By Peter Ward November 25, 2016
Turkey Industry Under Scrutiny
America’s Thanksgiving tradition has long courted controversy, given its historical associations with the genocide of Native Americans. Now journalists have turned their scrutiny to the industry that provides the birds Americans eat on Thanksgiving day.
According to Slate magazine, every year, turkey producer Butterball requires its employees to work approximately 50 days straight to meet the Thanksgiving rush. During this time, the company pushes workers in factories to handle 51 birds a minute, a much higher than normal line speed.
Butterball workers suffer a number of injuries due to the accelerated schedule, says Slate’s Gabriel Thompson. Thompson focused his reporting on Butterball’s Huntsville, Arkansas plant, which the company claims is one of the safest in the country.
In 2013, Butterball said the Huntsville plant had worked 8 million hours without any injuries bad enough to require stopped work. But the workers quoted in the article report hand and wrist injuries. They say Butterball told them if they reported an injury they would be suspended, and instead were encouraged to attend a nurse’s office to get ice during breaks.
Trump Foundation’s Illegal Self-Dealing
Charitable foundations are supposed to help the needy, not the people who run them. But Donald Trump’s foundation has apparently admitted to illegal “self-dealing.”
According to an article published in the Washington Post this week, the Donald J. Trump Foundation’s IRS tax filings for 2015 contains an admission that the foundation used its money to provide financial support to those close to the organization.
“In one section of the form, the IRS asked whether the Trump Foundation had transferred “income or assets to a disqualified person.” A disqualified person, in this context, might be Trump — the foundation’s president — or a member of his family or a Trump-owned business. The foundation checked yes,” reporter David A. Fahrenthold writes.
The foundation’s IRS filings were posted online by GuideStar, a nonprofit-tracking site. The Washington Post was unable to confirm whether the same forms had actually been sent to the IRS.
The form also asks if the foundation had engaged in self-dealing in previous years, and again, the Trump Foundation checked yes. The IRS can penalize a nonprofit for self dealing by charging it excise taxes or requiring repayment of the money that was misspent.
The Washington Post has previously reported on ways the president-elect appeared to use Trump Foundation money to buy items for himself or one of his for-profit businesses.
Skilled Workers Leaving Struggling U.S. Regions
Many of America’s skilled workers are leaving struggling regions of the country and moving to cities in Southern and coastal states, writes the New York Times this week.
Young people with college degrees are leaving states like Ohio, Iowa and Michigan and moving to the likes of California, Texas, Maryland and South Carolina.
Moving regions, as defined by the census, is quite uncommon in advanced economies, but the United States has been an exception. It has one of highest rates of internal migration in the world.
And yet, over the past decade the number of Americans moving across state lines has actually declined. The number of men moving has dropped from 3 percent a year to 1.7 percent. The decline is similar for women.
The demographic groups with the lowest rate of interstate migration were people a high school diploma or less at around 1 percent. Migration rates for college-educated people were about twice that.
Trump Tax Plan Examined
Donald Trump’s tax plan is one of the most dissected elements of the president elect’s roadmap for the U.S.
Trump declared he would “massively cut taxes for the middle class, the forgotten people, the forgotten men and women of the country, who built our country,” during his campaign. But in fact what he has proposed would mostly benefit the rich at the expense of the low and middle-income people.
America’s richest 1% will get an average annual tax cut of $214,000, according to an analysis by The Guardian. Meanwhile, more than eight million families with children are expected to suffer financially.
Meanwhile, CNBC claims that the person who will benefit from Trump’s tax plan the most is Trump himself, as people with income flowing through LLCs or partnerships will receive huge tax breaks. “In Donald Trump’s federal financial disclosure forms, he was shown to be the owner of over 550 limited liability corporations, or LLCs! He may stand to gain bigly from his own tax policy,” columnist Ron Insana writes.
Insana also says that the biggest irony of the election may be that the people who voted for Trump will lose the most from his policies.
This Week’s Top Headlines
Black Friday losing its unique status as US sales season spreads – Edward Helmore, The Guardian
‘King of bankruptcy’ would be complicated choice for Commerce – Adam Behsudi, Politico
Lufthansa pilots’ strike hits bookings as more planes grounded – Peter Maushagen, Reuters
Solar-Panel Roads to Be Built on Four Continents Next Year – Anna Hirtenstein, Bloomberg News
Volkswagen Outlines Plans to Boost Profit, Push Into Electric Cars – William Boston, The Wall Street Journal
Japan PM says TPP trade pact meaningless without U.S. – Kiyoshi Takenaka, Reuters
South Korean Scandal Widens With New Raids, Impeachment Effort – Eun-Young Jeong, Wall Street Journal
South Africa Keeps Rates Unchanged, Warns of Gathering Risks – Arabile Gumede, Michael Cohen, Bloomberg
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