Today’s News and Commentary — October 7, 2016

Published October 7th, 2016 -  - 10.07.16


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced today that the U.S. economy added 156,000 jobs in September.  The unemployment rate ticked up slightly from 4.9% to 5%, reflecting an uptick in the labor force participation rate.  The proportion of Americans in the labor force is still at a 40-year low.

Theresa May gave a speech promising to invoke Article 50, the legal mechanism to exit the EU, before the end of March 2017.  As Article 50 sets a deadline for Brexit two years after its invocation, if May were to fulfill her promise, Brexit would occur by March 2019.  This estimate is sooner than some had expected. More importantly, May’s speech hinted that her government would pursue a “hard” Brexit in lieu of a “soft” Brexit, as she talked of Britain once again becoming a “fully independent, sovereign country.”  Under a “hard” Brexit, the UK would have greater control over its immigration policies and no longer need to contribute to the EU budget, at the cost of giving up access to the single market.  As EU workers would no longer be able move freely through the UK border, some politicians have suggested that a hard Brexit would restore jobs to UK workers.

UNITE HERE endorsed 12 Senate candidates on Thursday.  All 12 candidates are Democrats: Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.); Kamala Harris (Calif.); Patrick Murphy (Fla.); Tammy Duckworth (Ill.); Evan Bayh (Ind.); Chris Van Hollen (Md.); Jason Kander (Mo.); Catherine Cortez-Masto (Nev.); Maggie Hassan (N.H.); Deborah Ross (N.C.); Ted Strickland (Ohio) and Katie McGinty (Pa.).

The CEO of Backpage, Carl Ferrer, was arrested Thursday by California authorities led by state Attorney General and Senate candidate Kamala Harris.  California authorities also issued a warrant for the arrest of the website’s two founders, who remain the owners, Michael Lacey and James Larkin.  All three have been accused of conspiracy to commit pimping, a felony offense.  Ferrer has also been accused of pimping and the pimping of minors.  Almost all of Backpage’s income derived from solicitation ads by prostitutes and their pimps, making it the second-most-popular classifieds site after Craigslist.  Its reputation has led to many law enforcement authorities using Backpage in their investigations of prostitution and trafficking rings.

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