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.
After Volkswagen workers decided to turn down unionization at their plant, pundits called it a defeat for the UAW. The reality is that this was a loss for the workers. There is ample data that shows that America’s decline in wages track the decline of worker unions, It is disconcerting that workers continue to believe and articulate the false narratives they have been fed by well-funded campaigns. The backlash was swift as the head of VW’s works council said it would be unlikely anymore factories would be built in the South.
Then there was Nikki Haley (R-SC), governor of South Carolina. Greenville Online reported the following.
South Carolina is glad to have non-union jobs from BMW, Michelin and Boeing, but don’t expect any factories from Ford, General Motors, Chrysler or other companies with unionized work forces.
According to Gov. Nikki Haley, they’re not welcome.
Haley said Wednesday that she discourages companies from building new facilities in South Carolina if they are planning to bring a union with them.
“It’s not something we want to see happen,” she told The Greenville News following an appearance at an automotive conference in downtown Greenville.
“We discourage any companies that have unions from wanting to come to South Carolina because we don’t want to taint the water.”
State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, Haley’s Democratic opponent in this year’s gubernatorial race, said he thinks South Carolina should remain a right-to-work state where workers are free to decide whether to join unions or not.
Watch Nikki Haley making those devastating anti-union comments below. She would deny South Carolinians jobs if companies providing the jobs are unionized. In other words her ideology trumps what is best for the citizens of her state.
I hope the voters of South Carolina vote Nikki Haley’s union-hating butt out of office in November and replace her with Vincent Sheheen!
Limbaugh: "Our Culture Has Been 'Chickified' By Women Taking The Same Career Paths As Men" | Video | Media Matters for America
From the 02.07.2014 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show:
58-year-old Chester Finn is one of the approximately 57 million Americans with a physical or developmental disability. A visually impaired man, Finn spent years working in a so-called “sheltered workshop” — more commonly known today as a “work center,” or a facility that employs large numbers of workers with disabilities — in western New York. He and his fellow workers did a variety of standard factory work, including putting sponges into individual plastic wrappers and sealing them shut, stuffing envelopes, and working in the cafeteria.
But unlike other workers, Finn and the other disabled employees got paid less — sometimes significantly less — than $300 per month.
“I felt that we did hard work,” Finn told ThinkProgress in an interview. “We had to do most things that you do — food servicing, we had to prepare stuff for the individuals. We had to clean up, and we also had to do the dishes and things like that. I felt that they should have been paying us more.”
Even assuming a 20-hour work week, Finn’s pay came out to less than $4 per hour. The federal minimum wage hasn’t been that low (in terms of current dollars) since 1990. But Finn’s wages aren’t against the law.
That’s because a little-known provision called Section 14(c) of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act allows companies that employ workers with disabilities to pay them subminimum wages under a special wage certificate. With income inequality and a national minimum wage hike at the center of President Barack Obama’s 2014 agenda, disability advocates say a change is long overdue.
The National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency tasked with advising the government on issues that affect Americans with disabilities, recently sent a letter to President Obama and Labor Secretary Tom Perez urging the White House to expand the scope of its forthcoming Executive Order raising new federal contractors’ minimum wages to $10.10 per hour. “We were disheartened to learn… that the Administration does not have the intention of crafting the planned Executive Order in such a way as to apply the raised minimum wage to people with disabilities who are currently employed by federal contractors who pay them subminimum wages,” read NCD’s letter.
“Because the Executive Order will not raise the wages of these individuals outright, as a result, the Executive Order will only have a negligible, trickle-down effect on employees with disabilities employed by contractors who pay them subminimum wages, as wages paid under this program will simply be calculated in relation to the new minimum wage. This may mean that a worker receiving pennies an hour today may receive a dime as a result of the Executive Order. Surely we can do better than this.”
According to NCD, Americans with disabilities are about three times as likely to live in poverty than non-disabled Americans, and less than one in five disabled people participate in the workforce. That’s compared to over 68 percent labor force participation among people without disabilities. Other organizations such as the Autistic Self Advocacy Network have argued that the Obama administration has the authority to extend the minimum wage Executive Order to workers employed under a 14(c) certificate.
The Fair Labor Standards Act’s 14(c) exemption wasn’t originally meant to be discriminatory, according to advocates. Rather, it was a patrician approach to integrating the disabled into society that reflected the times. “That was a very custodial way of looking at, ‘How could we help include workers with disabilities into the work force?’” explained NCD Co-Vice Chair Lynnae Ruttledge in a phone interview.
But with huge advancements in both how Americans with disabilities are perceived and the accommodations available to them, why has progress on wage equality been so hard to come by? “Oh, because disability is big business,” said Ruttledge. “The only reason that you can’t get traction with this is because there are large publicly funded nonprofit organizations that make an incredible amount of money getting federal contracts and tax exemptions [and then] being able to use the provisions under 14(c) so that some of their workers will be paid less than minimum wage.”
It’s understandable why Grimes would focus on job creation. Kentucky’s unemployment rate is 8.0 percent which makes it 44th in the nation. But on another topic that’s engulfed the national conversation and the Kentucky Senate race, Obamacare, Grimes is a bit more careful. That’s despite the fact that Democrats have touted Kentucky’s successful healthcare exchange as the premiere example of how Obamacare works coupled with the fact that McConnell has shown dogmatic opposition to the law. McConnell’s party has voted more than 40 times to repeal or dismantle the law.
Grimes has addressed Obamacare before. She’s said that aspects of the law are problematic and needs fixing. But she rarely dwells on the subject and, instead, quickly pivots back to McConnell on a range of issues.
It’s a strategy that seems to be working so far. An increasing number of polls show a tight race in a head-to-head matchup between her and McConnell, with a recent Public Policy Polling survey putting her just a point behind the Kentucky Republican. Asked if she thought Bevin had helped cause the tight race, Grimes said it would be close even if McConnell wasn’t facing a primary challenge.
"I don’t think Sen. McConnell has been that distracted given the millions of dollars that he has already spent against me in this race," Grimes said, adding that that between her opponent’s campaign and pro-McConnell outside groups millions "has already spent against me."
"But what I think it shows is Kentuckians can’t be bought," she insisted. And there’s sure to be an influx of more cash this fall, though it’s unclear if outside groups like The Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF) and The Madison Project will fall in line to support McConnell in the general election if Bevin’s bid is unsuccessful.
In the meantime, Grimes seems to be shifting focus to the new issue Democrats hope to make a winning one in 2014: a national minimum wage increase.
"I think that if we are going to grow the middle class of this state we have to give them not just a minimum wage but a living wage and that’s indeed what $10.10 is all about," she said.
In another attempt to cast the Obama administration’s focus on income inequality as an Obamacare distraction, Fox contributor Karl Rove argued that raising the minimum wage “doesn’t affect a lot of American workers.” But raising the minimum wage would impact 30 million workers, or nearly 20 percent of the American workforce.
On the January 6 edition of America’s Newsroom, Fox News contributor Karl Rove dismissed the Obama administration’s efforts to raise the minimum wage as yet another attempt to distract from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and falsely claimed that raising the minimum wage “doesn’t affect a lot of American workers” (emphasis added):
HEMMER: You know, I’m trying to figure this out, Karl. Do you see that as a new front to argue politics in America today in order to set up the debate for the midterm elections next November? Or do you see it as a distraction away from the issues of Obamacare? Is it A or B or is it a mix of both then?
ROVE: Well it’s a mix of both but I thought it was interesting yesterday on the Sunday talk programs, Todd, from NBC talked about how he had talked to members of the administration, Chuck Todd said he talked to the people in the administration about the agenda for 2014 and the administration talked about everything but Obamacare. This is first and foremost an attempt to pivot away from something that is incredibly damaging to the administration, the so-called Affordable Care Act, and again, as I said, short run, there’s a little bit of advantage here in the next couple of weeks or months in talking about raising the minimum wage and which doesn’t affect a lot of American workers.
Rove seems unaware that raising the minimum wage would impact 30 million American workers, or nearly 20 percent of the nation’s workforce of 155 million. According to the Economic Policy Institute, raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2016 “would lift incomes for millions of American workers, most of whom do not fit the prevailing impressions of low-wage workers as teenagers working part-time jobs for extra spending money.”
Number of Workers Affected By Increasing The Federal Minimum wage to $10.10 By July 1, 2015
Rove’s comments mark the latest attack in Fox’s longstanding campaign against raising the minimum wage and promote the network’s narrative that any and all action by the Obama administration is an attempt to distract from the ACA.
From the 01.06.2014 edition of FNC’s America’s Newsroom:
Get it, girl — Elizabeth Warren’s floor speech on the Equal Employment for All Act.
'War On Christmas' Fighter Claims Non-Christians Shouldn't Take Any Days Off Of Work | Right Wing Watch
Bodie Hodge of Answers In Genesis, the group that runs the Creation Museum, recently authored a book about the “War on Christmas” and launched the “War On Christmas Insider Team” to help people defend the supposedly imperiled holiday.
Today, Hodge stopped by the American Family Association’s show Today’s Issues and chatted with AFA head Tim Wildmon and research director Ed Vitagliano about the mindset of supposed anti-Christmas agitators…which led him to argue that non-Christians shouldn’t even take any days off of work.
“If you thought about it, a secular, atheistic worldview, you know they don’t want Christmas,” Hodge said. “Well, why don’t they go up and say, ‘I want to work on Christmas and I don’t want time-and-a-half and I don’t want any of those holidays because that implies there is some God out there that’s holy that makes a day special. Consider a weekend. A weekend is a Christian thing, God created in the six days, he rested on the seventh, the Lord resurrected on the first day, that’s a Christian thing. These guys should say, ‘No, we should work all the time’ and work like the bees till you die.”
“They should have no days off, the whole concept of work and rest is a Christian thing,” he added. “Within their own worldview they have no basis for it, they have to borrow that from a Christian worldview, so they borrow it and they try to corrupt it.”
From the 12.12.2013 edition of AFR’s Today’s Issues:
h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW
Taxpayers no longer own any piece of General Motors (GM) after the government sold its last remaining shares in the company on Monday, about five years after it had stepped in to bail out the auto industry. The government’s exit from GM came alongside a new report finding that the auto bailout saved about 1.5 million jobs in 2010 alone.
The GM bailout was the largest component of the overall auto rescue package, with a price tag of $49.5 billion. The stock sales completed Monday recouped $39 billion of that investment for taxpayers and removed the last traces of government ownership that had dogged the company.
A recent report from the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) spells out the economic impact of the auto bailout. The rescue programs saved 2.6 million jobs in 2009 and 1.5 million jobs in 2010. And by saving those jobs and preserving the future of the American auto industry, it estimates that the bailout boosted personal income by over $284 billion from 2009 to 2010.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Sunday said that he opposed extending a program to for emergency unemployment benefits because it did a “disservice” to African-American workers. During an interview on Fox News Sunday to hype Paul’s “Economic Freedom…
Watch: This News Network [CNN] Gives A 90-Second Master Class On How To Cover Poverty | Blog | Media Matters for America
This morning, as minimum wage workers in 100 cities around the country went on strike, CNN’s New Day, in 90 seconds, demonstrated how to cover issues of poverty.
CNN’s Alison Kosik deserves credit for reporting the facts about low-wage workers.
Her subject is a 58-year-old man with two college age children who works at Kentucky Fried Chicken, scraping by with a second job at Kennedy Airport — not a teenager working for spending money — which is who conservatives claim minimum wage workers are.
"Living on $7.25 — you cannot do it," he tells Kosik. "You couldn’t even pay your apartment, buy food."
She goes on to acknowledge the struggle that fast food workers face in their daily living, pointing out how far their medianwages — even if working full time — fall below the poverty line for families.
Then she turns to Columbia University Professor Dorian Warren, who studies ”inequality and American politics” to explain that workers are not taking these jobs by choice, but because they are “desperate.”
From the 12.05.2013 edition of CNN’s New Day:
Conservatives are working themselves into a froth about what they believe is the next HUGE OBAMA SCANDAL: allegations that the unemployment numbers were cooked just ahead of the 2012 election.
This scandal may turn out to be just as devastating to the Obama administration as the IRS, Benghazi and Fast & Furious scandals. Not devastating at all, in other words. In fact, this one seems even flimsier than those pseudo-scandals.
New York Post columnist John Crudele, citing one anonymous source, claims that Census Bureau employees have been ordered to make up responses when surveying households for the Labor Department’s monthly unemployment report. Crudele claims to have evidence from 2010 that one Census survey-taker was caught making up numbers to meet a quota. Crudele’s anonymous source claims there were other incidents of surveyors making up numbers, that Census officials encouraged such shenanigans, and that fake-number generation ramped up ahead of the 2012 election.
This, Crudele suggests in a daring leap of logic, probably explains unemployment’s drop to 7.8 percent in September 2012 from 8.1 percent the month before.
That drop was reported on Oct. 5, 2012, just a month ahead of Election Day, and immediately seemed suspicious to conservatives like former General Electric CEO Jack Welch.
Conservatives were aflutter again on Tuesday about Crudele’s column, with CNBC forehead-vein-farmer Rick Santelli declaring himself and Welch vindicated, and failed GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain tweeting.
But sorry, Herman Cain, no. “The employee who did it” does not say that. In fact, there is no such employee in Crudele’s report. Crudele cites only an anonymous source who generally claims that numbers were made up. The “employee” who allegedly “did it” is one guy who allegedly made up numbers in 2010, which careful readers will note was two years before the election. That employee was not accused of raising or lowering unemployment figures — just of making up numbers to meet a quota of households.
Obviously, if the Census Bureau is telling employees to make up numbers one way or another, that’s a problem. Neither the Census Bureau nor the Labor Department had anything interesting to say about Crudele’s report when contacted by The Huffington Post, although a Labor Department spokesman said the Commerce Department was investigating the claims. The Census Bureau, which is a part of the Commerce Department, did not confirm or deny that statement.
Here in the United States, we’re united by a fundamental principle: we’re all created equal and every single American deserves to be treated equally in the eyes of the law. We believe that no matter who you are, if you work hard and play by the rules, you deserve the chance to follow your dreams and pursue your happiness. That’s America’s promise.
That’s why, for instance, Americans can’t be fired from their jobs just because of the color of their skin or for being Christian or Jewish or a woman or an individual with a disability. That kind of discrimination has no place in our nation. And yet, right now, in 2013, in many states a person can be fired simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
As a result, millions of LGBT Americans go to work every day fearing that, without any warning, they could lose their jobs — not because of anything they’ve done, but simply because of who they are.
It’s offensive. It’s wrong. And it needs to stop, because in the United States of America, who you are and who you love should never be a fireable offense.
That’s why Congress needs to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, also known as ENDA, which would provide strong federal protections against discrimination, making it explicitly illegal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This bill has strong bipartisan support and the support of a vast majority of Americans. It ought to be the law of the land.
Americans ought to be judged by one thing only in their workplaces: their ability to get their jobs done. Does it make a difference if the firefighter who rescues you is gay — or the accountant who does your taxes, or the mechanic who fixes your car? If someone works hard every day, does everything he or she is asked, is responsible and trustworthy and a good colleague, that’s all that should matter.
Business agrees. The majority of Fortune 500 companies and small businesses already have nondiscrimination policies that protect LGBT employees. These companies know that it’s both the right thing to do and makes good economic sense. They want to attract and retain the best workers, and discrimination makes it harder to do that.
So too with our nation. If we want to create more jobs and economic growth and keep our country competitive in the global economy, we need everyone working hard, contributing their ideas, and putting their abilities to use doing what they do best. We need to harness the creativity and talents of every American.
So I urge the Senate to vote yes on ENDA and the House of Representatives to do the same. Several Republican Senators have already voiced their support, as have a number of Republicans in the House. If more members of Congress step up, we can put an end to this form of discrimination once and for all.
Passing ENDA would build on the progress we’ve made in recent years. We stood up against hate crimes with the Matthew Shepard Act and lifted the entry ban for travelers with HIV. We ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” so our brave servicemen and women can serve openly the country they love, no matter who they love. We prohibited discrimination in housing and hospitals that receive federal funding, and we passed the Violence Against Women Act, which includes protections for LGBT Americans.
My Administration had stopped defending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and earlier this year the U.S. Supreme Court struck down that discriminatory law. Now we’re implementing that ruling, giving married couples access to the federal benefits they were long denied. And across the nation, as more and more states recognize marriage equality, we’re seeing loving couples — some who have been together for decades — finally join their hands in marriage.
America is at a turning point. We’re not only becoming more accepting and loving as a people, we’re becoming more just as a nation. But we still have a way to go before our laws are equal to our Founding ideals. As I said in my second inaugural address, our nation’s journey toward equality isn’t complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
In America of all places, people should be judged on the merits: on the contributions they make in their workplaces and communities, and on what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the content of their character.” That’s what ENDA helps us do. When Congress passes it, I will sign it into law, and our nation will be fairer and stronger for generations to come.
ENDA will be voted on in the US Senate tonight. The US House of Representatives will likely let the bill rot and not be voted on.
h/t: Barack Obama at Huffington Post
Economist Mark Zandi debunked the myth that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been responsible for a shift away from full-time jobs to part-tijme work. Zandi’s analysis flies in the face of the popular right-wing talking point that the ACA has been responsible for a rise in part-time employment at the expense of full-time jobs.
Fox has consistently ignored data to make the false claim that the ACA has caused a shift from full-time work toward part-time work, often using dishonest anecdotes and analysis from the likes of Karl Rove to make its point.
On CNBC’s Squawk Box, Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, pushed back on the panel’s speculation that the ACA has been responsible for a rise in part-time employment. When asked if Rove was correct in claiming that ACA has led to a rise in part-time employment, Zandi responded with a “no.” Zandi later said of the part-time work claim: “I don’t see it in the data.”
The evidence is overwhelming that the Affordable Care Act has had little to no impact on full-time versus part-time job growth, and as Fox News personalities continue to push the myth, they find themselves in direct contradiction with analysis put forth by actual economists.