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Climate Change or Chains? AG Sunday Politics



Climate Change or Climate Chains?

Blog Action Day was October 15, I am sure many people participated in posting. In fact over 13,331 posts were written. I did not.

Al Gore said Global Warming is the biggest economic disaster to face our nation in this generation. Is it?  If he believes that why does he stand to gain the most economically?

Eco Fads feed on our fears:
1)    Acid rain
2)    Ozone layers
3)    Polar Bears
4)    The Ice Age
5)    Global Warming
6)    You are an environmentalist is you carry bottle water, now you are one if you don’t carry one.
7)    In the 70’s World Population was a concern

The solutions proposed to “fix it”, will force huge international government control over our lives to control our environment.

The Media

The media has warned about impending climate doom since 1912. Only they can’t decide if mankind will die from warming or cooling.

In the last 15 years there has not been global warming, but an actual global cooling so the name has now been changed to Global Climate Control.

The United States has spent over 4 Billion dollars in Research for Climate Change.  Reported in Discover in 1998, scientist and environmentalist Stephen Schneider explained,

“On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but – which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.”

Stand Up

Lord Christopher Monckton, former Policy Director for Margaret Thatcher…

…spoke on October 14th at Bethel College in St. Paul, MN in which he issued a dire warning regarding the United Nations Climate Change Treaty.

This treaty which is scheduled to be signed by our President will do 3 horrific things:

1) A world government will be created.
2) Transfer of wealth to 3rd world countries called Climate Debt
3) Enforcement of the treaty

Freedom or Tyranny

America has always been a light standing on a hill, a beacon shinning Freedom throughout the world.  Science is facts, not assumptions. The more dire the threat the more people are willing to give up their freedoms.

Bottom line there is no consensus that we have influenced the earths temperature.  It is a theory, a theory that has changed over the last 100 years.  Yet based on this theory, laws are about to passed that will take away our individual liberties both in  our homes and our workplaces.

So this is why I don’t believe or support global warming… cooling… or climate chains. It is ideology not science.

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.

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  1. Joe Loomer

    October 18, 2009 at 10:56 am

    …. Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize – and beat out a Polish nurse who saved over 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto. Preposterous.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    • Thomas Johnson

      October 18, 2009 at 11:30 am

      Not to mention the award to Arafat, a terrorist.

  2. Stephanie Edwards-Musa

    October 18, 2009 at 11:11 am

    In the name of Climate Change people are against any kind of positive change that is common sense. Should we put Billions of dollars in to it? Probably not.

    But for the simple fact that some do not believe in Climate Change they do not want accept better options. That does not make sense either. The subject has been blown way out of proportion to the point that most people are on one end of the spectrum or the other. No where in between, close minded and can not even discuss a topic without bringing climate change in to the picture. For example methane gases from landfills. More people would rather argue that it doesn’t matter than to realize that trash does us absolutely no good in a huge pile.

    With politics and climate change taken completely out of the picture and look past the controversy rarely do people argue about it. I think its ridiculous that politics had made this such an awful topic.

  3. Thomas Johnson

    October 18, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Climate change is merely a leftist subterfuge to take from the productive capitalist societies and transfer to the developing societies, most of which are lead by oppressive dictators. Idia is the notable exception. The advanced societies have done the heavy technological lifting and now the runners-up seek to confiscate our wealth under the banner of climate change. If climate change were really the threat to us all that is portrayed, the developed nations would have forced the big polluters such as China and India to comply with our emissions standards. If the world is in such desperate peril from carbon emissions, we should force compliance at all costs to include the military option – if our situation is as desperate as Al Gore (10,000 sqft homestead carbon footprint) says. If you are in a boat and someone is putting holes in it, you stop them at all costs, right?

  4. Stephanie Edwards-Musa

    October 18, 2009 at 11:44 am

    So you suggest not only adding to our environmental/economic debt the strict control of emissions but to pay to FORCE them to respond? Sounds kind of like the recent Iraq/Afghanistan war, Socialism/Communism/Distatorship in the name of climate change.

    Something tells me that wouldn’t go over very well.

    You see Thomas, as the United States of America we have the opportunity to lead by example. But that won’t happen because as you mention why should we care because it isn’t real.

    It goes so much further than Climate Change. We have appx. 100 years of coal left to supply the world for power. With the 3rd world countries aspiring to have the ‘American’ lifestyle we can probably reduce that to 70 as their coal usage is rising so dramatically.

    So how about we put the money to EDUCATE people for other careers such as trash to biofuel, or solar installation. Maybe even how to work at a hydro power plant.

    But then again, it doesn’t matter as you mention right? Who cares. It’s ONLY climate change. Forget every single other factor and is affected by the topic because in the name of emissions we shouldn’t care.

  5. Eric Hempler

    October 18, 2009 at 11:47 am

    I’ve always questioned our influence. I look at this way…How much of the world is land, and how much of that land do we occupy and of the land we occupy how much of it has pollution contributors? Seems like a very small percentage…so how exactly are we affecting things?

  6. Greg Cooper

    October 18, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    As it’s been said repeatedly…..we have NO WAY of knowing that the cap and trade proposals will even fix what is supposedly wrong. So of course the sensible alternitive is to put millions of people out of work in the meantime. Yes…we all agree we should take care of the mother ship. No we should not destroy lives because of questionable science…even by members of O’Bama’s own admin.

  7. Stephanie Edwards-Musa

    October 18, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Thomas, that’s exactly what I am talking about. The only thing you mention is Al Gore and Climate Change.

    Forget about everything else directly affected by the topic. Like the fact that we only have about 100 years of coal left to support the world and with 3rd world countries aspiring to have the American lifestyle we can significantly reduce that number.

    Instead of Americans realizing that we can lead by example and putting the money to EDUCATE people on other related careers and talk about Al Gore’s huge house or the peace prize.

    No, the better idea is to go to war and FORCE people to believe a certain way? Seriously.

  8. Missy Caulk

    October 18, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Stephanie, thanks for commenting…I knew you would. You have always been a great example to me in publishing green posts. I have learned a lot. What is medium ground? I downsized my car, bought the right light bulbs (even though I hate them), get appliances that are Energy efficient and recycle.
    But, I do it because to me it is the right thing to do, not because I have to.
    The theory of whatever is the current issue….is just that a theory…and definately not a reason to sign a treaty or tax the heck out of us. You mentioned Al Gores big house which as you know uses more electricity than hundreds a people use in a life time. (Sorry I don’t have the stat in front of me.) But, isn’t he the one pushing this..doesn’t he have the most to gain financially?

    I really don’t care about the Peace Prize, IMO very few given it have deserved it…maybe Mother Theresa.

  9. Stephanie Edwards-Musa

    October 18, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Missy, Agreed. We should spend the money wisely for reasons that make sense. I would rather spend billions to send kids to college for free than to force other countries grow and react a certain way.

    While Al Gore gets the attention for all of this he needs to be taken out of the equation/argument completely. He can not ‘save the world’. In the end its about making common sense decisions that work for each individual person. My comments were not intended to bash your post but to agree with it for the most part. I do believe that climate change is affected by us for the most part, not that we are solely the cause, but otherwise…I agree with everything. It’s about the medium ground. And yes, peace prize is worthless. 🙂

  10. ines

    October 18, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    whether or not we believe in Global Warming, theory of Evolution or Obama as a good choice for the recipient of the noble peace prize, it is obvious that there needs to me some sort of modification in out consumption methods. I’m pro-green, but against all kids of extremist action. I think each individual person has the ability to make a difference in our environment, no matter how small the change is – same applies to helping cancer research causes, child trafficking issues and any WORLD ISSUE that depends on human’s participation. (but then again, I’m an ideologist)

  11. Barb dragotta

    October 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    When subbing for a local science teacher, I witnessed a simplified ‘Scientific process’ by way of: What do I know–What do I want to find–What steps do I need to use to complete the process. Found this to be a great few days in the classroom [especially as I am Art & English / Speech-Drama trained]–this was an experience of ‘actuals’ not ‘theories’. If this is demanded of our Students, how much more so should it be demanded of those who create, delineate, generate, and downright ‘force’ laws / Bills on all of us. George Carlin had a great shtick on this involving dinosaurs eons, & man’s-inflated opinion of self. We have always ‘re-cycled’ in our home & have also added the ‘twisted’ bulbs, corrected roof / window / door items–to lower our energy Bills [mainly]. If in the process these steps help others live a ‘better life’ then fine / I just do NOT believe. Perhaps, someone should notify ELF and like groups that burning tires, autos, New Home construction—Not such a Good idea in the PR Department. Glad you posted this, Missy; very interesting comments too. It is always refreshing to read that others ‘out there in the land of Professionals’ share like thoughts.

  12. Missy Caulk

    October 18, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Ines, Absolutely agree, each of us INDIVIDUALLY can make a difference. That’s the point…not the government forcing new laws and taxes on us. We all have different groups that we are passionate about and can freely give our time, money and conservation too.

    Barb, excellent…we grow from each other. I’m always up for a good debate as long as it doesn’t turn personal. I know this is not a popular opinion but it is mine and glad you agree.
    Thanks for sharing.

  13. Bruce Lemieux

    October 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    I would agree with Ines that our consumptive lifestyle in this country is not sustainable. We are far to wasteful with our energy and natural resources to continue as we have. I’ll probably be labeled as a radical, berry-eating, guitar-strumming, left-wing liberal, but I do believe that it’s governments job to force a change. Missy – you expect too much out of your neighbors to make the same smart choices that you make.

    Look at the use of energy in our country. Putting global warming aside, our addiction to cheap oil has us mired in the middle east — the most dysfunctional part of our planet. A school in my area put out a flag for every one of our fallen servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. At first, you see a group of flags. Turn the corner and there’s more. Keep driving and there were more and more. At the end, there was a single sign indicating what each of the 5,100+ flags represent. When you see these flags you can appreciate how big this number is. In addition to the trillion dollars that we’ve spent/borrowed over there, this is a huge price that few of us appreciate. If it weren’t for our dependence on oil, we would not have been over there.

    Drive through Appalachia and see entire mountaintops leveled from coal mining so that metro DC (my area) has the power that it needs. This comes at a very high cost to the local people and environment just because we need more and more power.

    As a society, we make Herculean efforts to protect and increase our current energy sources. Yet when have we ever taken real steps to use energy in a smart way? We haven’t because we don’t want to endure the pain, inconvenience and cost that comes with making the change. I can only think of two times in my lifetime when the country was focused on conservation – during the 70s oil embargo and when gas recently hit $4/gal. Any other time it’s been “filler up”.

    So what do we do? I think that energy should be a lot more expensive as it is in Europe. It should be taxed to reflect its true cost. Make it more expensive and then we’ll all have a strong financial incentive to be less wasteful and to seek out more sustainable sources.

    To believe that our current habits don’t have a significant impact on our environment and climate is a bit far-fetched to me. Regardless, long before the East Coast gets swamped by rising tides, our country will be bankrupt if we don’t radically change our energy policy.

    I would rant more, but my vegan burger is getting cold, and my pet spotted owl can only go to sleep if I turn off the computer and put on some rain-forest inspired new age music.

  14. Missy Caulk

    October 18, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Hi Bruce, interesting you should mention Appalachia as I did my Social Work internship there. The biggest destroyer there was Johnson War of Poverty, but that is another topic for another day.

    America must become Energy sufficient and efficient for many reasons and get our dependency off terriorist regimes. We need to unlock the Governments ban on off shore drilling and allow the states to move forward with drilling. We need to expand the use of hydrogen cars and let loose the entrepreneurs to innovate with clean energy, home grown solutions.

    Enjoy that vegan burger, never tried one myself.

  15. Dan Pangburn

    October 19, 2009 at 7:58 am

    Hydrogen is a dead end. It must be released from something else. It requires more energy to release it than you can get back when you use it. Eventually cars will be plug-in diesel hybrids and the electricity (all of the energy that humanity will need for millions of years) will come from nuclear fission breeder reactors.

  16. Ken Brand

    October 19, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Real estate often gives me a headache. All the in’s and out’s.

    Global warming give me a migraine. Who and what to believe. I know this. We should conserve energy and avoid waste and personally polluting. I don’t think government is the answer, it’s us ALL doing our little part. You don’t have to be a tree hugger, what ever that is, but individually consider what we consume and what we waste.

    I’m more concerned that one day, China will wrap all 10 of it’s fingers around fossil fuels throat, then we’re in deep do-do. I’m in favor of incenting alternative fuel generation…pronto. Let the rest of the world have oil, we need dylithium crystals, or wind/wave and who knows what power.

    I forget who said it, “It’s better to remain silent than to open your mouth and prove you’re an idiot”, but, I think I should have listened to them before writing this comment.

  17. James Wheelock

    October 20, 2009 at 3:36 am

    I don’t see how anyone can argue whether or not the world is experiencing a change in climate. However, I do think it is fair to ask the question as to whether or not it is humans that are causing it. Now after all of the reading I have done I still cannot decide what side of the fence I am on when it comes to that question, but I don’t think that we need to answer it.

    I personally am very confused as to why we need to have a huge brandable catastrophe to make the decision that we all would be better off without pollution. This is the bigger question in my book. Why must we see our very near demise to care about air quality? If you look at the growing (as a percentage) respiratory health issues that are being seen in larger cities how can you not see a need to do something. We are beyond a doubt polluting our world at a rate beyond what the ecosystems can clean up. This is why we need to make advances in alternative energy sources.

  18. BawldGuy

    October 20, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    The arrogance of Man is peaking in our time. Control climate? What sorta colossal ego does that take to even contemplate longer than it takes to laugh at the endless punch lines available?

    Geez, only a century ’till we’re outa coal? Whatever will we do? (guy wringing hands in background) Gimme a break people. I like Stephanie’s idea — more clearly stated as taking the pseudo logic generated by the terminally stupid concept of PC, out of the equation.

    I wonder where nuclear technology will be in the next 20 years, much less 100? What if horses were thought to have been dying out at the turn of the 20th century? Would we have developed the cult of the horse, using PC crappola, or would we have developed the automobile and air travel?

    Take PC bullying out of the equation, and the world doesn’t need coal in the next 10-20 years ever again. Global warming has recently morphed into ‘Climate Change’ cuz the undeniable facts had begun to pull their collective pants down. When it comes to that subject, my favorite factoid is the two ‘scientists’ who had a best seller 30 years ago about the ‘coming ice age’ who’re now at the forefront of the ‘global warming crisis’.

    It’s all a crock.

  19. Missy Caulk

    October 20, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Well Baldguy, why don’t you tell us how you really feel? Of course we can’t change the climate…only one Person I know can, and He sits in the heavens and laughs. Psalms 2:4.

  20. Missy Caulk

    October 20, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    Ken, I know how you feel, it is a bit overwhelming…AND your comment is great. Windmills are a great use of energy. Lots of testing on that going on in Michigan.

  21. Dan Pangburn

    October 21, 2009 at 5:52 am

    All of the global average temperatures for the entire 20th century and until the present are readily calculated with no consideration whatsoever of changes to the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide or any other greenhouse gas. The method uses only the time-integral of sunspot count and 32-year long up trends and down trends that have an amplitude of 0.45 C and are probably related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Data sources, a graph that overlays the measured and calculated temperatures from 1880 to 2008 and a detailed description of the method are in a new paper at . The standard deviation of the difference between concurrent calculated and measured average global temperatures is 0.064 C. There is no Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) (and therefore no human caused climate change) from added atmospheric carbon dioxide. Invoking Cap and Trade would be an egregious mistake that would have no effect on climate but would further cripple the economy.

  22. Missy Caulk

    October 21, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Dan, thank you for the link and the graphs.

    The Waxman-Markey bill would kill jobs, increase fuel costs and be very expensive for American consumers. We would also be importing more foreign oil.
    Time to open up our own natural resources and not be foreign oil dependent.
    Add to that the International Offsets provision and it will be the largest transfer of wealth our country has seen.
    According to the EPA, over 1.4 Trillion sent overseas.

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California’s gig labor bill hurts the people it’s trying to protect

(POLITICS) The law has loopholes for industries with good lobbyists, but it’s costing independent contractors, freelancers, and creatives their jobs.



Uber subverts ab5 bill

So, there’s a new bill in California, Assembly Bill 5, that’s doing immense harm to freelancers across the state and throughout the country. The bill was intended to prevent tech companies from taking advantage of their employees by branding them as freelancers. But the thing took too wild a swing, and a lot of people have gotten hit by it.

We’re going to talk about how and why, but let’s get one thing straight, right off the bat:

We absolutely need something to help workers in this country. When we talk about why AB5 doesn’t work, I want to be very clear that I’m not turning my nose up at the idea of something like it. Rather, it’s this specific law that’s hurting a lot of people.

Let’s take a quick review at the environment that gave rise to Assembly Bill 5:

We live in an incredibly rough economy for most people. The stock market is doing phenomenally! But the stock market isn’t the same thing as the economy. The economy is made of people who are barely getting by, propping up a class of billionaires who are hording an amount of wealth that is increasing at a mind-boggling pace, instead of “trickling down”.

Productivity and wages used to rise together, but they got divorced in the 70s, and productivity’s been doing a lot for herself while wages have just sort of lazed around on the sofa, getting drunk. Productivity has grown 6 times more than pay since 1979. In the last ten years, the costs of education, housing, and medical care have ballooned, while the minimum wage has held steady at $7.25/hour. Not only is this financial climate hard for the average American, it’s going to be hard for a LOT of people, when the purchasing power of the middle class dwindles away to nothing and the bottom drops out of the whole contraption.

And there’s plenty of room for it to keep dropping! Because it turns out that a LOT of tech’s “innovation” just means “circumventing labor laws in ways that nobody’s made illegal yet”. Sometimes the tech world finds cools ways to get money and opportunities to people. Think of crowdfunding, or subscription services like Patreon that let middle-class artists do their thing sustainably.

But often, you instead wind up with companies like Uber, Lyft, and Favor. Rideshare apps view their drivers several different ways. They tell the government that they’re independent contractors. Drivers often claim that they’re running a small business, with the rideshare app’s help. Internally, (and to the SEC) they think of their drivers as the customers. The people who call for rides aren’t the customers—they’re the product that the app delivers to their customer, the driver.

What all of this means is that rideshare companies don’t have to pay minimum wage. They don’t have to offer benefits, like time off or healthcare. If the people who work for you are your customers, instead of your employees, you don’t have to take care of them the same way. (Funny how that works out, right?)
And in some ways, I can see the temptation to do things this way. Insurance is expensive, and it’s kind of wild that we make employers pay for it. Somehow saddling small businesses with that expense is considered the “conservative” option; I’ll never understand how that’s supposed to be good for the market. We’re the wealthiest nation in the world, and yet we’re just about the only country that puts the burden of healthcare on business owners instead of the government.

But here’s the thing: That’s how health care works in this country! It’s what we have. We have a public option, technically. But it’s been systematically gutted to the point of uselessness, intentionally, by people who resent it being passed in the first place. So until we get some kind of national healthcare system, it’s on business owners to make sure that their employees don’t die because they can’t afford medical care. That’s the law, and that’s the ethical thing to do in our current situation.

And tech companies tend not to like that. So we get situations like Uber, where people who are clearly employees are being framed as literally anything else. Because the companies hiring them would rather burn millions trying to render their employees obsolete than spend that money keeping them alive. (Fun side note: Remember when one of those self-driving cars killed a woman because Uber forgot to tell their AI that humans can exist outside of crosswalks?)

And just like I understand why companies would try to dodge those costs (even if it’s clearly wrong), I also understand what AB5 was trying to do. They’re trying to close that loophole. They’re trying to stop companies from BSing about who is an employee and who isn’t. That makes sense.

So the bill defines freelancers with help from a court case, Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (2018). The main features are

1. Is the worker free from the control and direction of the hiring entity. Is the person who hired them telling them where, how, or when to do the work?
2. Is the work being performed outside of the normal course of business for the hiring entity?
3. Is this work that the worker normally does, independently of this one business relationship? Do they genuinely have their own business in this field? Or is this “freelancing” something they’re just doing for one company?

You can immediately see some huge questions raised here. Among them:

– How strict do you define “telling someone how to do their work?” Because I’ve never had a creative assignment that didn’t come with some sort of deadline, right?
– How do you define “the normal course of business?” The normal course of business for a magazine involves hiring dozens of writers to write hundreds of pieces. Does that stable of writers suddenly get smaller if you can’t afford to give them all benefits?

And we’re already seeing fallout from this. Large multimedia platforms, from Vox to CollegeHumor, are laying off huge swaths of their staffs. Under the new law, writers aren’t allowed to submit more than 35 pieces in a year and still be considered freelancers. That means that these outlets were going to have to either cast a much wider net for their bullpens, or cut their staff and focus on a core group of (presumably grotesquely-overworked) people. Unsurprisingly, they chose the latter pretty universally.

And it’s not just writers. Musicians are getting hit, too. A petition to secure an exemption is nearing 50,000 signatures on Any creative endeavor other than “a day job with a desk at Disney” is going to involve a network of people floating in and out as projects start and end. There’s a lot of room for exploitation, and there’s a lot of room for quashing that exploitation. But right now, this bill is mostly just putting people out of work.

And just like California’s (much-needed, fantastic) privacy protection laws are having an impact across the country, (because you never know if the data you’re collecting is on a Californian!) so too is their (terrible) freelancing law rippling out. Because work doesn’t happen in offices anymore. It happens everywhere. I recently released a song with musicians from six countries performing on it. That wasn’t even something I was trying to do. That’s just where my friends were!

Now, my piece was just me getting together with some friends to have fun. But professional recordings happen that way, too, all the time. And right now, if the person on either the hiring or performing side of that equation is in California, that relationship is in jeopardy.

And of course, the really fun thing is, that a lot of the industries that were intended as targets of the bill are sidestepping it with court challenges. And many industries lobbied for exemptions, meaning that real estate agents, CPAs, lawyers, surgeons, referral agencies, and lots of others were exempt from the get-go.

So what we’re left with is a law that’s meant to protect people. But many of the people it should’ve protected aren’t covered by it. And many legitimate freelancers are getting screwed out of business relationships that they used to rely on. The big publications that they used as cash cows to pay their bills are either capping them at 35 articles, or letting them go altogether. It’s not hard to see that this is wildly misguided, and that it’s causing more harm than help. We’ve got to pump the brakes on AB5 and try to figure something else out.

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How USMCA is different than NAFTA and if/when it will finally be passed

(POLITICS) The USMCA should be set to replace NAFTA early in the year, which will help small business and real estate alike with easier trade.



USMCA signing

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which has been a priority for President Trump, is one step closer to replacing NAFTA. Amid the impeachment hearings, the House of Representatives passed the USMCA by a vote of 385-41. The Senate must still approve the agreement, but according to CNBC, once the Senate gets back in session in January 2020, the agreement will pass.

The USMCA is a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It was informally agreed upon by President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in 2018. However, each country’s legislature must approve the agreement before it is ratified. Mexico’s legislature has ratified the agreement, but Canada has not. It is anticipated that the agreement will be re-introduced to the Canadian Parliament this session.

What’s the difference between USMCA and NAFTA?

NAFTA was created to reduce restrictions on trade between Mexico, Canada and the United States. It was to increase market access and investments between the North American countries. President Trump has referred to NAFTA as “the worst trade deal ever made.” The USMCA builds on NAFTA, but does alter some of the provisions. It’s unknown when the agreement will go into effect. Canada has not ratified the agreement.

How will the USMCA affect small businesses?

The official text of the USMCA hasn’t been released, but we do know a few of the provisions. The biggest impact for businesses may be in the automobile industry. Under USMCA, 75% of auto components must be manufactured in Mexico, U.S. or Canada to be eligible for zero tariffs. Under NAFTA, the figure was 62.5%. In addition, by 2023, 40% of workers who assemble cars or trucks must make at least $16/hour.

The USMCA reduces the timeline for brand-name biologic prescription drugs to be produced as generics. Some popular biologics include Humira, Lantus and Botox. Another key component of the agreement is opening the Canada dairy market. US farmers can now export up to 3.6% of Canada’s dairy market. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) supports the USMCA because it will make it easier for real estate investors to travel between the countries.

Although the USMCA is not in effect yet, it does seem likely that it will be ratified this year to provide more opportunities between Canada, Mexico and the United States.

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FFEE Act wants to save you from having to pay to freeze your credit

(POLITICS NEWS) The FFEE Act wants to help give consumers more rights more control over how credit agencies use their data.



impulse ffee

Taking action

Following the compromise of consumer data from credit reporting bureau Equifax, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) have introduced the Freedom From Equifax Exploitation (FFEE) Act.

This act aims to give consumers more rights more control over how credit agencies use their data.

The bill

The bill is available here, but here is a few of the bill’s highlights:

  • Create a uniform, federal process for obtaining and lifting a credit freeze.
  • Preventing credit reporting agencies from profiting off the use of consumer information for the duration of a credit freeze;
  • Strengthening the fraud alert protection from 90 days to a one year, with a year renewable.
  • In ID theft cases, a 7 year fraud alert is created.
  • Require any credit reporting agency who charged a fee to freeze credit in response to the data breach to refund those fees,
  • Allow for an additional free credit report (consumers already get one under the Fair Credit Reporting Act through

Freezing credit

The most important feature here is the removal of any fee to freeze your credit. Currently, agencies like Equifax charge nominal fees to freeze credit (anywhere from 3-10) dollars. If this bill passes – not only will that service be free, but it will restrict the way credit agencies use that information while the freeze is active.

The idea behind making this free also keeps credit companies, whom many believe are responsible for the security of credit information, from profiting off information breaches. Given that many financial advisors have advised those impacted to freeze their credit, this would be a benefit to consumers.

It is important to note here that Equifax has suspended the fees to freeze credit for the next month.

A credit freeze restricts access to your credit report. Simply put, it requires the credit agency to contact you first to ensure it was you who applied for credit, thus making it harder for you to apply for credit. You would need to unfreeze your account to apply for new credit. You must also freeze credit with each bureau, which can lead to some expenses as you must pay anytime to lift a freeze.

Remember: a credit freeze doesn’t impact current accounts or your credit score. If you apply for credit often, or open new accounts often, then a credit freeze may not be for you.

Lots of names

The bill has several original co-sponsors, including Senators Sanders, Franken, and Blumenthal. Companies like the National Consumer Law Center, Americans for Financial Reform, CREDO, and the Consumer Federation of America all have also endorsed the bill.


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