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We begin today's APR with a New York Times editorial on the need to increase the minimum wage:
The fast-food workers who have been walking off their jobs illustrate a central fact of contemporary work life in America: As lower-wage occupations have proliferated in the past several years, Americans are increasingly unable to make a living at their jobs. They work harder and are paid less than workers in other advanced countries. And their wages have stagnated even as executive pay has soared.

As measured by the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 an hour, low-paid work in America is lower paid today than at any time in modern memory. If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation or average wages over the past nearly 50 years, it would be about $10 an hour; if it had kept pace with the growth in average labor productivity, it would be about $17 an hour.

Sean McElwee makes the moral case for a higher minimum wage at PolicyMic:
When debating the Kyoto protocol — the international treaty obligating countries to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) — we don’t ask whether unemployment will drop by 1% or 2%, but whether it’s morally appropriate for two dozen or so developed nations to benefit from GHGs that will primarily affect the world’s poorest people. When Ford executives released the Pinto, it would have been preferable if they'd asked not whether the car would be profitable, but whether it was moral to knowingly sell a deadly product.

Similarly, even if were some businesses to fail, unemployment rose and prices increased, a higher minimum wage could still be an acceptable policy. We must ask ourselves whether we want to live in a society when the poorest working people cannot afford to purchase basic necessities. Or, put differently, should a business that cannot afford to pay its workers enough to survive be allowed to exist, grow, and prosper?

This question is not entirely absurd, and we have had to ask and answer similar questions before. We once had to ask ourselves whether a company that could only remain profitable by releasing toxic chemicals into the air should be allowed to exist. We answered no. We once had to ask ourselves whether a company that could only remain profitable by employing child labour should be allowed to exist. We answered no. We once had to ask ourselves whether a company that could only remain profitable by paying women too little, pushing workers too hard, or maintaining a dangerous workforce should be allowed to exist. We answered no.

Eric Liu at TIME says what fast food workers make affects us all:
A $15 minimum wage is the key building block to “middle-out economics” (a concept I’ve helped shape, along with my co-author Nick Hanauer). Middle-out economics, as opposed to trickle-down, says that the best job creator is a healthy middle class with the purchasing power to generate and sustain demand. It says – as Henry Ford figured out a long time ago – that workers aren’t costs to be cut; they are customers to be cultivated. Investing in that middle class makes more sense than expanding tax breaks for the wealthy.

A middle-out policy agenda includes a more progressive tax system, but also focuses on high-skill education and fostering more entrepreneurs. And it crosses left-right lines: after all, the rock-bottom wages of a “free enterprise” like Wal-Mart leads to more “big government” spending on food stamps and Medicaid. A $15 minimum wage would take tens of millions off the dole and turn them into more robust consumers and less dependent citizens.

Much more below the fold.

Switching topics, Marcus Stanley at U.S. News says the Fed needs a new watchdog:

In other realms of Dodd-Frank implementation (including the Volcker Rule's ban on proprietary financial speculation by banks), the Fed plays an influential role in a joint decision-making and enforcement process with other agencies. These other agencies still play a key role in supervision, including through oversight of important subsidiary entities within bank holding companies. The U.S. financial regulatory framework remains quite fragmented in many ways. But the Fed's expanded powers clearly give it primary responsibility for ensuring the overall stability of the financial system.

This central regulatory role of the Fed, especially post-Dodd Frank, should be a key consideration in the appointment of the next Federal Reserve chair. In appointing the next leader of the Federal Reserve, President Obama will also be appointing the person who should be the lead watchdog of Wall Street.

Ken Doctor at Bloomberg asks where is our Netflix for news or iTunes of ideas? From search to archives and more, most news sites are woefully behind the ball:
Netflix Inc. (NFLX) has rounded up movies and TV shows. Apple Inc. (APP)’s iTunes has rationalized the buying of and listening to music. You know the buzzwords of the consumer digital revolution made meaningful: recommendation engines, aggregation and curation, socially mediated discovery, save lists, wish lists and flexible alerts.

All of that would create a boffo news product. The Associated Press offers a 1.0 version of it, in AP Mobile, and Google News and Yahoo News, among others, have long aggregated. Google caused near apoplexy when it pulled the life-support line from Google Reader. Feedly seems to be the replacement flavor of the moment.
Seriously, though, there’s nothing like a Netflix or iTunes experience for heavy news consumers -- a place to read, buy, share and be easily informed without heavy lifting.

Gail Collins at The New York Times takes a look at Chris Christie and his 2016 prospects:
If he winds up running, it could be a fantastic test of my theory that women won’t vote for men who yell.

We don’t need to have a discussion about whether or not Christie is a yeller, right? You just have to call up that video of him pursuing a heckler down the boardwalk, waving an ice cream cone. And while Christie is probably not any more in love with himself than your average major league politician, he is a little less good about concealing it. Dan Balz of The Washington Post interviewed him for the newly released book, “Collision 2012,” in which Christie happily recounts the way the rich and powerful begged him to run for the White House. (Henry Kissinger, the governor reported, told him: “Being a successful president is about two things, courage and character: You have both, and your country needs you.”)

Finally, Greg Sargent at The Washington Post looks at the Republican strategy for making government fail:
the rub is that, for the suicide caucus, the argument isn’t over who is pursuing the “more reasonable tactical approach” to undermining Obamacare. The suicide caucus has openly and explicitly redefined real opposition to Obamacare as a willingness to wreak as much havoc as possible in pursuit of that goal. It no longer matters whether that goal is attainable by this means; embracing the means itself has become a statement of conservative principle in its own right. Cotton appears, at a minimum, to be willing to humor this camp.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The right has (23+ / 0-)

    been very successful in persuading people that raising the minimum wage will be too expensive for businesses and consumers.  I hear it constantly from people who would in fact benefit from it.

    Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

    by KibbutzAmiad on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 05:05:46 AM PDT

    •  Number please (8+ / 0-)

      The rhetoric around the minimum wage usually goes down something like this. If we raise the minimum wage then it will add to business labor costs. Business will have to cut back and therefore lay employees off and contribute to a spike in unemployment.

      Okay let us take this argument at face value. If this is clearly and definatively prove as they claim. Should there be a ratio or formula that shows it. Should not see a spike in unemployment after a raise in the minimum wage?

      No one in the media ever calls them on this. Maybe those of you in KOS land can call to a show and call their bluff on this one.

      •  The argument goes like that because (16+ / 0-)

        if they told the truth, they'd look horrible. The truth is that it would cut into the obscene profits at the top which continue to rise while workers' wages stagnate and their jobs disappear.

        I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

        by commonmass on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 05:25:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But that's not even true (8+ / 0-)
          The truth is that it would cut into the obscene profits at the top which continue to rise while workers' wages stagnate and their jobs disappear.
          Their profits would rise even higher if the workers could afford to buy their goods and services.  

          That is unless what they're peddling is such utter shit that nobody would buy it.  

          This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

          by DisNoir36 on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 05:38:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, it's not even true, but they think it is. n/t (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hoghead99, Bernie68

            I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

            by commonmass on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 05:41:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Minimum wage $14.50/hour in Australia. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              METAL TREK, commonmass

              McDonald's survives.

              There are some wrinkles & consequences, but the bottom line is, it's better: http://www.theatlantic.com/...

              "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

              by HeyMikey on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:27:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So is there a minimum wage (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Laurel in CA, commonmass

                at which McDonald's does NOT survive and mom-and-pop local restaurants stage a comeback? Lets see if we can have a discussion about a country where the average person could afford to eat good food at nice restaurants.

                How about a minimum wage that DOES cut into the obscene profits at the top and only allows a modest profit if the boss wants to stay in business? Isn't this what CAPITALISM is supposed to do? Keep unbridled greed in check through competition? If that's the case, then the Invisible Hand Of The Marketplace is asleep at the switch, because that bridle sure ain't working these days.

                Maybe the Invisible Hand only slaps around mom-and-pop businesses...

                "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

                by Orinoco on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 08:41:01 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Market is working. That's the problem. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  codairem, TerryDarc, Orinoco

                  What we see in the labor market is simply good old-fashioned supply & demand.

                  There are a lot of unemployed people. Thus wages are low.

                  US workers are increasingly competing not just with the billions of desperately poor people in the world, but with machines.

                  In the late 1990s, here in the Atlanta suburbs, Captain D's and Taco Bell were so desperate for workers they were offering signing bonuses. Not making that up.

                  OTOH they were also starting to have drive-through orders processed via call centers in India. Not making that up, either.

                  Without more Big Government intervention in the market, we'll continue to have tens of millions of "surplus" workers driving down wages for ordinary people; and the resulting low labor costs will drive up profits for those at the top.

                  Essential reading from Nobel economics winner Joseph Stiglitz: http://www.vanityfair.com/...

                  "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                  by HeyMikey on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 08:50:46 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  True (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    HeyMikey, commonmass

                    That's the way the market actually does work.

                    I was more alluding to the way Republicans claim the Invisible Hand Of The Market works to make this the best of all possible worlds. The claim that no regulations will allow job-creators to hire everyone at good wages and make American prosperity unequaled anywhere in the world because we are just so damn exceptional. The claim that... it's total horseshit, of course.

                    As you pointed out, without government intervention the market produces obscene profits, low wages, a staggering inequality of incomes, and hereditary privilege by offspring managing their departed parents' estates.  

                    "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

                    by Orinoco on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 01:11:35 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Substantiate your claim please. (0+ / 0-)

                    Snopes is just a click away.

                    I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

                    by commonmass on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 02:13:59 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  and at the same time (15+ / 0-)

      they bitch ceaselessly about the cost of SNAP, medicaid, and other programs that are increasingly being relied upon by working people.  If the minimum wage was increased to a living wage, a good chunk of people would drop out of these programs.  These programs have become corporate subsidies.

      •  their gripe (5+ / 0-)

        about SNAP, Medicaid etc., is that they should not exist at all,  I think.  If you don't work, it's clearly because you choose not to, and if you don't earn a living wage, it's because you have no ambition.  Ergo, you do not deserve benefits, and those benefits would actually harm you by....(here's where the logic gets really impossible) encouraging you to stay in your current position of misery by making it slightly less miserable.

        They are underestimating the despair factor and what it makes people willing to do.  They learn nothing from history.

        Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

        by KibbutzAmiad on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:09:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  this is somewhat true (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          codairem

          My daughter gets food stamps and a rent subsidy as a single mother of two kids. She has a part time job but if she works to many hours they will cut her rent subsidy to the point she couldn't afford her apt and her food stamps would be cut.
          This is how the govt keeps people in poverty. The are discouraging someone like my daughter from working.

          •  Yes, the highest marginal tax rate in this country (0+ / 0-)

            is paid by the poor receiving any assistance from the government. It is often 100% -- every additional dollar earned is offset by an additional dollar in taxes (lost benefits).

  •  When I was in Australia a year and a half ago (23+ / 0-)

    I was amazed that the minimum wage there was $18 an hour.  That's why you don't tip waiters and hairstylists in Australia--they make a decent, living wage.  They don't have to beg.

    It's a much more dignified and humane society.  Would that we could imitate them.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 05:10:19 AM PDT

    •  my husband is Australian (20+ / 0-)

      and was astonished at the "system" here for service workers.  Horrified, that's really the better word.  He cannot understand why it is tolerated.

      Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

      by KibbutzAmiad on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 05:12:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I worked in Australia (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        I love OCD, Diana in NoVa, codairem

        in the early 80s and made $8-9 an hour doing data entry work part time (Part time workers were compensated for lack of benefits at a higher rate) and the dollar was quite on par with the US dollar.  Nearly 30 years ago and still a higher wage than the current minimum wage in the US today.

        Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

        by KibbutzAmiad on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:04:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Tipping culture around the world (8+ / 0-)

      is fascinating. It's pretty safe to say though that in most countries there are not entire professions which are tip-dependent as there are in the US and to a large extent, in Canada.

      When I lived in Austria, I sometimes had to remind myself that while it was courteous to leave a small tip to a waiter, it was considered insulting to leave as much as 15 or 20 percent of the bill. Same with hotel porters and others. Overtipping in places like Austria sends the message that you thing the person you tip is not earning a living wage which in places be it Austria or Australia, us usually not the case when it comes to service employees.

      I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

      by commonmass on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 05:16:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Most servers here make a ton off tips. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hoghead99

      During my days of working restaurant jobs the servers working off of tips made more than the cashiers and hosts that worked hourly (all the cashiers, runners, and hosts were paid hourly more than the federal minimum wage).

      Servers working an 8 hour dinner shift can bust ass and avg out to 18 an hour.

      The first rule of government should be "Do no harm." The urge to act can frustrate the desire to help.

      by Common Cents on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 05:30:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Data, Please (8+ / 0-)

        "Most" servers make a ton off of tips?

        How many restaurant servers work in restaurants were tipping by customers is the practice? Customers do not tip at fast-food and self-serve restaurants. Customers can tip at many counter-style coffee shops, but do they tip enough to actually increase the base wage by much?

        When I worked at Starbucks in the early/mid 1990s, we each took home a pocketful of small change at the end of a shift, not enough to even buy a sandwich on the way home.

        "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

        by bink on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 05:36:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In the first place, servers don't always (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wintergreen8694, codairem

          work 8-hour dinner shifts consistently.  Then tend to have their shift changed on a regular basis so the lunch servers have a chance to earn the big tips too.  Also, the tips diners leave have to be split among other employees - possibly the cooks, bussers, bartenders, hosts, any or all of them.  The management staff and chefs - if there are any chefs -are usually the only salaried employees in the restaurant.

          No one is getting rich off tips, no matter the establishment or the prices of their fare.

          "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

          by SueDe on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:43:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Not really true here (8+ / 0-)

        It all depends on where and when you work.  You work a Monday nite at some local diner and all you're pulling in on tips is a couple of bucks on cups of coffee and toast.  

        On the other hand if you work a busy restaurant on a busy nite you're capable of making several hundred dollars.  But you're gonna bust your ass for it as you said.  You're gonna run around like a chicken with your head chopped off and turn tables over at a lightning fast pace.

        Cashiers, hosts and bussers depending on where you live make more hourly but make less than minimum or barely minimum and make shit tips unless servers split tips.  Bartenders usually make most in tips.    

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 05:43:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It depends (0+ / 0-)

        I spent about 13 years in that business. On a busy day with good parties they do great. Slow day not so much.

        For example when I was a Bell Man , I made about $500.00 over the weekend of the Shriner Convention. I came back on Monday and made a total of $8.00 for about 6 hours work.

        Their would have to be averaged out over year.

      •  That's high-end restaurants (0+ / 0-)

        with a bar, dinners that cost $35+, etc. etc.

        It's a different world from a coffee joint (sorry, SBUX) or burger joint with a tip jar on the counter that management takes a cut of.

  •  Empires only exist on the backs of slaves (12+ / 0-)

    be they chattle slaves or wage slaves

  •  I think that living wage should be (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, salmo, Hoghead99, cocinero

    a part of the discussion. Although without a minimium wage I guess it would hard to find a starting point for living wage discussions.

    •  No one should (8+ / 0-)

      work full time and be unable to afford the basics of life.  That is a violation of the social contract, in my view.  What stake do they have in continuing the system?

      Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

      by KibbutzAmiad on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:05:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because they don't care! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wintergreen8694, Laconic Lib
        What stake do they have in continuing the system?
        We're just useless eaters to the 1%ers.  If they had some cheap, easy and not-illegal way to be rid of us, they'd do it in a second (and even moreso if they could make money doing it)
        •  How they get rid of workers: Robots (0+ / 0-)

          which do not need health insurance, workers' comp, unemployment, and FICA payments, and whose cost can be amortized quickly thanks to a tax code that rewards equipment purchases and penalizes hiring workers.

          It's moved from manufacturing into service jobs, and I hate it. First gas stations (pump-your-own), then supermarkets (scan-your-own), all the call-center robots with names, and now moving into janitorial and food service.

          The vision seems to be to produce all goods and services without requiring any actual workers.

          What they haven't factored in is that robots don't need to buy coffee or lunch or new clothing or living room furniture either -- so the demand side would dry up pretty quickly. And that's before you notice all the homeless starving idle people piling up under your bridges. . . .

      •  yes. And in addition to not being able to (4+ / 0-)

        afford the basics of life despite their (often thankless) labors, they are demonized constantly by "conservatives" as lazy, lacking ambition, unwilling to work, and living in a culture that fosters dependency.  

        "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

        by SottoVoce on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:45:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  That column is quintessential Collins, (15+ / 0-)

    impeccable political analysis cloaked in a light, humorous, "oh, I was just rambling" disguise.

    There’s a side to Christie that reminds women of their worst boyfriends. In his race for governor in 2009, he won male voters by a wide margin. But women went for his opponent, Gov. Jon Corzine, 50 percent to 45 percent. This is a particularly startling figure when you add in the fact that Corzine had the personal warmth and communication skills of an unconscious flounder.
    Well worth one of your monthly NYT chips.

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 05:16:16 AM PDT

    •  Isn't this column a bit sexist and/or odd? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, Crashing Vor

      Women don't vote for self-centered candidates, or at least those openly so? Why? Christie reminds women of bad boyfriends? What about lesbians are women not interested in dating at all? Do they love Christie?

      I thought it was classic useless drivel that Nate Silver would cast aside.

      The first rule of government should be "Do no harm." The urge to act can frustrate the desire to help.

      by Common Cents on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 05:26:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think women see "asshole bully" (3+ / 0-)

        while men might see "strong and forceful".  Yes, it's sexist but men are prone to lean toward tough guy stuff while women see tough guy stuff as bluster covering weakness.  That's our experience.

        I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

        by I love OCD on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:17:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Our experience" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wintergreen8694, I love OCD

          is the key.  We have all known blowhards in one situation or another.  We find them boorish and insecure, bullies.  When I peg one of these types, and there are women like this too, my hub usually doesn't mind them while I find them insufferable.

          Everyone! Arms akimbo! 68351

          by tobendaro on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:41:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'd prefer an unconscious flounder (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          I love OCD

          because I'm not auditioning him for "dinner companion." (Or "phone sex turn-on".)

          My current governor, for example (Chaffee), I find wimpy, efete, passive, and all that. Physically he's not my type. But so what? He supported the same-sex marriage bill and has made some pretty progressive appointments and policy decisions.  

    •  One wonders if Christie would be able... (4+ / 0-)

      ...to get Ted Cruz to "blink" in a confrontation as easily as he did Rand Paul. "Oops!" was funny, but I think some GOP activists perceived Romney physically manhandling Perry on stage in another debate and drew conclusions just as damning for him.

      It would make for great post debate highlights, but the "winner" of that skirmish might well lose actual "gravitas" in a General Election.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 05:30:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If 45% of women voters actually cast (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wintergreen8694, codairem

      their ballots for Christie, where does this opinion that "women won't vote for a yeller" come from?  Quite a few women I have known are more than willing to be subdued by a man and appreciate a strong, masculine "yeller" of a man, whether he actually lives up to the protective macho image or not.  I don't understand those women, but there are plenty of them out there - in New Jersey, apparently about 45% of the ones who vote.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:52:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gripe about so many 'takers' who don't pay taxes (6+ / 0-)

    ...then you damn well have no excuse for not providing a minimum living wage that generates them for any individual working a 40 hour week.

  •  Our goal should be all reach the top of Maslow's (5+ / 0-)

    Hierarchy, not that a handful reach the wealth level of Scrooge McDuck. Food, water, shelter, safety, belonging, and some avenue for a self perceived meaningful life are a better set of values for a society than are wrath, avarice and pride.

    •  I've wanted to diary this for a while (5+ / 0-)

      one problem with the income discrepancy is that people think about nothing but money.  Those at the bottom think about it because they need to in order to survive, and those at the top do because (a) they're screwed up and (b) society tells them it is all that matters

      In the meantime, people cheat for money and to get ahead and true excellence and achievement is ignored.  Science, art, music, beauty, simple joy - these things don't matter.

      www.tapestryofbronze.com

      by chloris creator on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 05:57:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  as i remember, during the reagan years everything (4+ / 0-)

        became conceptualized in terms of consumers and providers....i was working in human services and at first this seemed innocuous but it wasn't. it implied buying and selling and marketing and hyping and left out altruism and morality and feelings and beauty and most everything else of importance. this coincided with the idea that all medical treatments, environmental concerns and human misery could be evaluated on a cost analysis basis which then led to the placing of monetary value on a person's life and so on.......it is truly time to get back jo jo, back to where we once belonged.

        •  When Personnel became Human Resources (4+ / 0-)

          and patients became consumers.  

          NPR yesterday ran something on health care costs in the consumer age.  Hip replacement surgery in US, $100,000.  In Belgium $14,500 pays for the surgery, a week in rehab, and plane tickets.  We are "consumered" into bankruptcy

          I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

          by I love OCD on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:23:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  There was excellent commentary (16+ / 0-)

    in the latest New Yorker concerning minimum wage.

    A major point was that we have transitioned over into a service economy and these aren't "entry level" jobs for teenagers or pin money for trailing spouses anymore, these are THE jobs that are the majority of the economy right now.

    Also great commentary about how in the old manufacturing economy that has been replaced, companies found a way to both make a profit and pay their (often union) employees a decent wage.

    What has happened is that these service retail and food sector employers have completely dismissed the idea of a social contract with either their employees or the greater society as a whole. They have parlayed Americans love of cheap stuff into a business model based entirely on high volume and low margins with the employees carrying an inordinate amount of the burden for these lower costs of production.

    We'd all be better off buying fewer things that are more expensive to get away from the disposable, mindless consumerism we have descended to.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 05:22:27 AM PDT

    •  And all that cheap stuff isn't worth having. Part (4+ / 0-)

      of this results from an instant gratification desire which is then satisfied by low quality goods.

      Better quality products produced here by people paid a living wage might require a little planning and saving but the products would last.

    •  can't be said too often (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare, I love OCD, HeyMikey, tobendaro
      We'd all be better off buying fewer things that are more expensive to get away from the disposable, mindless consumerism we have descended to.
      economicaly, environmentally,
      shout it from the rooftops
      •  Yup...... (0+ / 0-)

           For quality hand tools, made here, you've got to attend farm auctions. Sad.....

        Compost for a greener planet.............got piles?

        by Hoghead99 on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:03:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ooohhh but Japanese hand chisels... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bygorry

          can be so nice.  A thin, very hard layer of steel to hold the edge, an edge you can hone to be scary sharp.  Then a thick layer of softer steel to add stregnth.

          There are quality hand tools still made in the US but they  often have premium prices as well.

          Any hand tool, whether you bought it today or 100 years ago, still needs to be tuned and sharpened to achieve it's true potential.  I have some moderately priced hand planes that were made in India that I tuned and sharpened that can shave a paper thin curl of wood as long as the board I am planing and will leave a fine smooth surface in its wake.

          Don't expect that Stanley block or jack plane to perform like that without tuning.

          Holy Cow!!! 06/18/2013 and I've got my mojo back!!!! A new signature will be written shortly.

          by Josiah Bartlett on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 08:48:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  A guy at our farmers market (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Josiah Bartlett, bygorry

            sets up his sharpening-booth, and you can bring your knives and get them sharpened while you shop. That's the kind of craft and skill that we used to have -- the cobbler, the tailor/mender, the knife-sharpener, the furniture-reupholsterer. I still remember when every pair of shoes went through at least one resoling and several re-heeling before it finally got too raggedy to do one more round, or too small to wear.

      •  I've proposed this scenario before (3+ / 0-)

        Imagine a shoe department that has 2 pairs of shoes on the same shelf that appear to be almost identical.

        One pair is priced at $12.00. An information card informs you the shoes were made in China.

        The other pair is priced at $30.00 and the information card tells you the shoes were made by union labor at the factory in your very own town.

        Which pair do most Americans buy? The cheaper pair because they simply can't bend their minds around the fact that keeping the factory humming, their neighbors employed at the factory and all the spin-off businesses that service the factory and the employees, is worth more dollars a pair and that they could simply have fewer pairs of shoes. Buying more pairs of cheap Chinese made shoes basically helps no one.

        “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

        by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 07:09:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Respectfully, I disagree. Chinese are people, too. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bygorry
          Buying more pairs of cheap Chinese made shoes basically helps no one.
          That is only true if you do not consider Chinese people to be human beings.

          Now of course, they are exploited human beings. They live in a dictatorship that is fouling both their environment and ours. And US policy should certainly address both their oppression and that environmental damage.

          But if we start to declare certain people not to be people, not to have a natural right to support themselves and their families, then we start to resemble the GOP. We must be on guard against that.

          If I were King of US Trade Policy, I would allow duty-free import of only goods meeting all the following criteria:

          * made by people paid a living wage for their locale,

          * in reasonably safe facilities,

          * using reasonably enviro-friendly processes (including energy source),

          * who have the right to organize.

          These criteria would result in tariffs on Chinese goods, making US goods more competitive, and would also encourage labor and enviro reform in China.

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 10:33:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  It won't happen without unionization. (4+ / 0-)

      There is no sign that the GOP is headed for oblivion. A living wage won't happen anytime in the foreseeable future via the political process.

      Union.

      We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

      --MLK, Letter from a Birmingham Jail

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:30:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Being calm, no drama, rational (9+ / 0-)

    is probably President Obama's greatest attribute. Sure, some days I'd like him to have a complete verbal come apart, particularly aimed at the House Republicans, but reality is that behavior isn't what I want to see from a president. The Chris Christie approach of loud, crass, obnoxious, belittling - no thanks. Here's to hoping Gail is right:

    What if it turns out that the most celebrated aspect of Chris Christie — his high-decibel tough-talking — is really his biggest handicap as a national candidate?

    Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

    by hulibow on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 05:23:12 AM PDT

  •  Why are newspapers failing? (9+ / 0-)

    Fukashima well on the way to making the Pacific unfishable. Total Information Awareness a reality. Income inequality surpassing pre-Depression era.

    And what is the single most important image offered to those getting up to go off and craft our nation's policies?

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 05:23:19 AM PDT

  •  NBC...tell Rinse to screw himself. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, salmo, Hoghead99, cocinero
  •  Georgia, thank you for the round up. (6+ / 0-)

    And thank you for including the publication where the pundit's work is found. Using a tablet I have no cursor to hover over the link to see that, so it's much appreciated! A small thing added to the value of all the big things you do!

  •  A major selling point on raising the minimum wage (8+ / 0-)

    that ought to appeal to Republicans is that it is a way to address the deficit without adding another government programs.  If more people are earning a living wage, most will not depend so heavily on social programs.  Also, they will be paying more taxes, so government revenues increase.  

    Government shrinks, and tax rates could stay the same and maybe even could be lowered without aggravating the deficit.  This ought to be a Republican's dream.

  •  Can't think of many other service areas where (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, I love OCD, SueDe, codairem

    the employees are in a position to totally undermine a business than the fast food industry.  Have a work slowdown and the fast food seekers move on down the street to a competitor.  These workers have power to trade for decent wages.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 05:40:35 AM PDT

  •  worth noting ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    I love OCD, codairem


    Government Reverses Course on Warrantless Wiretapping in Criminal Case, Admits Duty to Notify Defendants

    by Patrick C. Toomey, aclu.org -- 08/06/2013

    [...]
    If law enforcement agencies are manufacturing an “independent” basis for their criminal investigations in order to conceal their reliance on NSA surveillance, that practice violates both the letter and the spirit of the law. Criminal defendants have the right to know when the government’s evidence is derived from the NSA’s interception of their communications, so that they can test the lawfulness of that surveillance. Judicial review of the government’s warrantless wiretapping program should be more than a hypothetical promise to the Supreme Court.

    ... worth reading too.
  •  Raise the minimum wage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694

    in 2 min. 25 sec.

  •  An economist's view (3+ / 0-)

    from Nobel-prize-winning economist Paul Krugman:

    Would this be good policy? And the answer, perhaps surprisingly, is a clear yes.
    [T]here are strong reasons to believe that the kind of minimum wage increase the president is proposing would have overwhelmingly positive effects.
  •  I have the answer for small business (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694, codairem

    owners who will close if wages increase:  "Oh no, I'm sorry things are so bad for you!  You might be better off to get out and find a corporate job."

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:29:55 AM PDT

  •  How long will it be until the only demand (0+ / 0-)

    remaining for newspapers will be by puppies?

    Betchu REALLY wanna vote, now.

    by franklyn on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:29:58 AM PDT

  •  we need a reasonable minimum wage (0+ / 0-)

    This talk of a $15 minimum wage is absurd. I am a small business owner and I could not afford to pay an unskilled worker that kind of money.
    Also do we really think someone working fast food should be paid 30k a year for flipping burgers? I think a raise to $10 and hr is reasonable but if a person wants to make a good living they need to get trained in something that pays a living wage.

    •  Huh? Why shouldn't everyone who works fulltime (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laconic Lib

      at something society needs done get paid a living wage?  They do have to live, no?

      I don't know what type of business you own, but if it's not the kind that would benefit from an across-the-board increase in the minimum wage (because more people will afford it) it's the kind of business that not enough people would support even they could afford it.

      Also do we really think someone working fast food should be paid 30k a year for flipping burgers?
      I certainly do, if they work full-time. How else will they make a living? Put another way, why should my tax dollars subsidize big business owners by making up the shortfall in their employees' wages?
  •  And if workers wages had risen at the same rate (0+ / 0-)

    as CEO compensation, no one would need to ask for minimum wage increases. CEO Pay Grew 127 Times Faster Than Worker Pay Over Last 30 Years: Study

    It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. Mark Twain

    by lynneinfla on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 08:32:54 AM PDT

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