Monday, February 1, 2010

No Raises Again, Ever.

This rant from Craigslist is spot on.
WHY you keep getting screwed-- MR. (Tea Party Patriot)
Hey you. You there in the Glenn Beck T-shirt headed off to the Tea Party Patriot rally.

Stop shouting for a moment, please, I want to explain to you why you're so very angry.

You should be angry. You're getting screwed.

I think you know that. But you don't seem to know that it doesn't have to be that way. You can stop it. You can stop it easily because the system that's screwing you over can only keep screwing you over if you keep demanding that it do so.

So stop demanding that. Stop helping the system screw you over.

Look, you can go back to yelling at me in a minute, but just read this first.

1. Get out your pay stub.

Or, if you have direct deposit -- you really should get direct deposit, it saves a lot of time and money (I point this out because, honestly, I'm trying to help you here, even though you don't make that easy Mr. Angry Screamy Guy) -- then take out that little paper receipt they give you when your pay gets directly deposited.

2. Notice that your net pay is lower than your gross pay. This is because some of your wages are withheld every pay period.

3. Notice that only some of this money that was withheld went to pay taxes. (I know, I know -- yeearrrgh! me hates taxes! -- but just try to stick with me for just a second here.)

4. Notice that some of the money that was withheld didn't go to taxes, but to your health insurance company.

5. Now go get a pay stub from last year around this time, from January of 2009.

6. Notice that the amount of your pay withheld for taxes in your current paycheck is less than the amount that was withheld a year ago.

That's because of President Barack Obama's economic stimulus plan, which included more than $200 billion in tax cuts, including the one you're holding right there in your hand, the tax cut that's now staring you in the face. Republicans all voted against that tax cut. And then they told you to get angry about the stimulus plan. They didn't explain, however, why you were supposed to get angry about getting a tax cut. Why would you be? Wouldn't it make more sense to get angry at the people who voted against that Obama tax cut?

But taxes aren't the really important thing here. The really important thing starts with the next point.

7. Notice that the amount of your pay withheld to pay for your health insurance is more than it was last year.

8. Notice that the amount of your pay withheld to pay for your health insurance is a lot more than it was last year.

I won't ask you to dig up old paychecks from 2008 and 2007, but this has been going on for a long time. Every year, the amount of your paycheck withheld to pay for your health insurance goes up. A lot.

9. Notice the one figure there on your two pay stubs that hasn't changed: Your wage. The raise you didn't get this year went to pay for that big increase in the cost of your health insurance.

10. Here's where I need you to start doing a better job of putting two and two together. If you didn't get a raise last year because the cost of your health insurance went up by a lot, and the cost of your health insurance is going to go up by a lot again this year, what do you think that means for any chance you might have of getting a raise this year?

11. Did you figure it out? That's right. The increasing cost of health insurance means you won't get a raise this year. Or next year. Or the year after that. The increasing cost of health insurance means you will never get a raise again.

That's what I meant when I said you really should be angry. That's what I meant when I said you're getting screwed.

OK, we're almost done. Just a few more points, I promise.

12. The only hope you have of ever seeing another pay raise is if Congress passes health care reform. Without health care reform, the increasing cost of your health insurance will swallow this year's raise. And next year's raise. And pretty soon it won't stop with just your raise. Without health care reform, the increasing cost of your health insurance will start making your pay go down.

13. I wish I could tell you that this was just a worst-case scenario, that this was only something that might, maybe happen, but that wouldn't be true. Without health care reform, this is what will happen. We know this because this is what is happening now. It has been happening for the past 10 years. In 2008, employers spent on average 25 percent more per employee than they did in 2001, but wages on average did not increase during those years. The price of milk went up. The price of gas went up. But wages did not. All of the money that would have gone to higher wages went to pay the higher and higher and higher cost of health insurance. And unless Congress passes health care reform, that will not change.

Well, it will change in the sense that it will keep getting worse, but it won't get better. Unless the problem gets fixed, the problem won't be fixed. That's kind of what "problem" and "fixed" mean.

14. Sadly for any chance you have of ever seeing a raise again, it looks like Congress may not pass health care reform. It looks like they won't do that because they're scared of angry voters who are demanding that they oppose health care reform, angry voters who demand that Congress not do anything that would keep the cost of health insurance from going up and up and up. Angry voters like you.

15. Do you see the point here? You are angrily, loudly demanding that Congress make sure that you never, ever get another pay raise as long as you live. Because of you and because of your angry demands, you and your family and your kids are going to have to get by with less this year than last year. And next year you're going to have to get by with even less. And if you keep angrily demanding that no one must ever fix this problem, then you're going to have to figure out how to get by on less and less every year for the rest of your life.

16. So please, for your own sake, for your family's sake and the sake of your children, stop. Stop demanding that problems not get fixed. Stop demanding that you keep getting screwed. Stay angry -- you should be angry -- but start directing that anger toward the system that's screwing you over and taking money out of your pocket. Start directing that anger toward fixing problems instead of toward making sure they never get fixed. Instead of demanding that Congress oppose health care reform so that you never, ever, get another pay raise, start demanding that they pass health care reform, as soon as possible. Because until they do, you're just going to keep on getting screwed.

And it's going to be that much worse knowing that you brought this on yourself -- that you demanded it.

Thanks for your time.

P.S. -- I didn't mention this because I'm trying here to be as patient with you as I can, but you might also want to keep in mind that in addition to screwing over yourself and screwing over your family and screwing over your own children by demanding that Congress oppose health care reform so that you will never, ever see another pay raise, by doing that you're also demanding that I never, ever see another pay raise, which means that you're also screwing over me, and my family, and my children. Not to mention the millions of poor and uninsured and uninsureable people I didn't even mention above because they don't seem to matter at all to you. And for that, let me just say the only appropriate thing that can be said to someone so determined to do direct, tangible harm to the welfare of my family: Fuck you, you fucking moron.
Think Progress: Virginia Delegate Fighting To Invalidate Health Reform: Reform Is ‘Criminal,’ An Attempt To Take ‘Your Soul’

Last month, ThinkProgress revealed that health insurance companies, through a corporate front group specializing in state legislature policy called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), have been orchestrating an effort to undermine health reform in the states. Virginia Del. Bob Marshall (R) has seized upon ALEC’s template “Health Care Freedom Act” legislation, and introduced his own “Virginia Health Care Freedom Act” to declare an individual mandate — a cornerstone of reform — unconstitutional. In an interview posted today, Marshall said the mandate reminded him of mobsters, and that national reform efforts are “criminal activity“:

Mobsters used to offer ‘protection’ to business owners, so when Congress says that if individuals don’t become customers of businesses that contribute to them, to me that crosses the line. For me, it is hard to distinguish what is going on in Washington, D.C., from criminal activity.”

Marshall, whose campaign is being supported by much of the Virginia GOP establishment and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), has fought bitterly to defeat reform. Speaking at a states’ rights rally in Richmond, Marshall declared, “this is a fight over whether you are a citizen or you are a serf”:

MARSHALL: This Obamacare is not a fight over health insurance. It’s not even a payback for political help. This is a fight over whether you are a citizen or you are a serf. It’s not your wallet that they want, it’s your soul, it’s your family. We are not going to allow this to happen. Don’t call these folks atheists, they believe in themselves.

Watch it:

Despite Marshall’s inflamed rhetoric in the former Confederate capital, the Massachusetts health system, which covers 98% of Bay State citizens and enjoys support from Republicans like Mitt Romney and Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-MA), has an individual mandate.

SusanG (DK): Who loves Scottie Brown?

The banksters love Scottie Brown:

In a six-day span just before the US Senate election, Republican Scott Brown collected nearly $450,000 from donors who work at financial companies, a sign the industry is prepared to spend heavily in the upcoming midterm elections to beat back new controls and taxes President Obama wants to impose.

The donations, from hundreds of financial executives, far exceeded what Brown received from doctors and others in the health care industry in the final days of the campaign. While Brown saw donations from all quarters explode in mid-January, as polls showed him closing fast on opponent Martha Coakley, the donations from financial workers coincided with several key developments that would affect their companies.

This wasn't a "kill health care" Senate seat purchase. This was a "preserve my $100 million bonus" Senate seat purchase.

The news of just who was most invested in getting that seat flipped to the R-side of the aisle comes on a day when Americans United for Change launches a most appropriately themed ad in the DC market:

Atrios: Ladies And Gentleman, This Is A Bank
Hopefully the next version includes lessons on shoe tying for the masters of the universe.
Sully: A Message For The Tea-Partiers II

There's a helpful reality check in the NYT today on the health reform debate. Among the two most common GOP "alternatives" to health reform in the centrist bill the Senate has passed were tort reform (good idea but trivial in terms of cost control) and the ability to buy insurance across state lines. I think tort reform should have been in the bill and that Obama should be open to a stand-alone bill adding it. But the other issue is already in there:

Mr. Obama, in an exchange Friday with Representative Tom Price, Republican of Georgia, said he had considered many Republican ideas and pointed, by example, to a proposal to allow insurance companies to sell policies across state lines. “We actually include that as part of our approach,” the president said.

“But the caveat is, we’ve got to do so with some minimum standards; because otherwise what happens is that you could have insurance companies circumvent a whole bunch of state regulations.” After the session, Representative John Shadegg, Republican of Arizona, took issue with Mr. Obama’s comments, saying the president “got his facts wrong.” ... But in a report comparing the health care bills passed by House and Senate Democrats, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service wrote: “Both bills would allow states to form compacts to facilitate the sale and purchase of health plans across state lines.”

Read the whole piece and you realize just how centrist Obama's proposals are and just how insane the current GOP leadership is.

Laurie: Calling the Judicial Radicals Out

E.J. Dionne, bless him, is shrill:

The nation owes a substantial debt to Justice Samuel Alito for his display of unhappiness over President Obama’s criticisms of the Supreme Court’s recent legislation—excuse me, decision—opening our electoral system to a new torrent of corporate money.

Alito’s inability to restrain himself during the State of the Union address brought to wide attention a truth that too many have tried to ignore: The Supreme Court is now dominated by a highly politicized conservative majority intent on working its will, even if that means ignoring precedents and the wishes of the elected branches of government.

Obama called the court on this, and Alito shook his head and apparently mouthed “not true.” His was the honest reaction of a judicial activist who believes he has the obligation to impose his version of right reason on the rest of us.

The controversy also exposed the impressive capacity of the conservative judicial revolutionaries to live by double standards without apology.

The movement’s legal theorists and politicians have spent more than four decades attacking alleged judicial abuses by liberals, cheering on the presidents who joined them in their assaults. But now, they are terribly offended that Obama has straightforwardly challenged the handiwork of their judicial comrades.

More columns like this, and less Media Village Idiot chatter, and we’d have to stop calling it the Kaplan Daily.

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