Today's News and Commentary–January 6
The New York Times notes that the Obama Administration has continued to call on Congress to restore long-term unemployment insurance benefits for 1.3 million Americans. Gene Sperling, President Obama’s top economic adviser, has argued that continued unemployment benefits are a crucial means of addressing widespread unemployment.
The Los Angeles Times reports that some children in the foster care system are still feeling the effects of a strike carried out by Los Angeles County social workers in December. The social workers, who are represented by the Service Employees International Union Local 721, went on a six day strike after working without a contract for more than two months. A union spokesperson said that the strikes helped the social workers secure smaller caseloads, which will allow children and families to receive better services in the long run.
In the opinion pages, Omer Aziz and Murtaza Hussain of the New York Times suggest that Qatar is employing “virtual slaves” to build facilities for the 2022 World Cup. According to widespread reports, thousands of migrant workers have been abused during the construction of the facilities and hundreds have died. The International Trade Union Confederation estimates that, if current working conditions persist, 4,000 migrant workers will die before the 2022 World Cup begins.
Meanwhile, Laurence Kotlikoff of the New York Times argues that American workers should lobby to eliminate the corporate income tax. He explains that expensive corporate income taxes have pushed companies to move their operations overseas. Thus, reducing or eliminating these taxes would give companies an incentive to conduct more operations domestically. Relying on the results of a large-scale computer simulation model, Kotlikoff suggests that eliminating the corporate income tax would create “rapid and dramatic increases in American investment, output and real wages.”
In the Los Angeles Times, Ron Unz suggests that California should raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour. Unz contends that this increase would lift millions of working families out of poverty, and would serve as a privately-financed economic stimulus package for the state.
Finally, in international news, the Wall Street Journal observes that a strike in Cambodia’s garment industry has fizzled after the Cambodian police opened fire on protestors this weekend. Most of the nation’s garment factories reopened today.