Tag Archives: personal wealth

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.

Wages on the rise for women, is this the real story?

facebook losses
image source: www.clusterflock.org

A recent study suggests that wages are on the rise for women in the United States. Women now earn .93 cents to each dollar a man earns. Some may call this an improvement and it is despite the continued disparity. The real question, “is wages really improving for women or are overall wages decreasing?

The consumer economy and the continued high unemployment just might be the factors that affected these results. Taking these numbers in hand and declaring it a victory will lead to future disappointment for women and the rest of the workers in America. How can we achieve wage parity? UNIONIZE of course!

additional reading: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/12/11/on-pay-gap-millennial-women-near-parity-for-now/

 

Walmart costs the American taxpayer, $2.8 billion a year

Wal-Mart_1The cost of doing business with Walmart,  $2,888,100,000 to taxpayers. In May 2013 the Huffington Post put out an article that spoke of the cost to taxpayers at one Walmart Super Center in Wisconsin. According to the article this one location cost the taxpayers $900,000 in Medicaid and Food Stamps and other government aid programs. The information was from a study by Congressional Democrats. How do we get to nearly $3 billion?

Wikipedia.org> As of March 2012 there were 3209 Walmart Super Centers in the United States. Now the simple math problem: 900,000 x 3209= 2,888,100,000

Now shove a $ sign in front of this number it takes on some significant meaning. We often here how our government cannot continue to go on its current path of spending. So how is it that the continued funding of Walmart employees and families can be allowed? Not that Congressional Republicans desire to fund these programs as we have seen recent reductions to food stamps take place. The answer could be found in the discussion of raising the federal minimum wage, but would it be enough? President Obama prefers raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Republicans do not support any increase.

So if you are a shopper at Walmart and believe you are saving money. You may be at the point of sale but in the end it is coming out of your pocket via your tax bill.

 

New Jersey’s minimum wage increase, an opportunity to collect data

image source: ehow.com
image source: ehow.com

Now that the voters have spoken, raising the minimum wage by one dollar to $8.25 per hour, should the discussion be over? We have the unique opportunity after January 1 to begin gathering data on the impact of the increase. Prior to election day we heard the opponents of raising the minimum wage say, “it’s a job killer, small business will suffer, etc.” The proponents pointed to states with higher minimum wages and lower unemployment. Vermont for example has a higher minimum wage that will increase again January 1 to $8.73 per hour. Very notable, tipped employees minimum wage is $4.23 per hour  (New Jersey $2.13). Unemployment in Vermont as of Aug 2013 stood at 4.6% and has been lower than 6% since January 2011. During this same period New Jersey’s unemployment has been 9% or higher. The opponents of raising the minimum wage were using fear that unemployment would get worse with an increase. “Now is not the time” . The fear tactic obviously was ignored.

Gathering data for possible future fights to increase the minimum wage in other states and the federal standard will begin. This task is an important one and the data will provide others with the tools needed to push the wage up further. New Jersey’s economy is currently not good, making this even more interesting. If unemployment goes down and the economy improves, Governor Christie will be patting himself on the back, not pointing to this modest increase.

As for the tipped-employee and $2.13 an hour? The last attempt by the NJ Legislature to raise to $2.90 was unsuccessful. Fear again the winner. “It will crush Mom and Pops and local small restaurants”  Can we look toward Vermont’s tipped minimum of $4.23 and make the same argument that increasing the wage does not correlate to higher unemployment? We can get some real facts in the coming months and maybe again Legislators will take another shot at an increase.