Today's News & Commentary – April 27

Published April 27th, 2015 -  - 04.27.1513


In an opinion column in The Wall Street Journal, Pakistani immigrant Amir Siddiqi has realized the American Dream, but believes Washington’s new labor rules are a “nightmare” that impede the progress of small business owners. Siddiqi, who worked his way up to become a franchise owner after years of work in the restaurant industry, writes that the National Labor Relations Board’s recent decisions about franchisees are “threatening to upend [his] business model by muddling the distinction between local franchisees… and the national brands affiliated with them.”

The New York Times’ Dealbook column focused on the struggles of law students who graduate with student debt and cannot find a job practicing law. About 20 percent of law graduates from 2010 are working at jobs that do not require a law license, and only 40 percent are working in law firms. After the economic collapse in the fall of 2008, corporations began to cut spending on legal matters, and law firms, in turn, began to reduce their hiring and even laid off employees, and the Class of 2010 was the first to experience the “new” legal profession in full force.

Two California academics wrote an opinion column for The New York Times about the state of undocumented immigrants in America, urging policymakers to think of them as “parents, not problems.” One of every fifteen children living in the United States has an unauthorized immigrant parent, and nearly all of those children are native-born United States citizens. Authors Roberto Suro and Marcelo M. Suarez-Orozco ask Americans to “Think of those children living with the knowledge that the federal government can take their parents away. Common sense tells you that the threat of a parent’s deportation will exact a terrible price.”

Fox News, reporting a story from the small-government proponent Watchdog.org, writes that 554,799 American workers were “forced” to pay “union agency fees” in 2014.  In the 25 states without right-to-work laws, unions can take mandatory “fair share” or “agency” fees from workers who decline union membership, which can amount to hundreds of dollars per worker per year.

The New York Times published two letters in response to their late April articles on unionization in the theater. The authors, one actor and one fiction writer, lament that many theaters and literary magazines pay next to nothing for the arts and support the actions to push for a minimum wage in their respective fields.

Popular TV host John Oliver of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” bashed irresponsible child labor practices in the high-end fashion industry on a segment of his show this weekend.  “Sweatshops aren’t one of those Nineties problems we got rid of, like Donnie Wahlberg,” Oliver joked. “They’re one of those Nineties problems we’re still dealing with, like Mark Wahlberg.”

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