Morning Report: Labor market slowly improving 9/7/15

Stocks are higher this morning on overseas strength. Bonds and MBS are down.

The Labor Market Conditions Index rose 2.1% in August, better than the forecast. This is an index of various leading and lagging indicators.

The jobs report last week probably didn’t move the needle one way or the other with respect to the Fed’s decision next week. Yes, payrolls disappointed, but the 2 month revision was strong. The labor force participation rate remained mired at 38 year lows, however the unemployment rate ticked down and wage inflation ticked up ever so slightly. Note that August’s payroll miss seems to have a seasonal element to it and is usually revised upward.

The bond market seems to be ready for a rate hike. The Fed Funds futures are forecasting a very slow pace of tightening, the yield curve remains positively sloped, with the 10 year bond relatively heavy. Option volatility shows little sign of panic. The 10 year bond forward contracts indicate that even if the Fed hikes rates, the 10 year should maintain levels right around here.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism index edged up in August. Note that the survey was taken before the sell-off of the last few weeks. The labor data was decent – with businesses adding 0.13 workers, a historically strong number. Interestingly, 56% reported hiring or trying to hire, however 86% of those who are trying to hire are unable to find qualified candidates. (I wonder if “qualified” means someone with the wisdom of a 60 year old, the vision of a 50 year old, the efficiency of a 40 year old, the drive of a 30 year old and the paycheck of a 20 year old). Note that obama made an executive order over the weekend demanding that Federal contractors offer paid sick leave.

China has spent $260 billion trying to support its stock market. That is 2.4% of GDP. Note that stocks are not a major part of household assets, at around 2%. Real estate and bank deposits account for 70% and 24% of assets respectively. Interestingly the LTV of a typical Chinese home mortgage is about 17%. To put that in perspective, the US LTV is at 39%, and peaked at 57% in 2009.

Completed foreclosures dropped to 38,000 in July, according to CoreLogic. This is down 24% from last year, and 6% from June. Pre-financial crisis, 21,000 was a typical reading, so we have a way’s to go yet. Foreclosure filings have ticked up this year as the judicial states start to address their foreclosure inventory. The Northeast and Florida remain the states with the highest foreclosure inventory.

73 Responses

  1. Worth noting:

    “Zuckerberg’s Expensive Lesson
    SEPT. 8, 2015
    Joe Nocera

    It’s just hitting bookstores, but Dale Russakoff’s new book, “The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools?,” has already become a source of enormous contention, both in Newark, where the story takes place, and among education advocates of various stripes.

    The plotline revolves around what happened to the Newark school system after Mark Zuckerberg, the young founder and chief executive of Facebook, donated $100 million in 2010 to transform the city’s schools, a sum that was matched by the prodigious fund-raising of Cory Booker, Newark’s former mayor (now the state’s junior senator). The stated goal of the grant, according to Zuckerberg at the time, was to turn Newark’s schools into a “symbol of educational excellence for the whole nation.” Five years later, with the money basically gone, I think it is fair to say that hasn’t happened.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/08/opinion/joe-nocera-zuckerbergs-expensive-lesson.html?ref=opinion

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  2. ” Yet Zuckerberg didn’t realize until too late that New Jersey state law — not teacher contracts — imposed the seniority system he was trying to get rid of.”

    come on. know the rules of the game.

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  3. Reformers refuse to come to terms with the idea that the dysfunction is endemic to the system. It can’t be reformed.

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    • jnc:

      Reformers refuse to come to terms with the idea that the dysfunction is endemic to the system. It can’t be reformed.

      A point with much wider applicability than just the school system.

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  4. with that $100 million — i think i would have just paid to send the kids to boarding schools.

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  5. that poem story is just too funny….

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    • Brent:

      that poem story is just too funny…

      I think both sides are of the argument are completely loony. For example, the guy who is defending choosing the poem says:

      If I’d pulled the poem then I would have been denying that I gave the poem special attention because of the poet’s Chinese pseudonym…

      Huh? What kind of ass-backwards logic is that?

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  6. @jnc4p: “Reformers refuse to come to terms with the idea that the dysfunction is endemic to the system. It can’t be reformed.”

    Tough to do. Recent studies have indicated that sustained physical activity that keeps the heart rate at between 60% and 80% of maximum improves school (and testing) performance across the board, especially when done daily (preferably at start of the school day), so of course No Child Left Behind ended up cutting PE in favor of “more study time”, as if that was the problem.

    Which is not to get into the number of PE programs that focus on team sports (even for students who will never otherwise play a team sport) where most of the time is spent standing or sitting waiting for a turn at bat or for the ball to come to them, and barely ever have their heart rate elevated to 60% to 80% of maximum.

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  7. If I’d pulled the poem then I would have been denying that I was consciously and deliberately seeking to address past racial, cultural, social, and aesthetic injustices in the poetry world.”

    If there is one thing I think about when it comes to poetry, it’s the past racial, cultural, social, and aesthetic injustices in the poetry world. Poets, up until VERY recently, were super conservative. Go to any Klan meeting, they’re know for their impromptu poetry readings.

    Glad that white male ceiling is finally been broken.

    Insert haiku here

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  8. @jnc4p: “When you’re doing this from a position of entitlement, you’re appropriating an ethnic identity that’s one, imaginary, and two, doesn’t have access to the literary world,” poet and Chapman University professor Victoria Chang told The Washington Post.

    To me, this is just intellectually incoherent, and exhibits just a willful obtuseness. How in the world can you argue Chinese-American poets don’t have access to the literary world when a poet a white guy couldn’t get published under his own name easily gets published under a Chinese-American (or, Chinese-Chinese) name. A Chinese-American power clearly has much better access to the literary world, and to becoming a published poet, than does a boring white guy.

    Who has the privilege in this particular scenario?

    “If someone is fraudulently pretending they’re someone else to benefit from a system that traditionally benefits them, that is not ethical,” she said. “I would have taken it out.”

    How did the system that ignored his poem under his own name “traditionally benefit” him? How can it even be argued that it traditionally benefits him when it’s clearly prejudiced towards those with multi-ethnic identities? And isn’t she essentially saying that if she had found out it was a white guy, she would have taken the poem out, no matter how good she thought it was before she found out the truth? That’s an admission that her entire argument about “white privilege” in contemporary literature is ass-backwards.

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  9. @mcwing: “Insert haiku here”

    white people are best
    black people are not so good
    I like my white sheets

    A very famous KKK haiku I’m sure you recall.

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  10. Another delicious lparagraph,

    “If someone is fraudulently pretending they’re someone else to benefit from a system that traditionally benefits them, that is not ethical,” she said. “I would have taken it out.”

    Transracial poets of the world, untie!

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    • Does the “them” refer to “someone” or “someone else”? Is it not ethical for a white guy to pretend to be Asian in order to benefit from a system that traditionally benefits asians? Or is it not ethical for a white guy to pretend to be Asian in order to benefit from a system that traditionally benefits white guys?

      I’m so confused.

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  11. The only color
    That always capture the regs
    Not Black, White, but Green.

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  12. Atlantic piece on the poetry BS.

    “http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/09/when-a-poem-by-a-white-male-author-smells-less-sweet/404134/”

    “Who has the privilege in this particular scenario?”

    To even entertain the question is to accept the framing. It’s BS all the way down.

    “That’s an admission that her entire argument about “white privilege” in contemporary literature is ass-backwards.”

    Correct. BS all the way down.

    The other ironically hilarious part is that this argument is coming from the same people who typically claim that race is a purely social construct with no actual natural basis.

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  13. Welcome back, NoVA!
    If I had more syllables
    I would have a poem.

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    • http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21663903-david-cameron-extends-drone-attacks-will-not-be-imitating-america-britain-conducts-drone

      ‘Goose, I do not understand the hand wringing over drones being used instead of volume explosives. What is there about targeting a few people that makes it less preferable than laying waste to a village?

      Is it the old idea that mass killing and maiming has no singular face? The human mind cannot empathize with a group but only with a single other soul?

      I think drones are the most humane weapon of modern warfare.

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      • Mark:

        I do not understand the hand wringing over drones being used instead of volume explosives.

        I didn’t see in your link any indication of a preference for the use of volume explosives over drones. The main concern seemed to be the fact that it was a deliberate, extra-legal killing of British nationals. Is there some other indication that someone prefers volume explosives to targeted, drone killings?

        Edit: Corked by McWing. Guess I should read the whole thread first.

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        • Look, suppose they had intel that a bunch of terrorists were meeting in Terror City, Middle East Nation du jour. Suppose we did. I don’t get the notion that because one of the terrorists – who is like a pirate, more than anything else in the law – is a Brit in this case or an American in our case, we must try to capture and detain him.

          This may not be declared war, but in truth it is analogous to a Brit plotting with Nazis in Berlin in 1943.

          Why not?

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        • Mark:

          Why not?

          I’m not saying I agree with the objections. I just thought your original question had to do with the relative merits of targeted droning vs mass bombing, but no one was objecting on the grounds that mass bombing was a better way of killing than droning. The objection was to killing the guy at all.

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        • A hypothetical question for any liberals still among us:

          Imagine a small retail store that is open 5 days a week, Monday thru Friday, and closed on Saturday and Sunday. The owner decides one day to alter his open-hours policy and stay open on Saturdays, too. He begins to schedule workers for Saturday hours. But one long time employee, a practicing Jew, objects to working on Saturday for religious reasons. When he took the job it was with the implicit understanding that there would be no Saturday hours required. The owner of the store tells the employee that all employees will have to work at least some Saturdays, and he can’t make exceptions for just one employee. He tells the employee that he must either accept some Saturday hours or he will be replaced with someone who will.

          Question: Should the law protect this employee from being forced to either violate his religious convictions or terminate his employment?

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  14. ‘Goose, I do not understand the hand wringing over drones being used instead of volume explosives

    I don’t, either. I think it’s because they seem both personal (targeted) and impersonal (no one is right there pulling the trigger) at the same time.

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  15. I think the issue is the target was a British subject, not droning per se.

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  16. I’m embarrassed for the state of Texas.

    http://unlimber.com/?p=525

    Tough but fair.

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  17. @mcwing: “So if you’ve been following the Texas textbook scandal, you’re aware that, beginning this fall, Texas children will learn that slavery didn’t cause the Civil War. You also know that their state-approved books will contain no mention of Jim Crow laws or black codes. This probably makes you outraged — as indeed it should if any of it was true, which it is not.”

    I am shocked that the MSM got this story wrong. Shocked, I tell you.

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  18. @Scottc1: “Question: Should the law protect this employee from being forced to either violate his religious convictions or terminate his employment?”

    Terminate his employment. Unless he has a contract specifying his working hours and they are now trying to violate specific conditions set out in that contract, in which case I think the person has a civil case.

    That doesn’t mean the company isn’t being managed by dicks who don’t give a damn about changing the terms on their employees midstream, and care more about whatever management decisions they made than keeping experienced employees happy. Which, ultimately, means our devout Jewish employee would be better off finding another job somewhere else.

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  19. Question: Should the law protect this employee from being forced to either violate his religious convictions or terminate his employment?

    How small is small? If there is no one who can work this employee’s share of Saturdays, and the owner is a big enough dick to not care, then he’s going to have to find a new job.

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    • Mich:

      If there is no one who can work this employee’s share of Saturdays…

      Let’s assume there are others who could, conceivably, do so. But for various reasons the owner wants time to be distributed equally among his employees.

      …then he’s going to have to find a new job.

      So you too want to ditch federal religious discrimination laws?

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  20. @you financial types: what’s up with the Nikkei?

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    • Mich:

      what’s up with the Nikkei?

      I think it is just catching up to China. There was a big move up in Shanghai at the end of Tuesday, after Tokyo had already closed. And market continued to move up today. So sort of two days worth of movement in one day.

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    • McWing:

      I want to ditch them.

      I do too.

      So what say you, Mich? You on board with trashing the EEOC’s religious discrimination regulations?

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      • Having lived with it for my entire professional life I am OK with the 15 employee/20 week rule for Title VII. This is statutory law, btw.

        In my lifetime, prior to 1964, there were still so many major employers who would not even hire Jews that I also come to this with a bias in favor of some sort of federal employment religious discrimination law. A bright Jewish kid was under pressure until pretty recently to learn a profession or a trade where he could work for himself. Wasting one’s [Jewish] love of chemistry on the petroleum industry in 1964 would have been stupid.

        Better to go to medical school if you could get in, or law school if you could not.:-)

        It is easier to oppose federal law in this area if you think it is an ill wind that blows no good.

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        • Mark:

          Having lived with it for my entire professional life I am OK with the 15 employee/20 week rule for Title VII.

          I don’t know what that means for the purposes of answering they hypothetical. Should the law protect his job or not?

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        • Scott – the law does protect his job if the employer had 15 or more employees within 20 or more weeks during the previous calendar year. If the employer is smaller than that, Congress left him alone.

          Addendum: there are also some hardship avoidance mechanisms for larger employers, but those are details. Generally, if I use the statute’s definition of a small employer, I am OK with the small biz denying the request of the employee.

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        • Mark:

          the law does protect his job if the employer had 15 or more employees within 20 or more weeks during the previous calendar year. If the employer is smaller than that, Congress left him alone.

          So let’s say the employer has had 16 employees for the last 2 years. Does that mean you think the employer should be forced by the law to accommodate his refusal to work on Saturdays? And if the employer had only 15 employees, you think the employer should not be forced by law to accommodate the refusal to work on Saturday?

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        • So let’s say the employer has had 16 employees for the last 2 years. Does that mean you think the employer should be forced by the law to accommodate his refusal to work on Saturdays?

          Here is the EEOC’s layman’s description of that law:

          the Act requires employers to reasonably accommodate the religious beliefs and practices of applicants and employees, unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the operation of the employer’s business.A reasonable religious accommodation is any adjustment to the work environment that will allow the employee to practice his religion. Flexible scheduling, voluntary shift substitutions or swaps, job reassignments lateral transfers, and exceptions to dress or grooming rules are examples of accommodating an employee’s religious beliefs.

          Whether a particular accommodation would pose an undue hardship on the employer’s business depends on the individual circumstances. For example, an accommodation may cause undue hardship if it is costly, compromises workplace safety, decreases workplace efficiency, infringes on the rights of other employees, or requires other employees to do more than their share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work. . Undue hardship also may be shown if the request for an accommodation violates others’ job rights established through a collective bargaining agreement or seniority system.

          I’m OK with that for my client who employs 16 employees, and if he has a problem with it I might advise him to try to tough it out with only 14 employees, so that he is free of the taint of having been deemed to affect commerce among the states.

          It isn’t too hard to understand that law, and it isn’t difficult to comply with – in my experience, my clients have beaten the religious discrimination charge whenever they had a good reason, such as no one else at the window and door sash shop could operate a particular machine safely.

          So I know you may want to deal in hypothetical stuff here but I don’t.

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        • Mark:

          So I know you may want to deal in hypothetical stuff here but I don’t.

          I want you to offer a personal opinion on whether it should be law, not a lawyer’s opinion on what the law says or how hard it is to understand or comply. That is why I asked you about what “should be” and not what “is”.

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        • I want you to offer a personal opinion on whether it should be law

          I wrote that I thought a federal law against religious discrimination in employment was warranted in my first response and do not understand why you are asking me to answer that again.

          The County Clerk ordered her subordinates to follow her religious beliefs and deny citizens the ministerial duty of the office. She would not have been in any way in a courtroom about her conduct if she had simply personally refused to do what she was called upon by her beliefs not to do.

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        • Mark:

          I wrote that I thought a federal law against religious discrimination in employment was warranted in my first response and do not understand why you are asking me to answer that again.

          Your reluctance to provide a direct and straightforward answer to my question, to the point of explicitly refusing to even consider the hypothetical raised, led me to be unclear about just what you thought.

          Anyway, why should (note: should) the owner of a business with 20 employees be treated differently under the law with regard to this issue than the owner of a business with 15 employees? And why do you think such disparate treatment isn’t a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment?

          The County Clerk ordered her subordinates to follow her religious beliefs and deny citizens the ministerial duty of the office. She would not have been in any way in a courtroom about her conduct if she had simply personally refused to do what she was called upon by her beliefs not to do.

          Actually that is not at all correct. She had religious objections to having her signature endorse a license issued to a same-sex couple, and state law required even licenses issued by her subordinates to carry her signature as County clerk. She refused to allow them to issue licenses with her signature, which she says is against her beliefs.

          Basically SCOTUS’s ruling in Obergefell, combined with existing state law, resulted in a change in the condition of her employment, a change to which she had religious objections. Since there was a very reasonable accommodation available, ie change the law so that the signatures of her subordinates are sufficient, it seems to me the decision to imprison her was a clear violation of her rights under Title VII. How is that not so?

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        • Actually that is not at all correct.

          No, it is exactly correct. You understand the difference between the person and the office and the difference between a purely ministerial function and a discretionary one.

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        • Mark:

          No, it is exactly correct.

          No, it isn’t. She did not order her subordinates to “follow her religious beliefs”. That is just a gratuitous mischaracterization of what she did. She ordered them not to issue licenses with her name attached. In doing so she was not requiring anyone to “follow” her religious beliefs. She was refusing to violate her own beliefs by not endorsing with her name any license.

          You understand the difference between the person and the office and the difference between a purely ministerial function and a discretionary one.

          Sure, but is there something in Title VII that excludes people who perform ministerial functions from the same rights as all other state employees?

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        • BTW Mark, as you know I have already stated that I think the proper action for her to have taken, if she truly had religious objections, was to resign. I do not think the state, as her employer, should have to either accommodate her beliefs or put up with her religious beliefs interfering with her job. But with regard to private employers that is precisely what the law requires, and I think it is the height of ass-backwardness that our legal system allows the government to engage in the kind of religious “discrimination” that private employers can be sued over.

          This is what comes with unprincipled, arbitrary rules about what constitutes “good” or “allowable” discrimination and what constitutes “bad” or disallowable discrimination.

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        • Mark:

          FYI, I read Title VII last night and the answer to my question, why is the imprisonment of the KY clerk not a violation of Title VII, is that elected officials are explicitly exempted from the definition of “employee” under the act.

          On the more generic question, I remain curious about why you (or anyone, really) think the number of employees is relevant to whether an employer should be required by law to make accommodations for the religious beliefs of employees. And also what makes 15 the magic number.

          edit: Volohk points out that, although elected officials are exempted from protection under Title VII, they are not exempted from protection under either the federal or the Kentucky RFRA.

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        • Interesting article on the Kim Davis episode, the right course of action, and what it means for the rule of law.

          http://thefederalist.com/2015/09/10/kim-davis-and-the-rule-of-law/

          The case in question involves two things: the changing definition of marriage and the question of who has the legal and constitutional authority to settle such matters. That is why, in this case and other like cases, it matters a great deal that Davis was elected when everyone agreed the law was one with which she could easily comply, but that the Supreme Court has claimed the right to change, as it were, the conditions of her employment. [At least someone else sees what is obvious to me. – SC]

          That being the case, the right thing to do, from the perspective of republican governance, is to appeal back to the people, her bosses. She can no longer apply the law, as the Supreme Court declares it is, in good conscience. Do the people want someone who refuses to comply or would they prefer someone who accepts the change?

          If they want someone who agrees with Davis, then it would be fitting for her to go to jail not simply on behalf of her own claim of conscience, but also on behalf of her community’s belief that the Supreme Court is wrong here. The court’s declaration that it has authority in this regard is, they would be arguing, void.

          Also worth noting, especially for those of you who embrace the modern regulatorty state and actually think it is constitutional, is this link, found inside the above link:

          http://www.threefeloniesaday.com/Youtoo/tabid/86/Default.aspx

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        • I remain curious about why you (or anyone, really) think the number of employees is relevant to whether an employer should be required by law to make accommodations for the religious beliefs of employees.

          The number of employees is based on what Congress either thinks is the limit of its power under the Commerce Clause or what it guesses the Supremes think is the limit of its power under the Commerce Clause. In either case, 15 or more for 20 or more weeks in a year is a better guess than, say, “one” for a single month in a year, if we are trying to assess whether an employer affects commerce among the states.

          And also what makes 15 the magic number.

          See above. The extent of the Commerce Clause lacks mathematical precision. Both Congress and the Supremes think it is very broad, but unlike the universe it is neither unbounded nor infinite. For example, one cannot be forced to buy medical insurance from a private provider under the Commerce Clause, but only under the Taxation Clause.

          There is a fine Constitutional case recently decided in a DC Fed Court that will surely have an expedited appeal, and here is the opinion. It is not a Commerce Clause case, but a justiciability case between the branches.

          http://pdfserver.amlaw.com/nlj/House%20v%20Burwell%20opinion.pdf

          and this Volokh comment from Adler:

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/09/10/house-obamacare-suit-clears-first-major-hurdle-in-part/

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        • Mark:

          The number of employees is based on what Congress either thinks…

          Again, I am wondering why you, not congress, think that the law you support is appropriate. Surely you don’t agree with what congress does just because congress does it.

          I understand that by profession you have probably always had to concern yourself primarily with what the law says, how others will interpret it, or why lawmakers or judges did what they did. But as citizens and voters our first and foremost obligation with regard to law making is to develop our own personal opinion of whether a given law is appropriate or just, as well as establishing a justification for that opinion. And it is that, your opinions and justifications, not congress’s, that interests me here. If for some reason you just don’t want to tell me, please just say so.

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        • Scott, I think it is good for employers not to discriminate on the basis of religion, and I think it was good for Congress to intervene to make it so WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF THEIR AUTHORITY.

          In my perfect world each business Congress regulated in this way would be one that affected commerce among the states, and no truly local business would be covered.

          Using staff size as a short hand for affecting commerce is less than perfect, IMHO, but there probably is a correlation. So I cannot say 15 for this law and 4 for another and 50 for another is what I would have preferred. I would have probably used $ volume for a shorthand if I had written the law, and I think that would have suffered less from arbitrariness than the number of employees. Nevertheless, it would have been arbitrary. A less effective but less arbitrary measure of Congress’ reach would have been to say any business that sold or purchased goods or services in excess of $X in a year from other states or nations was covered, but that would have required auditors and inspections, and the dollar volume would have been, in the end, arbitrary.

          As I have said three times, I think anti-discrimination laws in employment (and for that matter in college admissions and in public accommodations) were good steps, but I would rather Congress underestimated the breadth of its power than overestimated it. That is my general sympathy, tempered by my general concern.

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        • Mark:

          Scott, I think it is good for employers not to discriminate on the basis of religion, and I think it was good for Congress to intervene to make it so WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF THEIR AUTHORITY.

          I think whether or not discrimination on the basis of religion is “good” or “bad” is almost certainly a function of the specific circumstance, and ultimately a decision that can only justly be made by the employer himself. I may have an opinion in a specific circumstance, but if it is not my business that is to be effected, for good or ill, by such discrimination, my opinion is neither here nor there.

          As for the bounds of the authority of congress in this area, that is certainly an interesting question. The constitution grants no such explicit authority at all. And the clause generally used as justification, the commerce clause (which I think you use as justification as well), also pretty clearly does not grant the authority you would have it grant. You speak of congress regulating that which “affects” commerce among the states, but that is not actually the authority granted by the constitution. The constitution grants the authority to regulate “commerce” among the states, not the authority to regulate that which “affects” commerce among the states. The word “affects” quite simply does not exist in the clause.

          I also don’t think it makes any sense to qualify a desire for congress to regulate anything that affects interstate commerce with the ostensibly limiting claim “within the bounds of its authority” because to insert the word “affects” into the commerce clause is necessarily to render it boundless. As we have seen, literally everything, including even inaction and the refusal to engage in commerce, can be said to “affect” interstate commerce. Therefore, to claim that congress has the authority to regulate anything that “affects” interstate commerce is to say that congress has limitless authority.

          On the other hand, if we are to accept that Congress’s authority is limited in any way at all, that limitation must be found within the words of the constitution itself. What is the limitation? By the plain words of the constitution, that limitation is that congress can only regulate “commerce among the several states”. “Commerce” means the act of buying/selling something, and “among the several states” means doing so from one state to another. An employer placing conditions of employment on employees is not an act of “commerce among the several states” unless the condition is specific to employees who are hired from outside the state of the employer. Therefore, congress does not have the authority to regulate religious discrimination in the way you desire, unless those terms relate to hiring employees across state lines.

          Since such regulation lies outside the bounds of authority granted to congress, then I think your own standards demand that you oppose such regulation.

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        • We disagree as to what regulating “commerce among the several states” might mean, because I think it would have no meaning if it did not require determining that a business action affected that commerce in the first instance. So be it.

          Today is the 14th anniversary of the worst morning I can recall and I posted the most uplifting quotation I could find associated with it.

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        • Mark:

          We disagree as to what regulating “commerce among the several states” might mean, because I think it would have no meaning if it did not require determining that a business action affected that commerce in the first instance.

          This does not make any sense to me. Commerce is itself one form of a business action, and is most definitely meaningful and knowable apart from other business actions that might affect it. Indeed, in order to even understand if something “affects” commerce, one must first have an understanding of what commerce itself is. So clearly “commerce” has a meaning, and is knowable, independent of it being “affected” by something else.

          If I transfer ownership of a car to McWing in exchange for his money, that is an act of “commerce”. Surely you don’t need to know all the innumerable things that might have an effect on that act, such as whether the car was built to use regular or diesel fuel or whether it is an automatic or manual shift or whether it has a catalytic converter, in order for that specific act of buying/selling the car, ie commerce, to be meaningful to you. The fact that congress may be authorized to regulate the act of buying/selling the car, ie commerce, is perfectly understandable without believing that it must also include authorization to regulate all the things that are not commerce, but which might “affect” the commerce McWing and I want to engage in.

          You may be interested in reading this: http://www.constitution.org/col/02729_fed-usurp.htm

          Beyond that, though, as I said previously, to believe that an authorization to regulate commerce must also include an authorization to regulate anything that “affects” commerce is, necessarily, to believe that there is no limitation to Congress’s authority, because quite literally everything a human does, or even doesn’t do (as we have seen), could be said to “affect” commerce in some way. You, however, clearly imply that you think there are limits to Congress’s authority. How can you believe both that there are limits and that Congress has the authority to regulate anything that “affects” commerce? And where are these limits to be found?

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        • BTW…good quote.

          Also, happy birthday, Brent.

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  21. my version of employment law:

    Gov: is slavery occurring? No? then we’re done here.

    Like

  22. The owner decides one day to alter his open-hours policy and stay open on Saturdays, too. He begins to schedule workers for Saturday hours. But one long time employee, a practicing Jew, objects to working on Saturday for religious reasons.

    This hypothetical seems the opposite of most practices where business hours are based on the religious beliefs of the owners.

    Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sunday because the founder is a devout Baptist. My favorite camera store in New York is B&H Camera which is closed on Saturdays. Most of the employees are Hasidic Jews. It’s very inconvenient for me to shop there since I am usually only ever in NYC on a weekend. But it never seems to hurt their business the other days of the week. B&H is probably leaving less money on the table. I can always wait to buy more camera gear but if I’m hungry on a Sunday I have to eat somewhere else.

    Like

    • yello:

      This hypothetical seems the opposite of most practices where business hours are based on the religious beliefs of the owners.

      Does this mean you won’t be addressing the hypothetical on its own terms?

      Like

      • Does this mean you won’t be addressing the hypothetical on its own terms?

        As much as I love your false equivalence analogies, I see where the bread crumbs of this one lead. Are there specific days of the week Kim Davis is willing to issue gay couples a marriage license?

        The better analogy is working at grocery store which only sold kosher food and the new owner starts selling halel food as well. Or a vegetarian at a food co-op that adds farm raised poultry to its previously meat free store.

        Like

        • yello:

          As much as I love your false equivalence analogies…

          So that is a no, then, you aren’t willing to address the hypothetical.

          Like

  23. Why don’t you want to deal in hypotheticals here? No wrong answer, just curious.

    Like

  24. @scottc1: Your hypothetical has too many holes in it.

    Like

  25. How small is small? Fifteen employees or less? Five? Twenty?

    Mark gave you quite a thorough answer, I thought.

    Like

    • Mich:

      How small is small? Fifteen employees or less? Five? Twenty?

      Let’s say 16.

      But given that the number of employees is inexplicably relevant to you, a new question arises: at what number of employees does your answer change, and why?

      Mark gave you quite a thorough answer, I thought.

      Mark was quite thorough in explaining existing law under Title VII. But what the law is is not relevant to the hypothetical.

      Like

  26. it seems to me the decision to imprison her was a clear violation of her rights under Title VII. How is that not so?

    Because, as an elected official, she doesn’t have any Title VII rights to violate (see the 9/9 thread).

    Like

  27. I read Title VII last night and the answer to my question, why is the imprisonment of the KY clerk not a violation of Title VII, is that elected officials are explicitly exempted from the definition of “employee” under the act.

    You’re welcome. 🙂

    Like

    • Mich:

      You’re welcome.

      Unfortunately you weren’t actually much help. You mentioned the “thread from 9/9” but I had no idea what that meant (I still don’t – yesterday was 9/9), so I had to read the law myself. And I am still in the dark as to what I asked you about, ie why you think the number of employees is relevant to the hypothetical, and what the magic number of employees that alters the analysis for you. My guess is that you think the number of employees is important only because existing law makes it so, and that you really don’t have a logical justification for why the law should make it so. But I remain interested in any answer you might be willing to provide.

      Like

  28. nfortunately you weren’t actually much help

    You mean the comment when I posted the language exempting elected officials from Title VII? That wasn’t actually much help?

    Whatever. . .

    Like

    • Mich:

      You mean the comment when I posted the language exempting elected officials from Title VII?

      Sorry, I somehow missed that.

      Did you also answer my question about the number of employees?

      Like

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