Fiscal expert: New York City's in Trouble
At The Wall Street Journal, Richard Ravitch — who helped guide Gotham out of near-bankruptcy in the 1970s — warns that the city "has never been in serious trouble until now." Back then, it borrowed for operating expenses and needed federal help to pay its debts, but "culture and commerce weren't meaningfully affected." Yet "today is a different story." The city has "over twice the national unemployment rate," the entertainment industry has "closed down," and "an enormous number" of offices are vacant. The Legislature "seems to believe that the revival depends on even more government spending" and tax hikes, but that won't "compel people to invest here," especially when they can work remotely. "Policymakers should focus" on "keeping capital in New York."
Builder: Joe's Bias Against Non-Union Workers
President Biden wants infrastructure projects "built by union workers and union workers alone," laments Associated Builders and Contractors chapter president Brian Sampson at Empire Report. The prez's $2 trillion plan calls for "project labor agreements" that steer work to union contractors and create jobs "exclusively for union members at the expense of hardworking taxpayers" — raising costs by up to 20 percent. "Non-union construction workers, who comprise over 70 percent of New York's construction industry, won't even be eligible. . . . You cannot claim to be a voice for all while rewarding the chosen few."
Foreign desk: Iran's American Agents
The FBI recently arrested onetime Harvard and Boston University teacher Kaveh Afrasiabi, charging that "his persona as a neutral, mild-mannered scholar was a cover" for his work as an Iranian agent, notes A.J. Caschetta at The Hill. Yet any payment Afrasiabi got "was wasted money": US academics have long done "Iran's public messaging free of charge." When former President Barack Obama "began his rapprochement" with Tehran, "academia had his back," with 73 professors urging Congress to support the nuclear deal. Rutgers prof Hooshang Amirahmadi claims, "Iran has not been involved with any terrorist organization. Neither Hezbollah nor Hamas are terrorist organizations." George Washington University's Hossein Askari said Tehran "should answer US criticisms of Iran's human-rights abuses with charges of American racism." These apologists will do their job on "modest academic wages."
Libertarian: Teachers' Unions' Toll on America
Los Angeles announced it was "caving to the local teachers'-union demand for an extra $500-per-child monthly stipend" for district employees, reports Reason's Matt Welch. Why are unions pressing for "every last-minute advantage" as reopening nears? Because "they can. At least in polities controlled by the Democratic Party, which receives around $19 of every $20 in teachers' union political donations." In New York, lingering restrictions for schools, like the six-foot rule and mandatory closures after just two cases, "are all the product of teachers' union muscle," wielded by the likes of United Federation of Teachers boss Mike Mulgrew. "And they have contributed to America having less in-person instruction over the past year than almost any other industrialized country." The price: "massive learning loss."
From the left: Dems Can Count on Hispanics
"Across the country, areas with large Hispanic populations moved sharply right in 2020, even as the broader electorate moved left," New York magazine's Eric Levitz points out. But a new Equis Research report suggests the shift may have been a fluke. Its takeaways: President Donald Trump managed to persuade Hispanics and mobilize them, yet he "gained far more ground with Hispanic women" than he did with men, since "the pandemic reduced the salience of immigration to these voters, while increasing that of the economy." So although "in the "peculiar context of the 2020 election, economic concerns may have pulled these voters right," if President Biden presides over a post-COVID economic recovery, Dems are likely to "boast an advantage with Hispanic voters on bread-and-butter issues in 2024."