November 2013 voters in New Jersey approved increasing the states minimum wage by a resounding 61-39%. In the measure the minimum wage would increase by $1.00 an hour. Moving forward the wage was tied to the cost of living allowing it to keep pace in the future. Today the rate stands at $8.38 an hour more than a dollar higher than the federal rate. Leading up to the vote business led by Governor Christie argued the usual argument. It will be a job killer and wreck the economy. So fast forward to today a shade over 2 years after it took affect to see what this job killing measure did.
January 1, 2014 the first day the law took affect with the $1.00 an hour increase, the states unemployment rate stood at 7.2%
February 2016 after increases on top of the $1.00 unemployment in NJ stands at 4.3%
A 2.9% drop in the unemployment rate, and one Governor Christie brags about! In his state of the state address 2016, Christie boasted of the 4 straight years of private sector job growth.
The moral of the story? Republicans will tell fables to protect the profits of business.
Now that Ted Cruz has stolen Carly Fiorina away from Trump who will be his nominee for VP? The Republican Party is badly damaged. Healing of the party will need to be a priority as well as bringing women, minorities and moderates to the voting booths.
The voter backlash should tell the GOP one thing, they need to get this pick right. With that in mind I scoured over the internet looking for some experienced people who would not turn people off, please the base and the GOP party bosses/donors.
Martha McSally> Congresswoman from Arizona she is also a former Air Force pilot retiring with the rank of colonel. Winning her election in 2014 after a recount. McSally is a Pro-lifer, would repeal the Affordable Care Act, and doesn’t support tax increases on any level. She’s on record supporting the Keystone XL Pipeline and sending illegals home first before they can apply for citizenship. Martha McSally is not perfectly aligned with Trump but she is in line with the GOP donor base.
Nikki Haley> Elected South Carolina’s 116th governor she endorsed Marco Rubio and once he left she saddled up to Ted Cruz. She’s currently in her second term which will end in 2019. The GOP put her out front of the party in 2016 as Haley responded to President Obama’s state of the union. She previously was in the South Carolina House of representatives serving from 2004. Nikki Haley’s mantra is anti-tax and has been since running for her first elected office. Being a daughter of an immigrant Nikki Haley’s stance on immigration is to enforce the laws of the land. Proven track record of GOP economics, a great appeal to the party donors. Yes Koch Brothers she’s a less regulations gal.
Two choices for Trump that would unite the party and more importantly bring over some women, moderates and maybe a few minority voters. Between Martha McSally and Nikki Haley? Haley would bring executive experience and more political experience to the White House. Both though would improve Trump’s image with women. Who will be Trump’s pick? Both are good choices but would they even want the job?
The debate last night was another typical mud-slinging contest. If you enjoyed the debate….you must be poor. But no worries Trump “loves the poor!”
Mudslinging> “If he hadn’t inherited $200 million, you know where Donald Trump would be right now?? Selling watches in Manhattan.” Rubio. (Not so sure how true that may be, but Trump did inherit is loot.)
Trump> who attacked Rubio on his credit card issues also defended hiring illegal-workers stating “I have hired tens of thousands of people, you’ve hired nobody” (true Mr. Rubio)
Cruz> “while I was fighting the Gang of 8 bill on amnesty you were firing Dennis Rodman on the Celebrity Apprentice. Trump fired back questioning why Cruz has no endorsements from his Senate colleagues. Cruz: If you want to be liked in Washington Mr. Trump that is not a good attribute for a president.
My personal highlights were Rubio on Trump and the building of a wall. “If he builds a wall the way he built Trump Tower, he’ll use illegal immigrants to do it.”
Trump to Cruz> ” “I’m relaxed and you’re a basket case”
The GOP debates have been a circus and the latest was no different. So l pose the question, Is this the change that voters really want?
Trump wins in Nevada by a landslide. The political establishment is shaking in their boots, and frankly so am I. It’s time for some sanity which will only happen with the departure of Cruz or Rubio. The math is quite simple using the results of Nevada.
Trump in Nevada received 45.91% of the vote or 34,531.
Rubio 17,940 or 23.85% Cruz 16,079 or 21.38%. Statistically a tie with Trump if you combine the two. We hear these candidates talk of service to their country and love for their country. Well? Which one of you are going to go for the sake of your country? Or on a smaller scale for the sake of your party? The establishment candidate is Rubio so I’ll make the decision for you.
Surviving the GOP attackthe title of my first post on Defender of the Middle-Class. It has been 5 years since I wrote the post and the title says it all to why I began this web-site. The GOP had begun an all out attack on middle-America and far too many Americans were buying what they were selling. The new allegedly leaderless Tea-Party was moving the politics far to the right. Public employees were largely the focus of the attacks. Divide and conquer!
In the 5 years since I have plowed ahead writing posts in the hopes of bringing people together, forging new thought for the common goal of expanding and protecting the middle-class. We have been fortunate in this time to add Shane Johnson as a contributor to the site. Shane has offered wonderfully researched articles in all subject matter, especially though in History Repeats Itself. I am thankful for his insight and wisdom. I still believe that a strong growing middle-class is the only answer to our countries ills. Where are we today relative to my original post?
“Surviving the GOP Attack” lets dig into some facts of the past 5 years.
New Jersey> Governor Christie took his act on the road and nationally not too many were listening thankfully, terminating his pursuit of the presidency after the New Hampshire primary. What he has done in NJ has been tragic. Tragic because the pain inflicted on the public sector could have been limited to a single-term. Voters stayed home and the Democrats ran a sacrificial lamb against him. Christie’s wage cap on the public sector should have been enough to get those voters out. Add the “pension reform” which he continues not to properly fund to this day?! Governor Christie was extremely popular during his second campaign. That popularity has rapidly declined beginning with Bridge-Gate.
Private sector job growth. In 5 years Christie has created 142,700 jobs or a 4.5% growth rate. Nationally the rate stands at 10.2%, Christie’s NJ ranks 49th out of 50 states in job creation.
Poverty is on the rise in NJ, 2.8 million adults and 800,000 children lived in poverty in 2014. Many have not recovered from the Great Recession and the future looks bleak with the current administration.
Christie boasts not raising taxes in the state. Well this is a twist on words as his 2015 budget included 23 fee hikes. Christie has also directly LIED to NJ on the tax issue as Christie signed into law last summer an internet sales tax (called use tax). Collected by stores on the internet with a physical presence in NJ. This expected to raise $25 million.
Stagnant wages for NJ’s Teachers, Police, Fire and other state workers, along with higher pension and healthcare costs. NJ taxpayers, paying more in taxes and/or fees. Jobs, nearly the worst job growth in the country. The future doesn’t look all that bright with a ballooning unpaid balance on the states pension obligation. My prayers for the next governor.
Wisconsin> Scott Walker, succeeded in eliminating the public sector unions right to collectively bargain in 2011. In 2014, Right to Work legislation was signed into law by Walker another crushing blow to the workers of the state. The last of his labor actions, destruction of the civil service system. A bill that heads to his desk to essentially remove qualification testing and move all hiring to the Department of Administration which is a direct extension of the governors office. Bring on the nepotism and cronyism!
Walkers legacy though may be his failure to the children. Wisconsin under Walker ranks 10th in child poverty. Child poverty has increased 5% from 2008-2013. 26% of Wisconsin children have parents without a secure job. Personal income in Wisconsin is lower and shows a continued to decline in the future.
Unemployment, Wisconsin ranks 10th in the country. But this number may be misleading as more people are being declined and having benefit eligibility revisited. Is the Wisconsin benefit system rigged? Some think so and if it is that would certainly impact the number wouldn’t it?
Walkers reign has destroyed collective bargaining. Marginalized the worker in both the private and public sector while driving the rolls of poverty higher.
The third battle ground state from Surviving the GOP attack was Ohio and Governor Kasich. As Governor-elect he announced his war on the Ohio worker, Dec 22, 2010. Kasich called for repeal of the state’s collective bargaining law for public employees. To end binding arbitration for Fire safety workers who strike. And eliminating prevailing wage requirements in state contracts. This the same person who received a $400,000 bonus as managing director of Lehman Brothers the same year they went bankrupt! Since, Kasich has come out to state that he doesn’t support Right to Work legislation , choosing not to go for labor’s jugular like Walker.
Under a struggling Kasich economy, poverty continues to rise. Ohio with 593,831 children living in poverty. In cities such as Youngstown, Dayton and Cleveland more than half the children live in poverty . Overall income is on the rise in Ohio up 2.6% in 2014. But, the state ranks 32nd in the nation just below Georgia which has a much lower cost of living .
Finally under the National GOP blueprint Kasich has hammered the public education system. Under the guise of school reform Kasich has reduced public education funding by half a billion dollars. While funding for charter schools have increased 27%. Since Kasich became governor public funding for private schools has increased to more than $200 million .
Kasich’s reign in Ohio has had a similar theme attacking labor and the public sector, cutting taxes on business. Kasich’s results are similar to Governor’s Christie and Walker. Poverty, not the sign of success and like his counterparts on the rise.
Looking back to my first post and researching for this one resulted in mixed emotions. To be honest, ANGER is the predominate one. How could “we the people” allow such horror to remain in office. The first time, maybe a mistake, but re-electing? And in Walkers case surviving a recall election? Big money in politics plays the largest role. Allowing for these puppet politicians to retain office. Today we do have hope. That hope rests at the feet of Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders is offering a new direction and message for those sick of the same old politics. A revolution, this is what our country desperately needs. And not one that lasts just an election cycle. Apathy, no longer an option if we are to Survive the GOP and their big money backers. Educate yourself and get involved!
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