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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The New Republic: Opinion: Noam Scheiber: Raising the Minimum Wage Isn't Just Good Politics: It's Good Economics


There are both good political as well as economic reasons for raising the minimum wage in America. If it is done right and I’m going to give you an example of why it make sense to raise the minimum wage in America. Raising the minimum wage in America if it is done right makes so much good sense that I can give you two good examples from both a political, but as well as an economic example and give you both of them from the Right even though I’m a Liberal Democrat

The political example would be this. Imagine you are Joe or Mary taxpayer in America and you work very hard for a living just to pay your bills. And raise your kids and you are a little angry about that and feel overtaxed, because here you are playing by the rules and doing everything you can to pay your own way. But you are also paying taxes to pay for people who don’t pay their own way because they are low-skilled.  

And as a result low-skilled workers work low-skilled minimum wage jobs and have to collect public assistance in order to survive. Because these low-wage employers are able to pass their employee costs onto you. And have you make up the difference for these workers housing, groceries and health care. But you raise the minimum wage to ten, twelve dollars and hour with a break especially for small employers and you keep their public assistance benefits where they are now, now these low-skilled workers can pay more for their costs of living. And Joe and Mary Smith and many others won’t have to pay as much in taxes to make up the difference.

The economic example is pretty simple. You want more people working and fewer people collecting Unemployment or Welfare Insurance, than working has to pay more than not working so people are incentivized to work for a living. And not collect public assistance checks for a living instead. You raise the minimum wage to ten or twelve dollars an hour with a thirty percent tax break for employers especially for small employers and you have employers pay their share of the public assistance costs with like a payroll tax. 

And tell employers they can get all that money back if they instead just pay their low-wage employees those costs. Or train them so they can move up in their organization or a combination of both. Now employers won’t be able to pass their employees costs on to the backs of average Joe and Mary taxpayer. And many others and you would be able to cut the middle class tax burden in this country. The politics for Democrats are very good here. 

And this would be a very good way to get Democrats to the polls in 2014 and get organize labor to help them out. It is actually good politics for Republicans as well if they are truly interested in reaching out to the working class. And not just there to carry the water for the wealthy and corporate America. Because they could say they are in favor of this as well so we can cut the taxes for average workers.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Lucky Larue: Video: Vince Lombardi Teaches The Power Sweep

The Power Sweep
Lucky Larue: Video: Vince Lombardi Teaches The Power Sweep

To judge whose the greatest head coach of all-time in the NFL you first have to know what is the job of the head coach and what his responsibilities are and what you expect from him. To me at least the job of the head coach is of course to win and win at least a good deal more than he loses. And make the playoffs and be successful in the playoffs. But more than that the job of the head coach is to get the best out of his team with the players and talent that he has.

A head coach could inherit a young inexperienced team that doesn’t have that much talent. And not make the playoffs and not even come close to having a winning season. But could still have a successful season if he gets the most out of his players that he possibly can and perhaps even overachieves. And that team wins a few games that they shouldn’t have because they were playing better teams. And a coach could have a very talented and experienced football team and have an unsuccessful season. Even if they make the playoffs especially if they go out early in the playoffs or lose the conference championship. When that coach had the best team in the league that year.

And based on these standards Vince Lombardi is definitely the best head coach in the history of the NFL. Because no head coach ever got more out of his players and was a better motivator than Vince Lombardi. Because he always knew what he wanted from his team. What type of team he wanted to have on both offense and defense. The available talent that he had and how to get the most out of his talent. And a perfect example of this is the year before Lombardi arrived in Green Bay.

The Packers were 1-11 and in Lombardi’s first season in Green Bay, they were 7-5 their first winning season in eleven years and Lombardi had basically the same team to work with in 1959 than the previous Packers coach had in 1958. But the difference being that Lombardi knew how to get the most out of the players that he had. He knew where to play them and how to use them on both sides of the ball. In 1958 the Packers had a talented football team. But in 1959 the Packers were a good football team, which was the difference.

The difference between a good head coach and a bad head coach is of course the good coach knows what he is doing and the bad coach spends most of his time trying to figure it out and experimenting. But the reason why the good coach knows what he is doing is, because he knows what type of team he has. And then sets expectations for his team and player based on that. And then knows how to get the most out of the players that he has and Vince Lombardi is simply the best at this.


Monday, December 23, 2013

The Onion: Peter K. Rosenthal Looks Back at It's a Wonderful Life


Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

How can one Uncle Billy can completely change the complexion of a movie review? You know if I had an uncle who was that big of an asshole and screw up, I doubt my life would be so golly gee swell. (To use a term from that era) Especially if I was relying on a dipshit like this to help me run my business. First of all, if I’m dumb enough to rely on a dipshit to help me run my business, I’m probably not that much of a businessman to begin with. Maybe Uncle Billy has something that he can use as blackmail that keeps him in business with his partners. Maybe he saw Joe kissing Sally instead of his wife Mary and threatening to use that against Joe or something. But the people who go into business with someone like Uncle Billy are people who go out of business. Because they are not smart enough to hire people who are not dipshits to work for them.

It's a Wonderful Life, is a classic 1930s, 1940s, 1950s Jimmy Stewart movie. Where he represents a a very simple man from a very simple time. (At least according to Hollywood) Where he's a very well-liked town and knows everybody there and they seem to like him, because he's just like everybody else in that town. You don't cuss, even words like damn and hell are considered sins. And if there wasn't for this little annoying thing like the First Amendment, you might get arrested for saying damn or hell in public. Joe Smith is married to Mary and they have 2-3 kids. Of course Joe works and of course Mary stays home and raises their kids. Because it's considered a sin for women to work in Pleasantville. Because in Pleasantville women are not only not expected to work, but be subservient to their man. Perhaps Pleasantville is the capital of Saudi Arabia or at least part of Saudi Arabia. Except in Pleasantville the people aren't Muslin or Arab, but Protestant and tend to be Anglo-Saxon. Except for the servants, who of course are African-American and in some cases even use to be slaves. 

And Joe Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) is curious what life looks like outside of Pleasantville USA. And is curious what life looks like outside of his collectivist town where everyone seems to almost be a clone of someone else. Where everyone talks and thinks the same way, lives their life the same way. Again absolutely no cussing, no dancing in public, no drinking on Sunday. Everyone says Grace before they eat, etc. And Joe wants to know if everyone else in America lives this way and perhaps what big city life would be like. The problem is that Joe is dumb enough to get in bed, I mean go into business with his Uncle Billy and of course Billy's nickname is screwup, or even even dipshit and runs the business into the ground like a drunk autopilot crashes a plane. And now Joe is stuck in Pleasantville or Bedford Falls (to be precise) and left there pick up the pieces and put his life back together. 
The Onion: Peter K. Rosenthal Looks Back at It's a Wonderful Life

Saturday, December 21, 2013

VOA News: Video: Judy Tableou: Prison Work Farm Rehabs Inmates, Horses



This is exactly what prison inmates in general population who want to build their lives and become productive in life should be doing. Which is working, but working in a field with the skills needed so they not only have good jobs in prison, but also now have the right job skills and job experience needed to get themselves a good job once they leave prison. And not need to come back to prison because now they have the skills they need to do well in life legally. This is a much taxpayer investment than to lockup inmates all day except for their meals and yard time and perhaps doing a few chores, that is for inmates who are in general population. Where all they learn there is how to become better criminals.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Atlantic: Opinion: Josh Freedman & Michael Lind: The Past and Future of America's Social Contract

The Atlantic: Opinion: Josh Freedman & Michael Lind: The Past and Future of America's Social Contract

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

When we are talking about the social contract, we should be clear about what are we talking about. Because this gets to the heart of what we want from government in America especially the Federal Government. Are we talking about the American tradition of the safety net that has helped contribute to the largest and most powerful economy and country in the world. Or do we want a Scandinavian welfare state.

Where the Federal Government would play a huge role especially in an economy of seventeen-trillion dollars in a country of three-hundred and ten million people in providing us with most of the services that we need to live well in America. Or are we talking about building off of the New Deal not to turn Americans into Nordics economically and ideologically, but to empower more Americans with more economic power in this great vast diverse huge country of three-hundred and ten million people. And empowering more Americans regardless of race, ethnicity and gender with the economic power to live in freedom to be able to take care of themselves.

As a New Democrat I’m in favor of the third option of building off of the New Deal by not having government take care of more people. But using government to empower more people to be able to take care of themselves. Which would be great for the economy as well as the fiscal condition of the country. With fewer people collecting from the social insurance system and more people paying into the system. Because we would have a larger middle as well as larger upper class with more people starting new business’s.

Because of the greater access to education including college and fewer people in the lower economic class either unemployed. Or working low-income jobs, but still collecting public assistance to survive. And again and I’m not trying to sound partisan ideologically, but again this gets to what do you want from government. And who do you trust to provide people with the services that they need in life. Do you trust government to take care of everyone. Do you trust an unregulated and almost completely tax-free corporate America and so-called free market to work for everyone. Or do you trust an educated workforce and educated individuals to be able to make their own decisions with their own lives.

As a Liberal I believe an educated public with the right tools and education can take care of themselves and do not need big brother or big government or a nanny state to do that for them. And the main problem with our workforce right now is that we do not have enough workers to be able to make with enough of an education to have the power to be able to take care of themselves. And a big reason why the Left right now is debating what should the role of government, especially the Federal Government be to address the income and skills gap in this country.

I believe Liberals agree with Progressives or Social Democrats that the Federal Government should be doing more. But we differ on what that new role should be. With the lets say further Left of the party essentially wanting to transform America into Scandinavia economically and politically. With the JFK/Clinton New Democratic Coalition of Liberals saying that when people have the tools that they need, they tend to make good decisions with their own lives instead. And do not need government doing everything for them.

My message of economic power and creating what I would call and economic power system, for lack of a better term right now, is about education K-College and quality education for all through college. Once we establish that and lookout for the American economy especially as we move towards energy independence, rebuild our falling infrastructure system and actually start paying down some of our national debt.

The energy and debt are already under way, but the infrastructure still needs a new plan out of Congress to make that happen. And universal access to education and job training for our low-skilled and low-income workforce as well. Our population that collects from public assistance whether they are working or not. So they can get the skills that they need to also live in freedom, the economic power they need to be successful in America.

This shouldn’t be about big government versus small government at least on the Left. But more about big government versus limited, but good government only doing the things that we need it to do for people. And then let the people with this new-found freedom, let them fly and let’s see what Americans can do for themselves. Once they have the power over their own lives.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ed Valanzuela: Happy Birthday To You!


Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Happy Birthday to my lovely and beautiful mother who turns, well she would probably kill me even from three-thousand miles away if I gave that out. But Happy Birthday mom and to having a lot more birthdays as well, no matter how long you live.
Ed Valenzuela: Happy Birthday to You

The New America Foundation: Blog: Michael Lind: The Next Social Contract, An American Idea For Reform

The New America: Blog: Michael Lind: The Next Social Contract, An American Idea For Reform

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

The social contract means different things to different people and depending on where you are on the American political spectrum will show what you think of it. And for people on the Libertarian-Right or are Center-Right Conservatives, the role of government when it comes to economic policy and what government should be doing for people is very minimal. And people on the Right tend to just want government there to enforce contracts and laws that are designed to prevent and breakup monopolies and what is called unfair competition.

And for people who are fairly far to the Left, but still believe in having at least some type of private enterprise system, meaning capitalism, but have a big role for government especially the Federal Government in that capitalist economic system and are Progressives or Social Democrats that is more common in Europe in countries with more socialist economic systems, people who have these politics want the Federal Government there to do a lot for the people. And even to the point to be there that no one goes without or has too much. And have a government big enough to provide most of the services that people need to live well in life.

Really since 1980-81 when Ronald Reagan ran and then of course was elected President of the United States, America has been debating the role of government in America especially as it relates to the economy. And back then it was a debate between Conservative Libertarians on the Right, the Goldwater/Reagan faction of the Republican Party, versus the Progressive or even Social Democratic FDR/LBJ faction of the Democratic Party.

Back then it was between Conservative Libertarians looking to roll back the New Deal and Great Society, versus the FDR Progressives looking to keep in place what they built. And the debates between Ron Reagan on the Right and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil on the Left generally ended somewhere in the middle. With these social programs not getting expanded or ended, but reformed to be made to be more efficient and more affordable for years to come. With the 1983 Social Security Reform Act being a great example of that.

In the early 1990s with help from groups like the Democratic Leadership Council, Liberal Democrats on the Center-Left in America because of political success of Reagan Republicans on the Right emerged as a strong force in the Democratic Party to fight back against the anti-government Right in the Republican Party. That was not about increasing government and taxes in American lives, or throwing out New Deal and Great Society programs. But wanted government to be more efficient and limited to doing the things that Americans need from government especially the Federal Government.

New Democrats want government to help people in need who live in poverty and in many cases lack the skills to be successful in life on their own. To get themselves the tools that they need to be successful in life. Instead of government trying to do practically everything for everybody or practically nothing for people. This is what is known as the New Democratic Coalition that gave Mike Dukakis the Democratic nomination for president in 1988. And of course Bill Clinton the Democratic nomination for President in 1992. And a big reason why Governor Clinton was elected president in 1992, because he was seen as a New Democrat who wouldn’t try to tax people to death or out of business.

So far over the last thirty years the Reagan conservative side has won in the sense that Americans tend to not be looking for an increased role of the Federal Government in our economic lives. The New Democrats in the 1990s were successful in holding back the Conservatives and preventing them from rolling back the New Deal and Great Society. But also in presenting an alternative agenda to for Americans in saying that government can’t do everything for people and can’t do nothing. That we need it there to do the things that we all need government for. And government can also play a role in providing able-bodied and mentally able people get themselves the tools that they need to be able to make it on their own in life and be successful on their own.