November 14 – There seems to be a lot of talk about accountability these days, in pretty much every spectrum of life.
We want to hold people accountable for their actions, their decisions, their words.
But sometimes it seems like the talk is just that…talk. Because the thing about accountability is that it works both ways – if lawmakers want to hold people accountable, they should be able to hold that same mirror up to themselves.
Take for instance, lawmakers have recently introduced legislation that would increase the strength of the WARN Act. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act was created in 1988 as a U.S. labor law that requires employers with 100 or more employees to provide 60-day advanced notification of planned closings and mass layoffs of employees.
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM wondered, “If you’re in that much trouble at that point, what are you going to do fine me? We’re going out of business for goodness sake.”
Some US Senators are suggesting the advanced notification be increased to 90 or even 120 days.
Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “We see those stories in the news quite a bit, a big manufacturing company, through the WARN Act, they’ll say, in 60 or 90 days, we’re laying off 500 workers. The idea is that it gives the community, even the local governments, a chance to adjust. But ultimately what are you going to do? I mean, they’re going to close. You’re never going to backfill that many jobs that quickly. I’m not sure that it makes any difference, and if anything, it may be causing more pain for the employer, if they need to allow that much runway before they can shed what would be excess workers if they’re already on the verge of bankruptcy.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “Are we realizing that they’re asking for more accountability from business people than they hold themselves to, which I find really repugnant and appalling here. Also all these spending issues we were just talking about, look at how many of them are related to the unlimited re-election of politicians. If it wasn’t for that, I don’t think we’d be in the state we’re in in terms of being in major debt.”
The US House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a clean continuing resolution in an effort to hold off a government shutdown.
Barkdoll said, “It does not cut one dime in federal spending. It also does not allocate any new money for southern border security, nothing for Israeli aid or Ukraine aid.”
Some Republicans like Scott Perry and Marjorie Taylor Greene are saying this is why the speakership was changed.
Barkdoll said, “All of the reporting overnight, the votes are there to pass this. The Democrats are going to be on board with it. The vast majority of the Republicans are going to be on board with it. And the beat goes on. They’re going to extend spending through mid-January to early February and they’ve not done anything to solve the budget, the deficit, the debt issue that all of this new team that Speaker Johnson was bringing in was supposed to do.”
When it comes to accountability, the US Supreme Court adopted a new ethics code yesterday that includes five canons of conduct.
Ryan said, “Meanwhile, how do you get Nancy Pelosi or Bill or Hillary or Obama or any of these lawmakers or Mitch or Romney or any of the rest of the Republicans. Frankly, we should all be pissed off at all of them for how they make a ton of bread long after and during their time in office.”
“There’s no ethics there,” Jansen said.
Barkdoll said, “This new ethics rule that the Supreme Court adopted and all nine justices voted in favor of it, but a lot of critics are pointing out you could drive a Mack truck through these new rules. There are so many loopholes and it’s self regulating. So it’s still not to anyone’s oversight. There’s no independent body that’s overseeing this. On one end, it’s probably overdue. For some reason they were the only federal judges that were never subject to ethics rules. This was in light of all of that ProPublica reporting earlier in the year.”
Justice Sotomayor would have speaking engagements where the speaker had to buy a lot of her books.
Barkdoll said, “Justice Thomas apparently got a free motorhome, millions of dollars of lavish vacations around the world. Technically none of these things were a violation of any rules because there were no ethics requirements. So this will now be in place. I imagine some of these justices will just be a little more conscientious now of some of these perks that they keep accepting. But these ethics, they are advisory. There’s no real enforceability to any of these rules that they adopted yesterday.”