Franklin County Democrats

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

Browsing Posts published in April, 2014

I had to share this satirical look at what a Fox News story on Welfare would look like if they told the truth.  This video is only 52 seconds so enjoy!

Whether a parent of young adult, The Housing Market Is Stalling and Stagnant Wages Are to Blame, by Kevin Drum will sound familiar.

Housing is the single most important driver of economic growth. In the past, pent-up demand for new housing following a recession would eventually overwhelm financial trepidation, causing young families to start buying new houses. This time that hasn’t happened, and sluggish median incomes are almost certainly to blame (along with high debt levels among college grads, who are one of the prime markets for starter homes). The virtuous circle of rising incomes leading to new home buying—which in turn stimulates the economy and raises wages further—simply hasn’t happened. We are learning the hard way that there’s a stiff price to be paid when virtually all of the economic gains of a recovery go to the well off. Life may be good for them, but without broadly shared prosperity, the larger economy is stuck in a rut.

Sounds like it is time for folks to support other folks when they are fighting for better wages.  When one group gets better pay it makes it easier for everyone else to demand better pay.  Of course, this is exactly the opposite of the Koch Brothers/Tea Party policy of lowering wages and benefits while shareholders reap the rewards.

In These Times invites you to Meet The Missing Workers.  As legislators like Blaine Lemmingmeyer ignore their constituents and take their marching orders from the Koch Brothers they leave millions of Americans to fend for their themselves in an economy their ideology created.  These Americans are veterans, taxpayers, and citizens that are the future of this country.

Back in 1990, George Grasmann earned more than $50,000 a year as a systems engineer. For a time, he rented a comfortable, spacious house outside Tampa, Fla. Today, he lives on less than $13,000 a year in part of a rented garage.

Grasmann’s tech career ended with a layoff in 2000, after which he shifted to taking any short-term job he could find. He lost his last job, with a pest control firm, in 2009. Since then, he says that he has sent out 1,500 applications for jobs with no success. Federal extension of unemployment assistance helped him survive and fueled his job search until he exhausted the full 99 weeks (an option no longer open to the unemployed, since Congressional Republicans repeatedly blocked renewal of extended benefits—although a new Senate extension deal awaits House approval).

Grasmann pawned personal belongings and ran through his retirement savings. He relied on food stamps until last year, when Republican-initiated changes made him ineligible. He was denied Social Security disability, but eventually the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) ruled that his severe arthritic pain and other health problems justified disability payments, which constitute his only income.

Who would treat their fellow citizens this way?

Davis blames the Tea Party and its corporate backers for destroying “everything I have worked for [over] the past 40 years. I feel like the media and certain parts of the government are ignoring the problem of unemployed Americans, and we are being shoved into some sort of ‘under community’ with no way out.”

Since George Grasmann isn’t the type of man to give up, what does he think should be done?

Indeed, the decline of labor market participation bolsters the case for a large-scale job-creation plan from federal, state and local governments, as well as the Federal Reserve. This could benefit both the jobless and jobholders. Without millions of desperate job seekers—and millions more “missing workers” in reserve—the balance of power would tip toward workers. The lowest-paid could bargain to earn more, thus reducing inequality, as economists Dean Baker and Jared Bernstein argue in their new book, Getting Back To Full Employment.

Perhaps most importantly, a stimulus would help people like Grasmann and Davis come in from the cold. “It is hard to avoid feeling like a used-up relic with not enough sense to just go away,” Grasmann writes in an e-mail. “I counter it with the idea that I was put here for a reason. For all I know my purpose is being fulfilled by telling this story to anyone who will listen.”

 

 

This week’s audio netcast: Former ambassador Peter Galbraith says Vladimir Putin wants to be player on the world stage. Will it be as a good guy or a bad guy? Professor Sandra Hanson suggests the American Dream may be changing – toward values rather than wealth. And Bill Press interviews Politico’s Manu Raju about Lindsey Graham’s resurgence.

Economist Dean Baker’s blog Beat The Press describes how One Million More People Are Eligible For The Exchanges Every Month.  That sound you

just heard was Congressman Blaine Lemmingmeyer chasing the pieces of his blown mind.

The New York Times ran a piece reporting that more Democrats running for election this year are openly campaigning on the Affordable Care Act. The piece noted that eight million people had signed up for the exchanges by the end of the open enrollment period. While this is a large base of people who may perceive themselves as benefiting from the law, it is worth noting that this number is likely to increase substantially in the months leading up to the election.

Under the law, people who face a “life event” become eligible for insurance in the exchange. Life events include job loss, divorce, death in the family, and the birth of a new child. Every month roughly four million people leave their jobs. If just one in five of these people go from a job with insurance to either being unemployed or a job without insurance, it would mean another 800,000 people are becoming eligible for the exchanges every month for this reason alone.

This means that the number of people who will have had the opportunity to buy insurance through the exchanges by election will be far higher than the number currently enrolled. Since many of these people will have found themselves unexpectedly without insurance, they are likely to especially value the opportunity to buy insurance on the exchanges. 

 

 

Once again, I return from my daily visit to the mailbox with a taxpayer funded piece of literature from Senator Irrelevant/Nieves.  This one is a glossy, full-colored rumination of strawman legislation regarding Agenda 21.  This follows three recent taxpayer funded mailings detailing his gun law nullification bill which is no doubt unconstitutional.

This would be somewhat amusing if it weren’t for the expense involved both in the mailing fees and opportunity cost.  More than 5 years since the financial  crisis, a time in which Franklin County has experienced high unemployment, increasing poverty, and small business fighting to survive, Senator Irrelevant has stayed as far away from these issues as an investment banker from financial ethics.

In these times of struggle for Franklin County families the only legislation pursued by Senator Nieves was to reduce the number of weeks a person could receive unemployment benefits from 26 to 20.  If Missourians who lose jobs can be forced to tighten their belt wouldn’t it seem that Senator Irrelevant/Nieves could save taxpayer funds by not mailing updates on useless legislation?

While these mailings may improve his name recognition it would seem more ethical, like that matters, if he ran his campaign for Recorder of Deeds from his own funds, not ours.

DailyKos has this segment of the Daily Show in which Jon Stewart illustrates that Hannity and Cliven Bundy do have something in common - hypocrisy.

Andy Borowitz details how Republicans Blast Nevada Rancher for Failing to Use Commonly Accepted Racial Code Words.

 Republican politicians blasted the Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy on Thursday for making flagrantly racist remarks instead of employing the subtler racial code words the G.O.P. has been using for decades.

“We Republicans have worked long and hard to develop insidious racial code words like ‘entitlement society’ and ‘personal responsibility,’?” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky). “There is no excuse for offensive racist comments like the ones Cliven Bundy made when there are so many subtler ways of making the exact same point.”

Fox News also blasted the rancher, saying in a statement, “Cliven Bundy’s outrageous racist remarks undermine decades of progress in our effort to come up with cleverer ways of saying the same thing.”

In These Times has this account of how the conventional wisdom regarding the necessity of cuts to Social Security has been replaced with action to expand Social Security benefits - How Social Security Was Saved.

Lawson was also disturbed by the disconnect between the attitudes of policymakers and the will of the people. Polls from the last few years consistently show that a majority of Americans are opposed to Social Security cuts.

While groups such as Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) and Social Security Works, in addition to the AFL-CIO and AARP, had been raising the alarm about cuts since the Bowles-Simpson Commission in 2010, Lawson felt the threat demanded a larger, more active coalition. So he teamed with progressive organizers from CREDO Action and Netroots Nation to help translate public opposition into stronger Congressional opposition. They put out a call for an informal meeting about chained CPI. The goal was to get a broad swath of the national progressive movement to take a stand against cuts.
That may seem like a no-brainer. But fresh in Lawson’s and others’ minds was the healthcare-reform debacle. A coalition that had been united in support of the public option gradually buckled under pressure from the White House and Democratic leadership, eventually settling for a version of the Affordable Care Act that lacked a public option and that no one liked much.
“Progressive groups … all started off on the same page, but throughout the course of this fight, [power brokers] on the Democratic side would be able to pull people off on certain issues,” says Netroots Nation’s Raven Brooks of the healthcare compromise.“There are a lot of reasons why [a public option] didn’t win as a policy option, but … an important piece of it was this destruction of the unity that was there initially.”
During the 2012 fiscal-cliff showdown, Brooks and others were determined to stop history from repeating. So, in December 2012, about 35 representatives of progressive groups—the AFL-CIO, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), Democracy for America, MoveOn and Progressives United, among others— came together and held a thumbs-up and thumbs-down vote on whether to draw a line in the sand against any cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The result was unanimous: Chained CPI was an unacceptable pill to swallow, no matter the circumstances.

This week’s audio netcast: How important is our DNA in determining our politics? A lot, says professor John Hibbing. It even determines who we marry. Political scientist Edward Caudill notes the hypocrisy of American lawmakers who decry the country’s relatively low standing in science education but who pass laws requiring the teaching of creationism. And Bill Press interviews Katie McGinty.

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