It’s Wednesday, August 11th, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast here.
1) Cuomo Resigns
The Topline: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) announced his decision to resign on Tuesday after a sexual harassment scandal engulfed his administration. Cuomo’s resignation announcement comes a week after a damning report from the New York attorney general’s office, which found the governor sexually harassed multiple women.
Quote Of The Day: “In my mind, I’ve never crossed the line with anyone. But I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn.” — Governor Andrew Cuomo
This will mark the end of the Democratic governor’s three terms in office.
Cuomo Hasn’t Admitted To Anything
Cuomo remained firm, denying that he did anything wrong while insisting he is innocent of the sexual harassment accusations leveled against him.
Cuomo said he “deeply apologizes” to the women he offended but pleaded ignorance regarding any inappropriate intent.
Cuomo went on to blame his behavior on “generational and cultural shifts” which he says he didn’t fully appreciate.
His resignation will go into effect two weeks from Tuesday. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will replace him, becoming New York’s first female governor. Hochul said she agrees with Cuomo’s decision, calling it the “right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers.” Before he resigned, Hochul said she believes Cuomo’s accusers and called his behavior towards them “repulsive and unlawful.”
The Allegations Against Cuomo
According to New York Attorney General (AG) Letitia James’ report, Cuomo violated federal and state laws by sexually harassing eleven women, including former New York state employees and members of the public.
Among a slew of offenses, the governor is accused of kissing and groping women without consent, including their intimate body parts, as well as making sexual comments.
Many are saying Cuomo is doing the right thing by stepping down, while others are calling for Cuomo to face criminal prosecution. Some have also pointed to Cuomo’s other major scandal: his COVID-19 nursing home policies and his administration’s cover-up of the resulting deaths of many elderly New Yorkers.
2) Chicago Cops Protest Mayor
The Topline: On Saturday night, two criminals shot and killed Chicago police officer Ella French and severely wounded her partner. When Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot came to visit the surviving policeman in the hospital, dozens of officers turned their backs on her in protest.
On Saturday, police stopped three men for driving with expired license plates. Police say that two brothers who were on probation for theft opened fire and killed 29-year-old French. They then shot her partner, Carlos Yanez Jr., three times, with the officer being eventually transported to the University of Chicago Medical Center in critical condition.
According to the president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, John Catanzara, the police officer’s family explicitly told Mayor Lightfoot that her presence at the hospital was unwelcome, but she came to the hospital anyway.
Officers say that when Lightfoot talked to Yanez’s father, who is a retired police officer himself, he told her that she had blood on her hands. She then went to talk to 30 officers who were standing nearby, and they turned their backs on her.
Chicago Alderman Ray Lopez captured a photo of that moment and posted it on social media.
In May, Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police cast a unanimous vote of “no confidence” against Lightfoot. Although Mayor Lightfoot said she opposes completely abolishing the police, last fall she proposed cutting $59 million from the police budget, while allowing hundreds of empty jobs on the force to go vacant. To make up for the difference, she increased police officers’ shifts to 12 hours a day and reduced their days off. She also canceled the annual St. Jude’s march for fallen officers.
Officers blame Lightfoot’s policies and what they characterize as anti-police rhetoric for the sharp uptick in crime that’s taken place under her administration.
The shooting of Ella French and Carlos Yanez represent just two of at least 73 shootings that took place last weekend in Chicago alone. During the two years that Lori Lightfoot has served as mayor of Chicago, murders have increased by 57%. Shootings have increased by 65% and sexual assault has risen by 22% since last year.
Impact On Police Force And Crime
Police are voting with their feet and 363 officers have retired from the Chicago Police Department so far this year. This amounts to more retirements than in all of 2018.
Studies show that employing more police officers reduces crime.
3) Record Number Of Unfilled Jobs
The Topline: This week, the Labor Department released new data showing a record breaking 10.1 million job openings in the month of June, but there aren’t enough workers willing to take the jobs that are open.
The Main Reasons
First, many employers say that increased federal unemployment benefits have made it hard for them to find workers. The Daily Wire spoke with one restaurant manager who was offering a $1,000 signing bonus to new servers. He said many of his old employees are making more money on unemployment than they would if they came to work.
The Federal Reserve admitted in a report to Congress last month that “enhanced unemployment benefits have allowed potential workers to be more selective and reduce the intensity of their job search.”
Economists also point to continued fears over the Delta variant, as well as difficulty finding childcare.
Remember: Many daycares and pre-schools are still closed or running at a limited capacity.
Employers responded by raising wages and exploring other more creative ideas. Service jobs that typically offer minimum wage are now starting at $15 or $20 per hour. Target is now offering to pay for 100% of an employees’ college tuition. McDonalds is now including paid time off, college tuition aid, and childcare benefits.
Small businesses are responding in a similar way, as some shops and restaurants offer $500 bonuses simply for applying.
Impact On Consumers
Experts say in the short term, it’s likely that the cost of basic goods will go up, especially at smaller restaurants and local businesses. Larger chains are also dealing with labor shortages that are affecting production and disrupting the supply chain more broadly. Costs will likely go up across the board.
States Cut COVID Benefits
So far, 25 states — all led by Republican governors — have stopped offering COVID benefits, which amounted to an additional $300 a week on top of existing unemployment benefits. They argue they were only needed when jobs weren’t available, and that’s no longer the case.
Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX), who heads the House Ways and Means Committee, told The Daily Wire, “Good intentions in an emergency can have damaging consequences in recovery, and that’s exactly what happened.”
Many have also pointed out that, of the ten states that have seen the strongest economic recovery this year, nine are run by Republican governors who’ve opted out of enhanced unemployment benefits.
Other Stories We’re Tracking
September 11 Review
On Monday, President Biden said that he “welcome[s]” the Justice Department’s fresh review of documents relating to the September 11 attacks. The move comes after family members of 9/11 victims put out a statement last week saying that Biden was not welcome at memorial events this year unless he declassified documents, specifically those regarding the alleged involvement of Saudi Arabia in the attacks.
Lockdowns in Australia have been extended, with some particularly strict rules being enforced. People living in the affected areas are only permitted to leave the house for approved activities, and may not travel further than 10km from home. Businesses deemed “nonessential” by the government must remain closed. According to ABC Australia, “If you don’t live with any other adults” you are permitted one nominated visitor — one person you are permitted to socialize with at your place of residence, or exercise with outdoors. They may visit you on more than one occasion, but they cannot be a nominated visitor for another person.
Texas Legislature Funding
The Texas Supreme Court shot down a petition from Democratic lawmakers to restore funding to the state legislature this week. The decision is a win for Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott, who vetoed funding for the state legislature in June, withholding paychecks from Democratic lawmakers. The feud began when Texas Democrats left the state in order to break quorum so the Texas government could not conduct its business.
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