By Doug Porter
Today’s UT-San Diego editorial represents the height of hypocrisy.
Titled ‘Minimum wage hikes deliver maximum pain to the poor’, it goes on to tell us in no uncertain terms about the terrible things that will follow should Congress act on a bill introduced on Tuesday by Democratic Senators Tom Harkin of Iowa and George Miller of California that would raise the hourly minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 — and add an annual adjustment to keep pace with the cost-of-living index. Here’s the money quote:
Low-income families have the most to lose in the game of political poker that is being played this year by Democrats in Washington, D.C.
They go through the usual balderdash citing the “preponderance of evidence” that workers should live in fear of unemployment and starvation if minimum wages go up.
We’re then told:
Direct aid to low-income families, such as food stamps and the Earned Income Tax Credit, is far more effective.
That sounds suspiciously like a government subsidy to me. A 2004 UC Berkeley report found Wal-Mart workers’ dependence on public programs in California, such as Medi-Cal and food stamps, cost taxpayers about $86 million annually. Nationwide, it estimated the cost of public assistance to Wal-Mart workers could be as much as $2 billion annually.
I suppose the fine editorial writers at the UT would like to have these programs funded by sales taxes so their wealthy benefactors are not saddled with a proportional share of the cost of these subsidies.
The real capper in the UT-SD editorial is the close, where Henry Ford is credited with raising auto workers daily wages because the ‘market demanded’ it.
The fact is that Ford didn’t raise the daily wage; he offered a bonus for those who lived ‘The American Way’, and yes, Ford did send people (50 Social Department investigators) around to check. So he got to impose his moral values, which for most of his life included raving anti-Semitism.
I can’t help but notice that WalMart, everybodys favorite punching bag when it comes to crappy pay, is getting their butt kicked by competitor Costco, a company that offers significantly better pay and benefits. Costco CEO Craig Jelinek has come out in support of raising the minimum wage, telling the media:
“Instead of minimizing wages, we know it’s a lot more profitable in the long term to minimize employee turnover and maximize employee productivity, commitment and loyalty.”
Costco averages $814 in sales per square foot, while WalMart’s Sams Club makes just $586 per square foot. And WalMart sales are down. Seriously down. Gosh, I wonder if all the bad publicity about how they mistreat their employees has anything to do with that?
At the heart of the issue over wages is a business model that relies upon ‘corporate welfare’ either through tax breaks or subsidies (including their labor costs). Aside from the fact that it’s remarkably short-sighted, such a business philosophy also leads to increases in wealth differential. They get richer, everybody else gets poorer. And that’s exactly what’s happening in the US today.
That’s what the UT-San Diego is really advocating. All you need to do is look at their coverage, oozing with photos portraying bejeweled paramours living the good life alongside their well-heeled benefactors. It certainly has nothing to do with the welfare of the ‘poor’.
Implementing ‘Interview Controls’ at San Diego Unified
The school district’s CFO got into some hot water last month via an interview published in Voice of San Diego. Let’s just say it was embarrassing, politically unwise and inaccurate. SDUSD teachers were especially incensed over claims of hundred of employees just lying around and a wildly mistaken claim about pay.
Yesterday, a letter written by Stan “Data” Dobbs apologizing to district teachers was released. He did due diligence and mea culpa-ed meaningfully.
But there’s one part that left me curious. He wrote that he has “put interview controls in place to ensure no such issues occur again.” What would they be? Duct tape, maybe?
Reforming School Reform
Diane Ravitch has made a name for herself in the field of public education. Starting out as a ‘reformer’ who supported No Child Left Behind and charter schools as part of the Bush administration, Ravitch later became ‘disillusioned’.
With publication of The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Undermine Education (2010), she officially broke ranks with her former peers, critiquing the punitive uses of accountability to fire teachers and close schools, as well as replacing public schools with charter schools and relying on superstar teachers.
Today Ravitch announced the launch of a new organization, aimed at connecting supporters of public education across the country. She pledged to create ‘a huge social network of parents, students, teachers, administrators, school board members, and all others who believe in public education and sane educational policy that focuses on a full and rich education for all children.’ Here is the mission statement of theNetwork for Public Education:
The Network for Public Education is an advocacy group whose goal is to fight to protect, preserve and strengthen our public school system, an essential institution in a democratic society. Our mission is to protect, preserve, promote, and strengthen public schools and the education of current and future generations of students. We will accomplish this by networking groups and organizations focused on similar goals in states and districts throughout the nation, share information about what works and what doesn’t work in public education, and endorse and rate candidates for office based on our principles and goals. More specifically, we will support candidates who oppose high-stakes testing, mass school closures, the privatization of our public schools and the outsourcing of its core functions to for-profit corporations, and we will support candidates who work for evidence-based reforms that will improve our schools and the education of our nation’s children.
WalMart Selling Obamacare?
The Los Angeles Times has a story up today about mounting tension between sate officials and union leaders over plans to let retail giant Wal-Mart enroll shoppers in President Obama’s healthcare expansion.
As part of the State’s efforts reach out to 5 million Californians eligible for new coverage starting in January, Wal-Mart and other retailers will be paid by the government to help consumers learn about their options and assist them in buying federally subsidized private insurance. From the Times:
Labor unions as well as some consumer advocates protest the idea of government officials partnering with Wal-Mart and paying for its help. They contend that the nation’s largest retailer has no place advising others on health coverage when so many of its workers don’t qualify for company benefits and end up in taxpayer-funded programs such as Medi-Cal.
Labor unions and other policy experts have long criticized Wal-Mart for failing to provide better health benefits to its hourly workers and their families. By doing so, they say, Wal-Mart shifts some of those employee healthcare costs onto public programs such as Medicaid.
“Wal-Mart is one of the problems health reform is trying to fix,” said Sara Flocks, public policy coordinator at the California Labor Federation. “Wal-Mart is the driving force behind taking insurance away from Californians.”
Why We Call Them Teahadists:
Black Socialist Pope to Follow Black Socialist President?
That’s the headline over at ultra-conserv Accuracy in Media, where director Cliff Kincaid yesterday warned that allies of George Soros and President Obama are plotting to pick the next pope. Kincaid warns that a “group of radicals” in the “left-wing lobby in the U.S.” are trying to engineer the selection of Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson as Pope.
Kincaid’s argument boils down to the fact that Turkson introduced a document on global financial policy which was endorsed by Stephen Schneck of Catholic University (along with Pope Benedict XVI) and attended one of Schneck’s conferences in 2011.
Since Schneck supported Obama’s reelection and is tied to the group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, naturally Kincaid has arrived at the conclusion that Soros is plotting to pick the next pope in order to “use the Vatican in a global campaign against capitalism.”
Tweets of the Day:
I’d be remiss if I didn’t include something about Sen. Rand Paul’s actual filibuster yesterday where he actually talked about the possibility of drones being used domestically for killing would-be terrorists. I’d be inclined to agree with him that such actions would be contradictory to the intentions of our founding fathers, but I’m afraid that horse is already out of the barn.
Yo Rand Paul, if you are against executing Americans without a fair trial, the best place to complain would be Rick Perry’s office.
— John (@linnyitssn) March 7, 2013
Anyone got a link to one of GOP’s talking filibusters that took place while Bush was taking away our civil liberties? #thereweresomeright?
— The Daily Edge (@TheDailyEdge) March 7, 2013
On This Day: 1908 – Cincinnati’s mayor, Mark Breith announced before the city council that, “Women are not physically fit to operate automobiles.” 1933 – The board game Monopoly was invented. 1994 – The Supreme Court ruled that parodies that poke fun at an original work can be considered “fair use” that does not require permission from the copyright holder.
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