Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Please note I have a new phone number...


Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Monday, January 27, 2014

Minnesota Minimum-Wage Report, 2013

The State of Minnesota actually pays people over $40.00 an hour to tell us things like this in reports:

"Workers paid the minimum wage or less are
more prevalent among those in poverty than
among other hourly workers."

How is that we fund a report like this:


which doesn't tell us what a living Minimum Wage should be?

How is it that a report like this which cost tax-payers over $300,000.00 to produce, doesn't explain the relationship between wages, cost-of-living and poverty?

In fact, the term "cost-of-living" does not even appear in this report.

Why would a government agency or department like the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry be allowed to provide a report centered around comparing the Minimum Wage to inflation when inflation is only relevant if one begins with an actual living--- non-poverty--- Minimum Wage to begin with?

It makes not one iota of sense to argue that a poverty Minimum Wage should now be "increased" to compensate for inflation.

The government not only does things backwards, it employs people, paid with our tax-dollars, to think backwards.

It is ironic that we had dozens of politicians and many more labor "leaders" marching behind a banner of Martin Luther King, Jr. while calling for a Minimum Wage of $9.50 an hour knowing full well this is a poverty wage in relation to actual "cost-of-living."

Notice that this report while discusses sex and age, it is "color blind."

The reason given for this is that it protects the "scientific integrity" of the report.

So, in addition to all the other problems with this report we have the racist aspect of the report--- people of color are more often than not the victims of poverty wages which is never mentioned.

How convenient for a governor who believes in "voluntary quotas" instead of Affirmative Action plans and programs intended to create a "level playing field" that this racist aspect of poverty wages isn't mentioned.

With all the problems in this report which is obviously flawed, we have politicians, labor "leaders" and the media citing this report regarding the Minimum Wage.

One has to wonder why a report like this would not have undertaken the figures--- $7.75, $8.00, $9.00, $9.50 and $10.10--- that have been magically pulled from a hat for self-serving political expediency (and to maintain super-profits) was not examined in this report since the author was well aware of these figures being tossed about.

Where is the "scientific integrity" in failing to reveal what impact such poverty wages have on alleviating and eradicating poverty?

Would not this statement of fact:

"Workers paid the minimum wage or less are
more prevalent among those in poverty than
among other hourly workers."

apply to workers being paid:

$7.75, $8.00, $9.00, $9.50 or $10.10 an hour?

Of all the conclusions drawn in this report; this is the one and only conclusion that holds water:

"Workers paid the minimum wage or less are
more prevalent among those in poverty than
among other hourly workers."

This should have been the banner all these politicians and labor "leaders" marched behind.

Why There’s no Outcry

Why There’s no Outcry

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog VIA Steve Weiss

26 January 14

Robert Reich posted this yesterday (see below).

There is one problem he didn't take up in attempting to explain why we don't have a revolution or a major wave of reform. The problem is that he and others like him sold Obama to us based on false and deceitful information claiming Obama is something other (a progressive) than what he really is (a thoroughly reactionary Wall Street neo-liberal).

Once people are convinced to throw themselves behind a candidate it is almost impossible to convince them that the politician they supported stands for something other then they were led to believe. Reich knows this.

People are confused and befuddled waiting for Obama to carry out an agenda of reforms which they were led to believe Obama stood for.

People would have to fight against the very politician/s (Obama and company--- the Democrats) they supported in order to achieve meaningful reforms, never mind revolution.

This isn't likely to happen.

And if people turn out in droves to support more Democrats in 2014, these people aren't likely to challenge them, either.

A movement for reforms can't be based simply on fighting these dirty Republicans when the Democrats turn out to be no better.

In order to win the battle for any reforms the people must be able to articulate the real solutions to their problems and fight anyone, Republican or Democrat, standing in the way blocking reforms.

As it stands, Democrats are every bit the obstacle to reforms as the Republicans.

What more proof does one need then to look at what reforms Minnesotans have got from a Democratic super-majority state government where Republicans have no say and certainly are no obstacle standing in the way blocking any reforms?

Robert Reich doesn't stand for any meaningful reforms; he never has, doesn't now and he never will; he is a Democratic Party hack hiding behind nice-sounding progressively framed policy directives with no concrete solutions to match who will seek a high-paying job in a Hillary Clinton Administration.

As Bill Clinton's Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich supported NAFTA; he remained silent as Clinton carried out the most reactionary reshaping of welfare under the guise of "reform."

Robert Reich helped Obama derail the single-payer universal health care movement.

Reich refuses to push for a real living Minimum Wage.

Robert Reich is no Frances Perkins, Harry Hopkins or Eleanor Roosevelt. They had progressive ideas which included very specific progressive solutions to the problems of working people.

The answer to the question Robert Reich poses is very complex just as he claims--- made more complex by his advocacy of a phony "economic populism" devoid of any solutions.

And, as far as "fear" being a factor? I guess so since the FBI and NSA have been spying on us all and Obama ordered the FBI to send over 500 government agents into Occupy Wall Street to disorient, infiltrate and bust it up.

Anyways; here is what Robert Reich had to say:

Why There’s no Outcry

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog VIA Steve Weiss

26 January 14

People ask me all the time why we don’t have a revolution in America, or at least a major wave of reform similar to that of the Progressive Era or the New Deal or the Great Society.

Middle incomes are sinking, the ranks of the poor are swelling, almost all the economic gains are going to the top, and big money is corrupting our democracy. So why isn’t there more of a ruckus?

The answer is complex, but three reasons stand out.

First, the working class is paralyzed with fear it will lose the jobs and wages it already has.

In earlier decades, the working class fomented reform. The labor movement led the charge for a minimum wage, 40-hour workweek, unemployment insurance, and Social Security.

No longer. Working people don’t dare. The share of working-age Americans holding jobs is now lower than at any time in the last three decades and 76 percent of them are living paycheck to paycheck.

No one has any job security. The last thing they want to do is make a fuss and risk losing the little they have.

Besides, their major means of organizing and protecting themselves — labor unions — have been decimated. Four decades ago more than a third of private-sector workers were unionized. Now, fewer than 7 percent belong to a union.

Second, students don’t dare rock the boat.

In prior decades students were a major force for social change. They played an active role in the Civil Rights movement, the Free Speech movement, and against the Vietnam War.

But today’s students don’t want to make a ruckus. They’re laden with debt. Since 1999, student debt has increased more than 500 percent, yet the average starting salary for graduates has dropped 10 percent, adjusted for inflation. Student debts can’t be cancelled in bankruptcy. A default brings penalties and ruins a credit rating.

To make matters worse, the job market for new graduates remains lousy. Which is why record numbers are still living at home.

Reformers and revolutionaries don’t look forward to living with mom and dad or worrying about credit ratings and job recommendations.

Third and finally, the American public has become so cynical about government that many no longer think reform is possible.

When asked if they believe government will do the right thing most of the time, fewer than 20 percent of Americans agree. Fifty years ago, when that question was first asked on standard surveys, more than 75 percent agreed.

It’s hard to get people worked up to change society or even to change a few laws when they don’t believe government can possibly work.

You’d have to posit a giant conspiracy in order to believe all this was the doing of the forces in America most resistant to positive social change.

It’s possible. of course, that rightwing Republicans, corporate executives, and Wall Street moguls intentionally cut jobs and wages in order to cow average workers, buried students under so much debt they’d never take to the streets, and made most Americans so cynical about government they wouldn’t even try for change.

But it’s more likely they merely allowed all this to unfold, like a giant wet blanket over the outrage and indignation most Americans feel but don’t express.

Change is coming anyway. We cannot abide an ever-greater share of the nation’s income and wealth going to the top while median household incomes continue too drop, one out of five of our children living in dire poverty, and big money taking over our democracy.

At some point, working people, students, and the broad public will have had enough. They will reclaim our economy and our democracy. This has been the central lesson of American history.

Reform is less risky than revolution, but the longer we wait the more likely it will be the latter.

Are Democrats really working for the Republicans?

Once again, the pernicious, malicious, lying, defamatory and libelous attack that I must be working for the Republicans because I insist that the Democrats like Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton actually follow through on their campaign promise to raise the Minimum Wage to a real living wage is leveled against me by one Jeff Smith.

This was my response to Jeff and another fellow who suggested that "going slow" was "better than nothing:"

Jeff; you obviously know you are baiting me with this most malicious accusation insinuating I am expecting Republicans to solve the problems. In my opinion, we need to create an alternative to both the Democrats and Republicans, a working class based progressive people's party--- short of the creation of such a party similar to the old socialist Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party or something like Canadians have with their New Democratic Party, we need to be running independent candidates, candidates running on the tickets of left-wing parties, the Green Party---- even real liberals, progressives and leftists in the Democratic Party primaries (although this isn't my preference)---etc.

The place to "start," Ken, is with what social and economic justice requires a real living wage to be. You don't start out advocating for a poverty wage and negotiating down from there.

Wisconsin Democrats like Representative Milroy had the unmitigated gall to call for a miserly increase of 30 cents an hour in the Minimum Wage--- well under $8.00 an hour.

At least when people challenged this pathetic suggestion Wisconsin Democrats were forced to increase their challenge to Walker.

But, the fact remains, these Democrats in both Wisconsin and Minnesota declared they were for a living--- non-poverty--- Minimum Wage to get elected and they have reneged on this when it comes to proposed legislation.

They did not campaign on a promise to "increase" the Minimum Wage "slowly."

Nor did they campaign on a promise to leave the Minimum Wage at a poverty wage but improving it somewhat.

This question of the Minimum Wage is the most basic and fundamental "kitchen table" issue.

Why is it working people can't count on you "go slow in incremental steps" people to take the same approach to Wall Street and business?

Mark Dayton organized a full press blitz to shove a tax-payer financed new professional football stadium for the Minnesota Vikings down our throats but he refuses to organize a similar full press blitz to eradicate poverty through legislating a real living wage; why is this?

Where are the priorities of these Democrats?

What is more urgent, the eradication of poverty or a new stadium for the Vikings who already had a beautiful stadium?

Why wasn't there a similar full press blitz to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and two-thousand good union jobs?

Instead of baiting me with the accusation of being pro-Republican, why is it so difficult for you, Jeff, to own up to the fact that it is you who is "Republican lite" as your excuses enable the Democrats to carry out pro-corporate policies as enthusiastically as any Republican?

Quite frankly, I am wondering if Jeff Smith might not be a Republican mole who has wormed his way into the Democratic Party to assure the Democrats deliver on the campaign promises made by the Republicans.

Stranger things have happened... like corporations sending moles into the union movement to make sure that when profits are at an all time high, concession contracts are forced down workers' throats.

And now these same labor "leaders" who are not capable of "negotiating" anything except concessions for their own members are working with Democrats to push for the Minimum Wage remaining a poverty wage.

What more could Republicans ask for?