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The author of a new study on the impact of a $15 federal minimum wage on childcare costs said that while the move will boost the incomes of some lower wage workers, it will increase childcare costs across the country by as much as 43 percent in some states.

Rachel Greszler, a research fellow in economics, budget, and entitlements at the Heritage Foundation conservative think tank, said in an interview with NTD that, while a federal minimum wage increase will benefit some, “it’s actually going to come back and end up hurting the people that these lawmakers are trying to help the most.”

“I estimate that you would have to increase their costs by 21 percent on average across the United States. That would translate into an extra $3,728 for a family with two children,” Greszler said.

“But the cost increases would be much higher,” she added. “There are 10 states that would see a 30 percent or more cost increase, and Mississippi alone would have their costs rise by 43 percent, with a couple of states, Iowa and Indiana, experiencing more than $6,000 increase in the cost of childcare for two children,” she said.

The report that Greszler authored provides detailed estimates for all states. The lowest impacts are in Washington state (+$1,131), Massachusetts (+$1,608), and Vermont (+$1,269), while the costs for two-child families would rise by over $5,000 per year in Kansas (+$5,636), Louisiana (+$5,487), Oklahoma (+$5,602), Wisconsin (+$5,227), Georgia (+$5,222), and Nevada (+$5,019).

Besides the impact of childcare costs, Greszler said another impact of a federal minimum wage hike is that it will price some people out of the labor market entirely.

“That’s a pretty bleak outlook for them,” she said. “The reality is at $15 per hour, that’s equivalent to $36,000 per year for the employers’ costs. There are a lot of people, especially when they first start out in the labor market, who are unable to produce that much in value, at least not yet. They need some experience and additional education. And what we’re doing here is essentially pricing out certain people from the labor force.”

She cited projections from the Congressional Budget Office, which estimated that between 1 and 3 million people could lose their jobs in the event of a federal minimum wage boost to $15 an hour.

“In the short term, they would be unemployed and looking for work. In the longer term, they would drop out of the labor force, some of them might turn to the Disability Insurance program. Some of them might have to move in with friends [or] family members, because there just wouldn’t be any options out there for them,” she argued.

In her report, she said there are better ways than a federal minimum wage mandate to help workers achieve higher incomes without imposing unintended consequences on other people, including increasing educational opportunities and reducing barriers to businesses investing in workers. She also argued for easing regulations on childcare providers, and giving parents more flexibility for how existing public childcare dollars are spent.

It comes as the House Education and Labor Committee on Wednesday approved a boost in the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour over five years. The measure will be featured in the COVID-19 bill that the House will forward to the Senate for its consideration.

“Yes it will. We’re very proud of that,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters when asked if the House bill would include the minimum wage hike. Its fate remains precarious in the more moderate Senate, however.

The minimum wage boost faces opposition from Republicans and a wariness by some Democrats arguing it would hurt small businesses, especially during the pandemic.

One Democrat to flag his opposition is Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), who has suggested that a lower, $11 minimum wage would be more appropriate for West Virginia.

Asked in early February whether he would back a $15 minimum wage, Manchin told The Hill: “No I’m not. I’m supportive of basically having something that’s responsible and reasonable.”

Even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has long championed a minimum wage boost, recently backed a Republican amendment blocking the raising of the federal minimum wage during the pandemic in last week’s Senate “vote-a-rama” session, which involved consideration of multiple amendments to President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill.

“It was never my intention to increase the minimum wage to $15 immediately and during the pandemic,” Sanders said. “My legislation gradually increases the minimum wage to $15 an hour over a five-year period and that is what I believe we have got to do.”
(Epoch Times)

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Donald Trump

‘Too Early to Say, Lots of Great Polls Out There’: Trump Cagey on Whether He’ll Run Again in 2024

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In one of his first public appearances since leaving office, former president Donald Trump used a Newsmax interview to commemorate conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, whose death was announced earlier, to weigh in on issues ranging from the Senate’s failed attempt to convict him during his second impeachment trial to being kicked off Twitter.

Donald Trump was doggedly cagey on all questions pertaining to his political future as he appeared on the cable television network Newsmax on Wednesday evening.

Speaking publicly again after the Senate failed to convict him during his second impeachment trial, he nevertheless told host Greg Kelly that he was buoyed by strong polling figures of late, while emphasising it was too soon to announce whether he’ll run for president again in 2024.

“As far as 24, too early to say, but I see a lot of great polls out there, that’s for sure,” said Trump.

The interview was intended to eulogise the late conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, whose death from lung cancer was announced earlier that day, yet was used by the ex-president as an opportunity to weigh in on several issues, including his immediate political plans.

Trump claimed that he wanted to “be somewhat quiet” after exiting the White House, but insisted his poll numbers have remained strong after he was impeached.

​According to a new Gallup poll, among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, just 10 per cent favoured convicting Trump to bar him from ever holding public office again, while 88 percent oppose the former president’s conviction.

“Well we have tremendous support, I won’t say yet, but we have tremendous support. I am looking at poll numbers that are through the roof. Only I could get impeached and my numbers go up. The numbers are very good and very high, they are higher than before the election,” said the former president.

As Donald Trump left Washington, D.C. on the morning of President Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th president of the United States on 20 January, he vowed to his supporters that “we will be back in some form.”

Speculation has been rife regarding Trump’s political ambitions, however strong support among Republicans shows he remains the GOP voters’ top choice for a 2024 nominee.

According to the Politico-Morning Consult poll released on 16 February, 59 percent of GOP voters said Trump should play a “major role” in the Republican Party in the future, with 54 percent of respondents saying they would back the former president in a hypothetical 2024 Republican presidential primary. Only 17 percent believed that the former president should play no role at all in the Republican Party.

The poll also showed that the share of Republicans who said Trump is very or somewhat responsible for the Capitol riots on 6-7 January had dropped 14 points, to 27 per cent.

Additionally, 51 percent of voters said they disapproved of the Senate’s acquittal of Trump, with 79 percent of Republican voters approving the Senate’s acquittal of the ex-POTUS.

During the interview, the former president also availed himself of the opportunity to reiterate his claims that last year’s election had been “stolen” from him, and criticised his successful rival in the 2020 bid for the White House – Joe Biden – over his recent statements regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.

The latter was an apparent reference to Biden’s claims that they didn’t have jabs when the Democrat entered office. Trump insisted Biden was “either not telling the truth, or he’s mentally gone”, adding that his administration was actually providing vaccines and that Biden had taken his first shot “long before” Inauguration Day.

​The former president also vented his frustration over being kicked off the Twitter social media platform in the wake of the 6 January Capitol riots.

“Twitter is not the same, I understand it has become very boring and millions of people are leaving it, it is not the same and I understand that. We are negotiating with other people and there is also the option of building your own site,” said Trump, who is yet to find a new platform for his messaging.
(Sputnik)

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Election

Georgia’s prime minister resigns, opposition calls for early elections

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Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia has resigned over plans to arrest a top opposition leader, saying it risked escalating a political crisis in the ex-Soviet nation.

Gakharia on Thursday said he was stepping down because of disagreement in the government over enforcing a court order to arrest Nika Melia, saying to do so would “pose a risk to the health and lives of our citizens and increase political polarisation in the country.”

A court in Georgia on Wednesday ruled to place the country’s top opposition leader in pre-trial detention, in a case denounced by the opposition as a political witch hunt.

The move to arrest Nika Melia, chairman of the country’s main opposition force, the United National Movement (UNM), risks further fuelling the political crisis that has gripped Georgia following parliamentary elections in October.

His supporters have vowed to obstruct police if they move to arrest him.

Georgia’s independent TV stations have aired footage of riot police deployed close to the UNM headquarters.

On Wednesday evening, a court in the capital Tbilisi granted the prosecution’s request to send to pre-trial detention the 41-year-old politician who is accused of organising “mass violence” during 2019 anti-government protests.

The prosecution’s motion followed Melia’s refusal to pay an increased bail fee. He initially posted bail in 2019.

Melia, who faces up to nine years behind bars if found guilty, has rejected the charges as politically motivated.

“The case against me is judicial nonsense. Paying bail twice is nonsense. It is part of ongoing repr essions against the opposition,” he told AFP.

“There is no single opposition leader in Georgia, no single independent media outlet that doesn’t face criminal prosecution on trumped-up charges,” Melia added.

In a statement ahead of the trial, the European Union envoy to Georgia described the circumstances surrounding Melia’s prosecution as a “dangerous trajectory for Georgia and for Georgian democracy”.

All of the ex-Soviet country’s opposition parties are boycotting parliament, refusing to assume their mandates after elections marred by irregularities.

The opposition boycott weighs heavily on the political legitimacy of the ruling Georgian Dream party, controlled by oligarch and former prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Leaders of nearly all of the country’s opposition parties gathered Wednesday at the UNM party headquarters in Tbilisi ahead of the trial in the event that police move to arrest Melia.

“We will not surrender Melia. If police hit us, we will fight physically and hit them back,” leader of the European Georgia party, Gigi Ugulava, told journalists.

On Tuesday, Georgia’s parliament voted to strip Melia of immunity from prosecution that he is guaranteed as a lawmaker, paving the way for his pre-trial detention.

The Georgian branch of the Transparency International rights watchdog said the “selective prosecution against the chairperson of the largest opposition party will seriously harm democracy in the country.”

In power since 2012, Georgian Dream has seen its popularity fall due to discontent over its failure to address economic stagnation and perceived backsliding on commitments to democracy.
(AFP)

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Capitol riot

Angry Trump partisans facing major obstacles in effort to oust Murkowski after impeachment vote

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With fellow Republican Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Mitt Romney (R-UT) facing pushback and censure in their home states for voting to convict Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection in his just-concluded impeachment trial, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) may get flack, but she has far fewer worries about losing her seat if she runs for re-election.

Murkowski is the only one of the dissident Republicans facing a referendum on her vote in the form of facing voters in the coming midterm election, but recent election law changes in Alaska make the probability of a pro-Trump insurgent nominee from the right unseating her as a nominee highly unlikely.

According to the National Review’s John McCormack, Alaska enacted new voting rules in the just concluded election that switched the state’s primary to an open one and not divided by parties.

As McCormack writes, “First, Alaska got rid of partisan primaries and established an open primary in which the top four primary candidates will compete in the general election.” Add to that, Alaska will be implementing ranked-choice voting that will create another obstacle.

According to Ballotpedia, “A candidate needs a simple majority of the vote (50%+1) to be declared the winner of an election. If no candidate wins a simple majority of the vote, the candidate with the fewest votes would be eliminated. People who voted for that candidate as their first choice would have their votes redistributed to their second choice.”

McCormack also notes that this will not be the first time that Murkowski has drawn the ire of far-right Republicans. In 2010 she lost the primary to arch-conservative candidate Joe Miller, only to defeat him in the general election by successfully running a write-in campaign.

Since 2016, Murkowski has bucked her party on a number of issues. She declined to vote for Trump or the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020 (just as she had done in 2016),” before adding, “It’s been a delicate dance for Murkowski, but if she simply finishes first or second place in the first round of balloting in 2022, she’ll very likely keep her seat.”
(Raw story media)

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