Category Archives: minimum wage

The $10 Lazies

This Congress passed a bill giving all unemployed Americans an additional $300 a month to help them until they can return to the workplace. I t was part of the massive covid relief bill which had unanimous Democratic support. And unanimous GOP rejection. As in all laws the GOP does not like, many GOP-run states are simply refusing to enforce it. They are rejecting the additional monies which help the poorest working families in their states.

As of 2 days ago the following states, all with Republican governments, chose to not allow their unemployed citizens the additional funding. Montana, Iowa, North Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and Missouri have all told their poor unemployed: Sorry, no extra help for you. Yesterday, Ohio joined the parade.

To be clear, this money comes from the federal government. Which means most of it comes from the “blue” states which have been subsidizing the “red ” states for years. So, I suppose, those of us who have been keeping the welfare states afloat should be happy. Less money being drained from us.

A semi-intelligent person (me, for example) might ask the question: Why would the leadership of a state refuse free help for the workers in that state?Working families who need temporary assistance to pay the bills. How does that benefit, say, Idaho?

The governors of those states have the answer. If you give these unemployed workers all this money, they will refuse to work. They will sit on their fat (ethnic) butts and do nothing. As we break this down to dollars and cents.

The additional $300 a month breaks down to $10 per day. $10 per day. So, the Republican governors believe (do they?) that an additional $10 a day will keep people from going back to work.The lazy bastards are just sitting around rather than going out and getting a job for $7.25 (as in Idaho) . How are businesses going to get workers for $ 7.25 an hour when the lazy bastards can sit home and make 10 bucks a day?!

I understand the philosophy behind this. After all, the GOP in these states support keeping wages low for the working poor and profits high for non-working rich. I respect that philosophy. It is as old as the grand old Confederacy. Crush workers. No unionization. No benefits. Keep a population completely dependent and willing to take any job at any wage just to survive. It is a long held noble philosophy of the right wing.

But, being a practical man, I do not understand one thing. The federal government is giving workers an additional $10 a day. What are they going to do with that extra money? Invest it in the stock market? Put it away in their “Yacht Savings Account”? Maybe spend it on a Disney World vacation?

I would suggest that this $10 a day would be spent immediately. At the local grocery store. At the auto mechanic. Paying the bill to the local utility company. Shoes for kids. A visit to the local doctor. All of this additional money would go directly into the local economy. Which would create…uh…more jobs.

So, congratulations to the GOP states. You have not only deprived your own citizens (Of course, you don’t see working people as “your” citizens). You have taken money out of local economies. Money that would help keep the local grocer, mechanic, etc. afloat. Hard to figure.

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Filed under Congress, economics, Economy, GOP, governor, minimum wage, Politics, Society, workers

The End of Parody

I like to try to write parody. But lately I find myself unable to compete with “reality”. It is extremely frustrating to try to outdo the current bunch of loonies masquerading as normal folks. For example. A brief summary of what the CPAC and their loons find essential to our nation. I should note that at the first day of CPAC no one mentioned the Covid relief needed by Americans. Unemployment. War. All non-issues to the major conservative “thinkers”.

The Muppets. Evidently the Muppets are somehow central to the right wing philosophy. I recall in the past that the conservatives hated the Muppets for “indoctrinating” our children with political correctness, like diversity. But no longer. According to CPAC, the Muppets have been cancelled.

For some reason Disney, which now owns the Muppets, saw fit to issue a “warning” that some of the Muppet shows may deal with stereotyping. So, this warning , according to CPAC , means the Muppets are victims of “cancel culture”. I am sure Miss Piggy will not take this sitting down.

For sake of full disclosure, Disney put forth the same warnings on “the Aristocrats”, “Swiss Family Robinson”, “Peter Pan” and “Dumbo”.

So, this little disclaimer is one of the major issues at CPAC. I am not sure who is harmed by this disclaimer. I mean, we are talking about the Muppets. It is possible that the CPAC members don’t understand that the Muppets are not real people. The live their entire non-existent lives as colorful pieces of cloth with human hands manipulating their hands and arms and with a hand stuck up their butts. They have no brains. They have no independent motions… Oh, wait. I just figured out why the Trump supporting CPAC members find this offensive.

Then there is the strange case of Mr Potato Head. The demise of Mr Potato Head by Hasbro is, according to CPAC, another example of the skid of our society into the depths of despair. Canceling this American icon is tantamount to blowing up the sculpture of Lincoln on Mount Rushmore. The final example of political correctness gone amok. How dare the liberals, in the name of gender equality, throw spud into the fire? How dare Hasbro to make a hash out of national icon? The horror! Oh God! Au Gratin!

OK, so Hasbro did not really turn Mr Potato Head into fries. What Hasbro did was change their own logo from “MR.” Potato Head to just “Potato Head”. That’s it. A private company changed with the times. Mr Potato Head is still around, as is Mrs. Potato Head and even Baby Potato Head. Still, the major conservative political organization is outraged by this. This is a major issue !

I recall Mr Potato Head from my youth. I have always found him(?) to be strangely gender neutral. Being a curious youth and a more curious adult and a potato grower myself I have tried for years to identify the gender of Yukon Gold and Norland. To no avail. Search as I might, I have never been able to locate a penis or vagina on any spud. And believe me I have tried. Which makes me wonder. Is Mrs Potato Head simply a transvestite? A transgender veggie? Have our children been victimized for years by this liberal plot to make us immune to the realities of sexually ambiguous vegetables? At least cucumbers leave no doubt about sexual orientation.

Finally, PAC rolled out the parody of all parodies. The Golden Ass statute of their god. The Golden Trump. Complete with patriot red, white and blue panties. An icon worthy of worship. This organization devoted to personal freedom and independence bowing down to the golden icon of the golden con. The golden wheeler dealer on wheels. A false god worthy of worship by false conservatives.

At first I was certain this statue was a liberal trick. A joke meant to poke fun at the CPAC worship of the most anti-freedom former president since James Buchanan. Certainly this would exposed as an Al Franken stunt or a SNL skit. An obviously foolish jibe at the brainless, mindless followers of the Golden Khan.

But no. The golden statue is real. The complaints about the puppets are real. The outrage over the naming of a vegetable toy is real.

The end of parody. How do you top that?

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Filed under Conservatives, cpac, Cruz, gay rights, GOP, minimum wage, Neoconservative, Politics, Radicals, Republicans, Society, Trump, United States

Finally, An Honest Man

A friend of mine, Diogenese Lamplighter, was walking around with a big smile on his face. Which is quite unusual for him. So, being curious and always willing to throw a blanket over happiness , I had to intervene.

Me: Dio, old boy. What have you got to smile about?

Dio: Well, cranky one, I have finally reached my goal. I have found an honest man. Just one. But he is an honest man.

Me: Needless to say, Dio, I am a bit skeptical. A truly honest man?  Are you sure or have you been hitting ouzo again?

Dio: A man who tells it like it is. No bullshit. He says what he means and means what he says. Total honesty.

Me: Wow. Where did you find this guy? In a monastery or church…wait.. of course not. Hmm. In a cave somewhere far away from civilization? Where, oh, wise one, where?

Dio: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC.

Me: OK. Let me google map that…hmmm… hey… wait a minute, Dio, that’s the White House! You mean there is someone in the White House who is an honest man? That would be a first.

Dio: Oh yes. A completely honest man. A man who hides nothing.

Me: (kind of excited now, which doesn’t happen much) Who? Who? Jared? No way. Maybe Steve Miller? Nah, can’t be. I know, I know..it’s got to be Barron? Right?

Dio: No, my foolish, disillusioned friend, it is none other than Donald J Trump, President of the United States.

Me: Sheesh. Now I KNOW you have been not only hitting the ouzo but also soaked the grape leaves in too much white wine. Trump? Honest? Give me a break.

Dio: I will do better. I will give you my analysis. After all these years of searching for an honest man, it has only been Donald J Trump, President of the United States, who has dared to speak the truth.

Me: But… but… he is a racist, a xenophobe, a climate change denier… even some Republicans don’t like him.

Dio: Oh, but you are missing the point. For the last 40 years the Republican party has done everything it legally can to support big business. At the expense of workers. And at the expense of the small business owner. They have pretended to care about workers but oppose the minimum wage. They say they want health care but have opposed health care reforms for years. They are in court right now, trying to destroy the ACA.  As Mr Reagan said, in the eyes of the GOP the “government is the problem”. Because “government” is the only thing preventing corporations from driving out small business and keeping wages low.

Me: Well, I don’t know. Seems to me that the GOP over the last 40 years have just been advocating for following the Constitution.

Dio: Did the Constitution say corporations are “persons”? Or that voting should be suppressed?  Or that black folks should not have equal protection under the law? Or that the post office should be destroyed? Or prisons privatized?

Me: So, what is your point?

Dio: My point is that the Republican party has been a party of racism (remember the Willie Horton ad), bigotry, sexism and anti-working man and anti-small business for at least 40  years. But they pretend to be otherwise. I mean, how can you win an election if  you tell people that you’re main motivation is to screw them?  How can you win an election if you tell folks ahead of time that you are giving millionaires massive tax breaks because it is good for people making $7.25 an hour (the minimum wage)? How can you win an election by telling working people that they would be better off without government protection of their water? But Trump. He is honest.

Me: So , you are saying that Trump just says what the GOP has been afraid to say?  But that they really do support him and his racism and misogyny and general disdain for science and  working people?

Dio: DUH. Mr Trump just says out loud what the GOP has been saying, with their policies, for the last 40 years. Now, I admit, he is a bit more vulgar than many in the GOP would like, but he has given them the government they want.  Corrupt. Racist. Incompetent. Authoritarian.

Dio: I can snuff out the flame on my lamp. Finally, an honest man.

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Filed under ACA, candidate, Constitution, Democrat, Elections, GOP, government, minimum wage, Politics, president, racism, Republicans, Society, Trump, United States, workers

Booze and Women

Regarding the new GOP tax plan which shuffles billions of dollars from working Americans to the top one-half of one per cent.

“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing,” Grassley told the Register. “As opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

I am not sure if this is true so I interviewed 2 people. One is a billionaire heiress to a real estate fortune who shall remain anonymous. I shall call her Ivania. The other is a shmuck who worked in factories, sweat shops and as a teacher for over 30 years. I will call him Joe the Shmuck.

Me: Hello, Ivania. Congratulations on receiving a massive inheritance allowance and other tax breaks in the new tax bill.

Ivania: Thank you. No one deserves it more than me.

Me: So, how many jobs do you intend to create with this new found wealth ? Do you feel that you that have earned this windfall?

Ivania: Oh, yes. I have had to work very hard being born into just the right family. It is not easy being wealthy. For example, do we cater in Lobster Newberg or Filet Mignon tonight? Do we open the bottle of “Moet and Chandon Dom Perignon” or the “Boerl and Kroff Brut Rose” ? Would you have any idea which to serve? Commoners just don’t understand the intense pressure I am under.

Me: I see. Back to my question. What do you intend to do with this multi-million dollar windfall? Will you invest it in new jobs in America?

Ivania: Of course. My investment advisor has already begun adding to my investments. I have created thousands of jobs already in my tote bag and high heel shoe factories.

Me: But aren’t those factories in China? And Vietnam?

Ivania: Well, yes. But there is a trickle down effect. Eventually, as we create jobs in China and depress wages in the US, we will be able to bring back jobs to this nation I love so dearly. American commoners must be able to compete with the wages we pay in China. We hope to someday get those wages on par with each other. Right now it is those unions that prevent us from creating more good jobs in the nation I love.

Me: OK. So, you won’t be investing in the USA, is that the bottom line.

Ivania: (chuckling)  I got mine. That is the bottom line. Did I mention how much I love America?

So, after this rather unsatisfying interview I found Joe the Shmuck, retired factory worker and teacher.

Me: Hello, Joe the Shmuck. Can I call you Joe?

Joe the Shmuck: I have spent my entire adult life working for a living and paying my taxes. You can call me Shmuck.

Me: OK, Shmuck. Senator Grassley has made the comment that people like you will just take any tax break and spend it on women and booze. What is your response?

Shmuck: DUH. Of course we will. He is correct.

Me: WOW! So you admit that you will spend any tax breaks on women and booze? Really?

Shmuck: I have in the past, why change now? What choice do I have?

Me: Explain to me then why you should get a tax break if you will just spend it on women and booze?

Shmuck: Look, I worked two jobs most of my life. At least 8 hours a day. Some days 12 hours or more. I have worked in factories, day labor, teaching and coaching and advising students. All for pretty meager wages. So, what do you think? I am not going to come home and have a beer? Of course I spend my money on booze. Wouldn’t you?

Me: Well, ok. but what about spending all your money on women?

Shmuck: I have a wonderful wife and a wonderful daughter. Unfortunately they are money pits. I mean, who needs more than 2 pair of underwear? Women, that’s who. Who needs to get their hair done? Women, that’s who. Not to mention quality food, clothes and  thousands of other items the uses of which completely escape me.

Let’s talk about dental bills and braces, shall we? And schools class trips? And second cars? And dogs and all those expenses? And Xmas gifts? And tuition and fees?

Me: I am not sure that was what Grassley was referring to…

Shmuck: Well, anyone who has a wife and daughter (or husband and son for that mattter) knows what I am talking about. So Grassley is right. All I will do with any tax break is invest in goods and services right here in the US…wait…does that make me an investor?

Me: Sorry. Investors only invest in China. You worked . You supported your family. You drink beer. You are what we call…uh… shmuck.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/12/04/grassley-explains-why-people-dont-invest-booze-or-women-or-

https://financesonline.com/top-10-most-expensive-champagne-bottles-in-the-world/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/stuartanderson/2015/08/17/trump-the-hypocrite-investing-overseas-fine-for-him/#4d5a62aa1dc8

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Filed under Congress, Debt, economics, Economy, GOP, government, liberals, minimum wage, pensions, Politics, Republicans, Taxes, United States

A Deal at Any Price

Tom Price, the Health and Human Services Secretary, has been criticized for flying on charter jets. He spent about $ 60,000 of HHS money on 5 flights in just one weekend.  The one that has gotten the most publicity was his round trip flight from DC to Philly and back. For $25,000. That is about 150 miles each way or 3 hours by car.

Now, this is the same Tom Price who had the best luck in the world when he was on the Senate committee responsible for Health issues. Just by chance, his broker bought him a ton of stocks in a company called Zimmer Biomet. This happened just two weeks after Tom introduced a bill called the HIP act.

Now for those of you with all your appendages intact that may not mean much. But the HIP Act (which should have been called the SLIP Act) deregulated the the hip and knee joint replacement industry. I mean, really, should an artificial limb replacement need regulations? I guess they are warranted for the life (good luck) of the owner!

Well, it so happens that Zimmer Biomet  is a supplier of….(drum roll)… hip and knee joint replacements. Like I said, when it comes to investments Tom is one lucky guy.

(To be fair, the HIP Act was so bad that even the GOP Congress has not yet taken it up).

But, back to charter flights. This must be a different Tom Price than the Georgia Senator who castigated the Democrats for proposing buying 8 passenger planes. Wasteful. That Tom Price said the US government should not buy any. Zero. Government employees should be flying on commercial flights. Tighten those belts you spendthrifts.

Senator Tom Price meet HHS Secretary Tom Price.

So, some perspective. Perhaps it is worth it to keep Tom flying hither and yon. Keep him out of DC where he can only do more damage. Perhaps his broker has recently bought some stock in the charter plane industry. Gee. I wonder if he wants to deregulate safety inspections on charter planes. It would streamline the industry.

A final note: Tom landed and spent the day in Pennsylvania. Minimum wage in Pennsylvania is $ 7.25 per hour. A full time worker in PA who decided to treat Tom to this round trip airfare would have to work 86 weeks to earn that much. Before taxes.

If he or she started working now and took no vacations they could pay off Tom’s airfare bill by the end of May, 2019. Unless he or she got sick. Because Tom doesn’t believe in the working poor getting coverage under Obamacare. Too costly!

 

 

 

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/20/hhs-sec-tom-price-once-slammed-congress-private-jets.html

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/tom-price-healthcare-stock-conflicts-233823

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Filed under ACA, Budget, Congress, Economy, GOP, government, healthcare, minimum wage, Obamacare, Politics, workers

Toto, We’re Not in Kansas Any More

(In 2012 GOP Governor Brownback of Kansas pushed through the “Great Conservative Experiment”. Bringing the architect of the “supply-side” economics theory, Laffer, he proposed and got massive tax cuts for business and the wealthy, coupled with reduced public  support for the poor along with cuts to education. A conservative’s dream state. It was the experiment that would prove, once and for all, that “supply side ” policies were destined to be a great success…. They have been a massive fiscal disaster)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-kansas-gov-brownbacks-reelection-race-is-case-study-in-republican-party-shift/2014/07/30/3192d86c-1420-11e4-8936-26932bcfd6ed_story.html

http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article62557137.html

Aunt Em: I think she is finally waking up ! Dorothy, get up,  dear. Time to go to work.

Dorothy: Oh, Aunt Em. I had the strangest dream.

Aunt Em: Well, dear, time to get up and go to work in  the poultry plant. Those chicken wings don’t detach themselves.

Dorothy: Work? Chicken wings? Aunt Em, I don’t remember. I had the strangest dream that I visited a new land,  the land of Oz.

Aunt Em: Now, Dorothy.  You simply overslept. Now get your butt out of bed. We need the extra income.

Dorothy: But, Aunt Em. My dream. I dreamed I found myself surrounded by little men with little minds  and squeeky voices.  They were singing about “following the supply-side road” to wealth and fortune. But I kept going in circles. The road lead to nowhere.

Aunt Em: Oh,  that was no dream. That was the Knsas State Legislature, dear. Don’t you recall? They had to close all the roads except the ones leading directly to the chicken processing plant.

Dorothy: Then I dreamed I met a man who had straw in his head instead of a brain. He was silly and stupid. He flopped around and made no sense at all.

Aunt Em: Oh, Dorothy. That was the head of the Department of Education. Don’t you remember? The schools all had to close early because the state ran out of money for silly things like books and teachers. It is all part of the “great experiment”. It will be fine.

Dorothy: But Aunt Em, he didn’t even know what evolution was! And then I met a man who looked like a lion but was scared of everything. He cowered at the mention of the Wizard of Oz. Pathetic.

Aunt Em: You must mean the old Democratic Party. Oh dear, they certainly lost their courage.

Dorothy: Well, what about the man I met without a heart. It mean, he must have been part of a dream. A heartless man. No man can live without a heart, can he?

Aunt Em: Well, Governor Brownback came to town last week to proclaim “Cowboy Day” in honor of the ranchers who avoid paying federal grazing fees. There is no evidence that he has a heart.

Dorothy.: Then, in my dream,  we  walked all the way to the capital and saw this massive building. Covered with emeralds. And I went inside and saw the Wizard of Supply Side. He told me everything would be OK. Just keep working and don’t worry about the budget deficit. Don’t worry about school. Don’t worry about health care. It was final. He had spoken.

Aunt Em: Don’t you remember, Dorothy? We were going to take you on an ocean cruise across Kansas but the Lollipop Guild had taken away our lavish food stamp allowance. So, we went to see the Wizard for help. We DID go see the wonderful Wizard.

Dorothy: Well, what did the Wizard do?

Aunt Em: He told us to drop you out of 9th grade and get you a job. He told us that if you get sick you should “suck it up”. He said never ever use dirty words like”unions” or “climate change”. The great and powerful Koch had spoken.

Dorothy: Aunt Em, I am sick. My brain hurts. I need to see a doctor.

Aunt Em: Sorry, dear. We lost our health care when your uncle got fired for supporting abortion rights. You’ll just have to hope for the best. I am sure the Great Experiment will work itself out. Now, get on your bike and head for work. Those chicken parts are waiting to be sorted.

Dorothy: Look, Aunt Em !! A twister is coming right at us. A big one!

Aunt Em: Quick, Dorothy, into the storm cellar. … Dorothy! Where are you going?!

Dorothy hops on her bike with Toto in her basket and starts peddling frantically. Directly TOWARD the massive tornado.

Dorothy: Good bye , Aunt Em. I have my future to think about. Between living a decent life in Kansas and the twister, I like my chances with the tornado.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under ACA, Conservatives, Debt, economics, Economy, Education, Elections, GOP, government, governor, jobs, minimum wage, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Politics, Radicals, Republicans, Taxes, tea party, unions, workers

Contestant #5: Sanders the Socialist

5th in a series of biased analysis of announced candidates for the office of President of the US.

From Bernie Sanders Issues website: https://berniesanders.com/issues/

The senator from Vermont, a native of Brooklyn, is a self-proclaimed socialist and independent.  Since everyone knows what a socialist is, there is almost no need to go into detail. A socialist is one who hates America, wants to eat babies and tries to destroy all that is good in the world. Someone from, let’s say, Sweden.

That said, Bernie’s website has the usual vague generalities on some topics, specifics on other topics and simply ignores other topics.

For example, he pretty much ignores social issues like gay rights, abortion, etc.

He opposes Wall Street bailouts. He wants to rebuild the crumbling infrastructure. He wants women to have equal pay as men for equal work. He wants tax reform. He thinks the middle class has been screwed. All noble concepts. But the devil is in the details, and he is short on details.

His main area of concern is for working families. He is very specific on raising the minimum wage (to $ 15.00). He wants a one payer health care system. And he wants to make it easier for workers who want unions to unionize. These are areas where he has been consistent throughout his long career.

Most telling, he has opposed all the free trade agreements, going back to NAFTA. That is one area where he differs from most other candidates. He has a record of fighting to keep jobs in the USA. Unique among the candidates. Ever.

He does not seem to have used his political office for personal gain and has no outstanding scandals. But I am sure Fox News is working to create something as we speak.

All in all, a tried and true socialist. Can he win a major election with those credentials? Is it possible ? Does  a socialist have a chance of winning the highest office in the land?

About as likely as a socialist being elected to the US Senate. Or a black guy winning the presidency. Twice. We shall see.

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Filed under Bernie Sanders, CAFTA, candidate, economics, Economy, Free Trade, minimum wage, NAFTA, PNTR, socialism, socialist, unions