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Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday Morning Tidbits

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The Sunday talk shows were about the inevitable sequester cuts, which will start Friday. It’s never about a solution it’s always about who’s the blame and the one talking is defending their version of the facts. Spin is what it amounts to. The GOP is now  saying that the cuts aren’t really that bad because proportionately most of the cuts will not affect this year’s spending. I really like what Chris Matthews had to say this morning “ Republicans go to work looking for something they can cut other than defense spending, and Democrats will try to find some way of helping the people who are hurting. The taxpayers are pulling on the apron strings of both parties, so that’s the reason we have so much debt.” Republicans think they can only raise taxes once every thirty years, but that’s a philosophy they’ll all fight for. On the other hand, some Democrats want to reform entitlements, and some don’t. Someone said we could stop the crisis with a one-page bill repealing the sequester cuts, but that’s too easy.

I did see a good discussion Saturday morning about why Democrats and liberal- progressives should care about the continuing degeneration of the Republican Party. The panel on MSNBCs “Up with Chris Hayes “show came up with a conclusion that the Democrats will become complacent and the default party but nothing else, if they’re not pushed by a strong opposition party. There’s a good example of that in my opening paragraph, where we just play the blame game and pay very little attention to the merits of any argument. The GOP will eventually find a leader they can all coalesce around, and the Democrats need to be prepared for that. Right now, the Democrats are aligned, but they need to stand for something and not as just be the party with the most reasonable position at the time because the other solution is way out of the mainstream.

A week ago, a good friend of ours had tears in her eyes, as she told about a recent increase in their healthcare insurance premium. It seems that they were not warned of the $300 a month increase, but she immediately blamed Obamacare. That’s where we are these days; we find the most common villain and just dump our troubles there. If I heard it right, it was a private insurance company that raised the rates, but she never told us the reason why. Her being a good friend, we did what came naturally; we just nodded our heads as if we were in agreement. If we were in another venue and the circumstances were different, I would’ve told her to pick up the latest copy of Time magazine (I'm  still reading all the fine detains of the article for a future blog) so she could see all the waste, fraud, and abuse that’s going on in our healthcare system. I just had a 62-year-old friend of mine, who was fixing to retire, tell me that he was going to stay an additional three years because after this year, his company would no longer offer health insurance.

I was hoping that the “ Pro/Con: Minimum wage thread” would get some interesting comments but the first one I saw was about a city worker getting slammed because he favored a minimum wage increase. It’s one of those “I pay your salary, so I’ll decide if, when, and how much you get” standard answers when you mention public employees.


Mike said...

When it comes to the minimum wage increase, some local Republicans amaze me and remind me of battered wives who continue to praise their husbands after getting another beating. They buy into that myth that it raises the price of employment, and it’s the reason for increasing prices…. I believe the last one was in 2009, and prices have increased and employment has been down since, but some of the loyalist continue to believe the spin…The more money in consumers hands will get them off welfare because it has a domino effect in that those they were getting paid $9 an hour would generally see their hourly wage go up…... As I stated before, big corporations can absorb the wage increases by reducing dividends to their shareholders or limiting CEO bonuses, or they can increase their prices as they do for any other expense increase.

People need to consider the income inequality of the past 30 years, instead of carrying the water for corporations…

The smaller businesses will see less turn –over which is more expensive at that level.
No doubt like everything else, it has its downside such as entry level work will probably be done by those making more than minimum wage within the company.

There’s a study showing markets that reside close together at state lines where those paying a higher minimum wage are more prosperous because they can be more selective in their hiring.

I believe there are about 19 of 20 states that pay a higher minimum wage than the Federal one, and it’s indexed to inflation.

Edith Ann said...

Good blog, Mike. I saw an article wher Eric Cantor wants to jack with overtime pay. He is willing to let employers defer payment for a year or more, (I think) and possibly even deny the payment all together.

I so agree with the complacency warning. I hope the republicans continue to scramble like crazy. It's like in the movie Catfish, "They used to tank cod from Alaska all the way to China. They'd keep them in vats in the ship. By the time the codfish reached China, the flesh was mush and tasteless. So this guy came up with the idea that if you put these cods in these big vats, put some catfish in with them and the catfish will keep the cod agile. And there are those people who are catfish in life. And they keep you on your toes. They keep you guessing, they keep you thinking, they keep you fresh. And I thank God for the catfish because we would be droll, boring and dull if we didn't have somebody nipping at our fin." We are the cod now.

Mike said...

Excellent post EA and great fish analogy.

I believe the GOP tried to eliminate the Federal overtime law sometime back but it's measures like that of Eric Cantor that identifies the party motives and then they wonder why they keep losing the middle class vote.

If Rep, Cantor was touring the local petrochemical plants,I wouldn't like to standing next him as he was telling the employees that he and his party wants to cut their overtime pay.

It's as if they have tunnel vision and want to make life harder for the middle class. Would he go to Wall Street and prose that hedge fund managers pay tax at the ordinary income rates instead of the lower capital gains rate? Of course not.

Edith Ann said...

I need to ask the republican brother, an R. N. who LOVES overtime, what he thinks...

born2Bme said...

When the unions gets busted, all the things the union brought in will disappear too. You want to take one guess who will be squealing the most?
Goodness, the overtime pay is the only thing that keeps most people above water since the base pay doesn't usually pay a living wage.
Then, employees could hire fewer people to do twice the work while they continue to pad their own pockets.
How come seemingly intelligent people cannot see what is right in front of their eyes?

Mike said...

Exactly born

Why are workers always conceding? I understand being appreciative that one has a job but to insist that companies get all the breaks and workers should be grateful for the cookie crumbs ,will assure that things will always remain that way.

dale said...

Health insurance is a supply and demand thing as much as gasoline and toilet paper. Way back many insurance, airlines and gasoline companies competed in the market. Back when, prices were held closer in check, I think by the competition. As airlines merged, insurance companies stopped writing health then we started seeing quickly rising prices. Mike your friend can thank supply side (deregulation) on the 1980s. And now we are reaping what we sowed.

Mike said...


I agree with the points you made, and you’re right our wounds are self-inflicted and my friend is seeing the results.

I'm still reading the Time article, and today I read where non-profit charity hospitals are making profits (perfectly legal since they can’t have shareholders to distribute funds to) in the 12-15% rage. They return the profits to their CFOs & CEOs and make full use of the Charge Master billing system…non-profits in the medical industry only get about 1% of their funding through charity giving, but they use the publicity and goodwill and tax-free status to generate enough income to make more than a good living.

Edith Ann said...

I wish I could take credit for this because it is so accurate, but I confess--it is stolen from a friend on Facebook:

Republicans are like toddlers. "Everything is mine, mine, mine until Mommy (read the corporations who bought them) intervenes."

Libertarians are the adolescents. "I hate my parents (read any kind of government). I know best about everything and everything is for me!"

Liberals are the actual grown ups. "I care about others and I want to help them. I want everyone to succeed."

Mike said...

I get my reads from Joe Scarborough every morning because he is constantly changing for the worst. He epitomizes the Republican party of today. This morning he was all upset because his idol, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey was not invited to CPAC. He went on and on about how the GOP doesn’t want to win these days and how they just want to vilify anyone who doesn’t believe in conservative purity…. Joe needs a mirror, because that’s what he espouses everyday... “Free market small government conservatism.”

The conversation shifted to the economy and leadership. He thought that he could bully Mika Brzezinski and Steve Rattner, once again by saying, “everyone surrounding this table knows President Obama doesn’t have any leadership skills."... He was surprised when they disagreed and pointed out that 10 minutes ago they were talking about the immaturity of the Republican Party. They told Joe, that no one can lead 158 representatives whose sole objective is to cut spending without raising any taxes. They said their own leadership could not control them because they only answer to their highly conservative districts.

Joe started railing on President Obama because he takes his case to the American people instead of talking to Republicans and how he continually wants more tax increases instead of reforming the entitlements. He got upset with the panel because they weren’t buying his message, and so he turned to the BBC’Kathy Kay thinking he would have someone on his side. She immediately told him that austerity cuts during a recession is not a good thing and one only needs to look to Great Britain where they did that. She told him that they will be going through their third recession.

Only after being outnumbered, Joe started cooling down and started talking about another subject but he wouldn’t admit defeat.