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Democrats Support Minimum Wage As a Way To Get Elected In Midterm Elections

1:55 am in Uncategorized by BrandonJ

Minimum wage will be a major issue the Democrats hope will give them victory in this year’s election as a recent New York Times article shows. They hope to remove any doubts within the minds of voters due to their botched attempt at a successful Obamacare rollout by emphasizing this pressing issue.

Democrat Donkey

Political expediency leads to Democratic support for a new minimum wage.

Throughout the U.S., the issue has drawn numerous protests by fast food workers, for instance, and even is one platform Socialist Alternative member and recently sworn-in Seattle City Council member, Kshama Sawant, campaigned upon. The difference, however, between Sawant and the Democrats is that the former focused on the $15 per hour increase, while Democrats are cautious and prefer it to be lower at around $10.10 per hour.

Democrats hope to get candidates to focus on the issue, while Republicans still talk about Obamacare ahead of the midterm elections. In the piece, there is clear indication this is the preferable option for Democratic victory in Congress:

‘The more Republicans obsess on repealing the Affordable Care Act and the more we focus on rebuilding the middle class with a minimum-wage increase, the more voters will support our candidates,’ said Representative Steve Israel of New York, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

In Nov. of last year, Gallup poll found 76 percent of Americans would support a minimum wage increase to $9 per hour, while 69 percent would do the same with the addition of it being inflation-proof.  At the same time, another Gallup poll found 50 percent of small-business owners disapprove of raising to the minimum wage and 60 percent state it would harm small-business.

The gamble taken upon the Democrats is not lost upon them and they acknowledge it will hurt some, while helping others. Indeed, the NYT article mentions some Democrats hadn’t made a decision yet due to their environment:

But in a sign that some moderate Democrats are uneasy about inflaming their local business communities, the imperiled Democratic Senate incumbents in Alaska and Arkansas, Mark Begich and Mark Pryor, have yet to embrace the ballot measures.

It must be noted the Obama administration and the rest of the Democrats prefer raising the minimum wage to $10.10, which seems to be their ideal level. Obama had previously mentioned he would raise it a meager $9 per hour, which doesn’t help considering the rhetoric coming out from numerous activists groups pushing for a much higher minimum wage.

Yet, the issue doesn’t seem to be one focused on the well-being of Americans. The entire NYT article focused upon how well the issue would work for the Democrats, rather than how well it will work for Americans. Gone are the days where Franklin Delano Roosevelt once remarked to a crowd at Madison Square Garden before the 1936 election:

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.

The “business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering” group are all on the side of the Democrats, along with the Republicans, understanding that this will not place much of a dent in their profits. If it’s to calm the growing restlessness among the populace, then they will accept it.

If one Democratic politician made such a claim they welcome the hatred of the “enemies of peace,” then they would be crucified and excommunicated immediately. The reality is the rhetoric of any capitalist politician is one of accepting the status quo and fixing things through extremely slow and small methods.

We can easily understand what Obama thinks of the “enemies of peace,” considering he spoke at a Wall Street Journal CEO dinner last November. In fact, the entire speech is worth reading to contrast with Roosevelt’s attitude, but one of the most telling parts was this:

I mean, in most countries, you’ve got — you know, people call me a socialist sometimes, but, no, you’ve got to me real socialists. You’ll have a sense of what a — what a socialist is. (Laughter.) You know, the — I mean, I’m talking about lowering the corporate tax rate. My health care reform is based on the private marketplace. Stock market’s looking pretty good last time I checked, and, you know, it is true that I’m concerned about growing inequality in our system, but nobody questions the efficacy of market economies in terms of producing wealth and innovation and keeping us competitive.

We can investigate why the sudden attitude toward minimum wage increase has appeared with Karl Marx once remarking in The Communist Manifesto:

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Analyzing NYC’s Mayoral Elections: Bill de Blasio (Part IV of V)

7:24 pm in Uncategorized by BrandonJ

This is an on-going series analyzing New York City’s mayoral race. To read the introduction, click here. To read on Independent candidate Adolfo Carrion Jr, click here. To read on Republican candidate Joseph Lhota, click here.

Bill de Blasio – Democratic candidate

Bill de Blasio is the last person in this series as the election comes to a close. It is fitting since many publications and polls have stated he is heavily favored to win the election. Yet, since he is on the Democratic ticket and making such a huge stride, I must wonder why a person like de Blasio is having such an edge and whether his rhetoric matches his actions.

Bill de Blasio is definitely someone guaranteed since the beginning of this race to win the election through a landslide. However, his work within the Democratic establishment merits further discussion of his overall role in this race and what may occur in the future. It is more important to start off during his politically active days as an outsider to the system.

During his upbringing, his volunteering with the Sandinista government in Nicaragua was pointed out as another instance of a “Communist”  guaranteed to bring his communist friends to have communist policies with communist parties and erect Lenin statues across New York City, especially across Wall Street. If that seems ridiculous to you, the New York Post had a cover with the face of Bill de Blasio and the USSR symbol of the hammer and sickle. The Gothamist poked fun of such talk by saying:

Coincidentally, the news emerges on the eve of tomorrow’s election, and could cost de Blasio the crucial ‘senile conservative’ demographic.

The New York Post, a Rupert Murdoch-owned publication, discussed his trips to communist — or state capitalist — countries during the 1980s. Their ridiculous “analysis” wouldn’t even be taken as serious, but it is interesting to observe his status as a person with a revolutionary spirit against the capitalist system.

Then, de Blasio joined Democrats for campaigning and he would slowly lose such status as a left-wing revolutionary and more of an establishment individual. As the New York Times pointed out on Aug. 25:

The campaign for an open Senate seat [for Hillary Clinton] was a turning point in Mr. de Blasio’s life; it was the biggest and most high-profile political effort he had ever been put in charge of. And it turned out to be his last, as an operative.

His work with the Clintons goes back to the late 1990s where he was appointed in the Department of Housing and Urban Department as Regional Director for New York and New Jersey. One interesting point from historian Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States is housing under Clinton:

The United States (forgetting, or choosing to forget, the disastrous consequence of such a policy in the twenties) was consigning its people to the mercy of the “free market.” The “market” did not care about the environment or the arts. And it left many Americans without jobs, or health care, without a decent education for their children, or adequate housing. Under Reagan, the government had reduced the number of housing units getting subsidies from 400,000 to 40,000; in the Clinton administration the program ended altogether.

Bill de Blasio later, as the previous New York Times article points out, ran for different positions after realizing his talent as a campaign manager. He mentions, reflecting his time under the Clinton Senate campaign in 2000, what he gained and applied to his own style of campaigning:

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Defending the 1 Percent

12:07 am in Uncategorized by BrandonJ

I support the 1 percent.

It is time in the United States they become a part of our “radical revolution of values.”

Woman panhandling in front of fashion store.

Speaking up for the suffering of our poorest.

I am talking of course of the bottom 1 percent of Americans who live on less than $2 a day. In a world where a list of the top 400 richest Americans can be considered newsworthy, it is high time to give more time to the poorest of Americans who have to suffer as their wealth is stolen by those at top. They cannot be ignored.

This group of Americans, who live on income that is difficult for many people to imagine, is in “extreme poverty.” In 1996, they were just 1.7 percent of all households. In mid-2011, the number rose to 4 percent or a growth rate of 159 percent.

A study conducted by the National Poverty Center, specifically researchers Kathyrn Edin and Luke Shaefer, earlier this year on the other 1 percent stated “1.65 million households with 3.55 million children were living in extreme poverty in a given month.” One disturbing part of the study was how the “Great Recession” affected those in extreme poverty:

[A] rise in the number of households experiencing prolonged periods of unemployment may have also led to a rise in the number of households surviving on virtually nothing. (Emphasis mine)

Let’s briefly pause at this moment to reflect on what we understand so far. When we hear the words “virtually nothing”, what comes to mind?

Surely, we, as a society, have to reach a point where we must criticize what our system so much that it must be abolished. Existence of “bullshit jobs,” as London School of Economics anthropology professor David Graeber placed it, is directly connected to the problem of such individuals in our society living with “virtually nothing.” But let’s return to the study.

The report notes “assistant programs” for those in poverty has slowed down the overall rate, though notes the rise of poverty highlights how weak the social safety net is for Americans.

It is clear that our current major safety-net programs are playing a vital role at the very bottom, especially in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and are blunting some of the hardship that these households would otherwise face. However, it would be wrong to conclude that the U.S. safety net is strong, or even adequate, when the number and proportion of households with children surviving on less than $2 per day has risen so dramatically over the past 15 years, even after accounting for means-tested transfers

The authors note a major turning point in the 1990s was the signing of the “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996″ or the “welfare reform” law as the authors placed it. It changed the system from a “need-based” program to a “block grant” program that was easily manipulated by states for their own use. As they elaborated:

[C]ash assistance caseloads have fallen from 12.3 million recipients per month in 1996 to 4.5 million in December 2011, and only 1.1 million of these beneficiaries are adults. Even during the current period of continued high unemployment, the cash assistance rolls have increased only slightly. ‘Welfare’, in the form of cash assistance, is a shell of its former self.

The signing of the 1996 law was not the fault of Republicans only, but of the Democrats as well. Historian Howard Zinn wrote in A People’s History of the United States:

The aim of the welfare cuts was to save $50 billion over a five-year period (less than the cost of a planned new generation of fighter planes). Even the New York Times, a supporter of Clinton during the election, said that the provisions of the new law “have nothing to do with creating work but everything to do with balancing the budget by cutting programs for the poor.”

Last year, a New York Times/CBS News poll found “two-thirds of registered voters” viewed him favorably while a whopping 91 percent of Democrats have a “favorable” view of him. This was an individual who remarked the “era of big government was over“, so it is peculiar Democrats would support an individual like Clinton.

There is a section in this study that speaks volumes about the issue of “extreme poverty.” Indeed, the study reports there is an increase of “disconnected” mothers — those with “neither earnings nor welfare” — and experience “multiple barriers to work such as learning disabilities, physical limitations, few work skills, and mental health problems.” The researchers found:

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