Monday, 4 January 2016

Some suggested changes for trade unions and other news and views

What the unions really need - John Quiggin suggests: * Term limits for union officials. * Ending affiliation with the Labor Party (or any political party). * Actual workplace experience for officials.

U.S. Doesn’t Know How Many Foreign Visitors Overstay Visas - The question from the congressman to the Obama administration official was straightforward enough: How many foreign visitors overstay their visas every year? The reply was simple too, but not in a satisfying way. “We don’t know,” the official said. ... Nearly 20 years ago, Congress passed a law requiring the federal government to develop a system to track people who overstayed their visas. ... Since then, the federal government has spent millions of dollars on the effort, yet officials can only roughly estimate the number of people in the United States illegally after overstaying visas. Officials blame a lack of technology to conduct more advanced collection of data like iris scans, resistance from the airline and tourism industries because of cost, and questions about the usefulness of tracking people exiting the country as a counterterrorism measure.

At Stake in 2016: Ending the Vicious Cycle of Wealth and Power - America has succumbed to a vicious cycle in which great wealth translates into political power, which generates even more wealth, and even more power.

2016 Forecast: The Experts Will Be Wrong - We're in a season when experts and pundits like to make predictions about what will happen next year. But an interesting column found at casts doubt on the value of those predictions. “Stocks that were recommended most highly at the start of 2015 by the highly trained, highly educated, highly paid experts on Wall Street did worse this year than a bunch of stocks picked at random.” Brett Arends added the real kicker. “And they did worse — a lot worse — than the stocks those same experts told you to avoid.” His data looks back over the past eight years and comes to a stunning conclusion. Imagine that you invested each year in the stocks the experts said to avoid. With such a strategy, you would have made three times as much money as you would have by investing in experts’ top picks.

Carson: ‘Political correctness will destroy us if we don’t wake up’
An election battle for the identity of Taiwan - In the eight years that President Ma Ying-jeou, from the Kuomintang (KMT) party, has been in power, he has focused on improving relations with China. This era has seen the rivals on the most cordial terms since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949. But when he completes his second term in May, he cannot run again. And many are uncomfortable with having the KMT, which supports the notion that Taiwan and the mainland are part of one China, continue to negotiate deals and develop relations with Beijing. These people are expected to vote for the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which does not share that view.

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