Franklin County Democrats

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

Browsing Posts published in May, 2013

Earlier this week we featured a post including Steven Colbert’s bit on PBS not airing the documentary Citizen Koch due to their fear of retaliation by the billionaire brothers.

That fear does not reside here.

Please enjoy this Friday night by viewing the official trailer for Citizen Koch.

Huffington Post published this story about Oklahoma Republican state legislator and doctor Doug Cox blasting fellow Republicans for their crusade to limit birth control.

In a scathing critique of his Republican colleagues in the Oklahoma state Legislature, Rep. Doug Cox (R-Grove) questioned his party’s efforts to restrict women’s access to birth control.

“All of the new Oklahoma laws aimed at limiting abortion and contraception are great for the Republican family that lives in a gingerbread house with a two-car garage, two planned kids and a dog,” Cox wrote in an op-ed published Wednesday in NewsOK. “In the real world, they are less than perfect.”

“And in the world I work and live in, an unplanned pregnancy can throw up a real roadblock on a woman’s path to escaping the shackles of poverty,” added Cox, a practicing physician who has delivered more than 800 babies, according to NewsOK.

It seems the good doctor may be on target.  A recent study by St. Louis’ Washington University concludes that Access to free birth control reduces abortion rates.

Providing birth control to women at no cost substantially reduced unplanned
pregnancies and cut abortion rates by a range of 62-78 percent compared to the national rate, a new study shows.

If Republicans really cared about reducing abortion wouldn’t they be embracing these facts and moving to adopt a strategy proven to reduce abortions?

As Republican Cox stated “What happened to the Republican Party that felt that the government has no business being in an exam room, standing between me and my patient?” Cox lamented in his Wednesday op-ed. “Where did the party go that felt some decisions in a woman’s life should be made not by legislators and government, but rather by the women, her conscience, her doctor and her God?”

Sorry Doug, that party no longer exists.  Now it’s the GOP nose in your bedroom and a deaf ear in the boardroom.

 

 

Top ten incomes

Stat of the Week

The typical U.S. CEO pulled in $9.7 million last year, the  Associated Press reported last week, a 6.5 percent hike over the 2011 chief  exec median. The typical U.S. worker last year took about $39,900, a 1.6  percent increase over 2011.

Yahoo has this banner headline running today.  Here’s the list of the 13 most American made vehicles.

1. GMC Acadia (3-way tie)
1. Buick Enclave (3-way tie)
1. Chevrolet Traverse (3-way tie)
2. Dodge Avenger (2-way tie)
2. Ford F-series pickup (2-way tie)
3. Chrysler 200
4. Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot and Jeep Wrangler
5. Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain (4-way tie)

Ouch, Steven Colbert goes after PBS for cancelling documentary “Citizen Koch” due to fear that there would be a backlash among billionaire sponsors, specifically the Koch brothers.  Who said money is speech and not property?

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders recently hosted the Danish ambassador to a tour of Vermont.  This visit prompted Bernie to pen this letter to the Huffington Post.  Do you think we could learn from Denmark?

Danish Ambassador Peter Taksoe-Jensen spent a weekend in Vermont this month traveling with me to town meetings in Burlington, Brattleboro and Montpelier.  Large crowds came out to learn about a social system very different from our own which provides extraordinary security and opportunity for the people of Denmark.

Today in the United States there is a massive amount of economic anxiety.  Unemployment is much too high, wages and income are too low, millions of Americans are struggling to find affordable health care and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider.

While young working families search desperately for affordable child care, older Americans worry about how they can retire with dignity.  Many of our people are physically exhausted as they work the longest hours of any industrialized country and have far less paid vacation time than other major countries

Denmark is a small, homogenous nation of about 5.5 million people. The United States is a melting pot of more than 315 million people. No question about it, Denmark and the United States are very different countries.  Nonetheless, are there lessons that we can learn from Denmark?

In Denmark, social policy in areas like health care, child care, education and protecting the unemployed are part of a “solidarity system” that makes sure that almost no one falls into economic despair.  Danes pay very high taxes, but in return enjoy a quality of life that many Americans would find hard to believe.  As the ambassador mentioned, while it is difficult to become very rich in Denmark no one is allowed to be poor.  The minimum wage in Denmark is about twice that of the United States and people who are totally out of the labor market or unable to care for themselves have a basic income guarantee of about $100 per day.

Health care in Denmark is universal, free of charge and high quality. Everybody is covered as a right of citizenship. The Danish health care system is popular, with patient satisfaction much higher than in our country.  In Denmark, every citizen can choose a doctor in their area. Prescription drugs are inexpensive and free for those under 18 years of age. Interestingly, despite their universal coverage, the Danish health care system is far more cost-effective than ours. They spend about 11 percent of their GDP on health care. We spend almost 18 percent.

When it comes to raising families, Danes understand that the first few years of a person’s life are the most important in terms of intellectual and emotional development. In order to give strong support to expecting parents, mothers get four weeks of paid leave before giving birth. They get another 14 weeks afterward. Expecting fathers get two paid weeks off, and both parents have the right to 32 more weeks of leave during the first nine years of a child’s life. The state covers three-quarters of the cost of child care, more for lower-income workers.

At a time when college education in the United States is increasingly unaffordable and the average college graduate leaves school more than $25,000 in debt, virtually all higher education in Denmark is free. That includes not just college but graduate schools as well, including medical school.

In a volatile global economy, the Danish government recognizes that it must invest heavily in training programs so workers can learn new skills to meet changing workforce demands. It also understands that when people lose their jobs they must have adequate income while they search for new jobs. If a worker loses his or her job in Denmark, unemployment insurance covers up to 90 percent of earnings for as long as two years. Here benefits can be cut off after as few as 26 weeks.

In Denmark, adequate leisure and family time are considered an important part of having a good life. Every worker in Denmark is entitled to five weeks of paid vacation plus 11 paid holidays. The United States is the only major country that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation time.  The result is that fewer than half of lower-paid hourly wage workers in our country receive any paid vacation days.

Recently the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found that the Danish people rank among the happiest in the world among some 40 countries that were studied. America did not crack the top 10.

As Ambassador Taksoe-Jensen explained, the Danish social model did not develop overnight.  It has evolved over many decades and, in general, has the political support of all parties across the political spectrum.  One of the reasons for that may be that the Danes are, politically and economically, a very engaged and informed people.  In their last election, which lasted all of three weeks and had no TV ads, 89 percent of Danes voted.

In Denmark, more than 75 percent of the people are members of trade unions. In America today, as a result of the political and economic power of corporate America and the billionaire class, we are seeing a sustained and brutal attack against the economic well-being of the American worker.  As the middle class disappears, benefits and guarantees that workers have secured over the last century are now on the chopping block.  Republicans, and too many Democrats, are supporting cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, nutrition, education, and other basic needs — at the same time as the very rich become much richer.  Workers’ rights, the ability to organize unions, and the very existence of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are now under massive assault.

In the U.S. Senate today, my right-wing colleagues talk a lot about “freedom” and limiting the size of government.  Here’s what they really mean.

They want ordinary Americans to have the freedom NOT to have health care in a country where 45,000 of our people who die each year because they don’t get to a doctor when they should.  They want young people in our country to have the freedom NOT to go to college, and join the 400,000 young Americans unable to afford a higher education and the millions struggling with huge college debts.  They want children and seniors in our country to have the freedom NOT to have enough food to eat, and join the many millions who are already hungry.  And on and on it goes!

In Denmark, there is a very different understanding of what “freedom” means.  In that country, they have gone a long way to ending the enormous anxieties that comes with economic insecurity.  Instead of promoting a system which allows a few to have enormous wealth, they have developed a system which guarantees a strong minimal standard of living to all — including the children, the elderly and the disabled.

The United States, in size, culture, and the diversity of our population, is a very different country from Denmark.  Can we, however, learn some important lessons from them?  You bet we can.

This week’s audio netcast features Andrew Bacevich, who says those who make a public show of saluting the military would do better by demanding accountability from the country’s foreign-affairs policymakers.

The netcast also features Mark Blyth, author of a book attacking the emphasis on austerity.

For a great read, The Grad Student Who Debunked Austerity reveals that Thomas Herndon found four major errors with the Reinhart/Rogoff paper that has served as the basis for shills like Paul Ryan to demand austerity.  Until, I read this interview the reporting of the flaws in Reinhart/Rogoff has focused on a single error.  Amazing what the corporate media misses, isn’t it?

There were actually four errors all together. Any one error by itself would not have been enough to cause the negative average. It was the combined effect of all four of them: They interacted with each other and amplified each other—almost like a perfect storm of errors. The errors are the selective exclusion of data, the spreadsheet error, the unconventional weighting of the average and the transcription error.

As news of Herndon’s findings spreads, what was once a strong consensus in favor of austerity has taken a serious hit. I talked to Herndon over the phone yesterday about his political views, what it means to be an economist and what other options to neoliberalism may be on the table.

How does it feel to be famous? Is it like the rock music would have us believe—lonely and tortuous?                        

I enjoy it a little bit, but’s it’s a lot of work. It’s kind of overwhelming. I never for a moment thought that the world would be interested in my econometrics replication, but the thing I enjoy the most about it is that I can make a contribution to getting everyone talking about these really controversial austerity policy measures, and I’m really honored to be able to do that.

The Atlantic, America: Where the Poor Don’t Get Time Off, highlights the fact that we are the only industrialized nation without mandatory time off.  Even for the day we recognize the sacrifices that allow this country to be free.  This chart shows how we stack up against the rest of the world.CEPR_Vacation_Days_OECD.JPG

Should Missouri start a campaign to honor the truly special holidays by creating mandatory paid time off?

Today’s Post-Dispatch editorial details the charges of Republicans in the Missouri legislature that other Republicans in the legislature are corrupt or at the least doing the work of those funding their campaigns and not the people of Missouri.

Ethics laws exist to help taxpayers see the flow of money that is used to influence legislators. In the case of Mr. Diehl and many others, the money is flowing so many different directions that ethical lines are blurred — precisely the point made by Mssrs. Lager and Funderburk.

At least in Mr. Diehl’s case, the money trail, however blurry, can be followed.

That’s not the case with Tom Smith, the chief of staff for Speaker of the House Tim Jones, R-Eureka. Mr. Smith runs a political consulting firm that gets paid by the very lawmakers who, if they want access to Mr. Jones, have to go through Mr. Smith. Then he bills taxpayers for comp time he takes from his state job to do his political work.

State law doesn’t require him to file a personal financial disclosure, so taxpayers can’t see who’s paying him.

It’s legal, but it’s wrong.

Is it just me or does it seem that Tim “tickets” Jones, from the Eureka-Pacific area has a lot of smoke in the form of non-stop allegations regarding his ethics swirling around him.

The AFL-CIO is out with their list of products that will allow you to honor the sacrifices of America’s veterans, get a head start on summer, and kick start the economy with Made in the USA goodies.

Hot Dogs, Sausages, Other Grill Meats

Ball Park, Boar’s Head, Calumet, Dearborn Sausage Co., Fischer Meats, Hebrew National, Hofmann, Johnsonville, Oscar Mayer. See MORE.

Condiments

French’s Mustard, Guldens Mustard, Heinz Catsup, Heinz Ketchup, Hidden Valley Ranch, Lucky Whip, Vlasic. See MORE.

Buns and Bread

Ottenbergs, Sara Lee, Vie de France Bakery. See MORE.

Sodas and Bottled Water

Bart’s, Coke, Diet Sprite, Pepsi, Sprite, American Springs, Pocono Northern Fall’s, Poland Spring. See MORE.

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Beer 

Budweiser, Bud Light, Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve, Mad River, Michelob, Miller, Rolling Rock. See MORE.

Snacks and Dessert

Breyers Ice Cream, Flips Pretzels, Frito-Lay Chips, Good Humor Ice Cream. See MORE snacks and MORE sweets.

Visit our Made in America board on Pinterest

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