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WASHINGTON (AFP) – New claims for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits edged higher last week from the previous period, the Labor Department said Thursday, but held to the downward trendline.

Initial jobless claims totaled 333,000 in the week ending August 3, up from 328,000 the previous week.

But the four-week moving average continued to push lower, to 335,000, compared to nearly 370,000 per week a year earlier.

On Friday the government reported that the overall unemployment rate fell in July to 7.4 percent, on tepid job creation of 162,000 net new positions, as rising dropouts from the workforce continued to shape the jobless rate.

Photo Credit: AFP/Alex Wong

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Reprinted with permission from The American Prospect

The barriers to amending the Constitution are so high that I've long thought it pointless to pursue any reform that way. But after four years of Donald Trump, I've changed my mind. In fact, I'm suffering from a bout of what Kathleen Sullivan in 1995 in these pages called "constitutional amendmentitis."

Sullivan—later dean of Stanford Law School—used the term for conservatives' feverish advocacy of amendments in the mid-1990s. The amendments would have, among other things, imposed a balanced federal budget, limited congressional terms, authorized laws banning flag-burning, given the president a line-item veto, and outlawed abortion. It was a good thing those amendments didn't receive the necessary two-thirds approval in both houses of Congress, much less ratification by three-fourths of the states.

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