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An overwhelming share of Americans aren’t confident their children’s lives will be better than their own, according to a new Wall Street Journal-NORC Poll that shows growing skepticism about the value of a college degree and record-low levels of overall happiness. The survey with NORC at the University of Chicago, a nonpartisan research organization that measures social attitudes, questioned 1,019 adults from March 1st-13th. Approximately four in 10 cited health care and housing costs as big worries, and nearly two-thirds said inflation is a major concern. Forty-four percent said their finances are in worse condition than they expected for this stage in life, and more than a third said they are not at all satisfied with how they are getting along financially. Fewer than three in 10 agreed that people like them and their family have a good chance of improving their standard of living. “That strikes me as something that’s kind of an intractable level of pessimism,” observes Jennifer Benz, vice president of public affairs and media research at NORC. She said that lower gas prices or other marginal changes in the economy are unlikely to shift people’s fundamental disappointment with their financial standing.Full Issue
Analysis by ManpowerGroup shows that around 80% of UK companies have reported difficulty filling jobs. This is the highest percentage since 2006 and marks an increase on the 35% recorded in pre-pandemic 2019. Michael Stull, director at ManpowerGroup UK, said: “Talent shortages are always an area of concern for employers, but the real step change in our data can be seen post 2019.” He added that employers were "acutely aware of the growing scarcity of key skills, so they're holding on to and trying to stockpile business-critical talent. Just in time hiring does not work anymore, just in case hiring is more the mantra." Meanwhile, KPMG expects the UK unemployment rate to widen to 4.1% this year, from 3.7% in 2022. Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG, has flagged skills shortages and slowing workforce participation as two structural issues that “dominate the longer-term risks to the UK outlook.”Full Issue
The union representing 30,000 education workers reached a tentative deal with the Los Angeles Unified School District Friday, following a three-day strike that had closed hundreds of campuses and canceled classes for 422,000 students last week. The agreement, which still needs to be formally ratified by members, includes multi-year wage increases that add up to about 20% over time; a $1,000 bonus for current employees who worked in 2020; and a $2 per hour raise for all employees effective Jan. 1, 2024. Health care will also be provided to all employees who work at least four hours per day. Mayor Karen Bass announced the deal on Friday at City Hall with Max Arias, the executive director of Local 99, and Alberto Carvalho, the district superintendent. Mayor Karen Bass announced the deal at City Hall with Max Arias, the executive director of Local 99, and Alberto Carvalho, the district superintendent. “I have no doubt that this contract will be seen as a precedent-setting, historic contract that elevates the dignity, the humanity of our work force, respects the needs of our students, but also guarantees the fiscal viability of our district for years to come,” Carvalho said. “Those were indispensable priorities for all of us.”Full Issue
The Biden administration may allow European companies to share in billions of dollars in U.S. tax incentives for electric vehicles if the two sides can reach a trade deal in the next few weeks, a senior administration official has said. Although no such concessions will be included in a long-awaited proposed guidance that the Treasury Department will release for the incentives next week, Politico reported the official as saying that ongoing talks between the U.S. and EU could produce an agreement allowing vehicles that include European minerals to qualify for the full extent of the tax breaks. Those vehicles would still have to be made in North America. While European companies are already eligible for half of the $7,500 credit if they assemble cars in North America, the EU is fighting with the U.S. over the remaining $3,750 in incentives. That provision requires that 40% of the value of the critical minerals must be extracted or processed in the United States or in a country with which the U.S. has a free trade agreement. That level increases to 80% by 2027.Full Issue
Legal Matters Scotland
Suella Braverman could ban the European Court of Human Rights from grounding migrant deportation flights. The Home Secretary is in talks with up to 60 Tory MPs who are trying to strip Strasbourg of the right to interfere with Britain's immigration policy. The largest group of rebels believe the Illegal Migration Bill is too weak and have joined an amendment that would ban British judges from using legal precedent from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) when considering migration cases. Ministers say they cannot leave the convention completely without breaching the UK's international human rights obligations. It is thought a compromise could be brokered over emergency Rule 39 orders, used to prevent the Government from deporting migrants when a human rights challenge is pending, delaying flights for months to make time for legal argument in Strasbourg. Mrs Braverman could insert a clause into the Illegal Migration Bill banning the application of the orders in the UK, if an exemption for Britain cannot be negotiated with the court itself.Full Issue
The Grand Jury in New York hearing testimony about Donald Trump’s role in paying hush money to a adult movie star is expected to reconvene today. Prosecutors could call additional witnesses or present formal charges, the final step before grand jurors would vote on whether to indict. On Saturday, the former President held a rally in Waco, Texas, in which he decried the “weaponization” of the justice system and alleged that the district attorney’s office was pursuing the hush-money case as a result of political pressure from Washington, D.C. The rally followed increasingly threatening rhetoric from Mr. Trump, who last week forecast “potential death & destruction” should he be indicted in Manhattan. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) stated on Sunday that the FBI had informed him about potential threats of violence due to an indictment. Also over the weekend, Republican chairmen of three House committees sent a letter to Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg in which they reiterated their request for information on the hush-money investigation. They said the House Judiciary Committee was considering whether to draft legislation that would insulate current and former presidents from improper state and local prosecutions.Full Issue
A joint statement from the UK Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority has laid out plans for an overhaul of the UK’s criminal sanctions regime for insider dealing and market manipulation. The reforms will be implemented as part of broader work to “repeal and replace” EU rules that were still in place post-Brexit, known as the Future Regulatory Framework (FRF) review. “As part of the FRF programme, the government intends to repeal the Market Abuse Regulation, the civil market abuse regime, and replace it with UK-specific legislation. We will set out a timetable for this in due course,” the statement said. Commenting on the move, Simon Morris, a financial services partner at the law firm CMS, said: “The EU has criminalised most serious market abuse while the UK lags with a 30-year-old regime no longer fit for purpose.”Full Issue