And how about all that defense spending when we’ve supposedly ended the Bush Wars? Or all the federal money paid to highly profitable oil companies? Or $77,000 tax deductions for dancing horses for the super rich? The GOP needs to trim their favorite expenditures before they talk about tapping into the safety net that millions must rely on to simply live.
Senate negotiators labored over the weekend on a last-ditch plan to avert the “fiscal cliff,” struggling to resolve key differences over how many wealthy households should face higher income taxes in the new year and how to tax inherited estates.
….Negotiators were trying to resolve a dispute over the estate tax, a critical issue for Republicans who have dubbed it the “death tax” and argue that it punishes people who build successful businesses and family farms.
In an agreement brokered between McConnell and the White House in 2010, estates worth more than $5 million are exempted and taxed above that amount at 35 percent. Republicans want to maintain that structure, while Democrats want to drop the exemption to $3.5 million and raise the rate on larger estates to 45 percent.
Do you know how many people leave estates valued at more than $3.5 million? Something like 0.01 percent, give or take a bit. This is a tax that’s a huge deal for the super-rich, but completely irrelevant for nearly everyone else, including the merely ordinary rich. And needless to say, all the talk about small businesses and family farms is just a pretense. Virtually no family farms are affected, and the ones that are have extremely generous rules for dealing with estate taxes.
Meanwhile, Republican base voters are super-focused on gay marriage and buying as many guns as they can at Walmart. Because they’re smart!
“They say that their biggest priority is making sure that we deal with the deficit in a serious way, but the way they’re behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected. That seems to be their only overriding, unifying theme.”
— President Obama, on Meet the Press, blaming Republicans for failing to reach a deal to avert the fiscal cliff.
Yesterday vs. today:
With regard to the picture “It’s a Wonderful Life”, [redacted] stated in substance that the film represented rather obvious attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a ‘scrooge-type’ so that he would be the most hated man in the picture. This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists. [In] addition, [redacted] stated that, in his opinion, this picture deliberately maligned the upper class, attempting to show the people who had money were mean and despicable characters.”
The company that owns Red Lobster and Olive Garden is feeling the effects of its well-publicized
tantrum plan to not provide its employees — who get paid very low wages – with health insurance coverage. Of course we can expect that Darden’s owners / upper management will continue to receive outlandish salaries and bonuses, because that’s how American capitalism works. But that has nothing to do with anything… right?
How not to succeed in business: Promise to dodge Obamacare mandates – Darden began testing a plan under which it would hire more part-time employees in October, who would work fewer than 40 hours a week. That would exempt the company from the health law’s mandate to provide health insurance coverage to all full-time workers. Separate research from YouGov suggests that other restaurant chains that have recently criticized the Affordable Care Act have seen their favorability dip shortly thereafter… As much as Americans have negative opinions about the larger health-care system, they also tend to have pretty positive views of their own health insurance. Politifact has sifted through this data before, and found that polls that ask Americans whether they’re satisfied with their health-care plan can find upwards of 80 percent of respondents agreeing with them.
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Darden Restaurants Inc. shares fell 9% in premarket trades on Tuesday after it said it expects adjusted second-quarter profit of 25 to 26 cents a share. The Orlando, Fla., operator of Olive Garden and Red Lobster eateries was expected to earn 46 cents a share, according to a survey by FactSet.
The Atlantic: With 47 percent of the popular vote, Mitt Romney may become the president of nothing more than Ironystan. Yes, the final general-election tally is trickling in and, as fate would have it, Romney’s total might look more like that mythical number after all. Well, according to David Wasserman of the Cook Political report, it’s more like 47.49 and dropping, which, of course rounds down to 47 — the same percentage of Americans he said were moochers and takers in a video that was one of the nails in the coffin of his presidential campaign. [...] Wasserman projects that Romney’s vote share will actually head more toward 47 percent flat — 47.1 percent or 47.2 percent — because many of the outstanding ballots in the presidential race come from California and New York, which both voted for Obama by a large margin.”
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax. [M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” — Mitt Romney, May/2012
The consumer is the true job creator — not the one-percent business owners who hoard their profits instead of fairly compensating their workers.
“The more that we can have a conversation about the employer role, it takes business, it takes government, it takes individuals to sort of create a social contract, a middle class in this country, and employers have simply walked away from that bargain,” and from accountability, said Heather McGee, vice president of policy and outreach of Demos. She claimed one Demos study found that increasing minimum wages at the biggest retailers to $25,000 year would create 130,000 new jobs by putting more money in the pockets of the “real job creators in this country, the low-wage workers who spend every dime that they get.” It would also “lift a million and a half people out of poverty or near poverty” and that if the retailers passed the entire cost of those wage increases to consumers, it would cost an additional thirty cents per shopping trip, she said. — The real job creators are ‘low-wage workers who spend every dime that they get’
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average full-time retail worker earns between $18,000 and $21,000 per year. But if retail workers got a raise, would consumers have to pay higher prices to make up for it? A new study by the think tank Demos reports that raising the salary of all full-time workers at large retailers to $25,000 per year would lift more than 700,000 people out of poverty, at a cost of only a 1 percent price increase for customers. And, in the end, retailers would benefit. According to the study, the cost of the wage increases to major retailers would be $20.8 billion — about one percent of the sector’s $2.17 trillion in total annual sales. But the study also estimates the increased purchasing power of lower-wage workers as a result of the pay raises would generate $4 billion to $5 billion in additional retail sales. — Robert Reich
Tax-paying consumers are paying a high price now:
- Good Catholic, Christian behavior: rejecting Walmart’s “blood money”
- Costco and Walmart: a good American employer vs. a shitty American employer
- The Walton family and trickle-down
- Walmart may be America’s biggest Welfare Queen
- Walmart costs taxpayers $1,557,000,000: the Conservative Circle of Life
- The growing income gap, stalled economic growth, and financial deregulation
- The American Dream: we’ve gone from ‘prosperity for all’ to ‘the rich takes all’
- Middle America since 1979: doing more work for less money, even as corporate profits rise
- Tax breaks to the wealthy will never create jobs
- 19 Facts About The Deindustrialization Of America
A half century ago America’s largest private-sector employer was General Motors, whose full-time workers earned an average hourly wage of around $50, in today’s dollars, including health and pension benefits.
Today, America’s largest employer is Walmart, whose average employee earns $8.81 an hour. A third of Walmart’s employees work less than 28 hours per week and don’t qualify for benefits.
There are many reasons for the difference – including globalization and technological changes that have shrunk employment in American manufacturing while enlarging it in sectors involving personal services, such as retail.
But one reason, closely related to this seismic shift, is the decline of labor unions in the United States. In the 1950s, over a third of private-sector workers belonged to a union. Today fewer than 7 percent do. As a result, the typical American worker no longer has the bargaining clout to get a sizeable share of corporate profits.
Walmart earned $16 billion last year (it just reported a 9 percent increase in earnings in the third quarter of 2012, to $3.6 billion), the lion’s share of which went instead to Walmart’s shareholders — including the family of its founder, Sam Walton, who earned on their Walmart stock more than the combined earnings of the bottom 40 percent of American workers.
Is this about to change? Despite decades of failed unionization attempts, Walmart workers are planning to strike or conduct some other form of protest outside at least 1,000 locations across the United States this Friday – so-called “Black Friday,” the biggest shopping day in America when the Christmas holiday buying season begins.
But if retail workers got a raise, would consumers have to pay higher prices to make up for it? A new study by the think tank Demos reports that raising the salary of all full-time workers at large retailers to $25,000 per year would lift more than 700,000 people out of poverty, at a cost of only a 1 percent price increase for customers.
And, in the end, retailers would benefit. According to the study, the cost of the wage increases to major retailers would be $20.8 billion — about one percent of the sector’s $2.17 trillion in total annual sales. But the study also estimates the increased purchasing power of lower-wage workers as a result of the pay raises would generate $4 billion to $5 billion in additional retail sales.
changewalmart: From ArtistsVsWalmart.Tumblr.com
Walmart’s employees aren’t compensated with a living wage or benefits, so we — the taxpayers — pick up the tab for what their greedy owners won’t pay for: food, shelter, medical care, etc.
This situation has worked out really well for CEO Michael Duke, upper management, and the Walton children for decades — but it hasn’t worked out so great for the rest of us.
What’s wrong with America? Walmart ethics.
“We’ve got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything. We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”
– Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), urging Republicans to “stop being the stupid party.”
Andrew Sullivan remarks: “I’ll believe him when he names Limbaugh as one critical source of the problem. I’ll believe him even more if he were able to find space within the GOP for those who support marriage equality, efforts to combat climate change and a non-absolutist position on abortion rights. But he cannot change theology in a religious party – especially when he is one of its high priests.”
And Charles Johnson laughs at this newly found “enlightenment” from the guy who mocked volcano monitoring: “Politico’s article doesn’t mention it, of course, but Gov. Jindal is rather infamous at LGF for pushing the very stupidest of stupid right wing positions; he enthusiastically promoted and signed into law a bill in Louisiana that legitimizes the teaching of creationism under the disguise of “academic freedom.” Jindal’s promotion of creationism outraged scientists across America; one scientific organization actually cancelled a major convention in protest. More recently, Jindal has also promoted legislation that allows Louisiana state funding to go to private religious schools that teach creationism and all kinds of other anti-science mind rot. And that’s not all, by a long shot. While a college student, Jindal took part in an exorcism that he claimed cured a woman of cancer…
Bob Moser thinks Jindal isn’t calling for actual change, just a re-branding: “But beyond embracing some parts of Dodd-Frank and the “Volcker Rule,” Jindal—who’s been a right-wing governor, gutting public schools and slashing funds for hospitals—basically limited his idea of change to rejiggering the party’s image. His solution, beneath the frank talk, comes down to figuring out new ways to make Republicans once again look like a populist party—a new spin on the faux-populism Republicans used, from Nixon to Bush, to convince working- and middle-class folks they were on their side while working to make the wealthy wealthier.”
And Jed Lewison lists all the conservative beliefs Jindal has no problem with (even though the voters do have a problem with them) and summarizes that Jindal doesn’t want to change the substance of GOP ideals — he’s just calling for a change in tone.
On Mitt Romney’s douchey phonecall yesterday, Political Wire reports:
Said Jindal: “No, I think that’s absolutely wrong. Two points on that: One, we have got to stop dividing the American voters. We need to go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent. We need to go after every single vote. And, secondly, we need to continue to show how our policies help every voter out there achieve the American Dream, which is to be in the middle class, which is to be able to give their children an opportunity to be able to get a great education. … So, I absolutely reject that notion, that description. I think that’s absolutely wrong.”
Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter said he plans on passing the costs of health care reform to his business onto his workers. Schnatter said he will likely reduce workers’ hours, as a result of President Obama’s reelection, the Naples News reports. Schnatter made headlines over the summer when he told shareholders that the cost of a Papa John’s pizza will increase by between 11 and 14 cents due to Obamacare.
Here’s what Forbes had to say about Schnatter’s “11-14 cent” increase:
“So how much would prices go up, under these 50/50 conditions, if they were to fairly reflect the increased cost of doing business onset by Obamacare? Roughly 3.4 to 4.6 cents a pie.”
John Schnatter is lying to us — so he can rake in even more money.
By the way, guess how much money Schnatter just gave away with his 2 million free pizzas promotion? According to Forbes:
“In September, the company announced that it would be giving away 2 million free pizzas. That was, of course, a promotion designed to increase brand awareness and to invite consumers to try the brand… But just in case you’re curious, that would be the equivalent of $24 million to $32 million in pizza revenue.”
Schnatter will cut his employee’s hours so he doesn’t have to cover them under Obamacare, but he’ll give away up to $32 million in revenue for a promotion. Oh, and he’ll also raise the cost of his pizza by more than is absolutely necessary. Because he can.
Here’s where John Schnatter lives — it’s known as The Castle:
via: Google maps
Schnatter’s home is so fabulous it even made Mitt Romney gush when he was there in May for a private fundraiser for his campaign:
What a welcome, what a place this is. My goodness. Who would have imagined pizza could build this, you know that? This is really something. Don’t you love this country? What a home this is, what grounds these are, the pool, the golf course. You know if a Democrat were here he’d look around and say no one should live like this, you know? Republicans come here and say everyone should live like this, all right. This is a real tribute to America, to entrepreneurship. [VIDEO]
John Schnatter, a plutocrat like Mitt Romney, would be the first to scream “I built that!” regarding his home, his business, his fortune. FreakOutNation notes: “A [Papa John's] delivery driver makes a whopping $6.41 per hour. It’s wonderful that this man has been able to realize the American dream — some of it, on the backs of his workers, who are insufficiently paid.”
Everything Schnatter owns has nothing to do with the people who work for him… the people who are on the front lines, dealing directly with the customers, correct? Why should The Help earn a living wage?
On an earlier post a commenter noted, quite accurately:
“So now we’re starting to see the real cost to those cheap meals. The company pockets a ton of profits, while leaving the healthcare of its employees in the hands of the tax payers.”
Just like uninsured low-paid Walmart workers, John Schnatter’s employees will get sick, get in accidents, and will need medical care at one point or another — and the rest of us will pick up the tab. We’ll do that so that Schnatter can continue to hoard most of his corporation’s profits for himself, and live in the home that’s pictured above — and is described as follows:
The house is 40,000 square feet and it resembles a castle. One interesting feature on this 16-acre estate is the 22-car underground garage, complete with an office for valet parking, a car wash and even a motorized turn table to move limousines. The home also has a state-of-the-art exercise suite and a huge 6,000 square foot carriage house.
America (along with the rest of the world) really needs to start seeing corporate greed as the abomination that it is, instead of something to be admired and emulated.
I wonder how many parking spaces Jesus would have in his underground garage…
Whew! That was way too close, wasn’t it?
Rachel Maddow lists the huge implications of what an Obama win means…or more precisely, what a Romney loss means in terms of what is not going to happen. There’s some pretty big stuff here and a good reminder of the tragedy that could have been.
We are not going to have a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe vs. Wade.
There will be no more Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alioto’s added to this court.
We are not going to repeal health reform.
Nobody is going to kill Medicare.
Nobody is going to make old people in this generation fight it out in the open market for health insurance.
We are not going to give 20% tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires and expect programs like food stamps and kids health to cover the cost.
We are not going to make you clear it with your boss if you want to get birth control from your health provider.
We are not going to redefine rape.
We are not going to amend the United States Constitution amendment to stop gay people from getting married.
We are not going to double Guantanamo.
We are not eliminating the Dept of Energy, the Dept of Education, the Dept of Housing at the Federal level.
We are not going to spend 2 trillion dollars on the military that the military does not want.
We are not scaling back on student loans because the new plan is you should borrow money from your parents.
We are not vetoing the dream act.
We are not self-deporting.
We are not letting Detroit go bankrupt.
We are not starting a trade war with China on inauguration day.
We are not going to have as President, a man who once led a mob of friends to run down a scared gay kid to hold him down and forcibly cut his hair off with a pair of scissors while that kid cried and screamed for help. And there was no apology, not ever.
We are not going to have a Secretary of State John Bolton.
We are not bringing Dick Cheney back.
We are not going to have a foreign policy shop stocked with the architects of the Iraq war. We are not going to do it.
We had the choice to do that if we wanted to do that as a country, and we said no.
Consequences: free speech and the public’s right to boycott Pure Greed.
Huffington Post: Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter said he plans on passing the costs of health care reform to his business onto his workers. Schnatter said he will likely reduce workers’ hours, as a result of President Obama’s reelection, the Naples News reports. Schnatter made headlines over the summer when he told shareholders that the cost of a Papa John’s pizza will increase by between 11 and 14 cents due to Obamacare.
Gawker: Darden Restaurants Inc., the parent company of popular casual dining establishments such as Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and LongHorn Steakhouse, is no longer offering full-time work schedules to employees at “a select number” of restaurants in four markets across the country. Though details were scant, the company did say there were no immediate plans to expand the “test,” which is aimed at “help[ing] us address the cost implications health care reform will have on our business.” [...] Darden said in its statement that employees at restaurants where the pilot program was put in place will be limited to 28 hours a week. [...] Darden, which, ironically, bills itself as “the world’s largest full-service restaurant company,” made headlines last year when it started a “tip sharing” program requiring the waitstaff to share its tips with all other employees. According to the Associated Press, “That allows Darden to pay more workers a far lower ‘tip credit wage’ of $2.13, rather than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.”
Huffington Post: An Applebee’s New York area franchisee is the latest CEO to go public threatening drastic plans to avoid costs associated with the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.”We’ve calculated it will [cost] some millions of dollars across our system. So what does that say — that says we won’t build more restaurants. We won’t hire more people,” Zane Tankel, chairman and CEO of Apple-Metro, told Fox Business Network on Thursday. Apple-Metro, which runs 40 Applebee’s restaurants, employs from 80 to 300 people at each of its locations. Obamacare mandates that businesses with more than 50 workers must offer an approved insurance plan or pay a penalty of $2,000 for each full-time worker over 30 workers. Most small businesses with 50 or more employees already do offer health insurance, notes John Arensmeyer, CEO and founder of Small Business Majority, a national small business advocacy organization. But restaurant chains typically are among the sliver of businesses not offering insurance to workers. Other food chains have commented publicly that they would take strong measures to avoid the effects of Obamacare, but so far none of them have taken that action.
oinonio: “These restaurants have pledged to cut employees or work hours to avoid providing healthcare under Pres. Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Ironic for restaurants that draw clients in with images of wholesomeness, family, and care. But you can push back by taking your appetite elsewhere.”
These plutocratic CEOs have the right to hire, fire, and cut hours of any and all of their staffs for political reasons — and they have every right to crow about it in the media, as they’re doing. WE, the dining public, have the right to take our appetites elsewhere.
I mean, really. Does anyone NEED to eat at any of these places?
UPDATE * * * * * *
Bush and Romney (and the richest Americans) built that! Romney plans to give even more tax cuts to the super rich — maybe he’ll keynote the Summit one day.
Buzzfeed: Former President George W. Bush is set to deliver the keynote address at the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit on Grand Cayman just a few days before the election. The conference will feature Bush as the keynote speaker on the first night, and British billionaire Sir Richard Branson on the second night. ”Institutional investors, private investors, asset allocators, fund managers, service providers, academics and regulators will benefit from this discussion on the future of the industry,” reads to the FAQ section of the website.
A new backgrounder brief, Six Reasons Why Government Outsourcing Hurts the Middle Class, describes how the public sector provides quality middle-class jobs, and details extensive research showing how privatization eliminates these good jobs and increases economic inequality.
Here’s the six reasons.
- Contracting out often ends up costing more and lowering service quality
- When governments contract out public work, many good jobs disappear – wages, benefits, and hours decrease.
- Contracting out creates hidden costs for government and taxpayers.
- Government outsourcing disproportionately impacts African American workers.
- Contracting out hurts families and communities
- Contracting out leads to greater economic inequality.
Privatization proponents claim that handing public services over to private contractors will save taxpayer money. The evidence shows otherwise. Contract costs often are higher than promised and turning middle class jobs into low wage jobs without benefits simply shifts costs to hospital emergency rooms and public income support programs.