100 most corrupt hours

Why was American Somoa exempted from the Federal minimum wage bill just passed by Nancy Pelosi’s newly minted congress? Why ($) indeed.

The first 100 hours—already the smell of crass corruption rears it’s ugly head.

If this isn't the perfect example of a politician, in this case Nancy Pelosi, being bought, corrupted, tainted, and generally being corrupt, then no such thing exists. Has anyone seen this on CNN? MSNBC? ABC? Was it splashed on the frontpage of every newspaper in the country? The appearance of impropriety itself is enough to call for an investigation.

On Wednesday, the House voted to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour.

The bill also extends for the first time the federal minimum wage to the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands. However, it exempts American Samoa, another Pacific island territory that would become the only U.S. territory not subject to federal minimum-wage laws.

One of the biggest opponents of the federal minimum wage in Samoa is StarKist Tuna, which owns one of the two packing plants that together employ more than 5,000 Samoans, or nearly 75 percent of the island's work force. StarKist's parent company, Del Monte Corp., has headquarters in San Francisco, which is represented by Mrs. Pelosi. The other plant belongs to California-based Chicken of the Sea.   ~washingtontimes.com
Hmmm. What's going on here? Oh yeah, the company's headquarters is in Pelosi's district. Hopefully no one will even notice.

Speaking truth to power

Someone did notice. What happens if you try to speak truth to power when the power happens to be the Democratic Party?
During the House debate yesterday on stem-cell research, Mr. McHenry raised a parliamentary inquiry as to whether an amendment could be offered that would exempt American Samoa from stem-cell research, "just as it was for the minimum-wage bill."

A clearly perturbed Rep. Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who was presiding, cut off Mr. McHenry and shouted, "No, it would not be."

"So, the chair is saying I may not offer an amendment exempting American Samoa?" Mr. McHenry pressed.

"The gentleman is making a speech and will sustain," Mr. Frank shouted as he slammed his large wooden gavel against the rostrum. [Video here]  ~washingtontimes.com
Rewarding wealth, not work.

One of the broader questions in my mind is one of hypocrisy.

For more than 20 years, Paul Pelosi has been able to stay in the shadows, even as the millions he has made as a successful San Francisco financier and businessman have helped fuel the political career of his wife, Nancy.

"I've made a conscious effort to not be involved or give the appearance of being involved in her political career," he told The Chronicle in 2004. "People should realize that she's the one."   ~sfgate.com
Since we are discussing raising the minimum wage, ostensibly for the sake of the millions and millions of distressed, oppressed and working poor, the question I have to ask is, "How can Nancy Pelosi sleep at night, (on a bed of $100 bills no doubt), with all that unearned wealth, while so many in our country have so little?

But the couple's net worth, most of it linked to Paul Pelosi's investments, has made the legislator the ninth-richest person in the 435-member House.

The family money, along with the many business and social connections Paul Pelosi has brought to their 43-year marriage, gave Nancy Pelosi the financial independence she needed to spend long hours doing unpaid Democratic Party business in the 1970s and 1980s. Since she was elected to Congress in 1987, it has also added a degree of comfort to her life in Washington, where she has a $1 million-plus residence and a lifestyle that doesn't depend on the $212,100 annual salary she will receive as speaker.

"Having a Town Car pick you up is way better than Yellow Cab," said Joe Cotchett, a Burlingame attorney and Democratic fundraiser who is a longtime friend of the Pelosis.   ~sfgate.com

Isn't that great? It's possible, maybe even probable, to care about "the little people" even as you live a life of gluttonous luxury and exercise conspicuous power-- but an added $2.00 an hour can scarcely begin to balance out 'the reward of wealth, as opposed to work' that Nancy represents, don't you think?

"We believe in the marketplace," Pelosi said of Democrats, then drew a contrast with Republicans. "They have only rewarded wealth, not work."

"We must share the benefits of our wealth" beyond the privileged few, she added.   ~washingtonpost.com

Is $2.00 an hour really enough Nancy? Where's the personal sacrifice?

Exempt, but why?

Why would American Samoa need to be exempted from the minimum wage bill which ostensibly brings economic blessing all around? Raising the minimum wage, we are told, promotes prosperity and creates jobs.
If American Samoa's minimum wage is tied to U.S. federal levels, as is being proposed by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the result will "kill" the territory's economy, says Governor Togiola Tulafono.   ~pacificislands.cc
What? 'Kill' the economy?
First, tuna canneries have dominated the economic life of the U.S. territory since the mid-1950s. Second, the likelihood that the canneries are headed toward extinction becomes greater with each passing year, as U.S. federal regulations change and international trade agreements make it more difficult for American Samoa to be competitive against low-wage nations in Southeast Asia and South America that also have established fish canning industries.   ~pacificislands.cc
American Samoa can be a test case for the effectiveness of the minimum wage in creating jobs and prosperity per Democratic claims.
Democrats believe that people who work full time should be able to support their families without being dependent on public services. The Fair Minimum Wage Act will increase the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, providing an additional $4,370 a year to 7.5 million workers across the country.   ~house.gov

So as Pelosi tries to bury this scadal by calling this a "loophole" that, gee, no one had any idea was in that bill, I leave you with the question of whether or not Pelosi has blessed or obliterated American Samoa.


Posted by Eric Simonson at January 14, 2007 12:51 AM
Comments
Comment #203135
One person who is concerned about enforcing the federal minimum wage in American Samoa is non-voting Rep. Eni Faleomavaega, who echoed the arguments of many conservatives against raising the minimum wage in poorer regions of the U.S. mainland. A “decrease in production or departure of one or both of the two canneries in American Samoa could devastate the local economy, resulting in massive layoffs and insurmountable financial difficulties,” he said in a statement provided to The Times.

“The truth is the global tuna industry is so competitive that it is no longer possible for the federal government to demand mainland minimum wage rates for American Samoa without causing the collapse of our economy and making us welfare wards of the federal government.”

Posted by: womanmarine at January 14, 2007 1:31 AM
Comment #203137

Eric, I thought you were against raising the minimum wage.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 14, 2007 1:36 AM
Comment #203141

I think he was against a federal minimum wage for precisely the reasons that are mentioned by womanmarine’s comments. In fact, Samoa is not the only local economy that will be hurt by a FEDERALLY mandate minimum wage enforced across all states.

Of course, he’s probably against hypocrisy by the dems running the show now as well, though I am only guessing and don’t mean to put words in his mouth.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 14, 2007 1:50 AM
Comment #203142

Rhinehold:

My post was a quote from Eric’s link.

Interestingly enough, the companies had not contributed to Democrats, only Republicans.

Damn Nancy for trying to fix the loophole.

Posted by: womanmarine at January 14, 2007 1:55 AM
Comment #203150

Sorry to rain on a parade but:

“Sat Jan 13, 7:44 PM ET,
WASHINGTON - Fending off charges of favoritism, House Democrats say a just-passed minimum wage bill will be changed to cover all U.S. territories — including American Samoa — before it reaches
President Bush’s desk.”

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., told reporters she has instructed the House Education and Labor Committee to help get the bill changed to “make sure that all of the territories have to comply with the U.S. law on minimum wage.”

Go Nancy, go. The clocks ticking and the Republicans and twitching :)

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070114/ap_on_go_co/minimum_wage_2

Posted by: KansasDem at January 14, 2007 3:11 AM
Comment #203152

Great News! Now another region of the US is going to be saddled with an arbitrary tax that will destroy the economy of many sections of the country all for political power and punishing those running businesses in the richer areas of the country.

And I thought the progressives were starting to understand the realities of these actions… *whew*

The unions are going to LOVE renegotiating their contracts now, getting everyone they protect raises based off of how much they are making over minimum wages (those without the foresight to have their contracts already stipulate an automatic increase) and those union dues and political support will continue to flow to the left!

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 14, 2007 3:54 AM
Comment #203155

It’s hard to find solid stats for American Samoa, but most of what I read indicated roughly 2/3 of the populace living in poverty.

I thought this article was quite interesting:

Eager to serve in American Samoa
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11537737/

“Hidden by the staggering beauty of this island is a per capita income that is below the U.S. poverty level. Most wages are low, and there are relatively few employment options for young people.”

“The only big employers are tuna canneries and the government. For many residents, the military is the best — and perhaps, the only — way out.”

So I guess stark poverty is a good thing. Maybe we should lower the minimum wage everywhere. That sure would make it easier for military recruiters.

Hmmm, maybe we should set a maximum wage limit.

Posted by: KansasDem at January 14, 2007 5:27 AM
Comment #203156

Please provide a list of the unions whose wages are based on the minimum wage. I have searched and can not find any.

If such a union does exist their wages have been frozen for over 9 years now. After that length of time you are probably right. They are going to LOVE getting a raise at last.

The bill passed 315 to 116 with every Democrat, along with 82 Republicans, voting for passage. Every one of the 116 NO votes was cast by a Republican. The bill will eventually go to a Republican president who has promised to veto it.

It should be obvious why those lives are affected by the minimum wage, both positively and negatively, vote the way they do.

Posted by: Arm Hayseed at January 14, 2007 5:30 AM
Comment #203159

Arm,

ARTICLE 8: CHANGE IN LEGAL MINIMUMS

If, during the term of this Agreement, a new applicable federal or state minimum
wage law is enacted or becomes effective which
increases the applicable minimum wage hereunder, then the minimum wage set forth
herein shall be automatically increased so that such minimum wage shall be no
less than 15% above any newly-established state or federally mandated legal
minimum

This is from a sample Collective Bargaining Agreement, in this case specifically between LIZ CLAIBORNE, INC. AND UNION OF NEEDLETRADES, INDUSTRIAL AND TEXTILE EMPLOYEES.

I think that if you ask to see the bargaining agreements of other unions you’ll see this is in almost all of them. If you notice, it does not state that this is the ONLY time that wages increase, only that if the minimum wages increase all ‘minimum’ wages protected by the agreement are increased as well. The agreements go on to state how much above this minimum others should be making…

The principle is sound. Say you are making 7.25 an hour, $2 over minimum wage. Then they go and raise the minimum wage to 7.25, you’re now only making minimum wage! You’re going to want to be making more than minimum wage, as you have demonstrated you are worth the extra. So you get 9.25 an hour and a guy who was making $2 more than you is now getting paid the same… etc…

As for why it is obvious why those whose lives are effected by minimum wage vote the way they do… Let’s look at who is effected by minimum wage?

http://www.epionline.org/mw_statistics_state.cfm

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, fully 85% of employees in The United States whose wages would be increased by the proposed minimum wage hike either live with their parents or another relative, live alone, or have a working spouse. Just 15% are sole earners in families with children, and each of these sole earners has access to supplemental income through Earned Income Tax Credit.

But the real damage comes in thinking that a national ‘minimum’ is in any way appropriate as a ‘living wage’. What a living wage is in Alabama is NOT the same as one of California. Cloverdale, IN does NOT equal Los Angeles, CA.

But, if people think they are getting more money from someone else without having to work harder or smarter for it… Yeah, I can see why they might vote for that…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 14, 2007 6:19 AM
Comment #203161

There was a reference made above to the minimum wage as being a “tax”. This is another shameful manipulation of language by a republican who cannot seem to make his point through reasoned argument. It reminds me of the notion pressed by various conservatives last year when gas prices went through the roof, that the increase was “a kind of tax”.
We, as a nation, insist, through our government, that business meet certain minimum standards before they can conduct their business. These standards address many aspects of the citizen/consumer/employee relationship to business; worker safety, food safety, product safety, environmental safety, consumer protections and, yes, a minimum wage. Without a minimum wage business’s would be even more egregious in their efforts to privatize the profits and socialize the costs. I expect my government to protect me from this aspect through the establishment, maintenance and adjustment of a minimum wage. It’s just that simple.
P.s I am a small business owner who absolutely depends upon consumers WHO HAVE MONEY IN THEIR POCKETS!!!!!!

Posted by: charles Ross at January 14, 2007 8:02 AM
Comment #203162

KansasDem,
It was Nancy who put the exemption for American Samoa in the minimum wage bill in the first place.
The clock’s ticking and the Dems are self destructing.
Go, Nancy, Go-exploiter of children, hypocrit!

Posted by: traveller at January 14, 2007 8:14 AM
Comment #203163

Rhinehold,
I’ve seen a lot of collective bargaining agreements and I’ve never seen any wage increases tied to minimum wage increases.
The sample you used in your post above is just that-a sample used to illustrate the form of an agreement.

Posted by: traveller at January 14, 2007 8:21 AM
Comment #203166

You have a great point, Eric. In 100 hours of ethics reform and legislation, there was one little bit of a bill that you found corrupt. Obviously, this means that the new Democratic-led Congress is the “most corrupt” ever.

What a joke. What incredibly lame desperation.

Posted by: LawnBoy at January 14, 2007 9:00 AM
Comment #203167

Eric,

A couple of problems here. First of all, American Samoa did not follow the federal minimum wage before. So even under the old Pelosi policy (which has apparently changed), there was nothing new about Samoa. Secondly, you are implying that Pelosi is corrupt, without showing that any money coming into her hands. So your “$” sign is empty talk.

I won’t even get into how stupid it is for Republicans to complain about Pelosi being wealthy…

Posted by: Woody Mena at January 14, 2007 9:49 AM
Comment #203168

Eric-
My word. Pelosi is Rich? Get a rope! the Proletariat must not allow such an outrage to persist!

You know, that argument would only be effective if most Democrats were communists, haters of bourgeoisie. Let me tell you a little secret: we are the bourgeoisie.

I just wonder, though: if you’re such a stickler about the economic consequences of increasing payroll costs, then why have you not once complained about the exorbinant rises in compensation by executives? A dollar is a dollar, right? If these companies were really serious about saving payroll costs, you would not see more than ten times the old compensation being seen at the top. You would not see stock options being given away like candy.

The fact is, the system, During the Reagan, Gingrich, and Bush leadership has become very elitist in how it views the economy. Unfortunately this is a consumer driven society, and in order to soak up the shortfall, it’s become a debt driven society.

Never mind that, though. Let’s make tax cuts that skip every middle class bracket cut one that only the rich will benefit from, then remove another bracket altogether. Let’s move to abolish a tax that will effect mainly the unearned wealth of the heirs to vast fortunes.

My Parents remember a time when employers valued their employees, where “Who Moved the Cheese” was the question you asked while looking in the staff refrigerator, not while scanning the employment ads at home, waiting for your money to run out.

We understand, to a certain extent, that companies will do lay-offs, that business will not always be good, that we can’t get a raise all the time, but at some point, people want and even need more for the work they do. You can’t be a cheapskate on wages forever if you expect people to work for you.

America can certainly not afford to let wages become stagnant when our economy depends so much on consumer spending, and where bad debt puts a damper on things. I think credit cards and equity loans are the only reason this economy is still moving at all. I also think there’s a limit to how long that can persist.

One more thought: has it occurred to you that businesses pay for their cheap minimum wage anyways, that we all do? When people cannot afford to live on what they got, they go on economic assistance, which comes out of taxpayer pockets. Additionally, the bureaucracy to run this costs money.

The money comes back into the economy, especially in poorer neighborhoods. The closer people are to a living wage, the less of a drag they are on the economy.

So what’s the deal, Eric, would you rather encourage and reward work, or welfare?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 14, 2007 10:32 AM
Comment #203169

The way they’re running that first-100-hours clock, it will be 2010 before it expires.

Corruption ?

Neither Republicans or Democrats have any room to talk about corruption, since both are far, far too corrupt. What’s more laughable is debating which is more corrupt (which is usually the “IN PARTY”, but both merely take turns).

And neither do the majority of voters have much room to point all the blame on their politicians, since the voters, themselves, keep rewarding them for being irresponsible and corrupt by repeatedly re-electing them; taking the lazy way out, by pulling the party-lever; letting someone else tell them how to vote, rather than do it themselves; empowering the two party duopoly to grow ever more corrupt. Why shouldn’t politicians be corrupt and irresponsible when the voters keep rewarding them for it?

Neither party is serious about any badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer reforms, as evidenced by the nation’s serious problems growing in number and severity, and it won’t change until the consequences (many of which are unavoidably already in the pipeline) of ignoring those problems becomes more painful than resolving them.

In the end, it comes down to the choices of the voters. The voters will choose more wisely, eventually, when not doing so becomes more painful, and what too many voters are doing in this era of moral and fiscal irresponsibility will guarantee it is painful. What is increasingly dangerous (and despicable) is the magnitude of the problems, and the number of future generations that will suffer for the selfishness and corruption of current generations.

Currently, government is not regarded merely as an instrument to restrain people from injuring one another but as an all-purpose, around-the-clock device to make people happy and secure from the cradle to the grave. The sense of entitlement and dependency on government is repugnant.

This perversion of government is a result of a basic problem that permeates a majority of the people in the nation, making it ridiculously bloated, inefficient, and corrupt.

Government does not create liberty.
On the contrary, government, growing ever larger, to nightmare proportions, is a persisting danger to liberty. Already, (many, only relatively recently) we’ve witnessed those freedoms being trampled.

In a voting nation, voter education is paramount, and the voters education (pain) is on the way, whether they like it or not. Pain, ironically of the voters own making, will be their motivation.

When does the excessive corruption and greed end?
Only when it becomes more painful than its absence.

  • Responsibility = Power + Conscience + Education + Transparency + Accountability
  • Corruption = Power - Conscience - Education - Transparency - Accountability
Posted by: d.a.n at January 14, 2007 10:37 AM
Comment #203170

Eric where were you the past 6 years? Your amazing ability to ferret out the tinest whiff of corruption would have come in handy.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 14, 2007 10:38 AM
Comment #203181

j2t2

Erics ferret is blind in the right eye. As a result it only looks to the left.

Posted by: ILdem at January 14, 2007 12:15 PM
Comment #203182

Funny!

Posted by: d.a.n at January 14, 2007 12:18 PM
Comment #203185

LOL, Eric’s Ferret!!

Posted by: gergle at January 14, 2007 12:39 PM
Comment #203187

The raise in minimum wage means that I’m gonna have to give pay raises. Not that I mind paying my employees a living wage. Average pay at the factory is $11.75/hour. But having to give them a raise just so they can maintain their standard of living doesn’t set to well with me. I’d prefer that their standard of living would go up because of the pay raise. In this case it won’t. In fact it might go down. Only time will tell.
I’ll also have to rise prices. This is gonna make it harder to compete with products imported from Mexico which doesn’t have a mimium wage.
And I’m not the only employer that’s in this situation. No doubt some will end up going out of business because they won’t be able to compete with imported products. This translates into higher unemployment rates. And this translates into more folks living below the poverty level.
WAY TO GO PARTY OF THE WORKING CLASS!

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 14, 2007 1:06 PM
Comment #203192

I agree with Ron Brown. Minimum wage was never never never meant to be permanente livable wage. Most all the temp services in this country put people to work till they could find permanente jobs. Most high school kids work at minimum wage and live with their parents and some of the people that work temp jobs do it for extra income. Raising the minimum wage right now I think is a mistake. Being neither Dem. or Rep. if minimum wage goes up it is going to bite us and especially Dems in the nether region.

Posted by: KAP at January 14, 2007 1:43 PM
Comment #203193

The purose of Eric’s post is obviously to point out the Democrats’ hypocrisy when it comes to their legislation, who they place in leadership, etc.! The Dems ran their campains against such bought and paid for politicians, Culture of Corruption”, in Washington. Yet, the bought and paid for in their camp are taking the top positions now; Harry “Abramoff” Reid and Pelosi, chiefs among them. It is understandable why Dems just can not stand it to be reminded of their hypocrisy and their own corrupt leaders.

Keep up the good work Eric, keep them coming! I think the real issue here is not that Eric found only one example of corruption in the first 100 hours of Democratic Party rule, but rather that in only the first 100 hours of Democratic Party rule Eric has already found an example of Democratic Party corruption! But, surprise, surprise, Eric, it is not the only example of Democratic Party corruption. Wasn’t it convenient for ABC to announce Harry Reid’s ties to Abramoff on Nov. 16th, after the election?

JD

Posted by: JD at January 14, 2007 1:53 PM
Comment #203195

Stephen,

You said,

I just wonder, though: if you’re such a stickler about the economic consequences of increasing payroll costs, then why have you not once complained about the exorbinant rises in compensation by executives? A dollar is a dollar, right? If these companies were really serious about saving payroll costs, you would not see more than ten times the old compensation being seen at the top. You would not see stock options being given away like candy.

First of all I don’t think that anyone here has begrudged raises to the middle class ever, have they? To the working classes, only when they are done by government fiat and not by the businesses. When was the last time you saw a post on the Red site saying that “the average wages for construction workers, plumbers, network technicians have gone up 20% in the last five years, this is an outrage”?

As to the outrage over CEO payments, why should anyone be outraged by those. The pay increases for free agent baseball players has been far and away bigger this year than CEO’s. Perhaps we all should pick on thsoe instead. I mean, my god did you see what SF is paying Barry Bonds next year? $16M base with perfomance clauses that can go to over $20M. I’d venture to guess that is more than what most CEO’s will make next year. If a dollar is really a dollar, why not go after those increases? Just not a sexy political topic is my guess, but really a dollar is a dollar, right?

Posted by: Rob at January 14, 2007 2:08 PM
Comment #203196

Eric:

There is good and bad in everything we do. To me, enacting a minimum wage does a hell of a lot more good (to poor people) than any bad (to rich people).

You always focus on what’s good for the rich. Now I don’t think the rich will be hurt much, but even if the rich are hurt isn’t it more important to help the poor?

This business about cutting jobs is a red herring. All your competitors will have an increase in payroll costs.

So you found a flaw in what Pelosi did. Anyway, you think it is a flaw. Then, without any evidence at all, you accuse Pelosi of hypocrisy.

You seem to have one standard for Republicans (Where’s the evidence?) and another for Democrats (It looks fishy so it must be fishy.)

Posted by: Paul Siegel at January 14, 2007 2:17 PM
Comment #203205

Ron Brown-
In theory, you’d be right, but in practice, several states have raised minimum wages without adverse impact. Also, you have to consider that people who earn more have more to spend, and therefore can afford whatever price increases come along.

JD-
The ties to Abramoff, as I understand them, were not at all solid. Your people did a good job of locking Democrats out of that system, even packing the ranks of lobbyists with their own people. Additionally, when this was pointed out, Pelosi made a move to correct the problem. It’s not ideal, but then real life often isn’t. The result is better, though than what we’ve seen, and the Democrats have shown themselves to be much more open, to actually have a sense of shame.

It’ll take some getting use to for these people, but I’m glad to see that the Democratic congress is keeping itself accountable.

Rob-
Those CEO’s have not begrudged people raises, but even jobs, while raking in the profits on their stock and stock options. These guys even get substantial bonuses when they fail to do their job. Ever heard of a Golden Parachute?

As for sports star and movie star payments, I’m not against million dollar payoffs, but I think sometimes they pay them at rates that are simply poor business sense. You ever wonder why it cost eight bucks to get a hot dog?

These are competitive, fear-driven systems where much of things has become about the anxiety of low performance. Agents play on that and bargain for big salaries. Does it work? It all depends on the player or the actor.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 14, 2007 2:49 PM
Comment #203206
I think the real issue here is not that Eric found only one example of corruption in the first 100 hours of Democratic Party rule, but rather that in only the first 100 hours of Democratic Party rule Eric has already found an example of Democratic Party corruption!

Could one of you Pelosi bashers define the word “corruption” for me?

Posted by: Woody Mena at January 14, 2007 2:49 PM
Comment #203209

Paul,
“To me, enacting a minimum wage does a hell of a lot more good (to poor people) than any bad (to rich people)”

If a minimum wage of $7.25 is so good for the poor people, why don’t we raise it to $20? Surely a family of 4 can’t survive on $7.w5 per hour.

Posted by: tomd at January 14, 2007 3:01 PM
Comment #203210

I can’t recall any Unions that only pay their employees $7.25 an hour…. If there is one please name it.
I’m not saying whether I agree\disagree with Unions, only that I doubt there are many who only pay $7.25 an hour.

Didn’t the Republicans just propose a similar minimum wage increase? Please explain to me why they are so ticked off. Seems to me they should be out there hollering: “the Democrats wouldn’t pass our plan, but don’t mind stealing it for themselves!!!!” instead of whinnying about it.

So far, at least,Nancy Pelosi’s Congress of 100 hours hasn’t put us into a war we never should have gotten into - and probably wouldn’t have if the most corrupt being in our White House had told at least some of the Congress the entire truth.

Eric,
I simply wish you had been as careful to look into the Republicans as you have been with the Democrats. I seriously ask you to keep up the good work. We need people who are keeping an eye on OUR EMPLOYEES - regardless of politics.

Posted by: Linda H. at January 14, 2007 3:11 PM
Comment #203211

Eric
Thanks for bringing this up. Perhaps we can get a raise for the Somoans in the Senate version. Other than that you have not shown any but a geographic link between Del Monte and Pelosi. I suspect if there was one it would be all over by now. There are lots of companies based in SF. I would be interested to find out the who’s and hows of exacty how that exemption got there. Please keep us informed.
Much of the rest of your piece seems to be simply attacking Pelosi because she is rich. Class warfare? Envy? Is that not what you have attacked Dems for in the past? A differnt standard for Dems because they show some compassion for the little guy? Vows of poverty perhaps would make you happy?

Posted by: BillS at January 14, 2007 3:15 PM
Comment #203215

Stephen,

These are competitive, fear-driven systems where much of things has become about the anxiety of low performance. Agents play on that and bargain for big salaries. Does it work? It all depends on the player or the actor.

This is much the same situation for CEO’s. I have not seen the stats recently, but at one point in the late 90’s/ early 2000’s, the average life-span for a CEO at a multinational was less that three years. There just aren’t many that can make the jump from the AAA team to the major’s in terms of exec’s which is why those that do get paid on the same level as baseball players and actors. They have an extraordinary talent and are able to demand huge compensation. However, like baseball players and actors, they don’t always work out. In your words, “they don’t make good business sense.”

The more important point is, if Bonds only hits .200 next year, plays in only 60 games, and gets only 15 home runs, is it worthy of political action? No. The same is true of CEO’s.

The ability to skirt the tax system by using stock options instead of cash payments was worth political discussion; however, that law has been changed. There is no real (or constitutional)interest of the government in setting or regulating CEO salaries.

Now, if you were writing in a shareholder forum that was looking for better management of company resources, your point would have merit. That is where the discussion of CEO compensation belongs.
However, you use it as a point of rhetorical flourish in a political discussion forum, that those that disagree with the national minimum wage increases should be consistent and be against CEO salaries. I find nothing inconsistent in saying that the government has no business setting salaries at either end of the spectrum.

Now, I have nothing aginst the minimum wage at the State level. I voted for an increase in Ohio, but I think establishing one on the national level is not only bad economic practice, but should be unconstitutional. The perversion of the interstate commerce clause to insert the minimum wage is beyond what the framers had in mind for the power of the Federal government vis a vis the states.

Posted by: Rob at January 14, 2007 3:37 PM
Comment #203216

Eric where was your outrage when Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff were protecting the employers on the Northern Mariana Islands? I thought this is what lobbyist are for? You know what the best part of this is? The problem has been corrected, and it was pointed out by the left. The right is just trying to score pollitical points. Tell me more about hypocrisy.

Posted by: 037 at January 14, 2007 3:44 PM
Comment #203220

Rush is right again
if $7 is good why not make it 10 ..20 or better yet 50…then the minimum wage workers could update their new flat screens that they just bought with my tax dollars from other govt programs

Posted by: paul g at January 14, 2007 4:34 PM
Comment #203222

Paul g, Rush has his head up his cigar. Everyone knows, and Democrats admit, raising the minimum wage will cost some jobs. The point is, the millions who will benefit from the increased wage will outweigh the many fewer who are not able to get one. Given the low unemployment rate, this is the time to raise the minimum wage when employment demand is high and available workers low.

Running a nation is not black and white, good and evil. The goal (never achievable) is working within interdependent systems to achieve the maximum good. Any action has a counteraction. True in physics and governance. But, in governance the reaction does not have to be equal and opposite. Handled with good judgment and accurate measures, an action can produce far more good than its consequent harm.

Simonson has his comments up the Rush’s cigar too regarding Samoa. With the fishing industry employing 75% of the work force, raising the minimum wage may cause more hardship than benefit. I don’t know if this was the reasoning. I accept the distinct possibility that the lobbyist power of the Tuna industry was the deciding factor.

But, still the argument holds, that if raising the min. wage on Samoa would cost laying off 30 - 50% of the jobs on Samoa, that could throw 1/3 of the families on Samoa into poverty. The end result would worse than raising the minimum wage in this nearly single industry community where a diversity of other and higher paying jobs DON’T exist.

Thinking caps are not expensive, they just require taking off one’s bias cap and exerting a little effort.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 14, 2007 4:55 PM
Comment #203229

tomd -

I agree with you… “If a minimum wage of $7.25 is so good for the poor people, why don’t we raise it to $20? Surely a family of 4 can’t survive on $7.w5 per hour.”

The Dems are wrong about raising the minimum wage. The idea of having a minimum wage is an anachronym from the 60’s and 70’s. There is little purpose in it in 2007.

The biggist problem with raising the minimum wage anywhere (let alone in AS) is that it merely becomes a reward to those with no citizenship, no skills, no education, and no experience. No one with skill, education and experience will long stay at minimum wage, but those who don’t have those are condemned to stay locked at minimum. Raising the minimum merely rewards them for not becoming citizens, not learning a skill (or trade), not getting an education, and not staying long enough at any one job to gain experience. In short, minimum wage is not for the single-parent (like we have been told) but for the uneducated, the unskilled, the shifty, and the illegal aliens.

Do you want to reward the illegals and the shifty? And instead of giving the unskilled and uneducated a fish, shouldn’t we teach them to fish for themselves?

Much better would be a plan to teach skills, give education, and reduce illegals. I don’t think there is any plan that would work for the shifty.

Posted by: Don at January 14, 2007 6:09 PM
Comment #203232

I must respectively disagree with David’s analogy concerning unemployment.

Unemployment is a lagging economic indicator. Last quarter’s GDP numbers came in at a measley 1.6%.

Inflation remains a serious cocern to the FED as stated in their last minutes.Furthermore, companies tend to reduce their direct labor costs as growth slows.

Oil prices remain at historical highs. Any disruptions in supplies could emerge: a confrontation with Iran, leaving Badhdad prematurely, a widespread nationalization of South America’s oil fields and the proposed legislation under House and Senate consideration with respect to future oil profits.

Businesses are complaining about pricing pressures; coupled this with rising costs the result is dire for companies bottom lines.

Both political parties want to help the day laborer and rightly so. However, in a free market, based on the above concerns, the government is actually hurting those they purport to help.

The solution, in my humble opinion, is to draft new legislation focused on our tax system.In a global economy, with our current structure, nation’s such as China and India can afford to produce goods and services much cheaper than America.

Labor costs in China are a measley .58 per hour. How can domestic enterprises compete? The minute domestic corporations face economic slowdowns or rising prices, the answer continues to be the exportation of American jobs overseas.

A national flat tax could alleviate many problems that plague our economy. Ireland’s economy is booming. Irish companies are in desperate need of labor, so desperate, they are advertising in American newspapers.

Why not replicate a economic model that is succeeding? Both political parties are culpable of egregious spending. Did our taxpayes have to subsidize a $225 million bride to nowhere in Alaska? What about the $30 billion dollars on water urinals? Earmarks on spending projects and a lack of fiscal discipline with regards to discretionary spending, has stunted the progress of the day laborer.

How can you make such an allegation kaida? Simple,the less taxes that small business entrepreneurs and large corporations pay, money becomes available to expand growth intiatives resulting in an abundance of job opportunities.

Today capital is expendable. Capital will-in a global economy-find opportunities that are condusive to profit growth. Capital will flee countries that are over-regulated, over-taxed or provide nothing but obstacles to company growth.

Strict environmental regulations and high corporate and individual tax rates in this country are responsible for the exportation of quality job overseas. I am an advocate of full employment. Full employment can be achieved by working to provise corporations and small business a window to expand and create employment. Taxes and regulation have become the enemy to labor.

To raise the minimum wage and then wink to illegal labor flowing into this country is counterproductive.Both parties are culpable for low wages in this country.

Posted by: Kaida at January 14, 2007 6:36 PM
Comment #203233

Don said of the minimum wage: “There is little purpose in it in 2007.”

Unless you happen to be living off it. So much for compassionate conservativism.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 14, 2007 6:38 PM
Comment #203236

Kaida said: “Furthermore, companies tend to reduce their direct labor costs as growth slows.”

False! Check your data.

Kaida said: “Oil prices remain at historical highs.”

False. Check your data. Oil is at $53 a barrel, way off record highs.

Kaida said: “Businesses are complaining about pricing pressures”

True. When have they not?

Kaida said: “Labor costs in China are a measley .58 per hour. How can domestic enterprises compete?”

Simple, tax steeply American companies who go international. If they move out altogether, fine. New American entrepreneurs will step up to fill the void.

Kaida said: “A national flat tax could alleviate many problems that plague our economy.”

We agree, 100%, provided the flat tax has a 1.5 times poverty line floor, and no ceiling.

Kaida said: “Taxes and regulation have become the enemy to labor.”

If that were true, America’s economy would have collapsed decades ago. Can’t have it both ways. Either our economy today is sickly and on its death bed due to taxes and regulation, or, the taxes and regulations that govern this economy have helped produce it. Can’t have it both ways.

Kaida said: “To raise the minimum wage and then wink to illegal labor flowing into this country is counterproductive.Both parties are culpable for low wages in this country.”

Again, we agree 100%.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 14, 2007 6:50 PM
Comment #203238

I think the point has been missed by all of ya’.

David Beckhame just signed a contract worth a coupla’ hundred million dollars and is going to be with the LA Galaxy. Since those poor illegal immigrants in LA would not be able to afford a ticket, so they pass a minimum wage law so all dem illegal immigrants can now afford a ticket.

Posted by: tomh at January 14, 2007 7:18 PM
Comment #203239

David, I really enjoy this exchange. I find it stimulating, educational and productive. I really enjoy solving problems.

To clear up any misconceptions regarding this topic, from my personal experience consulting many small, medium size and large companies plus running and operating my own two previous companies, it has been my experience that the first ax drops on the direct laborer.

To clarify the oil increase, oil is at record highs compared to the nineties and part of the beginning of the 21st century.

Finally, I strongly believe that increased taxation and regulation stunts growth resulting in an increase in the unemployment rate. Thanks, Kaida!

Posted by: kaida at January 14, 2007 7:35 PM
Comment #203255


Stephen

In theory, you’d be right, but in practice, several states have raised minimum wages without adverse impact.

When employers don’t give raises and more folks are a put at minimum wage it does.
Also the states that have raised it haven’t raised it any where near $2.10/hr. A lot of employers will eat a dollar. But very few can afford $2.00. Most will have to rise their prices.
Also you aren’t considering that the employers that will give their employees a raise to keep them at the same level above minimum wage are most likely going to have to charge more for their products. In my case this means I will have a harder time competing with imported auto parts from countries that have no minimum wage.
The average pay at the factory is $11.75/hr. In order for my employees to stay the $6.60 over minimum wage they are now I have to raise their pay $2.10/hr. $13.85 X 45 = $623.25/hr in labor cost compared to $528.75 in labor cost now. A difference of 94.50/hr. Broke down in cost per unit it doesn’t sound so bad. It comes to $.56 more a unit. But what happens when my suppliers raise their prices to me because now they’re paying more? I could see the cost per unit increase $2 to $3. And I’m not even counting the 16 office employees that will want a pay raise too.
How long do you think I can hold prices at current levels with cost increases like that?


Also, you have to consider that people who earn more have more to spend, and therefore can afford whatever price increases come along.

And the also have less disposable income when the cost of living increases because the minimum wage has gone up. So they can’t spend as much on other items.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 14, 2007 9:38 PM
Comment #203256

Thought that was ildim’s gerbel blind in old “one eye.”

Posted by: im at January 14, 2007 9:39 PM
Comment #203271

in the 70’s when minimum wage was $2.15 i worked at a 7-11…i was a teenager but had higher hopes that someday i would have a better paying job…and because of the WORK ethic i got from that… lo and behold im averaging $70 an hour now

Posted by: paul g at January 14, 2007 10:46 PM
Comment #203274

Ron Brown, according to the figures you provided in post # 203255 you are screwing your workers out of five hours of pay per week at the overtime rate mandated by federal law. Do you really pay your workers a base rate no matter how many hours they work in a week? If so, you should be ashamed of yourself!!!

Posted by: charles Ross at January 14, 2007 11:03 PM
Comment #203277

Kaida said: “Finally, I strongly believe that increased taxation and regulation stunts growth resulting in an increase in the unemployment rate.”

They do to some extent. But trying conducting business without government to set and enforce rules. Try running a stock market without an SEC. There was a time when there was no SEC, and the whole country fell into depression as a result.

Try getting through a recession without government increasing cash flow for consumers - the recession deepens when consumers are strapped.

That’s the deal. Sure, remove all regulations and end all taxes, and companies and corporations will do great for about 6 months, until all hell breaks lose in the form of embezzlement, insider trading, scams, and shams, and bankruptcies, and monopolies, not to mention an invasion of the nation under a foreign power’s version of manifest destiny, since ending all taxes ends the biggest socialist program of all, the Military!

Trade offs, Kaida. Like I said, for every action there is a trade-off, and the trick is to optimize, balance, and make sustainable, the greatest good for the greatest number of citizens.

For example, we could end Soc. Sec. and Medicare in 2020 when we have to borrow intensely to sustain them. But, then the burden of caring for the millions and millions of retirees will fall to their middle class offspring in their 40’s and 50’s, which will destroy their savings and end their disposable income spending as they pay enormous sums for health care, food and housing for their parents. That in turn results in this next generation not having saved for their own retirement, and the boomer problem is extended another 30 years destroying consumption of the middle class who is then devoting all their resources to caring for their parents.

The economy would be trashed and remain so for decades if that scenario were to play out. So, sure, taxes have a downside. So do regulations. But, the upside of taxes and regulations is a relatively orderly and predictable society and culture capable of defending and sustaining itself as a nation, instead of fiefdoms and serfs such as we now see in Iraq amongst the tribes of the al-Anbar province, or in the Sudan.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 14, 2007 11:16 PM
Comment #203278

paul g, good for you, that you were so fortunate. What of the others who also have the work ethic making 8$ per hour. You know, the good hard workers who were barely able to graduate from high school - honest hard working folks not to quick on learning new things, especially if they involve symbolic manipulations of concepts, numbers, words, or geometric forms. What of them? The work ethic alone does not produce $70 per hour if your IQ is 90 and your family was poor and you lived in fear of your life walking to school or the library 6 blocks away.

Those who take it for granted that their success should be others but for lack of trying, lack both understanding and empathy. Compassion is not in their behavioral vocabulary, but elitism fits real well.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 14, 2007 11:22 PM
Comment #203287

Saw an article on Drudgereport that 7 Mexican Nationals were Killed in a minivan on icy roads in Ok. Now I think that is one more than seat belts. Now that would make them illegal aliens as they are breaking traffic laws.

Now that is also not the worst part but the other five passengers in the minivan were injured and taken to the hospital for free medical.

7+5 = 12 even a dim can admit that exceeds the legal limit for passengers in a minivan therefore proving they were illegal.

I bet it is Pelosi and the minimum wage vote that killed them people as they probably were here looking for amnesty and some of that minimum wage. It is a tradgedy all around. Shame on Pelosi and them dims who caused this tragedy.

Posted by: im at January 15, 2007 12:20 AM
Comment #203289

David:
I know where you are coming from…and i’ll admit its a whole different world now. sometime in the 60’s our family went on food stamps…if i can remember; it was only for a few weeks my mother was so embarresed to go to the store and use them she never did…now, its like i feel im the only one that’s not on some govt program

Posted by: paul g at January 15, 2007 12:30 AM
Comment #203301

Am I the only one who sees something horribly wrong with our government forcing businesses (however many it is) out of business because they can’t afford to pay higher wages?

It saddens me greatly to see our property rights turned over to the majority.

Posted by: tomd at January 15, 2007 7:22 AM
Comment #203317

tomd-
The rise in minimum wage could spare them, allowing them to either charge higher prices, or get more customers (since the increase would allow more people to afford things they couldn’t before).

The problem is, we’re looking at this in a static way, not looking at the feedbacks that might prevent inflation, or counterbalance the increase in costs for employers. We’re focusing on dimensions of raised prices and forgetting that demand is not necessarily isolated to the same products the person could get before, and that money still concentrates at the top once its filtered through the bottom ranks of employees.

Let’s not look at the economy as a pie we have shares of, but rather a circulatory system that can either pump robustly or weakly through the population. With low, stagnant wages, you have a condition not unlike Artherosclerosis. The heart’s doing a lot of work, but for less benefit, with poorer circulation.

I heard something about the tech sector: that the paucity of workers was artificial, created by the refusal of businesses to pay appropriate salaries to their workers. How much more business could these people do, if they weren’t so damn cheap?

Republicans and conservatives have assumed the problem is with overindulgence of the masses, rather than overstinginess of those at the top. They always say that the market is pushing wages lower, while ignoring the signs that the market is forcing and encouraging people to ask more for their services. You can’t keep down wages forever and keep the economic blood flowing. That’s simply not how markets work.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 15, 2007 11:29 AM
Comment #203331

“tomd-
The rise in minimum wage could spare them, allowing them to either charge higher prices, or get more customers (since the increase would allow more people to afford things they couldn’t before).”

This is possible Stephen, however, let’s break it down to a low level. Say you have a hot dog stand and after all expenses you walk away with $1000 per week. I tell you that if you change to an irridated mustard at $100 per week MIGHT give you enough customers and allow you to increase your prices to more than make up for the increase.

Should it not be YOUR choice?

Now imagine that the government was going to force you to use that irridated mustard and pay the extra $100 per week. I would feel like I needed a BIG jar of vasaline.

Posted by: tomd at January 15, 2007 12:27 PM
Comment #203337

charles
The 45 is the number of employees I have. Look again, the equation is 13.85 X 45 = 623.25/hr. Not 13.85 X 45 = 623.25/wk.
And yes I do pay over time. Time and a half Mon - Fri and double time on Sat. We don’t work on Sunday no matter how far behind we get. And some of my employees get around 8 to 10 hours a week.


David
I’m one of those that barley graduated high school. I never was and still aint very good at math. And spell like a kindergartner. And I don’t read on an adult level. I was also taught a good work ethic by my parents.
I went on to have a career in The Air Force and now own two businesses and am a partner in a third. Do I qualify as someone that made it because of their work ethics?


Posted by: Ron Brown at January 15, 2007 12:43 PM
Comment #203339

Whoops,
I’m the owner of one business and am a partner in another as of this Thursday. Finally got the convenient store sold.
That leaves the factory and the feed store. The farm aint really a business. More like as hobby.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 15, 2007 12:47 PM
Comment #203352

How is it that if your work ethic is so good you didn’t work harder at school?
P.s It’s nice that you pay more than the minimum in your business’s but it’s worth pointing out that @ $11.00 is not an amount to be proud of either as the person paying it or the person earning it. It allows one to live in a crappy one bedroom, drive a crappy car and scrap by. I can’t believe that your employees don’t have one foot out the door every day they come to work.
I only have a single person working in my business. I pay him $57,000 a year. He earns every penny of it. The amount paid to him allows him to own a home, make payments on two late-model cars, have credit, go out to eat occasionally, have all the insurance that people need in this world (auto, life, home, liability); in short, be a person who adds to and builds up society around him rather than be a person who hangs on, looking at the want-ads, waiting for better.

Posted by: charles Ross at January 15, 2007 1:59 PM
Comment #203356

Charles,

Over the line, personal attack in my opinion on Ron.

Btw, I know from previous posts that Ron lives in South Georgia. With 8 hours of overtime, one of his employees can make nearly $30,000. I managed to live on half of that in South Georgia in my first job out of college. It was a pretty good life while I was there.

I’d be willing to bet that Ron’s employees can do all of what you consider to be a good life on 30K in South Georgia. Housing is cheap and the rest flows from there.

Posted by: Rob at January 15, 2007 2:22 PM
Comment #203363

tomd-
Tell me something: should the marority of people suffer, and the interests of the nation, just to keep a few in business? How many businesses in turn suffer because people don’t get paid enough, have to pay higher taxes to cover the costs of government assistance, or aren’t the beneficiaries of state/federal contracts and programs because of the demands that must be met to keep the underpaid housed, fed, and medically covered?

If you leave such needs unfulfilled, then the price is taken out by the consequences of poverty. We cannot run an economy like ours on the absolute satisfaction of the needs of a few business owners. It’s not a straightforward system. This government has pampered the hell out of business, only to end up with economy that while still growing, doesn’t seem to be raising or even maintaining their standard of living. The time has come to work the problem from another angle.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 15, 2007 2:54 PM
Comment #203387

Stephen,

Did that rant make you feel better?

Let’s unpack that.

“Tell me something: should the marority of people suffer, and the interests of the nation, just to keep a few in business?”

Of course not. Howeer, I haev to ask, does a minimum wage increase relieve the suffering of the majority of people? Is it in the best interest of the nation? Is it even in the interest of the State as envisioned by the framers to even set a minimum wage at the Federal level?

“How many businesses in turn suffer because people don’t get paid enough, have to pay higher taxes to cover the costs of government assistance,”

I didn’t realize that there was tax relief that went along with the minimum wage increase, what a relief.

“or aren’t the beneficiaries of state/federal contracts and programs because of the demands that must be met to keep the underpaid housed, fed, and medically covered?”

Not even sure what this means, but if as a government contractor your looking out for my future employment opportunities, then I say thank you, but most of us are doing ok.

“If you leave such needs unfulfilled, then the price is taken out by the consequences of poverty. We cannot run an economy like ours on the absolute satisfaction of the needs of a few business owners.”

Who is “we”? What constitutes “running the economy”?

“This government has pampered the hell out of business” How? By passing Sarbanes/ Oxley? What has fundamentally changed in the last 6 years in how the government interacts with business?

“only to end up with economy that while still growing, doesn’t seem to be raising or even maintaining their standard of living.”

Who is “their”?

“The time has come to work the problem from another angle.” What problem are we working? What is the angle?

Posted by: Rob at January 15, 2007 5:10 PM
Comment #203402

I was recently helping a friend with some technical issues in his business. He complained that he could not afford health insurance for his employees, and therefore was having trouble retaining them. We drove to lunch in his new BMW, as I recalled his purchase of a huge mahogany desk and credenza for his office and a new professsional model Nikon Camera to take a few pictures for his internet site.

It always amuses me when I hear about businessmen complaining about minimum wage and health benefits. I’ll grant you they are expensive. Labor is often the highest cost of a business. The smart one’s, and the one’s with integrity, in my opinion, recognize this cost of doing business and understand what they are buying. A lot of them don’t, however. In fact, most of them, in my experience.

Posted by: gergle at January 15, 2007 6:26 PM
Comment #203407

Raising the minimum wage (provided it isn’t raised too high) won’t hurt nor help that much.
Supply and demand determine wages.

Where necessary, increases in wages will simply raise prices to cover increased costs, and consumers will barely feel the increase.

It’s not that big of a deal to most Americans, but can be helpful to those at the bottom of the wage scale.

We’ve got much bigger fish to fry, and it would be nice if Congress would focus on the most important problems.

Unfortunately, most of the most important things on this list are likely to still be ignored.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 15, 2007 6:50 PM
Comment #203410

OK Eric
I waited. Where’s the beef. What actual linkage can you verify that there is any more than a geographic tie between Pelosi and Del Monte. Major campaign contributions, her husbands business ties, anything? Maybe because Pelosi and Del Monte are both Italian names? You have to do better than that.

Posted by: BillS at January 15, 2007 7:04 PM
Comment #203427

Rob-
It wasn’t a rant. It was a critique of a view of the economy built on an oversimplified ideal model. I’m simply pointing out that money doesn’t simply go to people and stay there. Nor does people having more money necessarily mean that everybody raises their prices. Other market forces would put pressure on prices to stay down. If some guy raises prices because of the minimum wage, then everybody who doesn’t raise prices will get their business, and perhaps more of it to boot.

It’s in the best interests of this country for people to be compensated for their efforts commensurate with what the market demands of them. Minimum wage laws prevent abusive wages, where the person cannot afford basic necessities, and is forced to rely on some kind of assistance.

There are people who work an honest days work, and yet cannot support themselves without help from the government. Is that a healthy economic situation? Should we be subsidizing low wages in the name of total employment?

Who is “we”? What constitutes “running the economy”?

That depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is. Seriously, though, it should be obvious: We the people. We Americans. We. As in the country. and should I really have to explain what “running the economy” means?

As for pampering the hell out of business? Well, lets start with tax breaks out the wazoo, corporate welfare, deregulation on all fronts- in other words the corruption American voted to put to an end.

“their” means the voters.

As for working the problem from another angle? How about the problem of how one makes a profit, runs a good economy. It’s time to get away from the unsustainable rot of the GOP’s economic policies. As for the angle? How about not merely from the point of view of the well-heeled in the business world.

You’re quibbling. I’m telling you that its time that we figure out some means to improve the economy that don’t come at the expense of the middle class and the working class, because we are at a point where this country can’t take anymore of that kind of abuse. Somebody has to stick up for the average person here.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 15, 2007 8:21 PM
Comment #203477

charles
I don’t know where you live But here in South Georgia the average pay is $8.00 to $8.50 per hour. This is for factory work, other types of unskilled work pays less. I start employees with no experience at $9.00/hr. I have only one employee at that rate right now. She’s due for a raise this month and most likely get another $1.00/hr. I have 10 employees currently making $13.75/hr. Most make $11.75/hr.
At $11.75/hr most my employees make $24,444.00 without over time. Compared to $17680.00 for most other factory jobs. This and a good benefits package is why most my employees have been with me for 10 years or more.
As for why I didn’t so better in school. Most of was stupid on my part. I hated school and only did enough to get passed to the next grade. But I also had a hard time with math, english, and spelling.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 15, 2007 11:42 PM
Comment #203481

Rob
Thanks.
Your right about housing being cheap around here. Compared to other parts of the country the cost of living is relatively cheap altogether.
The median cost of a house here is $53,900. You can get a nice 3 bedroom 2 1/2 bath home for a little as $38,900. And these places ain’t dumps either.
Most folks around here are buying a house, driving a decent 3 to 5 year old car, and still have money eat out every now and again. They can also afford insurance. And most don’t make what I pay my employees.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 15, 2007 11:58 PM
Comment #203485

Now you got to love that dim mentality. It is a very small indiscretion, tuna for cash, reid bridge for land deal. Now that is what the captain of the Titanic said, ” nothing to worry about, it is only a small chunk of ice you see”

Now that is the dim mentality, small for them when they have a fubar, but in Delay case it was before a law was passed and like hillaries laws it tried to grandfather past actions.

just more dim smoke and mirrors, lies, and you know.

Posted by: im at January 16, 2007 12:26 AM
Comment #203491

“tomd-
Tell me something: should the marority of people suffer, and the interests of the nation, just to keep a few in business?”

Since the majority of people are way beyond the minimum wage, let me rephrase the question to you. should ANY businesses be forced out of business to increase the standard of living for a FEW people?


Posted by: tomd at January 16, 2007 2:44 AM
Comment #203496

Ron, connections can compensate for a lot. The military tolerates more than it should. I just heard yesterday that the standards for enlistment have been dropped, again. Apparently, now, DI’s are instructed not to forbid dessert to overweight individuals - could cause emotional problems. No high school diploma, no problem in Bush’s military today.

Sounds like the military I was in during the Viet Nam draft. If you had a trigger finger and could follow simple instructions, you were in.

Can’t comment on your businesses, without seeing them and the books. I have a great cousin who makes a comfortable living - cash only basis as much as possible allows a lot of tax dodges. Illegal immigrant labor at substandard wages and off the books goes a long way too!

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 16, 2007 6:44 AM
Comment #203530

David
Your right, connections do compensate of a lot of things. But I never was that well connected.
A lot of the reason I didn’t do very good in school is my fault. I hated school and the only thing I wanted out of it was me. So I’d do just enough to get passed to the next grade. My parents kept on me because they knew I could do better than I was.
Math, English, And Spelling were my worst subjects. The fact that most my teachers wouldn’t take time to explain the simplest of question to me didn’t help. They were geared to the smartest and richest (even though they weren’t necessarily the smartest) kids. The kids that didn’t do so good kinda got left behind.
When we were studying fractions I noticed that when you multiply fraction you end up with a smaller fraction. And when you divide fractions you end up with a higher fraction. When I asked why I was told not to ask stupid questions. The main reason I was told that was because I didn’t have the right last name. So I didn’t count.
But that doesn’t excuse my not trying harder than I did.
But I know how to think. And I can look at a problem and find solutions. I’m also smart enough to hire an accountant that can keep track of the books better than I can.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 16, 2007 1:41 PM
Comment #203568
The first 100 hours—already the smell of crass corruption rears it’s ugly head.
I know there’s no value added by this comment, but, where were you the last few years? Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 16, 2007 4:53 PM
Comment #203601

Stephen,

I noticed that you skipped a couple of my questions.

“Other market forces would put pressure on prices to stay down. If some guy raises prices because of the minimum wage, then everybody who doesn’t raise prices will get their business, and perhaps more of it to boot.”

You realize that this is the same argument that those who don’t want to raise the minimum wage make to say that such a raise will cause people to lose their jobs, right?

“It’s in the best interests of this country for people to be compensated for their efforts commensurate with what the market demands of them.”

Again, this is an argument against minimum wage. Most definitions of the “market” include supply vs. demand as the primary arbiters of price.

“Minimum wage laws prevent abusive wages, where the person cannot afford basic necessities, and is forced to rely on some kind of assistance.”

Agree. No problem with the general principal; however, it is something that should be maintained at the State level as originally envisioned by the framers.

“There are people who work an honest days work, and yet cannot support themselves without help from the government. Is that a healthy economic situation? Should we be subsidizing low wages in the name of total employment?”

This is a flawed argument. We are not subsidizing low wages, we are subsidizing gaps in income vs. expenses. What a person makes at wages is dependent upon the “market forces” as you clearly pointed out above. Gaps in income can only be measured based on what the individual and their family needs. There are many teenagers that make minimum wage in this country that are on no government assistance at all. However, there are people with large enough families that will qualify for assistance with a household income of over $50K. Surely, you don’t think that we should demand that everyone make $50k/ year because some can’t survive on that, do you?

As a society we have a responsibility to provide a safety net, I won’t argue that. How much and in what fashion it is provided are topics for another day. However, our measure of what we provide is always based on “means testing.” The first step in the process is not determining the income of the family, it is determining the expenses. Income is second.

A family making $21,000 (the current minimum wage for a family with two full-time incomes)with two healthy school age children in most places in the middle of the country can probably survive on that. They may need some help on medical insurance (but they still will at the new minimum wage). They would be better off if both parents could manage to work 10 hour days instead of 8. If they can manage just that small level of overtime, they can bring home another $8K a year or up to almost $30k a year. They probably won’t need any public assistance (again with the possible exception of medical insurance which won’t change at the new levels).

Now, a family of four making $60,000 with a child with severe mental retardation and physical handicaps may have expenses that are well over thrre times for the disabled child what the costs are for a normal child. The family is above the median income in most states but must be on public assistance.

Again, to make the point clear. We subsidize income gaps not raw earnings. It is not the responsibility of the employer of the second family to pay his employee more because he has higher costs. Nor is it the responsibility of the employers of teenagers to pay them less because their income is just folding money. They pay what the market bears.

Btw, it used to work differently. It was always that great. My mom in the 60’s worked for DEC. They had to make a choice between her and a male colleague with less experience and worse evaluations. They chose the man because he had a family and mouths to feed. Was that fair?

“That depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is. Seriously, though, it should be obvious: We the people. We Americans. We. As in the country. and should I really have to explain what “running the economy” means?”

I asked the question in all seriousness because I’m not sure what your definiton means. I personally think that what “running the economy” means is beyond mine and most people’s capacities to understand.* It is inordinately complex and reducing it to an argument that is about the length of an average politican’s soundbite does it a disservice.

*(Assuming that we can run the economy).

“As for pampering the hell out of business? Well, lets start with tax breaks out the wazoo, corporate welfare, deregulation on all fronts- in other words the corruption American voted to put to an end.”

Stephen, again, I ask the question. What has fundamentally changed with the way that the U.S. government deals with “business” in the last 6 years. To the best of my knowledge, there have been no universal corporate tax reductions, no real deregulation, and the corporate welfare is probably no different that it was 7 or even 15 years ago.

“As for working the problem from another angle? How about the problem of how one makes a profit, runs a good economy.”

Last I checked it is far from the government’s responsibility to make a profit for business or otherwise.

“It’s time to get away from the unsustainable rot of the GOP’s economic policies. As for the angle? How about not merely from the point of view of the well-heeled in the business world.”

Again, what is markedly different now than 8 or 15 years ago? What will you change that wasn’t the case for much longer than this administration?

“You’re quibbling. I’m telling you that its time that we figure out some means to improve the economy that don’t come at the expense of the middle class and the working class…”

I’m not quibbling. You’re confusing tax policy with economic policy. Your also vastly overstating the differences between the treatment of “business” under this administration and the last one, and the last four before that.

As for sticking it to the middle class and the working class. This statement to me represents a flawed misudnerstanding of what is going on in the economy that is within the control of the government.

Are the Democrats going to tilt at the windmill of globalization? Are they going to deinvent the personal computer that started the knowledge revolution in the 90’s? We are undergoing a transformation in our economy now that is similar to what went on during the Industrial Revolution. Some industries are nearly complete with their technology gains (banking, how many tellars are their compared to 1975?). Some are just starting, (case work and other personal services jobs). Most are in the middle (factories, some robots, but not completely automated yet).

This transformation of the economy will provide more gains to those that can further the productivity gains within a company by using the new tools. Those that can’t or won’t end up like out of work bank tellars. Looking for something that pays worse and with worse benefits. This is something that the government can not control. Nor is it something that it should. Because once this transformation stabilizes (my guess about 20 years away), we will all be better off for it, just as we hit the better places in the manufacturing economy in the 40’s - 60’s.

Posted by: Rob at January 16, 2007 8:06 PM
Comment #203604

If the leadership of the Congress truly wants to use a “moderate” approach to legislate, then why are they trying to re-activate that old “Fairness Doctrine”, pass hate crimes legislation, and squelch grassroots organizations from speaking out through their version of lobby reform. I really don’t want to know how they would do from the left. Shows how mixed up the dims are. Can’t tell the center from the left.

Posted by: tomh at January 16, 2007 8:21 PM
Comment #203688

Rob-
If you choose to parse out everything I say and divorce it from context and interconnection, then you will confused about what I’m really saying.

I’m saying that business may increase, without the need to charge more, meaning everybody’s dollar goes further, meaning that you won’t see the feared economic impact.

When I say that that market demands a certain wage out of people, I’m saying that it requires them to pay more in order to maintain the same standard of living. You seem to think that the only market pressure on wages is downwards. Forces like additional bills, higher costs for food and energy, in addition to other factors like education will require people to ask more out of their wages.

This is indicative of the economic elitism in much of Republican policy on this issue: they only take into account the costs of the company, not the employee. Yet, if you don’t take care of the employee’s costs, with the wages, what’s to drive the economy? If more people have to live paycheck to paycheck, how does that reinforce a healthy economy?

The answer is, it doesn’t.

As for what the Framers envisioned? The Framers never envisioned the industrial and post-industrial economies of their time. They never had to pay electric bills, phone bills, much less internet and satellite bills! They had a subsistence economy where most people were farmers. Wisely enough, though, they left the matter of what our laws would be to future generations. We’re taking care of ourselves here.

As for subsidation of low wages? Don’t give me gaps in income versus expenses. If a person working full time cannot make a living wage, they are being paid too little for their time. There are people whose main job is a minimum wage job. somebody has to support them. If they are given the money to support themselves, we can eliminate the bureaucratic costs that accompany having to make up the shortfall. Sure the companies that pay these people will have higher payroll costs, and some may go out of business. However, those folks were depending not on market forces to keep them in business, or to raise their profits, but instead the generosity of the state and federal government, a form of corporate welfare that means that they could get away with running a business less efficiently at taxpayer expense.

You can only squeeze so much efficiency out of the payroll before you cut into your own ability to actually produce, and do services. You can only drop wages so low and depress them for so long before you start creating problems for the economy.

As for deregulation, you haven’t been paying attention. Without it, you don’t have Enron, either in its failure, or in its manipulation of energy Without it, you don’t have four or five conglomerates controlling virtually the entire media.

As for breaks and corporate welfare? Again, you haven’t been paying attention. Just last year Bush dumped a whole bunch of tax breaks and subsidies on the energy sector.

It is the size and the scale of these efforts that distinguish the Republicans from their predecessors. We have lobbyists from these industries writing legislation themselves. If you do not understand that, you do not understand what the K Street project was about.

Another example: Telecommunications companies, in exchange for deregulations of rates on services, were supposed to get high-speed networks to everybody’s homes. They didn’t. Congress did not hold them to this.

The economy can be run, though not at anybody’s specific beck and call. We can act, and await results. It’s been done in the past, and it’s worked.

This economy has been run in an elitist, top-heavy way, and that simply doesn’t work. There has to be a equilibrium brought between the interests of business, which are legitimate, and the interests of workers, employees and contractors. We have to realize that the system is not one side or the other in control, but rather both sides in interaction.

I hate it when people talk casually about the new economy, as if everything will be replaced. It won’t be. It will be an iteration of the old economy, and evolution, and certain needs and priniciples will still be valid.

This isn’t about anti-globalism. This is about preserving our interests in the face of the new economic facts of this day and age, and recognizing that the current system is not in natural equilibrium, as some Republicans would allege.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 17, 2007 10:27 AM
Comment #203699

I’ll agree that there has been government corruption to a degree that was a good reason to throw the bums out in the last election cycle, but I have to disagree with some of your other points. First, the interaction between “business” and the government has not fundamentally changed during the past 6 years.

“As for what the Framers envisioned? The Framers never envisioned the industrial and post-industrial economies of their time. They never had to pay electric bills, phone bills, much less internet and satellite bills! They had a subsistence economy where most people were farmers. Wisely enough, though, they left the matter of what our laws would be to future generations. We’re taking care of ourselves here.”

They were wise enough to allow us to leave future laws to future generations. They also correctly perscribed which laws should be written at the State level and which should be written at the Federal level. This guidance has been abandoned in favor of a unitary government that has been used more often (but not exclusively) by liberals to try to enact social change uniformly in a one size fits all approach that neglects regional variability and further removes the citizens from their government, reducing the ability to easily repeal laws that don’t work and enact laws that do. The 10th ammendment has been virtually shredded in favor an expanded view of the commerce clause that allows the Federal government power to enact legislation with capricious disregard to the localized effects.

“As for deregulation, you haven’t been paying attention. Without it, you don’t have Enron, either in its failure, or in its manipulation of energy Without it, you don’t have four or five conglomerates controlling virtually the entire media.”

When was energy deregulation signed into law in CA? Answer 1996. Deregulation as a whole was a
Carter initiative started in the 1970’s. From Wikipedia on deregulation:

Deregulation gained momentum in the 1970s, influenced not only by research at the University of Chicago and the theories of Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich von Hayek, and Milton Friedman, among others, but more importantly by that of Alfred E. Kahn. Deregulation in the US was led by President Jimmy Carter, with Kahn’s input. Key legislation that was passed included: Airline Deregulation Act (24 October, 1978), Staggers Rail Act (signed 14 October, 1980), and the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 (signed 1 July 1980). The Emergency Natural Gas Act (signed 2/2/77) was a mix of regulation in response to OPEC price hikes and deregulation. The Airline Deregulation Act is a notable example. It sought to reintroduce market forces to the heavily regulated commercial airline industry. Subsequent deregulation has had a mixed record.

There have been no major changes in the past two decades to these initiatives regardless of the party in power.

Enron was investigated and prosecuted under Bush not Clinton when most of their misdeeds started. Additionally, the Republican Congress and Bush passed the most sweeping regulatory reforms in two decades with Sarbanes-Oxley.

As to the four or five conglomerates controlling the media, this is nothing markedly different that what existed during the previous administration, that took no action on the subject. I doubt it’s important enough that anyone of either political party will take action on it anytime soon.

Before you accuse the Republican of sowing the seeds of deregulation agian, I challenge you to study the history.

“As for breaks and corporate welfare? Again, you haven’t been paying attention. Just last year Bush dumped a whole bunch of tax breaks and subsidies on the energy sector.”

I actually thought that was three or four years ago, but I agree that they should be repealed. However, these tax breaks were targeted and in know were as sweeping as your initial post indicated. Targeted tax breaks for business have been tried and failed for years under all political stripes. Farm subsidies under Democrats comes to mind. I agree that we should get rid of them.

“Another example: Telecommunications companies, in exchange for deregulations of rates on services, were supposed to get high-speed networks to everybody’s homes. They didn’t. Congress did not hold them to this.”

I think that they’ve actually done a pretty good job of that in the time that they have had to accomplish the job. However, again, that deregulation was accomplished before Bush came into office, wasn’t it?

“The economy can be run, though not at anybody’s specific beck and call. We can act, and await results. It’s been done in the past, and it’s worked.”

I beg to differ. Aside from setting monetary policy which is done by the apolitical Fed., the government really has very little input into the economy. Since Taft-Hartley, the government works on the fringes in uncoordinated ways to either remove or enact obstacles to businesses in the search for some social goal. There are places where it is appropriate. Places where it is not, but no one group has run the economy since the early 1900’s.

“I hate it when people talk casually about the new economy, as if everything will be replaced. It won’t be. It will be an iteration of the old economy, and evolution, and certain needs and priniciples will still be valid.”

First off, I don’t think that I was talking any more casually about the new economy than you were about the current one. I offered a viewpoint, one you either disagree with or don’t understand.

Second, I’m not arguing that everything will be replaced. No more than we stopped needing shoes after the industrial revolution. We just stopped needing cobblers. Products will stay how they are produced will change. There will be some vestiges just like we didn’t stop farming when the industrial revolution came. We did change the way we farmed though.

It will be an iteration in the same way that the industrial revolution represented an iteration over the agriarian economy. Certain needs and principals will remain, you’re right about that. I’m just not sure which ones will be those that remain, aside from the basic principles of economics and sociology.

“This isn’t about anti-globalism. This is about preserving our interests in the face of the new economic facts of this day and age, and recognizing that the current system is not in natural equilibrium, as some Republicans would allege.”

What natural equilibrium are you talking about? What interests are you trying to preserve? Who is our? Before these questions are belittled again as quibbling, they are serious, I look forward to your response.


Posted by: Rob at January 17, 2007 11:54 AM
Comment #203731

“Sure the companies that pay these people will have higher payroll costs, and some may go out of business. However, those folks were depending not on market forces to keep them in business, or to raise their profits, but instead the generosity of the state and federal government, a form of corporate welfare that means that they could get away with running a business less efficiently at taxpayer expense.”

This would only be true if the government owned all the fruits of my labor. It really irks me to hear that the government is giving me something by not taking all my money.

Posted by: tomd at January 17, 2007 2:57 PM
Comment #203795

tomd-
You just have to answer yourself one question: Would people accept these jobs at those wages if they could not get public assistance?

That is the market at work. Any job taken full time, that a person cannot survive on without government assistance, is an underpaid job for the market. The market demands certain costs for food, shelter, and other necessities. Society as a whole ends up paying for it either way; there’s no such thing as a free lunch, not even when food stamps are involved. Would you rather people become dependent on food stamps to work a job? Then every taxpayer is footing the bill for the corporations failure to match the market value of the work.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 18, 2007 12:48 AM
Comment #203864

Stephen,

Would you rather them not take that job at all if they have to have food stamps to live on it. Go back to my post above. What if the wage they are offered is twice the current minimum wage, but they have a family of 8 and would therefore still qualify for food stamps or public assistance. Is the employer then bound to pay them more?

“Then every taxpayer is footing the bill for the corporations failure to match the market value of the work.”

And if the value of work is actually lower than what workers are receiving, what then? What if out of a sense of civic duty, I have resisted the urge to move my plant to Mexico where the same work can be done for one quarter of the current minimum wage. I continue to pay minimum wage because I realize without those wages my employees (my second family) will have no other option. Am I paying below what that work is worth or am I paying more than what that work is worth?

Posted by: Rob at January 18, 2007 3:43 PM
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