More Government Interference

The Obama administration plans to require large employers to peel back the curtain on how much they pay men and women in a push to narrow long-standing earning gaps between the genders.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will roll out details of the plan Friday to begin gathering a summary of pay data from employers with 100 or more workers.

Leave aside the lack of validity of the data so confiscated by the government.

Statisticians and economists note…that analyzing wage disparities is a complex undertaking, and that aggregating data about many occupations is especially tricky.

EU Stimulus

Mario Draghi, of the European Central Bank, wants to keep stimulus efforts going, even with low oil and gas prices (even in Europe) having a dragging effect on inflation. Here’s the kicker, though:

Central bankers sometimes ignore falls in oil and food prices, arguing they are highly volatile and often beyond their influence because they are formed by global market forces. But Mr Draghi said the governing council is worried that a long period of low oil prices may lead to declines in the prices of other goods and services, and perhaps wages, through what central bankers term “second-round effects.”

Why Aren’t They

…fired for cause?

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Friday two high-ranking officials were finally demoted in response to a federal probe that found they manipulated the agency’s personnel system for their own gain, but a key lawmaker is asking why they weren’t prosecuted.

The two high-ranking officials are Diana Rubens, director of VBA’s Philadelphia regional office, and Kimberly Graves, director of VBA’s St Paul regional office. The behavior of these two women (I won’t call them “ladies;” their behavior has established what they are, and they’ve already named their price) warrants termination for cause.

This is…Foolish

More on the question of rebuilding Ramadi.

The US government and some of its allies said last week they had contributed $50 million toward a United Nations “stabilization fund” meant to rebuild the country—months after a similar $8.3 million pledge from the United States Agency for International Development.

Even if the UN (and the USAID) were honest thieves, this is just too much middle-man-ery, with too many intervening steps in which to siphon off the money. The funds—and future funds—are better given as loans directly to the Iraqi government, hard-coded for the Ramadi rebuild. Of course, that also assumes the Iraqi government under Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi can be trusted not to siphon, also.

Rebuilding Ramadi

When Iraq’s prime minister holds a meeting on Monday to discuss the monumental task of rebuilding the recently liberated city of Ramadi, officials will encounter a grim pattern: each time Islamic State is uprooted, the battles and the group’s tactics leave behind a legacy of destruction that will linger for years.

They would do well to learn from Germany and Japan about how to rebuild, not only shattered cities, but shattered nations and economies. Both of those were prospering nations just a few short years after World War II.

Unions and Non-Member “Fees”

This session, the Supreme Court will hear, among other cases, Friedrichs v California Teachers Association.

On Jan 11 the court will hear arguments on whether public employees can be required to join a union or pay it a fee for collective-bargaining services.

The lawsuit contends such agreements violate First Amendment protections.

The argument is that, with public service unions, such fees also are political speech, since the unions also push for this or that domestic policy with their bargaining counterpart, the government, and there’s no way to separate out the union monies spent for bargaining outcome from those spent for political lobbying.

The Bernie Sanders Economy

Lots of folks say Bernie Sanders, Democratic Presidential candidate and Socialist Senator from Vermont, wants the American economy to look like social democrat Europe.

Wrong. Look closer to home for the logical outcome of Sanders’ economic policies. Here’s Puerto Rico‘s “economy:”

Government debt has increased by two thirds since 2006…and exceeds 100% of gross national product. … The sales tax increased to 11.5% this year from 7% and next year will turn into a value-added tax. Since 2013 the tax on petroleum—the island’s primary fuel for generating electricity—has quintupled to $15.50 per barrel.

And

Two Babies

Thirty-five years ago (nearly two generations ago), the People’s Republic of China government decreed that families in the PRC could have only one child. Ostensibly, this was to reduce population pressures on the country’s ability to feed itself. It’s also had, though, other consequences. One of them is this:

China has the world’s largest population at 1.37 billion, but its working-age population—those aged 15 to 64—is shrinking. The United Nations projects the number of Chinese people over the age of 65 will jump 85% to 243 million by 2030, up from 131 million this year.

For the Children

Liberals love their programs “for the children;” albeit they’re carefully paid for with OPM. Take, for instance Michelle Obama’s school lunch program, which has become a Federal government mandate—carefully paid for by the States and the school districts. But never mind, it’s for the children.

Now we get this. A food service worker in the Irving Middle School in Pocatello, ID, gave a lunch to a 12-yr-old girl who had no money to pay for it. The lunch cost all of $1.70, and the food service worker offered to pay the bill for the child.

Maybe It’s Time

Banks fear a growing number of employees are unwittingly exposing valuable information to hackers or in some cases leaving digital clues that make a breach possible.

And

Several banks are also increasingly testing whether their employees unintentionally leave them susceptible to hackers by falling prey to “spear-phishing” attempts, in which criminals lure recipients to click on links.

And

Weeks after JP Morgan Chase & Co was hit with a massive data breach that exposed information from 76 million households, the country’s biggest bank by assets sent a fake phishing email as a test to its more than 250,000 employees. Roughly 20% of them clicked on it, according to people familiar with the email.