Tuesday, February 18, 2014
► It’s official. This morning at Boeing.com — Boeing to locate new 777X composite wing center in Everett, Wash. — “The new composite wing center will be located north of the Everett factory and will sustain thousands of Puget Sound area jobs for years to come.”
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Out-of-state companies may get chance to bid on ferry work — Simmering frustration with the cost of building state ferries has lawmakers again considering stricter controls on contracts and relaxing a requirement to build vessels only in Washington. The state House approved a bill Monday to allow out-of-state companies to compete if bids from in-state shipbuilders are substantially higher than estimated constructions costs.
LAST YEAR at The Stand — Buy Washington: Create jobs here, including building ferries — If our state government needed to buy a passenger jet, would you rather it be built by Boeing or Airbus? Before you answer, remember that governments, by and large, have to contract with the lowest bidder. If it was Airbus, would you have a problem with that? We would.
► From KPLU — Why Democrats are suddenly talking about minimum wage — President Obama talked about it in his State of the Union address last month. SeaTac voters approved a $15 per hour base wage last fall. And there’s a push now to adopt the same in Seattle. Even in Idaho, there’s a minimum wage campaign afoot. It turns out this is no accident; it’s part of a national effort to put the issue before politicians and voters.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Hospitality hearing tonight, fast-food boycott on Thursday — A Workers’ Rights Hearing will be held tonight (Tuesday, Feb. 18) to investigate the state of hospitality and service workers in Seattle. Meanwhile, Seattle fast food workers are urging the city’s workers, shoppers and residents to “Boycott McPoverty” with a citywide big burger boycott on Thursday, Feb. 20.
► In The Hill — Poll: Unemployment now America’s #1 problem — The new Gallup poll shows that unemployment is now the top problem in America — an increase of 16% from January. Republicans, Democrats and independents all said “Unemployment/Jobs” was the top problem, but the jump was the greatest among Republicans, from 11% in January to 24% in February.
► In the L.A. Times — For long-term unemployed, outlook’s never been bleaker — Unemployment benefits checks helped Kevin Meyer pay for health care for his family as he looked for work, but like 1.3 million Americans across the country, his federal unemployment benefits ran out Dec. 28. Congress has considered extending the benefits, but last week, Republicans blocked a Senate proposal to do so.
ALSO at The Stand — Senate GOP blocks another attempt to extend jobless benefits
► In the Seattle Times — Congress, it’s time to extend federal unemployment benefits again (editorial) — Congress has stepped up and extended unemployment insurance nearly a dozen times since 2008. The economy still is struggling. Time to do it again.
► In today’s Washington Post — Congressional Republicans are focused on calming their divided ranks — They are focused on calming their divided ranks in the months ahead, mostly by shelving any big-ticket legislation for the rest of the year. Comprehensive immigration reform, tax reform, tweaks to the federal health-care law — bipartisan deals on each are probably dead in the water for the rest of this Congress.
► In today’s Washington Post — For more than 25 years, it’s never been the right time for immigration reform — Since the 1980s, attempts to overhaul immigration laws keep running into the same obstacle: border security.
► At Huffington Post — The trade elephant in the climate room (by Sierra Club President Carl Pope) — It intrigues me when two of the most important climate speeches of the year have been delivered by AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka. How, Trumka asks, can the United States negotiate a new round of global trade agreements, led by the Trans-Pacific Partnership, with the environmental provisions which make no mention of climate change, the world’s biggest environmental challenge?
► In today’s Washington Post — Tennessee was afraid of the United Auto Workers. Here’s why it shouldn’t be (by Lydia DePillis) — Unions don’t make companies less competitive. And Southern states shouldn’t be competing on labor costs anyway.
► In the NY Times — Inequality, dignity and freedom (by Paul Krugman) — Modern American conservatives talk a lot about freedom, and deride liberals for advocating a “nanny state.” But when it comes to Americans down on their luck, conservatives become insultingly paternalistic, as comfortable congressmen lecture struggling families on the dignity of work. The truth is that if you really care about the dignity and freedom of American workers, you should favor more, not fewer, entitlements, a stronger, not weaker, social safety net. And you should, in particular, support and celebrate health reform. Never mind all those claims that Obamacare is slavery; the reality is that the Affordable Care Act will empower millions of Americans, giving them exactly the kind of dignity and freedom politicians only pretend to love.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.