Bloomberg reports that Washington State, with the highest minimum wage in the nation, beats U.S. job growth averages. Washington linked their minimum wage to the cost of living back in 1998. So according to conservatives Washington should be an empty lot by now. But that hasn’t happened. In fact, they’ve grown faster, even in their bars and restaurants sector – and that covers ALL the bars and restaurants in the state, not just the ones within driving distance of Microsoft headquarters.
Their poverty level also trails the national average, which is what you’d expect. And makes the greatest no-brainer argument for raising the minimum wage.
Raising the U.S. minimum wage to $10.10 in three steps, as Obama proposes, would reduce employment nationally by about 500,000 workers, or about 0.3 percent, according to a Congressional Budget Office report published Feb. 18. At the same time, the increase would lift 900,000 people out of poverty and add $31 billion to the earnings of low-wage Americans, the report found.
The report overstates the job losses. Real time experiments in states like Washington have not borne that result out. The report also probably understates the effect the raised minimum wage would have on raising people out of poverty and Hello! lowering government spending.
Conservatives should be embracing this because it would lower government expenditures on food stamps, medicaid, welfare, etc. Food stamps alone would be decreased by $46 Billion. And that decrease is because people have other means of purchasing nutrition, not just cutting the budget and leaving people hungry which is the usual republican plan, bless their tiny hearts.
Echoing a common liberal argument, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found that by putting more income in low-wage workers’ pockets, the higher minimum wage would cut back their reliance on public assistance, to the tune of $4.6 billion annually. That amounts to roughly 6 percent of current food stamp spending, or about a tenth of 1 percent of the federal budget.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) nails their hypocrisy:
“Detractors of SNAP and the minimum wage increase can’t have it both ways,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said on a call with reporters hosted by CAP. While they decry a “culture of dependency,” Brown went on, “these same elected officials oppose efforts to make sure hard work is rewarded with fair pay.”
Bury that zombie already.
It might be hard to come to terms with, but there are times when muscle heads assert themselves and there’s no real way to back them down because 1. it’s not worth the loss of blood and treasure, and 2. descending to their moral level is not worth it. It’s not a satisfying reality, but there it is.
It’s possible that Putin may well come out of this with Crimea annexed to Russia. It’s one of those places that harken back to pre-WWI Europe where skirmishes and land grabs made map making a very lucrative 19th century profession because borders were fluid little suckers. Sometimes the bully grabs the territory and because they really REALLY want it, nobody can make them give it back. In this instance the population is already fairly split in their loyalties between ethnic Ukrainians and ethnic Russians so there’s already a constituency for what Putin did. In short order Putin just needs to move a bunch more Russian settlers in there to make incontrovertible facts on the ground of Crimea being a Russian settlement much as Israel has done in the their captured territories in the West Bank, Golan, etc.
The arguments are flying about “moral equivalency” in regard to citing the U.S.’s inherent pot calling the kettle black problem. Our moral outrage about Putin’s dickishness is blunted by our own long and very robust history of pushing in where we had no legal or moral right to be. Iraq comes to mind. Putin himself cited our Iraq fiasco in his condemnation of our condemnation. It didn’t occur to him, single minded dictator that he is, that saying that the U.S. has no standing to complain about Ukraine because of Iraq, you yourself have equated the two and condemned your own actions.
But you will have conservatives and people who call themselves centrists like Jon Avlon (who epitomizes the reality that centrists are just conservatives that don’t adhere to the extremism of right-wing cultural conservatism) fall back on the old patriotic trope that you can’t compare our actions in Iraq to Putin’s in Ukraine. To which the left says, right, you can’t, what we did is FAR WORSE. And the centrist/conservative shakes his head disbelievingly and asserts that you can’t compare us to Putin’s Russia. See what he did there? Started off comparing the action, fell into comparing the actors. If you just compare the actions themselves, Putin can make arguments to justify his violation of sovereign borders – citing his protection of the Russian ethnic population and their desire to be closer to Russia and the chaos/anarchy of the Ukraine government. These are not great arguments if you respect the right of law and all that moral stuff. But they are arguments. Our oh so flimsy argument for the moral right to invade Iraq crumbled with the lack of weapons of mass destruction. And then we stayed for 10 years under the Pottery Barn Doctrine (you broke it you bought it). But yeah, if your silly argument is going to be that it’s false moral equivalency to cite Iraq to shut up the U.S. because the U.S. is a real democracy and Russia is not, then yes, you can’t compare the U.S. to Russia. But that is a great way of justifying all of America’s misbehavior because hell, we’re America dammit!
What is missed in that argument is that the misbehavior that is pretty much universally decried now – all the incursions into the Middle East, Central America, the use of our military, CIA or State Dept. to change governments – was done in the name of the American people, but did not serve the American people. These actions only served the interests of multi-national businesses that co-opted our American institutions to work for them through the legal corruption of our democratic system. Every adult who has grown out of believing fairy tales knows that we invaded Iraq because of oil and all else was false pretext. You did not have a large segment of the Iraqi population identifying as American and rooting for America to invade.
Of course, Putin may be no better motivated than us and really want Crimea for its warm weather port. That would be a shock (no it wouldn’t).
Even my Russian ancestors would admit that Russians is crazy – that’s why they escaped. They didn’t “emigrate,” they “escaped”. They didn’t think of it as moving, making an economic choice of where to live. They thought of it as escaping a crazy prison country! This whole rigamarole started because of the debate of Ukraine seemingly having to choose to align closer economically to the EU or Russia. You can clearly trade with both – it’s a false choice. But for the ethnic Russians there’s more to it than that. There’s a subcurrent of old Soviet pride that Putin has unequivocally stoked in recent years. His efforts to bring former Soviet aligned nations back into the satellite, by military, if not economic force has been a very poorly disguised effort to get the band back together. That the ethnic Russian Ukrainians think that the Russian oligarchic mafia economy offers more for their future than the EU and the West is the evidence of something truly bent in the crazy Russian soul.
If they’re nothing they’re consistent. All you need to know to see that certain factions of our political leadership are not on the side of rational thought is a nice little foreign “crisis”, preferably one involving the old Soviet Union. The good old predictable hawks and their broken clock heroes are looking to mobilize our underutilized armed forces again. Cue John McCain and we are all Ukrainians now. Gee, I thought we were all Syrians now and before that we were all Georgians and before that… go back far enough and we’re all Peloponnesians now.
The GOP shows once again that politics ends at the water’s edge when a Republican is in the WH, but not with a black Democrat. Obama is getting his lunch eaten by a bully and he’s making us all look bad. He’s got to be stronger. How? Well, that’s not my department. The first rule of GOP hawkdom is an opportunity to savage the president must not be wasted.
Of course, there’s very little that can actually be done other than what the Russian financial markets are already doing. While America and the EU wring hands over what sanctions or wrist slaps can actually be achieved the market is speaking already and telling Putin that all this old fashioned Soviet dick waving is not cool, man. The GOP, who used to crow about uncertainty hurting the economy, should know that Putin is playing chicken with his oligarchs’ money here. Putin may find that he has overestimated the strength of his strongarm tactics. The green of the markets may overwhelm the brown of the shirts marching into Crimea.
As much as it would save the national Viagra and Cialis reserves to send aircraft carriers to the Crimean Sea, giving a lot of old men their first non chemical hard-on since “the Surge,” it might be prudent to wait and see what kind of pressure falls on Putin to pull back.
The twist on all of this is that certain factions of the GOP, the Tea Party, the followers of Sarah Palin in particular, have come full circle with Putin and are absolutely rooting for him to school our black President. Never mind history and talk of “the Evil Empire” that their hero Reagan vanquished. Putin has evidenced strong moral leadership what with his shirtless rides and hating on the gays. He’s their new hero.
From the TeaParty.org comments:
Biggest contrast between those two presidents Putin support Christians and suppress Muslims and Obama hate Christians and support Muslims.
Disgusting? Oh yeah.
On Jan. 26th Polislice was one of the 1st blogs to bring attention to the ravings of venture capitalist Tom Perkins. By now everyone with an ear to the political ground knows that he’s the guy who claimed that attacks on the 1% were comparable to the Nazis persecution of the Jews and that Kristallnacht was right around the corner.
This made him a poster boy for those in the businessmen anti-defamation league lead by WSJ, Fox Business and CNBC. Of course the victimized business community found him refreshing and were excited that somebody was brave enough to say out loud what they’re all thinking. The unfairness of their being singled out as being the fortunate beneficiaries of economic circumstances that have been unkind for so many others is unbearable. They resemble that remark.
Hilariously, in a subsequent interview where he sort of apologized for the Nazi comparison, (although he stood by the message) he noted that he owned “an airplane that flies underwater” and his watch was worth “a six pack of Rolexes”. It was like the Jews throwing their chosen status in the face of their oppressors. This flaunting of his great good fortune in the face of a demonizing majority doesn’t make him look better to the 99% but sure makes him look like a hero to his audience of 1% sociopaths who do not like their moral and intellectual superiority to be questioned.
Today, at a talk from the Commonwealth Club (aka the Warsaw ghetto), he dug his diamond lined grave a little deeper:
“The Tom Perkins system is: You don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes,” Perkins said during an event hosted by Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky. “But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How’s that?”
Since the Federalists fought against expansion of the voting franchise beyond educated, white, male landowners a strain of anti-democratic elitism has always existed under the radar and beneath the surface. When a Tom Perkins says what he said out loud, proving his fundamental misunderstanding or our form of government, it should embarrass those that kept putting him in the limelight and end his 15 minutes.
But these days, expect someone to propose running him for office. Which was not an option for the Jews of Nazi Germany, or any actually persecuted minority in any country anywhere.
44 school shootings in the 14 months since Sandy Hook shook our collective conscience, sort of, kinda, maybe.
That’s aside from the 365 mass shootings in America in 2013. And the everyday non-mass shootings and accidental shootings – kids shooting kids, fathers shooting kids, self-inflicted wounds of stupid, gun cleaning accidents, etc.
But the NRA and the gun fetishists are working to expand gun rights. They will not brook any discussion of rational limits to gun rights – even for the mentally ill or suspected terrorists. They continue bravely to claim more guns are safer than less guns.
Maybe they’re right, guns don’t kill people, asshole gun owners kill people (and themselves).
MSNBC host Krystal Ball boldly went there today saying that Hillary should not run because she would keep “another real middle class champion” (like Elizabeth Warren) from running.
“Is someone who sat on the rabidly anti-union board of Walmart for six years the right person to restore workers’ rights?” Ball asked. “Is someone who recently took $400,000 to give two speeches at Goldman Sachs the person we need to wrest control of the asylum back from the banking inmates?”
But here’s why she could be wrong. What Hillary did or espoused in the conservative 80s or did in the Clintonian triangulating 90s is not necessarily what she will bring to the White House.
I come back to Teddy Roosevelt. He was no fire breathing liberal, not at all. He was a conservative, business oriented, elitist Republican, through and through.
In college he looked down on his Harvard classmates that didn’t come from families as well seated as his.
As Police Commissioner of NY he stated openly that he would welcome class riots in NY so that he could send out his troops to shoot down the rioters.
His advocacy of progressive legislation was always with the idea that if conservatives like him didn’t address business corruption and unethical practices, socialists and anarchists would and it would likely be destructive of business.
None of this kept him from clearly seeing the challenges to the country and attacking the malefactors of wealth as he saw them. He was, despite his pedigree, the right man at the right time who reacted in the right way and achieved great progressive change.
I’m more in the camp that believes a Hillary presidency would be more like Teddy R (without the foreign militarism because she got a bellyful off the lessons of Iraq) than Bill C. My instinct is that she’d also likely be more combative than Barack O. who is a congenital compromiser always in fear of the angry black man label. Everything I’ve heard from Hillary since the 2008 election and the economic meltdown indicate to me that she does get it and would be very active in pushing labor friendly middle class saving initiatives.
Like in 2006 the media didn’t acknowledge it till it smacked them in the face (because GOP success is a given and Democrats winning is the anomaly, or something) but any hedging on the 2014 midterms being a referendum on GOP nincompoopery is a joke.
The GOP has continued to rely on a strategy of Benghazi, IRS, NRA, defend the “real” Americans, even when everybody but their base sees it as political malfeasance. The Republican Governors Association brought in $6 million because big carbon extraction companies are doubling down on their defense of their ability to foul rivers and drinking water. They need GOP governors to look the other way when people are poisoned.
The racist base precludes immigration reform. Pro-gun legislation must continue unabated no matter how many kids get killed. Anti-choice bills keep coming faster than courts can toss them.
Absolutely everyone except that magically dense base has figured out that when Republican politicians talk about jobs they’re only talking about their own because they haven’t done a damn thing to create one, and only have one fantasy strategy for that anyway – tax cuts for millionaires. I’m sure they’ll work this time.
Today’s Republicans can’t change, can’t evolve, can’t grow, can’t figure out that what they’ve been doing doesn’t work because they have cocooned themselves so deeply into their own self-perpetuating bullshit machinery that they cannot see reality at all. Those that get a glimpse enough to see imminent failure either (a) decide that its the message that is the problem, rather than the policy, or (b) are chastened from pursuing a new policy by the base that will eat them alive if they do.
No, the GOP is locked in at this point. They’ve created this monster that is the Republican primary voter. They pushed out reasonable people and kept feeding the outrage addicts jonesing for the next heady hit of why white people should run everything and stop feeling bad about that immutable fact. They’ve mainlined all of the GOP’s mind altering poisons to this point and there’s no methadone for it. They can’t change.
They can only be marginalized, ignored and left behind. And that’s what will happen in 2014. A country desperate for real governing will embrace the California model and give the Democrats as much a chance as gerrymandering will allow to do that governing.