Friday Roundup: Seattle ‘head tax,’ shrinking middle class, rapid factory expansion, and regulatory victory in U.S. District Court

There are always a few items we’ve read during the week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle:

Foundation for Economic Education: Why Our Shrinking Middle Class is a Good Thing

…the 19.6 percentage point increase in the share of high-income US household between 1969 and 2016 (from 8.1 percent to 27.7 percent) was a result of: a) an 11.1 percentage point shrinkage in the share of middle-class households (from 53.2 percent to 42.1 percent), and b) an 8.5 percentage point shrinkage in the share of low-income households.

There has been a shrinkage of America’s middle class over time (by either measure above), but it’s not a story of economic gloom and doom characterized by a “widening gap between what Americans earn and the housing they can afford” but rather a positive story of economic prosperity and upward mobility that has gradually but consistently lifted millions of lower-income and middle-income US households into higher income groups over time. The fact that nearly 28 percent of US households annually earn $100,000 or more runs counter to the widespread narrative of an American middle-class in decline and deserves much greater attention as evidence of a dynamic and prosperous America with significant income mobility.

National Association of Manufacturers: Another Win for NAM’s MCLA: U.S. District Court Dismisses Challenge to President Trump’s ‘2 For 1’ Regulatory Relief Order

The National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA) scored another win today, this time in the U.S. District Court for D.C. The court dismissed a baseless challenge to President Donald Trump’s so-called “2 for 1” Executive Order, which aims to make government regulation more efficient by requiring government agencies to repeal two outdated or ineffective regulations for every new regulation. Public Citizen filed the lawsuit, claiming the president’s order was arbitrary, but the court ultimately sided with the MCLA and others who support it.

Seattle Times: Liberals outnumber conservatives for first time in Washington state, Gallup poll shows

Polling giant Gallup, which has been monitoring the political climate of all 50 states each year since 2008, found that more Washingtonians identified as liberal than conservative in 2017 — the first time that’s ever happened…

Last year, 30 percent of state residents said they were liberal or very liberal, edging out those who identify as conservative or very conservative by just one point. The percentage of liberals remained unchanged from 2016, but conservatives dropped by two points, which flipped the state to the liberal side.

Associated Press: US economic growth revised down slightly to 2.5 pct in Q4

U.S. economic growth was revised down slightly to a still-solid 2.5 percent annual rate in the final three months of last year, as business spent less on investment and restocking shelves than the government had previously estimated.

Associated Press: US factories expand at strongest rate in almost 14 years

American manufacturers said they expanded in February at the fastest pace in nearly 14 years — gains driven in part by a jump in hiring.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, reported Thursday that its manufacturing index climbed to 60.8 in February from 59.1 in January. This was the strongest reading since May 2014. Any score above 50 signals growth.

Seattle Times: Task force recommends ‘head tax’ on some Seattle businesses to fund help for homeless

A Seattle task force is recommending the City Council adopt a $75 million-per-year “head tax” on high-grossing businesses to help address homelessness…

Rather than say exactly which businesses should be taxed and how, the task force is recommending the council chose from several options. Under the first option, companies with more than $10 million in gross revenue would pay the bulk of the tax, while under the second and third options, the threshold would be $8 million.