Archive for benefits

Part-time Employment Or Part-time Insanity

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part-time

To hear the Republican attack machine in overdrive, the passage of the Affordable Care Act was the first step in turning America into a country of part-time employees. It was going to force companies, especially small businesses, into cutting full-time workers' hours back just to avoid having to pay medical benefits and coverage premiums.

Now these prognosticators with their B.S degrees in fortune telling - and BTW, in this case B.S degree stands for Bull Sh*t -- have ignored taking into account many contributing reasons why employers won't be cutting back hours of employees to any great degree. Sure, a small percentage might, but that's not likely. The cost of finding and training an employee you can trust is far greater than the insurance premiums. What employer wants 10 part-time employees coming and going when 5 full timers will be more reliable?

So here's some recent facts, brought to light by HuffPo:

The number of part-time jobs is actually shrinking, and full-time jobs are being created instead.

Specifically, the number of part-time workers in the U.S. fell in February to about 27.3 million, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday. That number is down by about 300,000 since March 2010, when the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, became law.

Keep in mind, this change in employment numbers have come since the ACA has gone into full effect. And the news gets even better:

Meanwhile, the ranks of full-time workers have grown by more than 2 million within the past year to 117.8 million in February. The number of part-time workers fell by about 230,000 over that period.

It seems that at every turn, the Republican lie-generating machines and their public mouthpieces like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee and their Tea Party cohorts, are being proven wrong. The ACA isn't perfect, but it's sure better than having done nothing. Now it's time to improve it, and the Republican party as a whole is starting to accept Obamacare and move toward fixes, rather than repeal. That's a great step and it could benefit us all.

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96% Of Senate Republicans Vote To Damn And Punish U.S. Military Veterans

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up yours

We'll pay for you to go to war, but we won't take care of you when or if you come back. It's a one way ticket.

A whopping 96% of the Republicans in the Senate voted against legislation on Thursday that would have expanded federal healthcare and education programs for veterans, saying the $24 billion bill would bust the budget. 96 percent! I'd say that's almost unanimous as a party stance on the bill.

So you have to ask yourself, why? Is it really going to "bust the budget?"

Interestingly the same question was put before Senator Bernie Sanders (I - VT) by Chris Hayes last night on All In. Sanders response is heated, passionate and shows the real fallacies of the Republican thinking on this matter and just how much these GOP-ers are hypocrites when it comes to veterans. As a party they're always willing to start wars, just never prepared to fund them. Then afterwards, these same warmongers have a tendency to turn their backs on the lucky ones -- those that live through these atrocities. Our fighting men with real injuries and losses become just chess pieces, not real -- not flesh and blood. But to their families and friends they sure are real. Denying them dignity and aid is a total affront.

If Iraq and Afghanistan weren't bad enough in body count, those scarred, wounded, maimed, and mentally suffering from these battles deserve every bit as much attention upon their return as the unfunded battles that sent them overseas. But that's not the thinking of the GOP senators. They will only budge on the funding IF we tack on an unrelated sanctions bill that's sure to push us into war with Iran and raise the death count all even higher.

Sanders points out that Republicans have an 'open checkbook' policy when it comes to the costs of war.  Other costs always have to be offset by cuts. Not the case for wars: the sky's the limit for the neo-cons. But somehow it's nothing or next to nothing for our returning vets who fought their wars.

If you want to see the harm the Republicans are inflicting on our veterans, just catch this piece with Chris Hayes and Bernie Sanders. Then ask yourself how anyone who cares about this country can vote for a Republican incumbent senator the next time around?

If Democrats want to keep the Senate and retake the House, all they need to do is show this piece.

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The Next Senate Plan To Pass The Unemployment Benefits Extention

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BreadLinesw320h244

When at first you don't succeed, try, try again. That's what I was taught.

Maybe this would be a good lesson for Harry Reid and the Senate. The Majority Leader has the position, like the Speaker of the House, to bring any bill he wishes to the floor, and as often as he wishes. Think about the 46+ votes they have had in the House on abolishing the Affordable Care Act. So there's no limit on this.

The Senate leader also has the power to stifle any bill he doesn't care to debate. According to The Hill, Harry's decided to put off the plight of the unemployed for a bit. And that's disappointing because it's really his decision.

Senate Democrats are dropping the issue of extending federal unemployment benefits — at least for now — despite intense lobbying over the recess by outside groups targeting Republicans.

The timing of the next unemployment vote is uncertain, though the aide added that Reid could bring the issue back to the floor quickly if a compromise emerges.

Remember the "try, try again" reference? Now here's a novel thought, something for Nevada's senior senator to ponder. Every day that the Senate is in session, it's begun with Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black leading those in attendance in daily morning prayers. It's a tradition that's been with the senate for over two hundred years. The point is, every session begins the same way, with prayer.

So why not build on that tradition? Start every session with raising the long term unemployment bill. Even if it gets voted down by the Republican minority every day. If the Democrats want to put their money where there mouth is -- and certainly the starving millions of unemployed want to put something where their mouth is -- then bring up the U.I. bill. Doesn't matter how many Republicans they get to go along with it. Show up the senators who are voting against the unemployed every day. Make it a roll call vote. Harry has the ability to do that under the current rules of the Senate. Let's see how long these upper house members can take their names being associated and as anti-worker.

The GOP has demanded that the cost of extending federal unemployment insurance be offset with other spending cuts.

Well, the Democrats acquiesced.

Democrats are standing pat on their latest offer, which has drawn the support of only one Republican — Sen. Dean Heller (Nev.). It would extend unemployment benefits for 11 months, offsetting the $17 billion cost by expanding a provision included in the recent budget agreement to extend a portion of the sequester.

Shame the GOP and Tea Party (yes, I break them into two parties -- they are going to have two responses to the SOTU address, so that must mean they are not the same). They said pay for the program. The Democrats said, "Okay." Now the GOP-ers can't accept yes for an answer.

Let them face the public record and their constituents. Let America see who's not for supporting those with an offset spending bill to bail out those who have worked hard (you have to have worked, not just signed up, to qualify for UI). There are thresholds and it's not all that easy to qualify unless you've paid your "dues" by earning enough to be eligible. Evidently the lack of GOP support is nothing but spite. 

Harry, here's the plan. Open with prayer. Follow it with a vote on saving our unemployed from starvation and their loss of shelter, then get onto other business.

The Senate voted Monday evening to begin dealing with the bipartisan flood insurance bill, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) also hopes to schedule floor work on the farm bill, military sexual assault legislation, and several of President Obama’s nominees, according to a Senate Democratic leadership aide.

All of those are important issues, but they are not any more important or urgent than the U.I. bill. Let's shame the Republicans into action. It can be done. There were skeptics on changing the filibuster rule. But Reid finally took the reins and made that happen. Well, looks like it's time Harry to take the reins again. Time, heat and food are running out on millions. This U.I. bill is the only hope for those without a jobless benefit check. So let's get America's priorities straight.

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Eric Cantor Celebrates While His Constituents Starve

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Ah, the beauty of Davos, Switzerland. Snow-capped mountains, chalets, a playground for the uber riche. I can only describe it as I've seen in the pictures, like the one above. I'll never be able to afford it, so that's as close as I'll ever get.

But if you're a multi-millionaire House Majority leader, you can just have someone on your high-priced (taxpayer funded) staff make all the arrangements. The finest foods, plushest of accommodations -- even the lift tickets and ski rentals. No need to worry about what it cost because -- that's right, the taxpayers are paying for it.

You'd think that with a constituency like his 7th Virginia District having an unacceptable 6.5% unemployment rate, the congressman would pass on a World Economic Forum and put his efforts into finding the votes on long term unemployment benefits and bring the bill to the floor. He has that power. He's chosen not to use it. Instead, this is what he's doing -- in Davos

From Peter Goodman at Huffpo:

DAVOS, Switzerland -- Fresh from Washington, where he played a leading role in preventing the extension of emergency unemployment benefits for Americans mired in joblessness, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor appeared to be enjoying one of the perks of his own employment: a sumptuous breakfast in this ski resort in the Swiss Alps, where he was attending the World Economic Forum.

So I approached Cantor's table and asked him who was paying for his trip. He took in a breath, grinned sheepishly and said, "I paid for this," gesturing at a table bearing the remnants of a buffet breakfast whose offerings included smoked salmon, croissants, freshly squeezed orange juice, assorted Swiss cheeses and mineral water.

Maybe you're buying into he paid for this, but I bet by saying "I paid for this," he really meant his office which means you and me. I hope he liked his lox (smoked salmon) a lot.

Eric Cantor breakfast receipt

Cantor's table had ordered a bottle of San Pellegrino water, plus a Coca Cola and a cappuccino, all of this running 94.70 Swiss francs, around $105 -- a bit more than a third of the maximum $378 a week a jobless person can draw in benefits in Cantor's home state of Virginia.

Think about it -- one third of a weekly unemployment benefit in his state -- spent just on breakfast for one day.

Justifying his attendance at this "forum" as benefiting his constituency or even the greater good of the US, is nothing more than a taking us for idiots.

And who paid for the rest of his visit to Davos, a veritable Disneyland of ostentatious cocktail parties underwritten by global banks, technology companies and other well-heeled concerns?

Cantor took a glance sideways. "It's an official trip," he said, leaving it at that, and presumably confirming that taxpayers paid.

This cretin has the audacity to stay in Washington long enough to make sure a long term unemployed bill would never see the light of day, then took off for a playground of the rich and famous.

This is the norm, not the exception for conservatives like Cantor. They have a feeling of entitlement, even if their money was inherited. And who knows how many more thousands he spent on this forum with no binding resolution outcomes? While needy Americans cry out in starvation, this is the Republicans' response.

Though it's only a rumor, Cantor stayed in the "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" Suite. And if your French isn't too strong, "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" translates to "let them eat cake."

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GOP To Starving Unemployed: Live With It. I'm Getting My Nails Done

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Marsha Blackburn Representative Marsha Blackburn

Sometimes we as people get in over our heads. It's at times like those that we hope no one calls on us to explain our lack of knowledge or skills. Yesterday, on national TV, we got a glimpse of such an event. The interviewer MSNBC's Chris Jansing interviewed Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn. The relatively unknown representative who faces reelection in November was advised to become the sacrificial lamb for the GOP in explaining the Republican's reluctance to extend long term unemployment insurance.

They sent her out unarmed and facing a well prepared journalist in Jansing.

Here is someone that her state of Tennessee elected, entrusting her to look out and protect their interests. Her state, BTW has a 8+ unemployment rate vesus a national 7.1. So of all people, she should be concerned with her constituents. But when you're a paper tiger, you go out and take all the slings and arrows that common sense tosses your way, with a smile and your ignorance. Her defense of fighting the extension is that it's not the problem, jobs are the problem. She dismisses that during the last Republican tenure in the White House, passing this, unpaid for, was standard stuff -- over 7 times.

Instead she blames Harry Reid and President Obama. Noticeably absent from that guilty group was her own, Speaker of the House, John Boehner. His job (oops, there's that word again) is to help create jobs. And as a congresswoman. she is part of Boehner's caucus, not Reid's or Obama's.

The two questions that Jansing didn't ask the syrupy sweet puppet from the Volunteer State is "If jobs are the big problem, what's your jobs plan?" What bill have you brought up that creates jobs?

If you want to see how crazy wackadoo the lemming GOP House has become, and how out of touch the dilettantes are thinking, watch this. Every point the Congresswoman makes, she's shot down by Jansing. When you have nowhere to turn and you're out of ammo, here's what you look like. Priceless is the moment, toward the end when she's asked what she would say to the people of her state who have higher unemployment than the average -- she doesn't offer them help. No, instead she offers them compassion. Tell me how much food you can put on a poor person's plate with compassion. How much heat you can add to your home when the polar vortex comes knocking on your door. strictly with compassion. This clip would be hysterical on Saturday Night Live, if it weren't so real.

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Bonus Cartoon of the Day- Corporations Have Religion Too!

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corptoo

Tim Eagan

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You're Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't

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the poor

What's pleasantly surprising is that despite Republican efforts to stall any safe jobs bill, the economy has picked up. Unemployment dropped in the latest report to 7%, the lowest number in five years.

That's forty-five straight months of improved job numbers. Now that's a great streak, but when you start in such a deep hole, it's more of a continued improvement, but not a clean bill of health.  A healthy overall unemployment number should be somewhere in the two or three percent range. Despite GOP obstruction, the President's plans, along with those of the Fed, are yielding small and steady results. And that could end up being bad news.

Job growth is bad news? Leave it to the GOP to turn improvements into detriments for hundreds of thousands. The Republicans are moving to punish those who weren't lucky enough to grab onto a job and make them suffer even more. The GOP doesn't want to renew the extended unemployment coverage for millions after their state support runs out. And of course, timing is everything. As much as it's a time of "cheer," it's also the time of great despair and the highest numbers of suicide. Being destitute, devoid of hope is a major cause. This is not the time to cut aid to the poor. Food stamps and unemployment need to be continued.

If the GOP really cares -- not that anyone believes that -- but if there's a chance there's a compassionate soul trapped in the body of a Republican, think about working on a reasonable jobs bill. Think about helping with passing a version of the Senate immigration bill. Stop your war on women and healthcare for the poor. And please don't penalize the unemployed who are just trying to find one of the few jobs out there that you haven't found ways to defund or restrict with blockage in the House and Senate.

Being a Scrooge is not only a stigma you'll be able to easily shun, but a compassionate one that you need to shed.

You can't have it both ways. You can't fight job creation on every level, then because the President's plans seem to be working, albeit slowly, slap down the job hunters who haven't been as fortunate.

Find a jobs bill and then, when enough people are working, you might consider cutting back jobless benefits. But now's not the time. Remove people from unemployment with jobs. That's the healthy way. Then the reason to trim extended funding will follow. We're not there yet.

Republicans, if you're not prepared to confess to the world that the President and his party has ushered through some steady economic growth, don't take it out on the less fortunate by further victimizing the jobless, the hungry and those in need. Increasing jobs, decreases unemployment. Don't cut essential programs. It's that simple.

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