Please note I have a new phone number...

512-517-2708

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...

http://peaceandsocialjustice.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-progressive-program-for-real-change.html


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...

Friday, February 7, 2014

President Obama signs $8.7 billion food stamp cut into law

Obama has so much compassion for the poor:

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/obama-signs-food-stamp-cut

I don't recall Obama mentioning in his State of the Union Address that he intended to do this while he was talking about economic inequality.

I wonder how long we will have to wait for the Obama faithful to make up an excuse to explain this... the Republicans must have forced him to sign this.

On Friday, President Obama added his signature to legislation that will cut $8.7 billion in food stamp benefits over the next 10 years, causing 850,000 households to lose an average of $90 per month. The signing of the legislation known as the 2014 Farm Bill occurred at a public event in East Lansing, Mich.


http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/2/7/obama-signs-farmsupportingfoodstampcuttingfarmbill.html

Obama signs bill to aid farmers, cut food stamps

February 7, 2014 3:57PM ET
The bill was a compromise, but Republicans had wanted deeper cuts to food stamps

farm bill

President Barack Obama arrives to speak during a visit to Michigan State University on Friday before signing the farm bill.
Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
President Barack Obama on Friday signed into law an agriculture spending bill that will spread benefits to farmers in every region of the country, while cutting the food stamp program that prompted a two-year battle over the legislation.


As he penned his name on the five-year measure at Michigan State University, the president said the wide-ranging bill "multitasks" by helping boost jobs, innovation, research and conservation. "It's like a Swiss Army knife," he joked.


But not everyone is happy with the legislation, and Obama acknowledged that its passage was "a very challenging piece of business."


The bill expands federal crop insurance, and ends direct government payments that go to farmers whether they produce anything or not. But the bulk of its nearly $100 billion-per-year cost is for the food stamp program, which aids 1 in 7 Americans.


The bill finally passed with support from Democratic and Republican lawmakers from farming states, but the bipartisan spirit did not extend to the signing ceremony, where Obama was flanked by farm equipment, hay bales and Democratic lawmakers. White House press secretary Jay Carney said several Republicans were invited, but all declined to attend.


Conservatives remain unhappy with the bill and its generous new subsidies for interests ranging from Southern peanut growers and hemp farmers to the Northeast maple syrup industry.


They had also wanted much larger cuts to food stamps than the $800 million that Congress finally approved in a compromise. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters he did not expect the cut of about 1 percent of the food stamp budget to have a significant impact on recipients.


Obama promised in his State of the Union address last week to make 2014 a year of action, using his presidential powers in addition to pushing a Congress that is usually reluctant to go along with his ideas. In that spirit, he is coupling the signing of the farm bill with a new administration initiative called Made in Rural America to connect rural businesses with federal resources that can help sell their products and services abroad.


Obama's trip was a reward for Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who as chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee helped broker the hard-fought farm bill compromise after years of setbacks. Michigan State, a leading agricultural research school, is Stabenow's alma mater.


Obama also squeezed into his three-hour visit to Michigan a lunch with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. Duggan took office last month, as the city goes through the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
The Associated Press

Food stamp benefits to drop for 850,000 households

Be sure to watch the video provided at the link here:

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/2/7/obama-signs-farmsupportingfoodstampcuttingfarmbill.html


How pathetic that Minnesota's wealthy Democratic big city mayors would support keeping hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans in poverty with another poverty Minimum Wage.






Note: Discussion of each point follows this

article which was posted to the Minnesota

Democratic Farmer-Labor Party's front

groups' web site.


Mayors from across Minnesota take a stand for low wage workers, kickoff effort encouraging legislature to raise the minimum wage to at least $9.50


mayors


Minnesota mayors from the Iron Range to the Twin Cities took a bold step to support low-wage workers today by urging the state legislature to raise the minimum wage to at least $9.50 with increases for inflation.


“Minneapolis enjoyed a strong recovery from The Great Recession, but we know that many people were left behind,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “We have some of the largest gaps in the country between the haves and the have nots, and that includes a gap in wages. Our city, our state and our country need to do something to address the soaring inequity. Raising the minimum wage is crucial to ensuring that people who work for a living, can make a living.”


“We have an opportunity to act in the next few weeks here in Minnesota to provide relief for our low wage workers,” said Mayor Chris Coleman. “We must ensure wages keep pace with the basic cost of food, housing and other necessities.”


The city councils in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth are expected to pass resolutions officially endorsing measures calling on legislature to enact a minimum wage of at least a $9.50 indexed to inflation. In the run up to the legislative session, other mayors and councils are being urged to take similar actions.


“A minimum wage increase would put more money in the pockets of Greater Minnesota workers, helping expand the economy in rural Minnesota and on The Range,” said Hibbing Mayor Rick Cannata.


According to several studies released by Minnesota’s Raise the Wage Coalition, a $9.50 minimum wage would provide a raise for 357,000 Minnesotans, boosting their purchasing power by $470 million. Think tank Minnesota 2020 estimates 30,000 workers in Minneapolis would see a raise at $9.50, bringing nearly $40 million in additional purchasing power. St. Paul would see an additional $27 million in purchasing power, with 20,000 workers receiving a pay bump.


Statewide, 77 percent of people impacted by the $9.50 minimum wage are 20 and older, dispelling myths that teenagers would be the main recipient of the increase. It would also go a long way in supporting working families, boosting parental wages for 137,000 children.


A wide body of national research also disproves fears shared by some opponents that increasing the minimum wage would cause mass business closures and layoffs. A 2010 study published by Harvard’s Review of Economics and Statistics, comparing states’ border counties nationwide shows that states with higher minimum wage have no negative employment and strong positive earnings impacts in low-wage sectors.


Discussion--- my responses in bold.

"Minnesota mayors from the Iron Range to the Twin Cities took a bold step to support low-wage workers today by urging the state legislature to raise the minimum wage to at least $9.50 with increases for inflation."

This was not a "bold step." In fact, it was a very cowardly step on the part of these very wealthy mayors using their influence to encourage politicians to enforce poverty on large sections of their cities' populations.

A "bold step" would have been for these mayors to insist that the Minimum Wage becomes a real living wage by bringing the Minimum Wage in line with the actual "cost-of-living."

*********


"Minneapolis enjoyed a strong recovery from The Great Recession, but we know that many people were left behind,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “We have some of the largest gaps in the country between the haves and the have nots, and that includes a gap in wages. Our city, our state and our country need to do something to address the soaring inequity. Raising the minimum wage is crucial to ensuring that people who work for a living, can make a living.”

It is an outright lie that "Minneapolis has enjoyed a strong recovery from The Great Recession..." Minneapolis is mired in poverty wherever one looks... from the expanding homelessness to the soup kitchens to entire neighborhoods where people have been foreclosed on and evicted from the homes their entire lives were invested in to the unemployed hanging out on street corners everywhere. Minneapolis is a mess mired in despair of poverty--- only the very callous wealthy would choose to ignore the reality of Minneapolis.


**********

“We have an opportunity to act in the next few weeks here in Minnesota to provide relief for our low wage workers,” said Mayor Chris Coleman. “We must ensure wages keep pace with the basic cost of food, housing and other necessities.”

These are not merely "low wage workers;" these are workers being paid poverty wages. Why are these mayors so reluctant to use the word "poverty" in relation to wages"

How can a poverty wage ever keep pace with soaring prices for food, housing, mortgages and rents, home and auto insurance, electricity, gas, heating fuels, college tuition, health care?

What "relief" does another poverty wage provide to those who the government has already forced into poverty?


**********

“A minimum wage increase would put more money in the pockets of Greater Minnesota workers, helping expand the economy in rural Minnesota and on The Range,” said Hibbing Mayor Rick Cannata.

The reason for raising the Minimum Wage is not to prime the economic pump; Wall Street has trillions in cash to do this on its own.

The purpose of raising the Minimum Wage is to get working people out of poverty. The purpose of raising the Minimum Wage is so working class families can secure the necessities of life to provide a decent standard of living; not to further enrich the already wealthy who we all know will end up with any increases in the Minimum Wage since it is the wealthy employers paying these poverty wages who will sock away this wealth, thus leading to a further sinking of the economy no matter how much workers spend.


*********

"According to several studies released by Minnesota’s Raise the Wage Coalition, a $9.50 minimum wage would provide a raise for 357,000 Minnesotans, boosting their purchasing power by $470 million. Think tank Minnesota 2020 estimates 30,000 workers in Minneapolis would see a raise at $9.50, bringing nearly $40 million in additional purchasing power. St. Paul would see an additional $27 million in purchasing power, with 20,000 workers receiving a pay bump."

How come none of these "studies" done by these corporate and foundation-funded think-tanks never tell us what increasing the Minimum Wage to a real living wage of what Ryan Winkler, Chair of the Minnesota Select Committee on Living Wage Jobs, states a real living wage of $24.00 to $28.00 an hour would do for how many working class families?


***********

Statewide, 77 percent of people impacted by the $9.50 minimum wage are 20 and older, dispelling myths that teenagers would be the main recipient of the increase. It would also go a long way in supporting working families, boosting parental wages for 137,000 children.

Why aren't teenagers entitled to the same living wages as everyone else? Why should employers be allowed to hire teenagers so these employers can reap super-profits from the youth?

How many children would benefit from the Minimum Wage being a real living wage tied to all cost-of-living factors? Is the number so high that these "intellectuals" would be embarrassed to admit?


**********

A wide body of national research also disproves fears shared by some opponents that increasing the minimum wage would cause mass business closures and layoffs. A 2010 study published by Harvard’s Review of Economics and Statistics, comparing states’ border counties nationwide shows that states with higher minimum wage have no negative employment and strong positive earnings impacts in low-wage sectors.

Who cares what a real living wage for workers would do to business? Does business ever care about workers and their families?

For over 100 years business has reaped super-profits from paying workers poverty wages and paying these poverty wages is what has led to their fabulous wealth. The time has come for a drastic redistribution of this wealth to those who have created this wealth--- the working class.

How can poverty ever be eliminated if employers are going to be allowed and enabled by government to pay workers poverty wages.

Make no mistake... anything less than $15.00 an hour is a poverty wage.

Eliminating poverty will require:

1. A real living Minimum Wage.

2. A Basic Income Guarantee.

3. A "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity."

The starting point for any discussion about raising the Minimum Wage must begin exactly where any serious union negotiator begins a collective bargaining session and this is with the relationship between wages, hours worked, income and cost-of-living.

Perhaps all of this is too much for millionaire union "leaders" who only know how to "bargain" concessions for their own members to understand? If it is, why are they intervening on behalf of self-serving politicians to shove a poverty Minimum Wage down the throats of workers who never asked for their intervention on this issue?













Look at these goddamn Democrats...

Democratic Senator Mark Pryor, whose home state of Arkansas is headquarters of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), says he will oppose raising the minimum wage.

Pryor is the first Senate Democrat to come out against raising the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour.

Bloomberg news notes that the National Retail Federation and the National Restaurant Association are lobbying against the increase and have contributed to Pryor's campaign.

Arkansas is one of four states, including Minnesota, with a minimum wage below the federal level.

Millionaire labor "leader" Richard Trumka promoting a poverty Minimum Wage to speak in Minnesota

Attention Minnesota workers...

Come and bring leaflets, petitions, signs letting Richard Trumka know what rank-and-file workers expect from unions...

Free At Last? A Humphrey School Special Event with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

Date:
Thu, 02/20/2014 - 5:00pm - 6:30pm

Sponsor:
Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Cost:
Free

Half a century ago, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, fundamentally changed America. King championed the workers’ cause, and his words and impassioned work led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the United States, examines the connection between labor rights and civil rights. Trumka, a third-generation coal miner, argues for policy efforts to better ensure the right to vote, to guarantee unemployment insurance and a higher minimum wage, and changes in criminal justice to reduce levels of incarceration.

Click here to register for this event; you must have a ticket to get in. Get your free ticket here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/richard-trumka-president-afl-cio-tickets-10276030885