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QUOTE OF THE DAY
"I'd like to say this is some good and necessary trouble,"— Hannah Waters, the Georgia high school student who was suspended after posting photos of North Paulding High School's crowded hallways on social media. The school rescinded Waters' suspension today following widespread criticism.
This weekend's Sturgis motorcycle rally is expected to attract 250,000 people. Most of the 7,000 residents of the South Dakota town want it postponed over Covid, but it's going forward, and the usual huge crowds are expected.
US economy added 1.8 million jobs in July, beating expectations. The unemployment rate declined nearly a point to 10.2%. (More below).
Negotiations are stalled over the pandemic relief bill. A week after the expiration of unemployment benefits, Democrats and the White House are still trillions apart. Republicans are offering $400 unemployment for four months. Democrats want to keep it at $600, and are demanding huge aid for state and local governments.
Trump executive orders ban US companies from working with TikTok parent ByteDance or WeChat. The order targeting the Chinese companies takes effect in 45 days, presumably giving Microsoft a chance to complete an acquisition of TikTok's US operations. TikTok says it will sue to overturn the order. The Trump administration also sanctioned Hong Kong's chief executive and other Hong Kong and Chinese officials for their role in Hong Kong's new security law.
VIEWS OF THE DAY
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
The jobs report was good, but the labor market is still a mess.
Friday's jobs report showed that the US economy added 1.8 million jobs in July and the unemployment rate ticked down to 10%. This is good news, but it's important to put it in perspective.
For one thing, the unemployment rate is still historically high — higher than at any point during the Great Recession. Secondly, the rate of jobs gains slowed from June, indicating that the resurgence in coronavirus cases may be cooling off the recovery. Third, we've still only added back around 40% of the jobs we lost in March and April, despite three straight months of jobs gains since then. Fourth, the recovery is unequal: the unemployment rate for white Americans is dropping much faster than for Black Americans.
Andy Kiersz / Business Insider
Basically this is a "well it's slightly less of a disaster" kind of report. For instance, the number of newly permanently laid off workers — as opposed to workers temporarily laid off but expecting to be hired back — stayed steady at around 2.9 million despite expectations that it would rise. But that's still 2.9 million more people not expecting their job to come back.
The jobs report was good news and showed the labor market is improving. But that same labor market is also in historically terrible shape and millions of people are in dire economic straits.
And, importantly, this report covers the period before the government aid dried up. — Bob Bryan
How Trump's Census manipulation will hurt you.
The National Weather Service just predicted that this will be an "extremely active" hurricane season, with 10 to 16 more named storms, adding to the 9 that have already formed. That's huge, valuable news that will guide how cargo ships and planes are routed, how off-shore drilling rigs are staffed, when crops are harvested.
The very best meteorologists on the planet, trained at grand American universities and hired by the federal government, interpolated data from satellites launched at a cost of billions of dollars and weather stations and buoys and sensors distributed by the thousands. It's a triumph of data, complexity, human capital, and public investment.
On the other hand, the Census, the most magnificent collection of data in the history of the world, will be a cruddy mess this year. Even though the pandemic has caused havoc in the Census, Trump officials have cut short the count by a month, declined to extend the data analysis till April, and actively discouraged immigrants from completing census forms. All of this means that tens of millions of households will likely be missed. This would help Trump and his allies politically, and would send fewer federal resources to poorer parts of the country.
But it also spoils one of the most valuable tools the US has. Businesses rely on accurate Census data to make decisions on how to staff, where to put stores, how much to pay, and what kind of products to market. Governments rely on it to decide where to build roads and schools, what to tax, and where to rezone. Making it census data worse to meet a short-term political end will cascade error through the system, making all of us poorer and more ignorant.
In their war against the nonexistent deep state, Trump and his allies have undermined and ruined one of America's greatest strengths. The federal government gathers and analyzes mass data better than any organization that has ever existed, and that has helped make us all rich. Corrupting that will harm the rest of us long after Trump has left Washington. — DP
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
Trump's right: There should be a fourth presidential debate in early September.
Like the child-custody arrangement in an especially hostile divorce, the presidential debate schedule is the worst — yet still tolerable — scheme you could come up with under the circumstances. Every four years, a bipartisan commission on debates manages to get everyone to agree to a bare minimum of debating: three very short, very controlled presidential debates, crammed into four weeks right before the vote.
Any reasonable observer of American politics should admit that it's a deeply inadequate and poorly timed arrangement. During the primaries, candidates debate over and over and over again for months, with wildly different formats. It's crazy that the two leading candidates for the most important job on the planet face off so briefly and so late. We've known it would be Biden vs Trump for nearly six months — and the country has experienced historic convulsions — yet they will only debate the issues for a few minutes during a brief burst from September 29 to October 22.
The Trump campaign is struggling and craves any opportunity to change the dynamics, so it's not surprising that Rudy Giuliani hectored the debate commission this week to add a fourth debate in early September, or at least to move the final late October debate to early September. The Commission yesterday rejected the proposal — that's not what was painstakingly agreed to — but the Trump campaign has a point!
For the pandemic and other reasons, both parties are making heroic efforts to get their people to vote early. By the time the first debate rolls around on September 29, early voting will have started in at least a dozen states and millions will have cast a ballot. In a political system where the presidential campaign lasts almost two years, it's stupid that people can vote before the candidates ever even debate.
The commission was right to reject Trump for trying to alter the rules in the eleventh hour, but they should remember his complaint in 2024. If we're going to extend voting back into September, then early voters should get the chance to see a debate before they mail in their ballot. — DP
Focus, Donald, Focus
If there is a single issue in global economics right now, it's ensuring that the US passes another coronavirus aid bill so that the mighty US consumer can keep spending.
Problem is, as I wrote in my column this morning, negotiations for this bill have fallen on the White House, and Trump can't seem to focus on this issue. For the past few weeks he's been trying to load it with worthless additions — like $1.8 billion for a new FBI building, and a payroll tax cut that economists say would only help the richest 20% of Americans.
No one has time for this nonsense.
Some of the blame for this should go to Senate Republicans, who wrote the first draft of the bill. As they were writing it their caucus descended into chaos, with more libertarian members of the party freaking out about giving too much money to people during this crisis (as if it's not our money.)
They needed Trump's political cover to pass something with a huge price tag (which is what the country desperately needs), so the bill they put forward was weak and unacceptable to Democrats. All of that just adds more difficulty to the White House's negotiations at a time when Trump seems most interested in golf, bashing Joe Biden, and destroying TikTok. — Linette Lopez
Twitter flags state-affiliated accounts, but what's the point?
The experiment in social media self-regulation had a couple of interesting developments yesterday.
Twitter says that as part of a mission of "providing people with context so they can make informed decisions about what they see and how they engage," the company will now affix the label "government account" for official government accounts, but not the personal accounts of government officials and lawmakers.
That means the @POTUS account (previously used by President Obama) gets the "government" label, but @realDonaldTrump — the account of far-greater consequence and much bigger audience — will not.
Same thing for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's accounts: @RepAOC with 316,000 followers gets the "government" label, whereas @AOC with 8 million followers does not.
News outlets and the editors and reporters who work for them, such as the Russian government-funded RT and Sputnik, will be labeled "state-affiliated media." — Anthony Fisher
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Hong Kong's rich are moving gold to Switzerland and Singapore. The outflow began a year ago, as they try to protect themselves from a possible Chinese crackdown.
What time of day should you apply for the job you want? Insider asked recruitment experiments, and the answer is 11 am.
"Cloud Bread" — the fluffy, three-ingredient concoction that's taking over TikTok. It's not really bread, but a meringue with corn starch that can be colored and flavored in wild ways.
Bon Appetit tumult continues, as three Test Kitchen stars leave. All three are people of color, and all were dismayed by the slow pace of change at the food magazine, which has been accused of marginalizing and underpaying its non-white staff.
THE BIG 3*
The US Air Force is developing a hypersonic Air Force One. Aerospace company Hermeus announced a contract to develop the presidential jet, which is intended to fly 3,300 miles per hour. It's at least 10 years from manufacture.
How big was the Beirut explosion? It was much bigger than the largest US conventional bomb, and like a 3.3 earthquake.
Five of the best foods to lower blood sugar and control diabetes. Oatmeal and nuts are on the list, not surprisingly.
*The most popular stories on Insider today.
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