Through the bustle of the Inauguration, many important stories of the week were overlooked. MacIver has highlighted some of the stories that you may have missed this week.
The Cross-Cutting Data on Employment
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report on average weekly hours worked throughout the pandemic, comparing 2019 to 2020. In many instances, hours worked by employees have not changed greatly due to the pandemic, although there have been slight variations in some industries, such as decreases in hospitality and increases in healthcare.
That being said, unemployment remains up across the country and total hours worked remains down from 2019. In the early days of the pandemic, unemployment skyrocketed due to the government forcefully closing businesses. While some industries have begun to bounce back, many are still struggling with the harsh restrictions in place.
Biden gives DOJ green light to resume Obama-era ‘slush fund’ payouts to liberal groups
In one of his first orders of business in office, President Biden is calling on the Justice Department to “look into reinstating a controversial Obama-era practice that allowed prosecutors to make settlement agreements that resulted in defendants paying outside groups instead of victims or the government.”
President Trump and Congressional Republicans fought to end the payouts in the early days of the Trump Administration. At the time, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated settlement funds should first go to victims, not special interest groups. According to FOX News, “the rule is now part of a list of federal agency actions to be reviewed pursuant to Biden’s upcoming executive order titled, ‘Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.'” It is unclear how this policy would directly aid the climate crisis.
Biden’s Disbanding of 1776 Commission Shows Left’s War on US History
It is no surprise that Americans remain divided about critical elements of our history. Many philosophies of the left get pushed down to the education system, where children are taught the mistakes, not the blessings, of America’s history. President Trump created the 1776 Commission to “enable a rising generation to understand the history and principles of the founding of the United States in 1776 and to strive to form a more perfect Union.” The report highlights the true meaning of the American founding, along with a discussion on many areas of our history. View the full report here.
President Biden wasted no time in removing the 1776 Commission from the White House Website, preferring the alternative 1619 project. Mike Gonzalez, a Senior Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said of Biden’s decision to disband the commission, “Is that really the priority? As one of the commissioners, I guess I’m flattered. But is the baying from the woke left so furious that dissolving a commission named after our nation’s founding, and deleting a report calling for teaching objective history, makes the top of the list?”
Rather than understand and analyze America’s founding and history without an agenda, it appears the left would rather “make America an object of contempt.”
Support for School Choice Remains Strong During Volatile Year
In the midst of a pandemic where the concept of education was redefined, parents became teachers as schools closed their doors to the public, support for school choice programs remains high. The American Federation for Children found that the concept of school choice is favored by over two-thirds of voters. The report also found that this year, 74% of African Americans favor school choice, and 71% of Latinos support school choice.
Biden has promised many “feel good” policies, like raising the minimum wage and increasing stimulus checks, through his upcoming stimulus package. But City Journal states these policies will harm constituents in the end. The article states, “Rather than using evidence and reason to shape policy, policymakers are stuffing their proposed budgets with big-number giveaways—$2,000 checks, $15 minimum wages—while giving little thought to who will pay for it and what the consequences of adding all this debt will be.” These costly benefits were tucked into the COVID bill, according to City Journal. It is unclear what raising the minimum wage would actually do to assist small businesses and workers suffering from the pandemic. On the contrary, raising the minimum wage has been shown to negatively impact the employment of low-income workers.
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