Tag: Valerie Jarrett

Paycheck Fairness Slogans Do Not Help Create Jobs

White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett has written an op-ed in today’s Washington Post in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act. Her piece uses outdated and inaccurate data to misrepresent the alleged pay gap between genders. In claiming women earn only 77 percent of what their male counterparts do, Ms. Jarrett conveniently ignores updated statistics from the Department of Labor that show the gap is much smaller. More interestingly, she ignores a more comprehensive analysis of the issue that the Department of Labor commissioned by the CONSAD group. This analysis available here was conveniently removed from the Department of Labor’s website after the Obama Administration took over the agency.

While the specifics of the alleged pay gap can be debated ad nauseum by economists, we understand why the White House felt it necessary to offer an op-ed to the Post the paper soundly rejected the proposal in an editorial in January 2009.

While we don’t always agree with the Post’s ed board on many issues, we strongly concur with their position on the bill. The Paycheck Fairness Act will not prevent actual instances of illegal pay discrimination. It will, however, allow the Federal government to second-guess almost all employee wages and encourage lawsuits that expose employers to unlimited damage awards. The bill substantially restricts employers’ ability to base pay decisions on legitimate factors such as professional experience, education, training, employer need, local labor market rates, hazard pay, shift differentials and the profitability of the organization. The legislation could  expose employee wages or salaries to peers, family, friends and competitors.

That’s bad news for employees, as employers are already facing tremendous amounts of uncertainty in today’s economic conditions.

It’s unfortunate that the White House and Senate leaders are pushing this type of legislation before the midterm elections for what looks to be political reasons. Congress should instead focus on getting the economy back on track and not make it harder for manufacturers to create and retain jobs.

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Quantifying the Growth of the Regulatory State

House Republican Leader John Boehner sent a letter to President Obama expressing alarm at the expansion of the regulatory state.

Excerpt:

It has recently come to our attention that the Administration’s published regulatory agenda includes a total of 191 planned rulemakings, each with an estimated annual cost to our economy of $100 million or more, and that a number of these planned rulemakings may each have an annual economic cost in excess of $1 billion. During a recent job forum conducted through our America Speaking Out initiative, the uncertainty resulting from such rulemakings was cited by private sector job creators as one of the primary impediments to job creation currently facing small businesses.

A widely published AP story last week included the growth of regulations as one of the major points of dispute between the business community and President Obama.

Washington — Labeled anti-business by Republicans and some corporate chiefs, President Barack Obama mounted a campaign to show he wasn’t. But his charm offensive has hit a rocky patch.

Business leaders gripe about burdensome new financial and health care regulations, what they see as unfriendly tax policies and vast government spending. They were put off by Obama’s harsh depiction of “fat cat bankers” and “reckless practices,” a label he applied both to Wall Street and to oil-spill giant BP.

White House aides dispute an anti-business bias, noting that corporate profits are up 65 percent from two years ago. “The stakes are too high for us to be working against each other,” top presidential advisers Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett wrote to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

It’s not just regulation of  health care and financial services that’s in dispute, of course. Energy and environmental regulations are as disconcerting and disruptive to the economy.

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Companies Start to Pay for Health Care Law, Accusations Fly

Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is calling major corporate executives to a hearing to challenge the accounting charges their companies have made in response to passage of the health care legislation. (Bloomberg, “AT&T, Deere CEOs Called by Waxman to Back Up Health-Bill Costs.”)

From the committee’s homepage:

The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing on April 21, 2010, regarding claims by Caterpillar, Verizon, and Deere that provisions in the new health care reform law could adversely affect their company’s ability to provide health insurance to their employees. These assertions appear to conflict with independent analyses, which show that the new law will expand coverage and bring down costs.

They’re not “claims,” they are financial and accounting decisions the companies are required by law to make and report. President John Engler of the National Association of Manufacturers addressed the company charges in an interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto Friday. Engler:

There was a suggestion, “Oh, these companies are overstating this, they’re making it up.” But, remember, the CEO and the CFO sign …under Sarbanes-Oxley under penalty of law the accuracy of the statements. They cannot make this up. Cannot!

The Administration originally tried to spin the charges as hyped or “irresponsible,” but the White House has obviously decided to change its approach. White House economic advisor Valerie Jarrett was just on ABC’s “This Week,” and she responded to the questions about the company charges as serious ones warranting a serious response.

Jarrett argued the companies will benefit more in the big picture, long run, from the health care legislation even with the charge offs. And, she continued, the White House has talked to the Business Roundtable during the drafting of the health care legislation, and agreed with the group’s request to delay parts of the law’s effects until 2013. So the White House now, after a little hemming and hawing, clearly regards the companies’ actions and businesses’ objections as legitimate.

If there’s anything that’s suspect, it’s the always hyperpoliticized accusations of the Oversight and Investigations panel. As The Wall Street Journal editorialized Saturday in “The ObamaCare Writedown“:

Black-letter financial accounting rules require that corporations immediately restate their earnings to reflect the present value of their long-term health liabilities, including a higher tax burden. Should these companies have played chicken with the Securities and Exchange Commission to avoid this politically inconvenient reality? Democrats don’t like what their bill is doing in the real world, so they now want to intimidate CEOs into keeping quiet.

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An Even More Direct Union Connection

Can’t stop too early in reading the Blagojevich criminal complaint. From pages 69-70:

109. On November 12, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH spoke with SEIU Official, who was in Washington, D.C. Prior intercepted phone conversations indicate that approximately a week before this call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH met with SEIU Official to discuss the vacant Senate seat, and ROD BLAGOJEVICH understood that SEIU Official was an emissary to discuss Senate Candidate 1′s interest in the Senate seat. During the conversation with SEIU Official on November 12, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH informed SEIU Official that he had heard the President-elect wanted persons other than Senate Candidate 1 to be considered for the Senate seat. SEIU Official stated that he would find out if Senate Candidate 1 wanted SEIU Official to keep pushing her for Senator with ROD BLAGOJEVICH. ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that “one thing I’d be interested in” is a 501(c)(4) organization. ROD BLAGOJEVICH explained the 501(c)(4) idea to SEIU Official and said that the 501(c)(4) could help “our new Senator [Senate Candidate 1].” SEIU Official agreed to “put that flag up and see where it goes.”
110. On November 12, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH talked with Advisor B. ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Advisor B that he told SEIU Official, “I said go back to [Senate Candidate 1], and, and say hey, look, if you still want to be a Senator don’t rule this out and then broach the idea of this 501(c)(4) with her.”

The obvious question being, who is SEIU Official?

UPDATE (1:59 p.m.): From Chris Cillizza’s Washington Post blog, “Blagojevich Criminal Complaint: The Best of the Best“:

Blagojevich was convinced that President-elect Barack Obama wanted senior adviser Valerie Jarrett appointed to the Senate seat and, time and again in the indictment, is quoted laying out a variety of scenarios by which he could benefit from such a move. The two most mentioned: 1) Trade a Jarrett appointment for a spot as the head of the Department of Health and Human Services in an Obama Cabinet 2) Name Jarrett to the Senate in exchange for Obama helping him to get a job as the head of Change to Win, a labor coalition.

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