"How can you be so poor and have all this stuff?" -Bill O’Reilly
Each of these screenshots is from a different Fox show attacking poor Americans for having amenities, trying to make the point (pretty much) that “when I was a kid, poor people had a lot less than this.”
Of course, this is all based on one thoroughly-debunked Heritage Foundation report that conservative media have been parroting for years.
Breaking news for Fox: We’re not in the 1950’s anymore. As technology advances, each year older technology gets less and less expensive, and therefore more working class Americans are able to access it.
Matt Yglesias elaborates:
A serious person would follow this up with a discussion of relative prices. Over the past 50 years, televisions have gotten a lot cheaper and college has gotten a lot more expensive. Consequently, even a low income person can reliably obtain a level of television-based entertainment that would blow the mind of a millionaire from 1961. At the same time, if you’re looking to live in a safe neighborhood with good public schools in a metropolitan area with decent job opportunities you’re going to find that this is quite expensive. Health care has become incredibly expensive. The federal poverty line for a family of three is $18,530 a year. I wonder how many Heritage Foundation policy analysts are deciding they want to cut back and work part time because it’d be super easy to raise two kids in DC on less than $20k in salary? Perhaps just an outfit full of workaholics.
While Fox is so busy pointing out how many people have access to microwaves and refrigerators, they conveniently forget to mention how many people have poor access to quality education, health care, and affordable housing. Because really, what good is an A/C if you can’t even afford to keep living in your house?
The International Franchise Association (IFA) is flying fast food store owners and other franchisees into Washington on Tuesday to drum up congressional opposition to a recent legal decision that could make corporations liable for how franchise employees are treated. The trade group expects more than 350 business owners from both the franchisee and franchisor sides of the business model to show up at its event this week, according to The Hill. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and former Republican Governors Association head and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour are scheduled to speak to the group, and the paper reports that top Senate Republicans will introduce legislation targeting federal labor regulators in general later this week.
The top attorney for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) determined in July that McDonald’s exerts so much control over how franchisees operate that they are responsible for labor law violations committed by franchise owners. That finding has yet to be tested in court, but if it holds up and is applied beyond the nation’s largest fast food chain, it would make it much harder for industries that rely on franchising to stymie workers’ attempts to exercise their labor rights.
IFA President Steve Caldeira said the board’s decision about McDonald’s franchisees “would essentially take away their autonomy to run their own business.” But franchisees enjoy little autonomy under the restrictive agreements they sign with the corporation now.
McDonald’s sends both formal company inspectors and secret shoppers into some of its stores to verify that the owners are keeping up with the exacting requirements of its contracts. It installs a computer system that monitors the money coming in and going out of each store at all times, automatically alerting managers if their labor costs get too high — an occurrence that can trigger labor law violations such as requiring workers to clock out but keep working or remain on-site without pay until the computer system reports that the store is back in the black.
Nine in 10 fast food workers report wage theft. The industry pays corporate CEOs 1,200 times more than it pays the typical worker. McDonald’s made $5.6 billion in profit on $28.1 billion in total revenue last year.
Most fast food companies require franchise owners to demonstrate a personal net worth in the millions of dollars before they are eligible to run a store. McDonald’s won’t entertain franchise applications from anyone who doesn’t have at least $750,000 in non-borrowed assets.
The eagerness of IFA members to take up McDonald’s cause against the NLRB indicates that many other companies fear they are vulnerable to the same arguments about corporate control over franchise workplaces, and would ultimately face the same consequences for labor violations that the board’s lawyer believes McDonald’s should face.
It also signals that franchise owners and their corporate bosses are more afraid of workers’ power than of the enforcement mechanisms that are supposed to punish wage theft. While workers have won several multi-million-dollar wage theft settlements this year, the legal systems that govern wage and hour violations around the country are generally ineffective. In California, where labor law is robust, workers have a less than one-in-five chance of recovering lost wages even when they prove they were robbed and win a judgment for restitution from the state. Wage theft steals more money each year than every bank robbery and store holdup in America combined.
Trim the Fat - Ann Callis for Congress
Early on Saturday morning, the California Senate passed a bill guaranteeing at least three paid sick days a year for about 6.5 million workers, sending it to Gov. Jerry Brown (D).
Brown’s office said it supports the bill, and in a statement after it passed he said, “Tonight, the Legislature took historic action to help hardworking Californians.” Assuming he signs the bill, California will become just the second state ever to guarantee paid sick leave and the law will be the tenth in the nation.
The bill would require employers to provide sick leave to employees who work 30 or more days within a year, allowing them to accrue at least one hour for every 30 they put in. Currently, about 44 percent of the state’s workers don’t have access to a single paid day off if they or a family member gets sick.
It does, however, have a big carve out, as last minute negotiations between the bill’s author and Gov. Brown left out those who care for the elderly and disabled in their homes. That change led labor unions, which had made the bill a priority for the year, to pull their support, but it secured the governor’s backing.
California joins Connecticut, the first state to guarantee its residents have paid sick leave. If that state’s experience is a guide, the California Chamber of Commerce, which called the state’s bill a “job killer,” should have nothing to worry about. A year and a half after Connecticut’s law took effect, most employers said the costs had been negligible or non-existent, abuse hadn’t cropped up, and many actually saw benefits. More than three-quarters support the law, with nearly 40 percent saying they’re very supportive.
The same story has played out at the city level. Jersey City, NJ; Newark, NJ; New York City; Portland, OR; San Diego, CA; Seattle, WA; San Francisco, CA; and Washington, D.C. have all passed paid sick leave laws. San Francisco saw business growth increase and no harm to jobs, and a majority of employers support the law. Seattle’s didn’t hurt business or job growth, and job growth was actually stronger after the law took effect, while businesses support it. And Washington, D.C.’s law hasn’t pushed business owners to move or discouraged them from opening up shop in the city.
Despite these positive experiences, the cities and states with paid sick days requirements remain rare. The United States is the only country among 22 rich nations that doesn’t have such a national requirement. That leaves about 40 percent of the country’s workers, or more than 41 million people, without access to a single paid day off if they get sick or need to care for family members who are sick. And low-wage workers are even less likely to have access to leave. Bills have been introduced in Congress that would guarantee access for all, but none of them have passed.
And some places have moved in the opposite direction. Ten have passed preemption laws that ban cities and counties from passing paid sick leave laws, with most of them happening last year.
Burger King confirmed Tuesday that it struck a deal to buy Tim Hortons Inc. for about $11 billion, a move that could help give the fast-food company a stronger foothold in the coffee and breakfast market. The corporate headquarters of the new company will be in Canada, which may also help Burger King lower its taxes. Such tax inversions have been criticized by President Barack Obama and Congress because they mean a loss of tax revenue for the U.S. government. Burger King and Tim Hortons said the chains will continue to be run independently and that Burger King will still operate out of Miami. The tie-up could help each Burger King and Tim Hortons chains pose a greater challenge to market leaders such as McDonald’s and Starbucks. It also reflects a desire by both companies to expand internationally. Burger King, which has about 14,000 locations, has been striking deals to open more locations in developing markets. The company sees plenty of room for growth internationally, given the more than 35,000 locations McDonald’s has around the world.
American fast food chain Burger King is in talks to buy Tim Hortons, a doughnut and coffee chain based in Canada, the New York Times reported Monday.
A deal, which could be reached as soon as this week, would mean the iconically American company would be headquartered in Canada, and benefit from the country’s lower corporate tax rate, 15 percent, compared to the on-paper 35 percent rate in the U.S.
The tax benefits may not be the biggest driver of the deal. Burger King has been seeking more coffee offerings to keep up with competitors, keeping headquarters in Canada may placate that country’s regulators, and the combined entity would be the third-largest quick-service restaurant in the world. But it will reduce Burger King’s tax rate from the 27 percent it currently pays.
So-called “inversion” deals that moved a company headquarters from the U.S. and reduce tax rates are common, even when they are to somewhere as close Canada. In 2010, Valeant Pharmaceuticals moved from California north by combining with Biolvail Corp., lowering the tax rate it paid to less than 5 percent.
Yet despite the nominally high 35 percent American corporate tax rate, most multinational companies based here don’t pay that rate — the average is 12.6 percent thanks to a variety of ways they can lower their bills. A recent paper argued that the ability to lower their taxes actually makes American companies more competitive than others around the world. Meanwhile, companies that have done inversion deals haven’t necessarily seen a payoff in better performance. There’s no evidence suggesting that higher corporate tax rates lower economic growth and instead companies that pay the highest rates actually create the most jobs.
None of this has deterred the uptick in inversion deals over recent years, however. About a dozen have occurred this year and dozens are still in the works. The rate has sped up, with more than half of the 76 deals over the last three decades competed since the recession began. Drug company Pfizer is looking to acquire British AstraZeneca, and the maker of Adderall, AbbVie, is seeking to buy Irish Shire. Chiquita banana is also looking to merge with Irish Fyffes.
But public pressure has unraveled at least one deal: Walgreens, the largest American drug store, decided not to go through with an inversion through buying Swiss Alliance Boots. It was the third major deal to collapse in recent months.
Pressure could ramp up. The White House has been promising to take action to make these deals more difficult and less attractive, and the Treasury Department is looking at its options on that front. A bill was introduced in the house to close a loophole making inversions legal and other lawmakers have urged action.
First came Occupy Wall Street, and its pitch-perfect slogan on inequality: “We are the 99 percent.” After that movement fizzled, Thomas Piketty, the handsomely ruffled French professor, released a 685-page book explaining that we really were living in a new Gilded Age in which the wealth gap was as wide as it had ever been. Finally, in June, one of the plutocrats sitting atop the piles of money he made in the digital revolution, Nick Hanauer, wrote an article in Politico magazine—it’s the most-shared story ever on Politico’s Facebook page—warning that the pitchforks were coming, and rich people like him should advocate for a healthier middle class and a higher minimum wage.
The debate over inequality is now raging, and most Americans are unhappy about the widening divide between the haves and have-nots. Hanauer has been making the same case for years, drawing heaps of both praise and scorn. Forbes magazine has alternately called Hanauer insane and ignorant. His TED University presentation calling for a $15-minimum wage was left off the organization’s website because it was deemed too “political.” That’s nothing next to Piketty’s detractors, who at their most extreme accused him of twisting his data.
Hanauer and Piketty inspire these broadsides because they are challenging, in a far more aggressive way than plutocrats and economists usually do, the conservative economic orthodoxy that has reigned since at least the 1980s. Under Ronald Reagan, we called it trickle-down economics, the idea that the men who can afford their own private jets—they’re usually men—deserve gobs of money because they provide some special entrepreneurial or innovative talent that drives the American economy.
That’s well known. Far less often discussed is the flipside of this belief: that helping the less well off will dampen the American money-generating engine—that it will hurt growth, because the only thing that inspires the “job creators” to work so hard is the promise of insanely vast financial rewards. Poverty is a necessary evil in this worldview, and helping the less well off creates a “culture of dependency,” which discourages work. “The United States thrives because of a culture of opportunity that encourages work and disdains relying on handouts,” Matthew Spalding of The Heritage Foundation wrote in 2012, neatly summing up the conservative ethos.
Conservatives have dominated discussions of poverty for a generation with arguments like this one. It’s completely wrong. It’s more than that—it’s just a lie, concocted as cover for policies that overwhelmingly favored the rich. But it took the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression for many economists, liberal or not, to finally say publicly what many had long argued: Inequality is bad for the economy.It took the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression for many economists to finally say publicly what many had long argued: Inequality is bad for the economy.
The latest to say so is the rating agency Standard and Poor’s, not exactly a bastion of lefty propaganda. An S&P report released August 5 says that rising inequality—gaps in both income and wealth—between the very rich and the rest of us is hurting economic growth. The agency downgraded its forecast for the economy in the coming years because of the record level of inequality and the lack of policy changes to correct for it. The report’s authors argue against the notion that caring about equality necessarily involves a trade-off with “efficiency”—that is, a well-functioning economy.
To be sure, they’re not making a case for a massive government intervention to help low-income Americans. They discuss the benefits of current policy proposals—like raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour—with the caveats that such changes could have potential negative consequences—like dampening job growth. (Most economists agree that such a small hike wouldn’t have that impact.)
At its core, though, the S&P report does argue that pulling people out of poverty and closing the gap between the 1 percent and the 99 percent will increase economic growth. The authors argue for some redistributive policies, like increased financial aid for post-secondary education. “The challenge now is to find a path toward more sustainable growth, an essential part of which, in our view, is pulling more Americans out of poverty and bolstering the purchasing power of the middle class,” the authors write. “A rising tide lifts all boats…but a lifeboat carrying a few, surrounded by many treading water, risks capsizing.”
It’s an important moment for such a debate. The Great Recession was a great equalizer, a crisis in which many in the middle class, and even upper-middle class, fell all the way to the bottom and relied on the government safety net. They learned what anyone who cared to look at the data already knew: The vast majority of people relying on government benefits are suffering a temporary setback that they will recover from, as long as they have a helping hand. The holes in the safety net also became more apparent. Even Paul Ryan, the Republican congressman from Wisconsin who has set his blue eyes on higher office, adequately diagnosed many of the problems with anti-poverty programs when he introduced a new plan last month. (Whether he would actually want to pay for the changes he calls for is debatable.)
Closing the gap by lifting low-income families out of poverty could do more to help the economy than any number of tax credits for “job creators” might, which is what Hanauer argued in Politico. And the S&P report puts more support in his corner.
On the question of what to do, there is widespread agreement on boosting educational attainment and increasing salaries at the bottom end. Policymakers have had a lot of time to think about how to help the middle class, since real wages began declining in the mid-1970s. Many of the problems of inequality have policy solutions ready to go, spelled out in a white paper stuffed in someone’s desk drawer. Why has it taken so long to think about addressing it? Was the political might of the right so overwhelming that they couldn’t speak up until people like Hanauer saw, as he warned in his essay, that the pitchforks would be coming for them?
BREAKING: Walgreens HQ is staying the USA
DISGUSTING, BUT TYPICAL FOR THOSE TURDS: Fox Cheerleads U.S. Companies Moving Overseas - Because Obama
In his weekend address, President Obama denounced “tax inversions,” i.e. a loophole that allows U.S. corporations to avoid taxes by moving overseas. “They’re basically renouncing their citizenship and declaring that they’re based somewhere else, just to avoid paying their fair share,” Obama said.
Fox Business’ Stuart Varney joined the Curvy Couch Crew and right away scoffed at President Obama’s stance as little more than an election-year ploy to make himself look good by painting corporations as unpatriotic. Any loyal Fox viewer’s blood probably started boiling already. Even if those corporations are behaving - well, unpatriotically.
But just in case, Varney and company went the extra mile to make you think that if Obama wasn’t such a terrible president, those poor companies wouldn’t have to take their all-time-high profits out of the country to avoid taxes.
VARNEY: Now, the president wants to put a fence around America, stop anybody leaving, that’s what he wants to do. Instead of encouraging them to stay.
Co-host Steve Doocy just happened to have at hand a graphic showing where businesses are “not putting their money” due to high corporate rates. The country just below the U.S., ranked third, was Japan. Yet moments later, as he read a list of countries that have left the U.S., he announced with indignation that Jim Beam has gone to Japan. A quick Google search indicates the company was bought out by Suntory of Japan, not that the company fled to avoid taxes.
Georgia, Meet Mitt Romney Lite
When Mitt Romney got pummeled in the 2012 election, the GOP was forced to reboot and consider how to attract candidates who can be more competitive. In Georgia, the GOP’s conclusion was to run an elitist millionaire with a checkered business record and an inability to understand the concerns of working families. Sound familiar?
But don’t worry, David Perdue isn’t a total clone of Mitt Romney. While Romney was serving as Governor of Massachusetts, for instance, David Perdue was busy tanking a company called Pillowtex, leaving its 7,500 workers out to dry and pocketing a cool $3.1 million in the process. It wasn’t the first batch of American jobsthat was killed under Perdue’s stewardship.
From 1994 to 1998, Perdue served as a senior vice-president at Haggar. Under his leadership, Haggar implemented an enormous shift of company employment and operations overseas. Thousands of American workers lost their jobs, and nearly 50% of the company’s domestic workforce was laid off, but Perdue brushed it off as being “in the best interest of the company.”
To wrap up his tidy business career, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that while Perdue was the CEO of Dollar General, female store managers were discriminated against and paid less than men. Dollar General ended up paying $15.5 million toward the members of the class action lawsuit, and in a separate case, it was forced to pay nearly $74,000 to a former employee after a district court found that she was fired for taking time off under the Family Medical Leave Act.
So this is David Perdue’s business career–the one that he claims qualifies him to be a United States Senator. And he feels very qualified indeed: he previously attacked Karen Handel for being just a “high school graduate,” going on to say, “I’m sorry, but these issues are so much broader, so complex. There’s only one candidate in this race that’s ever lived outside the United States.”
The worst part is this: from what little glimpse we have into Perdue’s stated policy positions, they are exactly as you would expect from his self-interested business career. Massive tax cuts for wealthy folks like himself and corporations, while increasing the tax burden on working families. Opposition to raising the minimum wage. Opposition to extending unemployment insurance for job seekers. Cutting Social Security and Medicarebenefits for seniors.
David Perdue has had it pretty good. And he wants to make life even better for himself at the expense of Georgia’s working families.
Perdue Opposed Raising The Federal Minimum Wage, And Said Obama’s Push To Raise Minimum Wage Was A Sign Of Broader Economic Problems. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Georgia’s five best-known Republican Senate candidates voiced unequivocal opposition Tuesday to raising the minimum wage, striking a clear contrast from Democratic hopefuls in what could be a preview of a general election clash. The five contenders blasted President Barack Obama’s call to raise the $7.25 hourly minimum wage to $10.10 as counterproductive, dishing out red meat to a sympathetic crowd at a National Federation of Independent Business forum. […] Former Fortune 500 executive David Perdue said Obama’s push is a broader sign of mounting economic problems.” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/19/14]
All Five Republican Candidates For Senate Opposed Raising Minimum Wage. During the National Federation of Independent Businesses Georgia Small Business day forum, all five Republican candidates for Senate indicated they opposed raising the minimum wage. [National Federation of Independent Businesses Georgia Small Business Day, 2/18/14]
Perdue Opposed Extending Unemployment Insurance. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Six of the leading GOP hopefuls each vowed to reject calls to extend unemployment insurance and vote against a comprehensive immigration overhaul gelling in the Senate.” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1/28/14]
All Five Republican Candidates For Senate Opposed Extending Federal Unemployment Benefits.During the Mayor’s Day Senate Forum in Atlanta, all five Republican candidates for Senate raised their hand to indicate they opposed extending federal unemployment benefits. [Mayor’s Day Senate Forum, 1/27/14]
Perdue Supported A National Sales Tax That Would Also Apply To Online Purchases, As A Replacement For The Federal Income Tax. According to Northwest Georgia News, “However, Perdue did say during a forum that he supports a national sales tax to replace the income tax and that it should apply to online purchases. Dickey argues that is not a new tax and that it wouldn’t amount to an increase the way Perdue wants to structure it.” [Northwest Georgia News, 6/19/14]
Video: Perdue Supported The Fair Tax. According to Hayden Collins’ interview with David Perdue, Perdue said, “Clearly, a Fair Tax in my mind, is a better solution than what we have now. And I think it warrants an active debate; I would support that debate over what we have now. And to be very direct, if I had a choice between a Fair Tax and what we have now, I would absolutely vote for a Fair Tax. I think there may be some hybrids in there that actually help us incent the economy in ways that maybe a Fair Tax we need to improve on, but clearly, it is absolutely a better alternative than what we have now.” [Hayden Collins Radio Program Interview with David Perdue, Accessed 9/29/13]
- Critics Said Fair Tax Would Primarily Benefit The Rich. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Even with the subsidies to poor families, critics argue, the tax would primarily benefit the rich because they save the largest share of their income.” [Los Angeles Times, 12/24/07]
SOCIAL SECURITY & MEDICARE
Perdue Supported Cutting Social Security And Medicare Benefits For Future Beneficiaries. According to the Marietta Daily Journal, “Perdue’s solution is honoring the obligations to anyone already receiving Social Security benefits, but changing the benefits for anyone coming into the workforce. ‘Their deal is going to have to be different,’ he said. Perdue would make the same changes to Medicare.” [Marietta Daily Journal, 2/16/14]
Pillowtex’s Revenues And Stock Price Dropped Dramatically Under Perdue
Under Perdue, Pillowtex Lost $27.6 Million Over Seven Months And Declined To The Verge Of Bankruptcy. According to the Tennessean, “Pillowtex proceeded to lose $27.6 million over the past seven months of 2002 and failed to meet certain requirements with lenders, bringing the company to the verge of another bankruptcy filing.” [Tennessean, 4/4/03]
Under Perdue, Pillowtex’s Stock Price Fell From $7.50 To $0.18. According to the Tennessean, “Its stock price has fallen dramatically as well, from approximately $7.50 when Perdue joined to 18 cents when Pillowtex announced his resignation on March 18.” [Tennessean, 4/4/03]
SunTrust Analyst Patrick McKeever: “[Perdue’s] Eight Months At Pillowtex Were Marked By A Further Deterioration In (Financial) Fundamentals And A Plummeting Stock.” According to the Tennessean, “The ult circumstances at Pillowtex raised the eyebrows of Dollar General analyst Patrick McKeever. ‘While Mr. Perdue spent four successful years at Reebok before Pillowtex and has an extensive background in consumer products and consulting, his eight months at Pillowtex were marked by a further deterioration in (financial) fundamentals and a plummeting stock,’ said McKeever, with SunTrust Equitable Securities.” [Tennessean, 4/4/03]
Pillowtex Employees Accused Perdue Of Being An Absentee CEO As The Company Failed
Pillowtex Workers Accused Perdue Of “Disappearing” While The Firm Was Failing. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “As he attempted to drum up a potential buyer for the plant, some company workers accused him of disappearing. The Charlotte Observer reported that some staffers referred to him as ‘Oz’ in a nod to the elusive wizard.” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 8/9/13]
- Perdue Spent Much Of His Time At Pillowtex Traveling The World In Search Of A Buyer.According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “The experience still weighs heavy on Perdue. Speaking publicly for the first time about his tenure there, he said he appealed to the company’s owners at Oaktree Capital to amp up their investment but that his request was declined. He spent much of his time at the firm’s helm traveling the globe seeking a buyer.” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 8/9/13]
- Perdue’s Replacement At Pillowtex Said “I Have Been Effectively Operating As CEO” For Some Time. According to HFN, “Gannaway said Perdue has accepted another job outside the home textiles business and added that ‘I have been effectively operating as CEO’ for some time.” [HFN, 3/24/03]
Perdue Did Not Attend The Textiles Market As Pillowtex CEO, Despite Pillowtex Being A Textile Company. According to HFN, “Perdue and Gannaway, both textiles industry outsiders, joined Pillowtex right as the company was exiting bankruptcy proceedings last year. Perdue kept a very low trade profile and in fact never attended the textiles market last fall.” [HFN, 3/24/03]
Perdue Resigned In March 2003, After Seven Months On The Job. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “He resigned in March 2003 after seven months on the job.” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 8/9/13]
Perdue Received Over $1 Million In Compensation From Pillowtex In January 2003, Two Months Before Leaving The Company And While He May Have Been Negotiating With Dollar General
Perdue Received Two Compensation Payments In January 2003 Totaling Over $1 Million
Perdue Received $312,500 From Pillowtex In January Of 2003, Two Months Before Leaving The Company, “As A Bonus For His Services During 2002.” According to Pillowtex’s corporate filings with the SEC, Perdue received $312,500 “As A Bonus For His Services During 2002.” [SEC Corporate Filings for Pillowtex, “Form 10-K - Annual report (Section 13 and 15(d), not S-K Item 405),” 3/28/2003]
Perdue’s Compensation Included “A Grossed-Up Cash Payment In The Amount Of $700,677,” Paid In January Of 2003, “To Be Applied Towards The Tax Obligation Of Mr. Perdue Resulting From The Issuance Of 101,215 Shares Of Common Stock As Part Of His Signing Bonus.” According to Pillowtex’s corporate filings with the SEC, Perdue’s additional compensation included $700,677 which was “to be applied towards the tax obligation of Mr. Perdue resulting from the issuance of 101,215 shares of Common Stock as part of his signing bonus.” [SEC Corporate Filings for Pillowtex, “Form 10-K - Annual report (Section 13 and 15(d), not S-K Item 405),” 3/28/2003]
July 2003: Pillowtex Filed For Bankruptcy. According to Daily Deal/The Deal, “The company sold the bulk of its operations to GGST LLC for $128 million in cash in an October 2003 auction. It sold the rest of its assets in multiple follow-up auctions. Pillowtex filed on July 30, 2003, one year and two months after emerging from its first bankruptcy.” [Daily Deal/The Deal, 4/27/05]
July 2003: Four Months After Perdue Left Pillowtex, The Company “Abruptly Closed” And Laid Off 7,650 Employees Nationwide. According to the Charlotte Observer, “Perdue was CEO of the former Kannapolis textile giant from mid-2002 to March 2003. Pillowtex abruptly closed in July 2003, laying off 7,650 people nationwide, including more than 4,000 in Cabarrus and Rowan counties — part of the largest single job loss in the history of North Carolina and the textile industry.” [Charlotte Observer, 7/27/13]
- Pillowtex Layoffs Left 4,800 North Carolina Workers Unemployed, The Largest Permanent Layoff In State History. According to the Independent Tribune, “Pillowtex ceased operations in July 2003. Plant One in Kannapolis, the former Cannon Mills, had been in operation since 1906. About 4,800 people were laid off — the largest permanent layoff in North Carolina’s history. The Pillowtex closing slammed the economy of Kannapolis and Cabarrus County, since it was the largest economic engine in the county at the time. [Independent Tribune, 5/6/10]
Salisbury Post: Pillowtex Was “Duped” By Perdue
Salisbury Post Editorial: Pillowtex Was “Duped” By Perdue, Believing He Had A “Midas Touch” Before His Departure. In an editorial, the Salisbury Post wrote: “A search firm helped the Pillowtex board lure him away from Reebok International to turn things around at the Kannapolis company and make the most of its brands. Anyone who has followed Pillowtex knows the story. Perdue took office July 1, 2002, and left in March 2003 ‘to pursue other interests.’ Within two weeks, Dollar General announced it had ended its six-month search for a top executive by choosing Perdue as its new CEO. Pillowtex directors must have thought they were investing in a solution, that Perdue had a Midas touch. They were dazzled and maybe dazed, and in the end they appear to have been duped. Decisions like this help explain what went wrong at Pillowtex, and why thousands of former employees are now looking for a job.” [Salisbury Post via Associated Press, 10/22/03]
Charlotte Observer: Perdue “Made Critical Miscalculations”
Charlotte Observer: Perdue “Made Critical Miscalculations And Missed Opportunities To Combat The Growing Import Problem” In Pillowtex’s Final Years According to the Charlotte Observer, “After its collapse, company leaders and politicians were quick to blame pressure from low-cost imports for its demise. But Perdue and three other men who ran the company in its final years made critical miscalculations and missed opportunities to combat the growing import problem, an Observer investigation found.” [Charlotte Observer, 7/27/13]
Industry Analysts: “Shortsightedness And Management Mistakes” Caused Pillowtex’s Collapse
Former Company Executives And Industry Observers Pointed To Pillowtex’s Sluggish Adaptation To A Changing Textile Market, As Well As Irresponsible Acquisitions, As The Cause Of Its Collapse.According to the News & Record, “In the weeks since Pillowtex collapsed, everyone from Gov. Mike Easley and Sen. John Edwards to the laid-off workers in the unemployment lines seem to have agreed on one thing: it wasChina’s fault. Pillowtex, the thinking goes, was simply the latest in a long line of companies to succumb to the onslaught of cheap imports from countries with a fraction of U.S. labor costs. But, former company executives and industry observers, contacted by the News & Record, say foreign trade was just one element in a broader trend of shortsightedness and management mistakes that eventually led to the downfall of one of the country’s largest textile companies. Management that was slow to adapt to changes in the home textile industry, a series of costly acquisitions that created huge debt but little profit, and a weak strategy exiting the company’s first bankruptcy, in 2002, all led to Pillowtex’s demise, executives and observers said.” [News & Record, 9/28/03]
Kingston Attacked Perdue For Pillowtex Record And Claimed He “Mismanaged Pillowtex.” According to the Charlotte Observer, “Kingston later ran an ad with a young child named ‘Davey’ in a full diaper, stuffing his face with cake as a narrator intoned, ‘Perdue chewed up businesses. Eight thousand jobs were lost … David Perdue. Something doesn’t smell right. …’ The ad, and another one making similar claims about Perdue ‘mismanaging Pillowtex,’ were faulted by FactCheck.org and PolitiFact Georgia, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s independent, fact-checking arm, for inaccuracies.” [Charlotte Observer, 7/21/14]
Kingston Said Perdue Took A Golden Parachute “On The Way Out The Door.” According to the Florida Times-Union, “He focused his sights on Perdue, a political newcomer running on his strengths as a chief executive of companies like Reebok and Dollar General. Kingston, though, zeroed in on Perdue’s seven-month tenure at the head of Pillowtex, a North Carolina textile firm with shaky finances that wound up closing with 4,000 workers losing their jobs in 2003. That was at a time when any textile company that hadn’t failed or moved overseas was struggling. ‘We have one candidate who has a long history of laying off people, hundreds — indeed, thousands of jobs — and taking golden parachutes on the way out the door,’ Kingston said. ‘Well, that doesn’t create jobs and wealth in Georgia.’” [Florida Times-Union, 5/2/14]
Perdue Served As A Senior Vice-President At Haggar Between 1994 And 1998. According to MSNBC, “When Perdue arrived at Haggar Clothing Co. in 1994, the historic menswear company was struggling. Revenues were down, old reliable products like suits were in decline, and competitors like Levi’s were muscling in on their department store sales. As senior vice president, Perdue was in charge of international operations at Haggar and later domestic operations as well.” [MSNBC, 4/18/14]
- Perdue Oversaw Haggar’s “International Operations” As Senior Vice-President, As Well As Domestic Operations Later In His Tenure. According to MSNBC, “When Perdue arrived at Haggar Clothing Co. in 1994, the historic menswear company was struggling. Revenues were down, old reliable products like suits were in decline, and competitors like Levi’s were muscling in on their department store sales. As senior vice president, Perdue was in charge of international operations at Haggar and later domestic operations as well.” [MSNBC, 4/18/14]
Perdue Was Hired To Oversee “All Haggar Manufacturing Outside Of The United States.” According to Southwest Newswire, “Perdue will be responsible for all Haggar manufacturing outside the United States, which currently accounts for over 60 percent of production, including both company owned facilities and contractors.” [Southwest Newswire, 8/30/94]
Under Perdue’s Leadership, Haggar Closed Factories In America And Outsourced Production Overseas “Where Labor Was Cheap And Regulations Were Less Restrictive.” According to MSNBC, “When Perdue arrived at Haggar Clothing Co. in 1994, the historic menswear company was struggling. Revenues were down, old reliable products like suits were in decline, and competitors like Levi’s were muscling in on their department store sales. As senior vice president, Perdue was in charge of international operations at Haggar and later domestic operations as well. Under his watch, the company did what so many clothing manufacturers did at the time: closed down factory lines in America and outsourced production overseas where labor was cheap and regulations were less restrictive.” [MSNBC, 4/18/14]
Perdue Said Haggar’s Shift From U.S. Operations To Operations Overseas Was In The Company’s Best Interests. According to MSNBC, “In an interview, Perdue said he and his colleagues approached the factory closings with a ‘social conscience,’ but determined the move abroad was in the best interest of the company.” [MSNBC, 4/18/14]
- Perdue Said “The Mexican Product Had An Advantage” Over A Product Made In South Texas, Because The “Cost Sheet” Of A Mexican Product Was Less Expensive. According to MSNBC, “‘We very definitely looked at trying to maintain as much volume as we could [in America],’ Perdue told MSNBC. ‘The problem was if you looked at the cost sheet of a product made in Mexico versus a product made in South Texas … the Mexican product had an advantage.’” [MSNBC, 4/18/14]
- Perdue Claimed That Haggar’s “Shift To Factories Abroad” Was Unavoidable Due To Declining Sales For American-Made Products, Cheap Clothing From Competitors, And NAFTA. According to MSNBC, “Perdue said Haggar’s shift to factories abroad was the unavoidable result of several factors, including declining sales for some of the company’s American-made products, increasingly cheap clothing from rivals who had outsourced production earlier, and the 1994 ratification of NAFTA, which reduced duties on Mexican-imported goods. ‘We fundamentally restructured a company for survival,’ Perdue said. ‘Another way to look at this is we saved a couple thousand jobs.’” [MSNBC, 4/18/14]
- Perdue Argued That Haggar’s Outsourcing Represented A “Fundamental Restructuring” Of The Company In Order To Survive, And Therefore “Saved A Couple Thousand Jobs.” According to MSNBC, “Perdue said Haggar’s shift to factories abroad was the unavoidable result of several factors, including declining sales for some of the company’s American-made products, increasingly cheap clothing from rivals who had outsourced production earlier, and the 1994 ratification of NAFTA, which reduced duties on Mexican-imported goods. ‘We fundamentally restructured a company for survival,’ Perdue said. ‘Another way to look at this is we saved a couple thousand jobs.’” [MSNBC, 4/18/14]
In 2006, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Found That Female Store Managers At Dollar General Were Discriminated Against And Paid Less Than Similarly Situated Male Managers.According to Mother Jones, “But Perdue’s record on women’s issues—specifically, whether women are entitled to equal pay for equal work—is far from clean. In 2006, three years into Perdue’s four-plus years as Dollar General’s CEO, federal investigators at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that female store managers who worked for the company he ran ‘were discriminated against,’ and ‘generally were paid less than similarly situated male managers performing duties requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility.’” [Mother Jones, 5/21/14]
In 2007, Thousands Of Female Managers Joined A Class Action Wage Discrimination Lawsuit Against Dollar General. According to Mother Jones, “A year later, separate from that investigation, thousands of female managers who were paid less than their male counterparts joined a class action suit against the company—which Dollar General eventually settled, paying the women more than $15 million.” [Mother Jones, 5/21/14]
- Dollar General Allegedly Set Up A Pay System That Permitted Stereotypes About Men And Women To Be Used In Judging Their Pay. According to Mother Jones, “‘Dollar General has set up a pay system which permits stereotypes about men and women to be used in judging their pay, performance, and salary needs,’ female Dollar General managers claimed in sworn statements. ‘This includes stereotypes about men being the breadwinner, head of the household, or just more deserving because they are men.’” [Mother Jones, 5/21/14]
The EEOC Issued Right-To-Sue Notices, Addressed To Perdue, Beginning In 2007. According to Mother Jones, “The EEOC, which must green-light pay discrimination lawsuits before they can proceed in federal court, began issuing right-to-sue notices addressed to Perdue beginning in 2007. Dollar General’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for that year—Perdue’s last year with the company—stated, ‘The Company believes that the case is not appropriate for class or collective treatment and that its policies and practices comply with the Equal Pay Act and Title VII. The Company intends to vigorously defend the action.’” [Mother Jones, 5/21/14]
As Part Of A Settlement, Dollar General Paid $15.5 Million Towards A Fund For Members Of The Class And Millions More In Legal Fees. According to Mother Jones, “The next several years saw more failed attempts by Dollar General to convince the court to decertify the class. In early 2011, the company allowed the case to go to mediation. A year later, the court finalized Dollar General’s agreement to pay $15.5 million toward a fund for members of the class, $2.8 million for a claims administrator, and $3.25 million in attorneys’ fees. The company also committed to altering its employee compensation policies.” [Mother Jones,5/21/14]
Dollar General Sued For Firing Another Female Employee For Taking Time Off Under The Family Medical Leave Act. According to Mother Jones, “In another case, a district court forced Dollar General to pay nearly $74,000 to Martha Bryant, a diabetic employee it fired in 2004 for taking time off under the Family Medical Leave Act. Dollar General argued that the law does not prohibit retaliation against employees who take FMLA leave. Dollar General appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which upheld the district court’s judgment against Dollar General.” [Mother Jones, 5/21/14]
Perdue Endorsed The Government Shutdown. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Former Secretary of State Karen Handel has been running as a non-congressional candidate, but endorsed the shutdown and its aim. So did David Perdue, a former Dollar General chief executive, who has raised more cash than anyone in the GOP race but Kingston. Perdue reported $800,000 in contributions — plus $1 million out of his own pocket — raised as of Sept. 30.” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 10/20/13]
Perdue Opposed Bipartisan Deal To End Government Shutdown. According to the Associated Press, “All eight Republicans favor repeal of Obama’s health care overhaul. All oppose abortion rights. All three congressmen voted against the bipartisan deal to end the partial government shutdown last fall, and Perdue, Handel and the lesser-known candidates all say they’d have voted the same way.” [Associated Press, 1/27/14]
Video: Perdue Said That Shutting Down The Federal Government “Doesn’t Bother Me A Minute – But If You Want To Shut It Down, Shut It Down.” According to a speech by David Perdue at the Henry County GOP Meeting, “Shutting this government down doesn’t bother me a minute. But if you want to shut it down, shut it down. They didn’t do that. Second thing is, I don’t care what you do, you can’t play around by even backing into a failed threat of defaulting on the federal debt. Cannot do that. […] We can’t play around with that.” [Video – David Perdue Speech At Henry County GOP Meeting, 1/7/14]
The Export-Import Bank is facing the most serious threat to its existence in 80 years. What’s going on?
Congress is at the precipice of another ‘cliff’: The Export-Import Bank of the United States must be reauthorized by September, or it will have to close for the first time since it was created in 1934.
The fight over the bank is an esoteric one with confusing and shifting battle lines. While the Tea Party is currently pushing not to reauthorize the bank, a variety of ideological positions are coming into conflict. Now, after 80 years of largely uneventful reauthorization votes, there is a very real chance that the bank’s authority won’t be renewed.
This conflict might not seem relevant to the average person. But the fights over the Export-Import Bank have important implications about how trade policy should work in the 21st century. Here’s what you need to know to understand Congress’s latest battle:
What is the Export-Import Bank?
The ‘Ex-Im Bank,’ as it’s known, is a corporation owned entirely by the federal government. Technically located within the Executive Branch, but independently housed and operated by finance professionals, the bank’s mission is to boost American exports. To do that, it supplies various types of credit to U.S. businesses that need them to operate. Generally, the Ex-Im Bank supports transactions that private banks won’t finance, and that are guaranteed to support or create American jobs. The most common type of credit the bank supplies is loan guarantees (rather than outright cash lending) to foreign companies that buy things from U.S. businesses. By providing loan guarantees and other forms of indirect financing, the bank ensures that American exporters have customers who can pay to buy their goods.
The vast majority of the credit transactions the bank authorized in 2013 —89 percent — were in support of U.S. small businesses. But the vast majority of the dollar amount of credit authorized went to support much larger companies like Boeing, whose customers would otherwise not have bought so many of its planes. Still, small businesses who rely upon the bank for export insurance that private markets won’t provide say they would be left to shoulder the risk of losses should clients fail to pay.
The Ex-Im Bank costs taxpayers nothing, and actually returns revenue to the Treasury. The government turned a $1.057 billion profit on Ex-Im Bank activity last fiscal year. (Depending on which sort of accounting rules you go by, the bank will either make taxpayers $14 billion over the coming decade, cost them $2 billion, or perform somewhere in between.) The bank had a default rate below 0.25 percent last year on the various types of business credit it offers. Since it was created in the 1930s, it has an overall default rate below 2 percent.
Who wants to kill it?
The current push to block the bank’s reauthorization is coming fromhardline conservative groups like the Club for Growth and the Heritage Foundation. Both groups have pledged to use Ex-Im Bank reauthorization as a “key vote” in scoring the legislative records of lawmakers ahead of the midterm elections, and Americans for Prosperity has made similar threats. That pressure to oppose the bank from outside Congress is combining with the increasing ideological purity of the Republican Party within Congress to create a great deal of momentum against reauthorization.
When former Majority Leader and longtime supporter of Ex-Im reauthorization Eric Cantor (R-VA) lost his primary election, for example, and handed his seat to an unheralded Ayn Rand devotee and hardline supply-side ideologue who almost surely opposes the bank, the New York Times ran a front-page story on what Cantor’s loss meant for the bank and for American exports. “Eliminating the bank has become a conservative cause on par with repealing the Affordable Care Act,” the Times wrote. Cantor’s successor in the Majority Leader position, Kevin McCarthy, has announced that he opposes reauthorization of the bank.
What would happen if the Ex-Im Bank disappeared?
It’s tough to give a simple answer to that question, since the bank’s authorization has never been in serious jeopardy until now. But some numbers on the bank’s performance are instructive: Since the bank began calculating its impact on American jobs in 2010, it estimates that it has supported 1.2 million jobs in the country. The bank authorized a total of $27.3 billion in credit last year across more than 3,800 separate transactions, supporting a total of $37.4 billion worth of export sales by U.S. companies.
The evaporation of the support Ex-Im provides wouldn’t guarantee that all those jobs and all those business deals disappeared. But they would all be vulnerable. Since every other developed country in the world maintains some equivalent to the Ex-Im Bank to protect their own exporters, and voracious exporters like China are even more cutthroat than the Ex-Im Bank is allowed to be, it would become substantially more difficult for American companies to compete in the global marketplace.
The list of groups and individuals who have warned of economic consequences if the bank disappears includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the White House, andTexas Gov. Rick Perry (R). Even Delta Airlines, which has long criticized the bank for putting domestic airlines at a disadvantage by helping foreign airlines to buy Boeing planes, has come around and indicated support for reauthorizing the bank.
How did the bank become political football?
Many different kinds of thinkers and analysts have wanted to end the Ex-Im Bank at one point or another in its nearly nine-decade history. Nobel Prize-winning economist and frequent progressive hero Paul Krugman opposes the bank in theory, but doesn’t want the bank wound down until the economy gets stronger. Fellow economist and liberal Dean Baker agrees that Ex-Im is primarily a protectionist entity that should not exist in a modern economic system. On the right, libertarian economists and free-market purists have long opposed the bank’s interference in the marketplace.
Some political institutions have been consistent in their ideological perspective on the bank, whether critical or supportive. But many of the individual politicians who determine the bank’s fate, on all sides of the political spectrum, have shifted according to the prevailing winds. Democrats in Congress and in the press, for example, derided the bank for decades for its role in propping up a variety of transactions that offended their values, including infrastructure deals that helped dictators to fossil fuel contracts. Meanwhile, since the vast majority of the monetary value of the bank’s work goes to giant corporations, politicians have repeatedly attacked Ex-Im as a fountain of corporate welfare. (Bank officials are quick to point out that the vast majority of the businesses for whom it secures credit are small companies.) The broad, though changing, opposition to the bank provides one of the clearest indicators of the bank’s precarious position today.
What are the chances the Ex-Im Bank really doesn’t get reauthorized?
Potentially imposing grievous harm both to a signature American manufacturer like Boeing and to an institution that has supported hundreds of thousands of jobs each year at businesses large and small alike without costing taxpayers anything may seem like enough to keep the Ex-Im Bank safe. After all, the bank’s value for protecting American business interests has always been enough in the past, and supporters today rightly note that other countries that maintain similar institutions to support their own industrial base are not going to lay down their economic arms if Ex-Im evaporates.
But it’s hard to see where the reauthorization votes will come from. Nearly 100 House Republicans voted “no” when the bank was up for reauthorization two years ago, and the pressure on their colleagues to join the opposition is much stronger now that prominent conservative organizations have promised to use the issue as a primary determinant of which candidates get their support during this November’s election. With 41 of his members backing the bank publicly, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) could certainly still get a reauthorization bill passed if he were willing to rely on Democrats’ votes to pass something that the grassroots of his party increasingly detests. Business lobbyists from the Chamber of Commerce and other powerful groups will exert influence over the vote as well, and Boehner might ultimately get a large enough number of Republicans on board to be politically palatable.
With economists on the left opposing the Ex-Im Bank on principle, powerful electoral influencers on the right prepared to punish GOP dissenters, and sexy headlines about corruption and scandals at the bank threatening to drown out its public relations push, it is difficult to chart a path to reauthorization.
Source: Alan Pyke for ThinkProgress
According to an analysis by Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter David Cay Johnston, formerly of the New York Times, the Bush tax cuts, touted as a harbinger of prosperity by the Republican Party, actually robbed each American taxpayer of $48,000 in pre-tax personal income during the twelve years of their existence, for a total of approximately 6.6 trillion dollars.
This is more than enough to pay for every student loan, car loan, and credit card debt in the U.S, while still leaving 2.4 trillion dollars in the pockets of Americans. It is the equivalent of an extra 11 dollars a day lost to each American taxpayer over the last twelve years.
Johnston analyzed rates of long term average personal incomes as reported by American taxpayers from 2000-2012, adjusting for inflation and population growth. His tables are contained in this article:In 10 of the 12 years when the Bush tax cuts were in effect, the average income shown on tax returns was lower than in 2000. In the two upside years, average income rose modestly, up $504 for 2006 and $1,744 for 2007.
Total those 12 years and the net shortfall per taxpayer comes to $48,010.He notes that after twelve years of tax cut mania average real hourly wages are now 6% less than they were in 1972-1973.
Less than they were forty years ago. Where did the money go?The damage wrought to American incomes was bad enough, but the Bush tax cuts left an even more damaging legacy. While the prosperity of the previous decade was simply wiped out by these cuts, and with it the means and will to sustain prosperity through government investment and infrastructure improvements, the tax cut mentality inspired more of the same down at the state levels, multiplying the effects:Of the total national increase in income in 2012 over 2009, an astonishing one-third went to just 16,000 households, and almost 95 cents of each dollar went to the top 1 percent, while the bottom 90 percent lost ground.Needless to say, this was not what we were told in 1999 by candidate George W. Bush. On the contrary, the future “Terror President” promised:Speaking to MSNBC host Chris Hayes on Wednesday, Johnston recalled that President George W. Bush had promised during his 2000 campaign that his tax cuts would lead to greater prosperity.
And the investigative reporter pointed out that tax cuts not only damaged personal wealth, but they also took a toll on government services, as a mindless tax cutting frenzy became the dominant philosophy at the local and state levels, leading to budgetary freefalls like we’re witnessing today in states like Kansas:
“What we’re seeing in America today is our country is falling apart, we are not maintaining it, we are not doing the things we need to do to continue to have our government,” Johnston explained. “And the answer that we’re provided with by people like [Republican Kansas Gov.] Sam Brownback: ‘We need more tax cuts.’ You know, what are we going to do? Bleed ourselves to death?”“[A] tax cut designed to sustain our nation’s prosperity — and reflect our nation’s decency … The entrepreneurs of America create jobs, take risks and make their profits with honor. My tax cut plan will expand their ranks by encouraging American enterprise … Low tax rates are a powerful economic tool to promote a higher standard of living for all Americans.”
We are living now with the end result of the Republican “experiments,” the “profits made with honor” by the “entrepreneurs”: chronic unemployment and underemployment, gross income inequality, people in their 30’s unable to buy homes due to unprecedented student loan debt (debt often incurred to escape from the dismal jobs market for young people), and a Republican-dominated House that balks at raising the paltry minimum wage, but, as demonstrated today, is perfectly content with inflicting on all of us another 263 Billion in tax cuts for businesses.Think about what you could have done with that extra $48,000 every time you hear the word “Bush.”Advocates of so-called trickle-down economics have grounded their thinking in the idea that the entire pool of US wage earners benefits financially when the rich get increased tax cuts. According to Johnston, however, this is disproven by actual IRS statistics. Quite the opposite has happened to US workers; more than $6.5 trillion has gone missing from the incomes of those who are not wealthy. Meanwhile, the rich are getting richer because of enormous tax cuts and a record-breaking stock market.
More reason why the Bush Tax Cuts were bad for America, along with the rest of Dumbya Bush 43’s reign as President.
h/t: Dartagnan at Daily Kos
One of the more striking developments in the last presidential campaign was Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” video. It wasn’t just the elitist attitude the failed Republican candidate displayed when he thought the public couldn’t see him; it was also the underlying ideology. Romney laid bare an ideology that looks at roughly half the American population as lazy parasites.What we didn’t know at the time is that he also helped mark the beginning of a trend. In North Carolina, for example, Senate hopeful Thom Tillis had his own 47-percent-style video in which he called for a “divide and conquer” campaign against Americans who rely on public assistance to get by. Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) ran into a similar problem, as did Virginia’s Ken Cuccinelli (R).It looks like Colorado gubernatorial hopeful Bob Beauprez (R) has joined the club.On Wednesday, as Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez toured Colorado to “build unity,” a video surfaced that Democrats say shows his divisiveness.The video shows Beauprez in a speech to the Denver Rotary Club in 2010 making comments that echo those that hurt Mitt Romney’s challenge to President Barack Obama two years later.“I see something that frankly doesn’t surprise me, having been on Ways and Means Committee: 47 percent of all Americans pay no federal income tax,” Beauprez said in the video. “I’m guessing that most of you in this room are not in that 47 percent – God bless you – but what that tells me is that we’ve got almost half the population perfectly happy that somebody else is paying the bill, and most of that half is you all.”In fairness, it’s worth emphasizing that the video is four years old – unlike the Romney video, which was recorded during the campaign – though Beauprez continues to believe exactly what he said in 2010. Indeed, the Denver Post report added, “Reached while traveling, Beauprez’s campaign stood by the remarks.”And that’s the problem.Ed Kilgore noted in response, “Lord knows how many of these ‘47 percent’ videos are floating around, or will yet be made. Truth is, this line of ‘argument’ is like a bottomless crack pipe for Republicans, flattering their ‘base’ as the people actually doing all the work in our society and blasting those people as not only lazy and worthless but as dupes of a shady vote-buying elite.”I’d just add that Beauprez’s perspective appears to be based, at least in part, on some basic confusion about tax policy. The Republican is concerned about the “47 percent of all Americans [who] pay no federal income tax,” but this is an incomplete look at a larger picture.As we’ve discussed before, millions of Americans may be exempt from income taxes because they simply don’t make enough money, but they still pay sales taxes, state taxes, local taxes, Social Security taxes, Medicare/Medicaid taxes, and in many instances, property taxes. It’s not as if these folks are getting away with something – the existing tax structure leaves them out of the income tax system because they don’t make enough money to qualify. Indeed, many are retirees who can’t earn an income because they’re no longer in the workforce.Indeed, we can go one step further with this and ask Bob Beauprez a simple question: do you believe it’s time for Congress to increase federal income taxes on 47 percent of the country?Remember, Republicans oppose tax hikes with every fiber of their being, unless we’re talking about the poor, in which case the right sees raising taxes as a real possibility.This isn’t complicated. The GOP candidate for governor believes 47 percent of the population isn’t doing enough to “pay the bills” in the United States. Fine. Then how much does Beauprez want to raise their taxes to remedy this injustice?
The economy added 288,000 jobs in June while the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Analysts had expected 212,000 jobs to be added. It marks five straight months of job growth over 200,000 and is the lowest unemployment rate since September 2008. 1.38 million jobs have been added to the economy since the start of the year, 1.16 million of them in the private sector.
The retail sector added 40,000 jobs in June while leisure and hospitality added 39,000 and manufacturing added 16,000. Job growth was also strong in professional and business services, which added 67,000 jobs, and food service and drinking places, which rose by 33,000.
Job gains in April and May were revised upward by 29,000 jobs over what was previously reported, with April going from 282,000 to 304,000 and May going from 217,000 to 224,000.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I think the man personally responsible for making sure that the Democrats could not pass a discharge petition to reopen the government after Republicans shut it down — a shutdown that cost the economy $24 billion, did great damage to our businesses, and whose party has cost our economy at least 750,000 jobs with threats of default — is the last person who should be attacking anyone else for the shape our economy is in.