Tuesday, April 29, 2014

11 Things The Senate Should Remember While Voting On The Minimum Wage

Think Progress has a run down on why increasing them minimum wage is a good idea.
1. Increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 and indexing it to inflation would raise the wages of 28 million workers by $35 billion. Raising the minimum wage would provide Americans who work hard a better opportunity to get ahead while giving the economy a needed shot in the arm.
2. In 2013, CEOs made 774 times the pay of minimum wage workers. While the top CEOs made an average of $11.7 million in 2013, full-time workers making the minimum wage took home only $15,080 a year.
3. Nearly two-thirds of all minimum wage workers are women.Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would benefit 15 million women.
4. One million veterans would benefit from a minimum wage increase. After risking their lives to protect our country, 1 in 10 veterans working in America today are paid wages low enough that they would receive a raise if the minimum wage is raised to $10.10.
5. Raising the minimum wage will cut government spending on food stamps. Millions of workers earning the minimum wage make so little that they qualify for food stamps (SNAP benefits). This, in effect, amounts to taxpayers subsidizing corporations paying low-wages. Raising wages for low-income workers would actually cut government spending on SNAP by $4.6 billion a year, or $46 billion over the next 10 years, as workers earn enough on their own to no longer rely on the program.
6. Minimum wage workers are older than you think. Nearly 90 percent of minimum wage workers are 20 years or older. The average minimum wage worker is 35 years old. A higher minimum wage doesn’t just mean more spending money for a teenager, it means greater economic security for the millions of Americans who rely on it as their primary income.
7. Businesses see the value in increasing the minimum wage.Nearly 60 percent of small business owners recognize that raising the minimum wage would benefit businesses and support raising it. In fact, 82 percent of those surveyed don’t pay any of their workers the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
8. It won’t hurt job creation. States have raised the minimum wage 91 times since 1987 during periods of high unemployment, and in more than half of those instances the unemployment rate actually fell. Over600 economists signed a letter agreeing that a minimum wage increase doesn’t hurt job creation.
9. In polls, nearly three-quarters of Americans support a minimum wage increase to $10.10. Pew Research found that 73 percent of Americans back a minimum wage increase.
10. Millions of children will be more secure. If we raise the minimum wage to $10.10, 21 million children will have at least one parent whose pay will go up.
11. A $10.10 minimum wage means a $16.1 billion boost for people of colorRaising the minimum wage is a matter of racial justice: people of color are far more likely to work minimum wage jobsand those who do are far more likely to be in poverty. A $10.10 minimum wage would lift three and a half million people of color out of poverty and add $16.1 billion to their incomes.
BOTTOM LINE: Over the next few days, as Senators take to the chamber floor to debate and then vote on this legislation that would help the economy and millions of American workers, they should make sure they keep in mind these vital facts on why the minimum wage should be raised to $10.10. A vote against increasing the minimum wage is quite simply a vote against working Americans.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Jim in 2014 update; what exactly are those contributions buying you?!

So to give my blog readers who are supporting my campaign for State House an idea about where those dollars are going I wanted to post some examples of Facebook posts that I'm turning into ads.

These ads are cheap highly targeted mechanisms which allow me, for penny's on the dollars to target local demographics and test messaging and ideas with groups of voters i'm trying to organize and engage between now and election day.

Here are examples of my micro targeting in action.

This post on the need to create a top notch Pre-K system in Georgia is very popular (almost 26,000 people have seen this ad with over 100 video views).

This post on the stagnant minimum wage I just posted up is getting a lot of traction.

Finding out about fee hikes is not making local students (nor their parents) happy.

This image was a hit.

Please chip in at any level.  Be it $5, $15, $25, or $500.  Getting posts like this one (which is basically helping increase sign ups for a the email list of a city in my district) help engage voters in and around my district and help build some real local democracy all in one swoop.

Much of these ad buys are getting local news in front of voters who have no idea whats happening at the local level for just a few dollars a pop.

It also helps build my name recognition so that as my canvass teams start working the district and as those mail pieces start hitting towards the end of the campaign I won't be a stranger.  I'll be the truckloading Teamster who wants to work his ass off for voters across the district.

I've already got more "Likes" than my opponent's State Rep Fan Page and I've already organized more events in the district than he has done his entire two year term in office.  I'm going to outwork him; the question is can I keep pace in fundraising so that I can get my message out to voters.  So far i'm keeping pace good enough to start buying a few ads.

This is also allowing me to engage with young Republicans on Facebook locally for some really fruitful discussions where I'm able to harness work from groups like Demos and put them in front of young minds who don't see quality work on Fox News. I get snarky comments when I then engage with some serious dialogue.

Which inspired this post as I was headed to work when the young man first commented.

So please chip in now.  Your contribution will help me engage and build an alliance of educated voters between now and election day.  Help me lay the groundwork for an educated, engaged, and mobilized community locally that will be hitting the polls next November.  We are going to win this seat!  I'm willing to knock on as many doors, hold as many meet ups and discussion groups, and debate as many Ron Paul republicans as it takes to make the case that the GOP is running the state of Georgia into the ground.

Your financial contribution will help make this a win in November for sure!  First we get the truckloader elected; that way we show the Kroger cashier, the Starbucks barista, and the Waffle House waitress how they too can run and win through hard work, good organizing, and smart policy.
This isn't rocket science--but we have to lead the way so others see how to beat the 1% at a game we've sadly conceded completely to a political class who is out of touch with the real struggles of working people.

So thank you in advance for your contribution to my campaign. I think its an investment that will reap good returns over the long term for democracy in Georgia.  This isn't just about winning one state house district---this is about building a movement that spreads across Georgia and the south!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Resegregation of American Schools

I've already posted about this but I wanted to follow up with this good interview that is worth a watch.

The Real News Network interviews ProPublica reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones to discuss her year-long investigation into how one of desegregation's success stories in Tuscaloosa, Alabama became one of the most segregated school systems in the country.   Do take a moment to watch it.

If you want to help make Georgia a leader in addressing the new Jim Crow in all its forms--please chip in $14 now to elect this blogger in 2014 to the Georgia General Assembly.

The resegregation of American schools is part of an ongoing systemic crisis that boils down to an unwillingness to address the long term problems of race and class that have challenged our nation.

As I mentioned the other day on Facebook.  Education policy should be founded on a basic principle: A quality education for every child. No exceptions.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What Does 'High-Quality' Preschool Look Like?

If you want to help make Georgia a leader in public Pre-K education chip in $14 to elect this blogger in 2014 to the Georgia General Assembly.

Chris Hayes interviews economist Thomas Piketty

If you haven't read his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century its really worth your time.

I'm working my way through it myself at the moment.  In fact the last discussion group meet up for my State House campaign was on wealth inequality and the impacts locally--with a number of articles we discussed having been instigated by Picketty's work.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A must read on the new American way of war.

I've been reading Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Mark Mazzetti's new book The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth this past weekend. The book tracks the transformation of the CIA and U.S. special operations forces post 9/11 and I have to say I'm finding it to be a good read.

Here is a rundown of some reviews and interviews I've found online today

Unmanned Killers, and the Men Behind Them NYT's book review of ‘The Way of the Knife,” by Mark Mazzetti - NYTimes.com 

'The Way Of The Knife': Soldiers, Spies And Shadow Wars : an NPR interview Mark does with Terry Gross about the book. 

Cover Story: Review of Mark Mazzetti's The Way of the Knife - DAWN.COM 

Steve Coll: Our Drone Delusion : The New Yorker

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Universe In Numbers

U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy

Brendan James over at TPM:
Asking "[w]ho really rules?" researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America's political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power. 
Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters. 
"The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy," they write, "while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence." 
As one illustration, Gilens and Page compare the political preferences of Americans at the 50th income percentile to preferences of Americans at the 90th percentile as well as major lobbying or business groups. They find that the government—whether Republican or Democratic—more often follows the preferences of the latter group rather than the first. 
The researches note that this is not a new development caused by, say, recent Supreme Court decisions allowing more money in politics, such as Citizens United or this month's ruling onMcCutcheon v. FEC. As the data stretching back to the 1980s suggests, this has been a long term trend, and is therefore harder for most people to perceive, let alone reverse.
"Ordinary citizens," they write, "might often be observed to 'win' (that is, to get their preferred policy outcomes) even if they had no independent effect whatsoever on policy making, if elites (with whom they often agree) actually prevail."
Paul Krugman has more:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Does a Higher Minimum Wage Reduce Jobs?

Over 600 Economists Sign Letter In Support of $10.10 Minimum Wage: Economist Statement on the Federal Minimum Wage | Economic Policy Institute:
 The increase to $10.10 would mean that minimum-wage workers who work full time, full year would see a raise from their current salary of roughly $15,000 to roughly $21,000. These proposals also usefully raise the tipped minimum wage to 70% of the regular minimum.
This policy would directly provide higher wages for close to 17 million workers by 2016. Furthermore, another 11 million workers whose wages are just above the new minimum would likely see a wage increase through “spillover” effects, as employers adjust their internal wage ladders. The vast majority of employees who would benefit are adults in working families, disproportionately women, who work at least 20 hours a week and depend on these earnings to make ends meet. At a time when persistent high unemployment is putting enormous downward pressure on wages, such a minimum-wage increase would provide a much-needed boost to the earnings of low-wage workers. 
In recent years there have been important developments in the academic literature on the effect of increases in the minimum wage on employment, with the weight of evidence now showing that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market. Research suggests that a minimum-wage increase could have a small stimulative effect on the economy as low-wage workers spend their additional earnings, raising demand and job growth, and providing some help on the jobs front.

Also see:  Why Does the Minimum Wage Have No Discernible Effect on Employment? 

Nomi Prins on Secret History of Washington-Wall Street Collusion

U.S. Loans 500 Million Dollars to Tunisia

Also read: Tunisia has made strides in Democratic Transition: Can it get the Economy Right? | Informed Comment 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Media drops the ball on the ACA; conservatives forget they love it; Paul Ryan is a very serious person....

Dean Baker has a run down:The Washington Post is Confused About Obamacare, People With Insurance Benefit Too:
The Washington Post is still having a hard time understanding Obamacare. It repeated the silliness about the exchanges needing young people to sign up. (The issue is health, not age, as we have been trying to explain to elite reporters for years.)A front page article on the political impact of Obamacare told readers:
"Still, Democrats may be disappointed if they expect the newly insured to emerge as a politically powerful constituency, as senior citizens did for Medicare. Robert J. Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health, said polls suggest that nine of 10 people who vote in midterm elections are insured. Thus, they are unlikely to benefit from the law."
This is not true. Just as tens of millions of people who file no claims in the course of a year benefit from having insurance, the people who already have insurance benefit from Obamacare. They now are in a situation where if they lose their job or decide to quit they will still be able to get insurance. That was not previously true, especially if a worker or someone in their family has a serious medical condition. 
The political benefit of this ability to buy insurance outside of employment will depend on the extent to which people are aware of it. Insofar as major media outlets try to hide what is arguably the most important feature of Obamacare, it will not benefit the Democrats politically. However that is a function of media coverage of the law, not the law itself.

Lots of nonsense is floating about in regards to the ACA. Every Republican politician I know is against; and for all the things in the ACA that poll well with people.  Fact is, it was the Republicans idea before a black guy in the White House was pragmatic enough to implement it conservative insurance reform rather than push for singlepayer.  Obamacare is the replacement for  the ACA if Republicans want to repeal and replace without creating a singlepayer system.

Paul Krugman has more: ObamaCare, the unknown ideal.
No, I haven’t lost my mind — or suddenly become an Ayn Rand disciple. It’s not my ideal; in a better world I’d call for single-payer, and a significant role for the government in directly providing care.
But Ross Douthat, in the course of realistically warning his fellow conservatives that Obamacare doesn’t seem to be collapsing, goes on to tell them that they’re going to have to come up with a serious alternative.
But Obamacare IS the conservative alternative, and not just because it was originally devised at the Heritage Foundation. It’s what a health-care system that does what even conservatives say they want, like making sure that people with preexisting conditions can get coverage, has to look like if it isn’t single-payer.
I don’t really think one more repetition of the logic will convince many people, but here we go again. Suppose you want preexisting conditions covered. Then you have to impose community rating — insurers must offer the same policies to people regardless of medical history. But just doing that causes a death spiral, because people wait until they’re sick to buy insurance. So you also have to have a mandate, requiring healthy people to join the risk pool. And to make buying insurance possible for people with lower incomes, you have to have subsidies.
And what you’ve just defined are the essentials of ObamaRomneyCare. It’s a three-legged stool that needs all three legs. If you want to cover preexisting conditions, you must have the mandate; if you want the mandate, you must have subsidies. If you think there’s some magic market-based solution that obviates the stuff conservatives don’t like while preserving the stuff they like, you’re deluding yourself.
What this means in practice is that any notion that Republicans will go beyond trying to sabotage the law and come up with an alternative is fantasy. Again, Obamacare is the conservative alternative, and you can’t move further right without doing no reform at all.
Nevertheless, on a similar note Paul Ryan is a very serious person because #urgleburgle....

Paul Ryan's Budget: Take From The Poor, Sick, and Elderly | Demos