Minimum Wage Laws Make for Great Politics, but Fewer Jobs

“if you artificially hike the price of labor, you reduce demand for workers. In California, this is playing out in terms of lost jobs, increased automation, and other consequences that result when politicians signal a unicorns-and-rainbows vision of the marketplace to their allies and leave the public to deal with the resulting mess.”

“”A California state law is set to raise fast-food workers’ wages in April to $20 an hour. Some restaurants there are already laying off staff and reducing hours for workers as they try to cut costs,” Heather Haddon reported for The Wall Street Journal. “California restaurants, particularly pizza joints, have outlined plans to cut hundreds of jobs in the months leading up to the April 1 wage mandate, according to state records. Other operators said they have halted hiring or are scaling back workers’ hours.”

This comes after California Pizza Hut franchisees laid off over 1,200 delivery drivers in anticipation of the minimum wage hike. It comes in the wake of McDonald’s and Chipotle Mexican Grill announcing higher menu prices to accommodate labor costs; those higher prices can be expected to drive away some customers, resulting in less need for workers to service lower demand.”

“less customer traffic isn’t the only way to reduce staffing needs; you can also replace people with technology. Chipotle announced plans to use robots to assemble burrito bowls. El Pollo Loco is doing the same for making salsa. Other restaurants are adopting automated fryers and burger-flippers to reduce the costs of employees.”

(6.24.21) NCADV Immigration Policy Webinar

“The last administration..there was a lot of people who left that agency..they never filled all those positions…the last administration did everything they could to undermine legal immigration. That’s one of the things they’re trying to build back right now.”

Trump’s immigration policies are his old ones — but worse

“Along with reupping his old ideas, Trump has spoken at length about how he intends to scale up his past policies, calling for the “largest domestic deportation operation in American history.” He’s focused, too, on bringing back wide-ranging raids to round up undocumented immigrants and setting up new camps where they’d be forcibly detained. And he’s interested in testing out proposals he didn’t get to last term, such as severely limiting birthright citizenship.
Essentially, Trump’s second-term immigration policy is shaping up to be much like his first, but even harsher.

Take Trump’s proposal for a new travel ban, a policy imposed during his first term: “When I return to office, [it’s] coming back even bigger than before and much stronger than before,” Trump said in a July 2023 speech.

That 2016 ban temporarily barred travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US before it was struck down by the courts (only to return in updated form). On his first day in office, President Joe Biden rescinded the ban. This time around, Trump is weighing expanding this ban to encompass people from even more places, including Afghanistan and Gaza, and to bar those who express “communist” and “Marxist” views.

Much of what’s driving Trump’s hardline immigration policies is how they resonate with Republican base voters, including those who subscribe to xenophobic ideas of keeping migrants out and economic claims about immigrants purportedly taking jobs or abusing benefits. Additionally, a recent surge in migrant apprehensions across the southern border, as well as an influx of migrants in major cities across the country, has put the issue more prominently in the news, and provided a platform for Republicans — Trump included — to argue the current administration doesn’t have immigration under control.

Two developments could make Trump’s immigration policy in 2025 more viable than it was in his first term as well. Trump is reportedly planning to staff his next administration with loyalists who will find a way to execute his vision, unlike some of the staffers who’ve tried to restrain him in the past. And changes to the judiciary because of Trump’s appointments — including the stacking of the Supreme Court with his nominees — could mean a better legal reception for his policies.”

‘Somewhat terrified’: A key Biden official gets candid on Trump’s agenda

“Donald Trump’s return to the White House could be “catastrophic” for clean energy, particularly the still struggling offshore wind industry, a top Biden administration official says.
Eric Beightel, who is in charge of coordinating infrastructure approvals across federal agencies, told the POLITICO Energy podcast he is “somewhat terrified” that a second Trump presidency would be “catastrophic to our hopes and dreams of our clean energy transition.”

“What we saw during the last Trump administration is that offshore wind essentially stood still,” Beightel said during an interview for the podcast posted Thursday. “And what we’ve had to do since coming in was to pick that up.

“If we had to do that again, coupled with the previous supply chain issues that we’ve already had to reconcile, that could be a death knell to this nascent industry,” said Beightel, executive director of the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council.”

“Trump’s administration took action in line with the ex-president’s views: In 2019, it delayed the Vineyard Wind project — a 62-turbine facility planned for the waters off Martha’s Vineyard — by ordering more environmental reviews that critics said were intended to block its construction. (That project eventually passed muster with Biden’s regulators and recently started sending power to the electric grid.)

The prospect of a second Trump administration is emerging at a time when wind projects are caught in the middle of a struggle between Democrats and Republicans over how to rewrite federal permitting rules for energy infrastructure. Both parties agree on the need to approve energy projects more quickly — but the parties’ priorities remain far apart, as Republicans focus on smoothing the path for pipelines and natural gas export terminals while most Democrats emphasize electricity transmission projects to carry wind, solar and other renewable power.”

Immigration ‘parole’ is a well-worn tool for US presidents. It faces a big test in 2024 elections

“Berioskha Guevara has no words to describe her happiness living in the United States. After decades of fear as a political opponent in Venezuela and struggles to buy staples like milk and bread, the 53-year-old chemist feels she is dreaming.
Guevara and her 86-year-old father came to the U.S. under the sponsorship of her brother, a pharmacist who left after Hugo Chavez took power in 1999.

“Now we are like in paradise,” said Guevara, who arrived in July 2023. “I can’t stop smiling, making plans, thanking God because without parole I would never have been able to live my dreams as I am living them now.”

More than 7.7 million Venezuelans have fled the country as it went into an economic tailspin over the last decade. They are increasingly headed to the United States, which prompted the Biden administration to offer parole to 30,000 people a month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Texas and 20 other states sued, saying the administration “effectively created a new visa program —without the formalities of legislation from Congress” but does not challenge large-scale parole for Afghans and Ukrainians. A judge has yet to rule after an August trial.

In Venezuela, Guevara graduated in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and for the last decade worked at a foreign private oil company earning $200 a month. It was a relatively good salary for Venezuelans, but inflation was very high, and food scarce. She worried about being arrested for being an opponent of the government.

In the U.S., four months after filing for work authorization, she got a job at a supermarket. She is looking for work that would use her chemistry background while living with her father in her brother’s one-bedroom apartment in Orlando, Florida.”