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Them Vs. Us

March 1, 2013

Picture 2Let’s face it, there is something rather humorous about GOP staffers on the Hill crying because they are going to be the victims of sequestration and budget cuts.  Barack Obama has already worked with Congress to cut something like $2.5 trillion from the budget.  Also, discretionary spending is at a 40 year low!

Eric Cantor is proposing legislation that will end over-time pay for hourly workers.  There are two ways of looking at this.  When I was a business owner, I dreaded overtime.  When I was working for hourly wages, I loved it.  I could get ahead.  If a person is a salaried employee, forget over-time. It doesn’t exist.  Then again, when a person is on a salary, they are almost always living far above subsistence. I had hourly employees working for me that weren’t even worth fifty cents an hour, let alone minimum wage. They did not last long.  When I worked minimum wage for a now defunct department store, I took pride in my work.  The men were paid more than women were, with no exceptions.  For the most part, we did their work, they took the breaks, and received the bonuses.

Let’s be honest here, there are some people who are never going to rise above minimum wage.  There are a myriad of reasons.  Most of them will be in retail.  If you own a small retail business, your minimum wage employee is probably taking home more than you are.  In many instances, people making minimum wage need protections of overtime.  I think you’ll also find that many small businesses have a deal with their minimum wage employees.  It’s called under the table. It is a fact of life.  Small business is not black and white.  There are myriad shades of gray.  In fact, The Pink Flamingo thinks there need to be some exceptions to overtime and small businesses.  You will find the average small business owner agonizes over his/her worker pay, trying to make things better. These are the business owners who truly need a break, and never receive any.

On the other hand, big box stores like WalMart need to have every humanitarian law known to this country, and a few laws that don’t even exist, thrown at them. And… that’s why we have minimum wage laws, over time laws, and worker comp, and work place rules.  The average small business owner is going to make the workplace as safe as possible, because lawsuits are a destroyer.  They want their employees to be happy.  You get better people that way.  In retail, if you can’t afford to pay much, you provide perks like a large discount for items purchased. It was how I ended up with very good part-time Christmas help, rarely paying them anything.  They took it out in merchandise!

If you treat people decently, they will respond.  That’s the whole thing here, treating people decently, giving someone a break, and being nice.  That’s the problem. Something very nasty has happened to this country.  There is something very wrong when only 10% of the people in the nation take home something like 48% of the income.  That, dear Pink Flamingo readers, is socialism in reverse.  This country is no longer the land of opportunity.

“…The gap between aspiration and reality could hardly be wider. Today, the United States has less equality of opportunity than almost any other advanced industrial country. Study after study has exposed the myth that America is a land of opportunity. This is especially tragic: While Americans may differ on the desirability of equality of outcomes, there is near-universal consensus that inequality of opportunity is indefensible. The Pew Research Center has found that some 90 percent of Americans believe that the government should do everything it can to ensure equality of opportunity.

Perhaps a hundred years ago, America might have rightly claimed to have been the land of opportunity, or at least a land where there was more opportunity than elsewhere. But not for at least a quarter of a century. Horatio Alger-style rags-to-riches stories were not a deliberate hoax, but given how they’ve lulled us into a sense of complacency, they might as well have been….”

The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast

The Koch Brothers are pushing spending cuts.  No, a couple percent across the board isn’t going to hurt anyone.  Let’s be honest here.  Ten percent isn’t going to hurt anyone- if it is straight off the top – off everything with the only exceptions being Social Security and Medicare.  That’s the rub, though.

Yahoo News

Yahoo News

“...One of the reasons Republicans drool to end the USPS is that it delivers millions of parcels reliably every single day, and at a low cost that keeps private carriers’ (FedEx and U.P.S.) prices in check, and its efficiency and low cost are why local post offices are so busy; their service and cost cannot be matched by private companies. Because corporate carriers cannot compete, Republicans saddled the USPS with PAEA to break it, dismantle it, eliminate government jobs, destroy unions, and give FedEx and U.P.S. a monopoly on deliveries and free rein to raise rates without competition.

Not surprising is that the Koch brothers’ think tank, Cato Institute, with FedEx Chairman and CEO on Cato’s Board of Directors, has driven the effort to “privatize the Postal Service since 1996. Cato claims it is crucial to “free the mail from the government’s grip” to “hand over its public assets to private enterprise.” The Koch brothers are also out to eliminate the largest remaining public union in the nation and directed Cato to pen an anti-union screed, “The Postal Service Can’t Afford Unions” where they assert “A big drag on the USPS’s bottom line is the pesky union, and with 85% of that workforce protected by collective bargaining agreements, employees are a giant anchor on a sinking ship.” It is no secret the Koch brothers want drive good paying jobs into poverty level wages, end retirement benefits, and distribute what is left of the Postal Service to their friends at FedEx and U.P.S. The result will be rate increases, minimum wage jobs, and seized assets like public buildings and means of transport to control the frequency, availability, and flow of correspondence to areas of the country convenient to private industry, and all because it is another successful public service that proves government works for the people….”

The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast

“… Incomes rose more than 11 percent for the top 1 percent of earners during the economic recovery, but not at all for everybody else, according to new data.

The numbers, produced by Emmanuel Saez, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, show overall income growing by just 1.7 percent over the period. But there was a wide gap between the top 1 percent, whose earnings rose by 11.2 percent, and the other 99 percent, whose earnings declined by 0.4 percent.

Mr. Saez, a winner of the John Bates Clark Medal, an economic laurel considered second only to the Nobel, concluded that “the Great Recession has only depressed top income shares temporarily and will not undo any of the dramatic increase in top income shares that has taken place since the 1970s.”

The disparity between top earners and everybody else can be attributed, in part, to differences in how the two groups make their money. The wealthy have benefited from a four-year boom in the stock market, while high rates of unemployment have continued to hold down the income of wage earners.

“We have in the middle basically three decades of problems compounded by high unemployment,” said Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute, a left-of-center research group in Washington. “That high unemployment we know depresses wage growth throughout the wage scale, but more so for the bottom than the middle and the middle than the top.”

In his analysis, Mr. Saez said he saw no reason that the trend would reverse for 2012, which has not yet been analyzed. For that year, the “top 1 percent income will likely surge, due to booming stock prices, as well as retiming of income to avoid the higher 2013 top tax rates,” Mr. Saez wrote, referring to income tax increases for the wealthy that were passed by Congress in January. The incomes of the other “99 percent will likely grow much more modestly,” he said.

Excluding earnings from investment gains, the top 10 percent of earners took 46.5 percent of all income in 2011, the highest proportion since 1917, Mr. Saez said, citing a large body of work on earnings distribution over the last century that he has produced with the economist Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics….”

If the minimum wage reflected real worker productivity, it would be $22 an hour. It is just a simple fact of life that, if people make more money, they are going to spend more money. People spending more money create more jobs. When more jobs are created, more tax revenue is raised. When more tax revenue is raised, we don’t have the same deficit worries that we do when revenue isn’t coming in. In fact, if corporations and billionaires were required to pay the SAME HIGH PERCENTAGE RATES as We the Little People of the United States of America, just pay the same rate, not more, not less, but the same percentage rate, coupled with a decent wage, we would have a booming economy.

One of these days, someone is going to start asking why the far right and the GOP doesn’t want a booming economy.

One of these days.

The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast

Guess what, in 2007 65 Republicans who are NOW AGAINST a minimum wage hike, asked President Bush to increase the minimum wage. Paul Ryan was one of them, even though he eventually voted against it. He now thinks a minimum wage increase would be counterproductive. Of course he would. It would be counterproductive to the Koch Brothers, who literally own him.

Think Progress

Think Progress

We have a very real problem in this nation, brought on by groups of people who are being manipulated by the media.  They absolutely refuse to even consider the factual inaccuracy of their information.  The information is being manipulated by a few individuals, so that they can come out ahead.  There is nothing wrong with that.  What is wrong is when people who were once the backbone of this nation, dependable, wise, stalwart, have either deserted the GOP, or have been brainwashed by the conservative media into believing something that will destroy this nation.

It is about We the Little People of the United States of America verses very big bucks, more bucks than any in history has ever spent to influence public opinion.  They have corrupted and gamed the system to the point where this nation as we once knew it, is on the danger of being destroyed, so a handful of men can become even wealthier and more powerful.


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