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Economics

Inside the numbers: Michigan December Jobs Report

by: PPhelan

Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 13:15:10 PM EST

At first glance, the jobs report released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics appears to be fairly good news for Michigan. The unemployment rate decreased another 0.4% to 8.4%, after dropping 0.2% last month. However, when you look inside the numbers, you see that these numbers are a bit misleading.  
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Living Wage

by: vector56

Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 22:55:06 PM EDT

I walked into a McDonalds  fast food restaurant in Oak Park  the other day to get a cup of coffee.  The 30ish year old lady who took my order was racing around behind the counter juggling multiple task at once, yet still doing a better job than I thought humanly possible. After she took my order, I commented to her on her “efficiency ” under such stressful working conditions. I told her, “you are good”!  The manager (I could tell he was the manager because he wore regular pants, a shirt and tie, not the polyester clown suits the regular employees are forced to wear) interrupted our conversation and declared, “she is more then good, she is the best”!  The woman (with her back to the manager) rolled her eyes signalling her feelings to me about her manager and did her job with as much dignity  as any grown woman wearing a polyester clown suite in a low wage job could muster. “Your coffee sir”.  Before I left, I asked the manager (in front of her) if she is “the best” at what she does as you have said, do you pay her a “living wage”?  The woman looked me in the face (her back still to the manager) and whispered, “that will be the day”.

I left the McDonalds (on Greenfield rd in Oak Park MI) thinking, how could a Billion dollar corporation that pays it’s top  executives millions of dollars  get away with paying a woman  in her thirties slave-wages and working her like a dog?  Everyone, even this woman deserves   Bertrand Russell’s “Good Life”.  Her labor is her only asset, so why should it be given away so cheap?  Any reasonable person would agree that being paid anything less than a “living wage” for ones labor traps them in a “generational” cycle of poverty. The idea of the “working poor” itself is a crime against humanity. I say it is high time a living wage became the norm for all fast food, retail and unskilled workers in Michigan; what say you?    
Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Is Rick Snyder Michigan's Tommy Douglas

by: vector56

Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 18:16:01 PM EDT

When the citizens of Canada  were asked  who in their opinion was the most influential essential Canadian that ever lived they did not name a war hero, rich industrialist, sports figure,  or movie star; they overwhelmingly named Tommy Douglas.   

   http://www.altergroup.com/alter-care-blog/index.php/healthcare/tommy-douglas-greatest-canadian-brought-universal-healthcare-to-his-nation/

 
Tommy Douglas was named the “Greatest Canadian” for bringing universal healthcare to all Canadians.  Michigan governor Rick Snyder wrote an article in the Detroit Free Press titled, “Expanding Medicaid will save taxpayers money – and lives”. Anyone but me notice old Rick led with “money” and “lives” were a kinda of afterthought?  Only natural when one considers healthcare within the realm of the "market".  In short Snyder’s article is critical of the Michigan law makers going on vacation before voting on a bill that would provide health care coverage for about half a million (working) Michiganders.  The “Healthy Michigan” plan (paid for under Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act)  in Snyder’s words:

 “Healthy Michigan will require those covered to share in the cost through premiums and like many private insurance systems, it will provide incentives for those covered to take responsibility for their lifestyle choices and maintain and improve their health.”

 Contrast Snyder’s  above puritanical rant with Tommy Douglas dream of empathy and compassion.  The Governor wants to make it clear to the poor and working poor making a sub-living-wage, that there will be no free rides here! The “junk” insurance will surely include high co-pays and deductibles that will “squeeze” out every ounce of disposable income from these dead beats while delivering substandard minimum care.   Douglas on the other hand wanted “all” Canadians (and their children)  to have the best healthcare his country could deliver. Unlike Snyder and his ilk, Douglas  understood that he was “his brothers keeper”.

 Now we find ourselves in a position where healthcare for the poor and working poor in Michigan is being seemly championed by a man who exported countless jobs over seas (Gateway Computer); made Michigan a “right to work” state; and usurped the Democratic process in Benton Harbor and Detroit by appointing “emergency managers”.  In the article Snyder states that he himself has misgivings about “Obamacare”  (required as a Republican), but he goes on to say:

  “it is the law of the land, and the real question is what can we do to make it positive for Michigan?”    

 Who are we kidding here folks?  I assume that most here understand that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) “is” the same plan Bob Dole and the Republicans were pimping in the 90’s as an alterative to Hillarycare!  Yes, you remember this backdoor bailout for the health insurance companies cooked up in the basement of the Heritage Foundation.  We Liberals/Progressives  rejected this low rent, off the shelf scam back then, yet now that it has been “repackaged” (new and improved)  many on the left have no problem defending it as if it were Single Payer or that Public Option the Democrats so quickly “threw under the bus” during the healthcare debates. Naomi Klein warned us in her book “The Shock Doctrine” (rise of Disaster Capitalism) of  old failed Republican (Neo-Liberal) ideas being pulled off the shelf and re-branded in times of crisis.

  http://www.naomiklein.org/shock-doctrine/the-book

 How low have we sank  that Rick Snyder by contrast assumes the role of Michigan’s Tommy Douglas?

 

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

On The Emergence Of China, Or, Zhou Knew This Was Coming

by: fake consultant

Sat Dec 03, 2011 at 04:35:17 AM EST

After doing a bit of mountain hiking a few days back, I had a chance to get involved in a great afternoon conversation with the Alliance for American Manufacturing's Mike Wessel, who also serves as a Commissioner with the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission; the conversation was about how we're doing when it comes to our relationship with China.

As it turns out, the two events went well together, because what I'm hearing from these guys is that we have a great big ol' mountain to climb if we hope to get back to a level playing field in our interactions with this most important country.

There's news to report across a variety of issues; that's why today we'll be talking about trade, human rights, cybersecurity, poverty and development, and the methods by which you can apply "soft power" to achieve hard results.

The entirely unanticipated result: all of this will reveal the naïveté of Ron Paul when it comes to foreign policy; we'll discuss that at the end.  

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On Doing Better Than 50%, Or, Could More "Made In USA" Mean More Jobs?

by: fake consultant

Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 11:52:40 AM EDT

We gotta grow some jobs, and that's a fact, and we probably aren't going to be able to do it with big ol' jobs programs funded by the Federal Government, what with today's politics and all, and that means if this Administration wants to stay in the jobs game they're going to have to find some smaller and more creative ways to do it.

They are also going to have to come up with ideas that are pretty much "bulletproof", meaning that they are so hard to object to that even Allen West and Louie Gohmert will not want to be on record saying "no no no!"; alternatively, solutions that work around the legislative process entirely could represent the other form of "bulletproof-ery".

Well, I have one of those "maybe bulletproof" ideas for you today, and it has to do with how "Made in USA" the things are that our Government buys.

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On My Last Weekend, Or, Wanna Save A Few Trillion On Health Care?

by: fake consultant

Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 09:56:46 AM EDT

So I disappeared for a full week, right in the middle of what should have been a busy writing schedule, and I have to claim some "personal days" to cover the time we missed here at the blog - but it won't be time entirely wasted.

Instead, I'm going to jump into my own personal life for today's story, and I'm going to do it so that we can stimulate some thinking about where we really need to go to if we ever hope to make some sense out of the crazy way we deliver health care in this country.

Since this appears to be the weekend that a lot of decisions are either going to be made about the future of our "social safety net"...or they wont; we're entirely unsure...let's talk about how it actually works for a lot of us - and how it could work a lot better.

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Social Security: Are You Ready For A Congressional "Video Staycation"?

by: fake consultant

Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 21:29:07 PM EDT

Diligent reporter that I am, I got up Thursday morning to do a bit of fishing for a story, and as so often happens, I've caught something a bit unexpected.

Now what I have for you today starts out as a bit of insider information that came to me on background-but it turns into a chance for those of us who support Social Security to very much get in the faces of our members of Congress, for two whole weeks.

And to make it even better, I'm going to throw out a few direct action ideas "for your consideration" (as they say in Hollywood during Awards Season) that would absolutely make good street actions and YouTube videos, both at the same time...and even more importantly, we'll absolutely make some great Spring Break fun.  

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Social Security: Get On The Phone Tuesday And Wednesday And Help Fight Cuts

by: fake consultant

Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 19:12:03 PM EDT

So it's been about three weeks since we last had this conversation, but once again we have to take action to try to keep Social Security from being the victim of "deficit fever".

I know that doesn't make a lot of sense, considering the disconnect between Social Security and the deficit-but once again it's "Continuing Resolution" time on Capitol Hill, where some use the threat of an impending shutdown of the Federal Government to extract concessions from the other side...and some on the other side try to make points with the voters by out-conceding their opponents.

So Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, there's a national push on to get voters to call their Senators and remind them to vote for an Amendment that is a big ol' "I'm not willing to cut Social Security just because other people philosophically want to cut Government any way they can" kind of reassurance to the voters, and I'm here to encourage you, once again, to make a couple phone calls and do some pushing of your own.

I've also been storing up a couple somewhat facetious random thoughts which will be the "garnish" for today's dish; you'll see them pop up as we go along.

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On Monday Morning Philosophy, Or, Founders Tell America: "You Figure It Out"

by: fake consultant

Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 17:18:25 PM EDT

In our efforts to form a more perfect Union we look to the Constitution for guidance for how we might shape the form and function of Government; many who seek to interpret that document try to do so by following what they believe is The Original Intent Of The Founders.

Some among us have managed to turn their certainty into something that approaches a reverential calling, and you need look no further than the Supreme Court to find such notables as Cardinals Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia providing "liturgical foundation" to the adherents of the point of view that the Constitution is like The Bible: that it's somehow immutable, set in stone, and, if we would only listen to the right experts, easily interpreted.

But what if that absolutist point of view is absolutely wrong?

What if the Original Intent Of The Founders, that summer in Philadelphia...was simply to get something passed out of the Constitutional Convention, and the only way that could happen was to leave a lot of the really tough decisions to the future?

What if The Real Original Intent...was that we work it out for ourselves as we go along?

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On Taking It Back, Or, Wisconsin Recalls, Explained

by: fake consultant

Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 03:22:19 AM EDT

News is suddenly moving so fast that it's becoming hard for me to keep up; that's why we're not finishing the story today that we just began Tuesday. You know, the one about Titan Cement suing two North Carolina residents who appear to be doing nothing more than speaking the truth.

Unfortunately, other important news has forced itself to the front of the line, and it's going to demand that we break schedule, whether we like it or not.

That's why today we're going to be talking about Wisconsin, and how workers there are fighting back against the State's Republican legislators and Governor, who seem to have gone out of their way this past three weeks to govern without the consent of the governed.

It's kind of chilly today in Wisconsin...but I can assure you, things are heating up fast-and it ain't because of spring.

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On Being A Titan, Part One, Or, See It, Say It, Sue It

by: fake consultant

Wed Mar 09, 2011 at 01:54:29 AM EST

Got a simple little story for you today of a multinational corporation that wants to build a great big cement plant in North Carolina really, really, bad, and the local opposition to what appears to be a corrupt and distorted decision process.

Two local activists in particular have drawn the ire of Titan Cement, the Grecian corporation who seeks to build the plant-and because the Company doesn't like what the activists have been saying about what the impact of that plant will likely be or how the deal's going down...they're suing Kayne Darrell and Dr. David Hill, residents of North Carolina's New Hanover County, and the two folks who are doing the complaining the Company dislikes the most.

The Company further claims that they were slandered and defamed by the damaging statements that were uttered by the two at a county commissioners' meeting and that they have lost goodwill and the chance to do business with certain parties as a result of these statements.

But what if everything the Defendants said was not only true...but provably so-and the Company was, maybe...just looking to shut people up by sending teams of lawyers after them?

As I said, it's a simple story today-but it's a good one.

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On "La Dolce Vita", Or, The Real Life Of A State Worker

by: fake consultant

Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 21:23:01 PM EST

What with all the attacks on Labor in states like Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey, and Wisconsin, there has been just so much misunderstanding out there these past couple weeks about what things are actually like for State workers.

Are the conditions decent?
Is there excessive pay?
Is there even a need for State workers?

Well, I can't answer every question, but I can sure tell you what it's like in our house...and the reason my words carry the "voice of authority" is because The Girlfriend has been working for the State of Washington for the past 16 years.

Bona fides established, let's get to telling the story:

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Social Security: If You Can't Kill The Program, Screw The People

by: fake consultant

Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 11:22:38 AM EST

There's a lot of ways to be petty and cheap and stupid, and a lot of ways to stick it to a program you don't like, and by extension, the clients of that program...and this week the House Republicans have embarked on an effort to combine the two into one petty, cheap, and stupid way to stick it to the clients of Social Security and the workers who administer the program.

They're going to sell it to you, if they can, as a way to "lower the deficit", or words similar...but what this is really about is making the actual Social Security program work less well-because, after all, if a program is popular today, the best way to make it less so is to apply a bit of "treat 'em like their cars were impounded" to every interaction customers have with the system.

And what better way to make sure that happens...then to aggressively demoralize everyone who works down at the ol' Social Security office?

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Campaign Manifesto #3: On The Road, Defending Social Security

by: fake consultant

Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 03:26:22 AM EST

So it's Day 3 of my fake campaign for Congress, and we've run into our first obstacle

The Fake Campaign, as you may recall, is fake headed for Wisconsin, to show solidarity, and we've fake hitched a ride on a delivery truck headed for Rush Limbaugh's Florida broadcasting studios-but we fake found ourselves caught up in the all-too-real Giant Grip Of Winter that has seized the Midwest over the past week.

We're back on the road now, but we were stuck for darn near a half-day there at Wall...and if you know anything about South Dakota, you know there are really only two things to do in the City of Wall: you can shuffle back and forth between Gold Diggers and the Badlands Bar, partaking of numerous intoxicating liquors along the way...or you can head on into Wall Drug (the same one that's on all those bumper stickers and signs) and partake of the finest display of Giant Jackalopia on the planet.

The Campaign, naturally, chose Jackalopia-and that's why today's Manifesto is all about the fake impromptu 5-cent-coffee-fueled Social Security Town Hall that we held in the Wall Drug Mall for several hours while we waited for I-90 to reopen.

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Social Security: They Want To Cut, We Plan To Fight

by: fake consultant

Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 06:56:45 AM EST

So if you've been following my work lately, you know that there is a renewed effort underway to change Social Security, and that the fight officially began just this very morning.

Now what's supposed to happen is that a television ad buy sponsored by a Wall Street billionaire is supposed to get you enthused about cutting your own Social Security benefits in the future; this is the tip of a "disinformation iceberg" that is trying to get you to act, right now, because if you don't you will never, ever, ever, ever, see a single dime of Social Security when you get older.

I was on a "let's talk strategy" conference call today that laid out some ideas for the "next steps"; we'll be talking about that call over the next couple of stories...but for today, we're going to talk about something you can do that will bring the message right to your favorite Member of Congress.  

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Social Security: The War Begins Tuesday, And You Better Say...Oh, No!

by: fake consultant

Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 13:16:30 PM EDT

It is my job to bring to you not just the news that took place, but the news that has yet to happen.

Today, that's exactly what we have.

There is a war coming to try to change Social Security from a social safety net to a "revenue stream" for certain corporate interests, and that war is set to begin Tuesday morning, according to information that was provided to me yesterday afternoon.

Follow along, and you'll be both forewarned and forearmed.

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On Social Security Investment, Or, What About Chile?

by: fake consultant

Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 10:55:19 AM EDT

With the election over, it's time to move on to new things, and the folks at the Campaign for America's Future have asked me to do some writing about Social Security, which sounds like some big fun, so here we are.

We're going to start with some reasonably simple stuff today, just to get your feet wet; by the time we get a few stories down the road there will be some complicated economic analysis to work through-but let's begin today by looking a bit south.

Those who support privatizing Social Security in this country often point to Chile as an example we could follow, and that seems like a good place to get the conversation going...so set your personal WayBack Machine to Santiago, May, 1981, and let's see what we can learn.

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On Avoiding Blame, Part One, Or, Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Drill No Evil.

by: fake consultant

Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 01:02:13 AM EDT

I am one of those people who will actually watch those boring, boring, hearings on C-SPAN that most of us flip right on past while watching TV, and this past week I've been watching one of the longer events the channel broadcasts...but it's been far from boring.

The Coast Guard and what used to be the MMS were in Houston looking into what caused the Gulf oil spill and they're taking testimony from representatives of the involved parties...and let me tell you, this is more than just an accident inquiry-it's also a warm-up for the lawsuits that are surely going to follow.

We've had dozens of trial attorneys basically conducting a deposition process, witnesses who can teach a master course in "plausible unawareability"©, BP employees who have taken the Fifth and refused to testify at all, and, overseeing the entire process, a retired Federal District Court Judge and a Coast Guard Captain who might very well be on the way to trading his eagles for stars one day soon.

Do you really believe all those "we'll make it right" BP commercials?
If you watch this hearing, that impression may well change.

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On Taming The Financial Beast, Or, Sausage Gets Made, You Get To Watch

by: fake consultant

Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 09:17:03 AM EDT

While we've all been busy watching the "oil spill live cam", a similar uncontrolled discharge has been taking place in Washington, DC

In this case, however, it's lobbyists that are spilling all over the landscape as the House and Senate attempt to merge their two visions of financial reform.

They're trying desperately to influence the outcome of the conference in which House and Senate negotiators have been engaged; this to craft the exact language of the reconciled legislation.

There's an additional element of drama hovering over the events as eight House members, including one of the most vocal of the Republican negotiators, face ethics questions related to this very bill.

The best part: if you're enough of a political geek, you can actually watch the events unfold, unedited and unfiltered, from the comfort of your very own computer.

So far, it's been amazing political theater, and if you follow along I'll tell you how you can get in on the fun, too.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 1039 words in story)

On Slicing Pies, Or, Mystery Fees Cause Retirement "Money Spill"

by: fake consultant

Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 20:28:03 PM EDT

It's part two of our "Netroots Nation Goes To Vegas Piano Bar Extravaganza", and in keeping with tradition that means we are again taking a story request.

This time we won't be talking about energy security or "climate security"; instead, we'll discuss retirement security, keeping your money for yourself instead of paying it out in "mystery fees", and how one of the "usual suspects" is at it again.

And if all that wasn't enough...we also have pie.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 751 words in story)
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