The Walmart cycle.

               One meme or article after another tells us to avoid Walmart. Which is absolutely right! They subsidize their company by paying low wages, thereby forcing their employees to receive Federal Benefits. That alone costs American tax payers billions of dollars a year. Not to mention the money they receive from Federal and State governments to build stores or warehouses in their areas or the tax breaks and tax havens they use to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes.

The Walton family are worth a couple hundred billion dollars. While making these billions of dollars they bemoan employees who ask for a higher wage or the right to unionize. All the while purchasing product from China, a Communist dictatorship that not only manipulates their currency but also subsidizes their companies. The Walton maintain that if they raise pay, they have to raise prices. While saying this they reap profits that have rarely been seen in American history.

Now here is the conundrum. The average person making even $12 an hour is that they do not have alot of disposable income. Electric, gas, phone, taxes and even sewer have all seen precipitous increases, all while this person has been stuck at $12 an hour. A family of 4, with mom and dad both working, will in many cases qualify for Federal Benefits. The failure of corporations to raise peoples pay while making record profits has presented these people with a pickle. Do I shop at a cheaper store and get more or shop at more expensive and get less. Where does this leave them?

At a time when Americans need more help then at possibly any time in our history, we have also found ourselves in a period of hyper-polarization. While these people need help, Paul Ryan and Republicans want to cut Federal Benefits while cutting taxes for the wealthy. Democrats led by Elizabeth Warren are trying to extend unemployment benefits, raise taxes on the wealthy, reel in to big to fail and fix income inequality. Bernie Sanders, the only Independent who really matters, my little joke, is fighting along many of the same fronts as Elizabeth Warren. It has become class warfare. Rich saying the poor dont work hard enough and poor asking for a fair share. All of this while 47 million Americans are on Food Stamps because of low pay or no jobs.

Here is where it comes full circle. These people on the bottom end up shopping at Walmart because of their low pay. By shopping at Walmart they are putting people like themselves out of work, as well as giving the Waltons a false sense that their model is a good thing. The person shopping there doesn’t want to do these things, but what company can compete with a monolithic corporation like Walmart. Of course it would be another corporation. What option do these people have? Even if you dont shop at Walmart, the majority of products are made somewhere else.

U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (D-Pa) takes the Food Stamp Challenge, living on $4.50 a day.

            On Wednesday afternoon Rep.Matt Cartwright had a $.57 box of macaroni and cheese for dinner, with some iceberge lettuce topped with oil and vinegar and 2 slices of wheat bread. This was part of his 1 day protest designed to highight cuts in the proposed House Farm Bill. The plan is to eliminate $20 billion out of the $80 billion Food Stamp budget over the next decade.

Cartwright also ate 2 other small meals that kept his food intake under $4.50 for the day. That is the daily average for food under the SNAP Program per person. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Ok) said that it is the most reform minded bill in decades. He said it would make needed SNAP cuts as well as eliminate $5 billion a year in subsidies paid to farmers, whether they grow crops or not. Why would a farm not growing crops get money from the Food Stamp Program?

The legislation would achieve some cuts by partially eliminating categorical eligibility. That automatically gives you food stamps if you sign up for other programs. People would still be eligible, but would have to apply. That is a good change. The House is debating 103 Amendments to the bill, including a Democrat proposal to eliminate the SNAP cuts. About three quarters of the 47 million recipients are families with children. There are 1.77 million recipients or 14% of the population in Pennsylvania

The Republican led House proposal would kick 2 million families off of the SNAP Program. That would have long term affects on the health of the family, but most importantly the children. Thr fact that Republicans do not understand that austerity doesn’t work is very perplexing. Europe was falling to pieces because of austerity measures. Cutting spending without increasing revenue doesn’t work. But in Republican fantsy land it doesn’t matter because they are making things harder on President Obama.

Republicans said they wanted dollar for dollar spending cuts and tax increases. They have gotten $4.00 in spending cuts for every $1.00 in tax increases. Lets also talk about $200 billion in corporate welfare in 2012 alone. That is 2 and 1/2 times the Food Stamp benefits and still about $40 billion more when you add in heat assistance. So corporations that don’t need money get it, but people struggling because of corporations like this crashing the economy get hit with cuts. I guess it only makes sense when you look at their campaign donations. But campaign finance reform is a battle for another day.

The Senate votes yes to extend corporate welfare to Tobacco Growers and no to stopping Food Stamp cuts.

               The Senate voted down an amendment by Kristen Gillibrand (D-Ny) to restore $4.1 billion in Food Stamp cuts, by reducing corporate welfare to a handful of crop insurance companies, mostly based overseas. Only 26 Senators voted yes. We can’t just blame Republicans this time, 28 Democrats joined all Republicans in voting against the amendment. If our government moves forward with these cuts, 500,000 low income families will lose an average of $90 a month.

             There are already cuts being made to the Food Stamp Program because of Federal Stimulus money drying up. The part that is disgusting is that Democrats are voting against a large part of their base. The job market is slowly recovering, many of the jobs out there are low wage, part time jobs that don’t help people get off of assistance. The private market is creating those type of jobs, the government jobs are being cut by the Sequester. Now is not the time to cut Food Stamps, once the unemployment rate goes below 7% then you can start considering ot, until then you are hurting people that Republican policies already hurt.

Food Stamps until President Obama took office were a program tgat generally was left alone by both parties. Every $1.00 that is spent on foid assistance programs generates $1.84 for the economy. That is almost doubling your investment, what other Government program does that? It is a program that helps the working poor, which the Grear Recession created a lot of. To attack the lower income class while leaving corporate welfare alone, which cost taxpayers almost $200 billion as opposed to Food Stamps costing $80 billion, is a slap in the face of the American public. Many of these same Senators voted to continue subsidizing Tobacco Growers just days before voting to take food out of a child’s mouth. Tell me lobbying had nothing to do with either of these votes. This is a heinous act of cowardice by a Congress that obviously is more concerned with campaign donations than with their constituents.

This cut in Food Stamps will result in a loss of 56,243 jobs. Every $1 billion cut from the SNAP Program results in the loss of 13,718 jobs. The Center for American Progress notes that the job losses will have the greatest effect on young workers. They account for a large share of workers in the food related industries. Is now the right time to inact these cuts?

Paul Ryans latest budget calks for $135 billion in cuts from the SNAP Program. That is heating and food assistance for the poor and the elderly, these are the people that should we should be cutting aid from? Seriously? These cuts to the SNAP Program would result in 1,851,930 jobs lost, is that good for the economy Mr. Ryan? Republicans sell these cuts by saying those on assistance are lazy, contrary to this Republican intentional misconception, most workers return to the workforce within a year of losing their jobs. But the low wages and part time hours created by the Private Market continue helping prople qualify for the program. Republicans are betting on the working poor not showing up at the polls to punish their policy of hurting the poor to make the rich richer.

Upward mobility is nearly in the U.S. Our People are stuck in perpetual poverty without the means to improve themselves. Every policy or Bill proposed by Republicans benefit the wealthy abd step on the throat of the poor. President Obama has been trying to create steps up the ladder to the middle class, only to be obstructed by greedy Republicans. But this time Democrats sold him out as well. Good looking out for your people and your President.
  
                

Is it the American Dream or the American Lie?

           After WWII the United States had an unprecedented economic run. The People in our country had an incredible run. We were well ahead of the rest of the world in technical advancements. Our automobile industry, technical industry, health and just about every other industry was well ahead of the rest of the world. Our economy was stellar and it truly showed in the strength of our middle class.

The American Dream was alive and well. People were able to afford the nice house, nice yard, a good car, vacations and savings for college and/or retirement. Unions helped employees earn a better salary and people had more discretionary income. People were buying T.V.s, unnecessary items, that were once considered a luxury. Even with ups and downs it seemed as if everyone had a fair shot to live their dream.

Everything truly started to change in the 1970s. That is when CEO pay began to jump and the employee pay began to level off. The 1980s and Reagonomics put a serious hurting on the American Dream. More people were layed off, companies began getting more work out of less people and corporations put short term profits ahead of the long term outlook. The 1990s saw a bit of an uptick for employees, but that was shortlived. Then George W. Bush and the new Republican party struck.

The Bush administration started the Bush Tax Cuts, which increasingly helped the Wealthy. Since the inception of the Bush Tax Cuts, they have cost us about $3 trillion. He started 2 wars that weren’t paid for and was in charge for 2 recessions. He created less jobs that any President in history and was in office for the largest terrorist attack in American History, 9/11. The Housing Market and the Banking Industry fell apart under his watch.

To top all of that off we were hemorrhaging jobs. He gave tax breaks to companies who outsourced American jobs as they were recieving government subsidies. By this time CEOs were making 400 times what their employees made and employeed wages stagnated. Banks were going bankrupt, yet their CEOs were getting million dollar bonuses or more. It was as if tge world was turned upside down. The American Dream was dead in the water.

In steps President Obama and the Democrats. They passed the ACA, the economy was slowly improving and jobs were slowly being created. All this despite Republican attempts to stop him and find a way to impeach him. Now the Stock Market is sitting at a record high, unemployment rate is below 8% and the Republicans are still doing everything they can to inhibit him.

But despite the improvements, does the American Dream still exist? Yes and no. It will never be the same as it was. It is more like buying a home and making sure the bills are paid. Maybe you can go on a vacation, most likely not if you want to put your kids through college. The one hidden stat that is very disturbing is that 91% of the wealth made over the past 5 years was made by the top 7% of America’s earners. It appears the American Dream has been held hostage.

The overhyping of Welfare numbers while hiding corporate welfare numbers.

                Republicans like to harp on Welfare, there are to many people on it, it costs to much and people come to rely on the government instead of themselves. While saying this they hand out money to multibillion dollar corporations and reward companies who send jobs overseas. Apple alone avoided paying $9 billion in taxes last year, by using U.S. tax code loopholes.

Last year Welfare cost the country $80 billion. That seems like a hefty number, until you consider a few things. The Bush Tax Cuts have cost us approxamately $1.5 trillion since their inception. That is about $115 billion a year. These tax cuts were supposed to create jobs, where are they? Bush will go down in history as one of our worst job creating Presidents, amongst other worsts that he owns. These tax breaks if they were to go away would do quite a bit to pay our National Debt.

Corporate Welfare is worse than both Welfare and the Bush Tax Cuts. Corporate Welfare is subsidies given to wealthy corporations. For instance Oil Companies recieved about $15 billion from our government last year. Corporate Welfare cost us $200 billion last year. 2 and 1/2 times that of Domestic Welfare. What is more important, our People or our corporations? Why do corporations that are being government subsidized not hiring?

In order to recieve Food Stamps, a family of 4 making $26, 000 would get $165 a month in Food Stamps. A person working 40 hours a week at $12.50 an hour would recieve that much. In order to get Welfare, you have to make lesd than $400 a month. Then you would get cash assistance, medical, dental and Section 8 housing. Section 8 housing I believe comes in at a higher number. Are these the people the government should stop helping?

Each dollar spent on Food Assistance returns $1.86 to the economy. So again Republicans are mistaken in their attacks. Democrats want to give more to people and cut the corporations off. President Obama wants to help the people and Republicans hate him for it. The people vote for the party that helps them. Remember the Republucans thought the Sequester was a good idea.

Greed and America.

           Republicans speek of the Free Market as if it were miraculous. They try to sell the rest of the population how important it is and how it goes hand and hand with the American way of life. They do not mention that many suffer horribly because of the greed involved in the Free Market. A market where profits outweigh common sense.

            Republicans and conservatives believe regulations cripple the Free Market. They neglect to mention that capitalism in its true form nearly sank our economy and that these believers in the “Free Market” were the first to bail these companies out. That doesn’t sound like a Free Market to me, that sounds like tax payers subsidizing Private Enterprises. That there is a bit of Socialism.

             Yes I said that evil word, socialism. Republicans only believe in anything when it works for their needs. Look at how they are attacking our voting rights across the nation, can’t win fair,  they cheat. These same Republicans who so fiercely support capitalism and the Free Market give corporations almost $200 billion a year in corporate welfare. Yet they attack the $80 billion spent on Food Assistance for low income Americans. Each dollar of that $80 gets a return of $1.84 into the economy.

                The Free Market and Capitalism are just words used to cover their true agenda. At first this may sound conspiracy like,  but read and put it together. In each state Republicans are gerrymandering and attempting to make it harder for poor folk to vote. They vote against gun reform, which is strongly supported by Americans. Are against gay marriage, support the Sequester, voted against VAWA, are attempting to cut SNAP benefits, voted against Sandy Relief, want to Privatize Social Security and Public Schools and want to cut Medicare. Please remember this is just a partial list. Why would they these things and who do they affect? Mind you they voted no to raising taxes on corporations and wealthy people.

               This is class warfare. They are attacking the weak, those who cannot politically protect themselves. An American voices their political opinion through voting. Republicans believe if they can control who votes the country is theirs. Their vision for America is not a Democracy with civil liberties, but a religious State controlled by a few. If you are reading this you already realize there is something wrong. If they get their e
Way we will live in something that resembles a Dictatorship.

              I am a Liberal Democrat, but I am ashamed to say that many of these Democrats are our only bastion of hope. They do not stand united and turn their backs on President Obama. We need strong leaders who will protected our Democracy. We need strong leaders to keep Republicans honest and to limit the power money has on our government. Lobbying needs to be limited. We also need to realize that there are people worldwide and in our country that want to harm us. Please do not incite these lunatics with ill thought out rhetoric.

Posted from WordPress for Android

Tennessee wants to slash welfare benefits based on kids grades.

                Tennessee Republican State Senator Stacey Campfield introduced legislation recently that would slash welfare benefits for parents whose kids get crummy grades. Critics call it an unfair proposal that will ultimately hurt kids. Campfield days the bill will inspire parents to do a better job.

             Senate Democrat leader Jim Kyle says a graded for welfare plan would stack the deck against at risk children. It would pressure them to study when they have no food on the dinner table. The state already cuts benefits by 20% for parents whose kids don’t have to go to school. Campfields bill would raise that to 30%. Campfield believes his proposal would break the cycle of poverty. A single mom with 2 kids recieves only $185 a month in benefits, does anyone believe this is enough.

               When Campfield introduced the legislation in January, he said parents have gotten away with doing absolutely nothing to help their children in school. He also said that it was child abuse. While Tennessee already ties welfare to education, this change would put the burden of maintaining benefits squarely on children. Can you imagine being 10 and knowing that how you do on this test can take away what helps your family get food. That is an awful lot of pressure for a kid. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families ( TANF), meanwhile is failing students and their families. It serves fewer impoverished families and children that its predecessor did before the 1996 welfare reform law was instituted and it especially failed during the Great Recession, when the rates of families served fell in 35 states despite increases in both poverty and unemployment. Tenbessee’s welfare program is hardly robust, the maximum benefit is $185 a month and has remained that way since 1996. Low income students already struggle to keep up in school, further reducing the already modest benefits they receive from TAND. This isn’t likely to improve educational outcomes.

               There was a petition to stop this started by Clergy for Justice, a Tennessee based organization of clergy that has previously advocated for causes including immigration reform, health care and anti-bullying laws. They say the public school system fails our kids time and time again, not reaching out to children that need it, not being available to tutor and leaving behind children that may need just a little more time to catch on to something. Now put the pressure on them that they will get less food if they don’t get good grades.

              This isn’t the answer to our problems. These programs are there for people who need them. Instead if getting more revenue from taxes on the super wealthy they go after those that have nothing. Yes I agree some parents don’t help their children, but should the child be punished for that? No! We need to find a better solution, I probably don’t have the answer but it won’t stop me from trying.

Posted from WordPress for Android