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Tags: Iran | to-Strike-US-If | Israel | Attacks | GOP Woos Jewish Women Non-Religious Favor Obama

Iran: We'll Strike US If Israel Attacks; GOP Woos Jewish Women; Non-Religious Favor Obama

By    |   Monday, 10 September 2012 12:34 AM

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Cost of Democrats' Minimum-Wage Hike: Up to 768,000 Jobs
2. States' Reliance on Gambling Called 'Utterly Misguided'
3. Republicans Wooing Jewish Women
4. Iran: We'll Strike U.S. If Israel Attacks
5. Total State Debt Tops $4 Trillion
6. We Heard: Barry Goldwater, Gallup Poll

1. Cost of Democrats' Minimum-Wage Hike: Up to 768,000 Jobs

The Democratic Party's 2012 platform calls for raising the minimum wage and pegging it to inflation — and a wage bill already introduced by congressional Democrats could cost at least 256,000 jobs, according to a new report.

Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa and Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut have proposed raising the federal minimum wage in three stages to $9.80 per hour — an increase of 35 percent over the current level — and then annually raising the wage based on inflation.

The bill also stipulates that employers should pay 70 percent of the full minimum to workers who receive tip income, an increase of 200 percent.

"Earlier studies have projected at least 467,000 lost jobs following a wage hike of this magnitude," according to the report from the Employment Policies Institute (EPI).

"Accounting for the smaller labor force post-recession, job losses in the range of 256,000 to 768,000 are projected based on results found in earlier economic literature."

The EPI is a nonprofit research organization focusing on employment growth, with a special emphasis on issues that affect entry-level employment.

The report points to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicating that of the employees working at or near the current minimum wage of $7.25, nearly 50 percent are under age 25.

They also work mostly in service occupations — 43 percent work in food preparation and serving occupations, where profit margins are low.

When businesses hiring young employees "can't offset the rising labor costs with higher prices, they have to figure out how to do more with less," the report states.

"The result is a loss of hours, employment, or both."

Among teens, the unemployment rate is already 23.8 percent nationwide.

The EPI cites a study showing that in addition to reducing employment, minimum wage increases are poorly targeted to families in poverty.

Nearly 60 percent of minimum wage earners are either living at home with parents or other relatives, or have a spouse who also works. Less than 10 percent are single parents with children.

"The Democratic Party still refuses to acknowledge that wage hikes kill job opportunities," said Michael Saltsman, research fellow at EPI.

"As the election season heats up, the Democratic Party should not lose its focus on finding policies that increase job opportunities instead of reduce them."

Editor's Note:

2. States' Reliance on Gambling Called 'Utterly Misguided'

States are increasingly turning to gambling — including lotteries and casinos — to deal with budget shortfalls.

"But this approach is utterly misguided, since gambling has often disappointed as a fiscal tool and as an economic-development strategy," writes Steven Malanga, senior editor of City Journal, who notes that at least 12 states have expanded gambling efforts over the last three years.

"As legal gambling has spread, competition for limited dollars has intensified, and the new gambling enterprises seem merely to be siphoning money from elsewhere in the economy instead of generating new economic growth."

The first modern lottery began in New Hampshire in 1964. Today, 43 states have lotteries, which net about $18 billion a year for the states.

State-sponsored casinos began to spread in the 1970s, beginning in Atlantic City. Today, 15 states license casinos, which bring in about $4.5 billion a year in government revenue, according to the Rockefeller Institute.

Twelve states permit racetracks to install gambling devices. Commercial gambling on Native American reservations began in 1979, when the Seminoles launched bingo games, and Native American tribes now operate casinos in 28 states.

Every state except Utah and Hawaii counts on revenue from some kind of legal betting, which brings in about $24 billion a year for states and municipalities.

"That may seem like a substantial sum, but it constitutes only about 1 percent of combined state and local revenue," observes Malanga, who is also a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. His latest book is "Shakedown: The Continuing Conspiracy Against the American Taxpayer."

Gambling, he adds, hasn't lived up to its promise of closing budget gaps or lowering taxes.

New Jersey was the first state to legalize both casinos and the lottery. But today its tax burden is the nation's second heaviest, while New York, which brings in the most money from gambling, is the nation's most heavily taxed state.

And when money spent on gambling rises, spending on other purchases generally falls by an equivalent amount, which lowers sales tax collections.

Malanga points to the social costs of gambling. Lotteries tend to attract lower-income players, and represent one of the steepest of all taxes — government keeps an average of 42 percent of betting proceeds.

Gambling also increases crime and preys on "problem gamblers" who can't control their wagering — 11 percent of them have filed for bankruptcy at some point in their lives, compared with less than 5 percent of non-gamblers.

Nevertheless, politicians "are addicted to gambling," Malanga concludes. "Their addiction will damage many lives — and fail to help state finances."

Editor's Note:

3. Republicans Wooing Jewish Women

Barack Obama won more than 80 percent of the vote among Jewish women in 2008, and the president holds a 10 percentage-point lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney among all women this year.

But Republicans have devised a strategy to win the hearts of Jewish women: Talk about the economy or Israel or healthcare. Don't talk about women's rights.

"I don't think we elect the president of the United States based on these social issues," Arlene Herson, an activist with the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), told the Jewish publication Forward.

"The economy is way more important than any social issue."

And Mary Anne Carter, policy director of the conservative group YG Network, said it is "condescending" to focus on social issues when Jewish women are far more deeply impacted by the economy and matters of war and peace.

Recent news events have proved a setback in the GOP's efforts to woo women in general. Senate candidate Todd Akin's controversial remarks on rape and abortion and the Republican platform adopted on Aug. 28, which opposes funding or subsidizing healthcare that includes abortion coverage, have focused attention on women's rights.

But Republicans still believe they can make inroads among Jewish women voters, according to Forward.

"Don't talk to women only about contraceptives," Carter told the publication, citing GOP talking points including an economic downturn that has greatly affected women, energy prices, and Romney's strong support for Israel.

"We want to fight this false war on women," she said.

But it appears to be an uphill battle. Lynn Lechter, a board member of the RJC's women's committee, said: "I try to talk to Jewish women and say, 'What about the economy, what about Israel?' They say, 'I don't care, I care about abortion.'"

Forward states: "She tells them to focus on bigger issues and set aside reproductive rights for now."

Editor's Note:

4. Iran: We'll Strike U.S. If Israel Attacks

An Iranian military official said Iran will retaliate against American interests as well as Israelis if Israel launches an attack on the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities.

Ali Fadavi, a naval commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying on Wednesday: "The Zionist regime separated from America has no meaning, and we must not recognize Israel as separate from America.

"On this basis, today only the Americans have taken a threatening stance toward the Islamic Republic. If the Americans commit the smallest folly they will not leave the region safely."

His threat came after an Israeli news report claimed President Obama was negotiating with Iran to keep the United States out of a future Israel-Iran war. The White House denied the report.

Iran has missiles that could reach U.S. targets in the region, as well as Israel.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah also said Iran will attack American targets in the Middle East if Israel launches a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

The radical Shiite leader, whose group is often viewed as an Iranian proxy in Lebanon, warned that if Israel attacks, Iranian officials have told him that "the retaliation will be huge."

"Iran will not forgive a strike against its nuclear facilities," Nasrallah said in an interview with the Beirut-based channel Al-Mayadeen. "The Zionist entity will not be the only target. American bases in the region will be targets, too."

Iran has launched an attack against Israel on another front, asserting that Israel "spreads homosexuality" across the globe to pursue its goal of world domination, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Mashregh News, a state-controlled Iranian paper, claimed that the United States and Britain are using money from Jews to spread homosexuality, and described Tel Aviv as the gay paradise on earth.

Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh, an expert on minority groups in Iran, told the Post that the Iranian paper's article "legitimizes the execution of gays in Iran. They made a text not only to ridicule the West but to provide a reason why Iran executes gays."

Editor's Note:

5. Total State Debt Tops $4 Trillion

The bad news: The total debt owed by the 50 states stands this year at $4.17 trillion.

The "good" news? That figure is down from $4.24 trillion last year, according to a new report from the research organization State Budget Solutions.

The calculation includes a state's outstanding regular debt, the fiscal year 2013 budget gap, outstanding unemployment trust fund loans, and the state's unfunded pension liability.

Unfunded pension liabilities account for more than half of all state debt, totaling $2.8 trillion.

Outstanding debt, including bonds, and other post-employment benefit liabilities including healthcare each contribute another $600 billion to the overall debt.

California is by far the biggest debtor state — its $617 billion debt is more than twice as large as the second biggest debtor state, New York at $300 billion. Rounding out the top five are Texas ($286 billion), Illinois ($271 billion), and New Jersey ($258 billion).

Vermont has the smallest debt, $5.8 billion, followed by North Dakota ($6.1 billion), South Dakota ($6.5 billion), Wyoming ($6.9 billion), and Nebraska ($7.8 billion).

According to State Budget Solutions, the drop in total debt this year compared to 2011 is attributable to reductions in the unemployment trust fund loans and budget gap totals.

Editor's Note:




6. We Heard…

THAT the granddaughter of conservative icon Barry Goldwater cast Arizona's votes for a decidedly un-conservative President Obama at the Democratic National Convention.

CC Goldwater, a filmmaker, supported Obama in his 2008 race against her fellow Arizonan John McCain.

Goldwater and her mother Joanne are also supporting Democratic Senate candidate Richard Carmona, former Surgeon General of the United States, who is squaring off in Arizona against Republican Rep. Jeff Flake in a race to fill the seat being vacated by Republican Jon Kyl.

THAT President Obama has a huge lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney among one demographic group — registered voters who say they have no religion.

In the three-week period ending on Sept. 2, Obama led Romney 69 percent to 23 percent in that group, a Gallup tracking poll reveals.

But Romney held a 58 percent to 35 percent lead among voters who say they are "highly religious."

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Editor's Note:

Editor's Notes:

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Monday, 10 September 2012 12:34 AM
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