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President Biden, tear down those walls and let immigrants take jobs in high demand

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Let’s connect some dots. There is an unprecedented shortage of labor in the United States. In some cities, such as Lincoln (NE), Huntsville (AL), and Omaha-Council Bluffs (NE-IA), the number of job openings is three times the number of unemployed workers, according to this measure by Brookings’ Workforce of the Future.

Among other factors (such as supply chain disruptions or demand outpacing supply in the economy), this labor shortage and the subsequent rise in wages are likely a partial explanation for the rise in inflation. It is important to note that this is a two-way street, of course, because wages also go up in response to inflation, which is the dangerous, vicious inflationary cycle that we better avoid.

At the same time, 2021 resulted in the highest recorded numbers of migrants entering or attempting to enter through the southern border to the United States. There is no reason to think this won’t continue in 2022. These migrants, mostly from the Northern Triangle countries (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador), are desperate to join the U.S. labor force, as they flee poor economic conditions—particularly after the economic slowdown caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic—as well as violence and instability in general. In response to this flow, the Biden-Harris administration has focused on significantly increasing investment toward Central America, including Mexico, while at the same time telling immigrants in Guatemala “do not come.”

The irony is clear; if there was any time in the modern history of the United States to promote a flexibilization of its migration policies, it is now. It is the most efficient and easiest way to offer a smart solution to the unprecedented tightness in U.S. labor markets. It is a no-brainer for several reasons.

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First, many of the occupations that are particularly experiencing shortages are occupations where immigrants can start jobs quickly. For instance, part of what exacerbates the supply chain problems is the need for tens of thousands of port workers and truck drivers. Other industries where there are important shortages, such as restaurants and construction, which traditionally have been partly fulfilled by immigrants, could also find new employees if these immigrants are allowed to find legal pathways to live and work in the United States.

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Second, these workers will not “substitute” American workers, evidenced clearly by the worker shortages. In addition to this, decades of research by economists shows us that immigrants do not worsen labor outcomes of natives. In fact, immigrants are likely complements to American workers, which would come in handy, especially now.

Via Brookings

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Economy

Why Are Voters So Frustrated in the US Despite a Booming Economy?

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As the US economy continues to grow at a steady pace, President Biden’s low approval ratings have left many scratching their heads. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind the public’s dissatisfaction despite the economy’s apparent success.

Introduction

President Biden’s low approval ratings have been a topic of discussion among political analysts and the general public alike. Despite the economy’s apparent success, the president’s approval ratings remain low. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind the public’s dissatisfaction and the possible solutions to this problem.

The Economy Appears to Be Humming

The economy appears to be humming. The stock market is hitting record highs. The unemployment rate is near an all-time low. Wages are rising faster than inflation. And inflation has finally cooled. What more must a president do to win over the public? Unfortunately, the variety of explanations bandied about—that prices remain high, that misinformation prevails, that we’re caught in a post-pandemic funk—overlook what is likely the core of today’s problem.

The President Has Done a Great Deal to Improve the Economy

The president has done a great deal to improve the economy—championing investments in infrastructure, bringing manufacturing jobs back stateside, and pointing us toward what we all hope will be a “soft landing.” But he has the misfortune of presiding over a country that has undergone at least a quarter-century of economic carnage for middle- and low-income America. Until recently, however, the extent was shrouded by economic statistics. To be fair, the economy has improved considerably since Biden took office. But, as research by my colleagues at the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity (LISEP) has recently revealed, those improvements come at the tail end of a quarter-century that has been almost uniformly disastrous for the working and middle classes. Most Americans, raised to believe that each generation is supposed to do a bit better than the one before, increasingly have come to feel vulnerable to downward mobility. And the resulting frustration haunts the president’s approval ratings.

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The Working and Middle Classes Have Suffered

The extent of the economic carnage for middle- and low-income America has been almost uniformly disastrous for the past quarter-century. Most Americans, raised to believe that each generation is supposed to do a bit better than the one before, increasingly have come to feel vulnerable to downward mobility. The resulting frustration haunts the president’s approval ratings.

The Unemployment Rate Is Near an All-Time Low

The headline unemployment rate is down from 10 per cent at the height of the Great Recession to below 4 per cent today. If you add those who are earning a poverty wage or subsisting in a part-time gig (while preferring a full-time job) to the universe of the “unemployed,” the actual figure is more than 22 per cent—more than one of every five workers. That may be down dramatically from where it was—indeed, to the president’s credit, it’s the best it’s been in nearly 30 years. But that may not be satisfying to someone struggling to maintain their childhood standard of living or worse.

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Wages Are Rising Faster Than Inflation

Wages are rising faster than inflation. The median wage today sits at more than $58,000 a year. But if you include workers excluded from that measure—those working part-time and those who are unemployed—and the number comes down to $50,000, a meaningful difference for the median income worker.

Conclusion

In conclusion, President Biden’s low approval ratings are a reflection of the public’s frustration with the economic situation in the country. Despite the economy’s apparent success, the working and middle classes have suffered for the past quarter-century. The president has done a great deal to improve the economy, but he has the misfortune of presiding over a country that has undergone at least a quarter-century of economic carnage for middle- and low-income America. The resulting frustration haunts the president’s approval ratings. It is time for the government to take action to address the concerns of the public and ensure that the economy works for everyone.

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Aviation

Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines Combine to Expand Traveler Benefits and Choice

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Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines are set to combine, expanding benefits and choices for travellers throughout Hawai‘i and the West Coast. The merger announcement was made on December 3, 2023, and is expected to create a combined company with a fleet of over 400 aircraft and an annual passenger count of 54.7 million. The deal values Hawaiian Airlines at $1.9 billion and will result in the maintenance of both airlines’ strong, high-quality brands, supported by a single, compelling loyalty offering.

The combination of complementary domestic, international, and cargo networks is positioned to enhance competition and expand choice for consumers on the West Coast and throughout the Hawaiian Islands. The acquisition is expected to result in significant operational synergies, including improved efficiencies, cost savings, and enhanced offerings for travellers. The merger is subject to regulatory approvals, including antitrust review by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.

Key Takeaways

  • Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines have announced a merger that will create a combined company with a fleet of over 400 aircraft and an annual passenger count of 54.7 million.
  • The merger is expected to enhance competition and expand choice for consumers on the West Coast and throughout the Hawaiian Islands, resulting in significant operational synergies and improved efficiencies.
  • The merger is subject to regulatory approvals, including antitrust review by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.

Merger Announcement

Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines have announced a merger, which will expand benefits and choices for travellers throughout Hawai‘i and the West Coast. This merger is expected to create a more comprehensive network of flights, providing more options for travellers and boosting tourism in both regions.

Official Statements

According to the official statements, Alaska Air Group, Inc. and Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. have entered into a definitive agreement under which Alaska Airlines will acquire Hawaiian Airlines for $18.00 per share in cash, for a transaction value of approximately $1.9 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024, subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions.

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The CEOs of both airlines have expressed their excitement about the merger, stating that it will create a stronger airline that is better equipped to serve the needs of travelers in Hawai‘i and the West Coast. They have also emphasized that the merger will bring together two airlines with a shared commitment to customer service, safety, and innovation.

Timeline of Events

The merger announcement comes after months of speculation about the future of both airlines. In early 2023, rumors began to circulate that Alaska Airlines was interested in acquiring Hawaiian Airlines, although no official announcement was made at that time.

In November 2023, however, reports surfaced that the two airlines were in advanced talks about a potential merger. These reports were confirmed on December 3, 2023, when the two airlines issued a joint press release announcing the merger.

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Since then, both airlines have been working to finalize the details of the merger, including the terms of the acquisition and the timeline for completion. The merger is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2024, pending regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions.

Impact on Travelers

Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines merger will bring a significant impact on the travel industry, particularly for those travelling to and from Hawaii and the West Coast. The following subsections will highlight the benefits that travellers can expect from the merger.

Enhanced Flight Options

With the merger, travellers will have access to an expanded network of flights between Hawaii and the West Coast. This means more options for travellers to choose from, including more direct flights to popular destinations. Additionally, the airlines will be able to optimize their schedules and routes, leading to shorter travel times and more efficient connections.

Loyalty Program Integration

Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines both have strong loyalty programs, and the merger will provide customers with even more benefits. The airlines plan to integrate their loyalty programs, allowing customers to earn and redeem miles across both airlines. This will provide more flexibility and value for customers, making it easier for them to earn rewards and redeem them for flights, upgrades, and other perks.

Customer Service Improvements

The merger will also bring improvements to customer service. The combined airline will have more resources and expertise to provide better service to customers. This includes improved baggage handling, more efficient check-in and boarding processes, and better communication during delays and disruptions. Additionally, the airlines plan to invest in new technologies and systems to improve the overall customer experience.

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Overall, the merger between Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines will bring significant benefits for travelers, including more flight options, better loyalty program integration, and improved customer service. These improvements will make travel to and from Hawaii and the West Coast more convenient, efficient, and enjoyable.

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Operational Synergies

Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines have announced their merger, and the combination of complementary networks is expected to bring operational synergies that will enhance competition and expand choice for consumers on the West Coast and throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

Fleet Consolidation

One of the primary benefits of the merger will be the consolidation of the two airlines’ fleets. Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines will be able to share aircraft, which will reduce costs and increase efficiency. This will allow the combined company to offer more flights to more destinations, which will benefit travelers on both the West Coast and in Hawai‘i.

Route Optimization

Another area where the two airlines will be able to realize operational synergies is in route optimization. Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines will be able to coordinate their routes, which will reduce overlap and increase the number of destinations that the combined company can serve. This will allow the company to offer more direct flights to more locations, which will benefit travelers by reducing travel time and increasing convenience.

Overall, the merger of Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines is expected to bring significant operational synergies that will benefit both the airlines and their customers. By consolidating their fleets and optimizing their routes, the combined company will be able to offer more flights to more destinations, which will enhance competition and expand choice for consumers on the West Coast and throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

Financial Outlook

Market Share Projections

The combination of Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines is expected to create a significant increase in market share for both airlines. According to Yahoo Finance, the combined company will have a total of 54.7 million annual passengers, which will make it the fifth-largest airline in the United States. This is expected to provide a significant boost to the company’s market share on the West Coast and throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

Cost and Revenue Synergies

The combination of Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines is also expected to generate significant cost and revenue synergies. According to CNBC, the acquisition is expected to result in cost savings of approximately $300 million per year, primarily through the consolidation of overlapping routes and the reduction of redundant staff positions. In addition, the combined company is expected to generate significant revenue synergies through increased cross-selling opportunities and the ability to offer customers a wider range of travel options.

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Overall, the financial outlook for the combined company appears to be positive, with the potential to generate significant cost and revenue synergies, as well as increase market share. However, it is important to note that there are also risks associated with the acquisition, including potential integration challenges and the possibility of increased competition from other airlines.

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Regulatory Considerations

The proposed merger between Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines is subject to regulatory approval from the Department of Justice and the Federal Aviation Administration. The airlines will need to demonstrate that the merger will not create a monopoly or reduce competition in the airline industry.

The merger will also be subject to antitrust review by the Department of Justice. The airlines will need to show that the merger will not result in higher prices or reduced service for consumers. The Department of Justice will also consider the impact of the merger on other airlines and the overall competitiveness of the industry.

In addition to regulatory approval, the merger will also require approval from shareholders of both companies. If approved, the merger is expected to close in the second half of 2024. The combined company will maintain Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines’ strong, high-quality brands, supported by a single, compelling loyalty offering.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the combination of Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines mean for frequent flyers of both carriers?

The combination of Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines will create more travel options for frequent flyers, including access to a broader network of flights and destinations. Frequent flyers of both airlines can expect to benefit from enhanced loyalty rewards and benefits.

How will the merger between Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines affect existing routes and flight availability?

The merger is expected to result in an expanded network of flights and destinations, providing more options for travelers. However, it is too early to determine the exact impact on existing routes and flight availability.

Will loyalty points and miles from both Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines be integrated post-merger?

Yes, loyalty points and miles from both airlines will be integrated post-merger, allowing frequent flyers to earn and redeem rewards across the combined network.

What operational changes can passengers expect as a result of Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines joining forces?

Passengers can expect operational changes such as a more seamless travel experience, including easier connections between flights and improved baggage handling. However, the airlines have not yet provided specific details on operational changes.

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How will the customer experience be enhanced through the Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines combination?

The combination of Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines is expected to enhance the customer experience through improved service, more travel options, and a broader network of flights and destinations.

What are the implications for competition and airfare prices following the Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines merger?

The implications for competition and airfare prices following the merger are not yet clear. However, the combination of two major airlines could potentially impact competition and pricing in certain markets.

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News

Unraveling the Historic Expulsion: George Santos and the Vote that Reshaped Congress

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Introduction

In a monumental turn of events, the US House of Representatives resounded with a decisive 311 to 114 vote on Wednesday, cementing the expulsion of Republican George Santos from Congress. This landmark decision not only marks a pivotal moment in contemporary American politics but also etches Santos’s name in history as the sixth House member to face such a fate in over two decades.

Background

Representing a modest segment of New York City and its eastern suburbs, Santos found himself entangled in a web of legal troubles, facing a staggering 23 federal charges. These charges ranged from alleged money laundering for personal expenses to the illicit receipt of unemployment benefits, and even unauthorized credit card charges on donors’ accounts2. Despite the gravity of these allegations, Santos maintained his innocence, pleading not guilty to all charges just days before the fateful House vote.

The Vote

The attempt to expel Santos faced a critical juncture on Wednesday when the House vote fell short of the required two-thirds majority. The narrow margin preserved the Republicans’ fragile 221-212 majority, showcasing the tension that pervades the political landscape3.

Reacting to the Fallout

In the aftermath of his expulsion, Rep. George Santos adopted a defiant stance, directing his ire towards his colleagues. This unprecedented event marks only the sixth instance in history where a lawmaker faces such severe consequences[^4^]. Shedding light on the internal dynamics, George Santos’s former communications director, Naysa Woomer, asserted in an interview with CNN that Santos is “not a victim” and that the entire ordeal was a consequence of his own actions.

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Conclusion: Navigating the Controversy

Santos’s journey into controversy began shortly after his electoral victory in November, as allegations surfaced about the fabrication of significant portions of his biography during the campaign trail. The corruption charges against Santos further extend to reporting a false $500,000 campaign loan and providing false information about his assets to the House3. With a trial scheduled for September 9, 2024—just ahead of the elections determining control of the White House and both congressional chambers—the saga of George Santos continues to unfold3.

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In the crucible of controversy, George Santos’s expulsion reverberates as a profound moment in American political history. As the dust settles, the echoes of this decision will undoubtedly shape the narrative of upcoming elections and contribute to the evolving dynamics within the hallowed halls of Congress. The stage is set for a trial that holds the key to Santos’s fate and, by extension, the political landscape in which this drama unfolds.

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