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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: Joseph Lhota (Part III of V)

1:17 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.

Joseph Lhota

Joseph Lhota – Republican candidate

We move on to Joseph Lhota, the former Chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority from January 9th, 2012 to December 31st. He is the Republican candidate in this election and has experience in numerous offices under major names like Rudy Giuliani.

Lhota echoes a sentiment of being a fiscal conservative and a social liberal, which is a theme all three major candidates build upon.

A few Republican (clueless if I might add) individuals I know of have found de Blasio to be so revolting that Lhota would be the instant candidate for their needs. However, Lhota, currently at 23 percent according to Siena, has failed to do anything of a push against de Blasio’s strategies. In fact, he is the epitome of the New York Republican Party — delusional.

Interestingly, Lhota has appeal based on fear of de Blasio’s policies, rather than of what he is doing. It is a grave mistake Lhota is making and indicative of a campaign fully knowing it has nothing up its sleeves to counter-act de Blasio’s genius run.

In fact, it is comical Joseph Lhota stated de Blasio “is using his family because he has no policies,” despite using his family in the New York Post since “he has no policies.”

To be fair to Lhota, he does have policies, but here is one:

For years, New York has relied heavily on the finance and related industries for job growth. While financial services produce vast wealth and tax revenues, they can also subject the city economy and government to painful contractions when markets fall.  To give New Yorkers access to well-paid jobs and more of them we must welcome and attract new business from a variety of industries.

For an individual who celebrates his time on Wall Street, it brings numerous concerns as to what his agenda might be. If New York will gain jobs, at what point will such jobs go to Wall Street? Are we to expect public works projects by an individual who was an investment banker?

Moreover, an attack-ad by Lhota was, as The Nation’s Leslie Savan points out, filled with mistakes and errors that, once again, represent delusional politics at play.

His support of stop-and-frisk is connected to the fear-based politics, which he believes would work to his favor if elected. He writes in his “Policy Book” his answer regarding stop-and-frisk:

The Supreme Court of the United States held in the landmark case of Terry v. Ohio that police have the ability to stop people upon reasonable suspicion. This technique is used by police departments around the country. Terry stops are an important tool in the prevention of crime, especially gun violence. Police, however, should be free to go into high crime neighborhoods and prevent crimes, including quality of life crimes.

He tries his very best not to say low-income people should be frequently checked and frisked by police, but ends up implying that through statements like these.

He echoed the time when New York was filled with crime and compared it to a de Blasio administration if elected. “We are one bad mayor away from unsafe streets, failing schools and fiscal chaos” he remarks in a new campaign video.

It is as if Lhota did not stop and look at what “fiscal chaos” in this country is already.

He is famous for working in public administrations under Republican Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani is famous for being called “America’s Mayor” after the Sept. 11th attacks.

The reality is he was at the right place at the right time as journalist Rebecca Solnit writes in Paradise Built in Hell:

The spiteful, self-serving, scandal-ridden figure was gone, and in his place was brave, empathetic, inexhaustible, and omnipresent. But the old Giuliani came back soon enough to try to advance his own career on his performance and dismiss or suppress inconvenient facts about that day and his decisions before and after. He often lauded his own preparedness in creating an Emergency Operations Center, though that center was located in 7 World Trade Center and was quickly evacuated on September 11th. The space was leased from a landlord who afterward became a major campaign donor to the mayor. Years earlier, his own advisers had his plan to locate the center at what even then they called Ground Zero.

His time in the MTA has been praised and even used by newspapers to indicate his experience if elected as a mayor. In their endorsement of Lhota, Newsday wrote:

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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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