Odds and Ends
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18 6, 8:41am
I am a college educated urban youth... and I am not alone... you're kind of dealing in stereotypes there, aren't you?
Nuclear and hydro about evenly divide green groups these days. The Sierra Club in fact is part of the group trying to save nuclear plants in Ohio, Illinois, and New York from shutting down and being replaced by dirtier baseload sources. I might loathe them in a lot of areas but their opposition to nuclear energy has changed in the last few years. Not to mention, there are far more safe and efficient plant designs (gen III+ and IV designs, some of which could survive even the most catastrophic of disasters)... oh I could go on. Nuclear power is a passion of mine.... anyway.
You know... millenials have been handed the worst economy since the Depression, with higher levels of debt and lower wages to pay it off with. While I can't stand "______ studies" degrees either, stereotyping an entire generation as lazy gets REALLY goddamn old, especially when it's from older generations that had to do less with more.
A cap on CEO pay could also work in terms of compensation. The goal isn't to decrease the CEO's compensation, it's to increase the compensation of the workers. Basic Fordism here: pay the employees enough to buy the products they make. About 70% of US GDP is consumer-driven. Stagnant wages = stagnant economy.
By repairing infrastructure, I mean on levels not seen since the Eisenhower admin. Merge existing unemployment/welfare programs with higher taxes to fund a modern WPA to afford it. Remember, most of these infrastructure projects occured at a time when top marginal tax rates were well over 75%. I am not suggesting going that far, but the upper-middle class (small business owners) gets lumped in with the idle rich in current tax brackets and has since the Reagan years.
You agree on stemming H-1B abuse? Good. We ought to shut that down. But you tell me that the rise in wealth inequality and stagnant US worker pay has nothing to do with unions being deliberately broken and weakened by government and their corporate puppetmasters, and I'll sell you a ski resort in Texas.
Your argument on the minimum wage is boilerplate corporate propaganda man...FDR said it best himself when he introduced the minimum wage... "It seems to me to be equally plain that no business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By "business" I mean the whole of commerce as well as the whole of industry; by workers I mean all workers, the white collar class as well as the men in overalls; and by living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level-I mean the wages of decent living."
There are some who want to eliminate the minimum wage on the right. I am sure they'd be just fine with getting rid of the other parts of the 1938 FLSA law which provide for a 44-hour workweek and child labor laws.
Have you ever tried living on $7.25 an hour? You can't. The costs of housing alone would render you homeless in most parts of the US. Heck, you barely can on $15 an hour. The Australians have a far higher minimum wage and they don't have issues with mass unemployment. Hell, we did too.... in 1968.
Cheap entry level jobs help with career building? Do they really? Please tell that to anyone working in food service. This is painfully, obviously untrue. Someone making $12-15 an hour could at least put enough money away to go to a trade school and actually improve upon his or her lot in life. The average minimum wage worker's age is well over 30, so it isn't just employment for teenagers and college students any more.
Automation of fast food work? Good. That would honestly be better than having people work for slave wages and not improving their skills. At least with higher wages we wouldn't need to subsidize the massive corporations who make billions on the backs of laborers who have to crawl to Uncle Sam for money to survive right now. Virtually no one works a minimum wage job because they want to... it's almost always because there are no other options. And you're right, we ought to return to a state where there are better career choices for the American working class. Based on the fact that cutting taxes on the rich and corporations combined with deunionization have essentially been our policy since the 1980s, perhaps we should try something else.
Skilled tradesmen SHOULD earn more than minimum wage. $15 an hour is quite low for a skilled tradesman. Perhaps if he were... oh I don't know... unionized... he might make more! A median union worker makes $200 a week more than the median non-union worker. When you add benefits, it's almost $500 a week. That's a lot of money that can go back into the economy...not to mention tax revenue to pay off our ever-growing debt.
Really, what would happen if we didn't include trade unions in that clause? Like Hostess you say? Really? Get off of the Redstate forums man... Poor management combined with changing consumer tastes was the issue with Hostess in the 1990s and 2000s, combined with boosting executive salaries while simultaneously lying about fulfilling pension obligations. In their 1st bankruptcy in 2004 they got bought out by a group of Venture Capitalist companies. The union at the time gave over $150 million in pension and benefits cuts to stop the bleeding. After years of management failing to adapt combined with increasing executive pay, the company went bankrupt again. The unions were making concessions to keep the company surviving.
I think the diminishing percentage of union workers in the US has created a perverse form of envy, what I like to call "crab-bucket". If you stick a bunch of crabs in a bucket, and one tries to get out, the others will pull it back into the pail. Instead of looking at union benefits like pensions, paid overtime, and healthcare, and getting jealous, it might be a good idea for us all to organize and demand businesses give us the same benefits. Corporate profits are at record highs. Businesses are sitting on ever more capital these days. There's no reason we couldn't.
The GI Bill was a policy proposed by FDR. But the increased wages the returing GIs got in the 1950s and 60s came in large part due to having strong unions, 40 hour workweeks, and strong labor laws as provided by the FLSA. The economic issues of the 1970s were caused by a profligate 1960s era government overextending on things like Vietnam when it did not have the money to do so combined with the 1973 oil shocks. The solution to the problem was not eating into the share of money earned by the middle class.
By the time the 1932 campaign had set in, the Depression was at its worst. It's really disingenuous to state that FDR is responsible for Hoover era policy, since what made the depression far worse was not taxes but the Smoot-Hawley tariff which cause trade to sink to 1900 levels. If you are honestly claiming that things were not better in 1936 than they were in 1933, I really have no words for you. The issues in the latter half of the 1930s had a lot to do with a massive agricultural crisis (dust bowl) combined with decreased world trade.
You are convinced the world is moving towards more USSRs? That's interesting. I am convinced that the world is moving towards the Gilded Age -- extreme inequality with virtually no rights for the working class, combined with politicians that exclusively serve the wealthy and business. Perhaps if you wish to ward off the rise of communism, you might want to advocate pacifying the working class to prevent the widespread revolts you fear to see.