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Sandy Hook shooting occurs in Newtown, Connecticut

December 14, 2018 in History

By History.com Editors

On this day in 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Adam Lanza killed 20 first graders and six school employees before turning a gun on himself. Earlier that day, he killed his mother at the home they shared.

The Sandy Hook shooting was, at the time, the second-deadliest mass shooting in the United States after the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech, in which a gunman killed 32 students and teachers before committing suicide.

Shortly after 9:30 a.m., 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot through a plate-glass window next to Sandy Hook’s locked front entrance in order to gain access to the school. Hearing the noise, the school principal and school psychologist went to investigate and were shot and killed by Lanza, who was armed with a semiautomatic rifle, two semiautomatic pistols and multiple rounds of ammunition. Lanza also shot and wounded two other Sandy Hook staff members.

He then entered two first-grade classrooms, where he gunned down two teachers and 15 students in one room and two teachers and five students in the other room. The children Lanza murdered, 12 girls and 8 boys, were 6 and 7 years old. Twelve first-graders from the two classrooms survived.

When Lanza heard the police closing in on him, he killed himself in a classroom at approximately 9:40 a.m.

Police soon learned that sometime earlier that morning, before arriving at Sandy Hook, Lanza had shot and killed his 52-year-old mother at their home. She owned the weapons her son used in his deadly rampage.

Investigators determined that Lanza, who had attended Sandy Hook as a boy, acted alone in planning and carrying out the attack, but they were unable to find a motive for his actions or discover why he had targeted Sandy Hook.

In November 2013, the Connecticut State’s Attorney released a report noting that Lanza had “significant mental health issues that affected his ability to live a normal life and to interact with others.” However, mental-health professionals who had worked with him “did not see anything that would have predicted his future behavior,” according to the report.

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting, President Barack Obama called for new gun-safety measures; however, his primary legislative goal, expanded background checks for gun buyers, was blocked by the U.S. Senate.

The community of Newtown, which has some 27,000 residents and is located about 45 miles southwest of Connecticut’s capital, Hartford, …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Why Conservatives Shouldn’t Support Federal Paid Parental Leave

December 14, 2018 in Economics

By Vanessa Brown Calder

Vanessa Brown Calder

A number of Republican senators are flirting with proposals for
government-supported paid-leave programs at the federal level, and
recently on these pages, former senator Rick Santorum jumped into the fray to make the case for one.
Santorum argues that it’s “good policy and good
politics,” and that therefore Republicans should be proactive
about creating a federal paid-leave program.

Research on the policy and politics of paid leave casts doubt on
Santorum’s dual claim. Like most government economic
policies, government-supported paid leave holds benefits for some
workers but also involves costs and a variety of trade-offs. There truly is no free lunch.

Government-supported paid
leave holds benefits for some workers but also involves costs and a
variety of trade-offs. There truly is no free lunch.

To begin with, government-supported paid leave is costly.
Paid-leave proposals such as the FAMILY Act would result in new
payroll taxes on all current workers, whether or not they intend to
use benefits. Indeed, the FAMILY Act’s authors outline new
payroll taxes in the text of their bill. If their estimates of the
future cost of the program are accurate, the new taxes would result
in costs of around $200 per year for the average worker.

But these estimates rely on unrealistic assumptions about the
utilization of benefits and the long-term trajectory of the
program. Using more realistic assumptions based on the national use
of the federal unpaid FMLA program, other estimates suggest the FAMILY Act would
result in costs of around $450 per year in taxes for the average
worker.

And even that may be low, because as employees realize that paid
benefits are available, it seems inevitable that program
utilization will grow beyond that of the current unpaid-leave
program. Moreover, a national paid-leave program is likely to crowd
out existing employer benefits and possibly even less-generous
state programs, further increasing program utilization and putting
upward pressure on costs.

Finally, the program is likely to expand, as similar programs
have in other OECD countries. For example, the average length of
paid maternity, parental, and home-care leave available to mothers
in OECD-30 countries in 1970 was 17.2 weeks. In 2016 that number had
tripled, to an average of 52.5 weeks, or over a year in
benefits.

Large expansions of programs are accompanied by large expansions
in program costs. For example, Norway expanded leave from 18 to 35
weeks between 1987 and 1992, which nearly doubled the cost to
taxpayers from $12,354 to $24,022 per eligible birth.

If other countries’ experience is any indication, we should
expect that the FAMILY Act …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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History Shows Forcing Companies to Put Workers on Boards Is a Bad Idea

December 14, 2018 in Economics

By Ryan Bourne

Ryan Bourne

A quiet revolution in Left-wing economic thinking is bubbling on
both sides of the Atlantic.

The Labour Party here and Democrats in America are embracing the
Continental view that the “Anglo-Saxon” economic model
is just too short-termist, and too obsessed with maximising
near-term share prices. To “transform capitalism,” both
parties are considering legislating for “workers on
boards” – a variant of Germany’s co-determination
laws.

If elected, Labour has said companies with more than 250
employees would be required to set aside a third of boardroom seats
for “worker representatives”. In America, Democratic
firebrand senator Elizabeth Warren would go further, committing
corporations with $1bn (£790m) or more revenue to at least 40pc of
directors being selected by workers.

Proponents of
co-determination may talk in the abstract about employee-directors
counteracting shareholder power for the public good. But the
reality is that worker representatives become an interest group
resistant to the innovation necessary for a dynamic
economy.

The thinking underpinning both is that workers often have longer
and deeper attachments to companies than transient or disinterested
shareholders. Direct representation for workers is therefore said
to better represent the long-term interests of the company. Such
representatives would vote against perceived irresponsible CEO
remuneration packages or share buybacks, and prioritise sustainable
value creation and investment.

Is such a romantic, abstract view of workers and their interests
justified? It is certainly not borne out by evidence.

Research in 2000 by Gary Gorton, a University of Pennsylvania
economist at the time, and Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis
economist Frank Schmid found German companies were 27pc less
valuable due to co-determination laws. This did not represent some
pure redistribution from shareholders to workers either. In part,
it is because German companies are generally less efficient,
finding it more difficult to adapt to changing market
conditions.

Indeed, a 1995-96 analysis of 46 studies on worker participation
by economist Chris Doucouliagos found that while profit sharing and
worker ownership can have positive effects on productivity, laws
mandating worker representation on boards were actually a drag.
Co-determination, in other words, leads to less productive
companies and losses for pension funds and other shareholders.

This should not surprise us. If workers on boards were
beneficial to delivering long-term value, then we would surely
already see more of them. There are no restrictions on such
corporate governance structures arising in the US or UK. Their
rarity implies companies see the prospect of worker representation
as restrictive on beneficial decision making.

And it’s easy to think why. Who represents workers under
such legislation would be decided through some form of electoral
process. At that stage, all the perverse incentives that arise
using electoral politics as a means of decision making come …read more

Source: OP-EDS