Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Modest Proposal-How about a trickle-up Bailout instead of trickle down

A modest proposal:
How about a trickle-up Bailout instead of trickle down.

By Scott Marshall

Perhaps the biggest fault of the bailout being debated (possibly passed by the time you read this) is that it is based on the idea that the relief given to Wall Street will trickle down to hard-hit working class folks on Your Street.

Who knows? Given that the underlying problem of crazy predatory mortgages and lending practices, and the housing bubble are not fundamentally addressed, then the bailout could just as well not avert a meltdown. Most people you talk to don’t have much confidence that the bailout will slow foreclosures, unemployment, or declining incomes.

But what if the bailout went the other way? What if taxpayers bailout themselves and then the benefit trickled up?

How could you do it? What if everyone who has lost a home to foreclosure in the last year, or is in foreclosure, or is behind on their house payments, got a bailout directly from the Treasury? This would be a direct injection of liquidity into the financial markets. Banks and lending institutions would receive an infusion of cold hard cash from their victims, er… customers. This would immediately stimulate consumer spending also. It would free up stressed incomes for working class families and right the injustice of the unfair and predatory lending practices used by the big finance boys on Wall Street. If this works then Congress might want to extend it to car loans and other big loans – this would inject liquidity into the auto industry instead of the $25 billion taxpayer bailout to auto already passed by Congress.

I can hear the rightwing now. How can you reward those who used poor judgment and borrowed over their ability to pay back? Well yeah…. Isn’t that the “principal” that is already enshrined in the Wall Street bailout? Not to mention that the housing bubble that got us into this mess began with risky, predatory loans. But now increasingly the crisis involves conventional loans, overwhelmingly by folks who have faithfully paid their mortgages. Wouldn’t millions of people getting a several thousand dollar bailout do more to free up spending and money circulation than a few dozen big lenders getting billions to put in their bank vaults?

This could even be extended to health care. Instead of a bailout of insurance vampires like AIG, or silly schemes to give tax credits for private purchase of insurance, why not pay the full premiums with no deductibles and no co-pays for every person in the US. (Might be called single payer) Then, working class families (the overwhelming majority) again, would have more cash to circulate and consume – billions in liquidity. And corporations would shed billions in healthcare costs thus freeing up huge amounts of capital to invest in creating jobs and Greening their industries. Congress might then realize that the predatory “middlemen” of big financials, like private insurance companies, don’t really play any useful purpose anyway – and could be allowed to go out of the healthcare business.

Not only would $700,000,000,000 probably be enough for a trickle up bailout, it would probably also calm world markets faster, because it would get at the root of the current economic crisis. And it would promote goodwill and a better image of America. It would show that even under gigantic state owned capitalism with all it’s vast inequalities, it is still possible to fight and win humane, logical, people-helping solutions.
I can hear my conservative friends now, “This will only lead to even bigger public programs. People will start taking about nationalizing the big oil and energy companies, nationalizing the banking system, free education and childcare, and on and on.”

Well yeah……

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bail out

I really don't know what to make of the presidents request that we all bail out Wallstreet. I've heard so many pros and cons that I'm confused, for sure.
I do know this however. Who ever termed it "bailout" made a big mistake.
We're all pretty sick of seeing these stinking corporations being "bailed out".
Another thing is that George W. Bush cried wolf once before in getting us into that stinking Iraq war, so I can understand why many people wouldn't want to believe him. He's lied too much. Weapons of mass destruction, etc.
The Republicans, are always for less regulation and oversite and for eight long years now we have had an administration that has been more loyal to companies and corporations than real working people.
These CEO's with their exorbitant salaries and golden parachutes have put the American people in total disgust of them. I'm not sure what this "bail out" would have done to these salaries and golden parachutes, but my guess is that it wouldn't have been enough. Golden handcuffs would be appropriate for these crooks.
And to think that some Republicans said that they voted against the bailout because they're feelings were hurt because of something Nancy Pelosi said is a real laugh. What a bunch of lily livered yellow bellies.
And the congress is going home for the Jewish Holidays?????? You got to be kidding. They should all be in Washington hammering out legislation that will not only fix the problem but will help the American people. How many of us work on Holidays for crying out loud.
Look folks, you don't have to be an Economics Professor, or a Phi Beta Kappa to see that Bush and his Republican cronies have taken us all for a ride.
There's only one thing to do about it.
Vote for someone who knows about and cares about working families and retirees.
Vote for Barack Obama for President of the United States and let's take our country back from these scoundrels.

Friday, September 26, 2008

WHAT??? NO Lapel Pin????

Do my eyes deceive me? I lost my glasses but even when I click on the photo above, I can't see a flag lapel pin on John McSame. Do Republicans want to suggest that Mr. McSame isn't patriotic??

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Porter County Commissioners Disrespectful

For what it may be worth to the citizens of Porter County.

The other day I attended a meeting of the Porter County Commissioners.
The experience was not pleasant.
There was not a working sound system, but the room was so small that they shouldn’t have needed one anyway.
There were many people in attendance, mostly senior citizens, and yet these Commissioners spoke in such soft voices that nobody could hear what the heck they were saying.
They gave no consideration to the people in attendance and spoke so softly that nobody could hear a thing that was being said.
What a bunch of lily livered public servants.
Very disrespectful.
I don’t have a nickel in it being from Starke County, but I can say that if I were living in Porter County, I’d be wanting to attend one of these meetings to find out just which of these Commissioners should be given the boot.
This is what sometimes happens to people once they get a job in government. They think all of a sudden that they don't have to be considerate or polite anymore.
Sickening.
I'll blame the guy running the meeting. His name is Robert Harper, I believe. What a joke. It should have been up to him to make sure that the others spoke loud enough so people could hear, but he talked as if he had a mouth full of horse manure. What a disgrace.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

McCain secretly plans new tax on middle class

By Leo W. Gerard
United Steelworkers
International President

John McCain should not be traveling in a bus called the Straight Talk Express.
No, that equivocating multimillionaire who kowtows constantly to the wealthy should be riding in one of those private, gilded railroad cars.
That would be symbolically appropriate as well since he is trying to railroad the middle class on taxes.
He is actually proposing a brand new tax on the middle class.
This has gotten so little attention it is astounding. And frightening, frankly, as television reporters and commentators focus instead on inane incidents like the lipstick-on-pigs remark.
McCain intends to tax workers for the value of health insurance that they receive from their employers.
Really.
Although it’s not included in the description of his plan on his web site. It is, however, on the site of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit organization that specializes in health policy.
I understand McCain neglecting to mention this new tax on the middle class. If I were proposing this shocking tax increase, one that will cost the average American worker an additional $110 a month in taxes out of the blue, I would conceal it as best I could too.

Taxing health insurance

So let me provide you with some clarity. This comes from the Kaiser Foundation evaluation of the McCain and Barack Obama health plans. It says McCain would “reform the tax code to eliminate the exclusion of the value of health insurance plans offered by employers from workers’ taxable income.”
The value of the typical plan provided by an employer to a family is $12,106, of which the employer pays $8,824, and the worker pays the remaining $3,282. The median household income is $44,389, which places most American families in the 15 percent income tax bracket.
McCain wants to add the employer’s cost — an additional $8,824 – to that middle class family’s income, then tax it. The hit to the average family is 15 percent of the McCain-added income — $1,323 more in income taxes.
This new tax would affect the 158 million Americans who are insured through their employer.
Right now you should be yelling, “What?” And demanding to know why you haven’t heard about this before. That is because the media keeps focusing on McCain’s proposed health care tax credits — $5,000 for families and $2,500 for individuals.
McCain certainly wants the attention to stay on those credits. It sounds so much better to be giving families tax credits than tax increases. But what needs to be stressed here is that the tax credits only go to families or individuals who go out on the market and buy insurance for themselves. Right now, only 14 million Americans obtain insurance that way.
So, under McCain’s plan, 14 million Americans could get these tax credits. And 158 million working people would have to pay an additional $1,323 in income taxes.

New tax

Still, somehow, no one mentions the new tax part of McCain’s plan!
Even the credits don’t sound so great after you hear the whole story.
John McCain wants to kill employer-provided health insurance. He wants every American to go out on his or her own and try to buy insurance. He says that on his site if you read between the doubletalk. He says, for example, “The key to health care reform is to restore control to the patients themselves.. . .Health care. . . should not be limited by where you work.”
Here’s the way the New York Times put it in an April 30 story, in which there was only straight talk: “Mr. McCain’s health care plan would shift the emphasis from insurance provided by employers to insurance bought by individuals.”
Since 2000, the percentage of employers offering health insurance has declined from 69 percent to 60 percent. Many more companies would dump their plans as soon as the federal government offered tax credits to individuals who bought their own. Corporations would disingenuously justify this abandonment the same way McCain does — by saying workers would get the advantage of carrying their individual plans from job to job as they move around the country.
They won’t mention the cost, however. To buy plans comparable to what workers now receive from employers, families are going to have to shell out a lot more money from their own pockets.
The math is simple. To buy the $12,106 plan with the $5,000 family tax credit, a worker is going to have to cough up an additional $3,824. (That is the $8,824 the employer previously paid toward the plan minus the $5,000 credit.)
That is, assuming, of course, that you can get coverage. Insurance companies are notorious for rejecting anyone with pre-existing conditions, including acne, being overweight and diabetes.

McCain wouldn’t qualify

John McCain himself would likely be unable to find an insurer on the private market since he’s had the most serious form of skin cancer, melanoma, more than once.
But he doesn’t have to worry because, as a U.S. senator, he’s covered by a government plan. And he’s certainly not proposing eliminating that!
McCain could resolve the exclusion problem by requiring insurance companies to accept people with pre-existing conditions. But he doesn’t. Instead, he suggests setting up a system in which states would become responsible making sure those people get insurance. He says he won’t shift the costs to the states, but what’s the chance of that? He’s establishing a pool of all of those rejected by insurance companies – thus those with the highest risk. And he’s telling the states to deal with the problem that creates.
Meanwhile, insurance companies would be left to profit big time by providing insurance for the young, the healthy and everyone who doesn’t have anything at all wrong with them. What a deal!
He claims this plan will increase competition and drive down prices – as if an individual worker, on his own, without any real knowledge of the system, has the negotiating power of a major corporation with full-time experts on its staff whose only function is to buy insurance for a pool of hundreds or thousands of workers.
While McCain is planning to increase your taxes if you’ve got insurance at work or to force you into the insurance market at a huge financial loss, he intends, at the same time, to cut taxes on corporations — you know, like those giant oil companies that just raked in the largest quarterly profits of any firm ever in the history of mankind. And he plans to permanently retain those income tax cuts his friend George W. Bush gave to the rich, because, of course, the wealthiest Americans, like McCain and Bush, need a break today.

Lying to American workers

In the meantime, McCain is traveling to states like Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, hard hit by the economic devastation caused by eight years of Bush administration fiscal policy failures. At each stop, McCain is sucking up the middle class – as if his administration wouldn’t cost workers dearly.
He needs to stop lying to America’s workers.
In fact, maybe Mr. Straight-Talk-Express needs to slap on some lipstick. Because sometimes the truth is a bitch.

Source: United Steelworkers Website

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Georgia Pacific is a Lousy Corporate Citizen

Is Georgia Pacific a Good Corporate Citizen?

Georgia Pacific in Wheatfield, Indiana is a lousy corporate citizen. As I understand it, that doesn’t hold true for much of the Georgia Pacific Corporation, but the plant in Wheatfield that produces gypsum wallboard has decided to go against their company policy. They take from the community in the form of labor, and treat the citizens of Wheatfield who work at the plant like trash.

A good corporate citizen would, once employees vote to have a union, honestly bargain in good faith with the union to reach an agreement that both the employees and the company are willing to live by.

But no, Georgia Pacific in Wheatfield has decided instead to cut wages and benefits for their workers and lollygag and delay with the negotiations.

You know what?—If they think that the company as a whole doesn’t have anything to lose by this un-American activity, they’re sadly mistaken.

Those hotshots from Georgia Pacific down in Georgia better come to the realization that their whole company will be harmed by allowing this renegade company in Wheatfield to act this way.

I made my wife burn six rolls of toilet paper that had Georgia Pacific printed on the wrapper. She has instructions not to buy anything, and I mean anything produced by Georgia Pacific. Now I don’t know if Georgia Pacific has a toilet paper monopoly, but if they do, then I’ll be saving the classified sections of the newspaper (no color) in the future.

The CEO of Georgia Pacific better get off his fat ass and bring this Wheatfield management under control. Whoever you are, will this be your legacy? Poor Corporate Citizen?

What’s the guys name, anyway?

If guys like John McCain would support the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), lousy rotten companies like Georgia Pacific in Wheatfield, Indiana wouldn't be so eager to be un-American by refusing to bargain. The contract would be arbitrated.

John McCain's ads are Lies

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

McCain and Palin - Just Static

Every election cycle generates a lot of noise.
As you sort through the static, hear this:

BARACK OBAMA HAS THE
MOST PRO-WORKING FAMILIES
VOTING RECORD
OF ANY CANDIDATE NOMINATED FOR PRESIDENT
SINCE 1968
Everything else you hear is just static.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Facts about Georgia Pacific

  • Georgia Pacific produces wallboard at a facility located in Wheatfield, Indiana.
  • In March of 2007 over seventy percent of the men and women who work at the GP Gypsum Wheatfield facility voted to unionize. Their primary goal was to eliminate favoritism and reach a fair collective bargaining agreement.
  • Last year GP Gypsum made 45 million in profits.
  • The union negotiating team started meeting with Company representatives 14 months ago. Instead of sharing their impressive success with their workforce, the company has demanded:
  1. Wage cuts
  2. Cuts in vacation
  3. Reduced funeral leave
  4. Elimination of Long Term Disability Insurance paid for by the employees
  5. Restriction on Employees ability to increase their Life Insurance paid for by employees.
  • The strategy of avoiding reaching a contract for as long as possible is widely practiced in order to eliminate unions. Studies show that 32% of companies fail to reach a first contract with their workers a year after they choose union representation.
  • The Employee Free Choice Act which has majority support in both houses of Congress would require mediation and arbitration if the parties do not reach agreement after 6 months. Polling shows that 70 percent of Americans support the Employee Free Choice Act.
  • Until that law is enacted the United Steelworkers has vowed to fight for a fair labor agreement for the hardworking men and women who make wallboard in Wheatfield.
Justice Deferred is Justice Denied!

Please don't Buy Georgia Pacific Wallboard

Contact GP at 800-284-5347 and tell them to reach a fair agreement with their workers

Saturday, September 06, 2008

For my Republican Friends

After watching the Republican pick for Vice President of the United States, Governor Sandra Palin, and hearing her belittle Barack Obama's accomplishments as a Community Organizer in Chicago, I came across this quote from Connie Mabin.

"Jesus was a community organizer. Pontius Pilate was a governor."

In response to this statement, Greg Olear added, "Pontius Pilate was a governor of an outpost of the Empire, kinda like, you know, Alaska."

Brothers and Sisters, the Republican picks for President and Vice President offer another four years of Bush like policies and attitudes.

It's very true that we simply cannot afford four more years of Bush/McCain. It would mean more hate, more torture, more war, more losing of good jobs, more ignoring of our veterans, more ignoring of the American people, more tearing down of our infrastucture and more privatizing.

Let's vow to not let this happen.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Statehouse Candidate of the Week: Nancy Dembowski


Nancy Dembowski, is the AFL-CIO endorsed candidate for House District 17. As a long time member of the Steelworker Organization of Active Retirees, and the wife of a Steelworker, she understands full well the benefits the union provides for working families in Indiana. She is dedicated to continuing her service to working Hoosiers as a state representative, especially when corporate interests are pushing dangerous Right-to-Work for less laws in the statehouse.

Representative Dembowski strongly opposes the Right-to-Work for less, because, "I personally know how important the benefits of the union are and would not vote for any legislation that jeopardized the strength of unions to collectively bargain. I am strongly opposed to Right-to-Work for less laws because they simply destroy unions and also end up decreasing wages for all workers."

But in order to make it back to the Indiana statehouse to stand up for Hoosier working families and fight Right-to-Work for less, Representative Dembowski needs the help of union members and the Labor 2008 program.

"I can't win without the support of union members, reaching out to your union brothers and sisters, by going door to door on labor walks, making calls on member to member phone banks, and sending local union mail. I know that with your hard work and the Labor 2008 program behind me, I'll be able to continue working hard for you all in our legislature."

Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor Day FAQs

LABOR DAY FAQs
Q: When is Labor Day?_
A: Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September. In 2008, Labor Day will fall on Sept. 1.

Q: Why do we celebrate Labor Day?_

A: Labor Day honors the contributions of working men and women to America’s social and economic life. In 2007, Labor Day celebrations included a blend of picnics, parades and politics as well as the launch of a massive drive to fix our broken healthcare system.

Q: When was Labor Day first celebrated in the United States? _

A: After the first Labor Day in New York City, celebrations began to spread to other states as workers fought to win workplace rights and better working conditions and wages at a time when they had little power.
In 1893, New York City workers took an unpaid day off and marched around Union Square in support of a national Labor Day. The following year, 12,000 federal troops were called into Pullman, Ill., to break up a huge strike against the Pullman railway company and two workers were shot and killed by U.S. deputy marshals.
In what most historians call an election-year attempt to appease workers after the federal crackdown on the Pullman strike, shortly after the strike was broken, President Grover Cleveland signed legislation making the first Monday in September Labor Day and a federal holiday. Cleveland lost the election.
Q: When did Labor Day become a national holiday?_

A: After the first Labor Day in New York City, celebrations began to spread to other states as workers fought to win workplace rights and better working conditions and wages at a time when they had little power. In 1893, New York City workers took an unpaid day off and marched around Union Square in support of a national Labor Day. The following year, 12,000 federal troops were called into Pullman, Ill., to break up a huge strike against the Pullman railway company and two workers were shot and killed by U.S. deputy marshals. In what most historians call an election year attempt to appease workers after the federal crackdown on the Pullman strike, shortly after the strike was broken, President Grover Cleveland signed legislation making the first Monday in September Labor Day and a federal holiday. Cleveland lost the election.
Q: Who founded Labor Day?_

A: That’s a matter of dispute among historians. Some say Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, first suggested a day to honor workers. Others credit Matthew Maguire, a machinist who served as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.

Q: Is Labor Day just about unions?_

A: No. The U.S. Department of Labor describes Labor Day this way: “It is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country.”

Q: What international holiday is Labor Day’s closet relative?_

A: May Day. In 1889, a workers’ congress in Paris voted to support the U.S. labor movement’s demand for an eight-hour workday. It chose May 1, 1890, as a day of demonstrations in favor of the eight-hour day. Afterward, May 1 became a holiday called Labor Day in many nations. It resembles the September holiday in the United States._

Source: AFL-CIO