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Economy

Trump’s Secretary Of Labor May Actually Be At Odds With Labor

To say it’s been an interesting ride since Donald Trump won the White House would be an understatement. Trump has doggedly pursued some promises while retreating from others. He’s put together a cabinet with a combined net worth of over $11 billion, staffed with members who seem at odds with some of his promises, and others who have caused anger and outrage from voters. But Trump’s appointment of Andy Puzder as Secretary of Labor has many American workers in an uproar. Why are they so upset? And what can we expect from Puzder as Secretary of Labor?

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To say it’s been an interesting ride since Donald Trump won the White House would be an understatement. Trump has doggedly pursued some promises while retreating from others. He’s put together a cabinet with a combined net worth of over $11 billion, staffed with members who seem at odds with some of his promises, and others who have caused anger and outrage from voters. But Trump’s appointment of Andy Puzder as Secretary of Labor has many American workers in an uproar. Why are they so upset? And what can we expect from Puzder as Secretary of Labor?

Puzder’s Appointment As Secretary Of Labor Has Caused An Uproar. Why?

Every appointment by Donald Trump has come under fire. Critics say the picks don’t make sense. For example, Betsy DeVos. DeVos is a billionaire mega donor who has been involved in education reform in Michigan for decades. Except she never attended public school, and her reforms have led to some of the worst test scores in the state and country. Trump’s latest cabinet member, Andy Puzder, is the CEO of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. fast food restaurants. On the surface, he’s a great choice to help “the little guy” as Trump works to build a stronger middle class. However, the people he’s supposed to represent don’t seem to want him. Did Trump get this one wrong?

Puzder is widely known for two things; his vehement opposition to a substantial minimum wage raise, and his notoriously lewd commercials for Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. And while those two pieces may (or may not) seem minor, they’ve got workers upset. How is Puzder pushing buttons?

Puzder has adamantly defended his commercials, saying there is nothing sexual about them nor is there anything sexist about them. Those commercials always show a beautiful woman in a bikin seductively eating a hamburger and making some sort of innuendo. Puzder says the commercials are meant to represent “American Men” and drive sales. He’s on record as saying the commercials directly represent him as CEO. And while his personal tastes and preferences are his own business, he makes those preferences public. The issue here is wage gaps by gender. In 2015, women made, on average, 20 percent less than men for the same work. Now, the man leading the conversation prides himself on showcasing beautiful women as a tool and nothing more.

But the real issue that’s got everyone upset is his stance on minimum wage. Federal minimum wage is currently set at $7.25 per hour. Activists across the country are fighting to double that to $15 per hour. Puzder is completely against any increase to more than $9 per hour. That’s a big discrepancy between laborers and the man appointed to fight on their behalf. However, in this case, Puzder is absolutely right. Laborers want more money for entry-level positions as cost of living goes up. But if they get that, many businesses will have to either raise costs of goods and services, lay off employees and replace them with automated kiosks, or close down. All of those options put employee jobs at risk.

 

Watch this video from 24h News about Andrew Puzder being chosen as the Secretary of Labor and  a a critic of minimum wage increases.

So while workers may be angry at Trump’s latest pick, Andy Puzder may be exactly what laborers need.

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  1. Avatar

    lynncar47

    August 22, 2017 at 5:52 PM

    All this talk about $15 dollar an hour wages for entry level jobs is just so much hooey! Such jobs can easily be replaced by automation at half the cost. Businesses are not in business to enrich the workers, they are in business to enrich themselves! When are people going to understand that capitalism isn’t about the workers getting rich, it’s about the company owners getting rich. That’s what makes the wheels of commerce go round and round. Making the workers rich at the expense of the company is like putting the cart in front of the horse and making the cart do all the work! What kind of sense does that make? Without a company that makes a lot of money, people wouldn’t have jobs.

    What kind of nonsense is it to give the majority of a company’s profits to the employees who would spend it on junk food, drugs, and other nonsense? Does anyone think they would spend it on furthering the advancement of the company they work for? Group-think (Progressivism) would have you believe that businesses are screwing the little people. Unfortunately, a large portion of the American population who have been purposely under-educated for decades are, as a result, weak-willed and brain-washed into believing that capitalism is evil. Group-think would have us believe that the government is all-powerful and all-benevolent. What a load of horse apples that is. The government, even in the best of times, is nothing but a bunch of people who have no intention of furthering the lives of the “people.” They are interested mainly in their own welfare. Anyone who can’t see that is either naïve or ignorant.

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Economy

STUDY: Number of Billionaires Doubles in Last Decade

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Number of Billionaires Doubles in Last Decade
Image via Shutterstock

The number of billionaires has doubled in the past decade and the world’s wealthiest 2,153 people controlled more money than the poorest 4.6 billion combined last year, the charity Oxfam said Monday.

Meanwhile, unpaid or underpaid work by women and girls adds three times more to the world’s economy each year at least $10.8 trillion than the technology industry, the Nairobi-based charity said in its “Time to Care” report.

Women around the world work 12.5 billion hours combined each day without any pay or recognition, while the world’s 22 richest men have more wealth than all the women in Africa.

“It is important for us to underscore that the hidden engine of the economy that we see is really the unpaid care work of women. And that needs to change,” Amitabh Behar, CEO of Oxfam India, told Reuters.

“Our broken economies are lining the pockets of billionaires and big business at the expense of ordinary men and women. No wonder people are starting to question whether billionaires should even exist,” Behar said ahead of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, where he will represent Oxfam beginning Tuesday.

“Women and girls are among those who benefit least from today’s economic system,” he added.

There will be at least 119 billionaires worth about $500 billion attending Davos this year, according to Bloomberg, with the highest contingents coming from the US, India and Russia.

“The very top of the economic pyramid sees trillions of dollars of wealth in the hands of a very small group of people, predominantly men,” the Oxfam report said.

“Their wealth is already extreme, and our broken economy concentrates more and more wealth into these few hands,” it said.

To highlight the inequality, Behar cited the case of a woman called Buchu Devi in India who spends up to 17 hours a day walking almost two miles to fetch water, cooking, preparing her kids for school and working in a poorly paid job.

“And on the one hand you see the billionaires who are all assembling at Davos with their personal planes, personal jets, super rich lifestyles,” he said.

“This Buchu Devi is not one person. I in India encounter these women on a daily basis, and this is the story across the world. We need to change this, and certainly end this billionaire boom.”

Behar said that to remedy the problem, governments should make sure above all that the rich pay their taxes, which should be used to pay for amenities such as clean water, health care and better schools.

“If you just look around the world, more than 30 countries are seeing protests. People are on the street and what are they saying? That they are not to accept this inequality, they are not going to live with these kind of conditions,” he said.

Source: New York Post
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Automobiles

Pump Prices to Edge up After Attack on Iranian General, but Long-Term Effect Unclear

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By Jeff Ostrowski, The Palm Beach Post, Fla.

Motorists soon will see the effects of President Donald Trump’s decision to kill a prominent Iranian general. Whether pump prices rise a little or a lot depends on how quickly international tensions intensify.

Florida gas prices climbed an average of 7 cents a gallon in the past three days and could increase an additional 5 cents, AAA – The Auto Club Group said Monday.

The 7-cent increase was coming even before the U.S. air strike Thursday that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. That hike was a result of a rise in the price of crude oil in December.

News of the targeted killing of Soleimani sent crude oil surging nearly $2 per barrel on Friday. An increase of that magnitude typically translates to a 5-cent hike at the pump, AAA said.

The U.S. benchmark for crude oil traded Monday just above $63 per barrel, the highest level since May 2019. The price of oil makes up about half the price of a gallon of gas.

“What happens in the Middle East can have a direct impact on Americans’ daily lives by influencing what they pay at the pump,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins. “Crude prices rise when there’s a threat of war, because of concerns over how the conflict could hamper supply and demand.”

Oil analyst Tom Kloza of energy firm OPIS agreed that pump prices in Florida likely will rise about 5 cents a gallon in the coming days.

“Then I have a hunch that things are going to calm down,” Kloza said Monday. “I don’t think we’re looking at $3 gas.”

The national average pump price Sunday was $2.585, while the Florida average was $2.526, AAA said.

Kloza expects only modest increases in part because of the timing of the attack. January is always a slow month for gas consumption in the United States.

There’s also the reality that sanctions leave Iran unable to export oil. Complicating the calculus is Iraq’s response to the U.S. attack. The drone strike on Soleimani took place in Baghdad, and some Iraqi politicians considered the assault an affront to Iraqi sovereignty.

While there’s no Iranian oil supply to be disrupted by a war, Iraq is an important producer.

Trump keenly watches oil prices and realizes that a price spike might erode his support in this year’s presidential election, Kloza said.

At the same time, Kloza added, “This president has proven to be unpredictable.”

Trump’s response has been typically uneven. Delivering an official statement at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Trump’s tone was measured. He said the targeted killing was designed to pre-empt Soleimani’s planned attacks on American diplomats and soldiers.

“We took action last night to stop a war,” Trump said Friday. “We did not take action to start a war.”

However, over the weekend, Trump took to Twitter to threaten attacks on Iranian cultural sites.

“The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment,” Trump wrote Sunday on Twitter. “We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way…and without hesitation!”

##IFRAME_1##Iran has vowed vengeance, but military experts say the nation isn’t powerful enough to wage a direct war against the U.S.

“It’s still far too early to know how much of an impact this conflict will have overall on prices at the pump,” AAA’s Jenkins said.

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Economy

Stocks Rally Despite Impeachment News

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Stocks rose on Thursday as investors looked past the news of President Donald Trump’s impeachment as well as mixed U.S. economic data.

The Dow Jones Industrials advanced 53.85 points to begin trading at 28.293.13

The S&P 500 recovered 4.93 points to 3,196.07

The NASDAQ added 19.39 points to Wednesday’s all-time record, at 8,847.12.

The S&P 500 is up nearly 7% since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched a formal impeachment inquiry in September.

Cisco Systems was the best-performing Dow component, rising 1.6%. The consumer staples and real estate sectors led the S&P 500 higher, gaining 0.4% each. Micron Technology shares also contributed to Thursday’s move higher. Conagra shares surged more than 14% and were on pace for their biggest one-day gain since Oct. 16, 1989.

Micron shares climbed 3.5% on the back of strong quarterly results. The chipmaker posted earnings per share and revenue that topped analyst expectations.

On the economic data front, weekly jobless claims fell to 234,000 from 252,000 the week before. However, economists expected claims to fall to 225,000.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s business conditions index fell to 0.3 in December from 10.4 in the previous month. Economists expected the index to slip to 8.

The Democrat-led House of Representatives voted Wednesday to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Trump became only the third president to be charged with high crimes and misdemeanors and will now face a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury were lower, raising yields to 1.94% from Wednesday’s 1.93%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained seven cents to $61.00 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices moved forward $1.80 at $1,480.50 U.S. an ounce. Copyright © 2019 Baystreet.ca Media Corp. All rights reserved.

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