Friday Roundup: TPP, Science Test Scores, WSJ on I-1501, Disappointing Durable Goods Orders, Alaska Won’t Bond for Pensions

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:

National Association of Manufacturers: TPP in Real Life

Marlin Steel exports to 39 countries, and 25 percent of the company’s sales and jobs depend on exports. Mr. Greenblatt says that that “free trade agreements level the playing field for U.S. goods and open markets for ‘Made in the USA’ exports by eliminating anti-manufacturing taxes and other barriers. If we could get rid of tariffs through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Marlin Steel could hire unemployed Baltimore steelworkers for jobs that pay $25 per hour – that is, if Congress passes this critical agreement.”

Seattle Times: Behind Washington I-1501 lies union feud with conservative think tank

Voters might be left with the impression I-1501 is the brainchild of consumer or privacy groups in response to a surge in identity thieves bilking elderly or disabled people.

In fact, the measure was conceived and bankrolled entirely by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as part of a long-running political and legal feud with a conservative think tank over mandatory union fees.

Juneau Empire: Gov. Walker puts pension bond plan on hold

Gov. Bill Walker says the state will not proceed with plans to sell bonds to help pay for Alaska’s pension obligations at this time, citing lack of support from Senate lawmakers.

Wall Street Journal: The SEIU’s ballot fraud

How worried is Big Labor about declining membership? Worried enough that unions are trying to trick voters into supporting a ballot measure that claims to protect seniors from identity fraud.

That’s the story in Washington state, where the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is funding a ballot measure that advertises itself as the Seniors and Vulnerable Individuals’ Safety and Financial Crimes Prevention Act. What the ballot measure would really do is prevent home-care workers from being informed that they have the right to opt out of the union.

NAM: New Durable Goods Orders Continue to Disappoint in September 

New orders were off 0.1 percent, edging down from $227.6 billion to $227.3 billion. On a year-over-year basis, sales have increased 1.6 percent since September 2016, up from $223.7 billion. However, these data have been skewed by volatility in the transportation equipment segment. In September, transportation equipment orders fell 0.8 percent, largely on reduced activity for defense aircraft and parts. Excluding transportation, new orders for durable goods were up 0.2 percent in September, but over the past 12 months, they were essentially unchanged, down 0.04 percent.

Seattle Times: Washington beats national average on science exams

Washington fourth- and eighth-grade students scored higher than the national average on a federal science test in 2015.

In Washington, 42 percent of fourth-graders scored at or above proficient, compared with the national average of 37 percent. For eighth-grade students, the rate for those at or above proficient was 38 percent, 5 percentage points higher than the national average.