If you won’t speak up for yourself, who will?

— by Nick Hanauer, via Democracy for America

President Obama and the Department of Labor just proposed giving millions of Americans a raise, increasing the overtime threshold from $23,600 a year to $50,440. From the fearful squawks coming from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business lobbyists you’d think the sky was falling.

But all this trickle-down scare-talk about job-killing regulations and unintended economic consequences is just that — trickle-down scare talk —  without an ounce of empirical data to back it up.

Business lobbies are already hollering this will kill jobs. Baloney. We call it: Chicken Little Economics.

Far from the end of the world, middle-class Americans never did better than when the overtime threshold  —  the annual salary below which workers are automatically entitled to time-and-a-half overtime pay — was at its peak.

President Obama’s plan is a courageous step in the right direction. It’s like a minimum wage hike for the middle class. The Department of Labor has started the rule-making process to make the increase official. They’re taking public comment right now, and we need you to let them know you support it.

Say no to Chicken Little Economics! Join me, Robert Reich, and Democracy for America and tell the Department of Labor that you support President Obama’s plan to raise overtime pay.

A half-century ago, more than 60 percent of salaried workers qualified for overtime pay. But after 40 years in which the threshold has been allowed to steadily erode, only about 8 percent do. If you feel like you’re working longer hours for less money than your parents did, it’s probably because you are.

The erosion of overtime and other labor protections is one of the main factors leading to worsening inequality. But a higher threshold would help reverse this trend.

Under the higher salary threshold, employers would have a choice: They could either pay you time-and-half for your extra hours worked, or they could hire more workers at the standard rate to fill your previously unpaid hours. Employers could put more money into your pockets, or put more leisure time at your disposal while directly adding more jobs. And either would be great for workers and great for boosting economic growth.

Submit your comment to the Department of Labor today: tell them to raise the overtime threshold.

Here’s why the right-wing and the business lobbyists are wrong about overtime. Lower- and middle-income workers don’t stash their earnings in offshore accounts the way CEOs do . When workers have more money, they spend it. Businesses have more customers; and when businesses have more customers, they hire more workers.

A higher overtime threshold would increase total employment, tightening the labor market and driving up real wages for the first time since the late 1990s.

Conservative pundits and politicians will attempt to preserve the status quo by warning that a return to more reasonable overtime standards would somehow cripple our economy, hurting the exact same workers we intend to help.

But that’s what they always warn about every regulation – from the minimum wage, to Obamacare, to child labor laws. Yet it never turns out to be true. And trickle-down economics looks more like Chicken Little Economics with every passing day.

Let’s put an end to Chicken Little Economics. Join me, Robert Reich, and DFA: tell the Department of Labor you support the new overtime rules.

Thank you for taking a stand against income inequality.

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Defense Secretary Lifted Ban on Women in Combat

“The Pentagon announced an end to the ban on women in combat, finally allowing our military to fully benefit from the talents of women who want to serve and defend our great nation. When we as a nation lift restrictions and allow people to serve based on their performance, we benefit from it. That was true when President Truman desegregated the military, allowing African-Americans to serve as equals. It was true when President Obama ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” allowing our gay and lesbian service members to serve openly. And it is true now for women.  As a Veteran who saw combat action, I know firsthand that America’s daughters are just as capable of defending liberty as her sons.  Allowing our women in uniform to serve fully is a win for our nation. ”  — Rep. Tammy Duckworth

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/310586-1

 

How Will Heller Vote Tomorrow?

NRSC communications director Brian Walsh went of the attack against Democrats and the Paycheck Fairness Act saying,

“This pathetic political attack is just the latest effort by Senate Democrats to distract Americans from their failed leadership on the economy and it simply drives home how out of touch they are.  While Democrats are busy sending out press releases and ginning up phony attacks, the rest of America is rightfully asking ‘where are the jobs.”

I seriously beg to differ with Mr. Walsh.  For many women across this nation, the Paycheck Fairness Act is very much about economics and the economy.  We work side-by-side with many men, performing the same job with equal proficiency, and in far too many cases, we, as women, are paid differently … predominantly less than our male counterparts merely because of our gender.  Now, adding insult to injury, it’s common practice by corporate America to impose a policy making it a dischargeable office to share information about what you earn with your co-workers.  Excuse me?

Far too many employers employ predatory wages for women and then turn around and employ predatory policies to prevent you from learning about the predation.  The ruling by the Supreme Court basically said that the discrimination begins from the first paycheck … and thus … if an employer can conceal that discriminatory act for the allowable 180 days in which the female employee has to file a case of discrimination …. hey, they’re good to go and can continue that discriminatory practice in perpetuity.

In union environments, if you perform a job covered by the bargaining agreement, you’re paid the same as all others in that job title.  That’s not necessarily the same in non-union environments. And given the GOP’s determination to wipe out unions and impose right-to-work laws uniformly across all 50 states, how do you think women will fare should that become the law of the land?

The majority of the middle class are women, and if you truly understand economics, you know that that makes women true “job creators” across this nation.  In spending their paychecks, they create demand for all types of products and services.  Thus, paying women less puts an automatic damper on demand.  Without demand, employers aren’t going to hire more people to create additional products and services when there isn’t a corresponding increase in demand.  No employer is going to consider increasing supply when there isn’t sufficient demand to recover their cost to produce that product or service.

Mr. Walsh and his GOP brethren, including unelected Sen. Dean Heller, in addition to pushing their supply-side economics hoax that has done nothing more than redistribute our nation’s wealth upward, now want to also ensure that women are incapable of achieving parity in the workplace.

According to AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, “Empowering women is one investment that always pays long-term dividends, not only for the women themselves, but also for their families and the nation as well. It’s time for the Equal Pay Act to live up to its promise to provide equal pay for equal work.”

Romney Campaign: “We’ll Get Back to You on That”

Mitt Romney’s Campaign on Whether Romney Supports the
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act: ‘We’ll Get Back To You On That.’

Las Vegas, NV – On a press call this morning, Mitt Romney’s campaign was asked if Mitt Romney supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Their response to the question was, “We’ll get back to you on that.” Nevada State Democratic Party Chair Roberta Lange released the following statement on the Romney campaign’s failure to take a position on this important legislation:

 “The first piece of legislation President Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which goes to the heart of the equal pay issue, giving women the power to challenge discrimination where they work.  The President’s position on this issue is simple: equal pay for equal work.

“Mitt Romney’s position on equal pay for women: ‘We’ll get back to you on that.’ That’s not an answer that gives Nevada women any confidence that Mitt Romney would stand up for them and that’s not an answer that gives Nevada families any confidence that Mitt Romney is committed to restoring middle class security. If women earn less, Nevada families are worse off.

“If Mitt Romney doesn’t have a position on this basic question of economic fairness, how can the people of Nevada take him seriously on the most pressing issues facing our country: Ensuring hard work and responsibility is rewarded, everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same rules.

“If a bill to repeal the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act were in front of Romney, would he veto it or sign it? We already know that Mitt Romney believes we should turn back the clock on women’s health care and that he has been suspiciously silent on his hero – Governor Scott Walker – restricting Wisconsin women’s ability to enforce in court their right to equal pay. This is just further proof of Romney’s extreme positions, how they are continuing, and how he can’t walk away from them.  His attempts to etch-a-sketch his extreme positions won’t work, especially with Nevada women.”