The Watering Hole, Monday, December 9th, 2013: Minimum Wage Scrooge

Yes, I still occasionally read parts of Newsmax and Moneynews, just so that you won’t have to. You’re welcome.

The Moneynews email subject that caught my eye this time was “Fast-food Workers Rally for Higher Minimum Wage.” I wanted to see how they would spin this issue. Surprisingly, it didn’t seem to be skewed, with the one notable exception.

“Fast-food workers in hundreds of U.S. cities staged a day of rallies on Thursday to demand higher wages, saying the pay was too low to feed a family and forced most to accept public assistance.

The protests escalated a series of actions at several Walmart stores on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, seeking to draw attention to workers at the lowest end of the wage scale.

The description of fast-food workers, once viewed mainly as teenagers looking for pocket money or a first job, has changed. Today’s fast-food worker is typically over 20, often raising a child, and 68 percent are the primary wage earners in their families, according to a report by the University of Illinois and the University of California, Berkeley.

About 100 workers in Chicago marched along Michigan Avenue with a large costumed Grinch, chanting: “We can’t survive on $7.25.” Protesters want the hourly U.S. minimum wage raised to $15 from $7.25.

In Kansas City, Missouri, Kizzy Sanders, 30, an employee at a local Popeye’s restaurant, joined about 100 protesters picketing fast-food restaurants in freezing temperatures.

“I love my job, I love the people I work with, but the $7.70 I make does not cut it,” said Sanders, a mother of three. “It doesn’t pay my bills, I can’t buy my kids anything for Christmas. I can’t even celebrate Christmas.”

Thursday’s protests were organized by groups such as “Fast Food Forward” and “Low Pay is Not OK” that have the support of labor union giant Service Employees International Union, which represents more than 2 million members including healthcare, janitorial and security workers.”

“Despite the involvement of organized labor, the protests are focused on wages, not unions, for the moment, said John Logan, a labor studies professor at San Francisco State University’s College of Business.

“The immediate goal is to focus national attention on the impact of poverty-level wages on employees and the negative impact of poverty-level wages for the public and the economy,” Logan said.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau and public benefit programs show 52 percent of fast-food workers relying on at least one form of public assistance, between 2007 and 2011, according to the report from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois.”

“Because the current minimum wage, on an inflation-adjusted basis, lags behind those of decades past, the purchasing power of minimum-wage earners has diminished.

Increasing the minimum wage, however, would not reduce poverty, said Michael Saltsman of the Employment Policies Institute, because employers will compensate by reducing staff and workers’ hours. Instead, they should expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, which provides a small-wage supplement for low-income families in the form of a tax refund, he said. A 2012 study published by the Employment Policies Institute found that states that increase the Earned Income Tax Credit by 1 percent saw a 1 percent drop in state poverty rates.
[Emphasis mine.]

“Others disagree. Christian Dorsey, director of external and governmental affairs for the Economic Policy Institute [the progressive organization with which Employment Policies Institute wants us to be confused], said tax credits should not let employers skimp on wages.

“Businesses have a responsibility to pay workers enough to keep them out of poverty,” Dorsey said. “The idea that we would simply not look at wages is passing off the problem to someone else.”

Yes, Employment Policies Institute, one of soulless lobbyist Rick Berman’s stable of “non-profits.”

Charity Navigator is a website which provides “information and ratings on charities”. Here’s an excerpt from their review of Employment Policies Institute:

Charity Navigator has become aware of the following information in connection with this charity:

During our analysis of this charity’s FYE 2011 Form 990, the document revealed that more than half of the Employment Policies Institute Foundation’s functional expenses were paid to its CEO Richard Berman’s for-profit management company, Berman and Company. The document revealed that, out of total expenses of $2.10 million, $1.17 million were paid to Berman and Company for staff[ing] and operat[ing] the day-to-day activities” of the charity.

Sourcewatch, too, provides lots of information regarding the tangled web of EPI and other Berman & Co. ‘non-profits.’ It’s a sweet, and profitable, arrangement for Berman & Co.

A quick glance at some of the ‘studies’, ‘press releases’ and ‘letters to the editor’ touted on Employment Policies Institute’s home page pretty much sums up whose side they’re on in the employer vs worker fight. And while Berman’s EPI should still be nursing their bruises after the recent thrashing given by Chris Hayes to one of Berman’s minions (who was unable to answer the simple question “how many economists do you have on your staff?”), instead, his “think-tanks” continue to crank out ludicrous reasoning for keeping workers from getting ahead.

It all comes back to what Bill Maher said several weeks ago: “Do you want smaller government with less handouts, or do you want a low minimum wage? Because you cannot have both.”

This is our daily open thread–don’t be shy!

84 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Monday, December 9th, 2013: Minimum Wage Scrooge

  1. On the wealth vs. poverty issue, my philosophy is extremely simple: “From each according to his means, to each according to his needs.” Bingo. Problem solved. Thanks, Karl.

    Meanwhile, in Saligiakan (Republikan) Amurka the philosophy reads more like “Take from alla them who either ain’t got much or ain’t got nothing and give it to them that already got everything and don’t need nothing,” aka Trickle-up economics. That way the rich can offshore their scratch and not have to pay taxes on it.

    Right, Mittens, et al.?

    • The free market will have spoken when the side that could afford to hire the most sockpuppets to vote their way wins.

  2. The Post has an opinion piece today on how the young are suffering in order to keep the elderly comfortable. No one ever points out that the pie we’re trying to divide just keeps getting smaller.

  3. The Google Doodle today is commemorating the birth date of the late Rear Admiral Grace Hopper. She was one of the pioneers of modern computer science at a time. She was a pistol. She’s often cited as the first person to use the word “bug” in describing a glitch in computing; noting that a moth had gotten into the works and messed up the computer they were working on at the time.

    Her distinguished career was chock full of firsts.

    I’d never seen hear speak in person, but videos of her lectures were required viewing in my college CS classes.

    She actually made an appearance on Letterman, and that’s provided below.

  4. Taking a shower at noon sure beats having to take one in a cold house at 4:30am!

    Now all I have to do is stay awake until I get home about 2:15 tomorrow morning.

  5. Wasn’t a liveable wage something that a well known Communist sympathizer demanded of industry?
    You know, Thedore Roosevelt!

  6. It also pisses me off that MalWart and other fast food employees are paid so little they have to get public support to not starve. Corporate welfare at it’s ugliest.

  7. Dick Cheney on Iran, the multi-national/negotiated ‘deal’ struck to ultimately deny Iran a nuclear arsenal:

    “I don’t think that Barack Obama believes in the U.S. as an exceptional nation.”

    First thing Cheney’s ever said wherein I actually hope he’s correct. The only thing ‘exceptional’ about the post-Reagan Amurka is its assholiness when it comes to dealing with global issues. I do indeed HOPE that Obama’s gift to the world is a USA that has finally become a willing participant in the concept that negotiation is a far better solution than is idiocy (read: war).

    Not holding my breath, but still there remains the barest ray of hope.

    • My recommendation is that Ted Yoho simply needs to add an ‘a’ and move an ‘o’ in order to appropriately rename hisseff “Ted Yahoo”.

      I won’t elaborate the means of changing the last name “Yahoo” to “Asshole” since most everyone here already knows about the flexibility of the English lingo.

    • Clearly, if every child at Sandy Hook had been armed to the teeth, the casualty list would have been:
      a. much smaller
      b. somewhat greater
      c. 0, since every child would have pulled out their piece, flipped the safety off, carefully aimed, and shot the bad guy dead before he got a single round off.
      d. why am I asking such a stupid effing question?

      • Stated slightly differently:

        Suppose NO ONE at Sandy Hook been armed AT ALL (including the murderer Lanza), then the dick size of gun owners nationwide would be:
        (a) much smaller
        (b) somewhat greater
        (c) all the children would still be alive
        (d) why am I asking such stupid questions?

    • What kind of parent sends their child to such a class?

      My men took hunter safety classes, but I never would have sent them to a class on how to purchase guns, especially on such a bloody anniversary.

      Fucking asshole.

  8. Go figure:

    In the United States, of all Google searches that begin “Is my husband…,” the most common word to follow is “gay.” […]

    Searches questioning a husband’s sexuality are far more common in the least tolerant states. The states with the highest percentage of women asking this question are South Carolina and Louisiana. In fact, in 21 of the 25 states where this question is most frequently asked, support for gay marriage is lower than the national average.

    Now hang on a minute: aren’t them southern states the ones that DEFINE what Amurka’s all about? YeeHaw!!

  9. What is so frustrating is a post on FB by a “Republican” friend of mine. Not just a FB friend, but someone who is a real person that I have known for years. She shared “remark” by PALIN about why should unskilled workers flipping burgers make $15/hr. I normally ignore the stupid shit, but this time I could not resist. I cannot post the picture so here is the FB link from The Bitchy:Pundit:

    I also commented that a loaf of bread costs the same to low wage earners. It hasn’t been removed – yet.

    • They live in their own little world, Crypto. My middle sister, a big fan of the Tundra Twit, has an argument that she thinks is valid: “I can’t imagine that’s true…,” and she certainly will never attempt to find out for herself.

      • Ah yes. Another graduate of the Bill O’Reilly School of Gravitayshun and Orbital Meckanixes. “You can’t explain that(to me)” is their motto and fight song.

        • The funny thing is that she hates Bill O’Reilly and claims to be a moderate, but she drools over Sarah Palin and supports her idiotic ideas.

          I finally told her that words have meaning, and she can’t change the meaning of “moderate,” just because it sounds nicer to her than “extremist.” Then she blocked me on facebook. 😆

          • That word, “moderate”, can result in strange goings on. My father was a lifelong moderate Republican in the Eisenhower mold. He was also a fan of Bill0 until Bill0 said; “a moderate is just a lbrul who is afraid to admit it”. Dad didn’t watch FAUX”News” again after that bit.

            • If only my dad had done that…

              Under the influence of Bildo, my dad was calling me a “communist” before he died. SMH

    • It still amazes me, though it shouldn’t, that rightwhiners can’t grasp simple facts like: if you give 1,000,000 poor people $1.00 that results in $1,000,000.00 added to the economy. Conversely, if you give 1 rich person $1,000,000.00, that’s $1,000,000.00 that will be removed from the economy and relegated to “earning” interest at a pathetically low rate of taxation even if it isn’t shipped to an off shore account.

      • The ‘multiplier effect’ is an economic fact. Demonstrated and documented up the gazoo. In reichwing parlance the ‘mulitplier effect’ has to do with keeping young girls barefoot and pregnant.

    • a loaf of bread costs the same to low wage earners . . .

      Good point. Let’s say a loaf of bread costs $2.00 for someone getting by on $10,000 per year. Wouldn’t it be, then, entirely fair if someone ‘getting by’ on a million bucks a year should pay $200 for that same loaf of bread? And someone sneaking by on a BILLION a year should pay no less than $200,000 for that loaf?

      I suggest mandating appropriate legislation (plus a battalion of ‘good guys with guns’ to make it stick)!!!

      • I-duh-ho charges a 6% sale tax on EVERYTHING, including groceries.

        Bruce Willis goes to his Sun Valley Whole Foods & spends $100 on beer and snacks for movie night with his buddies; and a dad goes to Mary Ann’s Groceries in Weippe and buys $100 worth of groceries that he hopes lasts his family of four a whole week.

        Both pay $6 on their groceries. Who’s going to notice it more?

            • Plus, maybe if we the people did it exactly right, we could pay for Universal Single Payer health care, raise Social Security benefits, make sure no American EVER has to be hungry, or homeless, or uneducated, or . . . whatever it takes. As I mentioned above: “From each according to his means, to each according to his needs.” Someone PLEASE tell me what’s WRONG with that thesis, and/or what’s RIGHT (politics excluded) with unadulterated ‘capitalism’?

              Also, one might wonder just where the hell is GOD when literally billions of HIS look-alikes around the world NEED him?

  10. Will the leaders of the 91 nations who are sending representatives to Nelson Mandela’s funeral please come forward. Whoa, not so fast there, Bibi.

    • That won’t come up much in the snooz you can bet – how much the world’s two Apartheid states cooperated, particularly in the field of nuclear bomb building…… without Apartheid, Israel doesn’t get the Bomb. Let’s discuss that during AC360 shall we? (crickets chirping)

  11. QOTD:

    “The Times Magazine, although it has tried to add modern details, still seems old fashioned, page after page of type. It needs to be read and that seems, I believe to almost everybody, exhausting,” – Michael Wolff.

    Reading, it’s so … passe.

  12. Samantha Scheibe says boyfriend George Zimmerman “never pointed a gun at or toward my face in a threatening manner” and claims police misinterpreted her. Scheibe’s memory jogged by Zimmerman’s bank account.

  13. It’s all about Borscht gone bad. Imagination is aligned with how you feed yourself, and from what source. You may be asking at the moment you’re reading this, “Ben, WTF are you talking about?” Maybe cannibalism, or sucking righteousness. The rightwingnutjobs have absolutely no imagination, and will die off from malnutrition of ideas. Eat your money assholes, just leave your alimentary juices on your own porch.

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