Sunday, June 30, 2013

Anti-American Fanatics Breitbart and Sarah Palin Get Immigration Reform's Impact Completely Wrong

Anti-American Fanatics Breitbart and Sarah Palin Get Immigration Reform's Impact Completely Wrong

Right-wing media outlets cherry-picked data from a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on the Senate's immigration reform proposal to incorrectly claim that the bill would hurt American workers. In fact, the CBO report found that the Senate immigration reform bill would have temporary and small negative effects but over the long term would greatly benefit both American workers and the economy, which is reinforced by past studies.
Right-Wing Media Twist CBO Report To Claim That Immigration Reform Would Hurt American Workers

Breitbart Claimed CBO Report Predicted Immigration Bill "Would Drive Down The Wages Of American Workers." Breitbart's Matthew Boyle selectively quoted the CBO report to claim that the Senate immigration bill "would drive down American workers' wages":

    On page seven of the analysis, the CBO and [Joint Committee on Taxation] conclude that the "Gang of Eight" bill would drive down American workers' wages. "Taking into account all of those flows of new immigrants, CBO and JCT expect that a greater number of immigrants with lower skills than with higher skills would be added to the workforce, slightly pushing down the average wage for the labor force as a whole, other things being equal," the report reads. [Breitbart, 6/18/13]

Washington Examiner: "Schumer-Rubio Will Also Make Unemployment Worse Too." The Washington Examiner's Conn Carroll claimed the CBO report found that the immigration reform bill would raise the unemployment rate:

    In addition to not ending illegal immigration, CBO estimates that Schumer-Rubio will also make unemployment worse too. "Employment would increase as the labor force expanded, because the additional population would add to demand for goods and services and, in turn, to the demand for labor," the report reads. "However, temporary imbalances in the skills and occupations demanded and supplied in the labor market, as well as other factors, would cause the unemployment rate to be slightly higher for several years than projected under current law." [Washington Examiner, 6/19/13]

Ingraham: CBO Report "Is Devastating." On her radio show, Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham characterized the CBO report as "devastating" to immigration reform and went on to depict the report's economic conclusions as negative, claiming, "we find out that wages go down over twelve years" and "that per capita GNP declines over the next twelve years." [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 6/19/13, via Media Matters]
In Fact, CBO Report Finds That Many Negative Effects Of Legislation Are Temporary And Unlikely To Affect American Workers

CBO: Wages Would Be "Slightly Lower" Over The First Decade But Higher By Next Decade. According to the CBO, the rapid increase in the numbers of workers would temporarily decrease wages but those wages would increase in the second decade of the legislation:

    CBO's central estimates also show that average wages for the entire labor force would be 0.1 percent lower in 2023 and 0.5 percent higher in 2033 under the legislation than under current law. Average wages would be slightly lower than under current law through 2024, primarily because the amount of capital available to workers would not increase as rapidly as the number of workers and because the new workers would be less skilled and have lower wages, on average, than the labor force under current law. However, the rate of return on capital would be higher under the legislation than under current law throughout the next two decades. [Congressional Budget Office, June 2013]

Real GNP Would Rise Overall By 2.4 Percent In 2023 And 4.5 Percent In 2033. According to the CBO report, real Gross National Product (GNP) could increase by as much as 4.8 percent in 2033 but would be greater by 2.4 percent in 2023 and 4.5 percent in 2033:

    The effects of the legislation on real GNP would be slightly smaller because increases in the rate of return on capital and in interest rates would imply greater flows of profits and interest to foreigners. According to CBO's central estimates, real GNP would be greater by 2.4 percent in 2023 and by 4.5 percent in 2033. Under the full range of estimates, the bill could boost GNP by an amount between 4.1 percent and 4.8 percent in 2033. [Congressional Budget Office, June 2013]

CBO: Per Capita GNP Would Decrease Due To Increase In Population. According to the CBO, the per capita GNP would decrease temporarily over the next decade, even though Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would increase by 5.4 percent by 2033 due to the increased population growth associated with immigration reform, and GNP is expected to rise again by 2033:

    Taking account of all economic effects (including those reflected in the cost estimate), the bill would increase real (inflation adjusted) GDP relative to the amount CBO projects under current law by 3.3 percent in 2023 and by 5.4 percent in 2033, according to CBO's central estimates. Compared with GDP, gross national product (GNP) per capita accounts for the effect on incomes of international capital flows and adjusts for the number of people in the country. Relative to what would occur under current law, S. 744 would lower per capita GNP by 0.7 percent in 2023 and raise it by 0.2 percent in 2033, according to CBO's central estimates. Per capita GNP would be less than 1 percent lower than under current law through 2031 because the increase in the population would be greater, proportionately, than the increase in output; after 2031, however, the opposite would be true. [Congressional Budget Office, June 2013]

CBO: Temporary Reductions In Wages And Per Capita GNP "Do Not Imply That Current U.S. Residents Would Be Worse Off." The estimated reduction in average wage and per capita GNP include immigrants who would be newly legalized who would earn lower wages, on average, than other residents, but that does not mean current U.S. residents will be worse off than under current law:

    The estimated reductions in average wages and per capita GNP for much of the next two decades do not necessarily imply that current U.S. residents would be worse off, on average, under the legislation than they would be under current law. Both of those figures represent differences between the averages for all U.S. residents under the legislation--including both the people who would be residents under current law and the additional people who would come to the country under the legislation--and the averages under current law for people who would be residents in the absence of the legislation.

    As noted, the additional people who would become residents under the legislation would earn lower wages, on average, than other residents, which would pull down the average wage and per capita GNP; at the same time, the income earned by capital would increase. [emphasis added] [Congressional Budget Office, June 2013]

Unemployment Would Increase By 0.1 Percentage Point Over The Next Five Years. According to the CBO report, enacting the immigration reform bill would increase the unemployment rate by 0.1 percent over the next five years:

    As a result, enacting S. 744 would raise the unemployment rate over the next five years by up to roughly 0.1 percentage point relative to projections under current law; the rate would remain slightly elevated through 2020, CBO estimates. [Congressional Budget Office, June 2013]

Short-Term Increase In Unemployment Rate Due In Part To Immigration Reform Is Due To Expanding Workforce And Lack Of Occupations Available To Workers. According to the CBO report, the short-term increase in the unemployment rate would be in part due to the arrival of new immigrants who would not be able to fill the jobs demanded. Some workers would be forced to move into new fields in order to restore equilibrium which causes short-term unemployment. [Congressional Budget Office, June 2013]

CBO: Legislation Would Have "No Effect On Unemployment After 2020." According to the CBO report, the immigration reform bill would have no effect on the unemployment rate after the year 2020. [Congressional Budget Office, June 2013]

CBO: Over Long Term, "There Would Be Little Effect On The Unemployment Rate." According to the CBO report, the long-term unemployment rate would be "comparable, on average, to that of the current population":

    In the long run, the actual unemployment rate in the economy tends to be close to its natural rate. The natural rate of unemployment of the additional immigrants would be comparable, on average, to that of the current population, CBO expects, so there would be little effect on the unemployment rate in the long run. Thus, in the long run, the number of employed people would increase by the same percentage as the growth in the labor force--by about 3½ percent in 2023 and by about 5 percent in 2033, CBO estimates. [Congressional Budget Office, June 2013]

Actual, Long-Term Effects Of Legislation Would Be Positive For American Workers And Economy

Over 2014-2023 Period, U.S. Could See A Net Savings Of $175 Billion. According to a summary of the CBO's report, the United States would see the federal budget deficit decrease by $197 billion between 2014 to 2023. Combined with increased discretionary outlays of $22 billion over the same time period, the net savings for the U.S. would be $175 billion. [Congressional Budget Office, 6/18/13]

Over 2024-2033 Period, U.S. Could See A Net Savings Of $700 Billion. According to the CBO, changes in direct spending and revenues would decrease federal budget deficits by approximately $700 billion over the second decade following the bill's enactment:

    The additional amount of federal direct spending stemming from enactment of S. 744 would grow after 2023 as more people became eligible for federal benefits as a result of the bill. The additional amount of federal revenues owing to the legislation also would increase after 2023 as the labor force continued to increase. On balance, CBO and JCT estimate that those changes in direct spending and revenues would decrease federal budget deficits by about $700 billion (or 0.2 percent of total output) over the 2024-2033 period. In addition, the legislation would have a net discretionary cost of $20 billion to $25 billion over the 2024-2033 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. According to CBO's central estimates (within a range that reflects the uncertainty about two key economic relationships in CBO's analysis), the economic impacts not included in the cost estimate would further reduce deficits (relative to the effects reported in the cost estimate) by about $300 billion over the 2024-2033 period. [Congressional Budget Office, 6/18/13]

Relative To Current Law, Immigration Bill Would Increase Average Wages, Boost Capital Investment And Raise Productivity Of Labor And Capital Over Long Term. According to a summary by the CBO, long-term benefits to the U.S. economy include increases in employment, wages, capital investment, and productivity of labor and capital. [Congressional Budget Office, 6/18/13]
CBO Findings Supported By Various Studies

Center For American Progress: "The Positive Economic Impacts" Of Providing Immigrants Legal Status "Likely To Be Very Large." In a comprehensive report titled, "The Economic Effects of Granting Legal Status and Citizenship to Undocumented Immigrants," the Center for American Progress found that immigration reform that includes legal status and a pathway to citizenship yields significant economic benefits:

    The positive economic impacts on the nation and on undocumented immigrants of granting them legal status and a road map to citizenship are likely to be very large. The nation as a whole would benefit from a sizable increase in GDP and income and a modest increase in jobs. The earnings of unauthorized immigrants would rise significantly, and the taxes they would pay would increase dramatically. Given that the full benefits would phase in over a number of years, the sooner we grant legal status and provide a road map to citizenship to unauthorized immigrants, the sooner Americans will be able to reap these benefits. It is also clear that legalization and a road map to citizenship bestow greater gains on the American people and the U.S. economy than legalization alone. [Center for American Progress, 3/20/13]

Cato Institute: Immigration Reform Would "Lay The Foundation For Robust, Just, And Widespread Economic Growth." The Cato Institute made the case for immigration reform in a 2012 study, which concluded that immigration reform will benefit both undocumented immigrants and the U.S. economy:

    The experience of IRCA and the results of our modeling both indicate that legalizing currently unauthorized immigrants and creating flexible legal limits on future immigration in the context of full labor rights would raise wages, increase consumption, create jobs, and generate additional tax revenue--particularly in those sectors of the U.S. economy now characterized by the lowest wages. This is a compelling economic reason to move away from the current "vicious cycle" where enforcement-only policies perpetuate unauthorized migration and exert downward pressure on already-low wages, and toward a "virtuous cycle" of worker empowerment in which legal status and labor rights exert upward pressure on wages.

    Legalization of the nation's unauthorized workers and new legal limits on immigration that rise and fall with U.S. labor demand would help lay the foundation for robust, just, and widespread economic growth. Moving unauthorized workers out of a vulnerable underground status strengthens all working families' ability to become more productive and creates higher levels of job-generating consumption, thereby laying a foundation for long-term community revitalization, middle-class growth, and a stronger, more equitable national economy. [The Cato Journal, Winter 2012]

Manhattan Institute: "Embracing A More Flexible Legal Immigration System Can Dramatically Improve" Economy. A Manhattan Institute issue brief linked increased immigration with economic growth and touted "the need for policy change":

    America's economic growth is hovering around 2 percent, public debt is $16 trillion and rising, and job creation and labor market participation remain low. Embracing a more flexible legal immigration system can dramatically improve this situation. This paper describes the link between economic growth and immigration, the need for policy change, the misguided history of America's political opposition to immigration, and a rational immigration policy.

    Immigrants increase economic efficiency by reducing labor shortages in low- and high-skilled markets because their educational backgrounds fill holes in the native-born labor market. However, the share of immigrants in the U.S. workforce has declined since its 1991 peak. Increased immigration would expand the American work-force, and encourage more business start-ups. Businesses ranging from Apple Corporation to apple growers would be able to find the workers they need in America.

    Current law has inhibited such positive developments. [The Manhattan Institute, 2/18/13]

Friday, June 28, 2013

Conservative Culture: America's Wage Slaves Are Getting Crushed Making Corporate Plutocrats Rich

America's Wage Slaves Are Getting Crushed Making Corporate Plutocrats Rich

In cities all across the country, workers stand on street corners, line up in alleys or wait in a neon-lit beauty salon for rickety vans to whisk them off to warehouses miles away. Some vans are so packed that to get to work, people must squat on milk crates, sit on the laps of passengers they do not know or sometimes lie on the floor, the other workers’ feet on top of them.

This is not Mexico. It is not Guatemala or Honduras. This is Chicago, New Jersey, Boston.

The people here are not day laborers looking for an odd job from a passing contractor. They are regular employees of temp agencies working in the supply chain of many of America’s largest companies – Walmart, Macy’s, Nike, Frito-Lay. They make our frozen pizzas, sort the recycling from our trash, cut our vegetables and clean our imported fish. They unload clothing and toys made overseas and pack them to fill our store shelves. They are as important to the global economy as shipping containers and Asian garment workers.

Many get by on minimum wage, renting rooms in rundown houses, eating dinners of beans and potatoes, and surviving on food banks and taxpayer-funded health care. They almost never get benefits and have little opportunity for advancement.

Across America, temporary work has become a mainstay of the economy, leading to the proliferation of what researchers have begun to call “temp towns.” They are often dense Latino neighborhoods teeming with temp agencies. Or they are cities where it has become nearly impossible even for whites and African-Americans with vocational training to find factory and warehouse work without first being directed to a temp firm.

In June, the Labor Department reported [3] that the nation had more temp workers than ever before: 2.7 million. Overall, almost one-fifth of the total job growth since the recession ended in mid-2009 has been in the temp sector, federal data shows. But according to the American Staffing Association [4], the temp industry’s trade group, the pool is even larger: Every year, a tenth of all U.S. workers finds a job at a staffing agency.

The proportion of temp workers in the labor force reached its peak in early 2000 before the 2001 slump and then the Great Recession. But as the economy continues its slow, uneven recovery, temp work is roaring back 10 times faster than private-sector employment as a whole – a pace “exceeding even the dramatic run-up of the early 1990s,” according to [5] the staffing association.

The overwhelming majority of that growth has come in blue-collar work in factories and warehouses, as the temp industry sheds the Kelly Girl image of the past. Last year, more than one in every 20 blue-collar workers was a temp.

Several temp agencies, such as Adecco and Manpower, are now among the largest employers in the United States. One list [6] put Kelly Services as second only to Walmart.

“We’re seeing just more and more industries using business models that attempt to change the employment relationship or obscure the employment relationship,” said Mary Beth Maxwell, a top official in the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division. “While it’s certainly not a new phenomenon, it’s rapidly escalating. In the last 10 to 15 years, there’s just a big shift to this for a lot more workers – which makes them a lot more vulnerable.”

The temp system insulates the host companies from workers’ compensation claims, unemployment taxes, union drives and the duty to ensure that their workers are citizens or legal immigrants. In turn, the temps suffer high injury rates, according to federal officials and academic studies, and many of them endure hours of unpaid waiting and face fees that depress their pay below minimum wage.

The rise of the blue-collar permatemp helps explain one of the most troubling aspects of the phlegmatic recovery. Despite a soaring stock market and steady economic growth, many workers are returning to temporary or part-time jobs. This trend is intensifying America’s decades-long rise in income inequality, in which low- and middle-income workers have seen their real wages stagnate or decline [7]. On average, temps earn 25 percent less than permanent workers.

The CEO of Manpower is like a bandit without the risks. He made $5.5 million over 6 years for supplying wage slaves to other plutocrats. He, like the Walmart family take more out of the economy and suppress more economic activity than they create.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Morally Corrupt Conservatives On Supreme Court Steal Voting Rights From Millions of Americans

Morally Corrupt Conservatives On Supreme Court Steal Voting Rights From Millions of Americans

Let's be clear about what has just happened. Five unelected, life-tenured men this morning declared that overt racial discrimination in the nation's voting practices is over and no longer needs all of the special federal protections it once did. They did so, without a trace of irony, by striking down as unconstitutionally outdated a key provision of a federal law that this past election cycle alone protected the franchise for tens of millions of minority citizens. And they did so on behalf of an unrepentant county in the Deep South whose officials complained about the curse of federal oversight even as they continued to this very day to enact and implement racially discriminatory voting laws.

In deciding Shelby County v. Holder, in striking down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, the five conservative justices of the United States Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, didn't just rescue one recalcitrant Alabama jurisdiction from the clutches of racial justice and universal enfranchisement. By voiding the legislative formula that determines which jurisdictions must get federal "preclearance" for changes to voting laws, today's ruling enables officials in virtually every Southern county, and in many other jurisdictions as well, to more conveniently impose restrictive new voting rules on minority citizens. And they will. That was the whole point of the lawsuit. Here is the link to the ruling.

In a 5-4 ruling over liberal dissent, the Supreme Court today declared "accomplished" a "mission" that has become more, not less, dire in the four years since the justices last revisited the subject. They have done so by focusing on voter turnout, which surely has changed for the better in the past fifty years, and by ignoring the other ruses now widely employed to suppress minority votes. In so doing, the five federal judges responsible for this result, all appointed by Republican presidents, have made it materially easier for Republican lawmakers to hassle and harry and disenfranchise likely Democratic voters. And they have done so by claiming that the Congress didn't mean what it said when it renewed the act by landslide votes in 2006.

More here, Three Ways The Supreme Court Gutted Voting Rights Today.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Anti-American Fox News Reporter Todd Starnes Defends Racism and Lies For Paula Deen

Anti-American Fox News Reporter Todd Starnes Defends Racism and Lies For Paula Deen

A Fox News correspondent is attacking "the liberal, anti-South media" for unfairly "trying to crucify Paula Deen" over her admission in a court deposition that she's used racial epithets.

Todd Starnes, who also hosts a Fox News Radio segment, wrote on his Facebook page that the "liberal, anti-South media is trying to crucify Paula Deen. They accuse her of using a derogatory word to describe a black person. Paula admitted she used the word -- back in the 1980s - when a black guy walked into the bank, stuck a gun in her face and ordered her to hand over the cash. The national media failed to mention that part of the story. I'll give credit to the Associated Press for telling the full story."

Starnes also defended Deen via Twitter, writing: "The mainstream media hates Paula Deen [...] I think it's because most of them don't eat meat."

Starnes' defense of Deen doesn't square with reports about Deen's deposition. The Huffington Post reported it "obtained a transcript of the deposition in question" and Deen is quoted as stating she "probably" used the word "in telling my husband" about the incident, and she is "sure" she's used it since then, "but it's been a very long time." She went on to say "my children and my brother object to that word being used in any cruel or mean behavior. As well as I do."

Deen also discussed planning a "really southern plantation wedding" and was asked if she used the n-word then:

    Lawyer: Is there any possibility, in your mind, that you slipped and used the word "n--r"?

    Deen: No, because that's not what these men were. They were professional black men doing a fabulous job.

She apologized today in an online video "to everybody for the wrong that I've done ... Inappropriate and hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable."

In 2011, Starnes tweeted "Blacks riot at Burger King" and linked to a local news story about a cell phone camera capturing a brawl at a Panama City Beach Burger King. The story did not mention or discuss the race of the participants. The tweet was later deleted.

Starnes' Facebook post: see picture above.

I feel a little sorry for Deen, she seems to have some mental and racial issues, and probably needs professional psychological help , instead of sleazy apologists like Starne trying to cover for things she said on the record.. Starnes on the other hand is a malevolent propagandist for the radical anti-American conservatism pushed regularly by Fox News. In the fantasy world of Starnes and Fox America can never really be free until we return to the plantation model of governance.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Conservative John Derbyshire Hated Blacks, Now He Has Moved To Hating Victims of Sexual Assault

Conservative John Derbyshire Hated Blacks, Now He Has Moved To Hating Victims of Sexual Assault
Former National Review columnist John Derbyshire blamed women and attorneys for the rise in reported sexual assaults within military ranks in a piece for Taki’s Magazine on Monday, saying female service members were gender “outliers” likely to commit erratic behavior.

“They are eccentric and prone to behave eccentrically,” Derbyshire wrote. “As a designated victim group, they are especially susceptible to the associated pathologies, e.g., victim hoaxes for attention, spite, or cash reward.”

But male soldiers, he argued, are responding to their “widespread, innate male urges” to kill people, and putting them in units with women “in sex proportions much different from 50-50, and walled off from the general population” would lead to “sex-related emotions” like jealousy to develop, which would limit their effectiveness. Placing male officers in command of female soldiers also put a “severe strain” on human nature in his opinion, because women are attracted to “higher-status men.”

The column comes in the midst of a disagreement between commanders and lawmakers over how to prosecute sexual assault allegations. A proposal by Sen. Kristen Gillebrand (D-NY) that would have granted prosecutors juridsdiction over such cases was stripped from a defense spending bill on June 12. Earlier this year, a Pentagon report estimated that as many as 26,000 sexual assaults happened within the U.S. military in 2012.

In purporting to advise military leaders on “true facts” to help them counter what he called a “tsunami” of reports of unwanted sexual contact, Derbyshire also argued that terms like “sexual harassment” and “sexual assault” were vulnerable to misinterpretation by crooked lawyers.

“It is not, for example, the case that sexual intercourse comes in precisely two clearly distinguished varieties, consensual and nonconsensual,” he wrote. “There is an entire continuum of consent, ranging from forcible kidnapping/rape, to drunk-and-I-don’t-know-what-I-was-thinking, to licensed connubial bliss.”

Derbyshire was fired from the Review in April 2012 after writing a column for Taki’s urging white parents to tell their children to avoid contact with African-Americans they did not know. In September 2009 he said he “wouldn’t lose a minute’s sleep” if women lost the right to vote.

Where does Derbyshire get his psychological science and statistics from? Glenn Beck and Fox News? The conservative movement likes to claim they have values yet always seem to be justifying the worse behavior of people, especially white males. They can't help themselves? That is just the way men are wired? Is the conservative movement composed of sociopath characters who have escaped from Game of Thrones.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Sleazebag Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) Says It Should Be Legal To Fire Someone For Being Republican

Sleazebag Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) Says It Should Be Legal To Fire Someone For Being Republican. OK that is not quite what he said,

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is touted as a top GOP presidential prospect in 2016, thinks it should be legal to fire someone for their sexual orientation.

ThinkProgress spoke with the Florida Senator at the opening luncheon of the annual Faith and Freedom Forum on Thursday and asked him about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill to make discrimination against LGBT individuals illegal across the country.

Though Rubio bristles at the notion of being called a “bigot,” he showed no willingness to help protect LGBT workers from discrimination. “I’m not for any special protections based on orientation,” Rubio told ThinkProgress.

    KEYES: The Senate this summer is going to be taking up the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which makes it illegal to fire someone for being gay. Do you know if you’ll be supporting that?

    RUBIO: I haven’t read the legislation. By and large I think all Americans should be protected but I’m not for any special protections based on orientation.

    KEYES: What about on race or gender?

    RUBIO: Well that’s established law.

    KEYES: But not for sexual orientation?

Workplace discrimination is an all-too-frequent reality for LGBT individuals. Two out of every five openly lesbian, gay, or bisexual employees have reported discrimination at their jobs. Among transgender workers, that figure rises to nine out of ten.

Though other Republicans have applauded Rubio’s so-called “middle ground” on LGBT issues, his record of late tells a far different story. In addition to opposing ENDA and marriage equality, Rubio also said today that he would walk away from his own immigration bill if it includes protections for gay couples.

Currently, 29 states have no laws protecting gay and lesbian workers from discrimination in the workplace, and an additional five states don’t protect workers based on gender identity. And yet nine in ten Americans mistakenly believe that it is illegal to fire someone for being gay.

LGBT workers aren’t asking for “special protections,” as Rubio would have people believe. They’re asking to be treated like everyone else and be allowed to do their job without fear of being harassed or fired for who they are.
Rubio has been studying history's worse regimes and instead of learning moral lessons, he wants the USA to be just like the old Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Both of those totalitarian regimes discriminated against gays and any other group that they thought did not measure up to the "moral" demands of the type of society they wanted. Rubio is another stealth anti-American freak who wraps his distinctly UnAmerican hatred in the flag and the Bible. Patriots should demand that Rubio resign from the senate immediately.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Conservatism Marches On, Closing Schools, But Finding Money To Build More Prisons

Conservatism Marches On, Closing Schools, But Finding Money To Build More Prisons
Philadelphia is so broke the city is closing 23 public schools, never mind that it has the [3] cash to build a $400 million prison.

Construction on the penitentiary said to be "the second-most expensive state project ever" began just days after the Pennsylvania School Reform Commission voted down a plan to close only four of the 27 schools scheduled to die. Facing a $304 million debt, the Commission instead approved a measly $2.4 billion budget that would shut down 23 public schools, wiping out roughly 10% of the city's total.

But it's not like Pennsylvania does not have the money to fill the debt. Rather,  PA's GOP-controlled Houseof  Representatives recently passed a tax break for corporations that will cost the state an estimated $600 million to $800 million annually.

Plus, $400 million is being shoveled into this [3]:

    The penitentiary, which is technically two facilities, will supplement at least two existing jails, the Western Penitentiary at Pittsburgh and Fayette County Jail. Pittsburgh’s Western Penitentiary was built in 2003 with the original intention of replacing Fayette County Jail, but the prison has struggled with lawsuits claiming widespread physical and sexual abuse of prisoners.

    Scheduled to be completed in 2015, the new prison’s cell blocks and classroom will be capable of housing almost 5,000 inmates. Officials said there will be buildings for female inmates, the mentally ill and a death row population.

Conservatives like to whine about crime, but it seems obvious they really like crime. They go about creating public policy that steals from education ( education and literacy have been shown to be very effective ways to reduce crime) and thus creates more criminal behavior.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

It Is Time For Patriots To Stop Subsidizing Walmart Billionaires

It Is Time For Patriots To Stop Subsidizing Walmart Billionaires

Due to low wages and few benefits, Walmart workers at a single 300-person Supercenter store rely on anywhere from $904,542 to $1,744,590 in public benefits per year, costing taxpayers, according to a new report from the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

The report focused its analysis on Wisconsin, because the state’s data is the most comprehensive and up to date. It looked at how many workers enroll in the state’s Medicaid program and extrapolated how many services they rely on from programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Earned Income Tax Credit, school lunch program, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and Section 8 housing vouchers, among others.

Looking at just those currently enrolled in Medicaid, the report estimates that each employee takes in $3,015 in public benefits a year. But that may be a low estimate, as other workers may enroll in other programs. Assuming a higher number, each employee could use more like $5,815 in benefits a year.

Walmart’s wages are some of the lowest in the industry, despite the fact that it is the country’s largest private employer and one out of every ten retail workers is employed there. Workers make $8.81 per hour on average, according to IBIS World, 28 percent less than those who work for other large retailers.

Its employees also get few benefits through their employment. Only about half of Walmart workers are covered by its health care plans, in part because the costs may be to high. While the company decided to expand health care coverage to part-time workers in 2006, it has since reversed course.

Walmart’s model isn’t the only way in the discount retail space, however. Rival Costco, which competes with Walmart’s Sam’s Club stores, pays employees about 40 percent more. The average Costco worker makes $21.96 an hour. Nearly all of the workers who are eligible for the company’s benefits are enrolled.

Costco has come under analyst pressure to lower wages and boost profit, but the company’s CFO has thus far refused to do so. Its bottom line, however, seems strong: Profits rose by 19 percent to $459 million last quarter.

Meanwhile, Walmart’s sales have been struggling. Its sales suffered during the first quarter of the year and the company has come under criticism for failing to keep shelves stocked thanks to too few employees working at a time. That has led to long lines and customer dissatisfaction, which helped it rank at the bottom of the American Customer Satisfaction Index in February.

While Costco has a lower profit margin than Walmart, it gets much more revenue and profit per employee and generates a higher return for investors.

Walmart has embraced the conservative Republican semi-plantation model of business; screw over employees to squeeze every last penny of profit out of powerless workers. They do all of this and stock 50% or more of their products from factories in Asia. Walmart loves America the way a dog beater loves dogs.

The screen capture graphics are from the Twitter feed of this site, Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have 'Nothing to Hide'.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Claim About Obamacare Reform Rate Shock Is Unfounded

Claim About Obamacare Reform Rate Shock Is Unfounded

The insurance industry and its allies warn that health reform’s limit on how much more insurers can charge older people than younger people for coverage will make individual insurance much more expensive for young adults.  But a new Urban Institute analysis finds that this claim of “rate shock” is “unfounded.”

Starting in 2014, insurers in the individual and small-group insurance markets will be able to charge older people no more than three times what they charge younger people.  This is narrower than the five-to-one differential that is typical today, meaning that (all other things being equal) premiums should rise somewhat for younger people buying coverage in the individual market.

But, as the Urban Institute paper points out, the large majority of young people affected by this will also become eligible for premium subsidies to help buy coverage in the new exchanges that health reform will create, or for Medicaid (if they live in a state that adopts health reform’s Medicaid expansion).  As a result, the age-rating change “would have very little impact on out-of-pocket rates paid by the youngest nongroup purchasers.”

Specifically, the study found:

    92 percent of people ages 21 to 27 projected to buy an individual plan in an exchange in 2017 are expected to have incomes less than 300 percent of the poverty line, so they would be eligible either for Medicaid (if their state expands it) or for substantial subsidies to help pay premiums in the exchange.

    Similarly, 88 percent of 18- to 20-year-olds projected to buy a plan in the exchange are expected to be eligible for premium subsidies or Medicaid.

The study also notes that among the estimated 951,000 young adults ages 21 to 27 who now buy coverage in the individual market and have incomes too high to qualify for premium subsidies or Medicaid, two-thirds are age 26 or younger and in families with access to employer coverage.  That means they could get coverage under health reform’s requirement that insurers allow parents to add children up to age 26 to their job-based plans.

So Fox News, Michelle Malkin and other creepy conservatives are lying or engaging in childish exaggeration. What else is new.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Fake Patriots At The NRA Are Raising Money Off Wacko Conspiracy Theories

The Fake Patriots At The NRA Are Raising Money Off Wacko Conspiracy Theories

The National Rifle Association is stoking the misguided fears of its members that the United Nations is coming to steal their guns through an international arms treaty in an attempt to raise funds needed to help block the treaty in the Senate.

In an email sent out on Wednesday to its supporters, the NRA ominously warned about the coming collusion between the United Nations and President Obama in the name of “trampling our Second Amendment freedoms.” The vehicle for this complete destruction of the Constitution? The recently passed United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which opens for signature on June 3. Despite the fact that only North Korea, Syria, and Iran voted against the treaty, the right-wing in the United States has long opposed what it sees as a chance for the government to legally steal Americans’ handguns.

The NRA email went to great lengths to solidify this fear in the minds of its supporters, repeatedly referring to the ATT as the “global gun ban treaty,” or variations thereof. “We need to send a clear message to every Senator that they have only two choices: Side with us and stop the U.N. gun ban treaty … or start looking for a new job at election time,” the message tells its readers. Despite the dark tidings, the ATT actually doesn’t affect the Second Amendment, something that even Texas’ extremely conservative attorney general begrudgingly admitted.

Instead, the treaty seeks to limit the sale of arms — including attack helicopters, tanks, and other larger arms, as well as small arms and ammunition for these weapons — to regimes that use them to violate human rights. To achieve this, the treaty requires states set up a system for tracking exports of arms to other countries and reporting those statistics to the United Nations annually. The U.S. government already tracks the sale of weapons overseas, meaning very little will change in practice for American citizens.

Undaunted by facts and unable to kill the treaty before it passed at the United Nations, despite its best efforts, the NRA now is attempting to shut down its passage in the Senate. As with all treaties, a two-thirds majority is required to ratify the ATT. “Your signed petition is the best tool we have against this attack on our gun rights and our national sovereignty,” the message declares, urging people to sign on to help “line the halls of the Senate with boxes and boxes of these petitions.”

The NRA is asking for “emergency contributions” from petition-signers. “This year, we’ve been forced to spend more than we’ve ever spent … because the attacks we’re facing have been bigger than anything we’ve ever faced before,” the email pleads, seeming to use the time-tested tactic of exploiting fear to raise money.

Unfortunately, the NRA’s messaging already seems to have permeated Washington, with prominent conservatives such as John Yoo and John Bolton penning op-eds unfairly condemning the treaty’s provisions. Senate Republicans are already lining up to condemn the treaty based on the same false pretenses as the NRA. Some members of the GOP are even warning that the treaty will lead to a Rwanda-like genocide. In spite of this opposition, the Obama administration has already made clear that it does intend to sign the treaty once it opens for signature.