Rarely have I seen a more unpatriotic public display.
How to Create More Jobs By Lowering Wages: Texas and America
Perry and Romney can duke it out over who created the most jobs, but governors have as much influence over job growth in their states as roosters do over sunrises.
States don’t have their own monetary policies so they can’t lower interest rates to spur job growth. They can’t spur demand through fiscal policies because state budgets are small, and 49 out of 50 are barred by their constitutions from running deficits.
States can cut corporate taxes and regulations, and dole out corporate welfare, in efforts to improve the states’ “business climate.” But studies show these strategies have little or no effect on where companies locate. Location decisions are driven by much larger factors — where customers are, transportation links, and energy costs.
If governors try hard enough, though, they can create lots of lousy jobs. They can drive out unions, attract low-wage immigrants, and turn a blind eye to businesses that fail to protect worker health and safety.
Rick Perry seems to have done exactly this. While Texas leads the nation in job growth, a majority of Texas’s workforce is paid hourly wages rather than salaries. And the median hourly wage there was $11.20, compared to the national median of $12.50 an hour.
Texas has also been specializing in minimum-wage jobs. From 2007 to 2010, the number of minimum wage workers there rose from 221,000 to 550,000 – that’s an increase of nearly 150 percent. And 9.5 percent of Texas workers earn the minimum wage or below – compared to about 6 percent for the rest of the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state also has the highest percentage of workers without health insurance. Texas schools rank 44th in the nation in per-pupil spending.
The Perry model of creating more jobs through low wages seems to be catching on around America.
According to a report out today from the Commerce Department, the median income of U.S. households fell 2.3 percent last year – to the lowest level in fifteen years (adjusted for inflation). That’s the third straight year of declining household incomes. Part of this is loss of jobs. Part is loss of earnings.
More and more Americans are retaining their jobs by settling for lower wages and benefits, or going without cost-of-living increases. Or they’ve lost a higher-paying job and have taken one that pays less. Or they’ve joined the great army of contingent workers, self-employed “consultants,” temps, and contract workers – without healthcare benefits, without pensions, without job security, without decent wages.
It’s no great feat to create lots of lousy jobs. A few years ago Michele Bachmann remarked that if the minimum wage were repealed “we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.”
I keep on hearing conservative economists say Americans have priced themselves out of the global high-tech labor market. That’s baloney. The productivity of American workers continues to soar. The problem is fewer and fewer Americans are sharing the gains. The ratio of corporate profits to wages is the highest it’s been since before the Great Depression.
Besides, how can lower incomes possibly be an answer to America’s economic problem? Lower incomes mean less overall demand for goods and services — which translates into even fewer jobs and even lower wages.
In short, the Perry (and Bachmann) model of job growth condemns Americans to lower and lower living standards. That’s nothing to crow about.
It’s really hard for me to see how lowering the minimum wage really helps unemployment. Unemployment isn’t the problem, people not having the money to survive is the problem. Sure you can drop the minimum wage and get everyone employed to make that little percentage number drop, but those people getting paid 1, 2, 3 dollars an hour are not any better off. They still can’t afford to survive in this country. We need more jobs that pay well enough for the standard of living. The goal isn’t eliminating unemployment, the job is to have everyone gainfully employed.
Given the Opportunity, the Right Can Offer No Defense for Politicizing 9/11
Conservatives own 9/11. No liberals died that day in that famously liberal city; no Muslims, no gays, no feminists, no environmentalists. The first responders who ran into those burning buildings, while everyone else ran for safety, had all burned their union cards. No union thugs died that day. Only rock-ribbed Republicans — the only true Americans — died on 9/11, because it’s impossible for liberals to be heroes or patriots. Conservatives own 9/11.
Which explains why this post by New York liberal Paul Krugman was the worst thing ever:What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.
A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?
The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.
Sure, the Bush administration used 9/11 as an excuse to engage in a long, pointless, expensive, bloody war in Iraq. Sure, we’ve seen torture become as American as apple pie. Sure, we’ve hatred of Muslims become twisted into something that pretends to be an American value. And of course, we’ve seen conservatives claim that liberals don’t “get” fighting terrorism — even after President Obama got Osama Bin Laden.
But is that any reason to point all of that out? The rightwing blogosphere says nay. Breitbart’s Big Journalism rushes to familiar ground, playing the victim card against Krugman for writing about 9/11 on 9/11. At no point in a post dripping with outrage and grievance is a counter-argument made against Krugman’s charges — because, of course, there isn’t one.
Anti-Muslim bigot Jim Hoft takes a similar approach, clucking over how “disgusting” the post is, without answering — or even pretending to answer — a single one of Krugman’s charges. In fact, Hoft simply declares it awful, without even explaining why. Likewise, Erick Erickson.
If you need proof that even the right realizes there’s no defense for their post-9/11 actions and policies, there ya go. They can’t come up with one.
So, of course, they don’t bother.
Just another example of right-wingers throwing a tantrum because the truth hurts. — Ryking
I’m not about to say that only the right-wing did or does this, but it explains well why I have a really hard time accepting 9/11 as “Patriot Day” or watching any coverage about it. It’s something raw and real to me, something we should remember as a tragedy, and maybe as an awakening about where America really stands in the world’s eyes, but instead its just been politicized, and it makes me sick to the stomach to watch politicians and the media use it to bootstrap their policies and opinions.
“Mr. Romney was speaking at the (Iowa State) fair’s soapbox Thursday morning, but when it was time for the question-and-answer session, the mood turned heated, with a small group of angry hecklers calling on Mr. Romney to support raising taxes on the wealthy to help fund social entitlement programs. “We have to make sure that the promises we make in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are promises we can keep, and there are various ways of doing that,” Mr. Romney said. “One is we can raise taxes on people.” “Corporations!” the protesters shouted, suggesting that Mr. Romney, as president, should raise taxes on large businesses. “Corporations!” “Corporations are people, my friend,” Mr. Romney responded, as the hecklers shouted back, “No they’re not!” “Of course they are,” Mr. Romney said, chuckling slightly. “Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. Where to do you think it goes?” When someone in the front row angrily suggested that “it goes in their pockets,” Mr. Romney, becoming increasingly animated, asked: “Whose pockets? People’s pockets!””
Republican candidate MITT ROMNEY.
Mitt’s right, you know? The people people get their minimum wage and — if they’re lucky — benefits, and the corporation people get their millions in profits PLUS their Bush tax cuts.
Wasn’t “corporations are people” the basic premise in Citizen’s United?
Wow, can’t they make a better argument than that?