Born into wealth, Trump attended private schools and inherited $40 million when he was just 28 years old. He didn’t spend summers volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in Appalachia. He didn’t take a gap year to put that fancy private school education to use tutoring inner city kids. So, frankly, it’s easy to understand why he opposes raising the minimum wage. This guy who was born with a really, really silver spoon in his mouth doesn’t have a clue what living on $7.25 an hour means.
USW International Vice President (Human Affairs)
A Woody Guthrie song says, "sometimes they rob you with a six-gun, sometimes with a fountain pen."
That's a good description of the legislative coup that is going on right now against the elected government of President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, where I visited last month to participate in a trade union seminar on racial equality.
A majority of Brazil's 200 million people are of African descent. For decades, Afro-Brazilians have faced discrimination in one of the world's most unequal economies. But under the government of President Dilma and former President Lula da Silva, things began to change. Massive social investment, legal reforms and strong labor unions helped bring 40 million Brazilians out of poverty. Government ministries were established to protect the rights of women and Afro-Brazilians.
Two former Republican governors are running for president and vice president on the Libertarian line. They are Gary Johnson, former New Mexico governor, and William Weld, former governor of Massachusetts. The Libertarian Party holds its nominating convention in Orlando, Florida, over Memorial Day weekend.
The Libertarian Party could play the spoiler role in 2016 for Donald Trump, just as Ralph Nader did in 2000, but this time helping to tip the election to the Democrat.
Its minor-party counterpart on the left, the Green Party led by standard bearer Jill Stein, is far less likely to draw a comparable level of support from disaffected Bernie Sanders supporters. Sanders himself has already said he’ll support the Democratic nominee.
Unlike the typical third party candidates, Johnson and Weld are experienced mainstream politicians. Johnson, a former construction company entrepreneur, served two terms from 1994 to 2002, winning both elections by ten points. Weld was a highly popular and moderate governor of the Bay State. He won re-election by the largest margin in state history in 1994.
Co-Director, Author, Center for Economic and Policy Research
Many people might think that Donald Trump can only teach the country how to offend women, African Americans, and a range of non-European ethnic groups. While that may be his area of expertise, it seems that his rants on dealing with debt may actually provide a teachable moment. As a result, the country, and possibly even the policy elites, may get a better understanding of when and how debt can pose a problem.
Trump first raised the debt issue a couple of weeks ago when he implied that as president he would negotiate discounts on U.S. debt just like he did with many of his businesses that faced bankruptcy. In those cases Trump could tell his creditors that if they didn’t make concessions, like accepting fifty cents on each dollar of debt, then he would go into bankruptcy. If a Trump business went into bankruptcy, the creditors might have to wait years to get anything and may end up with much less than the discount Trump proposed.
That might work for a business, but it doesn’t make sense for a government like the United States, which has a perfect credit history and borrows in a currency it prints. Trump later made exactly this point. Of course since the U.S. government prints dollars, it is hard to see what it could mean for the country to go bankrupt, unless we forget how to use the printing presses.
But there is still a story about discounted debt that does make sense to which Trump referred — if interest rates rise, the market value of long-term bonds falls. If we issued a 30-year bond in 2016 at 2.6 percent interest (roughly the current rate) and the interest rate in 2017 rose to 6-7 percent (the 1990s interest rates), then the market value of the bond will fall by around 40 percent.
The International Trade Commission (ITC) just released its 792-page monster of a report on the “likely impact” of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the US economy. The findings are largely positive on net but tiny, which confirms two of my priors. First, I see no rational way your support or opposition to the TPP can be informed by these findings, and second, trade agreements, as opposed to trade, have little to do with US growth and jobs.
That is not, btw, meant to be a critique of the report. The fact that it shows tiny results, which I’ll get to in a moment, comports (as I said above) with my expectations of the economic impact of a trade agreement with a bunch of countries, 6 with whom we already have trade deals.
But as I’ve stressed before, it is beyond our capacity to plausibly model the impact of a complex, 6,000 page, 12-country trade deal 15 years out! Remember, we’re severely challenged trying to accurately predict GDP or jobs out one quarter or one month. And while the ITC report fails to provide confidence intervals around its estimates, they’d likely cross zero (i.e., be statistically indistinguishable from no change at all).
Chief executive officers at S&P 500 companies made on average a whopping 335 times more than ordinary rank-and-file workers in 2015, according to a new AFL-CIO report.
The AFL-CIO, the largest federation of labor unions in the United States, found that while working people continued to see stagnating wages averaging just $36,900 per year, CEOs thrived to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.
Outsourcing has only made the gaping pay disparity between the people who do the work and the people who reap the benefits even worse.