Perspectives; Thoughts; Comments; Opinions; Discussions

Posts tagged ‘Economics’

4 Key Points Nobody’s Addressing About Trump’s Federal Pay Decision


Reported By Fred Lucas | September 1, 2018 at

12:52pm

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournal.com/4-key-points-nobodys-addressing-trumps-federal-pay-decision/

President Donald Trump makes his way to board Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Thursday.

President Donald Trump makes his way to board Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Thursday. (Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images)

President Donald Trump announced he’s not granting the usual 2.1 percent pay hike for federal employees, prompting staunch opposition from many Democratic lawmakers. It’s the latest move by the Trump administration to try to rein in excessive compensation packages for federal employees, after the president signed three executive orders in May.

“Specifically, I have determined that for 2019, both across-the-board pay increases and locality pay increases will be set at zero,” Trump’s letter notifying Congress said Thursday. “These alternative pay plan decisions will not materially affect our ability to attract and retain a well-qualified federal workforce.”

Here’s a look at what the pay freeze could mean.

1. Fiscal Impact

In his letter to Congress Thursday, Trump asserted the pay hikes would not be responsible at this time:

“I view the increases that would otherwise take effect as inappropriate.

“Under current law, locality pay increases averaging 25.70 percent, costing $25 billion, would go into effect in January 2019, in addition to a 2.1 percent across-the-board increase for the base general schedule. We must maintain efforts to put our nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases.”

However, the impact may be negligible, said Rachel Greszler, a research fellow in economics, budget and entitlements with the Heritage Foundation.

“Basically, it’s not the most efficient reduction in spending or excessive pay, but it’s all the administration can do on their own,” Greszler told The Daily Signal. “And pay increases shouldn’t be automatic.”

2. Current Federal Compensation

In recent years, the Congressional Budget Office and conservative think tanks the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute all produced reports finding federal compensation packages far outpace the private sector.

Further, the government watchdog group OpenTheBooks.com found that one in five of employees at the 78 largest federal agencies has a salary that is six figures. Another 30,000 rank-and-file career government employees earn more than any governor.

A 2017 CBO report estimated taxpayers compensate federal workers with 17 percent more than what similar employees – with comparable education, skills and experience – earn in the private sector.

The Office of Management and Budget during the Obama administration estimated the federal government would spend $337 billion in 2017 on the civilian federal workforce.

Also, with seniority comes at least two pay hikes for some years under the current system. All federal employees generally get a cost-of-living adjustment that is not based on performance. Second, federal employees are paid for each “step increase” they move up in the system based on seniority, which provides a 3 percent hike.

Federal employees get a retirement contribution of between 15 and 18 percent of their pay, while private sector employees average 3 to 5 percent, according to a 2016 Heritage Foundation study. Federal employees also contribute significantly less to their retirement, as taxpayers fund the bulk of the pensions.

3. Performance Pay

Greszler co-authored a 2016 Heritage Foundation study that estimated a performance-based system would reduce federal personnel costs by $26.7 billion.

In his letter to Congress on Thursday, Trump made what seemed to be a long-term point.

“In light of our nation’s fiscal situation, federal employee pay must be performance-based, and aligned strategically toward recruiting, retaining, and rewarding high-performing federal employees and those with critical skill sets,” Trump said. “Across-the-board pay increases and locality pay increases, in particular, have long-term fixed costs, yet fail to address existing pay disparities or target mission critical recruitment and retention goals.”

Simply holding off on raises won’t accomplish anything without broader civil service reform, said Robert Moffit, senior fellow in domestic policy studies at the Heritage Foundation.

“The federal pay system does not effectively reward the most talented and productive because the system is highly standardized,” Moffit told The Daily Signal. “Federal employees in many cases should be paid more and many should be paid less. We need more employees in some areas and less in others.”

4. What Trump Has Done So Far

In keeping with the president’s “drain the swamp” reform efforts, the Trump administration has pushed for civil service reforms in budget proposals to Congress with little action.

However, Congress did pass and the president signed a law to make it easier to fire bad employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs following the VA waiting list scandal in which employees had doctored lists, leaving some veterans to wait excessively long times for care.

Congress has left most of the rest of the federal bureaucracy untouched. However, on May 25, Trump issued an executive order to move the ball on civil service reform.

One order holds nonproductive workers more accountable by speeding up the disciplinary and appeals process. In many cases, it takes more than a year to remove an employee. The order also limits the grace period to shore up their performance from 120 days to 30 days. The order also limits the ability of federal managers from simply moving employees that engaged in poor performance or illegal activity from one agency to another.

Federal agencies would share performance reviews, and also consider performance in making layoff decisions. Previously, layoffs were based on the amount of time employed by an agency.

A separate executive order limits the amount of time a federal employees can spend on union activity during work hours to no more than one-quarter of their workday. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee found more than 12,500 federal workers took “official time” to work on union activities in 2017. Of them, 470 worked in the VA.

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast.

A version of this article previously appeared on The Daily Signal website under the headline “4 Key Points to Consider About Trump’s Federal Pay Decision.”

Democrats, Business-first GOP Senators Block Trump’s Immigration Reforms


Authored by Neil Munro | 15 Feb 2018

URL of the original posting site: http://www.breitbart.com/2018-elections/2018/02/15/democrats-business-first-gop-senators-block-trumps-immigration-reforms/

60 Democrats and business-first establishment Republican Senators blocked President Donald Trump’s populist immigration reform agenda, pushing the hot-button topic towards the November election.

Democratic leader Chuck Schumer used his brief speech before the vote to blame President Donald Trump for the Democrats’ refusal to accept a reform-for-amnesty deal, saying:

President Trump created this problem by terminating the DACA program last August. Since then, President Trump has stood in the way over every single proposal that could become law …  President Trump has failed his test of leadership spectacularly.

The Trump-backed bill, led by Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, lost by 39 to 60, showcasing the political clout of the tacit alliance between pro-immigration progressive Democrats and roughly 12 business-first Republicans, plus at least one anti-amnesty Republican. Many business groups had pressured the GOP Senators to vote against the reforms, largely because Trump promised to cut future legal immigration levels.

The defeat may block pending Senate negotiations over the appropriation of $1.6 billion for the border-wall spending in 2018. The funding decision is slated for completion in late March.

The defeat also invites Trump to make immigration reform a central issue in the November election. White House officials have pushed that strategy in the last few days, noting that polls show that most Americans want immigration rules to favor Americans and their paychecks — instead of cheap-labor companies or immigrants.

The vote showed that several red-state Democrats facing the voters this November joined with the business-first Republicans to maintain wage-cutting immigration, and to preserve the unpopular visa-lottery and chain-migration programs.

Throughout the four-vote series of amendments, few Democrats crossed the line to vote for Trump’s pro-American proposals, while several Republicans backed the cheap-labor amnesty bills.

For example, only three Democrats voted against the Democrats’ main proposal — which would have suspended enforcement of immigration law for migrants who arrived before January 1 (a morning draft of the legislation said the deadline was June 30).

At least two of those Senators only voted no after the 41 GOP Senators had already successfully voted to block the proposal. They were New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall and California Sen. Kamala Harris. The final result was 47 to 54.

Three red-state Democratic Senators voted for the Grassley/Trump measure. They were North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. Roughly 14 GOP Senators voted against the reform. 

Also, eight Republicans voted for the Democrats’ main amnesty bill, which was credited to the Democrat-dominated “Common Sense Coalition.” The amnesty GOP Senators were led by Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Jeff Flake, but also included Maine Sen. Susan Collins, South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds,  Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Tennesee Sen. Lamar Alexander, and Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson. The Democrats’ anti-enforcement measure was also supported by GOP Sen. Cory Gardner, who is actually the chairman of the GOP Senators’ 2018 election campaign.

Media outlets portrayed the GOP’s business-first Senators as “moderates” or “conservatives.”

The 14 GOP Senators who voted against the Grassley-Trump measure included South Dakota’s Sen. John Thune, who is a member of the leadership team with Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell. The no votes included Sen. Ted Cruz, who said earlier he would oppose it because it endorsed an amnesty along with immigration reforms.

The list of 14 Senators also included several pro-amnesty Senators — Collins, Flake, and Murkowski — plus a series of business-leaning Senators, including Sens. Ben Sasse, John Thune, John Barrasso and Mike Enzi from Wyoming, Mike Lee from Utah, Jerry Moran from Kansas, Steve Daines from Montana, and John Kennedy from Lousiana.

Four GOP Senators — Flake, Gardner, Graham, Murkowski — also voted yes for another amnesty bill drafted by Democratic Sen. Chris Coons and GOP Sen. John McCain. That bill was defeated 47 to 52. Sen. Joe Manchin, a red-state Democrat who faces the voters in November, vote against the Coons-McCain giveaway.

Several of the Schumer-allied, pro-amnesty GOP Senators covered their pro-amnesty votes by also voting for the Grassley measure once it was clear that it would fail. They included Alexander, Gardner, Graham, Isakson, and Rounds.

Nearly all Democratic Senators voted against a proposal by GOP Sen. Toomey to financially penalize sanctuary cities. The amendment got 54 votes, which kept it six votes below the 60-vote threshold. Forty-seven Democrats voted against sanctuary-city penalties.

Even without the new laws from Congress, Trump can continue to enforce immigration laws, punish employers for hiring illegals and update visa and security rules to exclude dangerous migrants.

Many polls show that Trump’s 2016 immigration policies are very popular in the polling booth. His proposed amnesty for 1.8 million illegals gets high scores in business-funded polls but is unlikely to shift any votes into the GOP column in November.

Immigration polls which ask people to pick a priority, or to decide which options are fair, show that voters in the polling booth put a high priority on helping their families and fellow nationals get decent jobs in a high-tech, high-immigrationlow-wage economy. Those results are very different from the “Nation of Immigrants” polls which are funded by CEOs and progressives, and which pressure Americans to say they welcome migrants.

Four million Americans turn 18 each year and begin looking for good jobs in the free market.

But the federal government inflates the supply of new labor by annually accepting roughly 1.1 million new legal immigrants, by providing work-permits to roughly 3 million resident foreigners, and by doing little to block the employment of roughly 8 million illegal immigrants.

The Washington-imposed economic policy of economic growth via mass-immigration floods the market with foreign laborspikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up real estate priceswidens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with opioid addictions.

Apple CEO: Trump Tax Plan ‘Will Result in Job Creation and a Faster Growing Economy’


Reported by Lucas Nolan | 18 Jan 2018

URL of the original posting site: http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2018/01/18/apple-ceo-trump-tax-plan-will-result-in-job-creation-and-a-faster-growing-economy/

Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a recent interview that President Trump’s tax plan would result in a faster-growing economy and greater job creation.

In an interview with ABC News, Cook discussed a number of recent announcements by Apple, including their plan to invest $350 billion in the U.S. economy over the next five years and how President Trump’s tax plan will help the U.S. economy. Cook refused to “take a position” on how the new tax plan will affect individual Americans but commented on the corporate tax saying, “I do believe the corporate side will result in job creation and a faster growing economy.” Cook added that under Obama’s tax plan, the $38 billion tax payment the company plans to make as part of repatriating offshore cash would not have been paid.

“I hope — I have that faith — that it will be used for great purpose for the country,” said Cook, “whether that’s infrastructure or education, or what have you, that will further supply jobs in the U.S.” Cook criticized the Obama-era tax plans saying that he “never thought” that the old tax system was “good for the United States.” Cook stated that he believed the harsh tax restrictions forced “people to invest elsewhere instead of within the country.” Cook also believes that a company like Apple could only have been founded in America and they have a responsibility to give back to the country, “one of the ways to do that is to create jobs,” said Cook.

Cook also discussed the company’s decision to pay employees $2500 in stock grants, “We’re one of the few — we’re probably the only company of our size where every person is an owner in the company,” Cook said. “… Instead of a onetime kind of bonus, we wanted to do something that lasts a longer period of time.” Apple will reportedly be focusing on three areas in the future: direct employment by Apple, spending and investment with U.S. suppliers and manufacturers, and helping to grow the thriving app-store economy. 

We believe deeply in the power of American ingenuity,” said Cook, “and we are focusing our investments in areas where we can have a direct impact on job creation and job preparedness. We have a deep sense of responsibility to give back to our country and the people who help make our success possible,” Cook said in a press release.

Watch the full ABC News interview here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan_ or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com.

Venezuela: Maduro Raises Minimum Wage by 40 Percent to $2 a Month


Reported by Ben Kew | 3 Jan 2018

URL of the original posting site: http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2018/01/03/venezuela-maduro-raises-minimum-wage-by-40-percent-to-2-a-month/

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, shown in this November 24, 2017 file photo, maintains that the United States is carrying out “financial persecution” against Caracas | AFP/AIZAR RALDES

Venezuela’s socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro has raised his country’s minimum wage by a further 40 percent, meaning public sector employees will now earn around two dollars a month in his seventh and final major hike of 2017.

“We have good news regarding the protection and stability of all the workers,” said Maduro in a televised address. “I am announcing the rise of the national minimum wage by 40 percent for all our doctors and public sector workers.”

The move means that working Venezuelans will now receive a basic salary of 248,510 bolivares, equivalent to $2.02 a month. On top of that, they are also handed an increased food ticket worth 549,000 bolivares worth $4.46, meaning their total income amounts to around $6.48.

Over the course of 2017, Maduro instigated seven separate minimum wage hikes in order to fight back at what he describes as an “economic war” led by the United States and other Western powers against his regime. However, the hikes are only like to worsen the country’s unprecedented rates of inflation continually depleting the value of its currency, meaning that figure is only likely to fall.

According to latest figures, inflation rose by a staggering 1,369 percent between January and November last year. The figures were only released by the country’s opposition, as the Maduro regime refuses to publish them.

As part of his socialist “Bolivarian revolution,” Maduro’s late predecessor Hugo Chávez would boast of Venezuela having the highest minimum wage in Latin America, equivalent to $372 a month. However, inflation began to soar as early as 2007 and accelerated further after oil prices crashed in 2012. In recent years, Venezuelans have been seen carrying thousands of banknotes to buy the simplest of products, in scenes similar to Germany’s Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation crisis. The government has responded by introducing higher denomination bank notes, although even the maximum note of 100,000 bolivares is still worth under one dollar.

Hyperinflation is just one of many serious economic problems faced by the regime, who in November defaulted on their debts, which amount to around $200 billion, mainly owed to Russia and China. The government is also facing the pressure of economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union, which mainly target the country’s state-run oil company, Petroleum of Venezuela, as well as a number of government officials.

The Maduro regime is currently moving forward with plans to launch its own national cryptocurrency known as the ‘Petro,’ backed by the nation’s considerable reserves of oil, gold, and diamonds.

Follow Ben Kew on Facebook, on Twitter at @ben_kew, or email him at bkew@breitbart.com.

WSJ: The Tax Cuts Will Grow the Economy by Much More than Expected


Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Reported by John Carney | 18 Dec 2017

URL of the original posting site: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/12/18/wsj-the-tax-cuts-will-grow-the-economy-by-much-more-than-expected/

Tax cuts are going to grow the economy by much more than expected.

That’s the verdict of the Wall Street Journal‘s prestigious “Heard on the Street” column. Importantly, Heard on the Street is run by the news side of the WSJ, not its tax-cut loving editorial page. So there’s no particular pro-tax cut or pro-Republican bias at work here.

Justin Lahart of Heard writes:

There were several surprises for investors when Republicans unveiled their final tax bill Friday, but the most significant is that they add up to a bigger boost to economic growth next year.

The bigger stimulus could fundamentally change how the market behaves in 2018. Sales and profits will be stronger than most investors expect. But with the unemployment rate low, wage pressures will mount faster, and inflation should pick up more. If the tax plan passes, as seems likely, it could lead the Federal Reserve to raise rates faster, putting the bond market at risk.

The tax plan was always expected to juice the economy, but the Senate version, which passed after the House approved its bill, had relatively modest short-term stimulus. While the stock market kept rising in anticipation of a cut, the bond market hardly budged. The bill unveiled Friday front-loaded more than $200 billion in stimulus for next year. Economists had been penciling in a boost of about a third of a percentage point next year. Now that is looking way low.

Some of the pro-growth changes include eliminating any delay to the corporate tax cuts, lowering of the top individual rate, lowering rates for most taxpayers, and increasing the child tax credit. The latter is particularly important because middle-class households are “more likely to spend extra income than the rich.”

The tax bill could increase GDP by 1.3 percent, Lahart writes.

That’s an additional full percentage point gain from what economists had been expecting based on earlier bills.

(Full disclosure: I used to work for Heard on the Street and consider Lahart a personal friend. He’s had me over to his apartment for fish.)

Massive $300 Million Plant to Be Built in the United States, Trump Wins Again


Reported By Ben Marquis | November 21, 2017 at 2:42pm

URL of the original posting site: https://conservativetribune.com/massive-plant-built-trump-wins/?

President Donald Trump was elected in large part on a promise to revitalize our nation’s economy through pro-business and pro-growth policies that would produce countless new jobs for American workers. Though Congress has been dragging its feet when it comes to economy-boosting tax cuts and reform legislation, Trump’s administration has done what it can to spur job growth through cutting regulations and fostering confidence among businesses and consumers.

Fox Business reported this week that Tyson Foods, one of the biggest food companies in the world, will be building a massive new plant in Tennessee. The plant will cost an estimated $300 million to build and will provide for at least 1,500 new jobs processing more than 1.25 million chickens per week. The plant is expected to generate upwards of $150 million in additional revenue for the state.

“This project will enable us to provide even more fresh chicken to consumers across the country,” Tyson Foods president and CEO Tom Hayes said in a news release. “As one of the world’s leading protein companies, we continue to raise the world’s expectations of how much good food can do.”

The new plant, which is expected to begin operations in 2019, was initially planned as an even bigger facility in Kansas, but was ultimately shifted to Tennessee after local residents expressed opposition in Kansas.

“The (Tennessee) location is attractive to us because of the strong support we’ve received from state and local leaders, the existing industrial park and availability of labor, as well as access to feed grains produced in the region,” stated Doug Ramsey, group president of Poultry for Tyson Foods.

Meanwhile, Fox Business also noted that progress is already underway in Tennessee for construction of a massive, one million square foot factory in which LG Electronics will manufacture new washing machines. That plant is also expected to be operational in 2019.

But even though Kansas may have been passed over as the initial choice for the new Tyson chicken plant, the company still has its eye on the state for an additional expansion in the future, according to The Kansas City Star, meaning even more jobs and economic growth in the years to come.

“We have been fully aware they were considering multiple locations and planning to build more than one new complex,” explained Jackie McClaskey, Kansas’ secretary of agriculture. “We anticipate positive news in 2018 as we continue to work with multiple Kansas communities and Tyson.”

Even as plans for the one plant in Leavenworth County were placed on hold due to local opposition, other communities have expressed interest in being home to a new Tyson plant that will bring in jobs and revenue.

Nor are there any hard feelings — at least in public — at being initially passed over for a new Tyson plant, as the Kansas Department of Agriculture issued a statement congratulating both Tyson and Tennessee on working out a deal, with an obvious eye toward working together in the future.

“Consumer demand drives growth in the food and agriculture industry, and we have been aware throughout our own discussions with Tyson Foods that their expansion plans included multiple facilities in more than one state, so this announcement was not unexpected,” said department spokeswoman Heather Lansdowne.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Tyson Foods as they further evaluate expansion of their poultry business unit growth opportunities in Kansas,” she added.

Meanwhile, as American businesses expand manufacturing capacity here at home, Trump secured dozens of business deals with foreign nations such as China during his recent trip to Asia, according to CNBC.

It was estimated that, of just 37 deals struck with Chinese companies alone, roughly $250 billion will flow into the U.S. economy as a result.

Left unspecified are similar deals struck with businesses in the other nations Trump visited that could also result in tens of billions more in tax revenue initially and create an untold number of jobs.

This is what Trump was talking about when he repeatedly promised to Make America Great Again.

Breaking: Huge CEO Takes Stand, Hits NFL With Devastating News


Reported 

URL of the original posting site: https://conservativetribune.com/ceo-takes-stand-hits-nfl/?

Advertisement – story continues below

After President Donald Trump expressed his opposition to the growing trend of professional athletes taking a knee in protest of the national anthem, the NFL responded by supporting the protests, and some 200 players on countless teams “took a knee” this weekend.

Fans who were disgusted by the protests — viewing it as an anti-American middle finger to the flag and all it represents — have begun fleeing the game in droves, so much so that DirecTV felt compelled to offer refunds to customers seeking to cancel their NFL package subscriptions.

Now, a CEO for a company that advertises during NFL games and provides wardrobes for NBC’s on-air NFL analysts and sportscasters has decided to take a stand against taking a knee. In fact, he has announced that he is pulling all ads and will no longer provide clothing to NBC talent, according to Independent Journal Review.

That CEO is Allan Jones, owner of the payday lending chain Check Into Cash and Hardwick Clothes — billed as America’s oldest suit-maker — according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

“Our companies will not condone unpatriotic behavior” in the NFL, Jones said in a statement. Jones, who has been a big supporter of President Trump, ordered his media buyer — ad agency Tombras Group in Knoxville — to pull all ads for Check Into Cash, Buy Here Pay here USA, or U.S. Money Stores from all NFL games “for the entire season.”

“When I see Colin Kaepernick lecturing the ‘oppressed’ wearing a Fidel Castro T-shirt you realize the hypocrisy to this stupidity,” Jones stated, according to The Chattanoogan. “I love America. They have the right to protest and I have the right to turn off the channel and place our ads elsewhere.”

“The next time someone ask the public to finance a stadium this will have a very long term effect,” he continued. “These guys should really be the lead plaintiffs in the head injury cases — that’s the only jury that will find sympathy!”

“If you will research why Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner you will realize why I am upset about these NFL players protesting. They don’t even know what it is they are protesting,” Jones lamented. “The flag was still standing. 200 English ships tried to take it down. They kept it up all night and it could only be seen when the bombs were bursting in the air. So many patriots gave their lives to keep the flag up — and now to have people protesting who don’t have a clue about any of this bothers me.”

“Our companies will not condone unpatriotic behavior!” he added. “TAKING A STAND … NOT A KNEE!”

Whether Jones is just the first domino to fall or will end up being the lone CEO to walk away from the NFL remains to be seen. However, if public pressure continues to mount and the NFL refuses to address the issue that is driving fans away, we suspect Jones will likely be the first of many to choose standing patriotically over kneeling.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: