This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight…
CFIF on Twitter CFIF on YouTube
Happy 40th to the Staggers Rail Act, Which Deregulated and Saved the U.S. Rail Industry

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight rail and saved it from looming oblivion.

At the time of passage, the U.S. economy muddled along amid ongoing malaise, and our rail industry teetered due to decades of overly bureaucratic sclerosis.  Many other domestic U.S. industries had disappeared, and our railroads faced the same fate.  But by passing the Staggers Rail Act, Congress restored a deregulatory approach that in the 1980s allowed other U.S. industries to thrive.  No longer would government determine what services railroads could offer, their rates or their routes, instead restoring greater authority to the railroads themselves based upon cost-efficiency.

Today, U.S. rail flourishes even amid the coronavirus pandemic…[more]

October 13, 2020 • 11:09 PM

Liberty Update

CFIFs latest news, commentary and alerts delivered to your inbox.
Jester's CourtroomLegal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts.
Study: Obama Recovery Built on Low-Wage Jobs Print
By Ashton Ellis
Thursday, May 01 2014
Millions of Americans are worse off now than they were four years ago.

Rather than address a labor market increasingly characterized by low-wage jobs, President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress are trying to distract voters by highlighting a series of issues that will do almost nothing to improve economic opportunity. 

Those issues include votes in the U.S. Senate to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, eliminate the so-called pay gap between men and women and justify greater redistribution policies in the name of fighting income inequality. 

Each issue is designed to inflict maximum damage on the Republican brand ahead of the 2014 midterm elections by making it seem as though Democrats are the only party that cares about promoting economic opportunity. 

But in every instance, Democrats ignore damaging facts in order to prop-up their weak agenda. 

Conservatives often resist increasing the minimum wage – not because they oppose a pay raise for low-skill workers – but rather because they believe it will cost jobs. For proof, look no farther than Byron York’s recent reporting on the effects an Obama edict is having on civilian employment at military bases. 

In February, Obama signed an executive order mandating military contractors like McDonald’s to pay the $10.10 minimum wage starting in 2015. Since military contracting laws prohibit vendors from charging prices higher than what prevails in the local community, McDonald’s and others can’t pass on the cost of compliance to consumers. In response, the restaurants are shutting down stores on bases. 

Now consider the so-called compensation gap between men and women. The number most often cited is that women make only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. But as my colleague Troy Senik explains, that number is meaningless. It doesn’t account for the fact that women choose to work in low-paying jobs in higher numbers than men; that men tend to work longer hours; and that women often take time off from work to raise children. When these realities are factored in, the pay gap virtually disappears. 

A similar dynamic occurs with the issue of income inequality. The left likes to compare income percentiles, focus on the wide disparity between the top and bottom, and then call for redistribution policies to level the playing field. But this tendency ignores the fact that income mobility is what matters. Recent studies show that 73 percent of Americans were in the “top 20 percent” for at least a year during their working lives.  

Scratch below the surface, and the Democrats’ 2014 campaign strategy looks like little more than class warfare resting on false premises. 

The real problem that liberals refuse to face is the stunning drop in quality employment since President Barack Obama came to office. 

“We find that during the labor market downturn (measured from January 2008 to February 2010), employment losses occurred throughout the economy, but were concentrated in mid-wage and higher-wage industries,” says a new study by the National Employment Law Project. “By contrast, during the recovery (measured from February 2010 to February 2014), employment gains have been concentrated in lower-wage industries.” 

In particular, “lower-wage industries constituted 22 percent of the recession losses, but 44 percent of the recovery growth.” To compare, “higher-wage industries constituted 41 percent of recession losses, and 30 percent of recovery growth.” 

That translates into “nearly two million fewer jobs in mid- and higher-wage industries than there were before the recession took hold, while there are 1.85 million jobs in lower-wage industries.” 

Here’s the killer stat: Over the last four years, fully 39 percent of all private sector job growth has been in low-wage industries like food service, retail and administrative support. 

No wonder Democrats aren’t talking about an economic recovery. Millions of Americans are worse off now than they were four years ago. 

The swing from high-wage to low-wage job growth is a serious problem for the nation’s economy. In the short term, it marks a decisive shift away from quality employment – the kind that makes it possible to save for the future, buy a home and improve one’s standard of living. 

The longer term impact of a labor market tilted increasingly toward low-wage jobs is even more troubling. The possibility for career advancement shrinks, robbing people of the incentive to gain skills and improve their paychecks. Stuck in a low-paying job with no signs of economic growth to spur perseverance, many come to resent their situation, with all the negative externalities bad attitudes bring. 

The dearth of good financial prospects also stunts the maturation process of young workers. Lack of opportunity forces people to move back in with parents, delay marriages and postpone children. An economy dominated by low wages cannot provide the kind of financial resources necessary to form families and raise self-sufficient adults. 

The tragedy of the Democrats’ distraction strategy is that it fails to engage government officials in the kind of economic policy work they are uniquely positioned to do. Business owners cannot reform tax rates and regulatory burdens. A head of household cannot create the conditions for quality employment opportunities to spring up. Until liberals understand that prosperity cannot be legislated into existence, the American job market will continue to worsen. 

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following was the first 20th century presidential candidate to call for a Presidential Debate?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"Wait until Scranton hears about this.One of Joe Biden's ways of contrasting himself with President Trump has been to declare the election a battle of Park Avenue values vs. Scranton, Pa., values.Now we learn that Biden has secretly been playing footsie with China.The statement Wednesday night asserting that the former vice president was a willing and eager participant in a family scheme to make millions…[more]
 
 
—Michael Goodwin, New York Post
— Michael Goodwin, New York Post
 
Liberty Poll   

Do you believe you will be better off over the next four years with Joe Biden as president or with Donald Trump as president?