Big government

Democrats’ minimum wage hikes will kill jobs, small businesses: Former McDonald’s USA CEO

Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer’s plan to raise the federal minimum wage to $22 per hour is “absurd,” former McDonald’s USA CEO Ed Rensi warned FOX Business’ Dagen McDowell Monday. “It will put small businesses out of business; it will be dilatory to job growth in every way possible,” Rensi said on “Mornings with Maria.” Rensi noted small businesses are the biggest ongoing generators of American jobs. Small businesses employ 47.3 percent of the private workforce in the U.S., according to 2019 U.S. Small Business Administration data. Restaurants like McDonald’s face labor costs of about 33 percent of its sales, which, according to Rensi, is very high. If the minimum wage increases to $22 per hour as Steyer is proposing, he said the costs of labor will increase 50 to 60 percent. This, Rensi insisted, will result in the price of a hamburger increasing from $4 to $9 or $10. “It just isn’t workable from an economic standpoint,” he said. “It’s inflationary; it’s a job killer, and it’s very depressing to small businesses.” Rensi argued the minimum wage is not meant to be a living wage, maintaining it’s supposed to be an entry-level wage for workers with little-to-no skills. “I think some of these politicians are out of their minds,” Rensi declared. “You would think by now that they understand that the entry-level worker making minimum wage should progress through mentoring and training into other jobs.” When asked about the declining participation in the federal food stamp program SNAP, Rensi expressed his hopefulness. “Most people really would prefer to work for a living and earn the food opportunities that they have and to be able to enjoy the commerce of the United States like everyone else,” he said. He recalled growing up around the coal and steel industries in West Virginia and Ohio where people of “great pride and dignity” were forced by their situation onto welfare. He noted the psychological damage and hopelessness felt by people in such a position.

Raising the minimum wage always sounds good, until its properly analyzed.  And, one would think that a BILLIONAIRE like Tom Steyer would understand that.  But, he’s running for the Democrat nominee for President.  So, he has to spout out the standard talking points that are popular with the Democrat low-information demographic.  Thanks to Ed Rensi for injecting a little common sense into the discussion here.  An entry level job at McDonald’s or some other fast food business is exactly that; an entry level position.  So, the pay isn’t supposed to be a “living wage.”

‘Socialist’ seen as most unpopular quality in presidential candidate, poll finds

A new poll by NBC News/Wall Street Journal indicates that 67 percent of voters are “very uncomfortable” with having a presidential candidate who is a socialist, despite the Democratic party’s front-runner, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., declaring himself as such. Despite this, the liberal candidate who has proposed a progressive legislative agenda as part of his campaign’s bid for the White House, including “Medicare-for-All” and free college tuition, narrowly clinched the first two early-voting states for the season in both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary and is leading in most national polls. Sanders isn’t the only candidate dubbed a socialist though; Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-N.H., who shares many of the same policy stances as Sanders, has also been dubbed the same at times. Socialism was among six other characteristics that gave voters pause. The others included a candidate who is older than 75, had a heart attack in the last year, is younger than 40, self-funds their own campaign with millions of dollars, is gay or lesbian, or is a woman. Fifty-three percent of voters have reservations/are very uncomfortable with someone who’s older than 75. Sanders, the oldest candidate in the race, is 78, and former Vice President Joe Biden, another top contender, is 77. Fifty-seven percent of voters say they have reservations/are very uncomfortable with someone who had a heart attack in the last year. Sanders suffered from a heart attack in October 2019 but made a swift recovery, hitting the campaign trail again less than a month later. Forty-one percent have reservations/are very uncomfortable with someone who self-funds their campaign with hundreds of millions of dollars. Former New York City Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who has risen in the polls in recent months after doling out over $300 million for television ads in states voting on Super Tuesday, has faced tremendous backlash from opponents in his own party and President Trump, accusing him of trying to buy the White House. Forty percent of voters claimed to have reservations/are very uncomfortable with a candidate who is younger than 40, which the youngest contender, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., is at 38 years old. He is also openly gay and married, a fact that makes 27 percent of all voters very uncomfortable, the poll said. Several women have made strong surges in the crowded Democratic battlefield, particularly Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., but 14 percent of voters say they are bothered by a candidate who is female. When identified by name, 47 percent of all voters say they are “very uncomfortable” with Trump on the ballot in 2020; 44 percent say the same about Sanders; 41 percent say that about Warren; and 39 percent say so about Biden.

The big takeaway from this poll is that a majority of voters (67%) are “uncomfortable” with the label of “socialist.”  That bodes very well for Trump.  Another factor was age, and Bernie is the oldest at 78.  He’d be 79 if he were to be sworn in, and voters know this.  So, while many don’t like Trumps crazy Tweets and such, it looks like many would look past that when compared against Bernie’s age and socialist policies.  Of course he’s not the nominee yet, and anything can happen in the next 8+ months before the election.  But, again, this is probably welcome news to the Trump campaign.

Johns Hopkins Study: No Evidence ‘Assault Weapon’ Bans Reduce Mass Shootings

A study released by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health declares there is no evidence “assault weapon” bans lead to a lower “incidence of fatal mass shootings.” The push for an “assault weapons” ban is central to the Democrats’ gun control agenda nationally and is front and center for Democrats at the state level in places like Arizona and Virginia. According to the Johns Hopkins study, researchers”did not find an independent association between assault weapon bans and the incidence of fatal mass shootings.” Researchers did claim licensing requirements like those in Connecticut help reduce the number of mass shootings, but their study omitted the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School in which 26 were killed at the school and another victim was killed in a private home. In other words, a study which claims licensing reduces instances of mass shootings omitted one of the most often cited mass shootings in U.S. history, even though that shooting occurred in a licensing state. Moreover, John Hopkins’ criteria for licensing laws allowed them to bypass Illinois which, in turn, allowed them to sidestep the never ending gun crime of Chicago. But the study was clear there is no evidence tying “assault weapons” to a lower incidence of mass shootings.

Gee..  Imagine that…  This is the type of story you will NEVER see on CNN, MSNBC, PBS/NPR, or any other organ of the dominantly liberal mainstream media, as it totally undercuts their fascist anti-gun narrative.

Opinion/Analysis: Here’s why the Trump administration shouldn’t re-regulate the rail industry

Federal regulators are investigating a new plan to re-regulate America’s freight railroads and the $200 billion of goods and products it hauls across the country each year. It’s a terrible idea that collides squarely with Donald Trump’s efforts to make industries more efficient by eliminating costly and senseless rules. But will the Trump White House tell the Surface Transportation Board, which has oversight over the nation’s network of freight railroads, to cease and desist? To understand why this is misguided we have to shift into reverse back to the bad old days of the 1960s and 1970s, when almost all modes of transportation operated under the stranglehold of Soviet-style price regulation. These rules nearly bankrupted the freight railroads, and a government takeover of the industry seemed inevitable. Instead, in the late 1970s and 1980s, Congress acted to lift the price controls on the airlines, the shippers and the railroads and allow the market to set shipping rates. The Staggers Rail Act deregulated prices and saved the dying freight trains, although it led to dramatic consolidation. Remarkably, these laws were even initiated by liberals such as the late Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and economists in the Carter administration. (Yes, Jimmy Carter got something right.) The Reagan administration accelerated the process. Today, nearly everyone agrees that the deregulation movement in the transportation sector was an unqualified success. Airline deregulation cut airfares for passengers by 50 percent, 60 percent and in some cases, 90 percent. According to a 2000 study by the Surface Transportation Board, “rail economic regulatory reform resulted in significant economic efficiency benefits, most notably rapid productivity growth, that enabled railroads to become financially stronger while lowering average rate levels.” Thomas Gale Moore of the Hoover Institution found that for rail customers, “freight rates fell by 45 percent,” and even though the industry consolidated, it has remained “intensely competitive.” Intensely competitive is an excellent way to describe today’s freight industry — including the transport of everything from Amazon deliveries to oil and gas from the wells to the service stations to crops, lumber, steel and semiconductors. Consumers and producers greatly benefit from our world-class delivery of products. Rail competes with ships, truckers, airlines, pipelines and now drones. That isn’t to say there aren’t some stranded producers who can face monopolistic pricing, but in 2020, that is rare. So, it is puzzling that in a Sept. 12 announcement, the Surface Transportation Board sought feedback on a plan to apply “a rate increase (price) constraint … to long-term revenue-adequate carriers.” A recent report from the Surface Transportation Board’s Rate Reform Task Force suggests that it “create separate rate standards for revenue-adequate and non-revenue-adequate railroads,” according to Supply Chain Dive. It is a backdoor plan to bring back price controls of yesteryear. It would do so through an antiquated provision of the Staggers Rail Act known as “revenue adequacy,” which mandates a bottom-floor level of revenue for the industry. It was meant to ensure the survival of the railroads. The board now would turn that provision on its head and define “adequacy” criteria as an excuse to impose not a floor on prices but a revenue ceiling. Kennedy must be rolling over in his grave. Under this scheme, once rail shippers reach a specific revenue target, the government could deem them as having “adequate” — i.e., enough — funds and arbitrarily cap the rates on additional products they ship. It is similar to the government telling a diner owner, “Once you sell your 500th hamburger, you can’t make a profit on the next 200 that people buy.” The problem, of course, is that regulators lack the knowledge and foresight to know what “adequate” revenue is. Rail shippers’ profits and operating costs fluctuate year over year and can ebb and flow with the health of the overall economy. Also, because this is designed to limit rail profits, economists at the Phoenix Center found that a revenue ceiling would significantly reduce railroad investment at a time when we should be incentivizing more, especially in automation. Such a command-and-control pricing model characterizes regulated industries such as water and electricity. This has been an enormous failure that shields consumers from the benefits of competition, such as more innovation, better prices and more options. It also flies in the face of the economic revival strategy of the Trump administration, which is to deregulate industries aggressively and let markets clear, to the benefit of consumers. Some at the transportation board think Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is president. Back in the late 1970s, when the airlines were deregulated, then-chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board Alfred Kahn, also known as the “father of airline deregulation,” shut the agency down after airlines were allowed to set their prices. It was a clever way to ensure that the regulations would never come back. The Trump administration may want to do the same with the transportation board, which is now trying to justify its existence by bringing back the 1970s regulatory structures. We suspect that some of the shipping industry’s customers may be behind the call for price controls to squeeze lower prices out of the rail industry. Arguably, Trump’s most significant legacy is ending President Barack Obama’s war on business by allowing firms to achieve more substantial rewards for becoming more efficient. The rail industry is doing just that and should be celebrated, not punished, for its economic progress and its return to profitability.

Agreed, and well said, Stephen. Stephen Moore is responsible for that excellent piece.  He is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an economic consultant with FreedomWorks. He is the co-author of “Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive the American Economy.”

 

6.1 Million Individuals Off Food Stamps Under Donald Trump

Approximately 6.1 million individuals dropped off the food stamp rolls since President Donald Trump’s first full month in office in February 2017, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA data showed that 6,074,074 individuals discontinued their participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) between February 2017— when the president completed his first full month in office— and November 2019. Household participation in SNAP declined as well, with 2,489,315 households discontinuing SNAP. There are currently 36,223,717 individuals and 18,448,588 households that are participating in SNAP. When Trump took office, 42,297,791 individuals and 20,937,903 households were enrolled in SNAP. Trump recently made it a point in his annual State of the Union address to stress that he helped the poor move off welfare to find jobs with his recent enactment of work requirements. Under these work requirements, which had been enacted at the state level during the Obama years, those between the ages of 18-49 and without children or dependents who receive food stamps for more than three months in a 36-month period must work, go to school, receive job training, or volunteer to receive benefits. Another way the USDA has been trying to keep enrollment in the food stamp program down is through the use of data-mining practices to identify food stamp fraud. According to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), computer algorithms went through SNAP purchase data in seven states and matched it up with retailer and eligibility data to see if there was fraud. In Mississippi, the state reported $2 million in SNAP overpayments since the state started incorporating data-mining into its fraud detection efforts. But the study was limited, as all seven states said high costs, data limitations, and organizational support affected their ability to use more advanced artificial intelligence-gathering techniques to ferret out fraud. Other states, however, have done similar things with analytics for different welfare programs at the state level. Utah became one of the first states to modernize its unemployment insurance analytics system in 2006 after spending $14 million to overhaul it. In 2015, the state had one of the lowest fraud rates in the country at 1.3 percent.

This is definitely progress, and Utah has a model system that other states should emulate.

Gutfeld on socialism and the Dem candidates

You remember Friday night’s Democratic debate? Yeah, me neither. The high point? When a moderator asked, “Is anyone … on this stage concerned about having a Democratic socialist at the top of the Democratic ticket?” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., was the only one who raised her hand. (We don’t count Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.). It says something good about her, and something frightening about the rest. She thinks for herself as the rest cower before the fringe. The sad thing about this crop? You’re grateful to see even a grain of common sense. Apparently, voicing disgust over an ideological menace that helped to kill millions is now an act of blasphemy. What a mess. Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg is a thesaurus without specifics. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is an evasive phony. Former Vice President Joe Biden sounded like a guy at the bar after he got fired, talking loudly about all the stuff he did better than everyone else. It’s also bad when Democrats say they wouldn’t kill a terrorist. Who are they worried about pissing off? Terrorists? Oddly, they seem more spiteful of companies, which are just made up of people. However, lacking economic skills, Democrats think companies are sinister engines run by the “Monopoly” guy who wears a top hat. They plead for unity while slamming folks who were once examples of American opportunity. As the economy rolls on, with more jobs, wages and satisfaction, they accuse half the country of exploiting the other half. So now, reasonable Democrats have become the fringe, while others parrot the line that America is racist, leading to divisive factions and punitive actions. They deny real progress with race, which puts future progress in jeopardy. How do you measure change when you reject its existence? Amy’s at least rooted in some reality. Which means she’s toast.

Oh, let’s not get crazy, Greg.   But yeah…it’s unlikely she’ll be the Dem nominee.  Gotta  love Greg’s style. Greg Gutfeld currently serves as host of FOX News Channel’s (FNC) The Greg Gutfeld Show (Saturdays 10-11PM/ET) and co-host of The Five (weekdays 5-6PM/ET).

Trump’s DOI Moves to Open Federal Land in Utah for Energy Production, Recreation

President Donald Trump directed the Department of Interior to open up more federal lands for energy production and recreation, including in Utah where he downsized massive amounts of land put off limits by the Obama administration. The Department of Interior announced the finalized plan last week even as environmentalists challenge Trump’s 2017 proclamations to return the boundaries Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante monuments to be consistent with the Antiquities Act of 1906. The plan allows for leasing land in Utah for the mining of coal and drilling for oil and gas and for recreation and tourism. “The approved plans keep the commitment of this Administration to the families and communities of Utah that know and love this land the best and will care for these resources for many generations to come,” Casey Hammond, acting assistant secretary, land and minerals management, said in the DOI announcement. “These cooperatively developed and locally driven plans restore a prosperous future to communities too often dismissed and punished by unilateral decisions of those that would not listen to the voices of Utahns.” “I appreciate the President’s and Secretary [David] Bernhardt’s collaborative approach to both the Grand Staircase-Escalante and the Bears Ears national monuments,” Utah Governor Gary Herbert said in the announcement. “As the Antiquities Act itself states, and as I have reiterated for years, monuments should be as small as possible to protect artifacts and cultural resources.” “And they should not be created over the objections of local communities,” Herbert said. “I’m happy to see the administration develop management plans that protect areas with sensitive artifacts and yet still provide a way to use these lands for recreation, grazing, and management practices that will keep the lands healthy.” “The outcomes are always better when the federal government works with local communities rather than presumes to know what is best for them,” Hebert said. “These management plans are the result of meaningful collaboration that was clearly lacking in the politically-motivated monument designations by past administrations,” Rep. Robert Bishop (R-UT) said in the announcement. “Well-funded special interest groups that aren’t from our state will spread outrageous misinformation, but the fact remains that this administration has continued to take actions that reflect the will of Utahns who call these places home.” “When President Trump reduced the size of both Bear’s Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, he did it with the full support of Utah’s federal delegation and the elected officials who represent those areas,” Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) said in the announcement. “By contrast, the Obama and Clinton administrations snubbed and ignored Utah’s local, state, and federal elected officials who objected to the creation of both monuments.”

Kudos to President Trump and his DOI for this way over-due common sense decision.  Both the Clinton and Obama administrations grossly abused the Antiquities Act to wall off huge swaths of public land; in effect exercising land grabs by the big brother federal government.  This restores much of that land back to the great state of Utah, and allows for energy exploration for our energy independence, and for recreation.  And, despite what the extreme enviro-wackos would have you believe, such activities CAN be done in an environmentally responsible manner.  Again, excellent decision!  For more, click on the text above.     🙂