Saturday, January 30, 2021

What Does the New Minimum Wage Research Say about Minimum Wages and Job Loss in the United States?

by Rod Williams - One can find people who adamantly claim increasing the minimum wage causes unemployment and job loss but one can also find those who adamantly claim it does not.

The National Bureau of Economic Research is an American private nonprofit research organization "committed to undertaking and disseminating unbiased economic research among public policymakers, business professionals, and the academic community." The NBER is well known for providing start and end dates for recessions in the United States.  There is no source more respected and which speaks with greater authority than the NBER.

The NBER examined the issue and published a working paper this month titled, Myth or Measurement: What Does the New Minimum Wage Research Say about Minimum Wages and Job Loss in the United States?

These are the conclusions:

(i) there is a clear preponderance of negative estimates in the literature; (ii) this evidence is stronger for teens and young adults as well as the less-educated; (iii) the evidence from studies of directly-affected workers points even more strongly to negative employment effects; and (iv) the evidence from studies of low-wage industries is less one-sided. First, there is a clear preponderance of negative estimates in the literature.
Also, it should be pointed out that the evidence is overwhelming and significant. 
In our data, 79.3% of the estimated employment elasticities are negative, 55.4% are negative and significant at the 10% level or better, and 47.9% are negative and significant at the 5% level or better.
To read the full 49-page report follow this link

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Friday, January 29, 2021

Bellevue Breakfast Club to resume in-person meetings Feb. 6th. Councilman Steve Glover guest speaker.

From Lonnie Spivak: 

Greetings Breakfast Club, 

I wanted to remind everyone we are meeting for the first time since the COVID on February 6, at River Art Studio. The address for our temporary meeting location is, 8329 Sayer Brown Rd, in River Plantation, next to Plantation Pub. 

Staci does have her students in and out of her studio, so we will need to follow the counties COVID guidelines. I have hand sanitizer and some extra face shields if needed. I know I said this was just going to be a social event, but Steve Glover has some information regarding taxes in Davison County he would like to share with the group. He has been a great friend us, so I hope you can make the meeting. 

Also, there will not be refreshments at this months meeting, so plan accordingly. Hopefully we can get back to a more normal meeting in the coming months as the county continues to open. I look forward to seeing you. 

Best Regards, 


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Metro Nashville Public Schools director to announce school reopening plan by Monday

The Tennessean, 1/29/21: Metro Nashville Public Schools director to announce school reopening plan by Monday.

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End asset forfeiture in Tennessee

Daniel Smith
By Daniel Smith, Tennessee Lookout - You are more likely to have your property taken from you by sworn law enforcement officers than burglars. In fact, in the past 10 years, police in Tennessee have taken $146.9 million in property and cash from citizens not even accused of a crime via civil asset forfeiture.

These assets are typically used to bolster police budgets for equipment and vehicle upgrades. The intended purpose of asset forfeiture was to allow police to seize items used in crimes to offset the cost of crime-fighting. It was extended over time to allow police to grab property and cash they had reason to suspect were used or would be used to commit a crime. The burden of proof falls on the individual losing their property to prove that they did not commit a crime or even intend to commit a crime. 

Civil asset forfeiture is now abused to such a large degree that even carrying a few hundred dollars with you can be construed as sufficient evidence for “intent” to commit a crime. With your property or cash considered guilty until proven innocent, it is notoriously difficult and expensive for citizens to retrieve it. 

Just think, it is nearly impossible to prove that you weren’t going to buy drugs with the $500 in your glove box, even when you have good, documented reasons for carrying the cash. (continue reading)

Daniel Smith, Ph.D. is the director of the Political Economy Research Center at MTSU.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Metro school board fears a State takeover of Nashville's dysfunctional failing school system.

Tennessee Lookout: Analysis: Education stakeholders fear Gov. Lee will push for takeover of Nashville schools

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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

New federal fraud, money laundering charges against Tennessee state senator Sen. Katrina Robinson, D-Memphis

Sen. Katrina Robinson
By Vivian Jones | The Center Square​ - The U.S. Department of Justice announced two new federal charges Tuesday against Tennessee state Sen. Katrina Robinson, D-Memphis. 

Separate from her indictment last July, Robinson, along with two co-defendants, was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Robinson, 40, is accused of working with Katie Ayers, 59, and Brooke Boudreaux, 32, to steal $14,470 from a victim identified as “R.S.” ... The DOJ released records of text messages sent between Robinson and Ayers from late 2017. “How much money do you need to get out of this transaction?” (continue reading)

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Tennessee to Metro Nashville Schools: Immediately account for $110M in federal grants or risk future aid

The Tennessean- ... "I cannot underscore enough the seriousness of the current financial management of federal funds and compliance issues in MNPS," Schwinn wrote Monday. "It is imperative that these issues be resolved quickly, accurately, and comprehensively, so as to provide students with the resources that they need and to move the district to a space of compliance with federal and state law." ... Arnold said Lee and his office "expect no further delay" from Nashville public schools in putting the grant funding to use to help students. ... "Unless we have accountability from these school districts, we can't keep throwing money at them if we don’t see improvement," said Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, chairman of the House Education Administration Committee. (link)

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Monday, January 25, 2021

it’s time to repeal certificate of need laws

Commentary: Pandemic shows it’s time to repeal certificate of need laws 
Justine Owen
By Justin Owen, Tennessee Lookout
- Asher Gross is one of the happiest little girls you will ever meet, despite the daily struggles she faces. A hypoxic brain injury has left her with developmental disabilities, and she suffers from congestive heart failure and a cleft palate. She cannot speak, she has to be fed through a tube, and she has limited motor skills. 

As you can imagine, she requires intensive hands-on care around the clock. When her mom Michelle felt like her home health provider wasn’t cutting it, she was told bluntly, “Good luck finding another provider. We’re the only one.” 

Michelle soon discovered that she was in fact unable to find another provider in her small rural town. No other provider was approved to serve Michelle’s community. How could this possibly be the case? The main culprit is the existence of certificate of need laws requiring government permission to add new healthcare services. (Continue reading

Justin Owen is the President and CEO of the Beacon Center. 

Why is it time to reform CON laws?

Ron Shultis
by BY RON SHULTIS, The Beacon Center - With the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, fears of overwhelming our healthcare system’s capacity have understandably resurfaced. In fact, current hospitalization rates are higher now than in the spring during the first surge of the virus. Preserving the healthcare system’s capacity, namely hospital beds, was one of the original justifications for government lockdowns in order to “flatten the curve.” 

However, this debate about whether we are adequately ensuring we have the ability to manage the growing cases and hospitalizations misses an important point: some of these worries about capacity are our own doing. Think about hospital beds as a market, with a “supply” and “demand.” Lockdowns and other restrictions are essentially designed to reduce “demand” for the hospital beds. Meanwhile, another option to policymakers is to simply increase supply in order to ensure people who need these services can get them. But how can policymakers increase the supply of hospital beds? Simple: repeal certificate of need (CON) laws. ” 

As a recap, CON laws require providers to prove there is an unmet need in a community before they can expand or add new healthcare services in a specific geographic area. Imagine if Chick-fil-a had to prove to a government bureaucracy that a certain area had a shortage of chicken sandwich providers in order to open a restaurant in a new town, all while McDonald’s and Popeyes object to the agency saying they can more than adequately meet demand. ” 

Here at Beacon, we have repeatedly called for repealing and reforming our state’s remaining CON laws. Currently, twenty different services and providers require a CON in Tennessee including hospital beds. These CONs increase costs to consumers and restrict access. This is so well known that in order to better fight the pandemic, Gov. Bill Lee temporarily suspended the need for a CON for hospital beds by executive order. If we have to suspend regulations in healthcare in order to fight a pandemic, what is the justification for them in the first place? 

Tennessee lawmakers should repeal all CONs, or at the least, reform the process for those that are not repealed. Just think, had the government not been involved in rationing and approving hospital beds for the past few decades, chances are we wouldn’t be worried about healthcare capacity in the first place.

Ron Shultis is Director of Policy and Research at the Beacon Center.


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Federal judge blocks release of Nashville Capitol riot suspect Eric Munchel

"Prosecutors say Munchel was the man photographed in the U.S. Senate gallery wearing camouflage, carrying several sets of flex-tie handcuffs with a stun gun on his right hip. ... 'It is difficult to fathom a more serious danger to the community—to the District of Columbia, to the country, or to the fabric of American Democracy—than the one posed by armed insurrectionists, including the defendant, who joined in the occupation of the United States Capitol,' prosecutors wrote in their motion." (link)

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GOP leaders push to defund school districts that refuse to offer in-person learning. This would include Nashville.

The Center Square – Top Republican lawmakers in Tennessee have filed a bill that would allow the state to withhold funding from school districts that refuse to provide an in-person learning option for students.

The bill, SB7024/HB7021, is sponsored by House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland, and Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, R-Franklin. If passed, it would give the Tennessee Education Commissioner authority to withhold all or a part of state funding from school districts if they fail to provide a minimum of 70 days of in-person learning this school year and the full 180 days of in-person learning next school year for all kindergarten through eighth-grade students. (continue reading)

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Metro Leadership Believes Everything They Do Is Essential

BY JASON EDMONDS, The Beacon Center - As Mayor Cooper and the Metro Council continue to enforce restrictions on the citizens and businesses in Nashville, they, unfortunately, don’t seem to have any restrictions on their use of tax dollars. 
The COVID-related restrictions, from the Mayor, put many Nashvillians out of work and businesses have been forced to limit operations or, even worse, shut down completely. On top of that, when faced with a self-imposed budget crisis, Nashville’s leadership decided it wasn’t the time to try and cut some spending but pass a 34% property tax increase on the workers and businesses already struggling. Nashville’s mayor claimed that without the tax increase, essential government functions would be cut.  

Well, it seems “essential government functions” is a pretty broad category to Mayor Cooper. Last month alone, Cooper and the council approved millions in projects and created a “wishlist” for others. The projects include: 
  1. $13.8 million for riverfront improvements 
  2. Potential upgrades to the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway 
  3. Discussing upgrades and creating a new neighborhood around Nissan Stadium 
  4. Approving a $1.6 billion transit plan 
While Metro will claim only some businesses are essential, it seems they think everything they do is essential. The biggest expense of them all – the $1.6 billion transit plan – was passed by the council without a clear timeline or financial backing. Several council members lamented the lack of details surrounding the plan, with one calling the proposed funding nothing but “smoke and mirrors.” With most of the plan’s funding reliant upon massive grants from the federal and state government without any current commitment of funds, the plan resembles something straight out of the Obamacare playbook—except this time we have to pass the plan in order to find a way to fund the plan.  

It is hard enough for citizens of Nashville to be slapped with a 34% tax increase while so many are struggling to make ends meet. It’s a slap in the face to Nashville taxpayers to have Metro leadership going on a spending spree and planning out even bigger purchases while saying the tax increase was needed for essential government services. If NASCAR and the NFL are considered essential government services, the Metro Government should hit the brakes on their spending habits instead of throwing Hail Marys for federal dollars.  

Heading into 2021, let’s hope Metro leadership can make a New Year’s resolution to respect the Nashville taxpayer and see that every Nashvillian is essential.

Jason Edmonds is a research assistant with The Beacon Center.

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Sunday, January 24, 2021

I was wrong and the never-Trumpers were right.

by Rod Williams - I never was quite a never-Trumper but was never a Trump enthusiast either.

In 2016, my Republican Party primary choice was Marco Rubio. I described Trump as a carnival barker and thought his candidacy a joke. When Rubio's campaign fizzled out, I supported Ted Cruze.  When Trump became the Party's nominee, I did not vote for him, instead voting for the third party candidate Evan McCullin. My reasoning at the time was that since Tennessee's eleven electoral votes were never at risk and I had the luxury of casting a protest vote, I would. I said, at the time, that if I lived in a battleground state, however, I would have cast my vote for Trump. 

In 2020, I did vote for Trump. I liked most of his policies and accomplishments and detested the policies of the Democrat Party.  Prior to the pandemic, the economy was roaring, Black unemployment was the lowest in history and shrinking and the income gap was narrowing.  We were at peace and for the first time since the Carter administration there had been progress in mid-East peace, we had confronted and calmed North Korea, destroyed Isis, were standing up to China, and our NATO allies were paying more for their own defense.   We had reduced illegal immigration. We had achieved energy independence for the first time in seventy years.  We had drastically cut red tape and rolled back regulations. Most importantly, we had put three originalist  jurist on the Supreme Court. 

I disagreed with some of Trump's policies such as some of his curtailment of legal immigration and his trade policy such as banning steel imports from Canada, and was concerned about the growing deficit, but on balance, I was pleased with the Trump accomplishments.

As much as I was pleased with Trump's accomplishments, I detested Democrat policy proposals.  The Green New Deal,  Medicare for all, defunding the police, statehood for D. C. and Puerto Rico, and packing the Supreme Court would destroy our country.  

I overlooked Trump's personality, style and character. He often made me cringe by things he would say and he often seemed not to have a clear understanding of the constitution and was too friendly with dictatorial regimes, and insufficiently concerned with human rights.  I hated his constant tweets and picking unnecessary fights and his thin skin and vast ego and lack of empathy.  I chose to overlook these things, however. I reasoned that supporting a flawed candidate who was a jerk and bully was more important than handing the country over to Democrats. By this time, I could not understand the never-Trumpers and thought they were somewhat elitist who were too fastidious about manners and decorum.  Too much was at stake to let Trump's personality cause one to let the Democrats win, I reasoned.  I could not understand how conservative thinkers like George Will, Bill Kristol, and David Brooks could not reach the same conclusion.  These were people whose books I had read and whose opinions I valued. That had advocated tirelessly for conservative policies for years.  I was mystified that they could turn their back on all they had believed. 

As it turns out, I was wrong and the never-Trumpers were right.  Knowing what I know now, I would not have voted for Trump in 2020.  Since the events of January 6th, I have thought that if I would have known what was going to happen, I simply would have abstained from voting in 2020.  Giving it more thought, however, I think I would have had to vote for Joe Biden.  With a Democrat victory we still have a chance to win the next election and change course.  Trump committed, what in my view, was an act of treason.  There is no overlooking it.

Trump instigated  insurrection, unleashed violence that resulted in the death of five people and a mob that would have killed the Vice President because the Vice President would not trample the Constitution.  Some are making the argument that a close reading of Trumps words of January 6, show he said to peaceable march to the capitol.  I am not absolving Trump of responsibility.  His purpose in calling the mass of people to Washington was to stop Congress from accepting the results of the election and carrying out their constitutional duty.  He riled up a mob and then threw gasoline on a smoldering fire. If I was to be generous, I might be persuaded that Trump did not want the actual attack on the capitol to occur and did not realized how volatile the situation was. That would take some persuading.  He had encouraged the crazies from day one.  He set the stage.  When offered opportunities to denounce groups like Q-anon he did not do so. 

Some will excuse Trumps failure to condemn the crazies on the right and the riot by pointing out that Democrats supported the violence of BLM and Antifa.  Even if that is true, we should condemn that tolerance for violence instead of justifying more violence. 

Should Trump run again and be the Parties nominee in 2024, no matter how far to the left the Democrats have become, I will not vote for Trump.  The never-Trumpers were right I was wrong. 

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