Tag Archives: personal wealth

Why I’ll seek alternative if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee

If you don’t vote for Hillary Clinton it is a vote for Donald Trump.

The above bold print will be stated many times, by many people, between the Democratic Convention and election day this fall. The accuracy of the statement quite honestly means nothing to me at this point. Who I vote for in November I am uncertain. What I am certain of, it will not be Hillary Clinton (if she is the nominee) or Donald Trump.

I am a registered Democrat and have voted Democrat consistently. The party has failed me and no longer will I just vote the column because they are better than the “other party”. They have failed in many areas:

Starting with the economy from NAFTA with Bill Clinton to President Obama’s trade agreements while in office and his pursuit of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). These trade agreements are why we have the current race to the bottom and such wealth separation.  Hillary Clinton has supported the TPP calling it the gold standard. Pressured by Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton has reversed her position for now because it was a political necessity. Change a page number and a President Hillary Clinton will be on board.

Failing Organized Labor: What has a Democrat done for the labor movement? The past 8 years under President Obama we have seen the further push toward Right to Work, most notably in labors backyard Michigan. Hillary Clinton who promises a seat at the table for labor? Isn’t this what we have had since Ronald Reagan? President Obama and the Democrats had control of both houses when he was first elected. This was the time for legislation, card check for labor. Why wasn’t labor’s issues front and center? Why wasn’t legislation pushed through? Because President Obama’s legacy was priority #1 with the Affordable Care Act and there was no time for labor. Since, with no majority labor sits and waits for their death blow.

WAR> There isn’t one that Hillary Clinton doesn’t like. From the YES vote in Iraq to adding troops in Afghanistan Clinton’s been a supporter. Arming Syrian rebels was a plan that HC devised with CIA Director David Petraeus, ultimately rejected by President Obama. Hillary Clinton has been referred to in the past as Bush-Cheney Lite, which says it all.

Wall-Street> Paid speeches by Wall-Street is well known and disturbing on it’s own. But you not need look past her son-in-law. Co-founder of the hedge fund Eaglevale Partners LP. So Hillary Clinton will reign in Wall-Street and the poor behavior of Wall-Street? If Wall-Street’s not worried why should you be?

My colleague Shane Johnson said it perfectly, “the difference between the Democrats and Republicans is this. The Republicans want you to take the poison in one gulp. The Democrats just give it to you a little at a time.”

The death of the middle-class,and the ever growing ranks of those living in poverty cannot be blamed just on the Republican Party. Hillary Clinton is part of the problem NOT THE SOLUTION.

 

Union’s what will free mean? Friedrichs vs. California

Friedrichs vs. California, the case in the Supreme Court that challenges the ability for unions to collect mandatory dues. This is a public sector case involving a group of teachers challenging the union. Not a private sector union issue but one that will impact them on ruling. National Right to Work, plain and simple.

While I was out at a social event the other day a colleague and friend  of mine brought up the case. Offering an interesting point, “Maybe unions would work harder for their members if dues were not a mandatory requirement.”  A thought that certainly has been espoused by many. Thinking for a brief moment what came to mind was rewards, specifically businesses and their rewards programs. Not the nuts and bolts of the programs,but what they represent. Which is discounts! Collect so many points get a free airplane ticket. Collect so many points get a free turkey, swipe your card get discounted prices, and so on. American business has caught on that the customer is always looking for a bargain. Rich, Middle-Class or Poor, put 2 products side by side of perceived identical value, the consumer will pick the one with the lower price.

Now lets apply this to the collection of union dues. Product A> Union with mandatory collection of dues for service. Product B> Union with strictly voluntary contributions for service. What product would the consumer pick when the belief is that the representation level would be the same?

Addressing the idea that the Unions will work harder for the membership to attain voluntary dues. First and foremost how would they take care of the issues at hand? Less money to operate means more staff? Or more time working on the issues? Advancing the agendas of the membership? It is quite obvious that less money doesn’t increase services. As an example look at your local or state government, reducing or maintaining tax collections doesn’t correlate in increased services, does it?

Friedrichs versus California, the most important case involving American labor in many years. And one if the Supreme Court sides with Friedrichs will send American labor unions to extinction. Yes extinction, as the consumer will chose the “discounted” version as we are the great disposable economy. The problem will be there won’t be another opportunity for purchasing again.

Christie, Walker and Kasich have we Survived the GOP Attack

5th year anniversary post

Surviving the GOP attack the 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.

executive order
image source: www.nowpublic.com

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.

 

Wikipedia.org
Wikipedia.org

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.

image; wikipedia.org
image; wikipedia.org

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!

Thank you for visiting our site and stop by again soon!

 

 

 

 

 

Its the economic cycle stupid!

facebook losses
image source: www.clusterflock.org

Everywhere you look there is somebody that’s STUPID. From a rather young age we begin to recognize stupidity. I know my children did, as there were times I needed to shush them in public using the “s” word too loud. They needed to learn sensitivity, right?

What is stupid? Most certainly it is subjective and the words that I continue with are subjective. Back to stupid! We lived through the 2005 banking collapse and the Great Recession that followed (some more successfully than others). What have we learned? This question is what defines stupid for this post. The stock market is racing to new highs seemingly each day. With this friends, co-workers and family expressing glee are thrilled to announce their new-found wealth. Is this financial cycle different from any previous financial cycles? I guess not, making the excitement of new riches part of it I imagine. So why is it stupid? Why am I pointing the finger of stupid at others, heck too some degree myself! Because, nothing has fundamentally changed. 

Attitudes, economics, politics and theory has not been altered. Not moved by the collapse of banks, credit, personal wealth, the housing market. We have had protests and some push back (Occupy, Fight for 15). A few states have increased their minimum-wages, but is that it? The Right-Wing has won far more, reducing the size of government, not spending  just payroll! This has only weakened the LABOR MOVEMENT and the size of organized labor, with the promise of lower taxes? Is your tax bill smaller? Not in New Jersey where the “shrinking” of government took place. Good 99%’s voted in the Republican Christie and bought in to the lies of smaller government! Not once but twice. So that is where the example of stupid is quantified. ( I DID NOT VOTE FOR HIM ON EITHER OCCASION).

Disgust, is that what I am feeling? Is that what you are feeling? Or should we be standing with the vast majority? The people who have embraced the “recovery”. Fully accepted their stock market gains, planning their futures, their retirements as if that money will never go away. We will never experience another downturn, banking collapse or money crisis. Our government has……………………………..done nothing.

Economic reality and unemployment

unemployment
image source: marketmixup.com

The most recent unemployment number, 6.7% nationally, unchanged from the previous month. Among Millennials the number stands above 15%. One of the “news” pieces on Fox this morning was on how those in the 15% who favored President Obama have been failed by him (The Young Vote). Has the President failed the youth of America? Or, has and IS America failing the youth and for that matter everyone?

The Great Recession, does Fox and everyone else remember this devastating economic event? I certainly do and the lasting effects of the GR is seen in these numbers and will continue to affect our economy until economic, monetary and tax policies are reversed. Yes, President Obama has failed the youth and America as Bush II, Clinton and Bush I, all the way back to Reagan. Business in America, the favored group with the all to well-known “trickle down economics. Which despite the rhetoric from President Obama has continued for three decades with little on the horizon to hope for change soon. The tax system, with its low rates on the rich and business (with its tax breaks) would be a great starting point. Changing these breaks to encourage business to build factories and manufacture here and encourage EMPLOYMENT.

Everyone cannot be a professional! College and the youth who have been left behind. College that many of us have encouraged for our children, are there enough jobs for these youth? By the plus 15% unemployment number, one would have to say that answer would be no. With more college graduates each year, one can expect a higher number in the future. But where will they get a job if they don’t go to college? We make less in this country each year, so moving to the “labor” of the labor market a failed choice as well.

Raising the minimum wage, a great idea? Not if it is done on its own. Let me be clear, I favor a minimum wage increase ($15.00). It will immediately impact the lower paid workers and will benefit our consumer economy. Done alone, it will not have a lasting impact. Washington MUST promote investment in America, its manufacturing capabilities along with its infrastructure to move those products.

America’s decline, high unemployment and under-employment. How does President Obama, Washington fix? Politicians must acknowledge first that the 30 plus years of “trickle down economics” has created our current woes. Fixing it, not just one move will change our direction. The economic divide is the largest it has ever been and if allowed to continue we are well on our way to the next depression.