Today's News & Commentary – October 27
The Wall Street Journal reports that Ford Motor Company “won’t invest in putting new, smaller engines in plants in Windsor, Ontario, and instead will put the investment in Mexico.” “We are disappointed,” said Jerry Dias, the president of Unifor (the Canadian auto workers union), in a statement. “The auto industries that are flourishing around the world are ones where there is a deep commitment from government and an understanding of the importance and wisdom of investment—which always pays dividends.” Canada has struggled over the past several years to maintain its auto industry as the Canadian dollar strengthened and the United Auto Workers union has shed retiree health-care costs that made U.S. labor less competitive with Canada.
Many Major League Soccer (M.L.S.) players play “largely for love of the game” and cannot make ends meet financially just by playing soccer, the New York Times reports. Though M.L.S. has “minted its own crop of multimillionaire players, has established attendance records and is set for an infusion of television money starting next year” after the American team’s relatively successful World Cup performance this summer, only 23 of the 572 M.L.S. players had a base salary greater than the minimum salary in the N.H.L., a league that M.L.S. benchmarks against. The M.L.S. minimum for players under the age of 25 is $36,500 per year, while senior players make a minimum of $48,500. In contrast, the minimum salary in the N.F.L. is $420,000; in Major League Baseball, it is $500,000; in the N.B.A., it is $507,336; and in the N.H.L., it is $550,000. During the upcoming months, the players’ union will negotiate for a new labor agreement – union officials hope to increase the minimum salary, as well as improve the free agency process.
A Wall Street Journal opinion column argues that Italian protests against Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s labor reforms “illustrate Europe’s jobs problem.” Calling labor union protest against Renzi’s modest reforms “Italy’s economic suicide movement,” the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board believes that the reforms are necessary to combat a draconian, outdated Labor Code that is enforced by militant national-level unions. Italy’s unemployment rate stands at 12%, and half of Italy’s young people are unemployed. The authors conclude, “[g]iven the scale of the problem, Mr. Renzi’s proposed reforms are a start but far from enough.”
In immigration commentary, the Los Angeles Times’s Editorial Board discusses the “birthright citizenship debate” over whether any child born in the United States should automatically be a U.S. citizen, even if his or her parents are in the country temporarily or illegally. Pending Congressional legislation called Birthright Citizenship Act of 2013 hopes to change the policy of birthright citizenship by mandating that a child born on U.S. soil would only become a citizen if at least one of his parents was a U.S. citizen or national, a lawful permanent resident or an immigrant serving in the U.S. military. The Editorial Board believes that “conferring citizenship on any child born in the United States — regardless of the immigration status of its parents — is an important affirmation that being an American doesn’t depend on bloodlines.”