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My Reply to Cornel West’s Critiques of Obama

Cornel West’s 8 Most Eye-Opening Critiques of Barack Obama’s Presidency

In his new book, West blasts the president for failing African-Americans and the poor. Link to article HERE
I think that West’s critique has some merit but it does a great disservice to his followers by leaving out the underlying conditions that make this the reality. It serves as a continuing trend in America of looking at the surface and basing opinion on that alone. American is far deeper than the ugly veneer that is apparent on the surface. I have and continue to respect Brother West for his knowledge and insight in most cases, but based on these quoted remarks I do have to express a departure with him.

On his first point, African-Americans as well as all minorities and poor typically do worse under national economic crises. As witnessed throughout American history; look at 1920, 1880, 1800 and so on. With the Second Republican Great Depression in 2008 came a disproportionate oppression of minorities, middle class, working class, and working poor. This complete decimation of the American economy  lead to a widening of the divide between those that have and those struggling to obtain (in spite of a system that pushed all economic gains to the top 5% Obama has made strides, although not as much as American needs).

On his second point, leadership in the African-American community has weakened due to lack of participation in the voting process other than presidential election. Bring up the percentage of actual minority voters and leadership void will be filled by those supported by the increased voting numbers.

On his third point, he need look no further than the adoption of Reaganomics in 1982 until now and the lack of populist legislation to reverse the devolution of Trickle-On-economics. A single president does not have the power to do this alone; he needs Congress. The decrease in the upward mobility numbers have been evidenced over the years till now after the Reagan Revolution (against the middle class).  I utterly agree with West that the upward mobility problem in America is vast and almost insurmountable, but it is not the result of the Obama presidency. I would add that if President Obama had acted more quickly and aggressively he could have done more to quell this depression. The truth is that this trend has continued due to an opposition party that have governed (loosely used when referring to Republicons) in a manner that is treasonous and at the very least “seditious”!

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Reply to Conservative on Unions, WHAT? Part 3

No Unions, REALLY?!?

No Unions, REALLY?!?

The initial question posted by Warren Drew

Given the fight later today over final passage of a right to work law in Michigan, I figured it might be worthwhile to mention a couple things about right to work.

First, right to work laws do not prohibit unions.  They merely allow workers to decline to join a union.  There are plenty of unions in right to work states.

Second, right to work laws do not appear to reduce wages.  The state with the highest wages for assembly line workers is Alabama, a right to work state.  The metro areas with the highest wages are Tuscaloosa and Spartanburg, both in right to work states.  BLS figures from here:

http://www.ehow.com/info_7802584_average-auto-assembly-line-worker.html#ixzz2Eijftiyi

Right to work laws just keep the unions honest, and make them work for the workers rather than just for the union bosses.  From the standpoint of industry, they just balance out federal laws that are very much prounion.

My reply to Warren Drew

+Warren Dew
Your posting of surface information is not beneficial to those who are not aware of the financial implications of right-to-work-for-less laws (RTWFL).

The first point is partially true; it does not prohibit unions; it ONLY allows workers benefit from the unions activism on their behalf without paying into the very union that created the benefits that they enjoy. You know to loosely use an analogy; it like eating going into McDonalds, eating a Big Mac, and not paying for it. Fair right?

Your second point is also only true on the surface. While what you stated may be correct on the surface when you really look the facts it is deceiving to be kind. The United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics state that Occupational Employment and Wages Estimates shows median hourly wages of all the Right to Work States (RTW) and all the Collective-Bargaining States (CBS) as follows: Read more…

Reply to Conservative on Unions, WHAT? Part 1

December 11, 2012 3 comments
No Unions, REALLY?!?

No Unions, REALLY?!?

The initial question posted by Gregory

 

Question for conservatives:  Why don’t you support worker unions?

A worker union is a free association of individuals with the purpose of increasing their bargaining power against that of their employer.  In capitalism, the owner of a good is free to decide how much to price their own goods.  I am the owner of my labor and therefore I am free to decide how much my labor is worth.  As an American, I have the right to free association.  It is therefore within my rights to meet with fellow employees and decide together how much we should “charge” for our labor.If it is acceptable for industry to join together in order to lobby congress to pass laws that favor them over their employees, then why is it not acceptable for employees to fight back by forming collectives of their own?The point for conservatives is to maximize freedom, is it not?  Isn’t the ability to unionize a type of freedom?You can respond however you want, of course, but using specific instances of a pathological union to make your case is going to be rather unconvincing.   Also, simply applying a label to unionism like “Socialism” is also not going to make your point to anyone except those who already think as you do.I’m looking for a general response as to why unionism is harmful to society.  More specifically, why it would result in more harm to society than if unions were banned.

My reply to Gregory Geller

I commend your post. It was eloquent, concise, and accurate. I assert that conservatives (loosely used term) have been convinced that the interests of the company should be their interests and nothing can be further from the truth. Unions are the only form of democracy in the workplace in almost every instance. The reference to GREED when talking about unions is a ridiculously misplaced descriptor, but one that I will not make the point of this post. Read more…

Reply to Conservative on Unions, WHAT? Part 2

No Unions, REALLY?!?

No Unions, REALLY?!?

Pradheep Shanker reply to my initial post, see HERE.

+Anthony Gaston I agree with the historical context.

Let me ask you…what major contribution have unions in America made in the past three decades?

As far as I can tell, they have largely become defenders of the status quo, in a era of tumult and change.  At a time when they should have been adapting to the changing world, they have largely held true the ideals of the 1950s and 1960s…and that has not served them well.

My reply

Unions have not helped to maintain working standards since their inception; they have attempted to prevent the out-shoring of American jobs, equal pay for women (Lilly Ledbetter act), anti-gay firings, and a myriad of other worker protections. One has to look at a couple of things that have vastly degraded the effectiveness of unions. You can look at our ridiculously unfair trade policies (unfair to America and favorable to other nations), the right-to-work-for-less legislation, the increasing power of corporations over our legislation, Corporate person-hood, not using the buy American provision, and a slew of other anti-worker initiatives that are killing the American workforce.

You may be conflating the lack of major contributions (whatever you are defining that as) with the vast array of improvements in work place safety, personal privacy (such as employers being able to use your Facebook, G+, or other personal communications) as a determiner of employment, and collective bargaining (which is one of the clearest forms of freedom, that I have seen suppressed, in years).

Defenders of the status quo is a great thing unless you think that American should follow China standards, or lack thereof? You referenced “adapting to the changing world”; what do you mean by that? Should Americans work for 2 dollars a day like China or Singapore? Read more…

Fiscal Cliff: effects on taxation and revenues!!

November 26, 2012 4 comments

The more one learns about the “Fiscal Cliff” (The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act) the more we know and that is an empowering educational tool for the voting populace. Now let’s look at why Republicons are so afraid of the fiscal cliff and the accompanying expiration of the Bush tax cuts. Once America understands the fundamental underpinnings of the fiscal cliff in terms of taxation the more un-cliff’like they may find it. Fiscally it is appealing in many aspects seeing that a lot of it impacts the rich and dividend investors and furthermore increases revenue.

The scariest aspect of the fiscal cliff for Republicons is, dare WE say, returning the top marginal tax rat to 39.6% (which is the rate under Clinton, you know the president that gave us a surplus) from the current 35%, but wait there’s more. Not only will the top marginal rate return to reasonable level, but it will also raise capital gains tax rates to 20% from the ridiculous maximum rate of 15%. In my humble opinion, the top marginal income tax rate should have never been lower than 50%, for reasons that I will address in another blog. I even dare to contest the special treatment of capital gains; I think that capital gains should be taxed as normal income, period (again, I will address that in another blog). Another revenue increasing result of the fiscal cliff would be that stock dividend income would be taxed as regular income and that would be a beautiful thing and I would call it “a start towards fiscal sanity”!

The beauty, in my estimation, or the danger, in the estimation of the rich and the Republicon party, in the fiscal cliff kicking in is that there will be more cuts to loop-holes and tax breaks which primarily benefit the rich. For example, Estate taxation, or the death tax as conservatives call them, would go up by changing the estate tax that currently only applies to those inheriting over 5.1 million to anyone inheriting one million dollars or more,  (boo hoo). This would mean anyone inheriting over 1 million dollars would have to pay a 35% estate tax. Another topper would be that the AMT (alternative minimum tax) would also change in aspect of who would be subjected to it. So far, the changes that could take effect does not make 99% of the United States populace worry or fearful of this cliff that everyone is talking about; although I could be just fiscally naive. The so-called fiscal cliff has some bearing on the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). Apparently there is a 3.8% medicare surtax that will be implemented on wage earners making over $200,00 and families making over $250,000 annually. Read more…

American Debt and Who got Us Here!

Prior to 1980 America had never reached a debt of one Trillion dollars, but with the election of  Ronald Reagan we passed that mark and then some.  When Ronald Reagan took office our national debt was a mere 900 billion dollars; give or take a few hundred million dollars. Reagan ushered in the theory called “Reaganomics” which would be later referred to as “Trickle Down Economics” (see; http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/SupplySideEconomics.html) but by either name it set in motion an approach to monetary policies that would devastate America, but I digress.

Reagan’s presidency ushered in Reaganomics which was an approach that relied on 3 key policy/fiscal foundations; tax cuts which reduced the operational capital of government, deregulation which opened up corporate welfare and corruption, and the role of government to that of noninterference (which is how Republicons referred to government protections from corporations and money’ed interests). America believed that Reaganomics would increase investments by the wealthy in the job market and in turn would stimulate prosperity for all. I refer to this as “trickle on economics” but again I digress. Reagan would  go on to deregulate savings and loans markets; he reduced taxes, increased military spending which directly led the stock market crash in 1987. The start of deregulation of banking and investment markets by Reagan,  and the administrations that would continue this approach, would come to roost later in American history but I will cove that later. This approach would take  the debt from 930 billion to 2.6 trillion in a mere 8 years or $10,058.90 per capita for a population of 258,709,873. I would again note that this had not happened since the start of America until Reagan’s presidency. The Reagan administration increased debt by roughly 2 trillion over an 8 year period which is an increase of 189% of the debt he inherent-ed; just WOW!

Reagan set the table for economic policies that would be adopted in large parts and small from this point forward. Bush Sr. (Reagan’s vice-president) would be elected in 1989 and continue the “trickle down economic policies of Reagan and would fare no better than his predecessor  Bush Sr. would lead the country to an economic collapse and end his one term presidency with the nation in debt for a staggering 4 trillion dollars or $4,064,620,655,521.66 to be exact. This result was in spite of him raising taxes in 1992 in order to curtail the disastrous fiscal policies he continued from Reagan. You would think that Bush would have learned from Reagan’s fiscal FAIL, but Republicons (I refuse to call them “conservatives”; there is nothing conservative about them) did not learn and America was fooled by slogans and propaganda that still exists today; and again I digress. I think that you are starting to see that I digress a lot, but what can I say I have a lot of un-expressed political history in my head. So now we are at the 4 Trillion debt mark. The Bush Sr. administration increased debt by roughly 2 trillion over an 4 year period. Supply Side Economics and Republicon governance quadrupled the national debt to over $4 trillion in twelve years (1980-1992) and they call themselves “conservatives”! Bush Sr’s administration governed over an increase of the U.S. debt of what would equal an 55% increase in just one term; I dare to speculate that with another term he would have nearly equaled Reagan’s debt disaster! That’s right I said it.

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