Wednesday President Obama will give a speech on his plan to grow the economy and the middle class. Thursday fast-food workers will strike in 100 cities and stage protests in 100 others to demand $15 an hour and the right to form a union without interference from employers. Here’s something to consider: raising the minimum wage cuts government spending on Food Stamps and other programs.
The Minimum Wage
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 1.57 million people in the United States make the minimum wage, and another 1.98 million make even less. These 3.6 million workers make up 4.7 percent of all hourly-wage workers. People who are supposedly paid tips and people under 20 can be paid less than this minimum. Some states allow businesses that are not engaged in interstate commerce (and therefore outside the jurisdiction of the federal government) to pay less. Some territories – notably American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands – also are allowed to pay less.
This is that time of year when newspapers bother to write about how there are hungry people in America. But this year is special. As the recession drags on for the non-1%, cuts in Food Stamps have completely swamped the capacity of food banks and other non-government assistance. Meanwhile pending cuts in unemployment compensation and even more cuts in Food Stamps and other assistance programs mean things will get much worse for millions of invisible Americans.
Have you heard about the Nov. 1 “Hunger Cliff?” On November 1 the Food Stamp program was cut. Millions of Americans are out of work, unemployment benefits have run out (and been cut), winter is arriving in force, but Congress allowed a temporary, recession-boosted increase in the Food Stamp program to run out! $5 billion in urgently-needed assistance just went away.
Terrance Heath told the story in 47 Million Americans Are Going Over the “Hunger Cliff”, writing “Millions of Americans will plunge over the “Hunger Cliff” tomorrow, when $5 billion in cut to food stamps go into effect tomorrow. While Congress negotiates even more cuts, millions of Americans will face negotiating where their next meal will come from.”
Food Banks Swamped
The “Hunger Cliff” has hit people hard. The cuts mean people just can’t get enough to eat. Hungry people are swamping the food banks.
I want to echo everything Duncan Black said, word for word:
People Is Broke
The unemployment rate has been high for a very long time. I really don’t think the powers that be, even the ones who might care, really understand the impact of that. Food stamp benefits are so tiny. Anybody who actually needs them is pretty screwed. Cutting them is monstrous.
I’ve been writing about how the Republican site Drudge Report has been getting more and more racist. They have story after story about black people attacking white people, black mobs running around beating whites, etc.
Today, for example:
Woman brutally beaten by group of teens says attack was racially motivated…
‘Was so animalistic. So violent’..
Well this is what they have up today. (Today is 50th anniversary of the March for Jobs and Justice and the “I Have A Dream” speech…)
PS someone pointed out this was one of the performers today. I suspect cultural advancement was not the motivation of Drudge, and is not the reception the photo is getting from Drudge’s audience.
WWII vet, 88, beaten to death by black teens…
Suspect photos released…
‘PAULA DEEN SHOOTS TRAYVON MARTIN’
Buchanan: ‘Interracial violence is overwhelmingly black-on-white’…
Police: Man doused with gasoline, set on fire in vacant lot…
Hot Dog Vendor Beaten With Hammer, Robbed of Cell Phone…
UPDATE: ‘Homeland Security’ Employee Preparing for Coming Race War…
Martin Luther King Jr. outlined his dream 50 years ago this weekend. We made much of it happen. Let’s dream some more. Let’s dream about what we could do in the next 50 years.
Fifty years ago Martin Luther King Jr. led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and famously told the country “I have a dream.” Fifty years later there is progress and there are setbacks. We no longer have segregation — separate schools and bathrooms and the rest. Many states finally allow everyone to marry the person they love, but at the same time many states are returning to apartheid-era restrictions of voting rights.
One huge part of the “Jobs and Freedom” Dream that still evades us is the goal of full employment or an income until a job becomes available.
On August 16, 1967 King delivered a speech titled, “Where Do We Go From Here?” addressing the need for everyone to have a job or an income,
…our emphasis must be twofold: We must create full employment, or we must create incomes. People must be made consumers by one method or the other. Once they are placed in this position, we need to be concerned that the potential of the individual is not wasted. New forms of work that enhance the social good will have to be devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available. In 1879 Henry George anticipated this state of affairs when he wrote in Progress and Poverty:
The fact is that the work which improves the condition of mankind, the work which extends knowledge and increases power and enriches literature and elevates thought, is not done to secure a living. It is not the work of slaves driven to their tasks either by the, that of a taskmaster or by animal necessities. It is the work of men who somehow find a form of work that brings a security for its own sake and a state of society where want is abolished.
A Country Based On A Dream
Our country was founded on the dream that We the People can do things for each other instead of depending on the rich and powerful to throw us scraps.
If you look at our Constitution you see that our country is supposed to be for We the People. And I mean just look at it, not read it. The only words you see from any distance are the words “We the People.” The Founders were making a point.
The Constitution told the world about a dream that “We the People” would build a country that protects and empowers us, where together we do things for the common good, to make our lives better. And for a while we did that.
We have lost sight of that dream. We no longer seem to recognize who our country is for. We no longer talk about the common good.
Who is our country for? Who is our economy for? Certainly a We the People economy would at the very least guarantee that We the People have jobs and an income until a job is available.
I should do a series… Is keeping the minimum wage low really part of an ideology? Or is it really just big companies paying legislators to keep their profits high at the expense of We, the People?
It that ideology, when giant companies pay legislators to boost their profits? Is it ideology when big companies fund conservative “think tanks” that are really just propaganda machines, to tell people that there is an “ideology” that demands that wages be lowered?
Or is this just corruption?
I have been thinking that a lot of the fight going on isn’t about ideology at all, it is about corruption and the influence of money and how money uses its ability to influence society behind a MASK of ideology. You can justify a lot more if what you are doing is seen as an ideological effort, because that is about ideas and the clash of ideas and free speech, where money is just about money and power and force.
When it is ideas, it is ideology, when it is money it is just corruption. But calling it ideology keeps you out of jail.
I am just back from England… Toured a lot of castles, etc. and studied a lot of the history of the monarchy. The royalists used to justify their rule by saying God mandated it, etc.. So there was an “ideology” that kings should rule and royalty was sacred etc., but really it was about thugs who were stronger than other thugs, and then it was about keeping that power in the hands of a chosen few.
Obama mentioned “Stonewall” as one of the places where people fought for freedom. That is a big something deal. Good for him!
Stonewall was the Rosa Parks moment for the gay rights movement. The Stonewall Inn was a gay bar in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. NY police routinely terrorized gay people, and a raid at the Stonewall Inn was a last straw. A crowd gathered and a riot started. Then again the next night, and again later. Gays and residents of the area started organizing and that organizing continued to this day.
More than 50 years since the Civil Rights Movement and conservatives are still fighting to keep “the wrong kind of people” from voting. A 97-year-old in Georgia — who has voted in every single election since she was old enough to vote — is denied her right to vote. Florida is making citizens stand in line 4,5,6 hours to vote. Why are we putting up with this for one minute? Why isn’t our government sending the US Army into these states that are trying to stop “the wrong kind of people” from voting?
This Was Settled!
This country already settled this: you can’t keep people from voting! In the 1950s and 1960s conservatives tried to keep “the wrong kind of people” from voting and going to school. As a country we did something about it. We stopped putting up with it and ordered the army to push the conservatives aside and let people into the schools and voting booths.
In 1957 a Republican president sent the US Army into Little Rock to escort nine of “the wrong kind of” students into a school:
President Kennedy federalized the Alabama National Guard after George Wallace blocked the schoolhouse door to prevent “the wrong kind of people” from entering:
Once again conservatives are trying to keep “the wrong kind of people” from fully participating in the rights and privileges that we are all entitled to as citizens. (They really hate the idea that as citizens We, the People are “entitled” to certain things. We all are ENTITLED to share in the fruits of democracy — that is what an “entitlement” is!)
Georgia Blocking Voters
Georgia is one of those states that has found a way to keep lots of “the wrong kind of people” from voting. They have imposed “Voter-ID” laws that are designed to keep lots of the elderly, minorities and students from being able to vote.
For just one example of how this has made it difficult for “the wrong kind of people” to vote, read Peggy’s story: The cruel cynicism of the voter ID crusade
Which brings us to the story of 97-year-old Peggy Cobb of Sandy Springs … Peggy has voted in every presidential election since she was eligible, and most if not all others, too. …
She has a Fulton County voter registration card and has voted in every election when she’s been here. Her expired Indiana driver’s license used to be enough ID at the polling booth. No more.
The story describes the obstacles she encountered trying to get the right ID to vote… most people would be forced to give up — which is exactly the intent because she is “the wrong kind of person.”
Florida Blocking Voters
Florida is one state making “the wrong kind of people” wait 4,5,6 hours in line to vote. People who work, the elderly and the simply fed up can’t or won’t do that so they don’t, and that is the intent. Florida cut early voting time in half — because 2008 showed that it made it too easy for “the wrong kind of people to vote” — for the wrong kind of people. The effect is that minorities, students and elderly people find it difficult or impossible to vote. Amanda Terkel at Huffington Post reports, in Florida Early Voting Fiasco: Voters Wait For Hours At Polls As Rick Scott Refuses To Budge.
While many Democrats viewed it as a victory when a few offices opened absentee balloting on Sunday, the process is not the same as early voting — and could result in more individuals not having their votes counted.
“Absentee ballots have a much higher rejection rate for minorities and young people, if you look at the Aug. 14 primary,” said Smith.
A major reason there are so many problems at the polls is that last year, Florida’s GOP-controlled legislature shortened the number of early voting days from 14 to eight, meaning all early voters are trying to cast their ballots in a shorter window. …
… Smith said that he and Dartmouth professor Michael Herron found that in 2008, voters 65 or older were much more likely to cast ballots in the first five days of early voting than members of other age groups, alleviating some of the pressure at the polls in the remaining days. Those extra days, however, are gone this year, leading to a compression that the system has been unable to handle.
Other States Blocking Voters
Conservatives in state after state have set up barriers to keep “the wrong kind of people” from voting. Pennsylvania conservatives tried to implement a restrictive voter-ID law to keep “the wrwong kind of people” from voting. Several other states have implemented them. Ohio — already famous for putting lots of voting machines in conservative areas and few in the areas where “the wrong kind of people” vote — threw up barrier after barrier to voting including attempts to cut early voting hours.
Now Ohio will even throw out your provisional ballot if you write down that a drivers license was your ID when it was really some other valid ID!!! And the provisional ballot is set up to trick voters into doing that! Groups file emergency motion over last-minute move that could toss Ohio provisional ballots,
Husted’s order requires poll workers to not count provisional ballots where voters make any errors in filling out their provisional ballot and affirmation, including the part of the form detailing what forms of identification they are presenting in order to vote. The problem: Ohio law states that filling out the ID portion of the form is the responsibility of poll workers, not voters.
… Husted changed the voter affirmation form, moving the portion where the ID information is entered above the signature line, despite the fact that by Ohio statute, it is supposed to be below the voter’s signature, in the section of the form to be filled out by a poll worker.
This is just blatantly trying to keep citizens from voting because they are “the wrong kind of people.” We just should not put up with this for even one minute. Why isn’t Husted in jail?
Where Is Our Government?
Conservatives who run several states are trying to keep “the wrong kind of people” from voting for “the wrong kind of people.” Where is our Federal government? Why are they allowing this? Why are they not sending the Justice Department to force those states to let people vote? Why are they not sending the US Army into those states that are trying to keep people from voting, so American citizens can vote?
I am getting fed up with accommodating these bigoted conservatives, just because they are backed by billionaires and giant corporations this time around. We are theoretically a country of laws. I mean, unless you’re a banker. This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary
That’s what this ad really says. Look at the ad with the sound off, and you’ll see it.
Stunning, an ad with a doctored audio in it that makes it seem Obama said something that he didn’t, and then the ad goes on with people saying “I can’t believe he just said that.”
He didn’t say it, it’s a lie.
PS We’re not allowed to know which billionaire, company or country paid for this ad, by the way.
Update – Ed Kilgore, Washington Monthly Political Animal, Return of the Scary Black Man,
Looking at the particular Crossroads ad Chait’s talking about, it is striking that all the “small business owners” who are reacting with horror to the highly edited Obama excerpts are white, and are watching him on what appears to be an iPad—like you’d watch some scary figure—maybe a criminal—in a distant news event. One through gritted teeth growls that she “worked—for—every—thing—we’ve—gotten”—a sentiment you hear often from middle-class retirees as well as “job creators.”
I’ve looked at about a dozen right wing sites this morning to see how they’d react to the news from Afghanistan, and the comments at every single one of them were full of people celebrating the killings, praising the soldier who allegedly committed them, and denying there was any crime, while at the same time frantically trying to blame the crime on President Obama.
Seriously, click through and read what they’re saying. These are the people who might be in charge after the election.