Our education conundrum: We’ve layered too much mere stuff in the system and created too many incentives for people to advocate against reform.
At the Center, we believe that public workers deserve to know that they now have full freedom to decide whether or not it is in their best interest to pay union dues. That if they choose not to pay, these employees cannot be recriminated against by corrupt union officials.
An essay on NRO by Oren Cass is worth a read for the broad-ranging illustration it provides of the state of politicized science these days. His opening vignette is perfect:
The president of the United States had just cited his work with approval during a Rose Garden speech announcing a major change in American policy, and MIT economist John Reilly was speaking with National Public Radio. “I’m so sorry,” said host Barbara Howard. “Yeah,” Reilly replied.
This was not a triumph but a tragedy, because the president in question was Donald Trump. And the action taken was withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate agreement.
Trump had cited Reilly’s work correctly, saying: “Even if the Paris Agreement were implemented in full” using Reilly’s economic projections, “. . . it is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree . . . Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100.” But as Reilly explained on NPR, “All of us here believe the Paris agreement was an important step forward, so, to have our work used as an excuse to withdraw it is exactly the reverse of what we imagined hoping it would do.”
In other words, this isn’t about science, but about belief, and in this view, science is supposed to find evidence confirming progressive assumptions. That’s what it means to “believe in science.”
As Cass elaborates, this is especially a problem for people who profess to believe in data-driven public policy. If their data starts to raise doubts about their policies, and rather than adjust the policies, they look for new data, the whole thing begins to seem a bit like a scam. More from Cass:
Some check is needed on the impulse to slice and dice whatever results the research might yield into whatever conclusion the research community “imagined hoping” it would reach. In theory, peer review should do just that. But in this respect, the leftward lean of the ivory tower is as problematic for its distortion of the knowledge that feeds public-policy debates as it is for its suffocating effect on students and the broader culture. Peer review changes from feature to bug when the peers form an echo chamber of like-minded individuals pursuing the same ends. Academic journals become talking-points memos when they time the publication of unreviewed commentaries for maximum impact on political debates.
However we feel about Joe Trillo or his recent behavior, the story of his 1975 altercation raises questions about the kind of society that we want to be.
The madness of our time may result from the general public’s “whoa, there” response to progressives who’ve forgotten the keys of their incremental strategy.
One really must wonder where folks like Art Corey get their ideas:
Congratulations to Republicans on their big Supreme Court win. Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation could ensure GOP control over the court for a generation. Who could have imagined that obstructing Merrick Garland would result in not one but two hard-right conservatives joining the court?
“Hard-right conservatives”? What? Kavanaugh was the more-moderate pick, and the whole thing about “conservative” jurists is that they rule according to the law, not ideology or a party’s contemporaneous requirements. The GOP won’t “control” the court; the court will ensure that legislative changes to the law happen in the legislature, whichever party happens to control it. That’s why this is so wrong:
But the Republicans’ lust for power has blinded them to the truth that the court derives its legitimacy from the belief that it is above politics.
If the court is above politics, it has to be because it rules according to the written law, whether or not a particular ruling is politically popular or corresponds to the temper of the time. The entire “living Constitution” idea pushed by the Democrats and the Left more broadly is what makes the court inevitably political. That is why the progressive wing of the court has ruled much more in lock step than the conservative wing and why this seems either disingenuous or naive:
So now any liberal group with business before the court could rightly question the legitimacy and impartiality of its decisions.
Corey would do well to recall that progressive Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg regrets making injudicious statements about Donald Trump not because she allowed herself to have political thoughts, but because it was “incautious.” In other words, she should have kept her bias well hidden.
But nobody is fooled any longer, which is why conservatives seek originalist judges who will rule impartially and restore legitimacy to the court. Every judge has bias; what’s needed is a legal philosophy that really does leave that aside. Conservatives’ hope is that the experience of his confirmation will provide Justice Kavanaugh with some inoculation against the social pressures that sometimes push judges toward the elite (which is to say, progressive) understanding of the law.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation today called out Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and the National Education Association of Rhode Island (NEARI) and its Bristol-Warren local for attempting to mislead government employees in the Ocean State:
The notice comes after Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin – who signed onto an anti-Janus brief at the Supreme Court and received major support from union officials in his runs for public office – made the false claim that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling “only affects non-union members” and does not apply to union members.
The Attorney General is wrong. Under Janus all government employees have the right to resign their union membership and immediately stop any financial payments to union officials. Because the Supreme Court decision made it clear that public workers must opt-in to any union payments and explicitly waive their constitutional rights, union members cannot be restricted if they seek to resign from the union and stop the payment of any union dues or fees.
The Bristol-Warren Education Association (BWEA) and the National Education Association of Rhode Island (NEARI) also issued a letter blatantly misleading teachers about their Janus rights. The letter claims that union nonmembers must pay a NEARI attorney to file a grievance against the union. However, as the Foundation’s notice states, unions are legally obligated to provide grievance service to both members and nonmembers as part of its exclusive monopoly bargaining status.
The BWEA and NEARI union officials’ letter also incorrectly claims that nonmembers are unable to request days from the Sick Leave Bank, even though the BWEA’s monopoly bargaining agreement establishes the Sick Leave Bank for all teachers, including nonmembers, covered by the agreement.
National Right to Work’s statement is in line with the analysis offered in this space in August.
Government employees in Rhode Island who want more information about their rights can visit MyPayMySayRI.com or National Right to Work’s MyJanusRights.org, where employees can also request free legal assistance.
It shouldn’t be too much to ask that the state’s lead law enforcement agent would offer accurate legal opinions to the public and that labor unions would be more truthful with their own employees.
Jonathan Haidt points to the following chart as a partial explanation of why our democracy “seems to have decayed so quickly,” with groups’ believing “that the ends justify the means.” The source is a book titled, Prius or Pickup?: How the Answers to Four Simple Questions Explain America’s Great Divide, by Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler:
Of course, progressives will fit the inflection points of 2000 and 2008 into their narrative about Republicans and racism, but my experience of the first sixteen years of the century leads to an explanation more like this: With the return of the presidency to a Republican after just one Democrat, especially with such a close, contentious election, the Left and the mainstream media began ramping up hatred against the Republican president and Congress as a political strategy. (Note, surprisingly, that the entire episode of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment didn’t move the needle, leaving that out as a first-order cause.)
Seeing the lengths of the animosity by 2004, Republicans began to respond in kind, but it wasn’t until after the election of President Obama that their other-party hatred began to catch up to the Democrats’. Obama definitely contributed to this in both the way he conducted his office and his rhetoric, and conservatives began feeling that they were being shut out and that the Democrat Party was changing the very rules of our government.
These trends brought us from an even contest of seeming moderates in 2000 to a contest of hatred by 2016. Since then, I suspect we’ve hit a plateau. After all, in a fifty-fifty country, it’s difficult to have more than 50% of people hating one or the other of the parties (unless we shift into a new dynamic of voting for the parties that we hate less). On the other hand, I think it is indisputable that the intensity of hatred on the left side of aisle has ramped up by multiples.
Dave Talan has an interesting (by which I mean “ought to be obvious”) take on Providence’s school busing woes:
The Providence school bus drivers strike, the extreme hardships it is causing for families, and the city’s total inability to react to it, raises this question: Why on earth are 9,000 students riding the bus when every one of them lives within walking distance to a neighborhood elementary or middle school?
We need a policy to allow most students to go to the closest school, one that is within walking distance from their home. The parents of most of these 9,000 students would choose this option if it were available to them.
I’m all for a school choice policy that allows families to choose other schools, but that presupposes a default option. If the assumption is that children go to the school that’s within walking distance, with extra capacity available to students elsewhere, the families that choose different schools can be expected to account for the distance.
Sending students around the city as a general practice seems like it unnecessarily uproots them from their neighborhoods, while (naturally) adding expense for union jobs.
What can one say about the revelation — the minuscule import of which is mirrored in the mammoth coverage it has received — that a 30-something Joe Trillo once faced charges for whacking a young-teen Nicholas Mattiello?
As Trillo tells it, he was outside working on his house when he heard a young girl’s screams coming from a nearby home. He saw a group of young boys pounding on the front door of the home, where the girl – who by Trillo’s recollection was was around 12 or 13 – had been left alone.
“I immediately dropped everything I was doing and ran over to the house, and started waving my arms around furiously to disband the group of boys doing everything they could to get in that house,” Trillo said in a statement issued Wednesday morning. “That’s when one of my arms unintentionally struck young Nicholas Mattiello, who was approximately 14 years old.”
According to reports from WPRO radio, Mattiello’s family pressed charges, Trillo pleaded no contest, and, eventually, the assault charge was expunged from the gubernatorial candidate’s record.
WPRI has since found that Trillo was actually found not guilty, and Nicholas Mattiello clearly bears him no ill will, but the most telling detail of the anecdote, for my money, is that the Mattiellos insisted on pressing charges against their neighbor for accidental contact with their son in defense of a young girl. But going down that line of inquiry would require one to believe that an incident from the year of my birth might contribute more to voters’ understanding of the candidate than the behavior that has been on display for the public in more-recent decades.
The larger concern for Rhode Islanders should be the degree to which the whole thing just feels so Rhode Island. People talk about how everybody knows everybody in our state, but that isn’t true. It would absolutely be possible to fill the State House with elected officials who were not each other’s neighbors at any point in the past half century.
The problem is that our government is set up to elevate colorful characters and people of a certain sort and disposition. That’s what needs to change, and its causes ought to be the subject of our public discourse.
From Ancient Rome to the modern day, spending on luxuries is like a valve for wealth, or a voluntary tax paid by the rich, as Edward Gibbon put it.
WPRI reporter Tim White tweeted that this New York Times article about the United Nations’ accelerated doom-saying about climate change is “truly terrifying.” My response was to ask if this section (emphasis added) doesn’t set off his alarm bells:
Avoiding the most serious damage requires transforming the world economy within just a few years, said the authors, who estimate that the damage would come at a cost of $54 trillion. But while they conclude that it is technically possible to achieve the rapid changes required to avoid 2.7 degrees of warming, they concede that it may be politically unlikely.
Look, one needn’t be a climate change skeptic to acknowledge the layers of assumptions that go into these scary warnings. First, one must ignore the lack of warming over the last two decades and assume that the models will be more accurate going forward. Then, one must assume that the change really does derive from human activity and that it’s possible to avert the worst. Then, another wave assumptions comes with predictions about the effect on weather, creating soaking rains where that will be harmful and droughts where that would be harmful, all coming together in a way that doesn’t equalize the effects (by, for example, simply moving where farming must be done). Add in the effect of technology and changes in energy production that have made the United States a leader in CO2 reduction. And don’t forget that one must balance the estimated $54 trillion in costs from warming against whatever the cost would be to rework our economy — including an assessment of the people who bear those costs.
Put that all on a scale that pivots on the promise that giving more power to the people who brought the warning, and a tempered reaction to the terror is justified.
On the American campus, Catholics are forced out of their jobs in the name of presenting a diversity of ideas while hoax papers are published because academics really do believe that identity politics can tell us about the physical universe.
Is a Danish company’s purchase of Rhode Island–based Deepwater Wind relevant to a discussion about corporate cronyism in our government?
Providence-based Deepwater Wind announced Monday that Orsted has entered into an agreement to buy it. Orsted says it’s paying $510 million. …
Deepwater Wind says it’ll expand in the coming years, making Providence and Boston the two major hubs of the company’s U.S. offshore wind activities.
The time line goes like this: To his shame, Republican Governor Donald Carcieri guaranteed long-term profits for a green energy company run by his former chief of staff. Earlier this year, Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo surprised Rhode Island by announcing a secret deal to guarantee the company more profits (and then immediately began fundraising off it).
Now the company’s owners have sold it off to ∅rsted, no doubt at tremendous personal profit. There’s a reason CEO Jeffrey Grybowski hands out about $4,000 per year to key decision-makers in government, with Gina Raimondo taking the lead since 2010, at $6,300 total. So far this year, Grybowski has given the max to Raimondo, Democrat Aaron Regunberg, Republican Allan Fung, and Republican Patricia Morgan — hedging his bets, it would seem.
Rhode Islanders should push back against these gambles. If companies from anywhere in the world can make make a profit in Rhode Island while offering its people something for which they are willing to pay, then we should welcome them for that mutually beneficial exchange. But when our political overlords force us to guarantee profits, the benefits are always imbalanced toward connected insiders.
As part of the recent Providence Journal sponsored “Publick Occurrences” panel discussion at RI College, I’d like to share some thoughts I prepared, but did not have the chance to put forth. The event’s premise – “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?” and the polarization of public discourse – leaves us two factors to consider:
Readers know that I’m not a fan of our campaign finance regime. It imposes a complicated, intimidating set of laws for grassroots candidates and groups that creates opportunity not only for prosecution of them, but also political attacks on their donors.
I have a hard time, therefore, getting worked up about the apparent probability that the campaign of Democrat Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello funded a mailer allowing Republican Shawna Lawton to endorse him in a high-profile way against his Republican challenger, Steven Frias. To the extent the activity is illegal, it is because of this complex, unconstitutional labyrinth we’ve built, with incentive to find workarounds.
That said, the investigation is unearthing an education in the way Rhode Island politics work, and the stunning thing is that the most objectionable things are treated as incidental… and they’re all completely legal. I’ve already highlighted one connection:
House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has put Edward Cotugno, the mail-ballot guru who helped him eke out an 85-vote victory in 2016, back on his campaign team and given his son a $70,000 a year State House job.
Mattiello, D-Cranston, hired Michael Cotugno as the legislature’s new associate director of House constituent-services.
Included in the evidence packet that the board provided to The Journal on Friday, in response to a records request, was an Aug. 14, 2016, text from “Teresa” to [political consultant] “Jeff” [Britt] and his partner, Daniel Calhoun, who is still listed as a $60,891-a-year legislative employee on the state’s transparency portal.
Think of this. Under Mattiello, the legislature has given well-paying legislative jobs (of unknown difficulty) to the son of his “mail-ballot guru” and the man who shares a nice Warwick house with one of his campaign operatives, and the thing we’re supposed to be upset about is a relatively small contribution toward political free speech!
But arguing that the campaign finance investigation is the only reason we know about the rest doesn’t justify burdensome campaign finance laws. When people act in suspicious ways (like endorsing people of other parties or independent spoiler candidates), we should… well… suspect them of having some ulterior motive, unless they can express a persuasive rationale for the odd decision. And if somebody who benefits from that persuasion wants to fund it, their money doesn’t change the validity of the argument.
Ultimately, the answer is just to reduce the size of government and the value of controlling it.
The Kavanaugh hearings have given us a look at what the Left has slowly been doing to those who disagree at the margins and signaled just how close we’ve come to “too late” to oppose them.
Anybody who thinks Fung would be preferable to Raimondo should look askance at the actions of Joe Trillo and Patricia Morgan.
Those who keep an eye on unionized public education often observe the peculiarity that their contracts apply the same pay rates to every teacher at every level, no matter what they teach or the ages of the children. This makes it difficult to pay teachers with more-rare skills dealing with more-difficult children what would be required to attract enough candidates while sending signals to the market that draw too many candidates into easier roles.
Recently, I came across language in the Narragansett teacher contract that implicitly recognizes this difference:
There are occasions when registrations exceed the above recommended limits [for number of students per class] and adding a classroom is not reasonable. The Committee will compensate teachers for each student over the above listed maximums. At the elementary level this compensation will be at $3 per student, per class, per day; at the middle school level the compensation will be $8 per student, per class, per day; and at the high school level the compensation will be at $13 per student, per class, per day.
If each student at the high school level adds more than four times the work or challenge that each student at the elementary level adds, how do districts justify paying teachers across the board the same base rate? Of course, there is a level of preparation and plain work that is the same across the board (getting up every day, meetings, preparing the classroom, etc.), so it would go too far to say that elementary school teachers should be paid one-fourth the amount that high school teachers are paid.
Still, failing to allow the market to differentiate between teachers, who even the union recognizes have very different jobs, serves nobody except those who manage to secure jobs that pay much better than they otherwise would — not the teachers who implicitly must accept less pay for this reason, not the taxpayers who have to make up some of the difference, and certainly not the students whose schools can’t apply their budgets according to fairness and need.
Justin says, “Fire the Providence School Bus Drivers”. Maybe. Fire their union, the Teamsters? Absolutely.
What Teamsters Local 251 are trying to do to the drivers – whose best interest they supposedly represent – borders on criminal. It WOULD be criminal if they had a fiduciary role with regard to their members’ retirement.
The response from various conservatives that I’ve seen to this news from Amazon is the correct first reaction:
Amazon is boosting its minimum wage for all U.S. workers to $15 per hour starting next month.
The company said Tuesday that the wage hike will benefit more than 350,000 workers, which includes full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal positions. It includes Whole Foods employees. Amazon’s hourly operations and customer service employees, some who already make $15 per hour, will also see a wage increase, the Seattle-based company said.
To this, many conservatives might say, sarcastically: Wait… what? Doesn’t this sort of thing require politicians to go out and fight the greedy corporations, forcing them to dig up the money they’ve buried in the corporate courtyard? No, of course not. This is how it ought to happen, with companies competing for employees and making such decisions in light of their own, very specific, circumstances.
The second response, though, should be to question whether this is part of a bare-knuckle attempt to knock out competition. Step 1 is to raise the company’s pay beyond what competitors can afford. Step 2:
Amazon said its public policy team will start pushing for an increase in the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Amazon isn’t just saying that it is willing to do this for employees, but that everybody should have to. The company may not be content to compete for workers, because after all, there are plenty of people out there willing to work for less if a job otherwise fits their skill sets and particular needs and interests. Rather, this may be an attempt to put competitors out of business altogether, or at least hinder their ability to sneak up on the retail giant.
While Amazon puts on a pro-worker face, it is working to ensure that workers have fewer employment options.
Fact checking Governor Raimondo’s use of the State Police’s 2015 report on the Cranston police department suggests she ought to be careful about accusations of political corruption.
We’re in surreal times and should not allow the political fight of the moment to erode the gray areas that allow us to be human.
Sometimes officials and business owners have to respond based not only on a specific event, but also on the long-term precedents and incentives that the event creates. That is why First Student should fire its bus drivers or Providence should cancel the company’s contract. This is not tolerable:
Union school bus drivers in Providence are expected to continue their strike Monday, the third school day of a labor dispute that has caused an upheaval for thousands of city students, according to school officials. …
School attendance on Thursday was 84 percent, the district said. On Friday, it was 79 percent. School officials said Friday that there were “minimal problems” with arrivals that day.
If you won’t do your job — and especially if you do lasting harm to children by not doing your job — you ought to lose it. This isn’t complicated.
The excuse for the strike only makes matters worse:
Teamsters Local 251, which represents the bus drivers, threatened to strike if First Student doesn’t allow the drivers to begin earning a pension rather than a 401(k). The union overwhelmingly voted down an offer from the company last week before approving a separate contract of their own.
First Student says it has offered pay raises and increases to its 401(k) contributions, but the company is unwilling to begin making payments the Teamsters’ existing regional pension system.
Defined benefit pension plans don’t work. They exist mainly in government, at this point, because only government can hide the costs and kick the can continually down the road to make it somebody else’s snowballing problem.
First Student offers a 401(k). Many private-sector workers don’t even get that. If that isn’t good enough for some employees, they should work somewhere else. And if the company can’t offer benefits that will attract competent employees, then it shouldn’t be given the contract for a service on which a city’s families rely.
Yes, if you’re a conservative or Republican, the delay in Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court is frustrating. Whether it’s the case or not, the Left’s strategy of trapping a Senator in the elevator and yelling at him seems to have bought more time, following more time bought with unproven accusations and political theater. That this new low for our politics has been rewarded is a problem. If it succeeds in keeping this U.S. Senate from appointing a Supreme Court justice, the reward — and the incentive to repeat the behavior — will be hugely amplified.
Just last night, after the Democrats’ behavior, the Republican base seemed to be awakening, and anecdotal evidence suggested moderates were beginning to pay attention, too. If Senator Flake’s delay this stops the Kavanaugh appointment, I agree with those who predict that the Republicans’ base will take it out on them, not the culprit Democrats.
That said, the Republicans presumably have pulled Kavanaugh aside and asked, “Just so we know, there are absolutely no surprises to be found, right?” That would mean that anything that does come up will be either a complete surprise or an unbelievable fabrication. The first of these is unlikely but would reshuffle the political deck too dramatically to predict, and the second probably won’t change the dynamic much. Who knows but that Republicans have reason to believe that exculpatory evidence exists, perhaps with one of the men who’ve already come forward to suggest that he was the teenage culprit, not Kavanaugh, and the consequence of the Flake delay will fall on that guy.
If the most likely version of the above turns out to be the case, what we’re about to see is another week of the Democrats and the Left behaving like scary, irrational nuts, followed with an FBI report that makes the whole thing seem like the overkill that it appears to be, followed by continued Democrat intransigence, followed by even more public dissatisfaction with the Democrats as we inch closer and closer to the election.
On the other hand, the FBI can no longer be trusted to be impartial… or competent. So, the agency may produce an outcome that only throws more grease on the national dumpster fire and leaves us with another week of nail biting political twists concerning a high school incident that nobody would have treated with this much gravity a short while ago, even if it had been recent.
On the surface, this looks like a great thing:
New data show younger couples are approaching relationships very differently from baby boomers, who married young, divorced, remarried and so on. Generation X and especially millennials are being pickier about who they marry, tying the knot at older ages when education, careers and finances are on track. The result is a U.S. divorce rate that dropped 18 percent from 2008 to 2016, according to an analysis by University of Maryland sociology professor Philip Cohen.
The problem is that the improving divorce rate results from a shrinking denominator:
Many poorer and less educated Americans are opting not to marry at all. They’re living together, and often raising kids together, without tying the knot. And studies have shown these cohabiting relationships are less stable than they used to be.
The article leaves no way to know the ultimate result, but it could be that more couples in a marriage-like situation, including with children, are separating. They just aren’t filling out all the paperwork their elders did, and children are the ones who’ll suffer.
As I’ve been arguing for years, marriage was an institution in which responsible couples invested their expectations for the benefit of less-responsible couples. Our society brushed that responsibility aside, and we’re seeing the results all around us (public turmoil, suicides, opioid overdoses, inequality, and so on). What the lower divorce rate indicates, therefore, may be that those “poorer and less educated Americans” have learned an unfortunate lesson from those who have more resources.
Unfortunately, having fewer resources makes it more difficult to deal with the consequences.
Think about this controversy out of Fall River:
A banner recently erected on Plymouth Avenue containing a possible pro-life connotation caught the attention of some residents and was taken down shortly after the company in charge of the program and the administration began receiving protests.
The banners which started popping up around the city a few weeks ago are part of the city’s new initiative to promote the logo “Make It Here,” its designation as an All American City and local businesses.
Then one appeared on the light pole near the Flat Iron Building with the dark, bold lettering “Choose Life” under the “Make It Here” logo and “Welcome to Fall River.”
A list of the 118 organizations that have signed up for banners shows no other slogans, so this one appears to have been an exception to the general rule. Still, the idea that this slogan does create controversy indicates something unhealthy in our society. Yes, yes, “choose life” can be taken as a slogan supporting one side, politically, which government rightly strives to avoid for unifying projects like these banners, but that only amplifies questions about whether this matter should actually have sides. Are we to “choose death,” or be ambivalent about the choice between life and death? Would a “Be Happy” or “Help Others” banner have been removed because of controversy?
Some might rebut that “choose life” can be painful to women who feel that keeping a child alive really wasn’t a choice for them, but that applies to other hypothetical slogans, as well. People are out there right now feeling guilty that they weren’t able to help somebody else in some circumstance. And we know the admonition to “be happy” can grind salt in the wounds of somebody who just is not able to comply.
If our society is too on edge to accept a banner promoting life, we’re clearly overdue for an examination of our collective conscience.
A female governor who discriminates against school boys for an official contest is fundraising off her unsubstantiated belief in a 50-something-year-old woman’s unsubstantiated claims about an incident from high school
Arguments about the proper interpretation of the Constitution don’t often enough acknowledge that it can be amended.
Here’s a reminder, from the site Uprise RI, that progressives really do think this way. The topic is the federal rule that allows companies not to pay overtime rates to managers who make over a certain limit. The Obama Administration wanted to increase the limit from $23,660 to $47,476 annually, but the courts put a hold on the move, so the Department of Labor is spending some time doing research and listening to advocates. This is from Steve Ahlquist’s coverage of the Rhode Island leg of the tour:
Each month, since the abandonment of the Obama-era threshold, Rhode Islanders have lost about $400,000 in wages, estimated the Center for American Progress and the Economic Policy Institute.
“This is money that could be helping those families,” said [Economic Progress Institute economic and fiscal policy director Douglas] Hall. “They would spend that money locally in our economy, helping the Rhode Island economy to thrive and helping global businesses to prosper.”
Progressives really do imagine that businesses have some field of uncultivated money laying fallow in the economy from which they can pluck more pay. To the contrary, if this threshold is increased, businesses will have to reduce either productivity or investment. Fewer new hires will happen and the demands on workers will increase, losing them benefits and flexibility.
Just let the market be. The government shouldn’t be an uber labor union imposing blanket rules on our economy. Money always has to come from somewhere, and as a general proposition, the burden will fall most firmly on those who have the least leverage.