Limited Legal Immigration is Hurting US Business

Donald Trump and Mike Pence at Executive Order Signing Ceremony Buy American Hire American
President Donald Trump displays his signed Executive Order.

The news is full of stories about the crack down on illegal immigration to the US by the Trump administration, but there is also a powerful effort going on to reduce the number of legal foreign workers, essential for many US businesses, coming into the country.

More work visas are being denied; applicants are asked for more personal information; and approvals are being delayed more often than just a year ago. This slow strangulation of the flow of legal foreign workers hurts hospitals, hotels, tech companies and other business that rely on them and which now are having trouble filling their available jobs.

Without the foreign workers, domestic workers must work more to cover, or businesses are forced to cut back on their services. Corporate leaders are worried what the long-term effect will be on their companies of the best and the brightest from outside the US end up going to Canada or elsewhere, where engineers and programmers are welcomed with open arms.

In April 2017 Trump signed an executive order called “Buy American and Hire American,” which directed the government to “rigorously enforce” immigration laws. The order went into effect without much notice or fanfare.

Not long after the president supported a law that would reduce the number of legal immigrants in half. Introduced by two Republican senators, Mr. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Mr. David Perdue of Georgia, the bill has not gone anywhere, yet. A few lawmakers are saying that the president has been using administrative, bureaucratic means to curtail immigration, since actual legislation to achieve that goal has been stalled.

“If they want to have a proposal on immigration, they should send it to Congress,” said Democratic Representative Ro Khanna, whose district includes parts of Silicon Valley. “The administration should engage in that conversation. To unilaterally and without any accountability change what Congress has authorized is not democratic.”

Hain Celestial Group Reaching for the Stars with New Leadership

The Hain Celestial Group, Inc, makers of Celestial Seasonings tea, Rudi’s Organic Bread;

Courtesy of Flickr

and many other products in the healthy eating niche, is about to name a new leader.

Its been two months since founder Irwin D. Simon announced his intention to leave is post as president and chief executive officer, and now he said that the board and he are about to complete the process of choosing the person who will take his place.

“I am confident now is the right time for a next generation of leadership, and I firmly believe that some of our greatest opportunities definitely lie ahead,” Mr. Simon said.

The first task of the new president will be to bring back growth to the US division, which the company is presently in the process of “proactively reshaping,” according to Gary W. Tickle, CEO of North America. The company has been, and will continue to cut back on its product portfolio to better focus on and invest in its basic 11 brands and top 500 stock-

keeping units in the USA.

“In 2018, we achieved incremental progress in certain areas of our business from our planned growth investments,” Mr. Tickle said. “Although in total, results for the fourth quarter were below our expectations, we’ve seen positive momentum building in our outlook on core distribution from our most recent round of customer line reviews. We already have confirmed 49,000 net new points of distribution for seven of our top brands across a broad range of retailers and channels. These transformation efforts take time to show tangible results, but these initiatives are translating into improvements in our measured channel numbers.”

Facebook Bans Suspicious Accounts

Following the banning of 32 accounts in late July with suspected connections to Russia, Facebook removed an additional 652 accounts, groups and pages that it identified as exhibiting “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” That behavior included the sharing of political material.

The banned accounts were linked not only to Russia, but what was a surprise, also to Iran.
The 32 accounts banned in July were generally engaged in efforts to influence the up and coming November mid-term elections. The 632 additional fake accounts were focused more on influencing US foreign policy, and regional politics in the Middle East.

Facebook is not the only internet site where foreign entities go to influence the US voting public. Twitter suspended 284 accounts for “coordinated manipulation,” with many of those accounts sourced to Iran. Microsoft announced they saw a new Russian practice to copy conservative US websites, perhaps as a component of a spy campaign.

“There’s a lot we don’t know yet,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.

“You’re going to see people try to abuse the services in every way possible … including now nation states,” he said. He described the deception campaigns as “sophisticated and well-funded efforts that aren’t going to stop.”

Bikers Boycott Harley, But Buy Haitian T-shirts

Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

In a bit of an ironic twist smothered in hypocrisy, it turns out Bikers for Trump leader Chris Cox chose to have pro-Trump T-shirts made in Haiti and not in the United States, to save money, despite Cox’s announcement that he will be boycotting Harley-Davidson for sending production overseas.

Bikers for Trump is a vocal group extending support for President Trump and has met the president on many occasions. The last time they met was this past Sunday, the same day that Trump tweeted his agreement with a boycott of Harley-Davidson, a US-based manufacturer of motorcycles.

Harley-Davidson announced that it was moving some of its production of motorcycles abroad for its European market, to avoid tariffs that would force the company to charge an additional $2,200 for each bike it sold to its European customers. The EU tariffs which the company seeks to avoid are a result of the trade war started by President Trump.

Yes, despite the declaration of a boycott against Harley-Davidson, Cox decided to purchase pro-Trump T-shirts in Haiti to save some money.

“If I get a T-shirt made in the USA, it’s going to cost about $8 more,” Cox told the New York Times.

“I looked far and wide to try to get a shirt made in America, it’s just they get you, they gouge you,” he said while selling the T-shirts from his RV for $20 each.

One Bikers for Trump member, Gary Rathbun, told the Times, “I’m riding my last Harley. It was American made, and that’s why we stood behind them.”

It was unclear whether Rathbun bought a pro-Trump T-shirt made in Haiti. Or if he would even notice a problem with such a purchase.

Despite Threat of Trade War US Economy Strong

Courtesy of wikideas.

The major indicators did not falter the day after President Trump announced he was raising the threatened tariffs on China from 10% to 25% on $200 billion worth of products. The NASDAQ composite, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were all higher by a bit following the announcement.

The consensus among analysts is that US business will survive the latest signs of a coming trade war as well as they have previous similar threats from the president and from reactions from abroad.

In an interview Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab& Co. Inc said,

“The economy generally is so strong that, despite the challenges of the potential trade war, the strength of the economy is more than offsetting that. Corporations have posted record profits this quarter that we haven’t seen in over a decade.”

There have been warnings, however, from companies such as Coca Cola, General Motors, Caterpillar, Ford and Harley Davidson that the tariffs of 25% already imposed on steel and 10% on aluminum; and previous tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods, will have negative consequences on 2018 earnings, and further into the future. Retaliatory tariffs have already been imposed by China and US allies like the European Union, Mexico and Canada. There are also many smaller businesses that have suffered from the tariff policy.

Not everyone is suffering. Many companies have seen higher profits during Q2. Apple’s sales in China flew to 19 percent from March to June. Caesars Entertainment Corp showed an 89.3% increase in profits to $282 million. And even though Caterpillar predicted higher prices, the company’s net income rose 112% during Q2 to $1.7 billion.

These data points are not indicative of anything, since the tariffs will not be imposed until September at the earliest, and their effect will not be manifest until months later. US Business is still fearful of what tariffs will do to their bottom lines:

“We said before that this round of tariffs amounted to doubling down on the recklessness of imposing trade policy that will hurt U.S. families and workers more than they will hurt China. Increasing the size of the tariffs is merely increasing the harm that will be done,” National Retail Federation CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. “Quite simply, there has been no better example of cutting off one’s nose in order to spite the face.”