Franklin County Democrats

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

Browsing Posts published in September, 2014

This week’s audio netcast;  The Supreme Court is ready to start a new term, and commentator Fred Rotondaroreviews last year’s women’s rights decisions. Former Republican ambassador Mike Ussery reviews the world’s diplomatic and military flashpoints. And Bill Press interviews Joe Cirincione, who recently had dinner with the leader of Iran.

Economist Dean Baker summarized how the wealthy can’t figure out what causes income inequality.  How convenient.

In other words, we have the central bank of the United States acting deliberately to keep workers from getting pay increases. They justify their actions over concerns about inflation, but we need not take these seriously. Who knows what they believe, but the real world risk of a dangerous inflationary spiral ranks alongside the risk of attacks by Martians. It ain’t going to happen and they should know this.

Of course high unemployment is not the only policy that has kept wages down over the last three decades. Trade policy has also been designed for this purpose. Our manufacturing workers have to compete with low paid workers in the developing world; our doctors are protected from this competition. The downward pressure on the wages of ordinary workers is worsened by our high dollar policy which puts domestic workers at an even greater disadvantage.

Government policy has also made it almost impossible for workers to organize unions. And of course we have let the minimum wage fall way behind the cost of living and even further behind productivity.

The other item in the news last week was the anniversary of the collapse of Lehman and the beginning of the bailout. This is the other essential part of the picture. While the government is prepared to act to keep wages from rising, when the Wall Street banks effectively put themselves into bankruptcy, the government was very quick to come to the rescue. Both the Fed and the Treasury Department made it their central mission to keep the Wall Streeters alive. As former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said repeatedly in his autobiography, there would be no more Lehmans.

So that’s the basic story in the simplest possible terms. The government openly acts to ensure that wages don’t rise and also to protect Wall Street high flyers who managed to sink their banks with their bad bets. Maybe an economist will win a Nobel prize for figuring out why inequality is increasing.

Distribution of Average Income Growth During (U.S. Economic) Expansions (since WWII)

SBNation has some obscene reaction by residents of South Carolina to last night’s meltdown loss to the Missouri Tigers on their home field 21-20.  Of course football is the least of their green eyed envy.  The middle finger salute may have been to show recognition for the fact that despite all sorts of promises in Right-to-Work South Carolina, the residents of  Missouri have a per capita income of $39,049.  That’s almost $5,000 more than the 34,266 per capita income of the Right-to-Work for less Palmetto State.

Something to think about when King Rex, and the corporate mouthpieces push  RTW for less in next years legislative solution.  South Carolina folks may give us the long digit but when fellow Missourians want to get into the pockets of working Missourians the message is Don’t Tell Me No Lies and Keep Your Hands To Yourself.

Be prepared to Vente your anger or stimulate some laughter as Colbert takes on Fox over Coffeegate!  

Jon Stewart has some fun with the PR efforts of the nations involved in the ISIS fight.  My favorite is when ISIS called John Kerry an “uncircumcised old geezer.”  Who knew?  To think Mr. Kerry actually kissed my daughters hand when he came through Washington on his campaign train back in the 2004 Presidential election.

Andy Borowitz on the Syrian bombing...

 In a positive development for the U.S.-led campaign of air strikes in Syria, a new poll indicates strong, broad-based support for the mission among people who have yet to read a news article about Syria.

According to the poll, released on Tuesday, the bombing campaign got a thumbs-up from people who had no information about Syria’s civil war, including its duration, the parties involved, and what a Sunni is.

According to pollster Davis Logsdon, who supervised the survey for the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, the poll numbers augur well for the mission going forward.

“People who have not read a single article about Syria are a key constituency because they represent an overwhelming majority of Americans,” he said. “And when you asked the follow-up question of whether they intended to read an article about Syria in the future, their answer was a resounding no.”

Share the Trending Meme of the Week

We have heard for decades that U.S. health care costs were twice as expensive as the next most expensive nation but look at this map of worldwide health care costs, read the article, and look at the other charts breaking these costs down by procedures such as a hip replacement.  Then try to calm down and go to your happy place before sharing this with your conservative uncle.

(MGEN & LMDE via SwarlDelae)

The current edition of The Atlantic has several great stories including Made in America, Again...

But there is a trend worth worrying about, which is the disappearance of manufacturing jobs from the workforce. Shortly after World War II, about one-quarter of employed Americans held manufacturing jobs. Now less than one-tenth do. From the perspective of individual businesses, this change is natural and desirable—rising productivity by definition means fewer people making more things. But it is troublesome for society as a whole, since factory jobs have historically buoyed the middle class and given rise to future industries and jobs, virtuous-cycle style.

As I’ve visited scores of factories in the U.S., China, and elsewhere, I have asked experts about trends shaping the creation or elimination of manufacturing jobs. Those I’ll mention here are James Manyika, a director of the McKinsey Global Institute and a leader of a major study there on the future of manufacturing; Liam Casey, whose PCH International developed a vast outsourcing network in China and is now fostering hardware start-ups in the U.S.; David Joyce, the head of GE Aviation, which has opened six new engine-building factories in the U.S. in the past seven years; and Jeffrey Chidester of the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, which recently issued a report about U.S. manufacturing policies. (I was on a related advisory commission.) As with any important topic, the complexities are enormous, and the full reports are worth your time. But here, in shorthand, are three big things that could shape the future of manufacturing work in America.

One of these big things is a move toward more local production. Do companies that have outsourced production at the expense of long-term, dedicated employees have to wipe the egg off their face and wipe their hands on their jeans to return home?  If they do I hope they still make the effort to resume manufacturing in America.  Of course, if those jeans are Levi’s purchased in the last ten years they would be outsourced as Levi’s no longer make any jeans in America.

Let’s go back to a time when Levi’s was America’s Jean with Conway Twitty and his hit Tight Fitting Jeans.

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