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Can Biden's plans manufacture more US factory jobs?

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will be trying to connect with blue-collar workers Wednesday when he travels to a truck factory in Pennsylvania to advocate for government investments and clean energy as ways to strengthen U.S. manufacturing.The Democrat will tour the Lehigh Valley operations facility for Mack Trucks, a chance to touch base with the plant’s 2,500 workers, a majority of whom are unionized. Biden has made manufacturing jobs a priority, and Democrats’ political future next year might hinge on whether he succeeds in reinvigorating a sector that has steadily lost jobs for more than four decades.The administration is championing a $973 billion infrastructure package, $52 billion for computer chip production, sweeping investments in clean energy and the use of government procurement contracts to create factory jobs. Biden will be briefed Wednesday on Mack’s electric garbage trucks.“This is all part of his effort to lift up and talk about his Buy American agenda as well as the infrastructure package,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday in previewing the visit.The president won Lehigh County in the 2020 election, but he is facing the perpetual challenge of past administrations to revive a manufacturing sector at the heart of American identity. Failure to bring back manufacturing jobs could further hurt already ailing factory towns across the country and possibly imperil Democrats’ chances in the 2022 midterm elections.Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, said Biden should siphon off unspent money from his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package to cover the investments in infrastructure, instead of relying on tax increases and other revenue raisers to do so.“Hopefully, he will use his visit to learn about the real, physical infrastructure needs of Pennsylvanians — and the huge sums of unused ‘COVID’ funds which should pay for that infrastructure,” Toomey said in a statement.Deindustrialization has been a thorny problem for Democrats seeking voters during elections.Layoffs of white factory workers led communities to vote for Republican challengers and turn against Democratic incumbents, according to a 2021 research paper by McGill University’s Leonardo Baccini and Georgetown University’s Stephen Weymouth. They found a connection between deindustrialization and greater racial division as white voters interpreted the layoffs as a loss of social status.Areas with more factory layoffs also became more pessimistic about the entire economy. The trends documented in the research were most pronounced in 2016, when Donald Trump won the White House while emphasizing blue-collar identity and racial differences.One challenge for Democrats is that they’re not being forced to deal with the most recent manufacturing job losses, but layoffs that began decades ago.“Biden would benefit from an improved manufacturing jobs outlook,” Weymouth said. “But a lot of economists think that many of these jobs are gone for good. And so, it’s an uphill battle. There’s alternatives: The president can pursue a more substantial social safety net for people who lose their jobs or investments in these communities that declined for decades.”The Biden administration is separately trying to help domestic manufacturers by proposing Wednesday to increase the amount of American-made goods being purchased by the federal government.Administration officials who insisted on anonymity to discuss the measures said they’re proposing that any products bought by the government must have 60% of the value of their component parts manufactured in the United States. The proposal would gradually increase that figure to 75% by 2029, significantly higher than the 55% threshold under current law.Manufacturing has improved since the depths of more than a year ago during the coronavirus pandemic-induced recession. Labor Department data show that factories have regained about two-thirds of the 1.4 million manufacturing jobs lost because of the outbreak. Factory output as tracked by the Federal Reserve is just below its pre-pandemic levels.But the manufacturing sector — especially autos — is facing serious challenges.Automakers are limited by a global shortage of computer chips. Without the chips that are needed for a modern vehicle, the production of cars and trucks has dropped from an annual pace of 10.79 million at the end of last year to 8.91 million in June, a decline of nearly 18% as measured by the Fed. Analysts at IHS Market estimate that the supply of semiconductors will only stabilize and recover in the second half of 2022, right as the midterm races become more intense.The impact of the chip shortage can trickle through the rest of the economy. Used vehicle prices have shot up 45.2% from a year ago, since there are not enough newly built cars and trucks available. The administration has been proactive in trying to address the problem, advocating for a bill designed to increase semiconductor production in the United States in ways that would also help other manufacturing sectors.“I am engaging almost daily with industry,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said last week at a White House briefing. “We need to incentivize the manufacturing of chips in America. And so, we are very focused on putting the pieces in place so that can happen.”For the past several decades, presidents have pledged to bring back factory jobs without much success. Manufacturing employment peaked in 1979 at nearly 19.6 million jobs, only to slide downward with steep declines after the 2001 recession and the 2007-09 Great Recession. The figure now stands at 12.3 million.Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Trump each said his policies would save manufacturing jobs, yet none of them broke the long-term trend in a lasting way.

How the expanded child tax credit payments work

How the expanded child tax credit payments work

The Biden administration is beginning to distribute expanded child tax credit payments, giving parents on average $423 this month, with payments continuing through the end of the yearBy JOSH BOAK Associated PressJuly 15, 2021, 6:06 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleThe Biden administration is beginning to distribute expanded child tax credit payments, giving parents on average $423 this month, with payments continuing through the end of the year.President Joe Biden increased the size of the tax credit as part of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, as well as making it fully available to families without any tax obligations. The benefit is set to expire after a year, but Biden is pushing for it to be extended through 2025 and ultimately made permanent.A closer look at how the payments work and who can receive them:HOW BIG ARE THE CREDITS?The credit is $3,600 annually for children under age 6 and $3,000 for children ages 6 to 17. But six months of payments will be advanced on a monthly basis through the end of the year. This means eligible families will receive $300 monthly for each child under 6 and $250 per child older than that.This is a change from last year, when the credit totaled $2,000 per child. Families who did not owe the government income taxes were also unable to claim the credit, a restriction that Biden and Congress lifted.ARE THERE LIMITS ON WHO CAN QUALIFY?The payments begin to phase out at incomes of $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for heads of household and $150,000 for married couples. Higher-income families with incomes of $200,000 for individuals and $400,000 for married couples can still receive the previous $2,000 credit.HOW CAN YOU APPLY?If you filed taxes and the IRS already has your bank account information, the payments should be deposited directly into your account on the 15th of each month. The Treasury Department estimates that 35.2 million families will receive payments in July. If you didn’t file taxes in 2019 or 2020, you might still be eligible for the credit and can apply here: https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/child-tax-credit-non-filer-sign-up-tool.WHY ARE THE PAYMENTS MONTHLY?Advocates say the monthly payments can help smooth out an impoverished family’s income, making it easier for them to budget and less dependent on high-interest lenders.CAN THE MONTHLY PAYMENTS BE STOPPED?Yes. Some people are used to the child tax credit enabling them to get a refund on their taxes. They might not want the monthly advance and about 1 million people have opted out, according to administration officials. People can unenroll here: https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/child-tax-credit-update-portal.

Money in the bank: Child tax credit dollars head to parents

Money in the bank: Child tax credit dollars head to parents

WASHINGTON — The child tax credit had always been an empty gesture to millions of parents like Tamika Daniel.That changes Thursday when the first payment of $1,000 hits Daniel’s bank account — and dollars start flowing to the pockets of more than 35 million families around the country. Daniel, a 35-year-old mother of four, didn’t even know the tax credit existed until President Joe Biden expanded it for one year as part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that passed in March.Previously, only people who earned enough money to owe income taxes could qualify for the credit. Daniel went nearly a decade without a job because her oldest son is autistic and needed her. So she got by on Social Security payments. And she had to live at Fairfield Courts, a public housing project that dead-ends at Interstate 64 as the highway cuts through the Virginia capital of Richmond.But the extra $1,000 a month for the next year could be a life-changer for Daniel, who now works as a community organizer for a Richmond nonprofit. It will help provide a security deposit on a new apartment.“It’s actually coming right on time,” she said. “We have a lot going on. This definitely helps to take a load off.”Biden has held out the new monthly payments, which will average $423 per family, as the key to halving child poverty rates. But he is also setting up a broader philosophical battle about the role of government and the responsibilities of parents.Democrats see this as a landmark program along the same lines as Social Security, saying it will lead to better outcomes in adulthood that will help economic growth. But many Republicans warn that the payments will discourage parents from working and ultimately feed into long-term poverty.Some 15 million households will now receive the full credit. The monthly payments amount to $300 for each child who is 5 and younger and $250 for those between 5 and 17. The payments are set to lapse after a year, but Biden is pushing to extend them through at least 2025.The president ultimately would like to make the payments permanent — and that makes this first round of payments a test as to whether the government can improve the lives of families.Biden will deliver a speech Thursday at the White House to mark the first day of payments, inviting beneficiaries to join him as he seeks to raise awareness of the payments and push for their continuation.”The president felt it was important to elevate this issue, to make sure people understand this is a benefit that will help them as we still work to recover from the pandemic and the economic downturn,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday.Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who successfully championed increasing the credit in 2017, said that the Democrats’ plans will turn the benefits into an “anti-work welfare check” because almost every family can now qualify for the payment regardless of whether the parents have a job.“Not only does Biden’s plan abandon incentives for marriage and requirements for work, but it will also destroy the child-support enforcement system as we know it by sending cash payments to single parents without ensuring child-support orders are established,” Rubio said in a statement Wednesday.An administration official disputed those claims. Treasury Department estimates indicate that 97% of recipients of the tax credit have wages or self-employment income, while the other 3% are grandparents or have health issues. The official, who requested anonymity to discuss internal analyses, noted that the credit starts to phase out at $150,000 for joint filers, so there is no disincentive for the poor to work because a job would just give them more income.Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet said the problem is one of inequality. He said that economic growth has benefited the top 10% of earners in recent decades, while families are struggling with the rising costs of housing, child care and health care. He said his voters back in Colorado are concerned that their children will be poorer than previous generations and that requires the expansion of the child tax credit.“It’s the most progressive change to America’s tax code ever,” Bennet told reporters.Parenthood is an expensive undertaking. The Agriculture Department estimated in 2017, the last year it published such a report, that a typical family spends $233,610 to raise a child from birth to the age of 17. But wealthier children get far more invested in their education and upbringing, while poorer children face a constant disadvantage. Families in the top third of incomes spend about $10,000 more annually per child than families in the lower third.The child tax credit was created in 1997 to be a source of relief, yet it also became a driver of economic and racial inequality as only parents who owed the federal government taxes could qualify for its full payment. Academic research in 2020 found that about three-quarters of white and Asian children were eligible for the full credit, but only about half of Black and Hispanic children qualified.In the census tract where Daniel lives in Richmond, the median household income is $14,725 —almost five times lower than the national median. Three out of every 4 children live in poverty. For a typical parent with two children in that part of Richmond, the expanded tax credit would raise income by almost 41%.The tax credit is as much about keeping people in the middle class as it is about lifting up the poor.Katie Stelka of Brookfield, Wisconsin, was laid off from her job as a beauty and haircare products buyer for the Kohl’s department store chain in September as the pandemic tightened its grip on the country. She and her sons, 3-year-old Oliver and 7-year-old Robert, were left to depend on her husband’s income as a consultant for retirement services. The family was already struggling to pay for her husband’s kidney transplant five years earlier and his ongoing therapies before she was laid off, she said.With no job prospects, Stelka re-enrolled in college to study social work in February. Last month she landed a new job as an assistant executive director for the nonprofit International Association for Orthodontics. Now she needs day care again. That amounts to $1,000 a week for both kids.All the tax credit money will go to cover that, said Stelka, 37.“Every little bit is going to help right now,” she said. “I’m paying for school out-of-pocket. I’m paying for the boys’ stuff. The cost of food and everything else has gone up. We’re just really thankful. The tide feels like it’s turning.”———Associated Press writer Todd Richmond in Madison, Wisconsin, contributed to this report.

Have a seat: Patio furniture shortage tells US economic tale

Have a seat: Patio furniture shortage tells US economic tale

COCKEYSVILLE, Maryland — People used to go to Valley View Farms to buy five tomato plants and end up with $5,000 in patio furniture.This year is different. After a record burst of sales in March, the showroom floor is almost empty of outdoor chairs, tables and chaises for people to buy.The garden supply store in suburban Baltimore has been waiting six months for a shipping container from Vietnam full of $100,000 worth of wicker and aluminum furniture. Half of the container has already been sold by showing customers photographs. The container should have arrived in February, but it reached U.S. waters on June 3 and has just docked in Long Beach, California.“Everyone is just so far behind,” said John Hessler, 62, the patio section manager. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”The Biden economy faces the unusual challenge of possibly being too strong for its own good.There is the paradox of the fastest growth in generations at more than 6% yet also persistent delays for anyone trying to buy furniture, autos and a wide mix of other goods. It’s almost the mirror opposite of the recovery from the Great Recession of 2007-2009, which was marred by slow growth but also the near-instant delivery of almost every imaginable product.What ultimately matters is that demand stay strong enough for companies to catch up and shorten the long waits.“This is a very good problem for the economy to have,” said Gus Faucher, chief economist for PNC Financial Services. “You’re much better off having too much demand than too little, because too little demand is the recipe for an extended recession.”Republicans have held out the shortages and price increases as a sign of economic weakness, while Biden can counter that wages are climbing at a speed that helps the middle and working classes. But the real challenge goes far beyond the blunt talking points of politicians to an economy being steered by a mix of market forces, tensions with China, setbacks from natural disasters and the unique nature of restarting an economy after a pandemic.As America hurtles out of the July 4th weekend into the heart of summer, the outdoor furniture industry provides a snapshot of the dilemmas confronting the economy. A series of shortages has left warehouses depleted and prices rising at more than 11% annually as Americans resume BBQs and parties after more than a year of isolation. The industry cannot find workers, truckers and raw materials — a consequence of not just government spending but crowded ports, an explosion at an Ohio chemical plant and the devastating snowstorm that hit Texas in February.Patio furniture makers interviewed by The Associated Press say they expect the supply squeeze to end in 2022 or 2023 — meaning it could remain a political flashpoint even if the broader risk of inflation fades as expected by many Federal Reserve officials and Wall Street analysts. The shortages reflect both the stranded shipping containers, a dearth of truckers and the compounded effect of a fatal explosion in April at the Yenkin-Majestic Paints and OPC polymer plant in Columbus, Ohio that depleted the domestic supply of furniture pieces.The Biden administration, well aware aware of the challenge, has made fixing supply chains a priority. It’s also trying to direct more money to making the U.S. power grid and other infrastructure more resilient against extreme weather events as part of a bipartisan deal reached with Senate Republicans.“You saw what happened in Texas this winter: The entire system in the state collapsed,” Biden said in a recent Wisconsin speech. “That’s why we have to act.”Administration officials expect the supply chain issues to self-correct, though they’re cautious about asserting a specific timeframe because of the unprecedented nature of the recovery from the pandemic.They noted that a shortage of toilet paper when the pandemic started was fixed within weeks because factories could ramp up production. But in this case, Biden’s White House views the problem in global terms, with many of the challenges being in Asian ports, rather than a problem that is solely domestic in nature.Republican lawmakers have placed the blame exclusively on Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package, saying the shortages are causing inflation that behaves like a tax by eating into workers’ salaries and savings. Outdoor furniture companies do say that finding workers has become more of a challenge in part because of the greater unemployment benefits, but they don’t buy fully into the Republican line that government dollars have caused a lasting price bump.“The Biden inflation agenda of too much money chasing too few goods is causing major harm to hard-working families,” House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana said at a June hearing.The reality is not so simple for William Bew White III, who founded Summer Classics, an Alabama-based furnisher whose outdoor products look like they belong next to a Gilded Age mansion or terraced hotel along the Italian Riviera. He summarizes his problems as the three F’s: foam, fabric and freight.“The freeze in Texas closed down two of the plants that make the chemicals that make foam,” he said. “These plants were not able to reopen until mid to late March. And supply dried up. I’m not sure how someone that’s in the upholstery business makes it on 40% to 60% of the needed products.”His company can produce as many as 3,500 outdoor cushions a day, but for most of the year he was not getting the supplies he needed largely because of snow shutting down the Texas power grid. He’s having revenue growth of between 40% and 60% on an annual basis and it’s hard to judge how much to increase production to meet that demand and whether that demand can last.He is more concerned with what his Chinese furniture suppliers are charging than prices at home. His prices in China have jumped as much as 26.5% since January, sometimes retroactively on orders that were already in shipping containers.“This is not sustainable,” White said.In many cases, companies are simply trying to absorb the higher costs. Erik Mueller, CEO of the Cincinnati-based outdoor furniture and home recreation chain Watson’s, said he wants to protect his store’s reputation as providing value. He doesn’t see the situation as paralleling the 1970s mix of stagnation and inflation that helped to drive Jimmy Carter out of the presidency after one term.“This isn’t the 70s,” he said. “We still have goods that are reasonably priced.”While he believes that generous unemployment benefits have stunted hiring because people can earn more by not working, Mueller also sees the inflation as a spillover from the pandemic. Some people could not work because of the disease or their shifts were cut. The rush for supplies as economies reopened occurred too fast for factories and shipping firms not yet able to return to their previous capacity. All of that was coupled with a United States that after a brutal year simply welcomed the relief of lounging by the pool with friends.The problem is one of market forces that are beyond anyone individual’s authority, even the U.S. president’s.“You have just this exorbitant amount of demand due to a unique situation that was out of everyone’s control,” Mueller said.

Have a seat: Patio furniture shortage tells US economic tale

Have a seat: Patio furniture shortage tells US economic tale

COCKEYSVILLE, Maryland — People used to go to Valley View Farms to buy five tomato plants and end up with $5,000 in patio furniture.This year is different. After a record burst of sales in March, the showroom floor is almost empty of outdoor chairs, tables and chaises for people to buy.The garden supply store in suburban Baltimore has been waiting six months for a shipping container from Vietnam full of $100,000 worth of wicker and aluminum furniture. Half of the container has already been sold by showing customers photographs. The container should have arrived in February, but it reached U.S. waters on June 3 and has just docked in Long Beach, California.“Everyone is just so far behind,” said John Hessler, 62, the patio section manager. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”The Biden economy faces the unusual challenge of possibly being too strong for its own good.There is the paradox of the fastest growth in generations at more than 6% yet also persistent delays for anyone trying to buy furniture, autos and a wide mix of other goods. It’s almost the mirror opposite of the recovery from the Great Recession of 2007-2009, which was marred by slow growth but also the near-instant delivery of almost every imaginable product.What ultimately matters is that demand stay strong enough for companies to catch up and shorten the long waits.“This is a very good problem for the economy to have,” said Gus Faucher, chief economist for PNC Financial Services. “You’re much better off having too much demand than too little, because too little demand is the recipe for an extended recession.”Republicans have held out the shortages and price increases as a sign of economic weakness, while Biden can counter that wages are climbing at a speed that helps the middle and working classes. But the real challenge goes far beyond the blunt talking points of politicians to an economy being steered by a mix of market forces, tensions with China, setbacks from natural disasters and the unique nature of restarting an economy after a pandemic.As America hurtles out of the July 4th weekend into the heart of summer, the outdoor furniture industry provides a snapshot of the dilemmas confronting the economy. A series of shortages has left warehouses depleted and prices rising at more than 11% annually as Americans resume BBQs and parties after more than a year of isolation. The industry cannot find workers, truckers and raw materials — a consequence of not just government spending but crowded ports, an explosion at an Ohio chemical plant and the devastating snowstorm that hit Texas in February.Patio furniture makers interviewed by The Associated Press say they expect the supply squeeze to end in 2022 or 2023 — meaning it could remain a political flashpoint even if the broader risk of inflation fades as expected by many Federal Reserve officials and Wall Street analysts. The shortages reflect both the stranded shipping containers, a dearth of truckers and the compounded effect of a fatal explosion in April at the Yenkin-Majestic Paints and OPC polymer plant in Columbus, Ohio that depleted the domestic supply of furniture pieces.The Biden administration, well aware aware of the challenge, has made fixing supply chains a priority. It’s also trying to direct more money to making the U.S. power grid and other infrastructure more resilient against extreme weather events as part of a bipartisan deal reached with Senate Republicans.“You saw what happened in Texas this winter: The entire system in the state collapsed,” Biden said in a recent Wisconsin speech. “That’s why we have to act.”Administration officials expect the supply chain issues to self-correct, though they’re cautious about asserting a specific timeframe because of the unprecedented nature of the recovery from the pandemic.They noted that a shortage of toilet paper when the pandemic started was fixed within weeks because factories could ramp up production. But in this case, Biden’s White House views the problem in global terms, with many of the challenges being in Asian ports, rather than a problem that is solely domestic in nature.Republican lawmakers have placed the blame exclusively on Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package, saying the shortages are causing inflation that behaves like a tax by eating into workers’ salaries and savings. Outdoor furniture companies do say that finding workers has become more of a challenge in part because of the greater unemployment benefits, but they don’t buy fully into the Republican line that government dollars have caused a lasting price bump.“The Biden inflation agenda of too much money chasing too few goods is causing major harm to hard-working families,” House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana said at a June hearing.The reality is not so simple for William Bew White III, who founded Summer Classics, an Alabama-based furnisher whose outdoor products look like they belong next to a Gilded Age mansion or terraced hotel along the Italian Riviera. He summarizes his problems as the three F’s: foam, fabric and freight.“The freeze in Texas closed down two of the plants that make the chemicals that make foam,” he said. “These plants were not able to reopen until mid to late March. And supply dried up. I’m not sure how someone that’s in the upholstery business makes it on 40% to 60% of the needed products.”His company can produce as many as 3,500 outdoor cushions a day, but for most of the year he was not getting the supplies he needed largely because of snow shutting down the Texas power grid. He’s having revenue growth of between 40% and 60% on an annual basis and it’s hard to judge how much to increase production to meet that demand and whether that demand can last.He is more concerned with what his Chinese furniture suppliers are charging than prices at home. His prices in China have jumped as much as 26.5% since January, sometimes retroactively on orders that were already in shipping containers.“This is not sustainable,” White said.In many cases, companies are simply trying to absorb the higher costs. Erik Mueller, CEO of the Cincinnati-based outdoor furniture and home recreation chain Watson’s, said he wants to protect his store’s reputation as providing value. He doesn’t see the situation as paralleling the 1970s mix of stagnation and inflation that helped to drive Jimmy Carter out of the presidency after one term.“This isn’t the 70s,” he said. “We still have goods that are reasonably priced.”While he believes that generous unemployment benefits have stunted hiring because people can earn more by not working, Mueller also sees the inflation as a spillover from the pandemic. Some people could not work because of the disease or their shifts were cut. The rush for supplies as economies reopened occurred too fast for factories and shipping firms not yet able to return to their previous capacity. All of that was coupled with a United States that after a brutal year simply welcomed the relief of lounging by the pool with friends.The problem is one of market forces that are beyond anyone individual’s authority, even the U.S. president’s.“You have just this exorbitant amount of demand due to a unique situation that was out of everyone’s control,” Mueller said.

Biden seeks to strengthen options for workers with new order

Biden seeks to strengthen options for workers with new order

President Joe Biden plans to sign an executive order that will reduce the ability of employers to prevent workers from going to rival firms and remove some of the state occupational licensing requirements that make it harder to land a jobBy JOSH BOAK Associated PressJuly 7, 2021, 1:42 PM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articlePresident Joe Biden plans to sign an executive order that will reduce the ability of employers to prevent workers from going to rival firms and remove some of the state occupational licensing requirements that make it harder to land a job.The order is designed to improve workers’ leverage in the economy, increase their chances of employment and generate more competition among U.S. employers, a person familiar with the order said Wednesday, insisting on anonymity ahead of its release. It would be a key test as to whether empowering workers will lead to pay hikes and smooth the way for them to move to parts of the country where their skills are most in demand. It also enables Biden to show in the 2022 congressional elections how Democratic policies are focused on workers, a key argument as Republicans have increasingly tried to frame their party as backing the working class.The forthcoming order will direct the Federal Trade Commission to restrict and potentially bar so-called noncompete agreements, which have stopped workers in industries including fast food and Big Tech from going to other employers for higher pay. A 2019 analysis by the liberal Economic Policy Institute estimated that 36 million to 60 million workers could be subject to noncompete agreements.The order also seeks to ban “unnecessary” occupational licensing that can hurt the earning power of military spouses, skilled immigrants and former prisoners. The requirements can limit the ability of teachers or hair stylists to move across state lines, while also making some spend money at for-profit schools to affirm skills they already have. Roughly 30% of U.S. jobs require a license, according to a 2018 FTC report.This effort builds on work begun in 2015 by the Obama administration to get states to reduce the burdens from their licensing requirements.The order will also toughen guidance to the FTC and the Justice Department to prevent employers from sharing wage and benefits data with each other so they can suppress worker incomes. The New York Times first reported Wednesday all the worker-focused elements of the order.It was unclear when the order would be signed.

WH aims to help consumers with order on big business regs

WH aims to help consumers with order on big business regs

The Biden administration is preparing an executive order to improve opportunities for consumers and small businesses by stepping up oversight of sectors of the economy that are dominated by a select few companiesBy JOSH BOAK Associated PressJune 30, 2021, 8:57 PM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleWASHINGTON — The Biden administration is preparing an executive order to improve opportunities for consumers and small businesses by stepping up oversight of areas of the economy that are dominated by a select few companies, such as meatpacking and internet service providers.The order has yet to be finalized, but the overarching goal is to promote a sense of competition that the administration believes is central to capitalism, said a person familiar with the order who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss its details. The order reflects concern that the concentration of power causes higher prices and poorer quality services.The order would direct federal agencies to enforce existing rules to help competition. In some cases, this could mean dismantling regulations that preserve power for larger companies. Two clear targets would be ending noncompete agreements that limit how much money a worker can earn by switching employers and addressing a meat-processing sector that is largely controlled by four major companies.The move could be controversial among conservative lawmakers who favor less government intervention into the economy. However, some Republican lawmakers have opposed noncompete agreements, with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio introducing a bill in 2019 to end them for entry level, low-wage workers.President Joe Biden has made no secret of his belief that a concentration of corporate power could come at the expense of workers.“The president made clear during his campaign that he is committed to increasing competition in the American economy, including by banning noncompete agreements for workers and protecting farmers from abusive practices, but there is no final decision on any actions at this time,” said White House spokesperson Emilie Simons.Politico and The Wall Street Journal previously reported that an order would be signed soon on the matter.

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