News & Commentary

September 22, 2016

Alexa Kissinger

Alexa Kissinger is a student at Harvard Law School.

In the face of mounting opposition, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen delayed an interest-rate increase again to give the economy “more room to run.” While admitting the strengthening case for a rate raise, Yellen argued that it made sense to put off the raise amid signs that discouraged Americans who previously dropped out of the labor market are now looking for work. According to Bloomberg, the Fed also scaled back the number of hikes it expects next year, from three to two.

Hillary Clinton published a piece in The New York Times titled “My Plan for Helping America’s Poor.” After touting the progress made during President Obama’s terms —there are 3.5 million fewer people living in poverty in 2015 than just a year before, median incomes have risen by 5.2 percent, gains in household income levels, and gains made under the Affordable Care Act—the piece focused on the work still to do. In addition to promising investment in infrastructure, manufacturing, technology, small businesses, and clean energy, the op-ed focused on her plan to create more affordable housing. Secretary Clinton wrote that she would take steps such as expanding Low Income Housing Tax Credits, modeling an anti-poverty strategy on Congressman Clyburn’s 10-20-30 plan, and a focusing on minority communities as ways to remedy the current reality that “nearly 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 60 will experience a year in poverty.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is undertaking an overhaul of his country’s labor laws, hoping to create millions of new jobs by making it easier to hire and fire employees. A part of his 2014 reform agenda, other legislative fights and union opposition have stalled his efforts thus far. According to Reuters, however, two key bills covering industrial relations and wages, are heading to the cabinet this month. More than a million workers went on strike on September 2 to protest against the policies, and it is also unclear how the laws would effect the nine out of ten Indians who are employed in the informal sector, where labor laws are rarely enforced.

According to a report published on Wednesday by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine data shows immigrants do not take American jobs and lower wages by working for less, with some caveats. Reported by The New York Times, the study showed little to no negative effect on wages, but did point out that teens who did not finish high school and immigrants from earlier generations may have felt some impact. It also showed that high-skilled workers have a positive effect on the economy. The report did show “more mixed” results when discussing the level of burden immigrants might have on the government’s budget in terms of services such as education.


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