The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Employment
Youtube Screenshot

For decades, conservative politicians had a free ride on the abortion issue. They could tell their "pro-life" base that they were doing all they could to ban the procedure — while not scaring the pro-choice majority. As long as Roe v. Wade protected the right to an abortion, the talk about outlawing it was just talk.

Now that Roe is gone, unwanted pregnancies have become enshrined in the law. Parents, for example, face the possibility that their tenth grader could be forced into becoming an unwed mother at 16. There are real world consequences here, and that's why voters in generally conservative Kansas showed overwhelming support for abortion rights.

Republicans genuinely opposed to abortion should accept the political repercussions of their "success." But those who were simply opportunists and are now trying to dodge blame for ending a basic reproductive right have a hard climb.

You hear the trimmers say, look, we've made exceptions for rape and incest. That's blatant hypocrisy. If they believe that the embryo or fetus is an innocent baby, then the circumstances surrounding the conception should not matter at all.


The advantage of Roe was that anyone could obtain an early abortion without politicians demanding to know the reason. States that have made carveouts for rape and incest are going to see a lot of creepy intrusion into the lives of women — and their families.

Only the truly gullible would believe any of that sweet talk from abortion-banning states about how they'll help the women and their unplanned families. Mississippi will "take every step necessary to support mothers and children," said Gov. Tate Reeves.

Oh, sure. This is a state that couldn't summon the humanity to sign onto the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion, which would have extended health coverage to 43,000 women of reproductive age. Its welfare program limits payments to poor women with two children to a maximum $260 a month.

States severely restricting abortion will soon face the demographic realities of compelling women to have children they don't want and can't afford. Their affluent residents will go elsewhere for an abortion while the dysfunctional or poorer women will stay home and have children they can't care for. (A study found that after abortion became legal in Washington, D.C., in the early '70s, the percentage of girls who became mothers in their teens fell by a third.)

As the country divides into states that defend reproductive rights and states that attack them, the latter are bound to suffer economically as a result. Indiana, for example, just passed a strict anti-abortion law, quickly signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb. That day, Eli Lilly, one of the state's biggest employers, announced that the abortion ban would make it hard to recruit workers — and that it would look elsewhere to expand its business.

When Texas virtually banned abortions — while letting any ghoul try for a cash prize if he thinks one was illegally performed — 50 major employers signed a letter in protest. The list was heavy with the tech companies that Gov. Greg Abbott brags about attracting.

Richard Alm at Southern Methodist University says that this sort of social policy "also has a labor market component." With the likes of Apple and Google moving in, he said, "you need enough labor and the right kind of labor."

Thus, these places will have to deal with the loss of top employers to states and countries guaranteeing reproductive rights. And almost everywhere else guarantees reproductive rights.

With the end of Roe, politicians must now take responsibility for harsh new intrusions into families' ability to plan for their future. This is not a hypothetical concern, and offering free baby clothes is not going to allay the public's anger.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Joe Biden

Youtube Screenshot

A survey of consumers released on Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that expectations of inflation in the next few years has declined for the second month in a row.

The Survey of Consumer Expectations is conducted with a panel of 1,300 household heads every month to gauge how families expect inflation and prices for goods like housing, education, food, and gas to change.

The July 2022 survey found that consumers expect inflation of 6.2 percent over the next year, down from 6.8 percent in the June survey. The results also show that expectations for what it terms "three-year-ahead inflation" have also fallen, from 3.6 percent to 3.2 percent between June and July. The survey found that consumer expectations of price increases for gas and food had fallen "sharply."

In a statement issued with the results, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said the estimate of inflation increases had declined across income groups but were "largest among respondents with annual household incomes under $50k and respondents with no more than a high school education."

The improvements in consumer outlook come along with other positive indicators about the overall health of the U.S. economy.

On August 5, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that hiring in July was far better than expected. The economy added 528,000 jobs, more than doubling the Dow Jones estimate of 258,000 jobs. The unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent in a return to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.

Unemployment hit a high of 14.7 percent in May 2020 under former President Donald Trump, and when Joe Biden took office in January 2021 the rate was at 6.4 percent.

Gas prices have declined every day for at least 50 consecutive days from the record nationwide average high of $5.02 per gallon in June. As of Monday, according to AAA, the national average was $4.05 per gallon. In many states in the South, prices had fallen below $4.00; in Texas, for example, the average is $3.55 per gallon.

In an interview with CNN, Tom Kloza, an analyst with the Oil Price Information Service, attributed the price drop both to drivers' failure to buy gas at higher prices and to President Biden's decision to release a million barrels of emergency oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

In his March 31 speech announcing administration measures to counter high gas prices, Biden noted, "This is a wartime bridge to increase oil supply until production ramps up later this year. And it is by far the largest release from our national reserve in our history."

Concerns about inflation have contributed to lower approval ratings for Biden, and voters have frequently cited concerns about the economy as their top issue.

Biden has repeatedly described fighting inflation as his "top domestic priority" and has criticized Republican proposals that would raise taxes on the middle class while starving programs like Social Security and Medicare of funds.

The Inflation Reduction Act, a bill that would raise tax rates for large corporations and enhance the IRS' ability to pursue wealthy individuals for tax evasion, passed the Senate on August 7. According to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, if it is enacted, the legislation will help to reduce the deficit and support "the Federal Reserve's efforts to bring down inflation."

Biden has said he will sign the legislation after its expected passage on August 12 in the House of Representatives.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.