Franklin County Democrats

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

Browsing Posts published in June, 2016

I just got back from Big G tire in Pacific.  While there I purchased four Made in the USA Cooper tires for my American made Chevrolet Cruze.  Besides being great tires buying American creates jobs, tax revenue, stronger Social Security and Medicare, and more stable communities.  Other benefits of supporting Made in the USA can be found in Roger Simmermaker’s book How Americans Can Buy American.  Here is his two cents on tires…

A majority of the tires Cooper sells to our market are American made. Goodyear is the only other remaining American tire brand (which includes Kelly Springfield, which is owned by Goodyear). Most Goodyear tires are made in America, too. As I was waiting to have a new set of American-made Cooper tires put on my Lincoln Town Car at my local tire store a few years back, I looked through all the Goodyear tires they had in stock and the foreign-made ones were not easy to find. You can buy foreign-owned brands like Michelin that are made in the USA, but why buy an American-made tire from a foreign company when you can buy an American-made tire from an American company?

Brand Name Nationality
Cooper American
Goodyear American
Kelly Springfield American
BF Goodrich France
Michelin France
Firestone Japan
Continental Germany

This week’s Forward Thinking Radio…Forward Thinking

David Rennie, Washington Bureau Chief, The Economist

David Smith, Washington correspondent, The Guardian

Rev. Dr. Betty Deas Clark, spokesperson for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Jared Rizzi, White House Correspondent, POTUS 124

The Campaign for America’s Future presents this four minute video Burning Issues – Explaining the Revolt Against the TPP...

The 2016 political races are being buffeted by “a transpartisan, nationwide trade revolt” against trade deals that have been rigged to benefit wealthy corporations at the expense of the rest of us, says Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, in this Burning Issues video.

Wallach has been a leading voice against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which President Obama is attempting to push through Congress even though both the presumptive Republican and Democratic presidential nominees have come out in opposition, as have key leaders in both parties of Congress.

Wallach explains that previous deals that form the “template” for the 12-nation TPP – such as the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement President Obama signed in 2011 – have had the opposite effect of what White House officials promised, with lost jobs and declining exports, Wallach said.

“A good agreement would get rid of all of the corporate boondoggles that have gotten Super-Glued onto the good name of trade,” such as the investor-state dispute settlement process that allows corporations to sue governments before a tribunal of three private attorneys “to raid our Treasury for any law they don’t like.”

A trade agreement should also encourage competition in areas like pharmaceuticals, instead of discouraging generic equivalents for high-priced brand-name drugs, and would ensure that the United States can ban products that do not meet U.S. safety or labor standards, Wallach says.

But at least he cut the highest marginal tax rates paid by the rich folks….

Yesterday’s post focused on some of the steam making statements made by Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump.  Well, right on cue he dropped another one as detailed in Donald Trump Keeps Calling the U.S. the “Highest Tax Nation.” It’s Not Even Close.

Donald Trump likes to say the United States is the “highest taxed nation in the world.”

He said it Wednesday while attacking Hillary Clinton. He said it in May. He said it February. He said it last August. But it is not true at all.

When it comes to its tax rates, the U.S. ranks 17th, 19th or 31st among the world’s 33 developed nations depending on what metric you use, as Politifact has doggedly noted each time Trump has wheeled out this lie.

While most of the attention this election cycle is focused on the race for President the actual contestants are only part of the equation.  The people they appoint and the governing philosophy they represent are important considerations.  A President’s appointments to the National Labor Relations Board are an example of the difference between the Democratic and Republican parties.

Employers hiring Permanent Replacements to do the work of regular employees participating in a strike was a rare event at one time.  But things changed during and shortly after the presidency of Ronald Reagan. From his destruction of the air traffic controllers union (PATCO) to a series of rulings by his appointed labor board he led the charge against unions and exacerbated the inequality that has exploded throughout the American economy and become a major issue in this years campaigns.  No Scabs

The New York Times examines this shift in power from workers to management in this 1990 article Replacement Workers – Management’s Big Gun…

‘The Balance Has Shifted’

Labor experts maintain that management’s wide use of permanent replacements has upset the symmetry that has been a tradition of labor disputes. On the one hand, management has said it has a right to lock workers out at the risk of losing profits; on the other, labor has said it can withhold its services at the risk of losing income.

”The balance has shifted,” said Mark A. de Bernardo, director of the Labor Law Action Center at the United States Chamber of Commerce here. ”Labor’s trump card in a dispute, the strike, is no longer trump.”

Robert M. Baptiste, a Washington attorney for labor unions, said that in a strike ”there was always a sense that people would eventually say, ‘Enough, let’s sit down and get serious.’ ” But he added, ”Now, companies just want to get rid of unions.”

One reason that companies now think that goal is possible is the lesson they drew from the illegal strike of 11,500 Federal air traffic controllers in August 1981, seven months into Ronald Reagan’s first term as President. After the controllers defied a back-to-work order, Mr. Reagan dismissed them, filled their ranks with permanent replacements, and the union collapsed.

‘A Signal to Other Employers’

The Government’s success in keeping the air traffic system working impressed many unionized companies.”Reagan made it respectable to bust unions,” Mr. Baptiste said.

Gary Burtless, a labor economist at the Brookings Institution, said Mr. Reagan emboldened management to risk the strain to its business of taking on less experienced workers. ”The fact that the President was able to keep the air traffic system going indicated that there was a lot more scope for replacing workers than people imagined,” Mr. Burtless said. ”If you can replace air traffic controllers you can certainly replace bus drivers.”

The permanent replacements, often recruited from the ranks of the unemployed or from low-paid employees of other businesses, are a variation on the temporary substitutes vilified by trade unionists as ”scabs” or ”strikebreakers” but nevertheless regarded as a part of management’s legitimate arsenal. Temporary replacements leave at the end of a strike, but permanent replacements are assured the strikers’ jobs. After a strike, the law allows strikers first claim on their old jobs, but only if replacements vacate them.

So if this shift during the Republican administration of Ronald Reagan benefited management has a Democratic administration done anything to shift power back to workers?

Yes.  Labor Notes explains the decision by the President Obama appointed NLRB issued earlier this month in Permanent Replacements? Not So Fast, Labor Board Says.

A game-changing interpretation from the Obama-appointed National Labor Relations Board has narrowed the allowable reasons why an employer may hire permanent replacements during a strike.

Last week’s ruling reinterprets the 1938 Supreme Court decision Mackay Radio & Telegraph, widely reviled by labor. That case affirmed employers’ right to hire permanent replacements.

Employers frequently use Mackay to defeat strikes. Some unions don’t even consider hitting the bricks because they’re afraid that workers’ jobs will be taken away.

Despite fierce criticism, Mackay’s legal edifice survived intact for almost 80 years. The only way unions have found to avoid it is to contort walkouts to qualify as unfair labor practice strikes (to which Mackay does not apply). But the NLRB often denies ULP status, and unions must often wait years for a ruling.

The Labor Board announced its new standard in a case involving SEIU/United Health Care Workers West American and Baptist Homes of the West, doing business as the Piedmont Gardens Nursing Home.

Building on a relatively timid 1964 decision, the Board ruled forcefully that an employer may not hire permanent replacements if one or more of its reasons conflicts or interferes with workers’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

The evidence in Piedmont Gardens was clear-cut. The nursing home’s executive director admitted she had acted on a belief that permanent replacement workers “would come to work if there was another work stoppage.” The company lawyer told the union lawyer that the employer “wanted to teach the strikers and the union a lesson.”

Under the Board’s new standard, these motives—forestalling future walkouts and punishing strikers—made the replacements illegal. That’s because the NLRA bans retaliating against employees for exercising their right to collective action. The nursing home was ordered to reinstate the displaced strikers and make up their lost earnings.

Thank You President Obama for appointing folks that will side with workers.  Come November, this is just one more factor to consider when casting your ballot for President.  Vote as if your job depends on it!

Evonomics is carrying Nick Hanauer’s piece A Wealthy Capitalist  On Why Money Doesn’t  Trickle Down...

The fundamental law of capitalism is: When workers have more money, businesses have more customers. Which makes middle-class consumers — not rich businesspeople — the true job creators. A thriving middle class isn’t a consequence of growth — which is what the trickle-down advocates would tell you. A thriving middle class is the source of growth and prosperity in capitalist economies.

Our economy has changed, lest you think that the minimum wage is for teenagers. The average age of a fast-food worker is 28. And minimum wage jobs aren’t confined to a small corner of the economy. By 2040, it is estimated that 48 percent of all American jobs will be low-wage service jobs. We need to reckon with this. What will our economy be like when it’s dominated by low paying service jobs? What proportion of the population do we want to live on food stamps? 50 percent? Does this matter? Should we care?

Business people tell me they cannot afford higher wages. Not true. They can adjust to all sorts of higher costs. The minimum wage is much higher here in Seattle than in Alabama, and McDonald’s thrives in both places. Businesses adjust to higher costs, even when they say they can’t.Tricle Down

Our economy can be safe and effective only if it is governed by rules. Some capitalists actually don’t care about other people, their communities or the future. Their behavior, if left unchecked, has a massive effect on everyone else. When Wal-Mart or McDonald’s or any other guy like me pays workers the minimum wage, that’s our way of saying, “I would pay you less, except then I’d go to prison.”

Don’t Low Wages Only Hurt Those That Work In Those Jobs?

Which brings us to the civic dimension of what the campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 is really about. We’re undeniably becoming a more unequal society—in incomes and in opportunity. The danger is that economic inequality always begets political inequality, which always begets more economic inequality. Low-wage workers stuck on a path to poverty are not only weak customers; they’re also anemic taxpayers, absent citizens and inattentive neighbors.

Economic prosperity doesn’t trickle down, and neither does civic prosperity. Both are middle-out phenomena. When workers earn enough from one job to live on, they are far more likely to be contributors to civic prosperity — in your community. Parents who need only one job, not two or three to get by, can be available to help their kids with homework and keep them out of trouble — in your school. They can look out for you and your neighbors, volunteer, and contribute — in your school and church. Our prosperity does not all come home in our paycheck. Living in a community of people who are paid enough to contribute to your community, rather than require its help, may be more important than your salary. Prosperity and poverty are like viruses. They infect us all — for good or ill.

Let me get this straight, giving rich folks all the new income created since the Great Recession and most of the tax breaks while leaving everyday folks to work at low pay isn’t the way it has to be?

Inclusive economies always outperform and outlast plutocracies. That’s why investments in the middle class work, and tax breaks for the rich don’t. The oldest and most important conflict in human societies is the battle over the concentration of wealth and power. Those at the top will forever tell those at the bottom that our respective positions are righteous and good for all. Historically we called that divine right. Today we have trickle-down economics.

The trickle-down explanation for economic growth holds that the richer the rich get, the better our economy does. But it also clearly implies that if the poor get poorer, that must be good for our economy. Nonsense.

Some of the people who benefit most from that explanation are desperate for you to believe this is the only way a capitalist economy can work. At the end of the day, raising the minimum wage to $15 isn’t about just rejecting their version of capitalism. It’s about replacing it with one that works for every American.

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