The Middle Class At Risk

Jul 27, 2015 | By CAP Action War Room

The Gap Between Rhetoric and Reality of Republican Prescriptions for the Economy

In recent decades, dramatic changes have squeezed the middle class, making it harder and harder for middle-class families to feel economically secure. In response to these changes, GOP candidates have shifted their rhetoric and begun decrying stagnant wages, inequality, and rising middle class costs. For example, in his campaign launch speech Jeb Bush said we need to “make opportunity common again.” Meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio introduced his tax plan in an op-ed with Sen. Mike Lee saying, “Too many Americans believe the American dream is slipping away.

But a new report from CAP Action finds that despite its new rhetorical shift, the GOP continues to propose policies that would undercut economic security for working- and middle-class families. Even as Republican candidates talk about restoring the American dream and expanding opportunity to all Americans, they continue to embrace the same, failed policies that have led to middle class Americans being squeezed by rising costs and stagnant wages.

Here are a few of the key facts on how the middle class is at risk and how Republican policies would only make things worse:

  • Republicans continue to support tax policies that favor the wealthy but do little for middle class families. Many of the GOP candidates favor eliminating capital gains taxes, which would do nothing for middle-class Americans. Middle-class families receive very little income from capital gains and dividends: Only 6 percent of market incomes for households in the middle quintile come from business income, capital income, and realized capital gains. The top 1 percent of households, on the other hand, receive more than half of their incomes from these sources. Eliminating capital gains taxes is nothing more than a massive tax cut for the wealthiest few.
  • Republican governors are blocking bills that help families juggle the demands of work and home.Of the 12 states with laws preempting localities from taking actions like increasing the minimum wage or offering paid sick leave, 11 were passed by a GOP governor and legislature since 2011. In particular, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a preemption bill that nullified Milwaukee’s paid-sick leave law which would have helped 120,000 Milwaukeeans–or 47 percent of the city’s private sector workforce.
  • Despite the rhetoric, GOP economic policies favor the wealthy. In 2014, 41 Republican senators with an average net worth of $8.1 million, including several eventual presidential candidates, voted against giving low-income Americans a $6,000 raise.
  • Instead of investing in working Americans, Republicans have been slashing key pillars of opportunity, such as education. More higher education cuts have occurred under Republican leadership than under Democrats. Between 2007 and 2014, real state funding for public education grew under Democrats and fell 10 percent in states led by Republicans. This also led to higher tuition increases.
  • Republicans still oppose a minimum wage. If a Republican president spent two terms in office continuing to block a minimum wage increase, like each of their positions today, the value of the minimum wage would fall below $6 in today’s dollars, lowest in 70 years.

BOTTOM LINE: Decades of failed, trickle-down economic policies have left middle-class Americans struggling. Disguising old, top-down policies with new rhetoric is as disingenuous as it is dangerous.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe. Like CAP Action on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Get to Know the Candidates: Martin O’Malley

O'MalleyMost folks seem to be so divided between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders that they’ve not even bothered to notice there is another viable candidate in the race who has some pretty good ideas, but who is stuck at 1-2% in the polls: former governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley.

Here’s a copy of his comprehensive policy statement which speaks to Immigration Reform, released on July 14th:

WELCOMING NEW AMERICANS TO REBUILD THE AMERICAN DREAM

We are a nation of immigrants – whether our ancestors came from Ireland or from Mexico, or whether they immigrated here generations ago, or whether our parents brought us to the United States. But today, this fundamental characteristic of our country – the diversity that makes us great and enriches each new generation – is being eroded. Our outdated immigration laws no longer meet our economic needs, our national security imperatives, or our values as a people. They fail to reaffirm our founding ideal, e pluribus unum – that out of many, we are one.

As a nation, we must honor our proud legacy as a nation of immigrants and maintain one of America’s key strategic advantages: that people all over the world still dream of becoming Americans. To continue to attract the next generation of strivers, dreamers, and risk-takers, and to be true to the values we hold dear, it is imperative that we pursue a dynamic, modern approach to immigration policy. This will require a new push for comprehensive immigration reform – and new leadership that is willing to work tirelessly until it is finally accomplished, once and for all.

Goal-1

There is broad consensus on how to fix our inhumane immigration system, but for all those waiting to immigrate – and for all those already here waiting to be legally included – reform cannot come soon enough. In 2013 alone, more than 72,000 parents were torn from their U.S.-born children. One out of five undocumented adults today is at risk of being separated from their partners. Even a visit from relatives can turn into a decades-long waiting game.

New Americans have endured the uncertainty and fear of legislative inaction for far too long. They deserve to know that when they go to work in the morning, their contributions will be valued, and that they’ll return home safely to their children. The next president must provide that assurance. And he or she can do so immediately by using the full power of the presidency to secure administrative relief for millions of New American families.

To give Congress a running start on advancing a lasting legislative solution, Governor O’Malley is committed to providing that relief his first year in office. From expanding the use of deferred action and exercising discretion to keep families together; to rewriting punitive regulations and ending harmful law enforcement policies; to greatly limiting detention and restoring due process to our immigration system; an O’Malley Administration will use all legal and executive authorities to safeguard and welcome New Americans and restore greatness and justice to America’s immigration system.

As president, Governor O’Malley will act immediately to:

Extend Administrative Relief to Millions of New American Families

Deferred action is the broadest, most inclusive, and most important relief that the next president can provide immigrant families. It allows hard-working individuals who already have strong ties to the United States to continue working and contributing to the good of our nation – and to do so within the framework, the opportunities, and the responsibilities of our laws.

Expanding deferred action is well within the president’s legal authority, based on the actions of previous presidents and the longstanding features of American immigration law. While President Obama’s efforts to expand deferred action have been delayed by baseless conservative challenges in the courts, Governor O’Malley is confident – and legal experts almost universally agree – that they will be upheld. But whether or not the president’s executive actions triumph at the courts, O’Malley is committed with moving forward with the additional steps outlined below.

As president, Governor O’Malley will:

  • Provide Deferred Action to the Greatest Possible Number of New Americans. To start, O’Malley would direct the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide immediate relief from deportation, with work authorization, to all individuals covered by the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform proposal. This includes the parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, as well as all individuals who have strong family and community ties – such as parents of DACA recipients or of young foreign-born children, individuals who have long-term residence in our country, and all young people who entered the United States before the age of 21. The goal is to get as many immigrants who are productive, contributing members of society onto the books and more fully included in our economy.

Expand Access to Waivers to the Three- or Ten-Year Bar

Too many barriers exist that prevent immigrants from legally living and working in the United States. Many immigrants who are entitled to lawful permanent resident status (also known as a green card) must first return to their home countries. Yet if they previously lived in the United States while undocumented, they are then barred from re-entering the United States for three to ten years. This 1990s policy creates a Catch 22 that needlessly hurts American families, punishing individuals even if they are now eligible to legally remain in the United States.

As president, Governor O’Malley will:

  • Grant Broad Waivers to the Three- or Ten-Year Bar. While waivers are available to the three- and ten-year bar, very few people are eligible for them. Today, applicants qualify for a waiver only if their bar creates “extreme hardship” to their U.S. citizen parent or spouse. Hardship to the immigrants themselves – or to their children, even if they are U.S. citizens – is not a factor in this decision. O’Malley would immediately issue guidance broadly interpreting “extreme hardship” to greatly limit the three- and ten-year bars, while working with Congress to achieve a permanent repeal.
  • Expand Parole-in-Place. Parole allows immigrants who have resided in the United States unlawfully to have a U.S. citizen of lawful permanent resident sponsor them for a green card without triggering the three- and ten-year bars. DHS already has the authority to parole individuals for humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. Indeed, DHS already implemented parole-in-place for the families of members of the U.S. Armed Forces. O’Malley would issue guidance expanding parole-in-place to benefit all spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

Expand Access to Naturalization for New Americans

Naturalization is an essential tool for New Americans to have access to the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. It is the foundation on which America’s immigration success story relies. However, barriers to naturalization have resulted inmore than eight million lawful permanent residents who are eligible to naturalize, but have not yet done so.

As president, Governor O’Malley will:

  • Conduct Sustained Naturalization Outreach. O’Malley will undertake significant outreach and educational programs to promote naturalization, including U.S. agency, media, and community outreach. This will include directing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to identify and encourage lawful permanent residents who are eligible for citizenship to naturalize, while also expanding access to naturalization by lowering fees as appropriate.

Expand Access to Health Care for New Americans

Health care access is critically needed to strengthen the wellbeing of communities and our nation’s economy. However, New Americans disproportionately lack health insurance because of statutory and regulatory restrictions.

As president, Governor O’Malley will:

  • Rescind the Regulations Restricting Health Care for DACA and DAPA-Recipients. The Affordable Care Act provides access to the health care exchanges, tax credit subsidies, and other benefits to individuals who are lawfully present in the United States. However, a 2012 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulation excluded individuals with deferred action under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) from these affordable health insurance options. O’Malley will rescind this regulation, providing health care access to the approximately five million individuals who are or will be eligible for deferred action under DACA, the proposed DACA expansion, and forthcoming Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).

Use Detention Only as a Last Resort

Conditions at immigrant detention facilities are deplorable – and those locked up in them are incarcerated not because they committed a crime, but because they are due to appear months or years later in immigration court. The system denies immigrants due process. It rips apart families. It traumatizes children. And taxpayers pick up the bill.

The Obama Administration has announced a number of reforms to detention policies, but none go far enough – in all but extraordinary circumstances, immigrant detentions must end for good.

As president, Governor O’Malley will:

  • Limit Detention to Only Those Who Pose a Clear Threat to Public Safety. The only individuals who should be detained are those who pose a clear threat to public safety or national security. O’Malley will direct DHS to use alternatives to detention for the vast majority of people. He will end the practice of holding children and families in detention centers. He will also end the detention of other vulnerable immigrants, especially LGBTQ individuals. This includes using the family placement and community-based supervision policies he successfully implemented in Maryland.
  • End the 34,000 Bed Quota. Congress requires DHS to maintain 34,000 beds in immigrant detention centers. The agency has historically interpreted this quota as setting a minimum number of beds, and entered contracts with detention centers that require the beds to be filled. Detention numbers should reflect of our actual public safety and national security needs, not an arbitrary target. O’Malley will issue guidance that DHS treat the bed mandate as a ceiling, not a floor – while working with Congress to establish funding levels for detention that reflect our public safety priorities.
  • Close Inhumane Detention Facilities. O’Malley will close or upgrade costly, inhumane, and violent detention centers. This includes the short-term facilities on the U.S.-Mexico border that often do not meet established detention standards. O’Malley will ensure the humane treatment of all detained individuals, increase oversight and monitoring, and bring criminal charges against bad actors. He will also work with Congress to codify higher detention standards and give immigrants a private right of action to enforce these accountability mechanisms.

Restore Due Process Safeguards and Basic Fairness to Immigration Enforcement

Existing laws deny immigrants basic due process protections and foster fear and mistrust of law enforcement. Thousands of immigrants are jailed without a bond hearing while they fight their deportation cases. Immigrants are transferred to detention centers thousands of miles from their homes, do not have access to lawyers, and are pressured to accept deportation to escape the deplorable conditions.

As president, Governor O’Malley will:

  • Expand Due Process Protections in the Detention and Immigration System. Our current system lacks due process protections in the judicial and detention context. O’Malley will implement critical reforms, including providing counsel for immigrants in deportation proceedings, increasing the number of immigration judges and courts, ending telephonic and video hearings for detainees, ensuring language access, and holding detention facilities and DHS personnel accountable for constitutional rights violations.
  • Prevent Racial and Religious Profiling. Current S. Department of Justice (DOJ) guidelines include loopholes that permit DHS agencies, such as the Transportation Security Administration and the CBP, to profile Americans based on their ethnicity and religion. O’Malley would work with DOJ and DHS to close these unfair loopholes and uphold our constitutional rights.

Disentangle Public Safety and Local Law Enforcement from Immigration Enforcement

President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing called for federal immigration enforcement to be “decoupled” from routine local policing. Our policies have fallen short of their goal to pinpoint and detain individuals who pose a clear and present danger to public safety. Instead, they have created an indiscriminate dragnet that can encourage racial profiling. This undermines the credibility of law enforcement efforts and hurts community safety, eroding the trust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement that is critical to identifying and removing dangerous individuals from society.

As president, O’Malley will:

  • Limit the Use of Detainers and Notifications. DHS cannot continue to expect local law enforcement agencies to bear the costs, risks, and liability of holding immigrants based on incomplete investigations and inadequate evidence. O’Malley will direct immigration enforcement agents to obtain warrants from a judge, like any other law enforcement agency, in order to detain immigrants. O’Malley will also direct immigration enforcement agents to stop the routine issuance of U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) notification requests under the new Priority Enforcement Program, which may lead to unlawful detentions and transfers.
  • End 287(g) Agreements. Immigrant and civil rights advocates have rung the alarm for years about the 287(g) program, which also undermines community policing, incentivizes racial profiling, and has been at the heart of some of the worst abuses of immigrants’ civil rights. O’Malley will end the 287(g) jail programs, which are not mandatory and are an outdated and inappropriate way to enforce immigration laws.
  • Respect the Autonomy of States and Localities in Immigration Enforcement. Many states and localities have set policies that limit their cooperation with immigration authorities. The intention of these policies is to protect residents’ rights and build trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities. Many sheriffs and law enforcement officers strongly support these policies because they allow local enforcement to more effectively promote public safety. O’Malley will strongly oppose Congressional efforts that disrespect the autonomy of states and localities by coercing them – through the withholding of federal funding or other mechanisms – to rescind these policies.
  • End the Coercion of Local Law Enforcement through Civil Immigration Warrants. Law enforcement officers across the country refer to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) to find out if a person in their custody has outstanding warrants. However, in recent years, ICE has entered civil immigration warrants into NCIC, confusing local police and producing unlawful arrests. O’Malley will provide clear direction, guidance, and training to local and state law enforcement agencies that they do not have the authority to arrest immigrants on civil administrative warrants.

Protect the Border, While Respecting Individual Rights

Effective immigration policy includes border security that bars those who wish us harm, and facilitates the entry and exit of others. However, this goal requires a functioning and efficient legal immigration system. Modern border security extends well beyond the U.S.-Mexico border and recognizes that we must be vigilant and judicious at all U.S. ports of entry.

CBP plays a critical role protecting the American public. In order to effectively secure the border, CBP officers must have the tools, trust, training, and support they need to honorably do their jobs and keep Americans safe.

As president, Governor O’Malley will:

  • Promote Smart, 21st-Century Border Security. Existing border security efforts can be wasteful and disruptive to border communities, while failing to address the fluid factors that drive migration. O’Malley will commit the resources needed to modernize and strengthen the border while respecting the rights of border communities. O’Malley will ensure that our border is secure through the strategic use of personnel and technology, extensive training and support for immigration officers, and policies that address the root causes of migration.
  • Ensure That CBP Officers Can Serve with Pride. Politicized congressional mandates have required Customs and Border Protection to hire and deploy hundreds of agents rapidly, sometimes without sufficient training, oversight, and accountability. O’Malley will direct CBP to focus on improving the professionalism, legal knowledge, and integrity of its growing force. He will require CBP to implement the best practices in law enforcement, including equipping officers with body cameras, tracking and disclosing discourtesy and brutality complaints, providing robust training, and holding agents accountable for excessive force.
  • Refocus Border Enforcement on Securing the Actual Border. In terms of the area policed, the U.S. border is now 100 miles inland from any land border or coast. Roughly two-thirds of the U.S. population lives within this 100-mile zone. As a result, border agents regularly patrol areas far removed from the actual border, including neighborhoods and urban municipalities. O’Malley will protect the civil rights of residents who live near the border by directing border patrol agents to focus on border security, not interior law enforcement.
  • Focus on the Most Important Cases. Under Operation Streamline, federal attorneys criminally prosecute virtually all undocumented immigrants that enter through the Southern border for illegal entry and reentry. Thousands of immigrants who try to enter or re-enter the United States are the parents of U.S. citizens who are attempting to reunite with their children and loved ones. O’Malley will direct federal prosecutors to focus on priority cases that advance national security, address violent crime or financial fraud, and protect the most vulnerable members of society.

Goal-2

While Governor O’Malley will use executive action to the full extent of his authority, he understands that administrative relief is no substitute for Congressional action. There is a clear consensus among the American people for comprehensive immigration reform that restores legality, confidence, coherence and pride in our immigration system. There is significant support for comprehensive immigration reform in Congress, but a failure of political will and leadership has stymied progress.

Our outdated immigration system has locked out millions of people from our economy and does not meet the needs of our modern, digital, and globalized workforce. Nor does it reflect our values of inclusiveness, innovation, and dignity for all people.

Securing comprehensive immigration reform has not been easy, but with new and principled leadership, and a commitment to action, O’Malley knows we can – and must – achieve it.

Forge Consensus to Achieve Comprehensive Immigration Reform

In Maryland, O’Malley forged a new consensus to secure the rights of New Americans. As Governor, he campaigned for and signed Maryland’s version of the DREAM Act, providing all children the opportunity to afford higher education and compete in Maryland’s economy. When the law was contested, he successfully championed it in a referendum, making Maryland the first state to defend the DREAM Act at the ballot box. He lobbied for and signed legislation allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses so they could safely get to work and obey the rules of the road. Throughout his 15 years of executive experience, O’Malley forged – not followed – public opinion on immigration, bringing people together to get the job done.

As president, Governor O’Malley will:

  • Enact and Implement Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Governor O’Malley will never delay nor stop fighting for comprehensive immigration reform. From the first days of his Administration, he will work with Congress to modernize our immigration system and secure a path to full and equal citizenship for New Americans. O’Malley believes that this is an economic, moral, and national security imperative – one that is enshrined in our founding principles as a nation.

Overhaul the Legal U.S. Immigration System

The basic architecture of the U.S. immigration system dates back to the 1960s. Rigid visa caps – putting unrealistic and rigid quotas on who can contribute to our country – have remained virtually unchanged since that time. This outdated system puts the United States at a serious disadvantage – making us unable, as we have in every other generation, to welcome the best and brightest people from around the world and those willing to work hard and honestly to build our economy. This includes the hundreds of thousands of students who study at and earn degrees in engineering, science, and business at U.S. universities, but are unable to apply their talents in our economy.

As president, Governor O’Malley will:

  • Create an Independent Agency to Set U.S. Immigration Policy. Comprehensive immigration reform should build a new, nimble, and responsive immigration system—one that will prevent our country from ever needing to fight for comprehensive reform again. O’Malley will call for a reform bill to create a new, independent body housed within the executive branch. The agency will make recommendations to Congress regarding immigration levels and visa requirements. The recommendations would be based on rigorous and non-partisan analysis and market needs – supplying additional H-1B visas, creating new visas to attract and retain foreign innovators, establishing protections for workers, and complimenting and upholding the American workforce.
  • Address Employment Barriers for Foreign Professionals. Roughly one out of five highly skilled immigrants in the United States is unemployed or underemployed, unable to fully contribute their entrepreneurial efforts to America’s success. O’Malley would work with states, Congress, and federal agency partners to address barriers for high-skilled immigrant workers, such as credentialing and licensing requirements and policies; and to better provide language and technical training through the nation’s workforce system.
  • Promote Family Unity. Our immigration system has historically sought to preserve family unity, recognizing that strong families are the foundation of a strong economy. Yet long visa backlogs have kept families apart for many years, and because of a lack of procedural safeguards and due process, thousands of U.S. citizens and their family members have been unlawfully deported. O’Malley will work with Congress so that the supply of visas better meets demand. He will also reform outdated immigration bars so that previously deported individuals with U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident relatives could lawfully return to the United States.
  • Restore Judicial Discretion. In recent years our nation rescinded the ability of immigration law enforcement and judges to consider the individual circumstances of a person’s case. O’Malley will ensure that any future immigration legislation contains robust waiver provisions that restore the discretion of law enforcement and judges to consider individual factors—such as family and community ties; the nature, seriousness, and other circumstances of past criminal charges; passage of time; medical conditions; and contributions to community and family.
  • Protect the Diversity Visa. The diversity visa lottery was created to diversify the immigrant population in the United States. Today, about half of diversity visa lottery winners come from Africa. O’Malley would work to ensure that future immigration reform efforts do not gut this critical program.

I Take Exception — My Rebuttal

NV Controller Ron Knecht’s “2nd Monthly Report” was published last week in the Humboldt Sun.  I took exception with much of what he had to say.  Below are his  report and my rebuttal which was published in the second edition of this week’s Humboldt Sun:

Mr. Knecht’s Report:

Knecht01The second Controller’s Monthly Report is now on the state web site (www.controller.nv.gov). It addresses state revenues, while the first one reviewed state spending. In sum, its findings are …

Nevada state revenues include taxes, federal and other grants and contracts, plus charges for services that have amply served the public interest. Both total tax revenues and charges for services have increased slightly relative to Nevada’s economy and the incomes of Nevada families and businesses since 2008. Total state revenues have increased at roughly the same rate as state spending, and both spending and taxes have grown significantly faster than our economy, proving again that we have a spending problem, not a revenue deficit.

Every cent taken in taxes is an act of destruction of human and social well-being; so, public spending items should not be adopted unless they clearly provide benefits exceeding the damage done by taxes required to support them. The essence of sound fiscal policy is to deploy only the least destructive tax methods and most beneficial spending measures, and to find the taxing/spending balance point that maximizes net social benefits and public wellbeing.

All taxes are “unfair” because they can’t be charged according to the social costs that people cause, nor the benefits they receive. Fairness being illusory, in taxation and other public policy, we should seek to maximize economic growth and the human well-being that growth fosters. “Ability to pay” criteria, which have a superficial ring of fairness, and “redistribution” policies are particularly destructive to the broad public interest in growth. And claims that taxing one person to subsidize another involves “compassion” are false.

The real tax fairness issue is that public spending’s beneficiaries — public employees and contractors, plus those receiving public payments — have an unfair political advantage over taxpayers and the public, an advantage that produces excessive taxing/spending levels.

So, consider the recent fortunes of taxpayers and public employees. In the last six years, Nevada taxpayers’ average incomes declined by nearly 8 percent (from $39,079 in 2008 to $36,039 in 2010) before rebounding slowly back to prior levels ($39,173 in 2014). State employees took 4.6 percent cuts via furloughs for a couple of years, followed by a combination of furloughs and actual pay reductions still totaling roughly 4.6 percent. At present, they still must take furloughs equal to cuts of about 2.3 percent.

So, state employees in general have borne roughly the same burden from our economic troubles as have taxpayers. Considering the total package — pay, benefits and job security — state employees in Nevada essentially get total compensation at market levels. Local government employees, on the other hand, have taken fewer, if any, pay cuts and many have continued to get increases. In Clark and Washoe counties, their total compensation levels are much higher than market levels prevailing in the private sector.

The accumulated and ever-increasing over-reach of government is greatly responsible for the slow economic growth of recent years and the prospects of the same in the future. So, voters, taxpayers, Nevada state employees and the broad public interest are victims of government excess, while local public employees are to some extent beneficiaries.

All these considerations reinforce the conclusions of Controller’s Monthly Report #1 that to leave our children a better future, we must stop the growth relative to the economy and to Nevadans’ incomes of public spending that drives taxes. We must especially avoid mistakes such as adopting versions of the business margins tax defeated 4-1 by voters last November. We must restructure fiscal processes for real budget constraints and effective cost management, emphasize no- and low-cost reforms in K-12 education and end public employee collective bargaining and prevailing wage rules.

My rebuttal to his partisan ideological propaganda:

Vickie14smI have some serious problems with Mr. Knecht’s “Commentary” in the 3/13-16/2015 Humboldt Sun.

”Every cent taken in taxes is an act of destruction of human and social well-being?”  Really?  Mr. Knecht doesn’t believe in ANY public commons?  He doesn’t believe in public roads? Or public water and systems? Or police and fire fighters? Or public schools and universities?  I’m sorry, but all of those do promote “human and social well-being” and they’re all part of OUR public commons created using OUR tax dollars.  So exactly what is Mr. Knecht proposing, selling off all of our “public commons” at fire-sale prices to the “deserving” richest among us, all so THEY can charge us by the mile, by the book or test, by the flush or by the flame? What about the police?  Is he proposing we should submit to a “Robocop” scenario across the state?  Isn’t that why our fore-father’s fled Europe?  To flee the tyranny of the rich who oppressed those beneath them?

“All taxes are unfair because they can’t be charged according to the social costs that people cause, nor the benefits they receive?”  What does that even mean?  That we should bestow OUR public commons to corporate parasites that pay NO taxes just because they might be the bearer of jobs?  Isn’t it “corporations” that consume our infrastructure and pollute our lands and waters at the greatest rates, causing destruction of human and social well-being?  Isn’t it the corporations that choose NOT to pay a living wage NOR to provide health benefits to their workers, leading to the destruction of human and social well-being?  Isn’t it those same workers who now, no longer have an “ability to pay,” again, leading to the destruction of human and social well-being?  Is that really what Mr. Knecht’s “fair way to run our country” would look like?

Then there’s his rant about public employees.  Every cent of Mr. Knecht’s paycheck is paid with public tax dollars. That makes Mr. Knecht a PUBLIC employee. What makes him believe he’s so infinitely better than police, firefighters, teachers, or even a clerk at a local DMV?

He may talk fondly about our kids/grandkids, but that’s just a ruse, a distraction. He does make his intentions clear: to do everything he can to stifle/gut K-12 education programs that might make our children competitive and productive in an ever changing economy.

I disagree with Mr. Knecht and with that for which he stands. Instead of looking for ways to improve our “human and social well-being,” he’s apparently looking for ways to destroy it.  I fear that our “investment” in his paycheck will yield only negative dividends for the everyday Nevadan before all is said and done.

The Jobs Report In 5 Charts

A Remarkably Positive Jobs Report, With A Reminder That There’s More To Do

— by

 

jobs2014-11
CREDIT: DPCC

The November jobs report was released today, and it brought a lot of good news. The U.S. economy added 321,000 jobs in November, well exceeding analysts’ expectations of 230,000. The unemployment rate remained at 5.8 percent. But the report also offers a reminder of the struggles that many working Americans continue to feel in the sluggish recovery.

The monthly jobs report doesn’t provide a comprehensive view of how our economy is doing, but it does offer an important glimpse into some of the macro employment and wage trends that reflect whether the economy is growing, and who is sharing in that growth. Here are five charts that show what to be happy about, and why we need to continue to work so that everyone has a chance for economic opportunity and prosperity.

This article was published by ThinkProgress” online.  Read the full article here ….

The President Just Announced This —

Our immigration system has been broken for decades. And every day we wait to act, millions of undocumented immigrants are living in the shadows: Those who want to pay taxes and play by the same rules as everyone else have no way to live right by the law. That is why President Obama is using his executive authority to address as much of the problem as he can, and why he’ll continue to work with Congress to pass comprehensive reform.

ImmigrationPlan

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

— by CAP Action War Room

After returning from a two-week recess, the Senate is planning to vote on raising the minimum wage to $10.10 this Wednesday. The bill, called the “Minimum Wage Fairness Act,” needs 60 votes to advance thanks to the de facto GOP filibuster threat. And while in the past we have used this space to outline many of the different benefits of raising the minimum wage to $10.10, in anticipation of this important vote we wanted to go over some of the most important reasons one more time. Here they are:

  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. Over 600 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 jobs and 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.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

The Economic Costs of Inaction on Immigration Reform

Last June, the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill that would grow our economy and shrink the deficit. But without action from the House to move forward in the last year, our country is losing out on these economic gains.

The Ryan Budget Is a Broken Record of Failed Trickle-Down Economics

By Anna Chu and Harry Stein

For the past three years, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has been trotting out the same conservative, top-down policies that have failed the nation’s middle- and working-class families, seniors, and the economy. The House Republican budget is built around the tenet that nearly everyone else must sacrifice in order to continue to give billions of dollars in tax breaks to millionaires, big corporations, and Big Oil. At every turn, the House Republican budget reveals its vision of an economy and government that only works for the wealthiest individuals and special corporate interests at the cost of everyone else.

Now for the fourth consecutive year, the House Republican budget proposes dismantling traditional Medicare and slashing investments that drive our economy, all while cutting taxes for the rich and protecting taxpayer subsidies for big businesses and oil companies. The American people have seen this before, and we know how it ends—with millionaires, big corporations, and Big Oil as the only ones who are better off. Everyone else gets left behind, and our economy only gets weaker. Read more.

Makers and Takers

Originally posted on Rcooley123's Blog:

There seems to be a vast difference of opinion in this country as to who are the makers and who the takers. People like Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney and other members of the 1%, their apologists or both have for decades portrayed themselves as delivering to American society the wherewithal that has created the greatest economy the world has ever known. Through their superior knowledge, hard work and inner strength, they have risen above the rest of us in terms of economic wealth and political power. The only thing holding them back from even greater accomplishments is the fact that so many of their fellow citizens expect a free ride and a free lunch at their expense.

The fact that we have a degree of economic inequality in this country that allows many to go homeless, hungry and without adequate health care means nothing to many of the wealthy in…

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