Thursday, January 25, 2007

Things and Stuff

  • What Republican politicos love most about Adam Smith is using him to justify the continuous invisible hand job they've been legislating since Reaganomics turned greed into a virtue. These are people who know full well what eliminating the federal minimum wage would mean for many, many working Americans but they're not going to be happy until they've created a peasant nation over which to rule.
  • Same with Bush's attempt to uncouple health care from employment by changing the tax rules. Paul Krugman penned a pretty good response column. To get around the NYT subscription wall, here it is via Truthout (he also started the year with this). Matt Stoller makes some excellent points here.
  • Speaking of Obama, he's hitting back at Fox News. FINALLY it occurs to a Dem that taking the high road doesn't pay with these people. If you ignore it, not only doesn't it go away, the smear becomes a conservative Known Fact. I'm sure there are going to be many more smears against Obama, both ignorant and malicious. It's good to see him come out swinging.
  • Question: If an administration makes anti-gayness part of its platform, incites homophobia as an election strategy, and calls for a constitutional ban on gay marriage, does the VP have a right to say questions about his publicly gay daughter (who also does work for the administration) are out of bounds? Jon Stewart cracked me up tonight (I paraphrase): "How dare you apply my party's cruel and intolerant policies toward families against my own family!"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Disagreement time i guess. lol As I read your response to the minimun wage issue, I'm thinking you are for a minimun wage increase. So, dear cousin, I need you to enlighten me on why this idea will work. I clearly understand that the canyon between the rich and the poor is wide and getting wider every day, I'm not sold on how a increase in minimum wage will help. First question is, who will this help... the cashier at McDonalds who gives you a look like you just gave them a M.I.T. quantum physics question when you hand then $3.04 for a $ 2.54 bill? The check out clerks at grocery stores will see an increase in their wages too but i'm seriously doubting the grocery store chains are going to say " I guess we just have to make less profit and pay our employees more" NOPE I'm guessing they will pass the cost off to the comsumers which means higher grocery bills, which means the doctors, lawyers, secretaries, and everybody else throughout the land will think they deserve a cost of living increase too. And again, I seriously doubt any major coporation will reduce their profits to accomadate these increased wages. And don't get me started on Credit Card companies increasing spending limits as well as intrst rates to these people with new found money. The end result will be a bigger paycheck but a bigger cost of living increase across the board. And what about senior citizens living on fixed income? What will they do when there bills go up but their income doesn't?
Now comes the second problem with a minimum wage increase... out sourcing of jobs. Walter Williams a renoun economist points out that if a coporation has to pay an employeer more here in America then he would if he outsourced to say Southeast Asia and still make just as much if not more profit even with tariffs, the corporation will leave to the cheaper production cost site. How many American jobs will be lost to outsourcing because of increaded cost in productivity in America. One might say ' Then to solve that problem increase tariffs and import taxes' but that might not work. America over the years has developed a debt of trillions of dollars and China holds the paper on over a trillion of our debt. If you increse import taxes so their products become higher priced and harder to sell whats to stop them from putting that debt paper on the open market? If that happens the American dollar with be worth nothing.
So while I do agree with you that something needs to be done about the poor/rich divide in this country I'm not sold on a minimum wage increse solving anything. I wish it would but I'm older now and more pessimistic in quick solve solutions. So enlighten me, cousin, and change my view points.


1:54 AM, January 26, 2007  
Blogger Logic101 said...

Dear Cuz, we're probably not so far off on these issues as you've imagined. We both recognize all the same problems. Here's a few thoughts.

1) Eliminating the minimum wage is a bad idea. History has shown -- repeatedly! -- that there is little distance to the bottom of the labor market. Add the influx of cheap labor from Mexico and it'll be self-sustaining downward spiral. One of the hallmarks of this economy is the stunning lack of corporate reinvestment. These record profits are not being returned to the economy. Wages are stagnant at best even in this so-called "tight" labor market. So to whom will the cost benefit of eliminating the minimum wage go? The investor class who are less apt to spend their surplus. It's the new economy, baby.

2) I have actually not advocated for the minimum wage increase mostly because, like you, I don't know what impact it will have in the end. I'm assuming it would impact the service industry the most, which, to my great disgust, also happens to be our fastest growing economic sector. Those two items seem intertwined in my brain but I can't quite get my head wrapped around whether or not the implication is that the service sector is growing at a pace that deserves more cost balancing. Also, as far as it driving up consumer prices, consumers will stop shopping when prices get too high. In this consumer driven economy I would think that fact would act like an equalizer to keep prices low when labor goes up (squeezing profits). I don't know how offshoring computes in the service sector... probably not a huge factor.

3. Offshoring... ah yes, a topic near and dear to my heart since I'm neck deep in it every day - hence my 'peasant nation' comment. The true goal of this administration is to make us all look like Chinese peasants... to lower wages, to strip cost of employment benefits like health insurance and retirement pensions. The goal is to make US labor look more competitive to 'multi-national' companies (the new buzzword term). I'm not sure if anyone has clued the middle class in on this plan, exactly. Bush is trying like hell to sell at as an 'ownership society' concept, playing on Republican America's "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" pride. Boy, won't those Americans be surprised when they figure THAT one out, what being competitive with Chinese and Indian workers really means in terms of standard of living. To your point, we can't stuff Pandora back into her box but I'm in no big rush to become an economic bottom dweller, either.

4) Having China as a banker scares the hell out of me. I've blogged about it periodically.

5)What I have learned in the past 7 years is that we are worth exactly nothing to the corporate machine. I am rated fairly well at my company but I know for a fact that they would throw me under a bus for a dollar. It used to be enough to make a profit. Now a profit isn't enough... it has to be a GINORMOUS PROFIT to wow Wall Street investors. Since the price of shit has been going down, so have profit margins. Now to achieve GINORMOUS PROFITS, corporations must drive cost to freakishly absurd lows. Corporations have absolved themselves of any responsibility to their employees... we are now only an impediment to profit, it's as simple as that. As corporate America becomes less motivated to act on labor's behalf (or even America's behalf, as multi-nationals), and as organized labor has become worthless to the cause (a tragedy of corruption and self-interest) it's time for government to step in and add some f*ing balance to the equation.

So those are just a few superficial thoughts... I'll be sure to let you know when I've got it all figured out. :-)

10:37 AM, January 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really have nothing to weigh
in on here but have you considered
the numbers of pay increases our
leaders and representatives have
given themselves since the last
time the minimum wage was raised?

Aunt T

8:51 PM, January 27, 2007  

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