Monday, June 06, 2011

Ach! My eyes!

That blinding flash of the obvious! Quick, somebody hit a Republican with it.

Detroit Free Press Online
New study: You can't live on minimum wage
12:23 AM, May. 31, 2011

...The Basic Economic Security Tables for Michigan, a study that analyzes the cost of essential needs for singles and families across Michigan, found the cost of providing basic necessities -- such as shelter, food and transportation -- far exceeds minimum wage and the paychecks of people working full-time in low-paying job categories.

Among the findings:

• Single Michigan residents without children must earn $12.24 an hour to support themselves.

• A mother with two young children -- like Thomas -- needs $24.49 an hour to house, clothe and feed her children. That's three times the minimum wage...

...although the state's unemployment rate is dropping, the number of requests for food assistance is climbing because many of the new jobs being created are low-paying.

"So if you put $60 worth of gas in your car, you can't buy your kid milk," she said. "With these kinds of salaries, you can't support your kids, you can't buy them clothes, save for college, or have money on hand for a car repair."

..."How do you live on that? When I ask her, she says there aren't any jobs out there. And there aren't. We're seeing a lot of people who are working hard, but not getting very far."

So the solution is to cut social services, right? Get rid of social security, medicare and medicaid, and that will magically make wages go high enough for people to live decently, right?

Is there anyone other than a teapartier out there who is really stupid enough to believe this? (Of course, the teapartiers don't really believe it, but they claim they do - not because they do but because they just don't want to pay taxes, period, and don't care about the consequences to other people or society. They've got theirs, apparently.)

Republicans of all stripes, meanwhile, are doing their best to make sure nobody makes more than minimum wage - and many would like to get rid of the minimum wage. Those guys in third world nations are willing to work 24/7/365 for $.50 an hour - that's why they have the jobs now. CEOs are laughing all the way to the bank, and their employees don't matter to them at all - after all, there are plenty more where the first ones came from. You in the American offices should sit down and shut up.

After all, you're lucky you live in the "best nation on earth," you ungrateful brats. So shut up and find your 3rd part time no benefits minimum wage mcwally-wort job, you lazy bums. It's your own fault you can't get a living wage job. Those are for EXECUTIVES. You're just jealous. As for the old, they should just hurry up and die. They're burdens on society - like poor and minority kids. Who cares if they go hungry or don't get medical care.

(Of course, the Republicans will care when THEIR kids get sick from the diseases mutating and running rampant due to lack of public healthcare - but that's not really a major worry to them, since they don't send their kids to school with "those" types of kids anyway.)

But I digress. This is what FREE TRADE has brought to America - poverty and a society that can no longer function under the burden of wage stagnation. Republicans did this to us, so they could wallow in more luxury and not pay taxes on it. And more of this is what a Republican controlled congress and a Republican president will bring - tax breaks for the rich and increasing poverty for the former middle class who can no longer make living wages no matter how many jobs they hold at once.

Follow up: The vicious cycle caused by low wages: people who aren't paid living wages can't afford the offerings of a "service economy." It takes actual income to be able to afford to pay other people to do your chores or to partake in non-essential services, as some companies are finding out the hard way.

Variety Online
Posted: Tue., May. 31, 2011, 4:00am PT
Poverty a problem for pay TV
Study: More people can't afford services
By Tom Lowry

...Amid the euphoria, however, those execs didn't address what might happen to their bottom lines when consumers could no longer swallow those increasingly larger bills.

They may be facing that reality soon. In a foreboding new report, one analyst concludes that a major risk facing companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon and AT&T is not heated competition from each other, or a fast growing outlier like Netflix, but rather poverty. "The poverty problem provides a new and sobering lens for any serious analysis of the telecom and media sectors," concluded Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett. "At the low end, customers aren't just choosing between one provider and another. They're often choosing between these services and a third meal." His 96-page report, "U.S. Telecommunications and Cable & Satellite: The Poverty Problem," was released Friday and was certain to have ruined the long Memorial Day weekend for at least a few media execs...

...To underscore his premise, Moffett offered some data that would make any sales force out pushing subscriptions cringe.

• About two-thirds of American families subsist on less than the average after-tax income of $62,000 a year. "We are, sadly, a country where most Americans are below average," Moffett wrote.

• Fifty million Americans are on food stamps.

• Forty-nine million are considered "food insecure," with no confidence where the next meal is coming from.

• Forty-four million Americans now live below the poverty line.

"The picture of an America where 40% of households are essentially bereft of discretionary spending power has incredibly important implications for companies in our coverage," Moffett wrote.

And there's no end in sight of the wage stagnation, as more and more people desperately agree to work for sub-living wages.

CBS News Online
June 5, 2011
Chronic unemployment worse than Great Depression
The unemployed have, on average, remained unemployed longer than in the 1930s; Employers wary of job gaps in resumes
By Ben Tracy

...Summer job bummer: Teen unemployment 24 percent
Nearly 14 million Americans are looking for work...

...About 6.2 million Americans, 45.1 percent of all unemployed workers in this country, have been jobless for more than six months - a higher percentage than during the Great Depression...

...The problem of course is the economy, but some industries, especially certain manufacturing jobs, are not ever expected to come back...

Of course, Peak Oil will make them come back, eventually. But if the Republicans have their way, it won't be before the economy of the continental US is pretty much destroyed by wage stagnation and increasing poverty. Cutting off social services isn't going to make living wages jobs magically re-appear. Only getting rid of ridiculously one-sided "free trade" agreements with steep tariffs and penalties for outsourcing will do that. That should be obvious.

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