This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight…
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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

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Jester's CourtroomLegal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts.
"Save Local Business Act" Before Congress Can Accelerate Job and Economic Growth Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, August 31 2017
[T]he 'Save Local Business Act' (H.R. 3441) would rescind one of the Obama Administration's most egregious bureaucratic abuses and restore decades of prevailing labor law.

Whatever evanescent controversy happens to induce media hysteria on any particular day in the Trump Era, jobs and economic growth remain the top priorities for Congress, the White House and the American public. 

To that end, this week brought a pleasant surprise when second-quarter economic growth registered at a more robust 3%, exceeding expectations and earlier estimates. 

And in the effort to cultivate even greater growth and job creation going forward, much-needed comprehensive tax reform has understandably taken center stage. 

As tax reform wrangling begins and actual legislation slowly takes form, however, there's already a bill before Congress that can ignite instant business confidence and job growth. 

Namely, the "Save Local Business Act" (H.R. 3441) would rescind one of the Obama Administration's most egregious bureaucratic abuses and restore decades of prevailing labor law. 

Here's the background, and why the bill is so important. 

Under longstanding court precedent and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) interpretation, an "employer" for purposes of applying the nation's labor laws was generally defined to include only those businesses that determined the essential terms and conditions of employment. 

As a textbook illustration, imagine a franchise arrangement whereby the franchisee determines whom to hire, whom to fire, wages and other everyday working conditions.  The distant franchisor, in contrast, obviously doesn't fly every potential franchisee employee in for an interview at corporate headquarters or micromanage its franchisees' working conditions. 

On that logic, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in NLRB v. Browning-Ferris Industries (1982) that the appropriate standard for defining an employer with regard to a particular set of employees was established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Boire v. Greyhound Corp. (1964).  It held that only businesses exercising control over "those matters governing the essential terms and conditions of employment" were subject to collective bargaining requirements and liabilities. 

Two years later, the NLRB formally adopted that standard, ruling in separate cases that "there must be a showing that the employer meaningfully affects matters relating to the employment such as hiring, firing, discipline, supervision and direction."  In other words, an "employer" for purposes of labor law mandates required direct and immediate control over the terms and conditions of employment. 

That stands to reason, since it makes no sense to impose legal liability upon employers that don't actually control a bargaining unit's employment conditions. 

In August 2015, however, Obama's NLRB suddenly and needlessly upended that established legal standard by redefining what's known as the "Joint Employer Doctrine."  Essentially, the Joint Employer Doctrine allows multiple businesses to be held legally liable and responsible for the same set of employees. 

Thus, in the infinite wisdom of the Obama NLRB, even employers with indirect or even merely potential ability to affect employment terms could suddenly find themselves subject to federal labor law mandates. 

As you probably guessed, that reversal constituted a gift to union bosses and liberal politicians who receive union campaign donations.  It instantly allowed unions to target deeper pockets and streamline organizing campaigns.  As union membership continues to decline and unions’ ability to control elections has progressively waned over recent decades, they're desperate for methods to retain power and funding sources. 

Here's why all of that matters in terms of America's economy and job growth. 

Today, nearly 800,000 franchise enterprises exist in the United States, accounting for approximately 8.5 million jobs.  And according to an American Action Forum study, the Obama NLRB decision could reduce private sector employment by 1.7 million jobs, including 500,000 in the leisure and hospitality industry alone. 

In addition to the direct impact of jobs lost, that also translates to taxpayer pain in the form of more unemployment payments, Medicaid enrollment and other forms of government assistance. 

That's why the Save Local Business Act is of such immediate importance. 

The bill would overturn the Obama NLRB's recent joint employer redefinition, and restore decades of judicial and NLRB precedent by subjecting only actual employers exercising direct and immediate control over the essential terms and conditions of employment to federal collective bargaining liabilities. 

It was simply unfair and illogical for the Obama NLRB to extend federal labor requirements to businesses that do not hire, fire, set wages or supervise employees, and it jeopardizes thousands of businesses and potentially millions of American jobs. 

So while important tax reform negotiations begin in Washington, D.C., Congress can take an easy and important step toward improving economic and employment conditions by passing the Save Local Business Act. 

 

 

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following was the first 20th century presidential candidate to call for a Presidential Debate?
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Quote of the Day   
 
"Joe Biden's tax proposals have gone through a variety of iterations over the course of his campaign, but lately, he's settled on a pledge not to raise taxes on those earning under $400,000.This pledge is not consistent with his current proposals, but he's even less likely to be constrained if he's elected president.Even if Biden claims he would not directly raise income tax rates on those earning…[more]
 
 
—The Editors, Washington Examiner
— The Editors, Washington Examiner
 
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