Join Jim and Greg for three crazy martinis today! First, they wade into the battle over how schools should open, with President Trump and teacher unions unsurprisingly on opposite sides of the debate. Jim offers a highly entertaining theory on how a recent head injury may explain some of his troubling decisions. And they have a lot of fun dissecting the new presidential campaign of Kanye West.
Democrats in Congress and in Virginia are pursuing legislation they say protects the right of workers to organize but critics say it’s nothing more than an effort to compel union membership for workers whether they want to belong or not.
This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, also known as the PRO Act. Supporters claim it paves the way for employees to organize if they wish and protects them from retribution from employers. Critics contend it forces workers to pay union dues even if they don’t want anything to do with a labor union.
Opponents also warn that the legislation would force independent contractors to be classified as employees, a designation that has led to major upheaval in the gig economy in California after similar legislation was enacted last year.
In addition to the debate in Congress, which will likely go nowhere in the U.S. Senate, the new Democratic majorities in Virginia are also taking aim at right to work laws with competing bills in the House of Delegates and the State Senate.
Further complicating the Democrats’ efforts are statistics from Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam. According to his projections, repealing right to work laws in Virginia would cost the commonwealth $11 billion and 37,000 jobs.
With both sides of the debate claiming to be on the side of workers, what does the evidence show? What protections already exist for workers wishing to organize and what would the bills in Washington and in Virginia actually accomplish?
We get answers to those questions with National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix.
Black Americans can escape the cycle of failed schools, rampant poverty, and government dependence if America as a whole embraces the proven values that made our nation the envy of the world, according to a new report from the conservative Project 21 Black Leadership Network.
Entitled “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America,” the report offers 57 proposals in ten different policy areas that Project 21 believes would lead to a thriving U.S. and a resurgent black community.
The proposals range from taxes to criminal justice reform to relations between police and local communities, but education is central to the goal of lifting black families to stability and prosperity.
Statistics show just 38 percent of blacks earn a four-year college degree in six years, compared to 62 percent for whites, 63 percent for Asians and almost 46 percent for Hispanics.
Project 21 Co-Chair Horace Cooper says failing schools are not preparing many black students for college.
“What you’re seeing is a disproportionate number of graduates at these places can barely read the diploma that they’re given. In 2017, six percent of black high school students who took the American College Testing exam (ACT) met the four benchmarks that were necessary for college readiness,” said Horace.
He points out only 35 percent of white students met those benchmarks, along with just under 50 percent of Asians. Cooper that is an indictment of our public schools across the board.
“In Europe and much of Asia, they are insisting that their education system deliver for their young people. In America, we’ve been much more interested in letting bureaucrats get cushy jobs and make sure that unions get the support that they need, rather than insisting we absolutely need our kids to be able to read the diploma that we hand them when we graduate,” said Cooper.
He says this is a crisis that must be addressed now.
“The main thing we’re trying to emphasize with this report is that there are certain strategies and policies that have the effect of hurting people who are working class and poor. Minorities tend to be more disproportionately poor,” said Cooper.
“Our public school systems in too many inner cities are simply failing. Black Americans are disproportionately enrolled in these failing schools,” he added.
Cooper says nothing has changed despite decades of poor results.
“Many of these cities refuse to incorporate ideas like competition, school choice, opportunities to let the faith community play a role. And they often have a very hostile attitude about even parental involvement,” said Cooper.
And, in a toxic pattern, inner city students with a poor education see few options when they become adults.
“If you are not equipped to compete in the 21st century marketplace, you are going to suffer dramatically and you may end up feeling forced to pursue non-legal means of providing for yourself,” said Cooper, who says the other common alternative is to live off government assistance programs.
Cooper says local governments need to start threatening to decrease funding unless results improve, instead of throwing good money after bad in failing schools.
He also says America must again embrace the principles that made us the envy of the world.
“It started with the building blocks, family. It started with faith, free markets, personal responsibility, limited government. These attitudes, these strategies led to America’s success and they will lead to any group’s success,” said Cooper.
He says liberal intellectuals started gutting those principles and convincing millions of people to follow a different course.
“A bunch of seemingly smart people said we don’t need those things. ‘Family? That’s so yesterday. We need Washington, D.C., bureaucrats to come in and dictate. We need massive government. Free markets can’t be trusted,'” said Cooper.
Cooper says Ronald Reagan proved twenty years later that the ethos of the 1960’s was wrong but the fight still goes on to return to the formula for American success. Cooper is confident it’s not too late.
“If we do it again with intentionality, we can do it in America and end a lot of the poverty that we see,” said Cooper.
President Trump’s embrace of new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports is largely believed to be behind the exit of his top economic adviser, and one free market advocate is concerned that it could hurt American consumers and stunt the nation’s economic growth spurt.
Last week, during a meeting with executives from America’s leading steel and aluminum manufacturers, Trump announced his new policy.
“We’ll be imposing tariffs on steel imports and tariffs on aluminum imports. Pretty much all of you will be immediately expanding if we give you that level playing field, if we give you that help,” said Trump in announcing 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and a 10 percent surcharge on foreign aluminum.
The policy comes as little surprise, since Trump routinely condemned what he characterized as terrible trade policies with the likes of China and Japan and vowed to revive American manufacturing by addressing America’s trade posture.
However, Texas Public Policy Foundation Senior Economist Dr. Vance Ginn believes tariffs are the wrong policy for Trump to pursue.
“I think this would be bad for Americans overall and reduce our economic potential over time, which had been boosted by the tax cuts last year and the regulatory reforms that were made. I’d rather see those sorts of things boosted instead of tariffs and trade practices such as this,” said Ginn.
Ginn says the simple fact is that charging more more imports means higher prices for all of us.
“If you raise the cost of doing business, that hurts business and it hurts American consumers. Whenever you look at raising steel prices and aluminum prices, those are in the cars that we drive and the buildings where we work and in many other aspects of capital throughout our economy,” said Ginn.
He also says we were reminded just last decade in the George W. Bush administration that steel tariffs don’t necessarily get the intended results.
“Some estimates show that cost us about 200,000 jobs. I would hate to see more Americans not have a job when we’ve had an expanding economy,” said Ginn.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross estimates that the steel tariffs would result in a bump of one half of one percent to three-quarters of one percent, an average of about $700. He says the difference is “trivial.”
Ginn says that approach badly undermines the administration’s defense of the tax cuts.
“If $1,000 is just crumbs according to Nancy Pelosi but a big deal according to those in favor of the tax cuts, $700 is also a big deal. That takes away a lot of the potential from those bonuses that they had before to [add income],” said Ginn.
But with significant trade deficits and China dumping steel into this country in violation of World Trade Organization protocols, the U.S. stands at a tactical disadvantage.
Ginn says that doesn’t explain why the tariffs apply to everyone.
“The proposal so far would be a global tariff on steel and aluminum. It wouldn’t just hit China. So if there are those issues with China, let’s deal with those, not necessarily make it for everyone to pay these higher costs,” said Ginn.
Ginn also says the effort to reduce our trade deficits starts with a tough look in the mirror.
“Let’s look at what we’re doing here at home that’s also maybe raising the cost of living and raising the cost of doing business such that China and other countries are having a competitive advantage in the global market,” said Ginn.
“Let’s look at the cost of unions and what they’re doing to the cost of labor over time. Let’s look at our minimum wage and what that’s doing over time. Retirement pensions. There are a number of factors that are raising the cost here that are putting us at a disadvantage compared to other countries,” said Ginn.
Ginn believes America’s position on the global trading stage is already on the upswing thanks to the tax reform bill.
“That helps to reduce the cost of doing business. It allows us to be more competitive on a global playing field. I think we should look at more of those things, along with regulatory reforms,” said Ginn.
According to Ginn, the way to help an economy flourish is not to add more complications but to remove as many as possible. He says it’s led to a booming economy in Texas.
“The ability for us to focus on freedom and free markets has allowed us to be a powerhouse. As an independent nation, we would be the tenth largest economy in the world and continue to create a lot of jobs. In fact, over the last decade, we created 26 percent of all new jobs that were added in the United States,” said Ginn.
President Trump’s negotiating tactics often show him throwing out an idea, watching his critics set their hair on fire, and then finding common ground with a less severe approach. Ginn suspects that is Trump’s approach here, as well as an effort to put the heat on officials renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.
“He’s even talked to the Mexicans and the Canadians and said, ‘Look, if we don’t get something done with NAFTA, then I’m definitely going through with these tariffs.’ That puts pressure on the NAFTA renegotiation process as well. I’m hopeful this is not where we’ll be at the end of the day,” said Ginn.
Ginn contends NAFTA could be much better but is not as destructive to the U.S. economy as its critics suggest. He says free trade ought to be the ultimate goal.
“What would be a perfect trade agreement? It would be no trade barriers between the countries that are involved. Instead, we have a 1,700-page trade agreement with NAFTA.
“So what does that do? That picks winners and losers throughout the whole economy. There’s a lot of ways to renegotiate to make this more of a free trade agreement. I’m just a little concerned that’s not where we’re going to go if we start picking out even more winners and losers in the process,” said Ginn.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud Veterans Affairs Sec. David Shulkin for demanding broader authority to fire personnel, such as the one recently discovered to be viewing pornography while with a patient. They also discuss the latest round of sexual harassment allegations aimed at Fox News. And they get a kick out of powerless Senate Democrats trying to make demands in exchange for allowing Neil Gorsuch to get confirmed.