The bad, the worse and the ugly
A couple of economic notes and an environmental question.
On the econ side, unemployment. The Mercatus Center explains our current unemployment situation and why the “official number” is a feel-good fantasy:
In case you missed it, the real unemployment rate is in the 11% range. Also note that before the recession, we were at around 9%. We’re certainly doing better but why they continue to publish misleading numbers on the unemployment front is a mystery … oh, politics. Never mind.
It’s better to be lied to and feel good about it than to know the truth.
Also, as a followup, the $15 minimum wage in SF and Seattle continues to take victims. While neither has fully implemented the wage at present, its enough to push business owners into making decisions which are unlikely the intended consequence of the wage raise. We told you about Borderland Books in SF. Here’s an example from Seattle:
Cascade Designs, an outdoor recreational gear manufacturing company based in Seattle, announced it is moving 100 jobs (20% of the workforce) later this year to a new plant it is leasing near Reno, Nevada. The company has offered some employees positions in Reno, but others must reapply.
Founder John Burroughs and Vice Chair David Burroughs blamed Seattle’s new $15 minimum wage, indicating it “nudged them into action.” According to the owners, Seattle’s new minimum wage would “eventually add up to a few million dollars a year.”
Once established in Reno, you may see further moves. And:
The San Francisco Eater, a local publication following the city’s restaurant scene, predicts that the impact of the $15 minimum will likely lead many restaurants to close their doors this year. Abbot’s Cellar and Luna Park, popular locally owned restaurants, already made the decision to shut down. The owners both blamed the $15 minimum wage.
What’s $15 times zero?
Finally on the enviro front, where’s the outrage? From CATO:
Nicaragua’s plan to build an Interoceanic Canal that would rival the Panama Canal could be a major environmental disaster if it goes forward. That’s the assessment of Axel Meyer and Jorge Huete-Pérez, two scientists familiar with the project, in a recent article in Nature. Disturbingly, the authors point out,
“No economic or environmental feasibility studies have yet been revealed to the public. Nicaragua has not solicited its own environmental impact assessment and will rely instead on a study commissioned by the HKND [The Hong Kong-based company that has the concession to build the canal]. The company has no obligation to reveal the results to the Nicaraguan public.”
In recent weeks we have seen similar opinions aired in the Washington Post, Wired, The Economist, and other media. In their article, Meyer and Huete-Pérez explain how the $50-billion project (more than four times Nicaragua’s GDP), would require “The excavation of hundreds of kilometres from coast to coast, traversing Lake Nicaragua, the largest drinking-water reservoir in the region, [and] will destroy around 400,000 hectares of rainforests and wetlands.” So far, the Nicaraguan government has remained mum about the environmental impact of the project. Daniel Ortega, the country’s president, only said last year that “some trees have to be removed.”
Some trees?! Where are the enviros whackos on this?
Interestingly, despite this potential massive threat to one of the most pristine environmental reservoirs in the Americas, none of the leading international environmental organizations, such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth or the Sierra Club, has issued a single statement about the Nicaragua Canal.
We know for a fact that this is not out of lack of interest in Central America. After all, some of these organizations were pretty vocal in their opposition to CAFTA. Why isn’t the Nicaragua Canal proposal commanding the attention of these international environmental groups?
Why? Because as Insty points out, “commies get a pass” on this sort of thing.