Well its Labor Day weekend here in America folks. Not that Labor Day honors “labor” anymore. I mean, who do you know that considerers themselves “working class?” We are all “middle class,” unless of course you’re poor or one of the 1% and you know you’re not middle class.
Labor Day weekend is now just the end of summer, back to school three day shopping weekend. Time to buy some more stuff you “need.”
Emperor Don celebrated Labor Day by cancelling raises for Federal workers scheduled for next January, citing budgetary constraints. The “constraints” are the result of the tax cuts for corporations and billionaires, including himself and his family, which will add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next ten years. So much for Republican fiscal conservatism.
So lets cancel that 2.1% increase those lazy Fed workers were going to get. That’s the ticket!
Here in Florida, Andrew Gillum’s stunning victory in the Democratic primary race for Governor has already brought out wails about his “socialist agenda” and how we Floridians shouldn’t “monkey it up.” Place dog whistle here.
My god – he is for “Medicare for all!” Imagine that! He supports a $15 hourly minimum wage! Oh! The horror! A total ban on assault weapons!
Such an assault on liberty!
So in honor of Labor Day let us take a look at the positions and issues of the only candidate for Governor who WASN’T a millionaire/billionaire.
Let’s start with “Medicare for all” which does not literally mean “Medicare for all” but universal health care available through a number of choices including a Federal program like Medicare as one available option. Its called Medicare for All because Medicare is so popular.
Yes. It’s socialist. Live with it.
And what makes me laugh is that all those Republicans over 65, and there are millions of them here in Florida, including me, LIVE on Medicare.
It’s been half a century since the passage of Medicare for those over 65 years of age. I personally do not know how I would have survived without it. Yet even Medicare allows one to opt out and join a Medicare Advantage plan run by private insurers which promise greater benefits at lower cost. My own doctors have advised me to stick with original Medicare, which I have. I have not had a significant medical bill since I retired in spite of a short hospital stay, a broken wrist which required surgery, a broken foot and eye surgery to restore my sight.
Medicare became law in1965. Prior to that Harry Truman tried to implement a national health insurance program but his effort crumbled in the late 1940s, ruthlessly crushed by not only insurers and pharmaceutical companies but also the American Medical Association. (Physicians, whose already handsome salaries began to rise in the postwar era, feared the blow to their paychecks, professional prestige, and autonomy, since a government payer would also reduce their control over prices.) As such, the AMA famously shook down its membership for $25 apiece to fund the multimillion-dollar campaign that introduced the phrase “socialized medicine” into mainstream American culture.
Since I would find it impossible to receive adequate heath services without Medicare, and everyone seems to like it, why wouldn’t I want everyone, including my children to be able to access what we over 65 already have?
The greatest fault with Obamacare is that there is no option to join a government program – i.e. Medicare or something like it for those under 65. And Republicans have railed against Obamacare, although it allowed millions to purchase health insurance who had previously been denied by private insurers because they were already sick or simply couldn’t afford coverage.
In 2007 before I turned 65 I had to buy priate insurance. The cost was $1,172 a month – just for me. I needed it for 7 months. Luckily I could afford it. Millions could not before Obamacare.
Back in March 2017 the Republican controlled Congress tried to repeal OBamacare for like the 60th time. They failed. With a 246 – 188 majority in the HOuse, the GOP could not muster a majority. They had no alternative plan after bitching for years about repeal
Some Republicans wanted Medicaid money to continue to their states even if the program was cancelled. Others did not want ANY alternative law – health care was to be completely in the private sector – even Medicare.
The right was in a rage.
“These people held out for the impossible — full repeal of Obamacare in one fell swoop — and have thus destroyed the only realistic opportunity their party will have in the near future to eradicate the law’s individual and employer mandates, enact entitlement reform, expand HSAs, defund Planned Parenthood, halt the metastasis of Medicaid, and cut its myriad taxes.”
“This tiny clique has again protected a crime against democracy — and that is what Obamacare is.”
A crime against democracy? Too funny.
So while behind the scenes Big Pharma, doctors, insurers and the AMA work against “Medicare for all,” publicly it will be now part of the “socialist or agenda.”
An assault on democracy indeed. Sheesh.
So lets talk about a $15 per hour minimum wage
An Amazon “Fulfillment Center”
First a statement:
“No one who works full time should live in poverty.”
A vast majority of thinking, rational people would agree with that statement.
Yet the current Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour or $15,080 per year. The poverty level as determined by the United States government is $16,460 for a family of two and $20,780 for a family of three. That means to survive in this nation it takes 2 wage earners working full time at minimum wage jobs.
So much for family values.
The right argues that the minimum wage law is a “job killer.” They have been making that argument since FDR established the first minimum wage at o.25 cents an hour!
The minimum wage law, warned the National Association of Manufacturers in 1937, constitutes a step in the direction of communism and bolshevism. Congress Edward Cox, a Georgia Democrat said that the law “will destroy small industry.” These ideas, Cox claimed, “are the product of those whose thinking is rooted in an alien philosophy and who are bent on the destruction of our constitutional system and the setting up of a Red Labor communistic despotism upon the ruins of our Christian civilization.” Roosevelt and most members of Congress ignored him.
Yet the beat goes on – Raising the minimum is always a “job killer.”
In fact it is a stimulus – those getting the increased wage spend it in their own communities, helping small business where they live. Poor people spend it where they live on the basics of food, housing and clothing. It has been estimated by economists that raising the Federal minimum wage to $9 an hour wuld pump $21 billion into the economy.
Moreover, since most minimum wage jobs are in immobile industries such as restaurants, hotels, hospitals, nursing homes and retail stores, raising the level doesn’t lead to job flight. They can’t flee overseas. Not surprisingly the National Restaurant Association is, along with the U.S Chamber of Commerce, the leading opponents of a minimum wage hike.
Unable to get a higher minimum wage through Congress, states and cities have gone around the law. Over 200 cities have raised the minimum wage.
Cities like Santa Fe and San Francisco are thriving. When the minimum wage went up in San Francisco the local restaurant association predicted an economic debacle. Try getting into a restaurant in San Francisco. There have never been more of them. Indeed the growth in bars and restaurants were a key sector fueling San Francisco’s economic recovery.
Indeed there are homeless in San Francisco but not because of the minimum wage. There are homeless because it is one of the most expensive cities on the planet in which to live thanks to the rise of the tech moguls.
Speaking of moguls
It is corporations like Walmart and Amazon which need to raise the wages of their lowest paid workers. Both are among the leaders on the list of largest employers with employees who work full time and qualify for food stamps and Medicaid – after getting millions in tax breaks to create “good paying jobs.”
Corporations such as these should pay an additional tax to cover the cost of food stamps and Medicaid provided by taxpayers, to their full time employees. Don’t hold your breath. Meanwhile Bezos is the richest guy in the world and the Walmart heirs receive as much income each year as the bottom 30% of all Americans.
No need to speak about assault weapons here. They should be banned. Period.
Happy Labor Day.