Franklin County Democrats

The official site of the Democratic Party of Franklin County, Missouri

Browsing Posts published in January, 2013

My latest Letter to the Editor in the Washington Missourian, Right-to-Work is Wrong, takes on House Speaker Tim Jones and his plan to lower Missouri wages.

To The Editor:

The state Representative for Eureka and most of Pacific, Republican Tim Jones, has been caught on audio tape bragging about trying to lower wages in Missouri.

In the tape, which can be heard at www.progressmissouri.org, Rep. Jones confesses he has been talking with legislators from Michigan on ways to “spin” right-to-work for less legislation to unsuspecting Missourians.

Of course, Rep. Jones knows that residents of right-to-work for less states earn $1,500 less per year than workers in “responsible” states like Missouri, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Mr. Jones was speaking to an audience of corporate bosses and CEO’s when he was caught on tape. These folks know they have to “spin” this legislation because it perverts the American belief in responsibility.

In fact, all right-to-work does is allow workers represented by a union to avoid paying dues while still receiving all the representation services and contractual benefits of the union.

In the interests of fairness, I wonder if Rep. Jones is huddling with lawmakers from other states to push legislation that will require corporations, lobbying groups like the Chamber of Commerce, even neighborhoods to provide their goods and services free of charge to anyone that wants them? For example, will neighborhood associations have to put up with the freeloader that moves in knowing there are association fees to provide the pool, park, and road services that make the neighborhood a good place to live?

Mr. Jones could call this right-to-live for less. It could also be called — wrong.

Rep. Tim Jones and his corporate supporters may have gotten used to the idea that society owes them, that they can take from communities without compensation, but most Missourians feel differently.

In a responsible society, responsible people pay for what they use.

Let’s hope Tim Jones takes the state motto, the welfare of the people shall be the supreme law, seriously and spends less time chatting with other states’ legislators on ways to “spin” lower wages to Missourians and more time proposing legislation to raise the wages of Show-Me state workers.

Last Sunday’s Post-Dispatch carried Will Smart Machines Put People Out Of Work?

“All those jobs are going to disappear in the next 25 years,” predicts Moshe Vardi, a computer scientist at Rice University in Houston. “Driving by people will look quaint; it will look like a horse and buggy.”

If automation can unseat bus drivers, urban deliverymen, long-haul truckers, even cabbies, is any job safe?

Vardi poses an equally scary question: “Are we prepared for an economy in which 50 percent of people aren’t working?”

As the cartoon illustrates it’s not just train and automobile drivers at risk, pilots are also on the chopping block!

In the early 1980s, at the beginning of the personal computer age, economists thought computers would do what machines had done for two centuries _ eliminate jobs that required brawn, not brains. Low-level workers would be forced to seek training to qualify for jobs that required more skills. They’d become more productive and earn more money. The process would be the same as when mechanization replaced manual labor on the farm a century ago; workers moved to the city and got factory jobs that required higher skills but paid more.

But it hasn’t quite worked out that way. It turns out that computers most easily target jobs that involve routines, whatever skill level they require. And the most vulnerable of these jobs, economists have found, tend to employ midskill workers, even those held by people with college degrees _ the very jobs that support a middle-class, consumer economy.

So the rise of computer technology poses a threat that previous generations of machines didn’t: The old machines replaced human brawn but created jobs that required human brains. The new machines threaten both.

“Technological change is more encompassing and moving faster and making it harder and harder to find things that people have a comparative advantage in” versus machines, says David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has studied the loss of midpay jobs to technology.

The article poses some interesting questions about the future of work.  It hit my soft spot though when the ending paragraph mentioned one of my heroes, Walter Reuther.

As far back as 1958, American union leader Walter Reuther recalled going through a Ford Motor plant that was already automated. A company manager goaded him: “Aren’t you worried about how you are going to collect union dues from all these machines?”

“The thought that occurred to me,” Reuther replied, “was how are you going to sell cars to these machines?”

If you have had a chance to grab some news today this morning’s protest by the United Mine Workers at Peabody Coal was probably one of the stories.  I posted on this developing story a couple of weeks ago but today the protest went from virtual to physical as Mine Workers from around the country came to St. Louis.

The main point of the protest is that Peabody set up a sham corporation, Patriot Coal, loaded it with retiree pensions and then declared bankruptcy to escape their contractual responsibility.  You can learn more at the website Fairness at Patriot and help by signing the petition.  Until, progressive legislators can change the bankruptcy laws to stop this corporate abuse people power is the power we have.  Please share your power by signing!

In this week’s audio netcast Fred Rotondaro addresses how the American Conference of Catholic Bishops is ignoring the Pope’s economic message.  This message was delivered in mid-December but very little has been heard on this side of the pond.  He also addresses Paul Ryan’s budget and the harm to the least of these and how President Obama is learning to be tough as nails in dealing with the GOP.

Stephen Colbert takes Republican senators to task for their subpar performance in their attempt to “grill” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the events in Benghazi.  Enjoy!

Raymond Mills of the Coalition for a Prosperous America analyzes the movement to restore balanced trade policies.  The Coalition is one member of a growing coalition of economists, media, and legislators intent on exposing the flaws and destructive affects of Free Trade. A return to Balanced trade is a sustainable way to reduce our budget deficits through stronger domestic business, better wages for workers, and a country whose economy is no longer threatened by the same countries we call our trade partners.  Proverbs says the borrower is a slave to the lender.  Why would our elected leaders choose to make us slaves in name of Free Trade theory that doesn’t translate to reality?

Two years ago today I managed to catch this shot of the last section of the Chrysler plant being demolished.

 

 

Lake St. Louis native Tim Hawkins with his version of Carrie Underwood’s hit Jesus Take the Wheel.  Naturally, Tim changes everything but the melody in Cletus Take The Reel.

Hard to believe this video by Krystal Ball of NBC ever saw airtime.  This 3 minute video explanation of Why Unions Matter.  She begins the piece describing President Obama’s inaugural address and then discusses what was left out.  Enjoy Labor’s Fight Is Our Fight!

The Center for American Progress has a great piece on how a whole slew of right-wing talkers getting paid by FreedomWorks and other right-funded organizations to spread their propaganda.  No wonder they sound disconnected from reality.  They compare it to the “payola” scandals of the past. 

This cartoon did remind me of my conservative uncle…

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