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The last few days have been a bizzare experience. I had a feeling I was in Red State or Free Republic at times. First, there was the bizzare diary defending female teachers having sex with 14 year old boys, which got a lot of support. Now, in reaction to the protests against HR 4437, we have people coming forward and defending the Minutemen and their neo-Nazi allies -- and getting cheered on.

I am not going to mention names. You know who you are. But if you are gullible enough to swoon over the Minutemen, the Neo-Nazis, and their "professionalism," then you are being an enabler. You are being an enabler for the worst kind of hate groups there are in this country. And if you don't believe me when I say that the Minutemen and Neo-nazis are allied, you are arguing with the facts, not me.

You do not understand who you are dealing with. These men are killers. These are people who will kill, maim, and destroy whenever they think it will advance their political agendas. These are the same kind of people who bombed the Alfred E. Murrah Building, drag Black people along the roads from pickup trucks, and burn crosses outside people's houses.

If you are going to be so prejudiced against immigrants that you will turn a blind eye to these people and their evil actions, then we don't need your votes. There is a home for you. It is called the Republican Party.

You may look at the TV and swoon over the "professionalism" of these people. But you've been had. If you're gullible enough to believe their image of being like the friendly neighborhood watch people, then you have learned nothing from the days of Ronald Reagan, when he caused over 25% of Democrats to swoon over his sunny optimism.

You do not recognize that evil men and women like these people are can be the nicest people in the world. But I don't judge people based on appearences. I judge on actions. The Minutemen and their Neo-Nazi allies are wolves in sheep's clothing. They present themselves as concerned citizens, when in fact, they are ravening wolves ready to kill when it suits their political agendas.

Incidentally, the problem is not so much with our elected officials. Yes, I wish they would show more spine. But the problem is us. Too often, we fail to recognize that we are guilty of the same kind of appeasement tactics that we rant against the Democratic establishment for. Rush Limbaugh screams about how immigrants take away our jobs, and people in this community cower in fear and bend over backwards to appease Rush by supporting the Minutemen. Lou Dobbs can give one of his smug, self-righteous stories about the War on the Middle Class, and people turn around and say, "Me, too!"

By acting like Republicans and turning immigrants into the enemy by supporting the Minutemen, you are part of the problem, not the solution. You have turned your back on 45 years of progress on civil rights, peace, and social justice in the name of appeasement.

There is a wide room for disagreement over immigration. I understand the need to balance the respect for law on one hand with our legacy of 400 years of providing freedom and opportunity for people who had not had it before. Some people will be more restrictive of it, while others would be more lenient. That is fine. But when you support the Minutemen, you cross the line in my book. You need to take a good hard look at whether or not you are really a Democrat or not. Supporting the Minutemen is a cop-out that does not provide any real, meaningful solutions to the problem.

Not only that, you are running the risk of plunging the country into civil war and chaos. Suppose HR 4437 passes and Bush signs it into law. You are playing into Bush's hands when he is trying to turn this country into a police state. If you have skin that is too dark, a neighbor might smear you by suggesting you are an illegal alien. You can have a Green Card, lose it, and have George Bush whisk you away and deport you right back to your old country.

This is just like the Blacks in the ghettos back in the 1960's and before. Everybody thought they were too poor to get guns and fight what they considered police brutality. But they were wrong - Blacks protesting police brutality and poor living conditions brought the country to its knees in the 1960's through riots. If Bush starts a policy of trying to deport 21 million undocumented workers back at once, this country would be plunged into civil war. People would get guns either legally or illegally and shoot any immigration agents on sight. Clashes between Minutemen and immigrants would take place. This whole country could be turned into a McCarthyite witch hunt that would involve people turning each other in if they know they are from another country. People would be wrongfully deported because Bush would consider you guilty until proven innocent - read up on Guantanamo and extraordinary rendition if you don't believe me.

We have to make a hard choice - do we risk plunging the country into civil war, or do we sit down and do the hard work of developing a meaningful program on immigration that affirms the equality of all people and treats immigrants with fairness and respect, while recognizing that undocumented immigrants broke the law and should face fair and reasonable consequences?

1. Fully funding the INS and cracking down on businesses.

Our first priority should be to fully fund the INS and crack down on businesses who hire undocumented workers. What Eliot Spitzer did for corporate crime and what John Conyers will do for the illegal wiretapping program and the Iraq War, we need to do with companies that exploit workers in poverty. I have no respect for companies that flout labor laws by paying subminumum wages to workers and refuse to pay out workman's comp and other mandatory programs. There should be massive lawsuits and jail sentences for employers who exploit people for profit.

HR 4437 is totally unenforceable. That is because the INS is unable to enforce labor laws because they are inadequately funded. We need to give them the resources they need to investigate complaints of labor law violations.

2. Increase immigration quotas to meet job demand.

We need to come up with a credible estimate of job demand, and allow enough immigrants in to meet job demand. Our first priority should be to let in skilled immigrants and immigrants who plan to start their own businesses. We cannot let in everybody who wants to come to this country. We should, however, have a priority list so that the immigrants we do let in create as many jobs as possible.

a. Skilled laborers and business owners.

Skilled laborers, who can document a degree from a reputable institution or who can demonstrate through employment history skilled labor; people with a comprehensive plan to start their own business. In the latter case, the INS would require verification that the person is actually operating such a business. Understanding of US labor law must be demonstrated.

b. Refugees and persons fleeing persecution.

The next priority would be for refugees who can document famine or a well-founded fear of religious or political persecution.

c. Persons with immediate family members or children born in the US.

d. The general pool.

3. Double the minimum wage.

Part of the problem is that many Americans will rarely work at menial jobs for minimum wage - immigrants would. Doubling the minimum wage would address this problem.

4. Penalties.

In assessing penalties for undocumented workers, we must take into account the fact that they might have children born in the US, and are thus citizens under the 14th Amendment. Furthermore, all people, even undocumented workers, are granted Constitutional rights. Therefore, any immigration violations must be given due process.

Undocumented persons convicted of felonies or misdemeanors other than traffic violations or immigration-related cases should be deported. All immigrants must go through hoops in order to enter for a period of time. Therefore, immigrants who do not have their papers in order must jump through additional hoops and complete them in a certain amount of time. Failure to do so will result in deportation. Undocumented persons should have to pay a fine as well, and if they get their Green Card, they should have to wait longer for their citizenship and be placed on probation in which they must seek education and/or employment and obey all laws.

There must also be adequate safeguards for children born in this country. Judges should be more reluctant to deport aliens with children who are US citizens and should decide such cases in the best interests of the children. There should be a fingerprint database of children born in this country to undocumented aliens so that when they return to this country, they can easily prove their citizenship.

Furthermore, many countries will not accept our deportees. In that case, we should not deport them at all, but have some other penalty available.

Originally posted to Stop the Police State! on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 12:38 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Thank you for taking them on EH (3+ / 0-)

      I did not read all of the thread, got sickened after reading a post in which a Kossack reported having lived in a barrio and the women there churning out kids to get on the dole or some such thing. It was late. Maybe I just imagined someone in this community could spew like that. I'm not going back to check - but I didn't not see this particular comment in the HC's. At any rate, it made me so sad.

    •  is every minuteman a nazi? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Subversive, Eric Novinson, kraant

      I find it fascinating that because a few neo-Nazis join an organization which supports one of their goals -- though indirectly -- that makes everybody in a particual group a bunch of Nazis. In the United States and many parts of Europe, the word Nazi is often used far too lightly.

      Yes, neo-Nazis and other assorted skinheads are terrible people. As an immigrant with a Jewish background as far as my genealogic tree will take me, I have dealt with plenty of various wannabe white supremacists across 2 continents. These are people who are mentally deficient and need something to be proud of and the most they can come up with is their skin color and religion. And yes, I've had to physically defend myself from these low lives once upon a time in Europe.

      But is it really fair to show a few pictures of Nazis in the midsts of a couple of rednecks who know not what they do and call every Minuteman a Nazi? Its the same kind of "gotcha" neo-cons use to paint liberals as un-patriotic and anti-Semitic based on a few websites and signs at protests. And I think we can certainly agree that only an infinitecimal amount of liberals don't like the US and hate Jews. It's a senseless thng to take a broad brush and paint entire groups as good or bad. That's what Bush does and look where that landed the US.

      Now, as an immigrant who came to the US legally, I would feel cheated if people who just sneaked into the country got the same rights I waited years to have and had to pass through countless background checks to qualify for. Some of your solutions would serve to further incentivise illegal border crossing. For instance, you want to make wages higher. If you look at the stats reported by business magazines, the illegals very often work for less then minimum wage. Some will work for $4 an hour. So what will happen when the minimum wage is upped to $10.50 an hour? And that's beside the inflation that could cause...

      There really is a need for serious border security. A bunch of rednecks with binoculars and an American flag with a couple of Klansmen running around them isn't border security. But just upping minimum wages and fining people ridicilous amounts of money won't stop illegal immigration. The benefits of legal immigration must far outwiegh the benefits of illegal border crossing. This is why I would agree with upping immigration quotas provided that people are not rewarded for comitting a crime when they come into the US.

      •  I didn't say that at all. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        odum, kraant

        I said many of the same people who work for the Minutemen also work for the Neo-Nazis. The Minutemen are not all Nazis, and Gilcrest isn't, but many are.

        And that is exactly the point. With these people on the verge of respectability, wouldn't it be logical to conclude that if immigration does not slow down, some of them might decide to form their own group or start a power struggle against Gilcrest, seeing him as too soft?

        Also, raising the minimum wage would mean that more American workers would be willing to do menial tasks, meaning fewer immigrants would be hired and fewer would come here as a result.

      •  i haven't agreed with a single thing you've said (2+ / 0-)

        so far, so no reason to break precedent.  

        some group defends the life and times of Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms or Trent Lott, are they all bigots?  I say yes.  You are who you affiliate yourself with.  You are who you defend.  If the minutemen, an already illegal fucking militia who should be disbanded and disarmed, welcome one hate-spewing bigot into their masses then they are no better than the worst link in their chain, because they are saying its ok if you aren't just against the illegal border crossings, but that you can just hate the people instead.  

        Crawford, Texas' Lonestar Iconoclast needs anti-Bush mojo!

        by Bill O Rights on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 03:26:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  you don't agree with a single things I said... (1+ / 1-)
          Recommended by:
          Subversive
          Hidden by:
          Eternal Hope

          ... because I say things that are out of line for the average Kossack. It's unfortunate that I have a mind of my own, I know, but that's just something I'll have to deal with while going through life. I've read your commentary as well and I can see how you follow a particular line of thought, refusing to consider the opinions of anybody else for even an instant. Not good. Bushco does the same thing.

          So if you are who you associate yourself with, then you must be some kind of radical extremist. If you look hard enough, you'll find a radical extremist just burning with hatred in any group. I know liberals who are as anti-Semitic as the neo-Nazis and think that Israel is controlling America as part of their agenda to create a onw world government.

          So would you say that liberals are all desciples of the Chronicles of the Zion Elders?

          I hope not. I doubt that the overwhelming majority of liberals get their ideas about Jews from a plagirized 18th century conspiracy theory used to justify the Holocaust in Nazi Germany and rampant anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe.

          •  That's uncalled for. (0+ / 0-)

            Bill is actually more restrictive than I am on the immigration. The difference is that he recognizes that hatred has no place in this party and that he actually believes in solutions as opposed to copping out and supporting the Republicans.

            Let me ask you a simple question: Do you, or do you not support the Minutemen?

            •  I think... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Subversive

              ... you didn't read my original post. If you did, you would've noticed the following.

              There really is a need for serious border security. A bunch of rednecks with binoculars and an American flag with a couple of Klansmen running around them isn't border security.

              Does it sound like I support the Minutemen? Do my posts sing of praises to these bored fools who think terrorizing a border crossing will fix a vast, global socio-economic problem?

              As for Bill, to say that my critique of his posts in which I'm painted in every shade of demonic imaginable in uncalled for... He/she asks me questions and provides his/her own answers which co-incide with exactly what I'm saying, then says how I'm wrong about everything I say!

              I'm not asking for much. Just a little logic.

            •  almost forgot... (0+ / 0-)

              If someone doesn't come in and begin with "I hate that fusking bastard Bush and his cronies and everyone who voted for them," it doesn't mean they're supporting Bush.

              It just means they might want to talk about the issue at hand rather then engage in demonization. I've written quite a few articles on some forums and I've seen how fanatical neo-cons and their handlers immediately move to demonize their critics.

              This is not a rational approach.

              I believe that it's far better to talk stats, facts, numbers and avoid exaggerations. When one person in a debate simply analyzes raw numbers and facts to paint a complex scheme out of them and the other person is simply screaming about the "evil lefies" or "neo-con fascists," the calm and logical person is generally the one who has better feedback, draws more attention to her points and "wins" the debate.

  •  Name names (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    abw, Raybin, blueoasis

    I want to know who they are. If they are not cowards, they will own their political statements.
    Why cover for them?

    If true, what you say, that is despicable; and indicative of the lowering of political discourse in general (as the toxin that is Bush/Cheney/GOP works its way through the body poltic).

    "... the laborers still form an incoherent mass scattered over the whole country, and broken up by their mutual competition."

    by Valtin on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 12:37:11 PM PST

  •  Your plan calls (4+ / 0-)

    for a competent Governing body.
    Which we don't have at the moment.

  •  Meet Bill, the Minuteman (20+ / 0-)

    I don't know whether his picture better belongs here or in the Vegetables of Mass Destruction thread though.

  •  The elephant in the Republican drawing room. (6+ / 0-)

    This issue is going to rip the GOP apart over the next few months. Republican businessmen big and small know they need this cheap labor, the numbers are amazing, 25% of farm workers, 20% of construction workers, 18% of cleaners. Fatheads like Hunter, Tancredo, and Sensenbrenner, are going to rouse the know nothing base about this and provoke a civil war. Another one. The elephant is in the room and it is about to defecate. Democrats should make for the exits and leave the Republicans to clean up.      

  •  DKos is now the target of many kinds of spinners (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kraant

    I share your disgust.  But these currents are merely symptoms of the fact that DKos is now so big and visible that many kind of spinners, both professional and amateur, now are counted among the diary writers and commenters.  I have observed both the operation of spinners for particular interests, and the "market testing" of spin.  And this not to mention the waves of freeper trolls just enjoying wasting peoples time and spreading static.

    My own view on immigration is that policing is not the solution, the aim should be for governments to compel corporations to pay fair wages and offer the same working conditions wherever they are in the world.  

    The real losers with immigration are not the American poor, but the countries from which these migrants come, which lose their young energetic best educated most ambitious people.  Immigration involves a massive transfer of wealth -- in the form of human beings and their labor and creative powers -- from the poor world to the rich.  

    •  hmmm (0+ / 0-)

      I suppose that's the flip side of my belief that we WANT illegal immigrants because they're determined, creative, willing to take risks and make sacrifices (in other words, ideal Americans).  It means that we're taking those fine qualities AWAY from other countries.

      But ultimately, I think of it as "voting with your feet".  And I've seen a fair bit of brain drain (or at least hope for it) from America to Europe in my circle of friends.

      "To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears."
      -Octavia Butler, 1947-2006

      by Leggy Starlitz on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 02:53:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  'Alfred E. Murray Building' (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eternal Hope

    No comment on the rest of the diary, but you might want to edit the bit quoted in my subject line--as it standis right now, the mistake makes you sound like you don't have a clue.

    Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building

    Speaking as a scientist, etc.
    12,390+ days without shooting anybody in the face.

    by abw on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 12:45:46 PM PST

  •  David Neiwert, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    N in Seattle, Raybin, Eternal Hope, pico

    the go to guy for the minute men and racism in general.

    "I was Rambo in the disco. I was shootin' to the beat. When they burned me in effigy. My vacation was complete." Neil Young. Mideast Vacation.

    by Mike S on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 12:49:06 PM PST

  •  We can't improve life in this country (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kitty, lrhoke, joanneleon, DemocraticLuntz

    if we're just going to keep soaking in all the world's poor.

    •  Did I call for unlimited immigration? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      odum, sassy texan, kraant

      No, I did not. Go read the diary again. Then, come back and talk.

    •  Soaking in the world's poor? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      odum, Eternal Hope, sassy texan

      Change your framing from FR-style : on the contrary, those immigrants more than pay their way in the labor and skills they bring

    •  So let's just get this straight (9+ / 0-)

      Lady Liberty is not to read:

      Give me your tired, your poor already pretty well off,
      Your huddled masses few individuals yearning to breathe free,  
      The wretched refuse upper middle class of your teeming shore.  
      Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, fat with cash to me:  
      I lift my lamp beside might let a few in the golden door.

    •  Soaking in all the worlds poor? TESTIFY KOSSACKS! (0+ / 0-)

      If your immigrant kin had more than two thin pennies to rub together when they got to America, please reply to this message.

      Assuming that most of us came from "Richie Rich"-type immigrant families, then jeremiah bullfrog is indeed correct in his assessment that the cumulatively highest standards of living in the history of humankind---the US of A---had not one whit to do with "soaking in all the world's poor."

      Richie Riches?

      Richie?

      Bueller?

      crickets chirping . . .

      •  I interpreted it differently (0+ / 0-)

        and probably inaccurately, judging from the responses I'm reading now.

        I thought jeremiah meant that we can't improve (or even maintain) our quality of life if we keep exploiting the world's poor, as in, soaking in our wealth as others suffer.  And as the insatiable demand of our corporations for cheap, nearly slave labor, increases, we exploit more and more.  

        That's what makes the issue so complicated for me.

        Just to answer your question though - yes, my ancestors immigrated here too, but to the best of my knowledge they did it legally.  From the history I know, they came in through Ellis Island like so many others in the 1800s.  

        On Bush: "He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." --(borrowed from) Churchill

        by joanneleon on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 02:46:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Bush (0+ / 0-)

    You say that suporting the Minutemen or HR4437 is "supporting Bush."  But does Bush support the Minutemen?  Does Bush support HR4437?  Does Bush wish to criminalize those who are in this ountry without proper paperwork?  My understanding is that all of these are manifestations of an attitude that Bush opposes.

  •  Doubling the minimum wage. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Novinson, DemocraticLuntz

    Wouldn't that just make minimum wage jobs all the more attractive to potential migrants?

    Frankly, I'm of the opinion that immigration restrictions should be relaxed, but that's just my bias for the huddled masses showing.

    •  No: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kraant

      Because Americans would be more willing to work at twice our current levels at such jobs. Furthermore, this approach would be combined with a ruthless crackdown on businesses that prey on immigrants.

      Such businesses would not pay minimum wage anyway.

      •  what about the inflation? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Subversive, Eric Novinson, kraant

        If you suddenly up minimum wage paychecks, this means that everybody has to be making almost twice as much to keep wages competitive. $10 an hour is about $20,000 a year. This means that a clerk who used to get $23,000 on average, now should be making $40,000 and so on and so forth.

        It would drive many businesses into bankruptcy because all of their profits and cash flows would now pay employee salaries and since employee costs will double, inflation would set in. Prices for eveything would skyrocket. It's pretty basic economics. When earnings increase so do prices.

        But back to business paying doube for all employees, not even counting the execs who already can make between $200,000 to $75 million a year. They are too well off to be affected. Even keeping their salaries the same (which in effect cuts them in half when we factor in the resulting inflation), wouldn't the immensely high costs of labor cause layoffs and cause some businesses to abuse illegals to cut down their bills?

        You can't force companies to pay double for their minimum wage workers without setting off a very unsavory chain of events. You can boost minimum wage to about $7 an hour with few ill effects, but up to $10 an hour and you start having inflationary pressures.

        As for "ruthless crackdowns," if companies can hide billions in accounting sheets, they can hide some illegals. You need proof and it will be very hard to find. As for your definitions of good companies... that's a whole 'nother topic.

        •  It can be done. (0+ / 0-)

          The UK went even further than I ever dreamed about -- from no minimum wage to one that is about twice that of ours. And none of that happened. What happened:

          Reasonable inflation.

          Unemployment no worse than ours.

          Think about it. When you raise the minimum wage, you create jobs because people have more disposable income, and companies must hire more people to keep up with demand. And you force companies to live within their means and quit shelling out all these extravangant payouts to their CEO's.

          •  the Brittish have a different economic system... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Subversive

            ... and far higher taxes. You can't possibly expect that a $1.86 trillion economy with 60.5 million people and far higher tax rates will function the same way as a $12.4 trillion economy with low tax rates and 300 million people.

            European countries can afford to be socialistic because they are smaller, have small militaries and have far higher tax rates. In the US, tax rates are low, the country is the size of China and the US spends a great deal of its money on an enormous military.

            The problem is size. Socialistic twists in ecnomies only work if people accept very high tax rates and smaller economic development. Most European countries don't grow as fast as the US on average and generally have higher unemployment rates. It's just the price of doing things that way.

            Economies don't work as simply as you put it and how many Kossacks would like to believe. Sorry, things just don't work that way.

            •  I don't get it. (0+ / 0-)

              I don't see how a higher minimum wage would require higher taxes. I would think that higher minimum wages means people paying twice as much tax money to begin with.

              I am all for national security, but at some point, we will have to make hard choices about what military programs we really need and which ones we don't.

              •  here's how it works... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Subversive
                1. Very high minimum wages cause businesses to lay off workers because they have to trim their labor costs to stay competitive and lean.
                1. The laid off workers need healthcare and food and society can't simply let people starve to death on the street. Or at least a civilized society.
                1. Taxes need to be increased to subsidize the needs of the unemployed and the higher taxes from the workers who's pay has doubled will barely register becuase they're still in the minimum tax bracket and will have high refunds.

                For businesses to pay employees more doesn't require extra taxes, but because unemployment could increase by as much as several percent and the list of people no longer in the job market would also grow by several percent, these people would need to be supported.

                If you check the stats, on average, unemployment is higher in countries with high minimum wages and lots of union involvment.

                •  All three are not the case in the UK. (0+ / 0-)

                  Unemployment is about the same there as it is here. Welfare costs are cheaper there, because more people get off of welfare into work.

                  You are operating under a faulty premise.

                  •  is UK every country with a socialistic quirk? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Subversive

                    No, seriously. Is the UK every country that has some socialistic element in its economy? Also, you're talking about a recent program in an expanding global economy. It takes at least a decade to pronounce such a program a success or failure.

                    •  It's been almost a decade. (0+ / 0-)

                      The UK has some of the lowest unemployment figures in Europe.

                      Quirky and good.

                      •  wait, didn't you say... (0+ / 0-)

                        ... that the UK has some of the lowest unemployment figures in Europe? You're just re-enforcing the fact that it's an oddity. Just so you know, the UK is doing just what their neighbors have been doing for a very long time with wages and union rules. And here's the result:

                        Germany: 11.6% unemployment
                        Spain: 10.1% unemployment
                        Finland: 7.9% unemployment
                        Sweeden: 6.0% unemployment without the Euro
                        Belgum: 7.6% unemployment
                        France: 10.0% unemployment
                        Italy: 7.9% unemployment

                        England's sucess has been in resisting EU's pull to have them join their monetary system and they're prospering as the Euro is battering their competition in the above-listed countries save for Sweeden who also refuses to adop the Euro.

                        You have good intentions, but they have to be backed up with research more extensive then "oh well this country's doing great when they do the following." If you don't believe me, you can look up these countries on the CIA World Factbook. And yes, they don't lie. The unemployment rate for England is listed as 4.7%, even lower then that of the United States.

                        However, if you look at the economic growth, all of Europe is growing at an average of just under 2% per year, while the US and developing countries with lower minimum wages rise at 4% or more per year on average.

                        •  Very well then: (0+ / 0-)

                          By your logic, we should double the minimum wage and keep the dollar.

                          •  no, that's your logic (0+ / 0-)

                            You're clearly missing the point. Switching to the Euro and driving up wages to new highs in Europe has caused even higher unemployment. UK is actually getting its workers cheaper by using the pound rather then the Euro. And you haven't addressed the low GDP growth rates which function as a control on the job market.

                            Just tell me, are you incapable of seeing anybody's point in any detail except your own?

                          •  Exactly. (0+ / 0-)

                            So, we raise the Minimum wage and keep the dollar. Right?

                            Nobody is suggesting converting to the Euro. That is your straw man.

                          •  what the heck are you talking about? (0+ / 0-)

                            Ok, very, very simple version.

                            Forget the currency stuff for a minute. The UK has a temporary advantage over the other European countries that have the same minimum wage policies. You took lots of countries that practice what you want to see happen, pick out the best performer and say that because one country can make it work, everybody can even though another 15 countries with the same system are struggling.

                            I know there's something I'm missing to explain why the UK has been able to do so well in addition to keeping a more stable currency, but I'm sure that in the UK a lot more is at work then upping taxes and doubling the minimum wage.

                            All you did was cherry-pick two stats and desperately avoid discussing why the same programs in other countries failed.

                          •  And: (0+ / 0-)

                            You yourself told me the reason why unemployment was lower in the UK as opposed to Europe. You yourself told me the reason unemployment is so high in the rest of the EU is because of the Euro.

                            Nobody is advocating converting to the Euro. This is a discussion about the minumum wage, not the Euro. If we double the minimum wage and keep our own currency, then the problems besetting the EU countries need not apply here.

                          •  you misunderstood (0+ / 0-)

                            I was saying that an obvious factor of the UK's sucess in drastically hiking minimum wages was because it was cheaper for them to do then for other countries in Europe. The menial workers in the UK are getting less then their Euro belt counterparts.

                            Do you get it now?

                            UK pays menial workers less and has less inflation and unemployment.
                            Euro members pay menial workers more and have more inflation and unemployment.

                          •  That does not make sense. (0+ / 0-)

                            If a menial worker were paid less, then that would mean that the costs of raising the minimum wage would be higher.

                          •  *slams head into a wall* (0+ / 0-)

                            In the UK a menial worker is paid less then in the Euro countries period. This means that after the raises, the menial workers in the UK are being paid less then menial workers in the Euro countries.

                            Euro > Pound Sterling

                          •  Now, you're just being confusing. (0+ / 0-)

                            How can a menial worker in the UK get less money after the minimum wage hike?

                          •  *rips out hair* (0+ / 0-)

                            Oh my God! You're starting to drive me crazy!

                            A menial worker in the UK gets paid less compared to Euro using countries because the Pound Sterling is cheaper then the Euro!

                          •  Which means: (0+ / 0-)

                            The minimum wage lessened that gap.

                            How is that such a bad thing?

                          •  what are you talking about? (0+ / 0-)
                            What part of

                            it takes more money to pay workers in Euros vs. paying workers with Pounds

                            do you not understand? Do you even know anything about currency values?

                          •  I can see that point. (0+ / 0-)

                            But we are discussing dollars -- not Euros.

                            Does it take more money to pay workers in dollars or Pounds?

                          •  I don't know what we were discussing anymore... (0+ / 0-)

                            I feel sorry that I even mentioned the Euro now. You continue to completely and totally ignore the inflationary pressures that doubled minimum wage unleashes and this frustrating debate has accomplished nothing.

                            It would be cheaper in dollars (£1 = $1.60), but how would that help the US? You still need to double everyone's wages to keep the US economy ticking and we're back to where we started. Since the US is not closely working with economic unions, the currency differences don't impact us nearly as much.

                          •  So, you made my point for me. (0+ / 0-)

                            It would cost us even less than the UK, given the favorable currency differential, and it would cost even less, given the fact that only 15% of Americans actually work at minimum wage jobs. And that would mean college-age students who can save that much more money up and thus be able to make more in the long run.

                            I told you what the inflation rate was in the EU in 2005 -- 2%. For the UK, it is 2.2%, and in Sweden, 0.5% -- by your own admission. So, inflation simply would not happen. The EU has plenty of problems like you mention, but inflation is not one of them.

                          •  I'm sorry, but you're either... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            sooner

                            ... an idiot or willfully ignoring what people are telling you because you have an idea in your head. I know I'm being very harsh, but your stunning disrespect for other opinions and facts is simply infuriating.

                            It's no use telling you that EU ecnomies are different.
                            It's no use telling you that you're just quoting exceptions to the rule.
                            It's no use breaking down the numbers.

                            You don't care. You have an agenda to push and everything contraian be damned.

                            EU inflation in 2005 was 2% because the wages were stagnant there as well. Good job on ignoring three posts the size of a small book about why in the United States wages have to double. You either have some half-baked solution that falls hundreds of billions of dollars short to cover what's needed or you just ignore questions and contrarian stats.

                          •  I am aware of the problems. (0+ / 0-)

                            I see them as difficulties to be worked around. You see them as excuses not to raise the minimum wage.

                            I look at the countries who develop policies that work. Now, you cite the fact that the EU's and Sweden's wages are stagnant. But the UK's were not. So, let us look at what happened when the minimum wage first came. The rate rose temporarily, from 2 1/2% to 4% and then went right back down again. In fact, it went down to almost 1% at one point.

                            So, if we were to double the minimum wage, it would go up -- temporarily. But then, it would go right back down again. That would be a small price to pay to give people a living wage.

                          •  again... (0+ / 0-)

                            What part of subsidized socialistic economy vs. a free mixed economy with minimal controls do you not get?

                            You see someone who accomplished what you wanted, so now you want to charge in and do the same thing based on an exception that you don't even want to research.

                            Can you tell me why 15 out of 17 countries that tried this policy failed?

                          •  You said it yourself: (0+ / 0-)

                            It had everything to do with the Euro.

                          •  really? (0+ / 0-)

                            So this is why those 15 countires were doing badly since before the Euro was even conceived?

                          •  In what way? (0+ / 0-)

                            You mentioned the Euro.

                            And others point out that much of it has to do with four countries among the 15 -- France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

                            There are factors that cause unemployment which have nothing to do with wages or the welfare state. For instance, the EU values extremely high interest rates as opposed to us; that causes unemployment. They also did not invest in tech jobs, so they missed out on the dot-com boom, for instance.

                          •  lots of factors to consider (0+ / 0-)

                            The article to which you linked me is blank so I don't know what you were trying to say there. Yes, there are such factors, but for some reason you seem to think that just because one or two do not apply in very different economic systems, it means that there's nothing in the way in the US. I have spelled out a lot of factors and broke things down for you in enough detail two write an economic thesis. You merely ignored it.

                            What you have done so far is the Bush debate technique. Plow through with one or two stats and ingore the vast majority of statistics and other points that attempt to present a complete picture because they disagree with your gospel.

                            I'm wondering why should I waste my time with someone who lacks the respect to engage in an actual debate, not simply repeat the same two or three points over and over again.

                          •  Ever project much? (0+ / 0-)
                            If you are so dead set against Bush debate techniques, then why do you keep calling the anti-sweatshop movement a bunch of loonie radicals?

                            Those links worked for me. Try them again.

                          •  for the sake of my sanity... (0+ / 0-)

                            ... lets just say that you figured out why the EU has such high unemployment. Now how do you double everybody's salary in America and who's going to pay for it?

                          •  American companies. (0+ / 0-)
                            Maybe they will have to quit jacking up their CEO salaries and cut back on corporate jet and helicopter purchases.

                            And your own figures show that costs as a whole would not double. Only 15% of American workers make the minimum wage.

                          •  could you say something other... (0+ / 0-)

                            ... then the same 3 lines you repeat over and over again like a broken record? I've broke it down for you about 6 times but you're either slow or just not willing to read.

                            One final time:

                            If you raise wages for the lowest end of the scale, you have to raise them further up the chain. I give up. You think that there's this elite class of Americans holding all the money that will magically fix everything when I showed you that to magically fix everything would take every single bit of money from anyone who makes over 100,000 a year.

                            And even then, you have to leave them penniless every year.

                            There is this thing called math. You might wanna learn it.

                          •  No, it is not a case of either/or. (0+ / 0-)

                            Just because you raise the wages of the people not making a living wage does not mean that you have to raise the wages of people already making one.

                            Who made that rule up?

                            That is the most laughable assertion all night that we are somehow out to drive Microsoft, Apple, Ford, GM, and all those other companies bankrupt.

                          •  as for the anti-sweatshop angle (0+ / 0-)

                            You know, it's been years since the elementary school days of "it takes one to know one" debates. I sure do miss them. No, not really.

                            There are groups out there who claim to combat sweatshops and throw around wild statistics. They make their money by soliciting donations. Their incentive is to do some creative lying to attract more attention to their cause.

                            Its the same way that anti-tobacco campaigns claim that 53,000 people a year die from second hand smoke when the American Cancer Society pins that number to about 5,000 or 6,000.

                            There have been plenty of news stories about horrific sweatshops, which when visited turned out to be violation free. So far, only 5 companies have been found using unregulated sweatshops. As for the Coke case, how is Coke supposed to handle armed terrorists who kill factory workers? Are they the US military expedition?

                          •  You just made that up. (0+ / 0-)
                            The way this place works, if you think the links I gave you were a bunch of baloney, then give me your own links.

                            If you don't, you have lost the argument.

                            Its the same way that anti-tobacco campaigns claim that 53,000 people a year die from second hand smoke when the American Cancer Society pins that number to about 5,000 or 6,000.

                            Says who?

                            There have been plenty of news stories about horrific sweatshops, which when visited turned out to be violation free. So far, only 5 companies have been found using unregulated sweatshops. As for the Coke case, how is Coke supposed to handle armed terrorists who kill factory workers? Are they the US military expedition?

                            Link?

                            And you just made my point for me about the sweatshops. It is even worse than I imagined. If Coke outsources their work to companies that can't even protect their own workers, then the state of sweatshops is sorrier than I imagined.

                            So, congratulations for that little tidbit, which convninces me that sweatshops are worse than I thought.

                          •  I'm not arguing with you on this point (0+ / 0-)

                            At least not anymore. Its fruitless to argue with someone who has your mindset.

            •  socialist ideas (0+ / 0-)

              Okay, how many of us would be willing to pay more taxes and have a smaller army in exchange for, oh, six weeks paid vacation and universal healthcare?

              Me, for one.

              "To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears."
              -Octavia Butler, 1947-2006

              by Leggy Starlitz on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 02:57:32 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  its not so simple (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Subversive

                To provide free healthcare for 300 million people in the United States would take far too much money to make any economic sense. Lets take the stats from business magazines which track industry growth.

                The US healthcare market is just over $1 trillion. That's the cost of all the appointments, procedures, surgeries, scans, etc. This means that every American would have to contribute $3,333.34 in taxes. Of course, because the number of adults in the United States is 217 million, this means that the real amount would be $4,608.29 per person in additional taxes.

                Considering that American perg GDP capita is $41,800, we're talking about an 11% tax! Your typical middle class family sends about 20% of their paychecks to the government already, which means that your tax rate has effectively gone up to 31% just for universal healthcare. That's a 55% increase!

                As for six week sabbaticals, if you're paid an average of $20.90 an hour (GDP per capita / work hours per year = 41,800 / 2,000), it would cost your boss $5,016 to send you on vacation. Or, about 12% of your paycheck.

                Sabbaticals are great as a reward for several years of service, but on a yearly basis, it would slow down the economy as employees are doing 88% of their jobs, not the 95% they used to do.

                Cutting military spending in half would cut the tax hike on universal healthcare in half, but since healthcare continues to grow and the US has more and more enemies because of its stupid decisons, cutting military funding by leaps and bounds is not such a hot idea.

                Best case scenario, the taxes go up to 25% or 26% and employers have 7% less output per year. The US has a booming economy when total output of the economy grows by just over 4%. If all these changes were instituted next year, the GDP would decline by $868 billion.

                If healthcare keeps growing at the double digit clip its projected to grow over the next 10 years, cutting military spending to provide free heatlcare wouldn't matter anyway within the following 5 or 6 years at taxes would be hiked up and up to cover more and more procedures.

                •  Very well: (0+ / 0-)

                  I am sure we could find ways to half military spending and still protect our country after we get out of Iraq.

                  Military spending is too out of control.

                  •  ok, the military budget... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Subversive

                    slashed in half is about $300 billion, or 30% of what's needed to provide universal healthcare. Where does the other 70% come from? And how much are you willing to expand the tax to cover the ever-rising healthcare costs?

                    Would you really want people giving away half their income in various taxes? Then how would people boost the economy with a third or half of their paycheck taken away? That $41,800 turns into about $29,000. People need to buy stuff for the economy to keep working.

                    Why did the Great Depression happen? People stopped buying stuff.

                    •  Simple: (0+ / 0-)

                      Get rid of the Bush tax cuts, which benefitted the rich.

                      •  not enough money (0+ / 0-)

                        I love how you think economic problems that have been debated by economists of all political ideologies for over a century can be solved by moving a few dollars around even when even elementary math says otherwise.

                        I don't know where you think money comes from but the rich don't have all of it. The top 1% of the country still pays 28.7% of all income taxes in the United States. The top 10% of the earners in the US pay 51.9%, or more then half of all the taxes! (source)

                        Lets use some of that basic math I was talking about. The US collects about $2.4 trillion in taxes, which means that the richest 10% of the country pay roughly $1.245 trillion. This means that 90% of the country is paying $1.155 trillion in taxes every year.

                        So if we need to cover an additional obligation of roughly $1 trillion for universal healthcare, we essentially double the taxes on the top 10% from 35% of their income to a staggering 70% of their income. Now, what incentive do they have to earn the $200,000 per year they earn on average if it's instantly turned into $80,000? It's more efficient for them to earn $80,000 and give $16,000 in taxes rather then work their asses off just to have $120,000 taken away. There are 15 million people worth over $1 million, but that doesn't mean that they actually make as much as $1 million a year. If a mogul rakes in about $20 million a year, $7 million is taken in taxes. Even with the best deductions possible, at least $5 million will be taxed.

                        You're trying to hike the amount of taxes the government collects by 55% by punishing people for doing well for themselves. So if you know that 70% of your paycheck will be taken away, why would you possibly strive to make over $150,000 a year?

                        •  Your link just made my point for me. (0+ / 0-)

                          That would not happen at all, as people would simply put more money into tax shelters and charitable donations.

                          But it can be done; Sweden, for instance, has a high end tax rate of just under 60% (as opposed to ours), while taxing only about 25% of wages.

                          But it is not just me thinking that; Warren Buffet thinks that upper-income people need to pay for of their fair share of taxes. We are dealing with a huge, out of control deficit, and we all have to make sacrifices in order to balance the budget.

                          •  math time... (0+ / 0-)

                            for the upteenth time.

                            If people move money into charity and tax shelters, you're essentially reducing taxable income. So good job there math whiz, you just reduced taxes. Again. Instead of raising them like you wanted.

                            As your link shows, the countries with the highest tax rates also tend to have the highest unemployment when you compare them with the data set on uneployment I provided. You should really start reading replies to your comments.

                          •  That did not happen here. (0+ / 0-)

                            When Clinton raised the tax rate from 31% to 39%, unemployment went DOWN here. And Sweden has an unemployment rate about the same as ours.

                            You should really stop oversimplifying.

                          •  economics and you are not on good terms, are you? (0+ / 0-)

                            First off, Sweeden has an unemployment rate 1% higher and is not an average country in our dataset. (source) Look at the unemployment rates again on my source site:

                            Germany: 11.6% unemployment
                            Spain: 10.1% unemployment
                            Finland: 7.9% unemployment
                            Belgum: 7.6% unemployment
                            France: 10.0% unemployment
                            Italy: 7.9% unemployment

                            How come you'll desperately avoid discussing why these countries don't have such a rosy outlook if they have the same compensation programs as do Sweeden and the UK and insist on cherry-picking stats you know little to nothing about?

                            As for the tax hikes in the US, Clinton raised them to cool down the economy. You can't tax what's not there. Millions of people made much more money in the late 90s, especially business leaders. It only makes sense to raise taxes in booming economies, not lagging ones. Unemployment went down because there was so much available work, not becuase the taxes were higher.

                            You sound like a PhD in criminology who wrote a study in 1977 which says that because in times of rampant crimes incarseration rates are high, reducing incarseration rates would reduce crime. Yes, there was really such a paper.

                            High taxes in the US are a symptom of high earnings and lots of work. Not the other way around. If you're barely making ends meet as a business, added taxes would probably force you into bankruptcy. If you're minting some serious coin and business is booming, higher taxes would do little to impact your earnings.

                          •  Because: (0+ / 0-)

                            I am focusing on the reasons why the UK and Sweden make their policies work. If the UK and Sweden are getting it right when it comes to high minimum wages and high standards of living, and the rest of the EU countries you mention are totally clueless, then it would make sense to focus on the UK and Sweden, not the Clueless 15 that you mention.

                            By your logic, Colorado should have been booming because they were one of the most anti-tax states in the country. But in fact, their Taxpayer's Bill of Rights did not produce a booming economy like their proponents said it would.

                            And for all the Bush tax cuts here, it has not produced a booming economy. By contrast, when Bush I supported a tax increase as a way to balance the budget, it did nothing to stifle the recovery, even though it was done in the middle of a recession. In fact, that recovery, by your own admission, was robust.

                          •  just plain unbelievable... (0+ / 0-)

                            Marginal tax hikes coupled with government spending are good ways to balance the budget. But that's totally and completely besides the point. You can't seem to see the giant, gaping hole in your argument. This hole is as follows:

                            If the clueless 15 countries pay their menial workers too much and the UK and Sweeden can make it work with 2.2% and 0.5% inflation respectively, there must be a huge difference.

                            I admit that my explanation is incomplete becuase the currency differences cannot explain everything, but what you do is far worse. You point to two countries who seemed to have suceeded where 15 others failed and say:

                            "Yeah, lets pay our menial workers just like they do"

                            without understanding the complexities of their economies which are drastically different from the economy of the United States. In Europe monkey saw, monkey did and 15 out of 17 monkeys failed quite stunningly.

                            Obviously, there's more to this issue then taxing everyone and raising minimum wages. As I've been saying from the very beginning, this goes to the core of the society you're trying to change. You're not willing to put in the effort to fully research what it takes to accomplish what you want to accomplish and how the current system works.

                            If tomorrow, someone came up with a detailed plan of how to provide free universal healthcare, drastically increase wages, keep taxes reasonable, keep productivity and job growth high in the process and keep inflation low, I would be the first person supporting it.

                            However, when someone says: "ah just tax people and up the minimum wages and everything will take care of itself," it leaves me with far too many questions that generally go unanswered or answered haphazardly and fallaciously.

                          •  Such as what? (0+ / 0-)

                            How is the economy of this country different from the economy of the UK and Sweden, and how would that rule out doubling the minimum wage here?

                          •  you -really- need to start reading stuff (0+ / 0-)

                            I have broke it down for you every which way possible. I'm now resorting to childspeak.

                            Sweeden and UK = tax subsidized socialistic economies
                            United States = mixed capitalistic economy

                            In the UK and Sweeden, wages at the top are kept down and wages at the bottom are proped up and many large companies are heavily subsidized.

                            In the US, to encourage more competition and ownership, as well as incentive to continually move up, there is no wage control save the minimum wage and the top earners are not held back.

                          •  That's exactly the problem. (0+ / 0-)

                            Too many of the top CEO's take the most outrageous benefits even as they cut wages and jobs and outsource jobs to 3rd-world sweatshops which have long since disappeared from this country.

                            It is about time we reigned in excessive CEO salaries by doubling the minimum wage. I'm not interested in becoming the next Donald Trump. I am interested in seeing to it that every American makes a living wage. We are only as good as our weakest players.

                            That is like paying Michael Jordan millions of dollars and then not having enough to pay for a good supporting cast. The Washington Wizards tried that once upon a time.

                          •  this is just lunacy (0+ / 0-)

                            First off, corporate pay is already being addressed by investors who are being ripped off. They'll deal with it without misplaced moralistic diatribes.

                            Why do I call this a moralistic diatribe?

                            The money that the rich are getting are products of their skills or ingenuity. When you say that people being paid for unique skills by a particular job market, with private money are the root of all evil you are just reciting a foolish party line dropped long ago.

                            Oh and those 3rd world sweatshops are now buying our cars, computers, washers, dryers, cell phones and consumer goods because they can afford them now. Would you look at all the people in China who never even had a shot at a decent job and now they get to choose where to work and get paid more then enough to live comfortably in their own country and say: "Fuck you. Starve to death"? Would you? You're all about morals and social justice...

                            There are only about 15 million people worth $1 million or more. Only 1.5% of Americans are millionaires and somehow 1.5% of people who pay almost $696 billion in taxes should be robbed so you can have a moral high ground?

                            You might not want to make a seven figure salary, but I do. That's why I went to college. That's why I work my ass off on trying to find profitable media projects. Am I a bad person because I want to be fiscally secure and well compensated for my skills?

                          •  We all do. (0+ / 0-)

                            But with six and seven figure salaries comes the responsibility to help others who are less fortunate, who are working just as hard as the 6-7 figure CEO.

                            I am sorry, but what you say about sweatshops is simply not true. There are tons of sweatshops which beat and rape workers and make them work 16 hours a day with little food and only one bathroom break.

                            Consider the example cited in a 2003 National Labor Committee report on a Honduran worker sewing clothing for Wal-Mart at a rate of 43 cents an hour. After spending money on daily meals and transportation to work, the average worker is left with around 80 cents per day for rent, bills, childcare, school costs, medicines, emergencies, and other expenses. Not surprisingly, many workers are forced to take out loans at high interest rates and can't even think about saving money to improve their lives as they struggle to meet their daily needs.

                            And that doesn't even include all of the luxuries that we take for granted here. These people have no choice -- it is either take these jobs or starve in many cases.

                            I don't see how it is robbery to insist that we all pay our fair share of taxes.

                          •  you're joking right? (0+ / 0-)

                            Quoting an anti-outsourcing group as a reliable source? Would you also like to quote the KKK website about blacks and a Hamas site about Jews? I have seen people come up with extraordinary reports and immediately dispatch hundreds of watchdogs on random inspections around the world. The vast majority of those inspections find nothing.

                            Somehow, that site omits the fact that the wages for Indian and Chinese workers are rising 7% to 9% per year. Wonder why... Oh yeah, it distracts from their message about how all corporations are greedy and evil and bad.

                            The reason why businesses have to outsource is because the vast majority of Americans are cheap bastards. Look at where your clothes were made. Not in America. If they were, you'd have paid triple for them.

                            I don't see how it is robbery to insist that we all pay our fair share of taxes.

                            Fair share of taxes.

                            What you're proposing is taking money out of people's paychecks and giving it to others because you think they make too much money.

                          •  What inspections? (0+ / 0-)

                            Do you have data to back that assertion about the inspections? Or are you making stuff up?

                            In many cases, the company does not even bother to make the inspections, like Coke, for instance. Wages may be rising for 7-9% of the workers in India and China, but that is not always the case in other sweatshop nations around the world. And even in India and China, that does not benefit the people working in sweatshops there. You are in denial if you think sweatshops are not a problem.

                            So, let me get this straight. Let us suppose that someone gets a raise of 10% a year while working for a sweatshop making $1,000 a year. Big deal. That is $1,100 for the next year and so on. That hardly raises the standards of living there.

                            And in many cases, the sweatshops have gutted lifestyles and customs that were totally self-sustaining before they arrived. Millions of people die from the pollution causes by these places.

                          •  you know what... (0+ / 0-)

                            ... I'm just going to slowly back away. The "anti-sweatshop" movement is like a religion and reports of "corporate atrocities" real or imaginary are their Bible. Persuading people that their religion has holes in it is like playing with a mine. Someone's gonna loose a limb.

                            Are there horrible things in the world? Sure are. Has greed created them? Sure did. But did American businesses enslave hundreds of millions of people to work for 80 cents a day as you claim? No. That is just made up. You should read the news sometime and I mean like actual news.

                          •  You know what? (0+ / 0-)
                            You have lost the argument. All you can say is that anti-sweatshop people are a bunch of religious fanatics when I present you their proof that US companies are allowing sweatshop conditions around the 3rd world.

                            In the meantime, Nike has repeatedly looked the other way, as their sweatshops are killing people with their pollution, engaging in child labor, letting their managers know in advance when they will engage in inspections so that they can cover up their activities, refusing to provide for their education so they can lift themselves out of poverty, and denying researchers access to their factories to do research.

                            Anybody can call someone a religious fanatic when they can't answer the argument. Either tell me why these stories are not true, with some credible links, or admit that you were wrong to defend sweatshop labor. The fact that these sources are anti-sweatshop activist sites may just as easily mean that they are in a perfect position to know what is going on.

                          •  and those credible links... (0+ / 0-)

                            ... are going to be whatever you declare them to be? No dice.

                          •  Then debunk them. (0+ / 0-)
                            Give me links and evidence, like I just did.
                          •  as for the raises (0+ / 0-)

                            What if you did a good job, got a big raise and someone came to you and said:

                            "Hey, give us that bonus money. You're making too much as is. We're going to give it to Jim becuase he didn't get as much as you. Bye."

                            Would you be prefectly a-OK with that?

                          •  PS (0+ / 0-)

                            As for ruling out doubling the minimum wage, I have probably written a small book about it already. At least have the decency to pretend you skimmed all the breakdowns I posted.

                            Thank you.

                          •  you keep throwing around European unemployment (0+ / 0-)

                            figures & I'd like to know where you've gotten them. As I understand it, the European stats are figured differently than the U.S. ones, & when you adjust for those differences the European unemployment rates look more like ours.

                          •  not in this reality they don't (0+ / 0-)

                            I put up a link where I got them. I got them from a public CIA site. Unemployment rates are simple. Percentage of the workforce who don't have a job even though they're looking for one. That's how they're figured out in every country in the world.

                            You're essentially Enron-ing unemployment rates in your approach.

                •  let me repeat in small words (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Eternal Hope

                  If you have universal health care, you don't pay for health insurance.

                  THAT is where the tax budget comes from.

                  As for six weeks of vacation... yes, it would cut productivity.  Somehow, Europe manages to pull it off. Why can't we?  Why is productivity such a holy fucking grail?

                  "To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears."
                  -Octavia Butler, 1947-2006

                  by Leggy Starlitz on Mon Mar 27, 2006 at 06:21:24 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  no, no and no... you just don't understand (0+ / 0-)

                    You're telling me that paying $200 billion in the form of a tax into a system which requires about $1 trillion to operate will somehow miracilously fix it? I'm sorry, but it's clear that you just don't understand the sheer scale of the problem.

                    Individuals only pay about 20% of all health insurance costs in the country. The rest is money picked up by employers and federal and state programs. You'll end up moving the same money around and it will end up right back where it started. And the system will be broken and severely underfunded. Again.

                    The $1 trillion per year system growing faster and faster can't provide for 15 million people and your brilliant solution is to collect the 20% of what it already gets as a tax rather then an insurance premium doesn't do squat to lower costs and expand covereage. You just renamed your insurance premiums. Good job. You accopmplished as much as a politician. Absolutely nothing.

                    As for productivity...

                    Europe has 4 week vacations and an average 8% unemployment rate. The less productive the economy, the fewer jobs are needed to keep the economy humming. So if you'd rather be out of a job since nobody needs additional help, sure, insititute the 6 week sabbatical.

                    Productivity is such a holy fucking grail because it allows you to have a job, or at least the potential of finding one since the economy is in need of workers to keep churning out more and more products.

                    •  To quote Bob Black... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Eternal Hope

                      "Work is the source of nearly all the misery in the world."

                      Read The Abolition of Work.  With your mouth shut and eyes open as much as you can manage (not an insult, it's hard for everyone).  See if it doesn't make you rethink productivity a little.

                      "To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears."
                      -Octavia Butler, 1947-2006

                      by Leggy Starlitz on Mon Mar 27, 2006 at 11:15:39 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  in an esoteric sense... (0+ / 0-)

                        ... it would be great if humans only had to provide for themselves and lived a semi-nomadic lifestyle that allowed them to travel the planet and leave much of the ecosystem untouched.

                        Would I want to live an ancient lifestyle provided I have cleaning agents, modern clothing, indoor plumbing, refrigiration and efficient means of transport? Sure I would! When people don't work to advance an abstract machine like business, our creativity flourishes.

                        Unfortunately we've set up the world so we're all wage slaves in one form or another, tied to our jobs at the hip. Until another rennaisance when we figure out how to be productive without breaking our backs and wasting our lives on abstract machines that won't endure, we have to cope with it and survive somehow. In our current world, the only way to survive is employment and the only way to keep employment up is productivity.

            •  actually, more to the point (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Eternal Hope

              One of the reasons for the supposed high taxes of Europe is universal health care - the US is the only "modern" economy that doesn't have it. The amount I pay every year in health insurance amounts to a TAX - one that grows in double-digit rates.  Americans pay literally twice what Europeans do per capita for health care, and 15% of Americans have no health care coverage at all.

              Figure that into your concerns, if you're being honest about the creeping socialism.

              "To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears."
              -Octavia Butler, 1947-2006

              by Leggy Starlitz on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 02:59:42 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  already figured it in (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Subversive

                See my previous reply above. I break it down penny by penny. As for the health insurance increases...

                The problem is that people in the United States eat really crappy food, don't watch their health and so they get really sick. When 60% of the country is overweight, it means that 60% of the people are at high risk for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, chronic gastrointestinal conditions, musculoskeletal issues and hormonal imbalance problems.

                You and I are paying for the shitty choices that 180 million people make every day and forcing us to pay 55% hikes in taxes which enable people to make such poor choices is hardly the answer. It's been a consensus between doctors, employers and insurance companies that if people lead healthier lives, the soaring cost of healthcare would drop. Why should we be enabling people to shove burgers down their gullet and then have 15 procedures to manage all of the side-effects?

                As for paying for healthcare now, if you're employed, you're paying maybe 20% of what it costs your employer to insure you at the most. I have to pay for my insurance from scartch. Thank God I'm young and in good shape!

                •  Then: (0+ / 0-)

                  Our primary emphasis should be on preventative medicine. We need more PE in schools, less testing, more recess time, and public service campaigns. From there, we should set aside grant money so that cities and towns can put in parks, rec centers, midnight basketball leagues in cities, and exercise programs.

                  That would drive down the cost of health care because of people being in better health. Then, we need to get rid of Plan D, and start expanding Medicare to cover all people. In the meantime, we should pursue lawsuits against insurance companies guilty of price-gouging.

                  •  yeah... (0+ / 0-)

                    ... that's the only way to fix the healthcare problems in the United States. All the excercise programs, parks, gyms and leagues are already there. People just need to start using them and because they're lazy, they won't.

                    •  Then, you just made my point for me. (0+ / 0-)

                      People do not have leisure time becuase wages are stagnant and they do not have time to participate in such programs. Therefore, doubling the minimum wage would raise our health standards by giving people more leisure time and less need to work overtime to make ends meet.

                      •  you really have no clue do you? (0+ / 0-)

                        When you make a tiny, isolated point in your diary a crusade against the very laws of mathematics and couple them with stuff you basically make up on the spot, it becomes a tad irritating.

                        How do you know about people's patterns? The average American works about 50 hours a week. There are 112 waking hours per week. Therefore, there are 52 hours for activity. I used to work 60 hour weeks and still found the time to work out every other day. You get up around 7, go to work at 9 and even if you work 10 hours, you're still back home at 7 PM or so and you have 4 or 5 hours to do as you wish until you start getting sleepy. Don't tell me you won't have 30 minutes to move around!

                        People working the minimum wage make up less then 14% of the US labor force. More likely, around 10%. The salaries for 86% of the country range from $20,000 up to $22 million per year. And 60% of America needs to start exercising. How would 10% of the population account for the problems facing 60%? Even if every minimum wage worker is overweight and obese, that still measn that 50% of typical, average Americans making a good deal more then minimum wage need to start exercising!

                        If you read the studies on the health issues in the US, they say that the lower end of the income scale has a disproportionate percentage, not the overwhelming percentage. Your average American has the 30 minutes a day it takes to exercise. He or she just won't do it and throwing money at people won't change laziness.

                        •  Because: (0+ / 0-)

                          Lower income people lack the resources and facilities as opposed to Middle- and Upper-income people.

                          It's not a matter of poor people being too lazy. It is a matter of them not having access to such programs. When such programs are available and affordable, poor people can and do take part in them.

                          •  ok... I see now. You just don't read... (0+ / 0-)

                            the argument presented. Poverty has nothing to do with it. If you would've actually read my reply, you would've seen the following:

                            How would 10% of the population account for the problems facing 60%? Even if every minimum wage worker is overweight and obese, that still means that 50% of typical, average Americans making a good deal more then minimum wage need to start exercising!

                            The vast majority of overweight Americans, nearly 5 in 6, and probably 6 in 7, are making more then minimum wage are are not below or close to the poverty line.

                            I read your replies.

                            Please give me the same courtesy and read mine.

                          •  It has everything to do with it. (0+ / 0-)

                            Let me show you another study, from a Conservative source, no less. Obesity rates around the world go up until between $12,000 and 17,000 -- almost one third the average personal income level of Americans. Then, they go back down.

                            There are many reasons for this. One is lack of access for lower-income people to health programs and exercise programs. One is lack of leisure time from having to work overtime or two jobs to make ends meet.

                            As a result, people get cheaper foods that are not nearly as nutritious or healthy as foods that are more expensive, but healthier. By doubling the minimum wage, you would give people the power to make their own decisions about food, rather than get the cheapest foods all the time and/or relying on fast foods.

                            Give people the resources they need to live healthier lifestyles, and they will.

                          •  oh my demonic overlords, what is wrong with you?! (0+ / 0-)

                            The study that people in Bangladesh have horrible health has absolutely nothing to with American issues becuase an average American in infinitely better off then the average resident of the world. Like $32,500 per year better off.

                            When these people are talking about lower income, they're talking about people subsisting on a dollar a day.

                            Why do you insist on avoiding the fact that 6 out of 7 obese Americans are not menial workers but make a very decent amlunt of money? I'm not making that up. The CDC statistics and the US Census show that quite clearly.

                          •  It was a worldwide study. (0+ / 0-)

                            Not just Bangladesh:

                            BMI increased most rapidly until an income of about I$5,000 (international dollars) and peaked at about I$12,500 for females and I$17,000 for males.

                            $12,500-17,000 is pretty low here, by your own standards. They are the people most likely to become obsese, for the reasons I have given above.

                            But the same CDC paper said that it had as much to do with environment as it did with behavior.

                            Now, we can't do anything about behavior. But we can do something about environment, such as building more sidewalks, bringing in more health food stores and food coops, creating more jobs that require heavy manual labor, raising the minimum wage so that people can actually hire people to do household chores, and improving access in lower-income areas to exercise programs.

                          •  why do you keep ignoring facts? (0+ / 0-)

                            I already told you for the 5th time that even assuming that

                            everybody

                            who makes minimum wage, or the income level you posted here, is overweight, that leaves:

                            50% of Americans making average wages obese!

                            Half of America is defying this study by real life example. Why do you run away from contradictory facts like Bush running away from Iraq WMD questions?

                          •  I am not denying that. (0+ / 0-)

                            I am simply telling you what the causes are, as stated by the CDC's own pamphlet. Not all of them have to do with laziness. There is plenty we can do.

                          •  If people wanted to get in shape.. (0+ / 0-)

                            ... they would. There are gyms about. As a matter of fact, where I live there are 3 gyms within walking distance and about 8 in a 10 mile radius. If you drive through an area where people who are doing good live, you'll notice bike trails, parks, gyms and organic food markets.

                            Lets face it, people like to sit on the couch and shove Fritos in their face. They don't want to ride a bike, they don't want to buy organic food because they think it's a waste of money and they don't want to work out because it takes work.

                            But they will spend hundreds of billions of diets and diet pills. That's a couple grand a year for every overweight person. Now tell me that's not laziness. Paying thousands for pills and diets, but not $35 a month for a gym memebership.

                            You can't just coddle people and come up with excuses to them. I don't care if they eat themselves to death. Their bodies, their chioice. I have no right to dictate.  But I care if they keep pushing my health insurance sky high by making stupid choices becuase now they're affecting me and other people who don't want to pay for their bad decisions.

                            If just half of the overweight people who have the money to trim down and live in great areas where they could loose the pounds in no time, you'd see those insurance rates plummet.

                          •  Good for you. (0+ / 0-)

                            But not every place in the world has a gym within walking distance and 8 within a 10-mile radius.

                          •  not the point... (0+ / 0-)

                            The point is that an average American has pretty easy access to all the things he or she needs to get in shape and plenty of money to do it. They have enough to spend thousands on diet pills, they should have the $35 for a gym membership.

                            And jogging around the neighborhood is free.

                          •  Wrong. (0+ / 0-)

                            At the place where I lived before, you had to drive 30-50 miles to the nearest exercise gym, and you had to pay 3-figure membership dues on top of that. And you are naive if you think that every place is as sheltered as yours. In some inner cities, jogging around the neighborhood is an invitiation to get shot or mugged.

                          •  just tell me... (0+ / 0-)

                            ... if you're not going to read replies.

                            Please just let me know that you're going to ignore everything directed to you so you can save me the time and the effort.

                            150 million Americans living in average, typical suburbs crawling with police on a $41,000 per year income can't take a jog without getting mugged or shot?

                            Can you drill it into your head that what you're preaching has nothing to do with the points I'm making here? Talking to you about something as basic as obesity seems to be like talking to an Evangelical Christian about sex. No matter what I say, it goes back to the single point on your mind and everything else just gets ignored.

                          •  Just tell me: (0+ / 0-)

                            Just tell me if you refuse to consider the possibility that you live a much more sheltered life than most Americans and that most places in this country are not as sheltered as yours is.

                            Perhaps you'd like to go to an inner city for a week and do your jog around the block once in the day and once around 8 or 9 or so. Perhaps you would like to explain to the gang members who think you are a spy for another gang that you are trying to make me look bad.

                            Not everyplace in this country is like your sheltered White middle-class suburb.

                            You have lost the argument. You are completely unable to comprehend the fact that other places in this country might be different than yours and that your whole life outlook would be changed if you were to be poor.

                          •  my dear, blind idiot: (0+ / 0-)

                            First off, when I was a child I lived in a hell hole in the Soviet empire. So I know about poverty, I know about living on a tight budget and I know about tyranny firsthand. You don't know anything about me and making up the same accusatory crap people on the extreme left throw around with the same zeal as their neo-con counterparts is obscenely hammerheaded.

                            For the last fucking time:

                            I'm talking about 150 million Americans making $41,000 per year sitting around the house, chowing down Friots. Not menial wage workers or people in the inner city. They are out of the equation in this line of debate. The obese in the suburbs are the primary cause of health problems because they vastly outnumber the menial workers and have the money to go through all those procedures.

                            Or are you incapable of discussing anything but the plight of a group that gets your undivided attention?

                          •  So: (0+ / 0-)

                            That makes the matter worse. That is like Clarence Thomas who benefitted from affirmative action and then turned his back on other Blacks by opposing the very programs that made him successful. So, pardon me if I am not very impressed with the way you are turning back on the very people who you grew up with.

                            And not all obese Americans make $41,000 a year and live the kind of sheltered life you live. Or are you incapable of considering the fact that each person is unique?

                          •  in what universe... (0+ / 0-)

                            ... is 60 minus 10 does not equal 50? Or fine, if you want to play it that way, 60 - 14. There are 14% of the population on minumum wage and 60% of Americans are obese. If all of the menial workers are obese that leaves 46% of people who are not menial workers, but are making more money. More then $17,000 per year. If you can't understand that, please ask an elementary school teacher to explain it to you.

                            First off, you have absolutely no clue about me as you demonstrate again and again. None whatsoever. The people I grew up with didn't have money because the socialistic system wouldn't let them have any. A Soviet engineer was paid less then a farm worker or a cleaning maid. So I turn my back on people who are not allowed to make money because they're taxed into near poverty to fuel the state-owned ecnomy? Is that what you're saying?

                            When you talk about the Soviet Union, please don't make stuff up on the spot and resort to the same old lines I've seen a million times before. They don't work in elections, they don't work with moderates, they don't work with rational people.

                            You don't know anything about my life either so using ad homonyms to make some point is silly at best.

                            Finally, if every person is so unique then you can't possibly talk about all menial workers as a single group. Becuase after all, each person is unique.

                          •  Actually: (0+ / 0-)

                            Minimum wage workers make around $10,000 a year, not $17,000.

                            Many more than just 15% are in the group most highly at risk for obesity.

                            But I see where you are coming from. You think that we are somehow secretly plotting to make this place just like the Soviet Union like Rush Limbaugh says. No wonder you can't answer any of my arguments. Nobody is advocating the abolition of the Constitution or even any and all forms of private ownership and capitalism, just an increase in the standard of living for our poorest people.

                            The same tired old politics as usual about Communism went out of style around 1989 or so. Please don't try to compare what I advocate to the Soviet Union. It doesn't work in elections, it doesn't work with rational people, and it doesn't work with moderates.

                            Finally, if every person is so unique then you can't possibly talk about all menial workers as a single group. Becuase after all, each person is unique.

                            And thanks for making my point for me once again. What you just said means that poor obese people are not all lazy slobs.

          •  oops, forgot to add... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Subversive

            There's a different socio-economic climate in England. Because of the prevalence of unions and the upbringing of Brittons, the general populace can deal with a far smaller divide between minimum wage and middle class.

            In the US, where the socio-economic climate is far different and based on competition and status, how many people will be willing to accept that their job pays only slighly more then being a grocery bagger? And what would that do to incentives?

            When I was in high school, I bagged grocieries at a local supermarket for $5.35 an hour. A few months later, I was promoted to cashier and started making $7 an hour. If I would make a minimum $10.50 an hour as a bagger, what incentive would I have to be working my butt off to get to the cash register? I'd be making more then the cashier!

            If the bagger's salary doubles, so should the cashier's, otherwise cashiers would be low paid grunts who want to be baggers. But if the cashier is making $14 an hour, what incentive would I have to take a web design and marketing job that I took after my graduation from high school that paid $13.50 an hour? I'd make more as a cashier!

            See my point?

            •  Speaking for myself: (0+ / 0-)

              I would not want to spend the rest of my life as a bagger. I would save up money for school and educate myself.

              •  really? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Subversive

                I would not want to spend the rest of my life as a bagger. I would save up money for school and educate myself.

                But if you'd be paid almost as much as a bagger what's the point? College education is expensive. I could've bough a new luxury car with the money spent on my degree. Would you want to do it for and extra $3 an hour or $6,000 per year? It would take you about 5 years to pay back or education, maybe even 7 vs. just staying where you are and making only $6,000 a year less.

                Its all about incentives...

                •  And: (0+ / 0-)

                  Degree-level jobs would still pay more, meaning more money in the long term.

                  •  true, but they need to be upped (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Subversive

                    The average degree level job has been declining by as much as 4% a year in many programs. If you double the minimum wage, they would need to rise by at least 6% a year to be attractive.

                    Say I get a degree and pay $30,000 for it, but with it I get paid $30,000 a year ($15 per hour). I could get a minimum wage job for $12,000 a year (or the $5.50 an hour minimum wage) instead. The difference in my income is a staggering $18,000 per year.

                    Or, with the same $30,000 degree and the same $30,000 per year job, I could choose the $10 an hour manimum wage job instead, or $20,000 per year. My difference is now $10,000 a year or a full 55% decline.

                    The less the percieved benefit, the fewer people will want to spend $30,000 or $40,000 to get a degree becuase they win less and less and end up with the same (if not greater) financial burden for the price of their college degree. If the degree is so expensive and its gain no longer as meningful, why bother?

                    Hence, the degree level jobs must increase as well.

                    •  Then: (0+ / 0-)

                      That will drive down the cost of tuition, as colleges will have to find ways to attract people.

                      It has gone up for a long time here; it would be good for it to go down.

                      •  that would be a possiblity, however... (0+ / 0-)

                        Yes, if the degrees would be cheaper to obtain and decline at the same rate as wages increase until a happy equilibrium is reached, that would help provide the motivation to get a degree. College enrollment would still drop mind you, but that might be a good thing because the shrinking pool of graduates would serve to inflate the wages of recent grads.

                        Though of course, this only continues to drive the inflation because now graduates need to be paid more to take on qualified jobs. Note 1995 to 2000. Programmers used to get maybe $35,000 a year in 1995, the average income. By the year 1999, because of the surging demand for programmers, they were starting off at about $45,000 per year and many were getting $10,000 to $20,000 per year raises when accepting new job offers.

                        See what happens? When you affect either wages or scarcity, inflation sets in. The only question is how much inflation is healthy. The average, normal rate of inflation seems to be around 2% to 3%. The economy has a more stable handling in rough seas with inflation at that level.

                        For the last 3 or 4 years, wages didn't increase at all, not even adjusted for inflation. What was the result? Inflation was zero. See how they're linked?

                        I'm not trying to be cruel and force people to work for peanuts as Bill accuses me of, I'm just telling you that there are certain ways in which the economy behaves and certain pressures on the economy must be considered before any major change in wage laws takes place.

            •  working up the ladder (0+ / 0-)

              isn't the argument.  Earlier you said that 10 bucks an hour would cause mass hysteria, inflation, chaos, decline in western civilization---ok thats hyperbolic but the point is most jobs that offer minimum wage don't offer raises.  McDonalds is never going to pay a fair market wage unless they are forced to because there is always going to be some desperate person who is working 2 jobs and not making it who will take on one more shift at minimum wage just to get by.  How many fast food restaraunts have you been in where the employees are the same for a six month period?  Turnover is high because the worker isn't being paid enough to be loyal.

              Crawford, Texas' Lonestar Iconoclast needs anti-Bush mojo!

              by Bill O Rights on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 03:14:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Exactly. (0+ / 0-)

                Another acceptable alternative would be to do what we do in Washington, where we have a $7 minimum wage that goes up with inflation.

                We had that problem back at the cap factory where I worked several years ago. One person quit halfway into her first day, and several others quit after just two weeks.

              •  please don't put words in my mouth... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Eternal Hope, Subversive

                Earlier you said that 10 bucks an hour would cause mass hysteria, inflation, chaos, decline in western civilization

                I never said that. I merely said that to make all other jobs competitive, they would need to offer a very steep increase in compensation to provide people a reason to move up. Now, I'll address your arguments.

                the point is most jobs that offer minimum wage don't offer raises.

                That's completely beside the point because I'm talking about the base price, not increases, raises or adjustments. Now, a 3% increase should be mandatory to keep up with inflation, but this is an entirely different discussion. Again, I'm only concerned about the base price and assuming that no raises will be given to anyone, period.

                McDonalds is never going to pay a fair market wage unless they are forced to because there is always going to be some desperate person who is working 2 jobs and not making it who will take on one more shift at minimum wage just to get by.

                The issue of fair vs. unfair compensation is basically a discussion about scarcity and you just hit the nail on the head in this sentence. There is always someone who'll work for peanuts and as long as McDonalds has willing people to work minimum wage and horrible hours, compensation will remain low. Basic law of macroeconomics at work in your daily life. McDonalds can be forced to pay more when people won't work for such low wages.

                I would say that simply giving out money to anyone in order to boost wages could backfire very badly. I thought I explained the socio-economic climate in the US to an appropriate extent to explain why that could very easily happen.

                This is not to say that boosting minimum wage is an empty goal. I've never paid anyone minimum wage because I respect the people who do work for me and I know that if I pay the minimum, they wouldn't be motivated to do their best seeing as I'm a greedy bastard using their services at rock bottom price. However, there is a threshold for when the minimum wage is too high and begins to cause inflationary pressure (holy crap, I sounded like Greenspan there) and I'm pretty sure that $10 an hour is that threshold. I'm all for making minimum wage $7 an hour with an annual adjustment for inflation.

                How many fast food restaraunts have you been in where the employees are the same for a six month period?  Turnover is high because the worker isn't being paid enough to be loyal.

                I rarely eat fast food because I want to stay athletic, so I can't honestly answer the question. However, I can tell you that today, nobody is being paid enough to remain loyal. Business and trade industry polls show that only 25% of all employees are loyal. That survey includes everyone short of the board of directors and the CEO. Your programmer is just as likely to leave for a better job as is your fry cook.

                I have worked in a few industries with turnover rates so high, they'll make your head spin and those aren't supermarkets. Those are industries where people make about $50k a year on average.

        •  pay me now, or pay me later (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eternal Hope

          The minimum wage hasn't been raised in nearly a decade.  Overtime rules have been relaxed.  Business has been benefitting from this ongoing robbery of their workers for some time now.  It's about time they learn to pay back.  Maybe they can take it out of the CEO salaries and dividends.

          "To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears."
          -Octavia Butler, 1947-2006

          by Leggy Starlitz on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 02:55:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  boosting the min. wage = inflation? (0+ / 0-)

          that logic is the same logic the GOP uses to convince people that taxes should be low.  Its the same type of rhetoric used by early manufactures to prevent unionized labor.  "if we have to pay fair wages then we can't compete and we'll go broke and America will suffer."  Well it didn't happen did it?

          Simply put 21st American is not 18th century America.  It costs more to run the govt, we have more people more needs, taxes need to go up as the cost of running the country goes up.  And yea the rich should pay a higher percentage than the poor.

          7 bucks an hour?  You go take a job for 7 bucks an hour and then come back and tell me that that is fair living wage.  10 bucks an hr?  You go take a job for 10 bucks an hour and get back to me and tell me that is a fair living wage.  Until then you have no right to say what is a fair minimum wage and what is not.

          Would higher wages cause inflation?  Not unless manufacturers raise their rates higher than the rate of wage increases.  IMO we have had it too easy for too long.  We bitch when gas goes up to 2.50/ gallon while Europeans have been paying up to 5 bucks or more per liter for years.  We bitch when a pack of cigarettes goes from 1.50 to 3.00 when other countries charge triple that.  If a lettuce farm says they need to charge 5 bucks for a head of lettuce to make their farm profitable.  Fine, I'll pay 5 bucks for a head of lettuce.  Its all relative.  When I was a kid my parents knew how to budget.  We were poor but we never went hungry, they paid all their bills, the sacrifice?  We didn't go on many vacations.  We didn't go to the movies much.  We didn't eat out much.  Nowdays people think they are owed 2 or 3 vacations a year, need to eat out a couple times or more per week, need to pay the 80 bucks to take the family of four to the movies and buy popcorn, candy and soda.  No one budgets and the consumer debt shows that fact.  Minimum wages that provide incomes at or near the poverty line aren't productive.  All they are is a means to keep the poor poor.

          Not to mention the fact that its people like you who defend low wage scales that causes the illegal immigrant to be exploited.  So the restaraunts can get you to eat out five times a week, they hire illegal immigrants who clean the place, wash the dishes, cook the food, bus the tables.  Most of these people are working 2 or 3 jobs so they can make do.  Their quality of life sucks because thats all they get to do is work.  But thank god they do or else you might have to pay 10 bucks for a burger instead of five.  Then there are the smuggling operations who provide illegal workers.  They force the worker to work shitty paying jobs with no health care, no benefits and then the smuggler takes a portion of their already shitty paycheck as recompense for getting them in the US.  This is called indentured servitude.  So excuse me if I don't feel sorry for these assholes getting put out of business.  Excuse me if I don't cry that the business itself will have to go find legal workers and pay a fair wage.

          The cons of the illegal worker far outweigh the pros.  I not only know many illegal immigrants, I have hired some through temp agencies when I've needed extra help on a job (and the worst abusers of illegal workers are temp agencies who provide cheap day labor.  But at least if you use a temp agency the undocumented worker has some protections as far as workers comp goes and they generally pay a fair wage).  They are all nice people.  Most of them are decent community members.  Too bad.  My grandparents were immigrants who had to go through the naturalization process.  My ex's mom was from Germany.  She was a nurse.  She could have been a nurse anywhere in Europe.  She comes to the US with her Hungarian husband and is told "you can't be a nurse her unless you go through our college system."  She and her husband stayed, went thru the naturalization process, had kids and have led very spartan lives since because they were told that their education meant nothing over here.  If people like this can go thru the naturalization process so can everybody else.  Blanket amnesty doesn't solve anything.  The US is not a hard place to gain entry to if you go thru the hoops.  But since we do have liberal immigration policies the laws that we have should be enforced and that includes deportation of undocumented workers.  You can call it "ruthless" if you want I call it necessary enforcement.

          Crawford, Texas' Lonestar Iconoclast needs anti-Bush mojo!

          by Bill O Rights on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 03:07:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  ok... lets put some facts on this skeleton (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Subversive

            that logic is the same logic the GOP uses to convince people that taxes should be low.  Its the same type of rhetoric used by early manufactures to prevent unionized labor.  "if we have to pay fair wages then we can't compete and we'll go broke and America will suffer."  Well it didn't happen did it?

            Define fair. What's fair to you may be unfair to someone else. Getting emotional, exaggerating and stringing together a fallacious comment doesn't really prove anything.

            Ideally, everybody should be paid exactly what they need to live comfortably. But that would be an ideal world and unfortunately we don't know how to make that work yet. I was born in the Soviet Union. On paper, we had everything we needed. In reality, we got along as best we could with no luxuries because our leaders fucked us over on a daily basis.

            7 bucks an hour?  You go take a job for 7 bucks an hour and then come back and tell me that that is fair living wage.  10 bucks an hr?  You go take a job for 10 bucks an hour and get back to me and tell me that is a fair living wage.

            Been there, done that. The question is though, how high are you willing to pay people for doing jobs which require no education or special skills? Does someone who washes the dishes -- even though she might be working very hard -- have to be paid as much as the person who creates the dishes and mass markets them?

            Would higher wages cause inflation?  Not unless manufacturers raise their rates higher than the rate of wage increases.

            Um... Mr. Greenspan, sir? That's exactly what manufacturers must do to remain profitable. Lets do some very simple math.

            Pay for assemply line workers:    $5,000
            Cost of product produced:         $25,000
            Units made:                       60,000

            Cost per unit:                    $2.00
            Sale price per unit:              $2.99

            profit per unit:                  $0.99

            and now lets double the worker's wages like we were just talking about in this thread!

            Pay for assemply line workers:    $10,000
            Cost of product produced:         $25,000
            Units made:                              60,000

            Cost per unit:                    $2.12
            Sale price per unit:              $2.99

            profit per unit:                  $0.87

            See that? The profits dropped. So the business must now charge $0.12 more to keep the same level of profitability and the same gadget that cost $2.99 will now cost $3.11 per unit. Businesses in today's market can't allow themselves to take lower and lower margins laying down.

            I'm not the one saying that higher wages cause inflation. The laws of mathematics say that. Or do you seriously think that a business will just take a 6% drop in their margins just like that?

            Also, please read my article about the socio-economic climate of the United States. Thanks for answering your own question for me.

      •  A lot of Americans would be HAPPY (0+ / 0-)

        to work for the CURRENT minimum wage. Myhusband lost his job a year ago, unemployment ran out and he decided Togo back and get hesi nursing degree.  We're living with his mother and living on his Navy pension.  But he applied for a LOT of minimum wage jobs, explaining he was a student and would be for several years so they wouldn't have to worry about hsi quitting. Not one call back--and when he called back, he was told the positions were filled  (yet the places still had "hiring now" posters up and were still keeping applications).

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 02:59:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Another Complicating Factor Is The... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joanneleon

        actual unemployment and labor participation rates in our country.  Bondad had a recent diary that discussed the problem.

        There are millions of unemployed or underemployed Americans whose existences and interests are not being addressed by either party.  Job insecurity is rampant even among those who are actually employed.  And as usual workers are being pitted against each other.

        Special (H1-B) visas are granted annually to high tech companies like Microsoft to import educated workers while qualified American  workers are underemployed or forced to retrain themselves for lower paying jobs.  

        Democrats should be the choice for most of the angry/worried voting American workers who see their lifestyles and hopes for the future disintegrating.  But just like the censure issue, I'm not aware of prominent Democrats standing up for workers and seriously addressing the fair, not free trade issues.

  •  I confess I'm ignorant about public policy... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eternal Hope, sick of it all, kraant

    But I don't come at politics from a pragmatist bent; I always address political issues from an ethical angle.

    Don't we have an obligation to take care of the most exploited, least protected members of our society? These undocumented workers are part of the fabric of our lives, part of our communities, they contribute to our daily lives. Is the only way that we can allow these undocumented workers into our body politic, into the purview of the law, through criminalization? Doesn't producing these undocumented immigrants as felonious criminal subjects of the law also a waste of resources and a furtherance of the police state we are struggling against? And for you pragmatists, would this criminalization really be a deterrent?

    I think that our task as progressives is to raise the bottom for everyone--regardless of nationality. Protecting and helping undocumented workers, protecting and helping the most poverty-stricken Americans--it's not an either/or, not a zero sum game.

    I too was really shaken by reading some of the comments yesterday--especially as I had just come back from two days away from dKos and I was jonesing--and I was returning from an academic conference about the meaning of being human, of being humanists, and the meaning of human rights

  •  Minimum Wage? (0+ / 0-)

    If the Minimum Wage was DOUBLED, that would DOUBLE the reliance on illegal immigrants working for 4 dollars an hour because it would DOUBLE the incentive for companies to do so. It would make companies increasingly invest in machine labor technology and eliminate many jobs forever. It would drastically speed up outsourcing of the manufacturing industry. It would make many workers lose their jobs, and the ones who kept their jobs would be under much more stress and have much less job security.

    It would cause much, much, much more problems than it would solve.

  •  I don't have (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eternal Hope

    a problem with illegal aliens. I guess I just don't understand all the problems they are causing. I certainly don't see them. I think it's nice having Mexicans around. Whether they came here legally or not means nothing to me.
    I wonder how legal our appropriation of a large chunk of Mexico back in the day was?

  •  Why did Haliburton build detention centers? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    odum, Eternal Hope

    Answer:  "....[T]o deport 21 million undocumented workers back at once, this country would be plunged into civil war.  People would get guns either legally or illegally and shoot any immigration agents on sight. Clashes between Minutemen and immigrants would take place. This whole country could be turned into a McCarthyite witch hunt that would involve people turning each other in if they know they are from another country."

    Yes or No?

  •  Complicated issue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    majcmb1

    and I am conflicted on it.  I don't know the answer.  I want to help people find a better life here too, but I don't want to destroy our middle class or aid and abet corporations that exploit labor in the process.

    On Bush: "He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." --(borrowed from) Churchill

    by joanneleon on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 02:50:09 PM PST

  •  Yuck (0+ / 0-)

    I took your advice and followed your comments. Pretty revolting stuff over there. But I think you can reassure yourself by remembering dKos is a HUGE place, and the republicans-in-denial and the outright racists were clearly in the minority.

    Get over to the Green Mountain Daily! What are you still reading this sig for?

    by odum on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 03:03:11 PM PST

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