Today in America 25 million people are either unemployed or underemployed, wages are declining, one in four mortgages is underwater, and four people are looking for every available job.
Moreover, U.S. Job losses in the last decade are worse than any decade since the 1890‘s. One third of our unemployed have been out of work over a year, with nearly half over six months. This is even higher than at any time in the 1930’s great depression.
We have to take effective action to put our nation back to work and restore purchasing power to the middle class.
Reducing the work day from eight to six hours without cutting the basic daily pay, and increasing the cost of overtime to outweigh the cost of fringe benefits, is the way out of our unemployment problem, which will spur economic recovery on full employment and increased purchasing power, without having to raise additional government stimulus.
We need to amend the Adamson Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act to have a six-hour-day, thirty-hour workweek, without cuts in basic daily wages, and increase overtime rates to outweigh the cost of fringe benefits. These federal laws would only affect corporations engaged in Interstate Commerce. (Note: Small business would retain an eight hour day until States opted to change their laws. Large corporations would have the option to break up, and de-merge, forming smaller corporations to operate wholly within a state, or spend money, become more productive, and produce more in less time than their competition the small businesses do in more time). If corporations get in trouble with implementation, we can always lower corporate tax rates after we receive a two-fold benefit of increased individual tax revenue with lower unemployment expense. In the meantime, middle class purchasing power will strengthen us into a full and sustainable recovery.
As an example, with a six hour day, we could have four shifts instead of three. Traffic patterns would change. We would get better use of our infrastructure, have less down time in traffic and more fuel efficiency. We would have more time to watch our kids when we’re not there, because we would be there. We would gain two hours of leisure on each work day, (more than gaining back the time we lost in traffic) without a cut in basic daily pay, and life would be less stressful.
Corporate America would also gain. Middle management would eventually work less hours as contract employees worked less hours. Top management would see increased productivity per hour out of their employees, who would have less down time, would not need a full lunch break, and would get more done per hour. Most importantly, corporate earnings would rise as the middle class gained greater overall purchasing power with near full employment. Henry Ford in 1926 said: “The people who consume the bulk of goods are the people who make them. That is a fact we must never forget -- that is the secret of our prosperity.” And he went on to say: “…probably the next move will be in the direction of shortening the day rather than the week.”
Our government and society will gain with more people working paying taxes, and less people not working draining taxes, a two-fold benefit of increased tax revenue without raising taxes and less bills to pay for people who are not working, when they are working.
A shorter work day will increase productivity per hour per employee. A shorter work week will not have that same effect.
A shorter work day will significantly reduce peak load highway traffic, which will give us better use of our infrastructure and save on fuel costs. Moreover, public transportation will operate more efficiently hauling more people and freight throughout the day with increased serviceability, resulting in a reduction in the total cost of transportation, increased ridership due to reduced costs of service, and a further reduction in highway traffic due to increased use of public transportation coupled with additional savings in fuel costs.
Most importantly, a shorter work day, uniformly applied, will vastly restructure and improve our work ethic.
In 1934 Albert Einstein was quoted saying: “Only a fraction of the available human labor in the world is now needed for the production of the total amount of consumption goods necessary to life, Under a completely laissez-faire economic system, this fact is bound to lead to unemployment.”
Today, once again, purchasing power has not kept up with productivity, and in the hands of American workers is insufficient to sustain our economy. Unemployment has grown to alarming proportions. Left unchecked, it will lead us to ruin.
Unemployment is worldwide. The U.S. can lead in effective recovery and achieve economic justice. We can restrict access to our market for those who do not follow. We can concentrate on effectively using every method to balance our trade, and only raise tariffs as a last resort to get our economy back on track.
Productivity is both a cause and a cure to our economic problems. A shorter work day, without a cut in basic daily pay, will effect increased competition, increased productivity, reduced inflation, full employment, improved standards of living, beacons of light for others to follow, and an easing of world economic tensions.
Campaign Finance Reform
We also need to reduce the influence of money on members of Congress by having Congress act to instruct the Federal Communications Commission to require the media to provide sufficient free air time (the air waves are free), counterbalanced against paid political advertising time, for all federal candidates in general elections to air their views. As an example: If there is five minutes of paid political advertising time, then there should be five minutes of free time. The intent is to reduce the need for money in federal elections.
Another action that would help is the Fair Elections Now Act (S782,
H,R, 1826) which would sever ties between special interests and elected officials. (Note: Rep. Hensarling sides with Wall Street after receiving more than $1 million in campaign cash from the industry.) (read full article)
At the state level and in Washington, vicious attacks are being launched by right wing politicians and their corporate backers against working families, children, the sick, the elderly and the poor. Republican Congressmen (including my entrenched opponent) want more tax breaks for millionaires while they balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable.
We have to fight against tax breaks for billionaires and work to vastly reduce the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world. We need to cut government waste and fraud, cut corporate welfare, and cut billionaire favoritism. We do not need to cut benefits millions of retirees earned and count on for their health and economic security.
We have to oppose every effort to destroy Social Security, which is entirely self funded, has not contributed a single penny to the deficit, and is not responsible for U.S. budget problems. This includes any action to privatize Social Security in whole or part (which my entrenched opponent wants to do), changing benefit/cost of living calculations, or increasing the retirement age, which will hurt millions of seniors who are struggling with increasing financial pressures.
See video clip: www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036697/#35188221
Medicare and an Economic Health Care Commission
Initially, we have to oppose every effort to destroy Medicare. This includes replacing Medicare with “vouchers” or “premium support”, which will make seniors get whatever health care insurance they can find and secure on their own, which also does not guarantee quality care at an affordable cost nor the promise of any coverage at all. We also have to oppose raising the retirement age or otherwise adversely changing eligibility rules, which violates our social contract with the American people.
Our health care system is run by large corporations. It's the most expensive in the world, but ranks 37th in quality. Over 50 million Americans can't afford any care at all. It's a bad system on the whole for citizens, but corporations make enormous profits.
We need to remove all for-profit entities in the Health Care field from any exemptions from the Anti Trust Laws, and concurrently establish an Economic Health Care Commission to protect the public interest from profit gouging by insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, and the for-profit portion of our health care system. These entities need to be regulated by imposing rate of return regulation to limit earnings to a maximum of a reasonable rate of return, which generally should not more than minimally exceed the cost of capital. This is necessary to protect the public interest. Health Care should not be profit driven. Health Care represents genuine human needs and necessary public service. If we continue to allow profit to be squeezed out of people's misery, then we might as well hand over our country to the corporations.
Medicare for All - Single Payer
One of our National goals, as expressed by President Roosevelt on January 11, 1944 in his State of the Union Address was “the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health”. Yet today, 67 years later, we still have a national tragedy of over 50 million Americans without health insurance
Let’s try to understand something:
If we additionally go to a Medicare for All - Single Payer system, no one will die with single payer from a lack of health care..
In a single-payer system, one entity (as is now done with the basic Medicare plan) would act as an administrator or payer. This entity would collect all health care fees and pay out all health costs, and all providers (e.g., hospitals, physicians and other practitioners) would bill one entity for their services. Patients would have a choice over their providers, who would remain as independent as they are today. Thus the single entity would be responsible for paying for health care, but, except in unusual circumstances such as the Veterans Administration hospitals or the Indian Health Service, would not actually deliver that care.
A single-payer system would greatly streamline administration, thereby cutting back on paperwork and allowing more money to go towards actual medical services. In addition, improved databases would allow better monitoring of utilization patterns, allowing the identification of geographical areas in which services are over- or under-utilized. This system has been estimated to reduce administrative services from the current 25-30 percent of the premium dollar under private insurance to approximately 5 percent.
Single payer is the only health care reform that will save enough money to insure everyone. By removing the health insurance industry from the equation, we conservatively save $350 billion a year in administrative costs and profits.. That money is then used to insure those who lack insurance and fully cover those who are underinsured.. While more people will be seeking health care because they will now have insurance, they will be taking care of medical problems early, which will prevent more costly treatment later, there will be no deductible, no bill, no more co-pays, and you can go to see any doctor or check into any hospital in the United States.
All medically necessary care will be funded through the single payer, including doctor visits, hospital care, prescriptions, mental health services, nursing home care, rehab, home care, eye care, and dental care; and single payer will be a vast improvement.
It is not socialized medicine. Doctors do not work for the government. Hospitals remain in private hands.
Right now, the private health insurance companies ration care. If you don’t have health insurance, you don’t get care. 50.7 million Americans currently lack health insurance.
120 Americans are dying every day from lack of health care.
The single payer buying power is the main reason other countries drug prices are lower than ours. Our Veterans Administration gets a 40% discount on drugs because of its buying power. Much medical research is currently funded by the National Institute of Health. Under single payer, this will grow, and drugs will be cheaper under single payer.
Don’t be swayed by health industry propaganda. There is no reason why we cannot seek, attain, and provide for Medicare for All - Single PayeHealth
carere, that does not ration care and works to the benefit of all Americans.
We also have to invest in our crumbling infrastructure by rebuilding our roads, bridges, water systems, school and public transportation systems. This can help towards a goal of drastically cutting unemployment to make sure our kids do not have a lower standard of living than their parents. This can create millions of good paying jobs in short order.
We have to work to make effective changes in our disastrous trade policies, which have resulted in the loss of millions of jobs as corporations shut down here and move to China and other low wage countries. (Noteworthy: In 2010 China produced over 500 million tons of steel, the U.S. 98 million tons; also, China produced 18 million vehicles breaking the all time record of 13 million produced in the U.S.)
We have to recognize that multinational corporations produce most of the goods and services traded in the world economy. They are no longer national entities, but operate in several different countries. They have outgrown restrictions placed on them by national governments. They are interested in cutting costs, They act in their own best interest.\ for cheap labor, low taxes, environmental permissiveness, public subsidies, and ineffective regulation. They exercise control over governments to the point that one government or another can be whipsawed to capitulate to their demands. We are dealing with government willingness to shortchange the interests of its own citizens to accommodate business demands. Clearly, corporations no longer operate with loyalty to the communities they were supposed to serve.
Also, more than one third of world trade is in intra-company trade, trade between different facilities belonging to the same company.
Trade policy has corrupted to the point that government is aiding and abetting corporate efforts which are in direct conflict with citizens interests, actively helping firms headquartered in the U.S. to arrange a transfer of jobs out of the U.S.. That is what NAFTA was about. And today, for example, between 50% and 70% of trade between Mexico and the U.S. is intra-company trade,. Remember when Ross Perot talked about the giant sucking sound of U.S. jobs leaving?
The NAFTA and GATT agreements require the federal government to pressure state and local governments to change their laws to bring them into conformity with the minimalist approach to regulation preferred by international advisory groups. This agenda of international business works to set back American democracy.
The alternative to an unregulated international economy, which is essentially what has developed, is to have a regulated economy. We need to create a structure of laws and enforcement procedures that will cause business firms selling in the world market to act in a socially and environmentally responsible way. If business refuses to comply, then we can and should restrict access to markets. An example of uniform regulation can be patterned after the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which, among other things sets minimum wages and maximum hours of work.
The U.S. Constitution gave Congress the power to regulate foreign commerce. Congress can ban from the U.S. market any goods or services that were not produced in accordance with labor or environmental standards; and/or Congress can act to place tariffs on those products or services The target should be the conduct of employers, not nations. In that manner, tariffs will not be or be seen as economic war with another nation. Congress will have to act to show its intent to have current trade agreements renegotiated to include more uniform labor conditions, and environmental protections, especially as applies to multinational corporations. It is wrong to blame another nation when it is the multinational corporation that is at fault
We can look forward to continued unrestricted free trade that leads to cheap labor and environmental degradation, or we can seek and attain the benefits of properly regulated trade conditions that promote social and environmental responsibility. We need to properly regulate the free market, or it will consume us. The choice ours. We can do nothing, or we can act effectively to attain a more secure future.
I can’t think of anything more important on this planet than for people to be happy, secure, and free.
Rep. Hensarling sides with Wall Street after receiving more than $1 million
in campaign cash from the industry.
source link By Adam Smith
Created Jan 15 2010 - 11:58am
Press release from Common Cause and Public Campaign
Washington, D.C.-Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) sided with Wall Street yesterday in announcing his opposition to new fees for investment firms announced by the Obama administration. Rep. Hensarling's opposition is in lockstep with the $1 million he's received in campaign contributions from the financial industry during his career in Congress.
Rep. Hensarling has received $1,031,891 from commercial banks, securities and investment firms, and finance and credit companies during his six years in Congress, according to data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The new fees announced yesterday on big Wall Street banks would help to recoup part of the financial bailout money. Rep. Hensarling also voted against the financial reform package that passed the House late last year.
"Buoyed by a weakened regulatory regime, Wall Street executives ran roughshod over our financial system, wrecking our economy," said Nick
Nyhart, president and CEO of Public Campaign. "That Rep. Hensarling would repeatedly stand up for these big banks while receiving hundreds of thousands in campaign cash from them is deeply troubling."
"Rep. Hensarling's opposition to financial reform, tied to a perception of influence from campaign contributors is the perfect example of why our current campaign financing system is broken," said Bob Edgar, president and CEO of Common Cause. "We need to dramatically change the way campaigns are financed by passing the Fair Elections Now Act."
The Fair Elections Now Act (S. 752, H.R. 1826) would end Congress' reliance on big money donors by creating a voluntary system that would give candidates limited public funds combined with a four to one match on small donations. Sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. John Larson
(D-Conn.), the legislation would sever the ties between special interests and elected officials. The House bill has the broad bipartisan and cross caucus support of 125 members.
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Common Cause  is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to restoring the core values of American democracy, reinventing an open, honest, and accountable government that works for the public interest, and empowering ordinary people to make their voices heard.
Public Campaign is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to sweeping campaign reform that aims to dramatically reduce the role of big special interest money in American politics.