Steve Kush, the chairman of Bernalillo County Republican Party in New Mexico, called a 19-year-old Working America volunteer a “radical bitch” on Twitter Tuesday night after she testified before the county commission in favor of raising the minimum wage.
“Nice hat Working America chick but damn you are a radical bitch,” Kush tweeted.
Working America, a labor movement advocacy group, sent several members to the county meeting on Tuesday to advocate for a measure that would increase the county’s minimum wage. As the organization’s state director, Chelsey Evans, stood in line to testify on the proposal, Kush disparaged her on his Facebook page.
“Uh oh,” he wrote, “another Working America chick…nice boots…I know she makes more than min wage.” He later added in the comments, “she was hot enough to almost make me register democrat.”
Only on Fox News would unemployment insurance be presented as some kind of “cruelty” to the poor that “deters” them from getting hired at low-paying jobs. That’s right, with a straight face, Fox guest John Tamny said that we should scrap federal unemployment benefits in order to make “existing jobs” more attractive and “help” the unemployed by “luring” them back into the workforce. Naturally, host Tucker Carlson was all ears.
It started with a suggestion by Carlson that unemployment insurance benefits are unnecessary and wasteful. He cited a statistic that, during the past recession, the federal government paid “almost $80 million in jobless benefits to households that made more than $1 million a year.” He added, “Is this proof that the system is broken or should top earners be entitled to federal assistance if they lose their jobs?”
His guest, John Tamny took the concept a few steps further. He thought it would be even worse if millionaires were “forced” to pay into a system “that only non-millionaires could collect from.” But he went on to advocate for getting rid of unemployment insurance altogether - couched in the kind of rhetoric George Orwell would surely have loved - by calling one of our most important social safety nets “anti-poor” because it doesn’t encourage them to work for lower wages.
The system) makes it that much more expensive for (businesses) to lure workers back from the sidelines. It actually raises their labor cost. If you didn’t have the federal government essentially paying people not to work, their labor demands would naturally fall to the level at which the markets would hire them again and they would get back to work more quickly. I think it’s anti-poor to say only you get a program that’s going to make you unemployed for a longer time.
…If you’re being paid money not to work, it’s going to make it that more expensive for businesses to hire you back into the labor force. So if you wanted to rid that, you’d get rid of unemployment benefits and people would then have to accept the existing jobs that are available. Many of them maybe don’t look attractive now. …Unemployment benefits are a deterrent to getting back into the labor force so I think it would be particularly cruel to say if you’re poor, you get paid to stay on the sidelines.
Oh sorry to hear you lost your $60,000/yr engineering job! Go work at Walmart for $7.00/hr.
Just a quick personal story: I took a bus across the Midwest yesterday. As I was waiting to load my bag into the baggage compartment, I saw the handler refuse to take on another passenger’s (large and heavy) suitcase, telling him “you’re not going anywhere today”.
Anyway, after everyone else’s bag had been loaded and we were waiting to board, I noticed the two men in conversation. After a brief discussion, money changed hands and the bag was loaded.
That’s the sort of thing I remember seeing from travels in sub-Saharan Africa. It’s not the kind of thing I expect to see in the US. I can’t exactly blame the handler though. He’s on minimum wage with no benefits, and probably has to buy his own work uniform. If I was in that situation I’d probably find ways to make a few bucks on the side too.
ALBANY, N.Y., March 29 (UPI) — The New York Legislature approved a $135 billion budget that included a $9 minimum wage and a middle-class tax rebate paid for by the “millionaires tax.”
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein, Senate Majority Coalition co-leaders and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced early Friday the passage of the 2013-14 budget before the April 1 deadline — marking a state budget approved before the deadline for the third year in a row.
“When I took office more than two years ago, New York was at a crossroads, with families and businesses leaving our state and a government that had lost the trust and confidence of the people. Year after year the budgets were late and the entire process had become a symbol for the dysfunction and chaos of Albany,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“After years of out of control spending, for the third year in a row we have an on-time budget that holds spending growth under 2 percent.”
The budget raised the minimum wage from $7.25/hour to $9/hour over three years, beginning with $8 by the end of 2013, $8.75 by the end of 2014, and $9 by the end of 2015, the governor said.
The budget included $1.23 billion in new tax cuts to middle-class families over three years. Families with incomes between $40,000 and $300,000 who have a child age 17 or under will be eligible to receive a child tax credit of $350 per year, beginning in 2014. The credits will be paid for, in part, by an extension of a tax surcharge on couples earning more than $2 million annually, the “millionaires tax,” which had been scheduled expire next year. This tax raises about $2 billion annually. An energy surtax, also scheduled to expire, was extended.
The budget also included nearly $800 million in tax relief for New York businesses over three years.
House Republicans on Friday unanimously voted down a bill that would have raised the minimum wage. Six Democrats joined them in defeating the effort.
The vote came after a surprise move by Democrats, who tacked onto a jobs training program bill an amendment that would have brought the national $7.25 minimum wage to $10.10 by 2015. But Republicans managed to defeat the effort while approving the bill overall.
A few weeks back, House Minority Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) came out in support raising minimum wage, responding President Obama’s State of the Union call for a wage increase. Pelosi’s effort, and the effort proposed Friday, would actually bring the minimum wage up higher than Obama’s suggestion of $9.
If the minimum wage were brought up to $10.10 an hour, it would not be a revolutionary hike; rather, it would be indexed to inflation and consistent with historical borrowing power. Had the minimum wage been indexed to inflation in 1968, it would be $10.40.
MAKE THEM WORK FOR RICE AND GRUEL!!!111111
Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn claims that she was glad to have the opportunity to work for $2.15 in her first job and that raising the minimum wage to $9 would deny today’s young employables the character building goodness that she had access to. Think Progress observes:
Making $2.15 an hour certainly does sound worse than today’s minimum wage, which federal law mandates must be at least $7.25 an hour. But what Blackburn didn’t realize is that she accidentally undermined her own argument, since the value of the dollar has changed immensely since her teenage years. Blackburn was born in 1952, so she likely took that retail job at some point between 1968 and 1970. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator, the $2.15 an hour Blackburn made then is worth somewhere between $12.72 and $14.18 an hour in today’s dollars, depending on which year she started.
In the first State of the Union address of his second term, President Barack Obama sent a clear signal: He will vigorously pursue an unambiguous progressive agenda in his final years as president. Universal preschool, boosting the minimum wage, passing gun-safety legislation—Obama delivered a left-of-center demand list for Congress and his administration. He talked far more about jobs than taming the debt. He certainly cited his own efforts to reduce the deficits and hinted at another version of the grand bargain—pairing cuts in entitlements with a boost in tax revenues—the holy grail of the inside-the-Beltway set. But he advocated “modest” Medicare reforms, citing limits on payments, not benefits, and decried those calling for deep cuts in this program and Social Security. And he declared he would not yield to those seeking such cuts to stave off the soon-to-hit sequestration.
“We can’t just cut our way to prosperity,” Obama insisted, once again drawing the line between his progressive view of government as a source of investment in jobs-creating innovation and infrastructure and social development and the tea party-ized GOP’s belief that the only solution to the nation’s economic woes is slashing government and the tax bills of the well-to-do. This was the face-off he established after the shellacking of 2010 to set up the campaign of 2012. And that certainly worked out as he intended. Now re-elected by a healthy margin, Obama is willing to defy the conventionalists of Washington who fixate on debt and, instead, speak of other priorities: educating children, enhancing the purchasing power of low-income Americans, and protecting citizens from gun violence. This is a president setting his own course.
As the US continues its march towards restoring Dickensian working conditions, community college instructors in Kalamazoo, Michigan, are depending on donations to make it through January, due to a “miscommunication” over pay schedules.
Some highlights from the article. Serious medical condition? Good luck with that:
When the drive began last week, they first distributed aid to employees who had the greatest needs. “There was someone who has diabetes and won’t get through the month without insulin,” she said. “She got a gift card.”
Speak out about your atrocious living conditions? Careful now - wouldn’t want things to get any worse, would we?
“I have no discretionary money to put aside for this,” said one part-time Kalamazoo Valley instructor, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing her job.
And my favorite: the luxurious lifestyle of the idle college professor - tinned food and all:
The anonymous instructor said she had received two gift cards and a small check, plus two cans of food—one of apricots and one of corn.
“The full-time teachers have stepped up for us,” she said. “I am not out of the woods yet, but I probably won’t go hungry.”
The Preston Hollow neighborhood has been home to many of Texas’ rich and powerful — George and Laura Bush, Mark Cuban, T. Boone Pickens, Ross Perot. So it is hardly surprising that a recent political fund-raiser was held there on the back terrace of a 20,000-square-foot home overlooking lush gardens with life-size bronze statues of the host’s daughters.
The guest of honor was Gov. Rick Perry, but the man behind the event was not one of the enclave’s boldface names. He was a tax consultant named G. Brint Ryan.
Mr. Ryan’s specialty is helping clients like ExxonMobil and Neiman Marcus secure state and local tax breaks and other business incentives. It is a good line of work in Texas.
ASK A QUESTION
On Monday, Louise Story will be responding to your questions about business incentives. Ask your question in the comments section below.
Under Mr. Perry, Texas gives out more of the incentives than any other state, around $19 billion a year, an examination by The New York Times has found. Texas justifies its largess by pointing out that it is home to half of all the private sector jobs created over the last decade nationwide. As the invitation to the fund-raiser boasted: “Texas leads the nation in job creation.”
Yet the raw numbers mask a more complicated reality behind the flood of incentives, the examination shows, and raise questions about who benefits more, the businesses or the people of Texas.
Along with the huge job growth, the state has the third-highest proportion of hourly jobs paying at or below minimum wage. And despite its low level of unemployment, Texas has the 11th-highest poverty rate among states.