Featured Quote

In 1913, Henry Ford wrote the following as the directors had been reaping the rewards of profits - "The wages we pay are too small in comparison with our profits. I think we should raise our minimum pay rate".

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tea Party Against Corporations!

No, not the current astroturf corporate dupes.  The Original Boston Tea Party was an event against The Crown of England and the East India Company.  What am I talking about?

The East India Company was having trouble with Dutch tea being smuggled in to areas and cutting into their otherwise monopoly.  The Crown, seeking to mollify their favorite corporation, gave them a huge tax break on all the tea they shipped into England.  So, the company was happy, but the Crown had lost a lot of income.  Well, there were these poor sots across the pond who liked tea.  The Crown decided to pull the lost income from the hands of the colonies by shifting the tax from the Corporation to the tea that the colonies received.  That did not sit very well.

And it is not going to sit well now either.  Not if people Wake Up and Stand Up for their own best interests.  You know, it is in our best interests to have successful businesses in our country, in our neighborhoods.  It is, however, not in our best interests to have monopolies and abusive corporations running our country and buying our government.

Great Comment Roundup!

Just saving some comments from people about some interesting topics (so its gonna be a long post!) :

Rexanne Bishop
It's rather late to join this conversation. I usually jump in much earlier, but the subject of children in poverty literally breaks my heart. There is no way to be brief in my response.

Twenty years ago I had the extreme good fortune to be ...a stay at home mom. Not being one for bonbons, manicures and soap operas, I volunteered at the smallest, poorest elementary schools in one of the largest school districts here.

The school was next to the largest public housing complex in our city. Nearly 95% of our students qualified for free or reduced lunch. Not all of them qualified for breakfast but those who did shared with those who didn't because almost everybody came to school hungry.

Our kindergartners arrived on the first day of school not knowing the alphabet, how to write their names, how to use a pair of scissors. Many of them had never seen a box of crayons or a Disney movie. However, most of them had seen a dead body on their way to school one morning.

When we won a small grant for a school gardening project, we discovered none of them knew how to dig a hole in the dirt. They didn't know vegetables came from the ground. They lived within sight of downtown but had never been there.

We organized a Monday Morning Coffee Club. We never had coffee though. We picked up broken wine bottles, used condoms and syringes from the playground. We met the neighbors. We met good hard working people trapped in an unbreakable cycle of poverty and hopelessness, people who still managed to cling to the hope their children would have a better life.

I don't live in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. I live in North Carolina. What I found in that tiny little school was the importance of compassion, of understanding how hard it is to be a teacher, of learning what it really means to walk a mile in someone else's shoes, of realizing that poverty is not the exclusive domain of large cities or rural farmlands, of knowing that I can make a positive difference in someone else's child's life.

Tonight I'm breaking my rules of not calling names, not passing judgement and not using any form of profanity. Tonight there were a couple of close minded cold hearted bastards who commented here, in essence, condemning children because their parents made poor choices or perhaps, never had any choice in life at all.

There is an old African proverb that says, "It takes a village to raise a child." I'd like to add that even the village idiot serves a purpose. The village idiots reminded me tonight that tiny little school next to the housing project is still there. Twenty years later only the faces have changed.
Sandy Richards
You know the assault on the workers of this country is only going to increase the poverty level of this country. More people that live paycheck to paycheck with less money in their pockets means less purchasing and more small businesses failing. When small business fail it means less taxes that are able to be collected by the federal government which means more people on public assistance which is being cut at the federal level but will still [lead to] increased national debt and will also make the budget issues on the state level worse. This too will affect large corporations as the purchase[ing] power of the American people [will] go down. No matter what the big businesses want to think the USA still has the largest economy in the world so they are only hurting themselves by undermining the poor and middle classes of this society with their purchasing the politicians to destroy living wages and worker rights.
Edward Keefe Jr
I remember when Bob Dole ran for president and I looked at his record so I could make an educated vote. He made no significant contribution to legislature during his time as a Senator. What I did find out was that he gave a full year of tax... breaks to a major trucking company who was going to purchase a new fleet of vehicles. So you and I are running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying pay our bills on time and keep our credit good and our representatives in government are lightening the burden for big business. Why have we allowed our selves to play their game? We need to do just what Wisconsin workers are doing. Stand up for what is right. These people at the top should not be considered elite when it comes to paying taxes. You and I would have all our worldly possessions taken from us if we didn't pay our bills but if you own a savings and loan bank and lend money to wealthy friends without requiring them to pay it back, there's no accountability. The laws are being written to benefit the wealthy and to push the burden to the middle class. If you live, work or own a business in this country, you should have to pay your share of taxes. Stop allowing millionaires to setup businesses for a few years and write them off as tax credit when they fail. Living a life free from the worry and fear of losing your home and not having enough money to pay for basic needs should not be exclusive to those of us earning more than 250,000 a year.
Provide for the common defense, promote general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty. Our legislative body needs to be reminded of their responsibility, plain and simple!
George Carlin video : Who Really Controls America?
Bobby A Kearan Better ways to stop "Spending Waste" is to stop fighting all the wars overseas. Stop subsidizing Oil companies. Curtail "Foreign Aid" until we have our own house in order. Tie the salaries of Federal Elected officials to the Median Income of the state they represent and stop letting them set their own salary. Cut their staff and staffing budget in half. Stop handing out "tax cuts" to billionaires and big business then trying to claw if from the hands of hard working citizens (employed by the government or not).
http://bobbyshead.blogspot.com/2011/03/sharing-sacrifice.html There are LOTS of other ways to cut spending that do not involve screwing over the poor, the elderly and the hungry.
This article is great and I'm pulling some quotes from it :
"I don't think it's a moral decision, because taking money from people who don't have much money and giving it to people who have more money than the people you took it from seems, well, greedy," she said. "Greed is frowned upon in every major world religion -- and I don't think agnostics and atheists look too kindly upon it, either."
Victor L. Rodgers When the government, (paticular conservatives) stop trying to protect billionaires, and big corporation, take from the poor then we can balance the budget.
William Robert Hagen ‎@Victor L. Rodgers, that is what upsets me the most. For 30 years, the Republicans have cut taxes and raised spending. Now, they have convinced the morons of this country that it is government spending and not the transfer of public wealth to the top 2% that is the problem. Taxes need to be raised on everyone. Clinton raised taxes and the economy exploded into one of the greatest expansion in US history while Bush cut taxes led to one of the greatest economic contractions in history.
Tom Kenny
When the republicans speak of Exxon needing tax breaks that only the USA gives them or they will go out of business and no democrat rebuts them. The fight is lost. The adult conversation is really translated to treating the working class as... children who should be seen and not heard and hopefully not even seen. The real budget busters with the least return are the military and the corporate tax breaks. At least SS and medicare go to millions of Americans. The military budget goes to police foreign countries as does most of the corporate tax breaks.
Nancy Reese
Dick Cheney said that Ronald Reagan proved that deficits don't matter. And, in fact, they didn't matter to the Bush admn. when they began 2 wars (not included in the budget) and cut taxes twice, in 2001 and 2003. Thus, Obama inherited the largest deficit in our history. Facts, people, like it or not. Now, all of a sudden, deficits do matter to the Repubs. And what do they propose to fix this mess? Improve the "income" of the government by raising taxes, closing loopholes? No! Now, they can implement their long-standing agenda of tearing down government agencies and programs that benefit the average person. There is no "shared" consequence of their behavior. We, the working people, will bear the price of their greed and Wall St. criminality.

Well, I guess I'll wrap this up...  been fun though!  What ya'll think?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Increase Revenue, Cut Spending

To really address the Budget Shortfalls on both Federal and State levels, sure, we need to cut some spending, but most imperative is to Increase Revenue!

Scott Walker is delusional!  He seriously believes that what he has done is a good thing!  I am not too sure about the credibility of NewsMax either.  That 'article' is disgusting.  They do have a counter-article posted, so at least they are balanced.

What has been going on is that Republicans (for the most part - and some Democrats have been on board too) have been handing out tax breaks and tax 'incentives' and decimating the income levels of both federal and state economies.  Now that the consequences of their actions have come to fruition, in budget shortfalls, they are trying to claw the irresponsibly thrown away income out of the hands of hard working citizens.  From Teachers!! They give money to the already rich and want to make people earning below average salary to pay for it! (check out this PDF, page 76 - and a spreadsheet I created)

A video from 2010 and a new bill that (before researching it thoroughly) I believe I could support from Bernie Sanders.
A NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found late February that 81 percent of Americans believe a surtax on millionaires is an acceptable way to close the budget shortfall.
Yes, especially when 400 people have more accumulated and horded wealth than the bottom 50% (even 60%!!) all put together!
Republicans, Sanders fumed, want to balance the budget "solely on the backs of the middle class and some of the most vulnerable people in this country." 
Step 1 - "Citizens" United vs. USA - Supreme Court conservatives open the gates to allow Corporations to openly buy elections.
Step 2 - Convince Citizens that it is other citizens, not corporations, who want to reduce their share of the money. Like the joke going around,
A CEO, a Tea Partier and a Union Member are sitting around a table.  On the table is a dozen cookies.  The CEO takes 11 cookies, turns to the Tea Partier and says, 'Watch out for that Union Guy, he wants a piece of your cookie.' 
Sadly, the Tea Partier seems to think the CEO deserves all 11 cookies and would be happy to split the last one with the CEO - but not the Union guy.
Step 3 -  Remove the protections workers have.  Start with Union's Collective Bargaining rights, then Safety requirements by destroying OSHA and the EPA.  Then eliminate the minimum wage because it cuts into profits.  Eliminate Health Benefits.  Eliminate basic government agencies, even!
Step 4 - Convince the Tea Partier to hand over his last cookie for the privilege of working seven twelve-hour days a week, a bunk in the common house and three meals a day.

It is not a matter of "They've got more than me." That is fine.  Its that they are hording it.  In order for Capitalism to work, there must be a circular flow of income, a what goes around comes around.  Right now, there is more and more money going up, leaving less and less money to actually drive the economy.  It is an unsustainable model.  Do a little research on Henry Ford.

And I'll wrap up with a good article to read for Mississippi - Why Education Matters is what I'd call it.  Read that and ask yourself why Republicans want to destroy education.

More Reference links :
Specifically the chart of income and outlays over time.  In 2000, we started screwing up BIG time! Bush Tax Cuts anyone?
Congressional Budget Office - http://www.cbo.gov/
The Federal Budget in Human Terms - http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2011/02/the_federal_budget_in_human_te.php

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sharing the Sacrifice

So, state budgets are in the tank, the federal budget is way out of balance and people are looking to cut spending.  Naturally, I have an idea.

Lets start with the States - Mississippi will be my example.

Mississippi Governor's Salary - $122,160 ; Mississippi Median Income - $37,818 (in 2008, 2010 may be $46,243 - my calculation based on data)
Yes, I think that is very wrong.  $37k or $46k is not going to attract quality people to give up their day job and run the state though.  So, a proposal to regulate the salaries of State Representatives :

Governor : 2 x median income (making the salary $92,487 and saving $29,672)
Elected State Officials : 1.75 x median income ( Treasurer, Sec. of State, Insurance Commissioner, etc)
Other Elected positions, such as judges that are paid by the state, should be tied to the median income on a similar scale.
Appointed positions should also be adjusted accordingly.

Not only would that save the state thousands of dollars, if not millions, it should encourage politicians to help improve the status of the residents they supposedly represent.  The better the People do, the better the Politicians do.  It would also eliminate time spent on whether or not to raise their pay - as it would be an auto adjustment each year.

On the Federal level, Mississippi's six congresspersons each make $174,000 base salary and are allowed 18 well paid staff members.  Tie that to 2.5 times the median income of the state they 'serve' and its an instant savings of $350,355 from Mississippi (they would get a salary of $115,607)!  Do that with every member of congress and net Millions!  Then, shave their staff down to 9 - what do they need all those people for anyway?  A ton more savings - $1,051,065 from Mississippi House members alone.  The Senate is unlimited staff, with a pool of money based on state population, so hard to find out details, but lets say the state is the lowest pool, cutting it in half would save $1,926,936!  So that is a federal savings of almost Three Million dollars just from the Mississippi Congresspersons! Suppose that is the average and we're talking savings of close to $149 Million, right off the top!

Lets do all that before taking food from hungry children and letting old people freeze during the winter.  Lets cut it from the top before we give millions in tax breaks to billionaires and big business and try to claw it out of hard working citizens.  Lets get the top 10% to pay their fair share of taxes.  Then maybe us mere citizens can relate to the "Share the Sacrifice" message a little bit more.

And - at risk of shooting this post's credibility with Fox Followers in the Foot, so to speak, please read this speech.