White-collar workers: You’re in trouble, too.

The Economic Policy Institute recently published this sobering piece, Even the Most Educated Workers Have Declining Wages

Here’s the part all of you fellow white-collar workers – and especially those of you who dismiss or deride the concerns about minimum and living wages – need to read and understand:

“The workers with the credential that should be in high demand—four-year college graduates—have not done that well, especially in the last year. In fact, among education categories, the greatest real wage losses between 2013 and 2014 were among those with a college or advanced degree.”

http://bit.ly/WageDeclines
http://bit.ly/WageDeclines

The questions that my fellow college educated white-collar workers better start asking themselves are:

Why is this happening if we’re in a recovery?

What does this portend for earnings and living standards for current and future college grads?

Can their jobs be outsourced, too? (The answer to that question is, “Yes!”)

What’s it going to take before we all band together across social, political party, and ideological lines to insist on legislation that forces the people running corporations to share more of the wealth they garner from *our* labor with us?

And, finally…….

Can we stop and then reverse the trend of declining wages for EVERYONE any other way than through legislative fiat?

We didn’t get into this mess BECAUSE of government regulation and interference. The income and wealth inequality problems of today are present and worsening precisely because we have been on a 30 year trend of LESS REGULATION of business. (here, here, herehere, here, and on and on and on)

My plea to all my fellow college grads and white-collar workers is, “Use your intellect, please.”

Are you simply going to stand by and allow yourselves and your progeny to be trapped in the current race to the bottom in wages and living standards simply because you refuse to ask – nay, demand – that our government exercise more control over the distribution of wealth coming from our labor but being hoarded by the precious few running private enterprises?

How does that make any sense, and how could things possibly get worse than where they seem to be going?

 

#wages #jobs #middleclass #economics

You Could Say That a Vote for Republicans is a Vote Against American Jobs

Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the NAM, Danny Roderick, president and CEO of Westinghouse Electric Co., and Pierre Paul Oneid, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer at Holtec International Corp. speak Friday at a roundtable discussion on the Export-Import Bank. - Justine Coyne
Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the NAM, Danny Roderick, president and CEO of Westinghouse Electric Co., and Pierre Paul Oneid, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer at Holtec International Corp. speak Friday at a roundtable discussion on the Export-Import Bank.
– Justine Coyne

If you’re like me, you may have little to no understanding or appreciation for something called the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank.

The Pittsburgh Business Times published a good article today titled, Roderick, NAM urge action on Export-Import Bank. I recommend reading it.

Here’s an excellent description of the Ex-Im:

In 2013, the Ex-Im bank supported $37 billion in exports that helped to sustain 200,000 U.S. jobs at 3,400 companies, according to Jay Timmons, president and CEO of NAM.

And it’s not just the big companies like Westinghouse that benefit from the program: About 90 percent of Ex-Im bank transactions in 2013 benefited small business, according to NAM.

Seems like a good thing, right?

So, why would Republicans and libertarians – including the Koch brothers and Koch-backed groups like The Heritage Foundation and Club For Growth – want to kill it?

I highly recommend a June 27th article in Bloomberg titled,How the U.S. Ex-Im Bank Landed on Republicans’ Death Row.”

This excerpt kind of says it all:

“Ex-Im represents both a policy and political target because it’s do-able,” said Diane Katz, a Heritage research fellow. “We’re not trying to take down the Federal Reserve here. We’re starting with an agency that is ripe.”

On the surface, the 80-year-old bank isn’t an obvious target. Rather than costing taxpayers money, it regularly returns a profit to the Treasury — more than $3.4 billion since 2005. The bank says its programs generated about 2 percent of the $2.3 trillion the U.S. exported last year.

….At least five groups opposing the bank’s renewal, including Concerned Veterans for America and the 60 Plus Association, received nearly all of their funding over an 18-month period ending in December 2012 from the Kochs’ political network — a total of $47.4 million, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics researcher Robert Maguire. Another group, Americans for Prosperity, founded by the Kochs in 2004, is also lobbying against the bank.

To all my fellow middle class and ordinary Americans still identifying with the GOP, the tea party, and with libertarian principles, when will you come to grips with reality?

A vote for Republicans – and a misguided and misinformed belief in libertarian mythology like the Invisible Hand of free markets – is a vote against American companies, American jobs, and a vote and belief system that goes against your own economic self-interest.

Will there ever be enough evidence to convince you?

 

#GetMoneyOut of Politics and We Can #StopKXL

Supporters of the Keystone XL pipeline need to understand and accept certain realities, and opponents need to do more than protest and sign petitions.

Let’s start with a few realities and wrap up with a specific call-to-action we all should be able to get behind.

1. The price at the pump is not going down…

…and no amount of Canadian tar sands oil will change that.

Oil is a global and fungible commodity. That means it does not matter where the commodity originates. It’s destination is determined by the demand for it in a global market and where the most money can be made from it.

Oil companies are for-profit endeavors. They are not about to increase the supply of their products to American markets if that results in lower prices and declining profits.

2. Energy independence is a myth…

…or more accurately, a lie, when told to us by politicians and businesses beholden to fossil fuels.

Drilling, mining, and refining is the raison d’etre of ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, and an entire global industry built on fossil fuels. What better strategy for their businesses than to perpetuate this lie to defend themselves and to garner support for more and more domestic drilling and refining? The same goes for the lies about “clean” coal, too.

We cannot become independent from these dirty sources of energy by drilling, mining, and refining more of that same source. Why not? Because, once again, they are global and fungible commodities. Just because they start in North America doesn’t mean they stay in North America.

Oil AddictAnd, can we please stop buying into the patriotism angle in all of this?

Drillers, miners, refiners, and their bought-and-paid for toadies in government are not patriots, they are capitalists. They continue to tell us this lie of “energy independence” because they believe we’re just gullible enough to believe it and, of course, anything that tugs at our patriotic heartstrings must be good and noble and righteous, right?

It’s about money. Are there still people who actually do believe otherwise?

3. If you think West Virginians have it bad right now….

…consider the effects of a spill that contaminates the Ogallala Aquifer, the water source for millions of Americans.

Want a big dose of reality about Canadian tar sands?

Watch the video linked below to understand the abject corruption at the core of the Canadian government on the tar sands and the INCREDIBLE DAMAGE ALREADY BEING DONE IN CANADA.

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkwoRivP17A
Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkwoRivP17A

If that video doesn’t piss you off, nothing will.

Let’s be clear on this reality. It’s not “if” there will be a major spill, it’s “WHEN” there will be one. In fact, they happen all the time. The One Percent Media just doesn’t talk about them. Why not? Because news is no longer news, it’s “media” that fears losing advertising dollars from the fossil fuel industry.

Look, I’m not against capitalism. I’m absolutely certain that Freedom Industries never set out to pollute the Elk River and the drinking water of 300,000 Americans. They’re just the latest example of reality. No one is perfect, no technology is perfect, and unregulated or under-regulated businesses can and will make decisions in the interest of keeping expenses low and profits high. That’s how capitalism works. It’s also why it must be balanced by strong government oversight because sometimes those business decisions have terrible consequences.

This is another reality. The Invisible Hand of the market is a Libertarian myth. Worse that that, it’s a lie, and the rich and powerful who perpetuate that lie on their low-information followers know it. The Invisible Hand is corrupt and it always, always, ALWAYS stays in the corrupt pocket of corporations. It works AGAINST all of us on matters of public safety, the public good, and the economy.

Which brings us to this final reality.

4. Jobs, jobs, jobs

Lies, lies, and more lies.

According to the U.S. State Department the pipeline would create at most 6,500 temporary construction jobs, and would leave only “hundreds” of permanent jobs, according to TransCanada, the Canadian company that wants to build the pipeline. Claims that the pipeline would employ tens or even hundreds of thousands of people are simply not true. A Cornell University study concludes the pipeline would kill more jobs than it would create, by reducing investment in the clean energy economy. (Source: National Resources Defense Council)

I get it. The fossil fuel industry today provides lots of good paying jobs. KXL will not.

It’s not easy to say, but it needs to be said.

Jobs that kill the planet, pollute the land and air, and poison our water, now and for future generations, are part of the problem.

Ayn RandWe can no longer excuse or exonerate people working in the fossil fuel industries out of some Randian Objectivism that puts their wants and needs above the health, safety, and welfare of the rest of us.

This is another reality that must be recognized. The fossil fuel industry is killing it’s workers and their families, too. They are not immune from the devastation being done to our environment. Just ask the employees of Freedom Industries if they were drinking their tap water after the spill – or if they’ve even started to again.

west-virginia-1.si

What Can Be Done?

Energy and the environment are huge issues, and they are inextricably intertwined. There’s no way of getting around this reality, either. We can’t survive without both of them. We have control over only one of them, and that’s energy.

So what can we do? What can everyone who works inside and outside the fossil fuel industry do?

Here’s what Whitehouse.gov is reporting on that is already happening and is being planned.

Here’s another answer: #GetMoneyOut of politics.

Imagine if we elected people who actually wanted to end subsidies to the fossil fuel industries. Instead of subsidizing the fossil fuel industry like we do, what if we subsidized the technologies and companies working on a clean energy future, at least until they actually could compete with the entrenched and antiquated oil, coal, and gas companies?

Might that not motivate rich and powerful oil, coal, and gas companies to actually rethink their business models?

Haven’t those rich and profitable “socialists” running big fossil fuel companies suckled enough of our tax dollars yet?

Wouldn’t it be better to see growth in jobs that didn’t literally put lives at risk, both on the job and in terms of the environment?

Wouldn’t clean energy jobs on solar and wind farms be preferable to jobs in a coal mine, on a fracking pad, or on an oil rig in the middle of the Gulf that explodes, kills people, and spills 206million barrels of oil into the ocean?

It is possible. We can elect people who actually share this vision of a cleaner, safer, and more prosperous planet for us all if we work together to #GetMoneyOut of politics.

The corrupting influence of Big and Dark Money in politics is at the root of every problem we face. That includes energy and the environment. So long as politicians must raise millions to run campaigns, and so long as large sums of money can be secretly collected and funneled from the tiniest number of rich donors the way it is now in a post-Citizens United system, we will continue to see political decisions made that benefit the rich and powerful few at our expense. Those rich and powerful few include, of course, people and corporations in the fossil fuel industry.

So, if you want to change the political system…..
….If you want to bequeath a planet where our progeny can drink the water and breath the air and eat the food…..
….If you want a better economy and a better job for yourself and your kids and their kids….
….then please take this one simple step to support the process of getting money out of politics:

Become a Citizen Co-Sponsor of the American Anti-Corruption Act at http://unitedrepublic.actionkit.com/event/cosponsor/9815/

And, of course, make sure that you’re registered to vote and that you vote in EVERY election, not just the big ones.

Visit these sites to learn more about the American Anti-Corruption Act and the people behind it at Represent.Us.

http://anticorruptionact.org/
http://anticorruptionact.org/
https://represent.us/
https://represent.us/

Republican Voters: You’re Shutting Down Yourselves and Your Neighbors

UncleSamWantsYou

Whether shutting it down temporarily or shrinking the government permanently, the facts are that doing so tends to hurt the people in Republican states more than other states and to greater degrees than Republican voters seem to realize or are willing to admit.

On Friday, September 27th, The New York Times published Off the Charts: Big Government States. The charts don’t lie, and the opening statement sums it up:

States with a larger government presence — as measured by either employment or economic impact — tended to vote Republican in the 2012 election, while states with a smaller government presence tended to vote Democratic.

It begs a couple of questions.

Do Republican voters understand that they are more often the greater beneficiaries of direct government employment? They and their neighbors are more likely to actually work for the government. When the government shuts down or shrinks, that hurts their neighbors and the economy in the same way that a layoff or business shutdown in their community does.

That’s the direct employment part. How about government spending?

Do our Republican family and friends not understand that the only true “trickle down economics” comes *FROM* government spending? Government agencies not only employ our fellow Americans, the government also spends money through private businesses. That spending creates private sector jobs and prosperity for themselves, their communities, their families, and their neighbors.

The state G.D.P. figures may well understate the importance of — and the decline in — government activity. That is because they are computed differently from the national G.D.P. number. The national number is based on spending, while the state numbers are based on profits and income of workers. As a result, if a government pays for the construction of something, whether a school or a fighter jet, that will show up as government activity in the national figure.

But for the state figures, it will show up as private-sector activity because the work was done by employees of construction or aerospace companies.

(http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/28/business/the-most-republican-states-tend-to-rely-more-on-government-jobs.html)

Doesn’t that mean the government is a legitimate job creator? After all, who else is going to place orders with private companies for fighter jets, roads, bridges, and schools, not to mention the $517billion spent on outsourcing?

All of this adds up to a mystery.

Why do some middle class Americans insist on voting against their own economic self-interests? It makes absolutely no sense. For that kind of voting to be even more common in states where the economy is even more dependent on government makes even less sense.

Let’s not shy away from this fact, either. It is only Republican legislators who want to shrink government to the point that they can drown it in the bath. Middle class Americans who vote for them are voting to commit economic suicide.

FDR had this to say in his famous “I welcome their hatred” speech in 1936. It’s just as true today as it was back then.

The very employers and politicians and publishers who talk most loudly of class antagonism and the destruction of the American system now undermine that system by this attempt to coerce the votes of the wage earners of this country. It is the 1936 version of the old threat to close down the factory or the office if a particular candidate does not win. It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. (http://docs.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/od2ndst.html)

Let’s hope that our Republican friends, family members, neighbors, and strangers will come to their senses soon and stop allowing themselves to be deluded by the tyrants of their party.

The Economics and Patriotism of Infrastructure Jobs Programs

See on Scoop.itDidYouCheckFirst

The Economics and Patriotism of Infrastructure Jobs Programs America’s crumbling infrastructure is both a safety hazard and a drag on our economy that is projected to only get worse. If we’re going…

Greg Russak‘s insight:

Is 5 months too soon to repost? 

 

See on didyoucheckfirst.wordpress.com