February 19, 2018

‘To Me, It Was Racist’: N.B.A. Players Respond to Laura Ingraham’s Comments on LeBron James

Mr. Wade, in a tweet, said that Ms. Ingraham’s remarks underscored the way that racist speech has flourished under Mr. Trump.

“They use to try and hide it,” said Mr. Wade, a close friend and former teammate of Mr. James. “Now the president has given everyone the courage to live their truths.”

Mr. James, Mr. Durant and Ms. Champion are black, and many commentators noted online that the word “they” in Ms. Ingraham’s sentence, as well as her comments about Mr. James’s intelligence, came across as racist.

Ms. Ingraham, a stalwart ally of Mr. Trump, belittled Mr. James for leaving high school early to enter the N.B.A. and said that it was unwise to “seek political advice from someone who gets paid a hundred million dollars a year to bounce a ball.”

“You’re great players but no one voted for you,” she concluded, addressing Mr. James and Mr. Durant. “Millions elected Trump to be their coach. So keep the political commentary to yourself, or as someone once said, shut up and dribble.”

Ms. Ingraham’s comments referred to a clip of Mr. James and Mr. Durant criticizing the president from Mr. James’s video platform, Uninterrupted. Mr. James spoke about his experience as an African-American and then, prompted by Ms. Champion, repeated his past criticisms of Mr. Trump.

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Mr. Durant then described how he learned life skills from basketball and compared Mr. Trump to a “bad coach.” On her show, Ms. Ingraham edited the clip to remove substantial portions of both men’s comments.

“If pro athletes and entertainers want to freelance as political pundits, then they should not be surprised when they’re called out for insulting politicians,” Ms. Ingraham said in a statement on Friday. “There was no racial intent in my remarks — false, defamatory charges of racism are a transparent attempt to immunize entertainment and sports elites from scrutiny and criticism.” She also cited multiple white entertainers whom she had previously criticized for being politically outspoken.

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Ms. Ingraham made similar arguments on Friday night’s episode of her Fox News show before doubling down against Mr. James. “If you want to be a political pundit, you’re coming on my court,” she said.

She said she would welcome a conversation about black unemployment, inner-city violence and school choice, but that Mr. James’s comments about Mr. Trump were a “drive-by hit.”

“If you’re a white N.B.A. player and you said that stuff about Obama, you would never play again,” she said.

Mr. James has been politically outspoken, particularly in regard to Mr. Trump. In September, he called the president a “bum” after Mr. Trump said he had withdrawn an invitation for the Golden State Warriors to visit the White House.

After a racial slur was painted on the front gates of his home in Los Angeles last year, Mr. James addressed how he continues to struggle with racism, despite his success.

“No matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, being black in America is — it’s tough,” Mr. James said at the time. “And we got a long way to go for us as a society and for us as African-Americans until we feel equal in America.”

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/sports/basketball/lebron-laura-ingraham.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

No chance of cryptocurrencies replacing fiat money

It may make sense for some investors to include digital currencies in their portfolios as a hedge, the bank said in a wide-ranging note to clients. The bank added, however, that it doesn’t view any cryptocurrency as a “legitimate competitor” to sovereign currencies.

JPMorgan’s Dimon regrets calling bitcoin a ‘fraud’

“The huge volatility of the price of cryptocurrencies – with respect to either traditional currencies or to a basket of goods and services – has made use of cryptocurrencies as a unit of account impractical,” it said. “Only hobbyists are using cryptocurrencies as a medium of exchange, at least for conventional transactions for goods and services.”

JPMorgan added that even if cryptocurrencies were to meet the criteria of cash, they still would have a very difficult time giving a national currency a run for its money because of the network effect of fiat.

“At any rate, even a hypothetically stable-value cryptocurrency is unlikely to compete with the dollar for transactions in goods and services, in say, Chicago, or to compete with the euro in Stuttgart.

“Economists have long viewed successful (i.e. relatively price-stable) currencies as natural monopolies in a given geographic area. This particular natural monopoly arises as a result of the inherent network externalities: pricing a New York meal in yen makes little sense, as almost all customers will be holding dollars,” said JPMorgan.

According to the Wall Street bank, the only area where cryptocurrencies could compete with national currencies as a medium of exchange is in the black market.

CEO of JPMorgan Jamie Dimon, who once denounced bitcoin as a fraud that was bound to fail, said last month he regrets the comment, but remains uninterested in digital currencies.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/419081-jpmorgan-cryptocurrencies-hurdle-money/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ is threat to US in Latin America – US commander

© Olaf Krüger / Global Look PressChina unveils huge plans for the Arctic, with ‘Polar Silk Road’ on the way

Talking at a Senate Armed Services Committee meeting, he said China has already pledged $500 billion in trade funds with various Latin American countries and $250 billion in direct investment over the next decade.

“Increased economic cooperation – such as the extension of the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative to Latin America, one of the nodes to support China’s vision of a competing global economic initiative – and the continued provision of financing and loans that appear to have ‘no strings attached’ provide ample opportunity for China to expand its influence over key regional partners and promote unfair business and labor practices.”

Tidd added that “Increased reach to key global access points like Panama create commercial and security vulnerabilities for the United States, as do Chinese telecommunications and space ventures with dual-use potential, which could facilitate intelligence collection, compromise communication networks, and ultimately constrain our ability to work with our partners.”

According to the SOUTHCOM commander, China is intensifying its role as a US rival in Latin America.

“The larger strategic challenge posed by China in this region is not yet a military one. It is an economic one, and a new approach may be required to compete effectively against China’s coordinated efforts in the Americas. Some of the most critical elements needed in this effort are not ones that [SOUTHCOM] can bring to bear,” he said.

China wants Afghanistan’s ancient trade routes to be part of new ‘Silk Road’

The US admiral explained Chinese operations in Latin America do not “yet” pose a military threat, but Beijing is increasingly recruiting Latin Americans who participate in the US International Military Education and Training program (IMET).

The program has facilitated the attendance of nearly 16,000 students from the region to various American war colleges, he noted.

“China, in particular, is increasingly aggressive in courting students from the region to attend Chinese military schools, offering to cover all expenses and salaries in return for increased student enrollment,” said Tidd.

Under the broader Belt/Road initiative announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, Beijing plans building a new ‘Silk Road’. It is aimed to connect China to Southeast and Central Asia by land and the Middle East and Europe by sea.

Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi has recently encouraged Latin American and Caribbean states to expand their trade with the country. Several states including Chile and Bolivia have already declared their readiness to integrate into the initiative.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/419080-china-initiative-threat-us/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

You can’t invest in cryptocurrencies without fear of cybertheft, experts tell RT

Crypto exchange claims $200 million stolen, but all may not be as it seems

“In my opinion, the terms ‘cryptocurrency’ and ‘safe investment tool’ should not be used together,” Olga Prokhorova, expert at the International Financial Center, told RT. If you are using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a short-term investment, the only convenient way of keeping them is to use online wallets and crypto-exchanges, she said.

“Theft of cryptocurrencies from exchanges will not stop as long as there are clear precedents of successful cyberattacks. They will motivate hackers to do similar things in the future. You should not keep cryptocurrency on the exchange – it’s not safe; everyone knows it, but people continue to do it,” Prokhorova said.

The only possible way of making sure your cryptocurrency is not stolen is the participation of banks, which have vast experience in it, but the community around digital assets hates the idea of banker participation, and digital assets are not recognized by many banks, she added.

Eldiyar Muratov, president of Singapore Castle Family Office, mentioned the major cryptocurrency thefts and closures of exchanges Mt.Gox and Cryptsy, as well as stolen funds in tether, NEM and other cryptocurrencies. According to some estimates, more than a $1 billion has been stolen in digital money in recent years.

Panic rules lawless world of cryptocurrencies

“First of all, do not trust online services. Yes, they advertise themselves, allegedly guaranteeing the security of BTC storage or any other cryptocurrency,” he told RT.

“But the practice shows that these guarantees are not worth anything. Such services are often hacked by outside hackers, and in addition, they are often organized by fraudsters, who simply disappear when they get enough money from customers.”

It is safer to store cryptocurrency on your PC, and you should create unique passwords for each of your offline wallets. But if you forget them, you will lose your digital currency irreversibly, Muratov added.

“The point is that there is an inverse relationship between usability and the safety of BTC storage. Online storage and smartphone are convenient for permanent use. But it is online wallets that are most vulnerable to hacker attacks, and a smartphone can be easily lost,” he warned.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/419079-cryptocurrencies-cybertheft-crime-bitcoin/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Lerone Bennett Jr., Historian of Black America, Dies at 89

“Since I was a child, I was just fascinated by the printed word,” he explained in a 1985 interview with The Miami Herald.

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A later edition of Mr. Bennett’s best-known book. Writing of a ship carrying blacks that arrived in Jamestown, Va., in 1619, he wrote, “No ship ever called at an American port with a more important cargo.”

He grew up in Jackson, Miss., and by 12 was writing for The Mississippi Enterprise, a black newspaper there. After graduating from Lanier High School, he went to Morehouse College, the historically black institution in Atlanta, and was working on the student newspaper when it published some of the early writings of another Morehouse student, Martin Luther King Jr. Mr. Bennett graduated in 1949, the year after King did, and went to work at the black newspaper Atlanta Daily World.

He moved to Jet magazine in Chicago in 1953 as an associate editor and to Ebony, its sister publication, a year later. He became senior editor there in 1958 and later executive editor. He worked for the magazine into his 80s.

“Before the Mayflower” established Mr. Bennett as a leading scholarly voice during the racial ferment of the 1960s. In 1966 he testified before a House Education subcommittee looking into racism and unrest, and was blunt, tracing the turmoil of the times to an education system that did not prepare students to live in a multiracial society.

“It is my opinion, and the opinion of many writers and scholars in this field,” he said, “that segregated textbooks — and segregated and segregating use of words, symbols and ideas — are as dangerous to the internal peace of America as segregated schools and residential areas.”

That was relatively mild compared with what he said about Abraham Lincoln in a January 1968 article in Ebony. Despite his reputation as an emancipator, Mr. Bennett wrote, Lincoln was actually a white supremacist who thought that the races would be better off separated, “preferably with the Atlantic Ocean or some other large, deep body of water between them.”

“The man’s character, his way with words and his assassination, together with the psychological needs of a racist society, have obscured his contradictions under a mountain of myths,” he added.

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Mr. Bennett’s biography of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was originally published in 1964.

In an interview after the article was published, he stuck to his guns. “Last year, during the riot season, President Johnson said he hoped he would handle himself as Lincoln did during the Civil War,” he said. “If he does, it will be a disaster.”

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Mr. Bennett expanded on his argument in 2000 in the book “Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream.” The historian James M. McPherson found it a flawed work.

“Bennett,” he wrote in reviewing the book in The New York Times, “fails to appreciate the acuity and empathy that enabled Lincoln to transcend his prejudices and to preside over the greatest social revolution in American history.”

Mr. Bennett’s other books included “What Manner of Man: A Biography of Martin Luther King Jr.” (1964), “Black Power U.S.A.: The Human Side of Reconstruction, 1867-1877” (1967) and “The Shaping of Black America” (1975).

In 1965 he married Gloria Sylvester. She died in 2009. His survivors include their daughters, Joy, Constance and Courtney, and three grandchildren. A son, Lerone III, died in 2013. Mr. Bennett lived in Chicago.

In an oral history recorded in 2010 for the National Visionary Leadership Project, which collects the stories of notable black Americans, Mr. Bennett talked about a three-part approach to affecting change.

“Every black person is obligated,” he said, “to try to do what he does as well as any person who ever lived can do it, or any person who ever lives can do it; then, to try to save one — just one — person if you can. And then to struggle to destroy a system which is multiplying black victims faster than all the black intellectuals and the black leaders in America can talk about. I see those three things connected.”

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/obituaries/lerone-bennett-jr-historian-of-black-america-dies-at-89.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Memo: A Familiar Editorial Split After Parkland Shooting, but Not Everywhere

It was one of the more striking responses from the news media to Wednesday’s killings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., an attack that quickly revived the national debate over restricting access to guns, and why politicians have taken few steps to do so.

The shift by The Post, among the friendlier news organizations toward Mr. Trump, was seen by proponents of gun control as a potentially favorable development.

In October, after a gunman killed dozens of people at a concert in Las Vegas, the paper editorialized that a 1990s-era assault weapon ban was merely “cosmetic,” and noted that mass shootings accounted “for a fraction” of domestic firearm-related deaths.

In Friday’s paper, The Post devoted two full pages to an editorial that called for, among other gun-control measures, the reinstatement of the 1994 federal ban on various assault weapons, which expired in 2004. “Mr. President, this is your moment,” the paper wrote, urging Mr. Trump to “prove how much you truly want to curb the carnage.”

Another Murdoch-owned outlet, however, showed no sign of championing gun control measures.

FoxNews.com published a tough critique of other networks’ coverage of the shootings, noting that the major network newscasts cited a statistic from an anti-gun group, Everytown for Gun Safety, that 18 school shootings had occurred this year. As other outlets, including The Washington Post, have pointed out, that statistic included a suicide at a closed school and an incident when gunshots were fired in a high school parking lot but no one was injured.

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The FoxNews.com story charged that news networks had “held up the statistic to slam America as the gun crime rampant hell-scape.”

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In fact, gun violence remains a significant challenge in American life; since the 2012 shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., at least 239 school shootings have occurred nationwide.

Still, as so often occurs after major news events, false reports gained steam on social media — and in some major news outlets — before the authorities debunked them hours later.

The Associated Press, ABC News and even the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer repeated a claim by a Florida white nationalist group that it had ties to the Parkland killer, Nikolas Cruz. Law enforcement officials later said they had no evidence linking Mr. Cruz to extremist groups. The initial claim was traced to online forums like 4chan, where commenters appeared to gloat about deceiving journalists.

More familiar divides among the news media also emerged.

The right-leaning Breitbart.com framed coverage of the shooting as a critique of the F.B.I., which Trump supporters have frequently derided as biased against the president. Breitbart took pains to suggest a seemingly damning contrast: the F.B.I.’s fumbling of a tip about the Parkland shooter and the agency’s work investigating allegations of collusion between Russians and Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.

S. E. Cupp, a conservative host on HLN, scolded other broadcast journalists for what she called a lack of objectivity. “When it comes to guns, news anchors take off their journalist hats and put on their activist hats,” Ms. Cupp said on Thursday.

Some newspapers dedicated their front pages to pleas for action.

The Boston Globe ran a giant headline — “We Know What Will Happen Next” — above a column by Nestor Ramos that envisioned a future mass shooting and declared, “There are only three things we don’t know about the next time: Who, where, and how many?”

And The Daily News, the crosstown rival of The Post and a longtime supporter of stricter gun laws, ran a provocative, if bleakly predictable, image of a young girl wearing a bulletproof vest on its front page

The headline: “Is my school next, Mommy?”

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/business/media/a-familiar-editorial-split-after-parkland-shooting-but-not-everywhere.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Trump Administration Proposes Stiff Penalties on Steel and Aluminum Imports

Mr. Ross also proposed an alternative for the steel industry that involved no tariffs, but would set a quota limiting steel imports from all countries to roughly two-thirds the level they were at last year.

For aluminum, the Commerce Department also outlined three alternatives, including a flat 7.7 percent tariff on imports from all countries, or a targeted 23.6 percent tariff on aluminum from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam. A third option involved putting into effect quotas to limit aluminum imports to lower levels than were shipped to the United States last year.

Mr. Ross did not indicate which way Mr. Trump might go, saying the president could pick a separate path, or reject the penalties altogether. But the president’s longstanding support for tariffs and his recent remarks suggest he is likely to support some kind of action.

In a meeting with lawmakers of both parties on Tuesday, Mr. Trump played down objections to the trade measures, and said that the United States was considering tariffs, quotas or both. “You may have a higher price, but you have jobs,” Mr. Trump told the bipartisan group.

Supporters of the trade action, including American steel companies and the United Steelworkers union, say American metal makers badly need the White House to step in and halt the flood of cheap imports, which has depressed the price for steel and aluminum. Many American steel and aluminum plants are struggling to compete in an oversaturated market and some have had to scale back production and eliminate jobs.

“This is a step in the right direction, and hopefully the president responds sooner than later,” said Todd Leebow, the chief executive of Majestic Steel USA, which buys American-made steel from mills to sell to customers in construction, agriculture and other industries. Mr. Leebow said he had seen a troubling decline in the industry in recent years, and he was hopeful Mr. Trump’s measure might reverse that.

But the investigation has also prompted criticism from American industries that use steel and aluminum to make their products, including automakers and food packagers. These businesses say tariffs or quotas will cause their prices to rise and shrink their profits, and could end up costing American jobs.

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Christine McDaniel, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center, a think tank that supports free markets, said that for every one steelworker that may be helped by trade restrictions, more than 38 workers in other sectors that could be harmed by it. “There is ample evidence that import taxes will harm economic growth and cost American jobs,” she said.

In a call with reporters on Friday, Mr. Ross played down any negative impact from the trade actions, saying that any increase in the cost of steel and aluminum for products like soft drinks and canned soup would be “trivial.” “We really don’t buy that argument,” Mr. Ross said.

Shares of American steel companies, including United States Steel, Nucor and AK Steel, rose following the release of the report. Stocks of Ford Motor Company and General Motors, which purchase aluminum and steel for their cars, declined.

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Steel wire to be used in the manufacturing of tires at the Zhong Tian Steel Group Corporation in Changzhou, Jiangsu. China produces roughly half of the world’s steel and aluminum. Credit Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

United Steelworkers, which strongly supported the tariffs, commended Mr. Ross’s announcement. “These recommendations have the potential to focus on the bad actors in the world that historically and systemically cheat in international trade,” said Leo W. Gerard, the president of United Steelworkers International.

Companies with operations outside of the United States were more circumspect. Aluminum companies including Alcoa, Rio Tinto Aluminum and Constellium issued statements urging the administration to exempt Canada, a major supplier of aluminum, from the rule, and focus on the issue of Chinese overcapacity instead.

Mr. Trump will have authority to determine which countries should be subject to any trade action, in part because of way in which the investigation was started. In April, the administration opened an investigation into steel and aluminum imports with a little-used provision of trade law that gives the president broad discretion to act to protect national security.

Drastically remaking American trade has been one of Mr. Trump’s defining political promises. But his first year in office delivered a mixed record on trade. He withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an Obama-era trade deal, and began renegotiating trade pacts with South Korea, Canada and Mexico. Those talks now look likely to take longer than he anticipated.

The administration is also weighing a series of trade cases this year that would protect American industries against imports. In January, the Trump administration decided to impose tariffs on washing machines and solar cells and modules to help domestic industries. It has also started an investigation into claims that China infringed on American intellectual property, which could result in investment restrictions or further tariffs.

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The Trump administration has said that its steel and aluminum investigation would help address a global issue created by China, which has used generous state subsidies to dominate the global metals trade. China now produces roughly half of the world’s steel and aluminum, after making little two decades ago. That surge in production has helped push down global metal prices to a point where American companies say they can no longer compete.

But American options for aiming at China directly are limited. Because the United States has already imposed a raft of restrictions on Chinese steel in previous years, only 2 percent of American steel imports came directly from China in 2015.

That means that any measures from the Trump administration are likely to weigh more heavily on other countries, including some close allies. In 2016, Canada accounted for the largest proportion of United States steel imports, about 17 percent, followed by Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Turkey and Japan.

Allies including the European Union, South Korea and Japan have also pushed back against the United States curbing imports, saying their products support the American military by providing a secure supply of metals, rather than harming it.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/us/politics/trump-administration-recommends-stiff-penalties-on-steel-and-aluminum-imports.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Laura Ingraham’s Comments on LeBron James Draw Criticism From Dwyane Wade

“You’re great players but no one voted for you,” she concluded, addressing Mr. James and Mr. Durant. “Millions elected Trump to be their coach. So keep the political commentary to yourself, or as someone once said, shut up and dribble.”

Ms. Ingraham’s comments referred to a clip of Mr. James and Mr. Durant criticizing the president from Mr. James’s video platform, Uninterrupted. Mr. James spoke about his experience as an African-American and then, prompted by Ms. Champion, repeated his past criticisms of Mr. Trump.

Mr. Durant then described how he learned life skills from basketball and compared Mr. Trump to a “bad coach.” On her show, Ms. Ingraham edited the clip to remove substantial portions of both men’s comments.

“If pro athletes and entertainers want to freelance as political pundits, then they should not be surprised when they’re called out for insulting politicians,” Ms. Ingraham said in a statement on Friday. “There was no racial intent in my remarks — false, defamatory charges of racism are a transparent attempt to immunize entertainment and sports elites from scrutiny and criticism.” She also cited multiple white entertainers whom she had previously criticized for being politically outspoken.

Mr. James has been politically outspoken, particularly in regard to Mr. Trump. In September, he called the president a “bum” after Mr. Trump said he had withdrawn an invitation for the Golden State Warriors to visit the White House.

After a racial slur was painted on the front gates of his home in Los Angeles last year, Mr. James addressed how he continues to struggle with racism, despite his success.

“No matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, being black in America is — it’s tough,” Mr. James said at the time. “And we got a long way to go for us as a society and for us as African-Americans until we feel equal in America.”

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/sports/basketball/lebron-laura-ingraham.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

If a Law Bars Asking Your Past Salary, Does It Help or Hurt?

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Feb. 16, 2018

Laws prohibiting employers from asking job candidates about their past compensation before making a salary offer are gaining momentum, aimed at reducing pay disparities and other obstacles confronting women and minorities.

The premise is simple: Judging an applicant’s worth from his or her previous salary can perpetuate pay gaps that arise from discrimination — or make it hard to get in the door at all.

Laws banning the practice have taken effect in New York City, Delaware and California in recent months. But the way some researchers see it, such laws are likely to be ineffective or even backfire. For example, employers who can’t ask about prior salary might assume that a female candidate would accept less money than a man, because women make less on average.

“It seems like the general social impulse is, ‘We don’t like employers using particular information, so we’ll tell them they can’t use it any more and assume that’s the end of the conversation,’” said Jennifer Doleac, an economist at the University of Virginia. “But if they cared enough about it to ask it to begin with, they probably care about it enough to try to guess.”

Ms. Doleac pointed to some recent studies, including one on which she was an author, showing that employers engaged in precisely this kind of guessing after several cities and states prohibited questions about candidates’ criminal records early in the application process. In her study, employers appeared to assume that young black and Hispanic men were more likely than members of other groups to have a criminal conviction and hired fewer of them once the policies were in place.

But the consequences may not be as clear when it comes to salary history. Some academic evidence suggests that the new laws may help women in certain circumstances.

To anticipate the effects of such laws, it’s worth exploring why employers ask about a candidate’s salary history in the first place. Here are a few reasons.

Employers may want to minimize payroll expenses.

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CreditChristoph Hitz

If employers know what a candidate previously made, they effectively know how little that person will accept.

“On one level, I’d like to pay people the least amount of money to get the most amount of benefit from that person,” said Adam Klein of the employment law firm Outten Golden, who has represented many workers in discrimination cases.

“Under that market-efficiency construct, why wouldn’t you pay women less?” Mr. Klein said, channeling a hypothetical employer who can ask lower-paid women about their salaries. “It makes business sense.”

Several economists said a ban on questions about salary history would probably prompt such employers to engage in what’s known as statistical discrimination — relying on group averages in place of information they were previously able to obtain about an individual.

(Alternatively, employers may try to get the information in slightly less direct ways, like asking candidates about their minimum salary expectation, Mr. Klein said.)

In doing so, employers will be further enabled by another feature of the recent salary history laws: They typically allow job applicants to disclose their previous salary voluntarily. As a result, some employers may feel comfortable making lowball offers to women, because they assume applicants will speak up if they make significantly more than the employer’s offer. Those who don’t speak up will be deemed to have made less.

This could, in turn, leave women worse off than before, since they tend to be more reluctant to bargain than men, as a range of studies have documented.

“By adding that hoop — putting them in a position where they have to negotiate more — I imagine it widening the gender gap,” Ms. Doleac said.

Employers may be trying to determine how to pay fairly.

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CreditChristoph Hitz

By asking what the candidate currently makes and paying the same or slightly more, an employer may simply want to ensure that an offer is accepted and that the new hire is satisfied — but may be oblivious to the risk of perpetuating pay disparities.

“What we are seeing is the myth of the sneaky employer,” said Andrew Hoan, president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

“In Brooklyn, a high percentage of all firms in the borough are 50-person firms or less,” Mr. Hoan added. “The C.E.O. is the person making the offer. Frankly, he or she has no time to go around and create comparable stats. All this stuff they’re doing now is simply streamlining the process.”

Where this is true, banning salary-history questions could help substantially, advocates say.

“In companies that are treating people the same, and not thinking about how their behavior might differentially harm people, this type of law raises awareness of it,” said Joelle Emerson, the founder and chief executive of Paradigm, a firm that advises employers on promoting diversity. “It forces companies to sit down and say: ‘O.K., why were we doing this before? How should we set compensation now that we don’t do it this way?’”

At Dime Community Bank, which employs about 400 people at 29 branches in the New York City area, the standard job application asked candidates for their salary history until shortly before the New York ban took effect in October.

Angela Blum-Finlay, the bank’s head of human resources, said that she had already begun de-emphasizing salary history in determining compensation beforehand, and that she was asking hiring managers to use competitive benchmarks for different positions instead.

Ms. Finlay said that it was counterproductive for employers to try to squeeze candidates on compensation, especially in a tight labor market.

“We are, at Dime, trying to be an employer of choice, a place people want to come,” she said. “If I lowball you coming in, I’m not going to make you feel valued.”

Employers may be seeking to gauge productivity.

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CreditChristoph Hitz

Standard economic theory holds that workers are paid in line with their productivity, so a higher salary should imply a better worker.

In effect, employers may also be using salary on the front end of the hiring process — to help determine whom they want to interview — rather than solely on the back end, when preparing an offer.

But restrictions on asking for salary information can play out very differently in those situations. When employers want to know how little money a worker will accept, and the law prevents them from asking, they may rely on cruder information, like stereotypes.

But when employers want to know how good a worker is, they have several alternatives to considering salary history, many of them more revealing. They can, for example, interview the candidate, read letters of recommendation, and talk to former employers and co-workers.

In a recent study, the economists John Horton of New York University and Moshe Barach of Georgetown University conducted an experiment on a prominent online freelancing platform and found that employers responded in precisely this way.

During a roughly two-week period in 2014, half the employers in the experiment were no longer able to view the wage history of prospective workers, as they had in the past, while the other half could continue to see workers’ wage history.

Compared with employers who had the wage information, those without it ended up interviewing and hiring workers who, on average, had made significantly less money in the past. When employers could no longer consult salary history, they expanded the pool of workers they considered and went to greater lengths to evaluate them.

“You’re widening the top of the hiring funnel,” Mr. Barach said. “It doesn’t allow you to as easily throw people away.”

He and Mr. Horton acknowledged that because this approach required spending more time collecting information, employers might not find it worthwhile when filling a low-skilled or entry-level job. In those cases, they might retreat to stereotypes involving gender or race, as other economists have suggested.

But “for some range of jobs,” Mr. Barach said, “more upfront costs could have benefits down the road. If you actually talk to someone, interview them, it will allow you to locate a high-quality candidate.”

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Trump Administration Recommends Stiff Penalties on Steel and Aluminum Imports

Mr. Ross also proposed an alternative for the steel industry that involved no tariffs, but would set a quota limiting steel imports from all countries to roughly two-thirds the level they were at last year.

For aluminum, the Commerce Department also outlined three alternatives, including a flat 7.7 percent tariff on imports from all countries, or a targeted 23.6 percent tariff on aluminum from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam. A third option involved putting into effect quotas to limit aluminum imports to lower levels than were shipped to the United States last year.

Mr. Ross did not indicate which way Mr. Trump might go, saying the president could pick a separate path, or reject the penalties altogether. But the president’s longstanding support for tariffs and his recent remarks suggest he is likely to support some kind of action.

In a meeting with lawmakers of both parties on Tuesday, Mr. Trump played down objections to the trade measures, and said that the United States was considering tariffs, quotas or both. “You may have a higher price, but you have jobs,” Mr. Trump told the bipartisan group.

Supporters of the trade action, including American steel companies and the United Steelworkers union, say American metal makers badly need the White House to step in and halt the flood of cheap imports, which has depressed the price for steel and aluminum. Many American steel and aluminum plants are struggling to compete in an oversaturated market and some have had to scale back production and eliminate jobs.

“This is a step in the right direction, and hopefully the president responds sooner than later,” said Todd Leebow, the chief executive of Majestic Steel USA, which buys American-made steel from mills to sell to customers in construction, agriculture and other industries. Mr. Leebow said he had seen a troubling decline in the industry in recent years, and he was hopeful Mr. Trump’s measure might reverse that.

But the investigation has also prompted criticism from American industries that use steel and aluminum to make their products, including automakers and food packagers. These businesses say tariffs or quotas will cause their prices to rise and shrink their profits, and could end up costing American jobs.

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Christine McDaniel, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center, a think tank that supports free markets, said that for every one steelworker that may be helped by trade restrictions, more than 38 workers in other sectors that could be harmed by it. “There is ample evidence that import taxes will harm economic growth and cost American jobs,” she said.

In a call with reporters on Friday, Mr. Ross played down any negative impact from the trade actions, saying that any increase in the cost of steel and aluminum for products like soft drinks and canned soup would be “trivial.” “We really don’t buy that argument,” Mr. Ross said.

Shares of American steel companies, including United States Steel, Nucor and AK Steel, rose following the release of the report. Stocks of Ford Motor Company and General Motors, which purchase aluminum and steel for their cars, declined.

Photo
Steel wire to be used in the manufacturing of tires at the Zhong Tian Steel Group Corporation in Changzhou, Jiangsu. China produces roughly half of the world’s steel and aluminum. Credit Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

United Steelworkers, which strongly supported the tariffs, commended Mr. Ross’s announcement. “These recommendations have the potential to focus on the bad actors in the world that historically and systemically cheat in international trade,” said Leo W. Gerard, the president of United Steelworkers International.

Companies with operations outside of the United States were more circumspect. Aluminum companies including Alcoa, Rio Tinto Aluminum and Constellium issued statements urging the administration to exempt Canada, a major supplier of aluminum, from the rule, and focus on the issue of Chinese overcapacity instead.

Mr. Trump will have authority to determine which countries should be subject to any trade action, in part because of way in which the investigation was started. In April, the administration opened an investigation into steel and aluminum imports with a little-used provision of trade law that gives the president broad discretion to act to protect national security.

Drastically remaking American trade has been one of Mr. Trump’s defining political promises. But his first year in office delivered a mixed record on trade. He withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an Obama-era trade deal, and began renegotiating trade pacts with South Korea, Canada and Mexico. Those talks now look likely to take longer than he anticipated.

The administration is also weighing a series of trade cases this year that would protect American industries against imports. In January, the Trump administration decided to impose tariffs on washing machines and solar cells and modules to help domestic industries. It has also started an investigation into claims that China infringed on American intellectual property, which could result in investment restrictions or further tariffs.

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The Trump administration has said that its steel and aluminum investigation would help address a global issue created by China, which has used generous state subsidies to dominate the global metals trade. China now produces roughly half of the world’s steel and aluminum, after making little two decades ago. That surge in production has helped push down global metal prices to a point where American companies say they can no longer compete.

But American options for aiming at China directly are limited. Because the United States has already imposed a raft of restrictions on Chinese steel in previous years, only 2 percent of American steel imports came directly from China in 2015.

That means that any measures from the Trump administration are likely to weigh more heavily on other countries, including some close allies. In 2016, Canada accounted for the largest proportion of United States steel imports, about 17 percent, followed by Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Turkey and Japan.

Allies including the European Union, South Korea and Japan have also pushed back against the United States curbing imports, saying their products support the American military by providing a secure supply of metals, rather than harming it.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/us/politics/trump-administration-recommends-stiff-penalties-on-steel-and-aluminum-imports.html?partner=rss&emc=rss