Daily Clips: May 23rd, 2016

Daily Clips: May 23rd, 2016

Single-payer health care is more popular than ever:  Gallup released a poll which found that “58 percent of US adults favor the idea of replacing [the ACA] with a federally funded health care system that provides insurance for all Americans.” Now, this poll may turn out to be a false positive. Because, one would assume, that while the American public is behind single-payer health care, they are largely split on how we go about providing insurance for all Americans. If Citizens United falls, will progressives notice?  On nearly every Robert Reich Facebook post, you see the Bernie supporter saying that all will be right only when Citizens United is repealed. That’s simply not true. Campaign finance was a problem before 2010 and this article does a really good job of walking you through the history of the issue. For example, the author notes that Citizens United “will not automatically eliminate super PACs. Constitutional protection for super PACs hinges not on Citizens United but on SpeechNow.org v. Federal Election Commission.” Ted Nugent reelected to NRA Board:  What’s there really to say? The NRA is standing behind a bigoted, uneducated white man who has said some terrible things in public. Here’s a recap: In a May 10 post to his Facebook page, Nugent shared a fake video that showed Hillary Clinton being graphically shot to death by Bernie Sanders. He added his own comment: “I got your guncontrol right here bitch!” On March 31, Nugent posted a racially derogatory image on his Facebook page that he said was an advertisement for a moving company called “2 niggers and a stolen truck.” He’s just “telling it like it is,” I’m sure. Tweet of the day: When u look at everything that's happening now, it's heartbreaking that THIS was once a deal breaker pic.twitter.com/By0Ns8Bj7c — jenny slate (@jennyslate) May 23, 2016

Daily Clips: May 20th, 2016

Daily Clips: May 20th, 2016

The Stupidest Thing Republicans Have Done (Lately)? Threaten to Take Away Middle Class Overtime Pay:       How long can Ivanka Trump defend her father?  Finally! An article which holds Ivanka accountable for defending her father’s misogyny. Solid read. David Brooks actually bemoans how “we’re also less embedded in tight, soul-forming institutions.” Tweet of the day: Wayne LaPierre says a terrorist would meet his match if he walked into NRA annual meeting here….except attendees aren't allowed guns here — Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) May 20, 2016    

If You Think the New Overtime Rule Is “Entirely Trivial,” You Really Should Get Out More

If You Think the New Overtime Rule Is “Entirely Trivial,” You Really Should Get Out More

Our old “ friendTim Worstall  is back at it on his occasionally almost nearly coherent Forbes blog . This time, he’s talking about the increased overtime threshold . As you may have expected, he thinks paying more overtime is a bad idea . Here Tim is being, if nothing else, consistent; he thinks a minimum wage is a bad idea, after all, so why wouldn’t he be against a policy like overtime that benefits workers? But the truth about overtime is that Tim just doesn’t care all that much . No, really. He calls the new threshold “entirely trivial.” That’s a direct quote. In fact, he uses the word “trivial” twice to describe the effects of overtime and then he says he’s not even sure the White House estimates of what the overtime raise will pay out—”$1.2 billion a year over the next decade”—are worthy of the word “trivial,” they’re so insignificant. He concludes: Probably the correct way to think of this is as a nice piece of politics that everyone can have a good shout about rather than a piece of useful economics. Everyone gets to show where they stand with a lot of heat and not much light. Or, of course, that very small tempest in a not very large teapot. Wow. Tim, here, is a classic example of what happens when someone argues politics on the internet for too long. Everything becomes academic. When you call a policy that will directly improve the lives of 12 and a half million Americans “a nice piece of politics,” you’ve passed a very significant point. When you have your head in the conservative economics bubble for years at a time, apparently, you forget that you’re arguing about real human beings with real lives and you start to think of it as points on a scorecard. Sure, maybe to our buddy Tim 1.2 billion dollars a year is nothing. But to a retail manager who’s trying to raise two kids on
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Carl’s Jr. CEO Concern-Trolls Workers Whose Jobs He Wants to Automate

Carl’s Jr. CEO Concern-Trolls Workers Whose Jobs He Wants to Automate

Writing in an op-ed on Forbes.com, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s CEO Andy Puzder warns about “ The Harsh Reality of Regulating Overtime Pay .” Turning highly sought-after entry level management careers into hourly jobs where employees punch a clock and are compensated for time spent rather than time well spent is hardly an improvement on the path from the working class to the middle class. “Highly sought-after entry level management careers,” my ass. During my coverage of the fast food strikes in 2013, I heard from a number of fast food workers who turned down “assistant manager” promotions because the extra 50 cents an hour wasn’t worth the extra 20 hours a week of unpaid overtime work. But either way, Puzder’s alleged concern for employee welfare is nothing short of ironic coming from a guy who fondly muses about the idea of replacing all of his workers with robots : “They’re always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case,” says Puzder of swapping employees for machines. What a charmer. The harsh reality is that CEOs like Puzder couldn’t give a shit about the welfare of their employees (let alone the welfare of their franchisees’ employees). “Millennials like not seeing people,” Puzder explained to Business Insider in describing his robotized utopia. So if he could have automated all his workers out of their jobs, he’d already have done so. But he can’t. So he hasn’t. Likewise, you can be sure that if Puzder could run his restaurants with fewer employees working fewer hours he already would be. So don’t expect to see any overtime-rule-induced mass layoffs at Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s anytime soon. Of course, it’s not just Puzder wiping away crocodile tears on behalf of the 12.5 million Americans who will soon be forced to endure higher pay for fewer hours at the cold unfeeling hands
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Every Conservative Argument Against Overtime, and Why They’re All Wrong

Every Conservative Argument Against Overtime, and Why They’re All Wrong

Now that the Labor Department has announced the new overtime threshold , conservative pundits and politicians are responding. Unsurprisingly, they’re against it! But what is surprising is how bad their responses are. Let’s look at some of the most common responses and examine exactly why they’re terrible. At Forbes, Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants and “a member of the Job Creators Network,” huffs : Turning highly sought-after entry level management careers into hourly jobs where employees punch a clock and are compensated for time spent rather than time well spent is hardly an improvement on the path from the working class to the middle class. Now, I don’t know Andy Puzder’s personal biography, but he sure sounds like someone who has never had an entry level management job. Why else would he straight-facedly argue that a bullshit title is more coveted than actual compensation for actual hours worked? For decades, employers have given out management titles to their employees like candy, in exchange for many hours of unpaid labor. As we talked to many Seattle-area employees while working on our secure scheduling podcast , we even heard stories about employees who were fired because they didn’t accept a “promotion” from hourly pay to a salaried manager position, simply because those employers knew they could get someone else to do unpaid work. What the new overtime rule does is it reestablishes a basic American tenet: if you work more than 40 hours a week, you get compensated for that work. Doesn’t matter if your title is “assistant manager to the assistant manager of the deputy director of operations” or just “a barista” — those rules apply to you and to your employer. Puzder also says: Most employers incentivize their managers to run the businesses they manage like they own them with salaries and incentive compensation including performance-based bonuses rather than overtime pay. This is a super-weird argument to make. This rule doesn’t require employers to take any rights or privileges
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Daily Clips: May 18th, 2016

Daily Clips: May 18th, 2016

Clinton’s medicare option is not a result of Bernie:  The American Prospect offers a level-headed analysis on Hillary’s “new” positions. In fact, the author says, her Medicare buy-in option has been a policy prescription she’s been advocating for awhile now (emphasis mine): There’s nothing remotely new about Clinton’s support for a Medicare buy-in or a public option for health insurance. From the beginnings of her husband’s administration, health care has been a major priority for her, and she deserves major credit for the Affordable Care Act, which closely resembles the plan that was a centerpiece of her 2008 campaign. Sanders is having an effect on Clinton, but he is not causing her to change her stance, so much as he is compelling Clinton to emphasize her existing, more-liberal positions. The biggest deal for the middle class since the Affordable Care Act:  I’m not going to steal Paul Constant’s thunder, as he put together a fantastic article which outlines Obama’s new overtime rule. Give it a read if you want to know the ins and outs of the rule. The US needs to stop focusing on GDP: It’s not a useful measure for understanding the economic state of the American people, so why are we so obsessed with GDP? Worse than the shortcomings of these statistics are the consequences of our over-dependence on them as measures of the success of our society. A country, for example, that overemphasizes G.D.P. growth and market performance is likely to focus policies on the big drivers of those — corporations and financial institutions — even when, as during the recent past, there has been little correlation between the performance of big businesses or elites and that of most people. Sanders wins Oregon, Clinton wins Kentucky: And so it goes. Tweet of the day:  Bernie Sanders supporters sent threats to Nevada Dem Party chairwoman: "We know where you live … prepare for hell" https://t.co/9qZbyw1OLo — The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) May 18, 2016

Today’s New Overtime Rule Is a Big Win for the American Middle Class

Today’s New Overtime Rule Is a Big Win for the American Middle Class

This morning at an event in Columbus, Vice President Joe Biden, Labor Secretary Tom Perez, and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown will announce that the Labor Department is increasing the overtime salary threshold to $47,476 per year. The new threshold, which is scheduled to go into effect on December 1st of this year, doubles the current standard of $23,660. So what does this mean for you? If you’re in the middle class, it means you could be getting a raise. Or it might mean you’ll get back more hours of your life that you have until now devoted to unpaid labor. Or it could mean that for every hour that you put into your job over a standard 40-hour workweek, you’ll be earn time-and-a-half for your work. No matter what this means for you personally, it’s a huge win for the middle class, and will likely be seen as one of the Obama Administration’s crowning achievements. As Nick Hanauer wrote for Politico , “In 1975, more than 65 percent of salaried American workers earned time-and-a-half pay for every hour worked over 40 hours a week.” Because the number has been kept artificially low since the 1980s, the amount of salaried American workers eligible for overtime is now down to about 11 percent. This has been disastrous for the middle class, driving salaries down from the 1970s (when adjusted for inflation) while increasing the number of hours worked. In other words, for the last forty years Americans have been working harder and longer for less money. This reasonable new overtime threshold* is a solid step toward correcting this imbalance. So say your salary is lower than$47,476 per year. And say this threshold is enacted despite the inevitable conservative pushback, as is likely. What does work in America look like after this? As stated, if you work more than 40 hours a
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New Study Confirms That the Top One Percent Isn’t Interested in Trickling Their Wealth Down to You

New Study Confirms That the Top One Percent Isn’t Interested in Trickling Their Wealth Down to You

  We all know the rich are getting richer and inequality is on the rise. But John Kolmos just published a paper with The National Bureau of Economic Research which explains how large the disparities are: [Between 1979-2011] the income of the middle class 2nd and 3rd quintiles increased at a rate of between 0.1% and 0.7% per annum, i.e., barely distinguishable from zero. Even that meager rate was achieved only through substantial transfer payments . In contrast, the income of the top 1% grew at an astronomical rate of between 3.4% and 3.9% per annum during the 32-year period, reaching an average annual value of $918,000, up from $281,000 in 1979 (in 2011 dollars). The thing that a lot of people don’t understand—and that conservative commentators don’t want you to realize—is that those two numbers are related. This is not happening in a vacuum. The income of the middle class and the income of the top one percent are inextricably linked, and the choices we make as a society affect their relationship. If we decide to pass laws that favor the wealthy, money goes to the wealthy. If you pass minimum-wage laws and other policies that encourage middle-class growth, inequality will shrink. Have you read Nick Hanauer’s American Prospect piece on the parasite economy yet? It’s one of the most compelling cases for a $15 minimum wage yet written, and it’s a damning indictment of low-wage employers. But it also explains where all that money has gone: So why do parasite employers keep wages low? Because they can. And in recent decades, employers have relentlessly exploited this power imbalance, eroding labor’s share of the economy from an average of 50 percent of GDP between 1950 and 1980 to a ten-year-average of only 43 percent today, while profits’ share of GDP has risen by a similar amount. That’s about a trillion dollars a year that used to go to
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Daily Clips: May 17th, 2016

Daily Clips: May 17th, 2016

Samantha Bee on the Seattle City Council: A must watch. She does a great job pointing out the misogyny of *some* Sonics fans. Nicholas Kristof: Like many Americans, I’ve been wary of labor unions. I was wrong.  Thanks for noticing way too late. David Brooks’ latest: What is the central challenge facing our era? My answer would be: social isolation. Excuse me? Climate change, income inequality, poverty, radical religion, misogyny – none of these top “social isolation”? Give me a break. Tweet of the day: Being laid-off in a recession can dramatically reduce a worker's wages for decades.Compelling @WSJ chart pic.twitter.com/GVzMOY8Wzi — Paul Kirby (@paul1kirby) May 16, 2016  

With a Tipped Wage, Customers Are Stuck Picking Up the Tab

With a Tipped Wage, Customers Are Stuck Picking Up the Tab

I have written before about tip crediting and how I wish more politicians—specifically, those who are running for, you know, President— would come out against it.  At the time, I noted that it’s a policy which fosters the race and gender income gap by disproportionately impacting women, which remains true. What I did not mention—because, I don’t know, it didn’t seem to bear repeating—was that it’s also actually just kind of mind-boggling that anyone would argue in favor of a wage of just shy of three American dollars per hour in a place like Washington, DC, where the tipped wage is $2.77 and the minimum wage is $10.50. For a full-time worker, that’s a paycheck of a scant $443.20 per month. $443.20. Per. Month. Of course, the assumption with the tipped wage is that a server is probably making the $7.73 in tips she’d need to to round herself up to $10.50 (if not, her employer is required to float the rest although anyone who’s looked into this in even a cursory manner could tell you that often doesn’t happen). Again, let’s look closely at that: Base wage: $2.77 per hour Required tipped income to make minimum wage: $7.73 per hour Total base wages required to be paid by employer:  $22.16 Total required tips to even make minimum wage per eight-hour shift: $61.84 Which means a) as a patron in Washington DC you’re expected to float restaurant owners to the tune of 73.6% of their employee payroll costs, and b) as a server, your actual base wage is less important than the amount of money you can pull from a customer’s wallet. If this is surprising to you, you’re not alone; D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser has recently proposed a change  to the area’s minimum wage laws, which would raise the base minimum wage to $15 over several years, and gradually increase the tipped wage from $2.77 to $7.50 over the next six years. DC has been gradually
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