Today’s News and Commentary – February 19

Published February 19th, 2014 -  - 02.19.1410


Both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal are reporting on yesterday’s non-partisan CBO report on the expected impact of the Obama administration’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10/hour.  As the Times notes, the report yielded mixed results: “Republicans contended the policy would be a job-killer, while Democrats asserted it would help alleviate poverty.  Economists said both might be right.”

In remarks yesterday, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman tried to reconcile the Obama administration’s push for new free trade agreements with the President’s progressive labor, environmental and jobs-oriented goals.  As the Washington Post notes, Mr. Froman argued that it’s possible to draft trade agreements that raise environmental and labor standards, help build a stronger American middle-class, and help American companies compete. 

A short piece in the Wall Street Journal explores the relationship between New York organized-crime and labor unions in a larger historical context.  The article examines the everyday effects of this relationship, and notes that “while the Mafia’s hold on unions today has weakened, the Mafia’s influence isn’t totally lost.”

Holman Jenkins at the Wall Street Journal is chiming in on the UAW’s recent defeat at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga factory.  He notes that “the UAW would undermine its own existence if its goal were really (as claimed) to help VW become more competitive against the Big Three, whose 130,000 members constitute the union’s dues-paying majority.”

George Will at the Washington Post is also weighing in on what he describes as the UAW’s “shattering defeat” at Chattanooga.   He concludes that the vote will allow Southern States to “continue to practice entrepreneurial federalism,” allowing those States to create regulatory environments that are conducive to job creation, instead of following the path of Detroit.

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