was delayed after President Biden took office, would establish more realistic wage scales aimed at discouraging U.S. employers from bypassing American workers in favor of cheap foreign labor.
“To ensure that employment-based visa programs operate in line with Congressional intent and are not administered to the detriment of U.S. workers’ interests while exploiting their foreign counterparts, FAIR supports implementation of DOL’s final rule to raise wage rate levels,” the comment reads. “More must be done, however, to improve the effectiveness of the updated prevailing wage rates. DOL must require that all wage levels conform to the statutory requirement of meeting or exceeding the prevailing wage and should implement additional safeguards to ensure that foreign workers are not exploited while U.S. workers are unfairly stripped of economic opportunity and high- quality labor conditions in their own country.”
“Whether DOL requires employers to pay guest workers market wages or not presents a true test for President Biden and the DOL,” said Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “On one hand, the president presents himself as an advocate for American workers, and DOL’s explicit purpose is to protect those interests. On the other, his administration has made it clear that they support a virtual open borders immigration policy. Those two interests are at odds as DOL considers the fate of the rule. The decision will make it absolutely clear which is more important to this administration: the jobs and wages of American workers, or unchecked immigration.”
As expected, powerful business lobbyists and mass immigration groups have flooded DOL with comments from the other side, with the end goal of more cheap foreign labor for unscrupulous employers.
“FAIR’s position is unambiguous. In our comments to DOL, we forcefully urge them to side with American workers by adopting rules that both eliminate incentives for employers to displace and undercut American workers, and ensure that those guest workers whose services are legitimately needed are compensated fairly,” Stein concluded.
http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.png00Federation for American Immigration Reformhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngFederation for American Immigration Reform2021-06-04 06:17:112021-06-04 06:17:11FAIR Urges the Department of Labor to Protect the Jobs and Wages of American Workers
When the news broke yesterday that the meat giant JBS (sometimes known by its previous name Swift) had been hit with a ransomeware attack that shut down meat processing in one of the largest meat processors in the world, my first thought was that if they have financial trouble I don’t care.
For over a decade I have reported, at my other blog Refugee Resettlement Watch, how Big Meat and Big Poultry are changing America’s heartland by being one of the largest drivers of the US Refugee Resettlement Program.
The work is dirty, wages low and turnover high so they need a never-ending supply of migrant laborers of all stripes including large numbers of Somali ‘refugees.’
Think about it! A Brazilian-owned company is changing the demographic make-up of the United States! And, when you buy their meat, you support changing America by changing the people.
And if that isn’t bad enough, since wages are so low, you also fund the social safety net that refugee workers are permitted to tap into.
Is that meat you enjoy worth it? If you can’t live without beef, pork and chicken, I recommend finding a local source!
Here is the superficial story about what is going on, from Yahoo News:
JBS: Cyber-attack hits world’s largest meat supplier
The world’s largest meat processing company has been targeted by a sophisticated cyber-attack.
Computer networks at JBS were hacked, temporarily shutting down some operations in Australia, Canada and the US, with thousands of workers affected.
The company believes the ransomware attack originated from a criminal group likely based in Russia, the White House said.
The attack could lead to shortages of meat or raise prices for consumers.
JBS is the world’s largest meat supplier with more than 150 plants in 15 countries
It was founded in Brazil in 1953 as a slaughtering business by rancher José Batista Sobrinho
The company now has more than 150,000 employees worldwide
Its customers include supermarkets and fast food outlet McDonald’s
In the US, JBS processes nearly one quarter of the country’s beef and one-fifth of its pork
JBS’s five biggest beef plants are in the US, and the shutdowns have halted a fifth of meat production there, according to Bloomberg.
Last month, fuel delivery in the south east of the US was crippled for several days after a ransomware attack targeted the Colonial Pipeline. Investigators say that attack was also linked to a group with ties to Russia.
Colonial Pipeline has confirmed it paid a $4.4m (£3.1m) ransom to the cyber-criminal gang responsible.
So that is the story for mainstream media consumption—Russian bad boys, just being bad boys—but is something else happening?