Archive for jobs

Part-time Employment Or Part-time Insanity

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

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.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Raising Minimum Wage Doesn't Hurt Economy -- Ask Washington State

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

wage

Whenever you need to test a theory, it's best to look at history and see if there's something you can learn from it. It seems Republicans haven't taken the time to do their homework. They just have categorically declared war on the working class stiffs who are stuck with minimum wage jobs. Saying"no" for them is easier than saying "why not?"

So what are the facts about raising the minimum wage and how will it hurt us -- as the GOP town criers warn us? Perhaps a look at Washington State which has the highest minimum wage in the country will shed some light.

Let's look at Bloomberg:

When Washington residents voted in 1998 to raise the state’s minimum wage and link it to the cost of living, opponents warned the measure would be a job-killer.

You may be wondering how that worked out. 1998 is over 15 years ago. That's surely enough time for the experiment to provide definitive results:

In the 15 years that followed, the state’s minimum wage climbed to $9.32 -- the highest in the country. Meanwhile job growth continued at an average 0.8 percent annual pace, 0.3 percentage point above the national rate. Payrolls at Washington’s restaurants and bars, portrayed as particularly vulnerable to higher wage costs, expanded by 21 percent. Poverty has trailed the U.S. level for at least seven years.

Whoa there, all you GOP Chicken Littles. The sky didn't fall in? Payrolls expanded as did job growth. Poverty has fallen. The economy of the state didn't collapse. Mass destruction and corruption didn't reign supreme? How could the Boehners, Cantors, and Paul Ryans of the world be so wrong? They're part of the Republican hate machine.

How else do you describe their refusal to pass unemployment insurance extensions while 2 million are refused aid? How else do you interpret the GOP Conservative stance on not extending citizenship to those already here but without proper papers? If it was good enough for Reagan, why not for them?

So let's let history, not Republican histrionics, rule the day. Boost the minimum wage and let's pass the extension of long-term unemployment benefits. It's time to yell at the mad men in the Republican Party who don't know what they're talking about.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

More Jobs Than Expected In Today's Jobs Report

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Jobs

WaPo:

The U.S. economy added a solid 175,000 jobs in February, despite harsh winter weather that many analysts expected would curtail hiring, according to government data released Friday morning.

The report from the Labor Department showed the job market has steadily improved since hiring plunged at the end of last year. On Friday, the government actually increased its estimate for job creation in December and January.

So once again, despite all the Republicans spiteful and political efforts to stifle the Obama economy's recovery, they couldn't. Okay, these numbers, these gains, are modest and nowhere near where they could be. But can you imagine if the Republicans would pass the Obama jobs bill and the extended unemployment benefits bill how much more we could have grown?

Instead of making appearances at the CPAC conference with rifles and Looney Tunes rhetoric, maybe these elected officials would have time to pass some meaningful legislation.

On the downside, unemployment did go up a tick: 0.1% to 6.7%. That's not terrible considering the storms that attacked the midwest and south. But this uptick didn't have to be if the GOP would do their job -- and stop voting on repeals of Obamacare (we just had the 50th vote) and look to real matters. When will the Republicans come into the 21st century and not settle for living back in the 20th?

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Don't Let This Nightmare Come True

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare
Nightmare

Nightmare

With a h/t to our own, Lucian Dixon...

Last night I had the most horrible of dreams -- a nightmare. Well, it was a nightmare in the sense that it caused me to wake up in a panicked state with a veneer of sweat across my forehead.

It went something like this. My son came home with a document -- the results of his psychological testing that was mandated in his application for a full time work position that he really wanted badly. He was a little concerned, so as a loving dad, I asked him what's up? He handed me a paper, the test results. Stamped across it was the word, "APPROVED."

Hell, I couldn't see anything the matter with that. I had more problems with his potential employer administering a psych test to see if he was qualified for this job -- the assistant director of IT for a middle-sized company. It wasn't anything that would have so great an impact that it required this kind of examination.

But it was done. And he was approved. So, the dream was going along just fine until my son asked me to look at the questions -- more of a profile assessment. My son was found to have all of the traits listed below, which were attributed to Psychology Today:

  • American exceptionalism and the need to protect it by strict immigration policies;
  • Anti-abortion under all circumstances (”Life begins at conception”);
  • Pro-capital punishment;
  • Pro-gun rights;
  • “Law and order” attitudes favoring harsh penalties for criminal behavior; Supporters of the “war on drugs;”
  • Anti-affirmative action;
  • Anti-reductions in nuclear weapons;
  • Anti-entitlements; anti-gay;
  • Anti-science (e.g., denial of evolution and climate change);
  • Belief in the promulgation of “Christian values” in schools, courts, and public ceremonies;
  • Reverence for people in uniform; given to patriotic display;
  • A fondness for military solutions to international problems;
  • Biblical certainty in matters of morality;
  • A conviction that those who disagree politically should be the objects of coercion; A view of oneself as beset by evil forces conspiring to take what one has;
  • The equation of compromise with “weakness.”

Oh my God. My son, whom I love, was a conservative. A friggin' Republican right-wing conservative! I panicked. What had I done wrong? I had raised him with love. I had never laid a hand on him and seldom even raised my voice with him. I had traveled with him to many countries to see and experience the world. We'd participated in many charity events. He was a good team player in baseball and soccer. He learned American Sign Language as his foreign language requirement so he could help those who might not be able to hear. He went to university and got his Bachelor of Science degree. He has a long-term girl friend. How could this happen to me -- or more importantly to him?

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

And then I woke up. My son heard me yelling and rushed in, joining my wife with great concern. I hugged them both when I realized this was a dream. A horrible dream. My son never took such a test. And he assured me that he was still very much a left-leaning Democrat.

Now that should have been the end of it right there. But as with most good spooky stories, it's not.

In an email from Lucian to me which I read last night before retiring, was this study. And these qualities listed above are actually the traits Psychology Today compiled after vast studies and assessments, which best sum up today's right-wing conservative.

Oh, and the horror of it all? How can we survive with thinking like that running rampant among us?

I'd go back to sleep if I wasn't so worried about that dream becoming a reality.

Lesson here... don't go to sleep and let the right wing run free. Let's sleep but do it in shifts. It's the only protection we've got against mass insanity. That and our vote. Keep these Republican wackadoos from reaching office, local, state and national. Don't let the fact that the upcoming elections are "only" mid-terms. They are more important now than ever before. Get your asses out of your chairs and vote.

Don't say you weren't warned.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Where's The Windfall For The US With The Keystone XL Pipeline?

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare
Keystone XL Map

Keystone XL Map

There's so much talk about the Keystone pipeline -- should it be built from our northern border, dissecting the country in half like the Mississippi River?

Well, that's a long route and any pipeline carrying any product has certain risks. The largest being the spills. But it also means jobs in the short run - a few years. And the number of workers being employed are generally in the construction and oil business. But how many jobs? That's hard to say. The 1,700-mile Keystone XL is estimated to employ somewhere in the vicinity of 20,000 people according to Politifact. They also say the actual number might be half of that, or even less.

But how many people will be potentially affected by a possible spill of this dirtiest of crude? Millions. So do a little math, actually very little, and you'll see that there's high risk and not so great a reward.

Okay, let's assume it gets built and then the flow of this dirty liquid goes off without a hitch. Just think of all the crude that we'll be refining and having for our own use.

SCREECH.

Our own use? Un-uh. It's not for consumption in the US. It's for exportation. And the receipts for those sales doesn't go to the US market. Oh, no. It goes to Canada, the "owners" of the dirty raw crude. We're just the risk-taking conduit.

We are NOT GUARANTEED a single drop of that US refined oil. Not one. We can be the highest bidder and keep the fuel here, but we face competition from all over the world.

So we get to take the risk, we do get to spike a bit of employment -- but 20,000 jobs doesn't seem to be a huge comfort compared to the millions looking for work. It's better than nothing -- if you don't take into consideration that oil pipelines leak all the time. We're facing the disaster of all times if we're not lucky. And for what? For Canada to reap the profits for a drop in the bucket for us?

Truth is we're already showing an abundance of fuel here in this country. So much so that we're growing the exports of our domestic fuel every year. That means we producing more than we're selling here in the states. CNN Money Reports:

In 2008 the country exported 1.8 million barrels a day of refined products, according to EIA. By 2012 that number jumped to 3.2 million barrels.

Does it make sense to put our country at risk over the dirtiest oil we can find when we're refining enough of it here to have excess and making a profit selling it. Do we really need to build a pipeline when we have roads that are falling apart, bridges crumbling and airports that are referred to as "third world" quality? Wouldn't we make more money here with an improved infrastructure which wouldn't add nearly the risks of the dirty oil flowing dissecting our county? It used to be we lived east or west of the Mississippi. Soon it could be do you live east or west of the Keystone oil disaster.

leaky oil pipeline

The pipeline might be worth it -- but to Canada, not us. We shoulder the risk and they take all the profit. The honchos there say they're going to continue to frack and pull up their dirty shale oil. Good for them. They have ports on both of their coasts. If they need to refine their dirty oil, let them build refineries and pollute their air, not ours. Maybe they'll even hire some Americans to go up north and help them learn how refineries work.

Let Canada build their own pipelines to them and use tankers like everyone else. Why do we have to take the risk of catastrophe for a temporary, two year building gain? After it's done, we'll have an eternity of potential danger to humans, wildlife and our native lands. And for nothing but Canadians making profits.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Cartoons of the Day: What Republicans hear when people say "Obamacare"

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

cartoons

One of our regular features here was a daily collection of political cartoons that Paddy used to post. We miss Paddy so much here at TPC, and we've neglected to post editorial cartoons regularly. However, in my hard copy of today's Los Angeles Times, there was a zinger that I couldn't pass up.

It's by Rob Rogers, and he nails it in two measly panels. He reveals what people are saying about the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare vs the altered version that the GOP hear from the voices inside their tiny heads:

Rob Rogers cartoon Obamacare health care

For more on the realities, as opposed to the twisted fantasies that Republicans are spinning, see my previous post: New Obamacare attacks debunked. This is getting tiresome, GOP.

BlameObamacarew396h223

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

New Obamacare attacks debunked. This is getting tiresome, GOP.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

BlameObamacarew396h223

Once again, attacks on Obamacare-slash-The Affordable Care Act have been debunked. How many times must we go through this? We already know the answer to that: Until President Obama is out of office, and/or until the success of the ACA is well-publicized, and/or until the public finally tells the GOP to STFU. Or all of the above.

Meantime, Jonathan Gruber-- a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the Scholars Strategy Network-- is debunking their most recent and pathetic little efforts in a Los Angeles Times op-ed.

He starts out by reminding us (read: informing Republicans) that there was a whole lot of good news in the report by the Congressional Budget Office: Premiums have dropped, the law will cost $9 billion less than they originally thought, and "the provision designed to buffer insurance companies from risk will actually raise revenue, not function as any sort of federal government bailout."

Got that, GOP? Read their lips: No bailout.

And about all those zillions of jobs that Obamacare will force people to leave. Wrong. Wrongier than wrong. Wrong ultra. Note to Republicans: There are times when Americans actually want or need to leave their jobs... voluntarily. And ironically, it's all about those "family values" that Republicans love to rub in America's face, the very same ones they often fail to adhere to:

[T]he CBO did not project lost jobs at all. Job leaving is not the same as job losing. Many Americans who may eventually leave jobs or reduce their work hours will do so by choice to make themselves and their families better off. Voluntary reductions are not a cost of the healthcare reform law, they are a benefit. [...]

The CBO projects that healthcare reform will reduce the federal budget deficit by $100 billion over the first decade and by more than $1 trillion over the second decade. Healthcare costs are also rising more slowly, in part because of provisions in the law. The economic gains from reducing the deficit and slowing healthcare spending likely outweigh any losses from slightly reduced labor compensation.

So much for those talking points.

With ways to ensure affordable health coverage no matter where they work, many Americans will be able to start small businesses or take new positions where they can be more productive.

Wait what? So this is not only better for small business start-ups (small businesses: another GOP talking point), but also for families (there go those pesky values intruding on them again) and *gasp!* the economy. Sucks to be so embarrassingly wrong, doesn't it anti-Obamacare blowhards?

If naysaying politicians really believe it is worth throwing 25 million Americans off the rolls of the insured to avoid a fraction of a percent of reduced labor market compensation, then they should stand up and say so. Otherwise, they are simply scare-mongering without presenting a constructive solution to our national health insurance crisis.

In other words, business as usual.
FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare