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    Artist – Mitt Priggee via Bob Cesca
…
Labor Day: the middle-class was built by unions and will die without them
Think Progress explains: 

…despite the many benefits unions have  provided the United States, right-wing politicians and business  interests have for years sought to undermine the ability of Americans to  organize to demand better pay, benefits, and conditions. From the anti-worker Taft-Hartley Act to the recent GOP-led efforts to kill public worker collective bargaining rights, these assaults have successfully decreased union membership over time. In the prosperous 1950′s, nearly one in three Americans was in a union. Today, it is closer to one in ten.
This has had a detrimental effect on the  American middle class. As the following chart from CAP’s David Madland  and Karla Waters demonstrates, as union membership fell from the 1970′s to the present, the middle class’s share of national income fell as well:


So what’s the GOP Teaparty have to offer that would replace middle-class incomes and union-bargained benefits? A simple three-stage plan: the rich get richer, no minimum wage, and you never retire.  
You might wish to vote accordingly.

    Artist – Mitt Priggee via Bob Cesca

    Labor Day: the middle-class was built by unions and will die without them

    Think Progress explains: 

    …despite the many benefits unions have provided the United States, right-wing politicians and business interests have for years sought to undermine the ability of Americans to organize to demand better pay, benefits, and conditions. From the anti-worker Taft-Hartley Act to the recent GOP-led efforts to kill public worker collective bargaining rights, these assaults have successfully decreased union membership over time. In the prosperous 1950′s, nearly one in three Americans was in a union. Today, it is closer to one in ten.

    This has had a detrimental effect on the American middle class. As the following chart from CAP’s David Madland and Karla Waters demonstrates, as union membership fell from the 1970′s to the present, the middle class’s share of national income fell as well:

    So what’s the GOP Teaparty have to offer that would replace middle-class incomes and union-bargained benefits? A simple three-stage plan: the rich get richer, no minimum wage, and you never retire.  

    You might wish to vote accordingly.

    — 3 years ago with 1 note
    #politics  #class war  #income redistribution  #war on the middle class  #GOP  #labor  #labor day 2011  #plutocracy  #Republicans  #tea party  #unions  #vote 

    Watch the full episode. See more American Experience.

    One of the most popular New Deal programs, the CCC put three million young men to work in camps across America during the height of the Great Depression.

    PBS Video: The Civilian Conservation Corps — an answer for unemloyment today?

    10 eye-popping statistics on unemployment: Mother Jones

    25.3 million Americans: The true size of the unemployment crisis. This figure includes people who are out of work, forced to work part-time, or unable to find a full-time job, as well as those who want to work but have given up searching for a job in the past month, most likely out of frustration.

    6.9 million jobs: How many fewer jobs there are today than in December 2007.

    0.22 jobs: The number of job openings per one unemployed worker.

    Twenty-eight out of 32 months: The number of months since January 2009 that job growth failed to keep up with basic population growth (roughly 150,000 jobs a month). All those headlines saying job growth has stalled are wrong; it’s not even doing that.

    43%: The percentage of jobless workers who haven’t pulled a steady paycheck in more than six months. That’s 6 million workers.

    16.7%: The jobless rate for African-Americans. Black unemployment is now at its highest in 27 years.

    11.3%: The Hispanic unemployment rate. This figure has held steady since February 2009.

    17.7%: The unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds of all races, ethnicities, and educational backgrounds. Often overlooked, youth unemployment has a long-term toll; young people who enter a weak job market are almost guaranteed to earn less over their lifetimes than those who find jobs during boom times.

    280,000: The number of jobs the American economy needs to add each month to fill its 11.3 million-job deficit by the middle of 2016.

    35,000: The average number of jobs the economy actually added in the past three months.

    IF PRIVATE INDUSTRY FAILS US, GOVERNMENT MUST STEP IN. In the past 3 decades, the rich have gotten much richer while the middle-class, working-class, and the poor — the employed — have not shared equally in the income distribution, even with increased productivity of our economy. What has happened, in fact, has been a bottom-to-top income redistribution and growing unemployment.

    Tax cuts, loopholes, and subsidies have benefited only the wealthiest, the most prosperous corporations, who have not reinvested their wealth but instead have hoarded the extra money. Any jobs that were “created” were at the expense of American workers, as multinationals moved their jobs overseas, to India and China. And those companies could then pocket even more money, while still collecting their federal corporate welfare (cuts, loopholes and subsidies). Today, many successful companies actually pay their CEOs more than they pay in federal income tax.

    And the GOP-Teaparty wants us to believe the wealthiest need more tax cuts — and that we should pay for the decreased revenue by cutting programs and services the rest of us depend on. Have you seen the crazy shit Jon Huntsman is proposing?

    http://paxam.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/great-depression-soup-line.jpg?w=630

    — 3 years ago with 2 notes
    #politics  #class war  #income redistribution  #unemployment  #war on the middle class  #CCC  #civilian conservation corps  #GOP  #jobs  #new deal  #plutocracy  #Republicans  #spending cuts for the rest of us  #tax cuts for the wealthy  #tea party 
    A chart showing the population density of prisoners in various  countries. Notice the ONE red country on the entire chart: the USA. (via: other-stuff)
In case you didn’t know, prisoners have become a huge profit opportunity, what with all the privately run prisons in America. And if spending cuts at local and state levels are enacted that effect certain segments of the population who rely on certain programs and services (i.e. health department, mental health, substance abuse, education, unemployment assistance) and if these kinds of cuts usually cause an increase in criminal behavior — we then have a win-win: more prisoners, more profits!
Another aspect of the GOP’s ongoing bottom-to-top income redistribution plan: hopefully those private corporate prisons can get themselves more tax cuts after the spending cuts go into effect. Fingers crossed!
America is still #1 in manufacturing (prisoners)

    A chart showing the population density of prisoners in various countries. Notice the ONE red country on the entire chart: the USA. (via: other-stuff)

    In case you didn’t know, prisoners have become a huge profit opportunity, what with all the privately run prisons in America. And if spending cuts at local and state levels are enacted that effect certain segments of the population who rely on certain programs and services (i.e. health department, mental health, substance abuse, education, unemployment assistance) and if these kinds of cuts usually cause an increase in criminal behavior — we then have a win-win: more prisoners, more profits!

    Another aspect of the GOP’s ongoing bottom-to-top income redistribution plan: hopefully those private corporate prisons can get themselves more tax cuts after the spending cuts go into effect. Fingers crossed!

    America is still #1 in manufacturing (prisoners)

    — 3 years ago with 4 notes
    #politics  #class war  #income redistribution  #unemployment  #America  #Koch brothers  #manufacturing  #plutocracy  #prisoners  #prisons  #private prisons  #spending cuts for the rest of us  #tax cuts for the wealthy 
    Bank of America paid no corporate tax last year, got a tax REFUND of $1 billion, and just laid off 30,000 workers →

    Clearly (if your thought process is anything like the Teaparty Republicans), Bank of America needs more tax cuts. And maybe a big hug.

    image: reagan-was-a-horrible-president 

    Think Progress | 03/28/11: […] with many companies releasing their financial reports for 2010, it appears that Bank of America — the nation’s largest bank— has gone a second year in a row paying absolutely no federal corporate income taxes. In fact, not only did the company use its losses to avoid paying taxes last year, but it actually reported a tax benefit of almost a billion dollars…

    The Hill | 09/12/11: Bank of America earned a dubious distinction on Monday — the firm’s 30,000 job cuts are more than double what any other U.S.-based employer has announced so far this year, according to a employment tracking group…

    On the bright side: I’m quite sure this news will in no way effect the annual bonus amounts of Bank of America’s CEOs — except to make them bigger. Rick Perry would remind these laid-off formerly middle-class bank workers that they’re free to move to Texas and compete for a minimum wage job with no benefits. Win-win.

    Trickle down, plebians!

    — 3 years ago with 5 notes
    #news  #politics  #class war  #income redistribution  #unemployment  #war on the middle class  #$1 billion tax refund  #30K workers  #bank of america  #GOP  #job creators  #jobs  #lay offs  #no federal corporate taxes  #plutocracy  #Republicans  #spending cuts for the rest of us  #tax cuts for the wealthy  #tea party 
    …
Does America REALLY want what Texas has?
Robert Reich | How to Create More Jobs By Lowering Wages: Texas and America:

[…] While Texas leads the nation in job  growth, a majority of Texas’s workforce is paid hourly wages rather than  salaries. And the median hourly wage there was $11.20, compared to the  national median of $12.50 an hour.
Texas has also been specializing in minimum-wage jobs. From 2007 to 2010, the number of minimum wage workers there rose from  221,000 to 550,000 – that’s an increase of nearly 150 percent. And 9.5  percent of Texas workers earn the minimum wage or below – compared to  about 6 percent for the rest of the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The state also has the highest percentage of workers without health  insurance. Texas schools rank 44th in the nation in per-pupil spending.
The Perry model of creating more jobs through low wages seems to be catching on around America.
According to a report out today from the  Commerce Department, the median income of U.S. households fell 2.3  percent last year – to the lowest level in fifteen years (adjusted for  inflation). That’s the third straight year of declining household  incomes. Part of this is loss of jobs. Part is loss of earnings.
More and more Americans are retaining  their jobs by settling for lower wages and benefits, or going without  cost-of-living increases. Or they’ve lost a higher-paying job and have  taken one that pays less. Or they’ve joined the great army of contingent  workers, self-employed “consultants,” temps, and contract workers –  without healthcare benefits, without pensions, without job  security, without decent wages.
It’s no great feat to create lots of lousy jobs. A few years ago Michele Bachmann remarked that if the minimum wage were  repealed “we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment  completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.”
I keep on hearing conservative  economists say Americans have priced themselves out of the global  high-tech labor market. That’s baloney. The productivity of American  workers continues to soar. The problem is fewer and fewer Americans are  sharing the gains. The ratio of corporate profits to wages is the  highest it’s been since before the Great Depression.
Besides, how can lower incomes possibly be  an answer to America’s economic problem? Lower incomes mean less  overall demand for goods and services — which translates into even fewer  jobs and even lower wages.
In short, the Perry (and Bachmann) model  of job growth condemns Americans to lower and lower living standards.  That’s nothing to crow about.


How is this not a war on the middle-class and income redistribution, bottom to top?

    Does America REALLY want what Texas has?

    Robert Reich | How to Create More Jobs By Lowering Wages: Texas and America:

    […] While Texas leads the nation in job growth, a majority of Texas’s workforce is paid hourly wages rather than salaries. And the median hourly wage there was $11.20, compared to the national median of $12.50 an hour.

    Texas has also been specializing in minimum-wage jobs. From 2007 to 2010, the number of minimum wage workers there rose from 221,000 to 550,000 – that’s an increase of nearly 150 percent. And 9.5 percent of Texas workers earn the minimum wage or below – compared to about 6 percent for the rest of the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state also has the highest percentage of workers without health insurance. Texas schools rank 44th in the nation in per-pupil spending.

    The Perry model of creating more jobs through low wages seems to be catching on around America.

    According to a report out today from the Commerce Department, the median income of U.S. households fell 2.3 percent last year – to the lowest level in fifteen years (adjusted for inflation). That’s the third straight year of declining household incomes. Part of this is loss of jobs. Part is loss of earnings.

    More and more Americans are retaining their jobs by settling for lower wages and benefits, or going without cost-of-living increases. Or they’ve lost a higher-paying job and have taken one that pays less. Or they’ve joined the great army of contingent workers, self-employed “consultants,” temps, and contract workers – without healthcare benefits, without pensions, without job security, without decent wages.

    It’s no great feat to create lots of lousy jobs. A few years ago Michele Bachmann remarked that if the minimum wage were repealed “we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.”

    I keep on hearing conservative economists say Americans have priced themselves out of the global high-tech labor market. That’s baloney. The productivity of American workers continues to soar. The problem is fewer and fewer Americans are sharing the gains. The ratio of corporate profits to wages is the highest it’s been since before the Great Depression.

    Besides, how can lower incomes possibly be an answer to America’s economic problem? Lower incomes mean less overall demand for goods and services — which translates into even fewer jobs and even lower wages.

    In short, the Perry (and Bachmann) model of job growth condemns Americans to lower and lower living standards. That’s nothing to crow about.


    How is this not a war on the middle-class and income redistribution, bottom to top?

    — 3 years ago
    #class war  #income redistribution  #politics  #unemployment  #war on the middle class  #America  #GOP  #hourly wage vs. salaries  #jobs  #lousy jobs  #low wages  #Michele Bachmann  #minimum wage  #no minimum wage  #peasants  #plutocracy  #Republicans  #rich perry  #tea party  #Texas 
    The Republican Teaparty job creation plan: MORE SNAKES! →

    Yesterday, taking their anti-regulatory zeal to absurd new heights, House Republicans claimed that a proposed rule from the Interior Department that would “designate the Burmese python and eight other snake species as ‘injurious’” — therefore “make it illegal to import them or transport them across state lines” — is a threat to job creation. They even brought a snake breeder to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who said that the rule could “devastate a small but thriving sector of the economy.”

    Source: Think Progress

    So, turns out, America’s unemployment problems and growing income inequality isn’t caused by numerous issues like deindustrialization, or giving tax cuts to the wealthiest (who hoard the extra money), or union-busting, or spending our federal dollars on wars in the middle east… No! It’s all because of regulations that bar people from transporting injurious and poisonous snakes into the U.S.  And, further, those regulations are “devastating” to the economy.

    It’s conceivable that these Congressional teapartyers may feel some kinship with snakes, but this “issue” is a completely unserious and irresponsible use of their workday, our precious tax dollars, and was obviously staged as a big “fuck you” to the serious problems we face.

    I will just remind the Republican Teaparty base that it’s YOUR politicians who are screwing around in Congress with college-level stunts like deregulating snakes and they have better retirement and health benefits than federal employees, earn $174,000 annually, get a $3,000 annual tax deduction for living expenses while in Washington, have a three-day work week, get to jet back home on the weekends, and enjoy recesses that last up to to a month. It’s great work if you can get it!

    Nice job on your 2010 selections, teaparty voters.

    — 3 years ago with 7 notes
    #news  #politics  #class war  #income redistribution  #unemployment  #war on the middle class  #2012  #congressional benefits  #deregulation  #disgusting  #GOP  #job creation  #jobs  #Peasants for the Plutocracy!  #plutocracy  #political games  #Republicans  #snakes  #stunts  #tea party  #unserious 
    The United States of Indecency… with Liberty and Justice for ME →

    This article is both remarkable and infuriating. It’s remarkable because the facts about the working conditions in an Amazon warehouse really are a reflection of how many modern Corporatists / plutocrats treat their workers — as disposable and easily replaced. Oh, you won’t crawl through aisles to get 1 item every 30 seconds? I’ll bet someone else will…

    It’s infuriating because it takes mainstream media’s usual ‘both sides do it’ tone. And, yes, both sides are uncivil to each other and undermine the Other. But for Christ’s sake, the struggle, insults, or incivility is not equal (or equally felt) when the Power is held by the Few, and those who support the Few are practically lobotomized by their twisted idea of a Republican Jesus and by a steady stream of Roger Ailes’ and AM hate radio’s successful brand of propaganda. There is no equivalent propaganda stream for the other side. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are like the 21st century Tokyo Rose for America’s working- and middle-class — that is, IF Tokyo Rose had been able to broadcast on multiple TV and radio stations 24/7. 

    Anand Giridharadas | The Fraying of a Nation’s Decency

    […] Thanks to a methodical and haunting piece of journalism in The Morning Call, a newspaper published in Allentown, Pennsylvania, I now know why the boxes reach me so fast and the prices are so low. And what the story revealed about Amazon could be said of the country, too: that on the road to high and glorious things, it somehow let go of decency.

    The newspaper interviewed 20 people who worked in an Amazon warehouse in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. They described, and the newspaper verified, temperatures of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or 37 degrees Celsius, in the warehouse, causing several employees to faint and fall ill and the company to maintain ambulances outside. Employees were hounded to “make rate,” meaning to pick or pack 120, 125, 150 pieces an hour, the rates rising with tenure. Tenure, though, wasn’t long, because the work force was largely temps from an agency. Permanent jobs were a mirage that seldom came. And so workers toiled even when injured to avoid being fired. A woman who left to have breast cancer surgery returned a week later to find that her job had been “terminated.”

    The image of one man stuck with me. He was a temp in his 50s, one of the older “pickers” in his group, charged with fishing items out of storage bins and delivering them to the packers who box shipments. He walked at least 13 miles, or 20 kilometers, a day across the warehouse floor, by his estimate.

    His assigned rate was 120 items an hour, or one item every 30 seconds. But it was hard to move fast enough between one row and the next, and hard for him to read the titles on certain items in the lowest bins. The man would get on his hands and knees to rummage through the lowest bins, and sometimes found it easier to crawl across the warehouse to the next bin rather than stand and dip again. He estimated plunging onto his hands and knees 250 to 300 times a day. After seven months, he, too, was terminated.

    ~~~*~~~

    […] Far beyond official Washington, we would seem to be witnessing a fraying of the bonds of empathy, decency, common purpose. It is becoming a country in which people more than disagree. They fail to see each other. They think in types about others, and assume the worst of types not their own.

    It takes some effort these days to remember that the United States is still one nation.

    It doesn’t feel like one nation when a company like Amazon, with such resources to its name, treats vulnerable people so badly just because it can. Or when members of a presidential debate audience cheer for a hypothetical 30-year-old man to die because he lacks health insurance. Or when schoolteachers in Chicago cling to their union perks and resist an effort to lengthen the hours of instruction for children that the system is failing. Or when an activist publicly labels the U.S. military, recently made safe for open homosexuals, a “San Francisco military.” Or when most of the television pundits go on with prefabricated scripts to eviscerate their rivals, instead of doing us the honor of actually thinking.

    The more I travel, the more I observe that Americans are becoming foreigners to each other. People in Texas speak of people in New York the way certain Sunnis speak of Shiites, and vice versa in New York. Many liberals I know take for granted that anyone conservative is either racist or under-informed. People who run companies like Amazon operate as though it never occurred to them that it could have been them crawling through the aisles. And the people who run labor unions possess little empathy for how difficult and risky and remarkable it is to build something like Amazon.

    What is creeping into the culture is simple dehumanization, a failure to imagine the lives others lead. Fellow citizens become caricatures. People retreat into their own safe realms. And decency, that great American virtue, falls away.

    Read it all…  (article via: azspot)

    This Fox “News” screenshot speaks for itself:

    How’d you like to work in an Amazon warehouse if you couldn’t retire until you’re 67?

    — 3 years ago with 13 notes
    #opinion  #politics  #class war  #income redistribution  #unemployment  #war on the middle class  #AM hate radio  #amazon  #America  #corporatism  #corporatists  #Fox News  #GOP  #indecency  #job creators  #jobs  #plutocracy  #plutocrats  #Republicans  #roger ailes  #Rush Limbaugh  #spending cuts for the rest of us  #tax cuts for the wealthy  #tea party  #United States  #usa 
    image: Tracy Knauss
The Guardian on #OccupyWallStreet: young people have come to reclaim the future
WHY ARE PEOPLE occupying Wall Street? From The Guardian:

There are obvious reasons. We are watching  the beginnings of the defiant self-assertion of a new generation of  Americans, a generation who are looking forward to finishing their  education with no jobs, no future, but still saddled with enormous and  unforgivable debt. Most, I found, were of working-class or otherwise  modest backgrounds, kids who did exactly what they were told they  should: studied, got into college, and are now not just being punished  for it, but humiliated – faced with a life of being treated as  deadbeats, moral reprobates.
Is it really surprising they would like to have a word with the financial magnates who stole their future?
Just as in Europe, we are seeing the  results of colossal social failure. The occupiers are the very sort of  people, brimming with ideas, whose energies a healthy society would be  marshaling to improve life for everyone. Instead, they are using it to  envision ways to bring the whole system down.
But the ultimate failure here is of  imagination. What we are witnessing can also be seen as a demand to  finally have a conversation we were all supposed to have back in 2008.  There was a moment, after the near-collapse of the world’s financial  architecture, when anything seemed possible.
Everything we’d been told for the last  decade turned out to be a lie. Markets did not run themselves; creators  of financial instruments were not infallible geniuses; and debts did not  really need to be repaid – in fact, money itself was revealed to be a  political instrument, trillions of dollars of which could be whisked in  or out of existence overnight if governments or central banks required  it. Even the Economist was running headlines like “Capitalism: Was it a  Good Idea?”
It seemed the time had come to rethink  everything: the very nature of markets, money, debt; to ask what an  “economy” is actually for. This lasted perhaps two weeks. Then, in one  of the most colossal failures of nerve in history, we all collectively  clapped our hands over our ears and tried to put things back as close as  possible to the way they’d been before.
Perhaps, it’s not surprising. It’s  becoming increasingly obvious that the real priority of those running  the world for the last few decades has not been creating a viable form  of capitalism, but rather, convincing us all that the current form of  capitalism is the only conceivable economic system, so its flaws are  irrelevant. As a result, we’re all sitting around dumbfounded as the  whole apparatus falls apart.
What we’ve learned now is that the  economic crisis of the 1970s never really went away. It was fobbed off  by cheap credit at home and massive plunder abroad – the latter, in the  name of the “third world debt crisis”…
Read the rest…

If you live on Main Street, you should support the occupation of Wall Street.

    image: Tracy Knauss

    The Guardian on #OccupyWallStreet: young people have come to reclaim the future

    WHY ARE PEOPLE occupying Wall Street? From The Guardian:

    There are obvious reasons. We are watching the beginnings of the defiant self-assertion of a new generation of Americans, a generation who are looking forward to finishing their education with no jobs, no future, but still saddled with enormous and unforgivable debt. Most, I found, were of working-class or otherwise modest backgrounds, kids who did exactly what they were told they should: studied, got into college, and are now not just being punished for it, but humiliated – faced with a life of being treated as deadbeats, moral reprobates.

    Is it really surprising they would like to have a word with the financial magnates who stole their future?

    Just as in Europe, we are seeing the results of colossal social failure. The occupiers are the very sort of people, brimming with ideas, whose energies a healthy society would be marshaling to improve life for everyone. Instead, they are using it to envision ways to bring the whole system down.

    But the ultimate failure here is of imagination. What we are witnessing can also be seen as a demand to finally have a conversation we were all supposed to have back in 2008. There was a moment, after the near-collapse of the world’s financial architecture, when anything seemed possible.

    Everything we’d been told for the last decade turned out to be a lie. Markets did not run themselves; creators of financial instruments were not infallible geniuses; and debts did not really need to be repaid – in fact, money itself was revealed to be a political instrument, trillions of dollars of which could be whisked in or out of existence overnight if governments or central banks required it. Even the Economist was running headlines like “Capitalism: Was it a Good Idea?”

    It seemed the time had come to rethink everything: the very nature of markets, money, debt; to ask what an “economy” is actually for. This lasted perhaps two weeks. Then, in one of the most colossal failures of nerve in history, we all collectively clapped our hands over our ears and tried to put things back as close as possible to the way they’d been before.

    Perhaps, it’s not surprising. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the real priority of those running the world for the last few decades has not been creating a viable form of capitalism, but rather, convincing us all that the current form of capitalism is the only conceivable economic system, so its flaws are irrelevant. As a result, we’re all sitting around dumbfounded as the whole apparatus falls apart.

    What we’ve learned now is that the economic crisis of the 1970s never really went away. It was fobbed off by cheap credit at home and massive plunder abroad – the latter, in the name of the “third world debt crisis”…

    Read the rest…

    If you live on Main Street, you should support the occupation of Wall Street.

    — 3 years ago with 14 notes
    #politics  #occupywallstreet  #unemployment  #income redistribution  #class war  #war on the middle class  #corporatism  #jobs  #main street  #occupy wall street  #out of control capitalism  #plutocracy  #spending cuts for the rest of us  #tax cuts for the wealthy  #the guardian  #Wall Street 
    …
When employees are disposable, high unemployment benefits the employers
Here are descriptions of working in Amazon’s shipping warehouses AND,  perhaps, a peek into the bleak future of employment for your children  and grandchildren in the Corporatist Hellscape that the GOP / Teaparty  is pushing us to accept. Read below and you’ll see that when employees are disposable, high unemployment benefits the employers.
Keep in mind that in a Teaparty / GOP Perfect World, these ‘job growth’ ideas in the graphic above would be federally mandated.
From Inside Amazon’s Warehouse by Spencer Soper:

Temporary employees interviewed said few  people in their working groups actually made it to a permanent Amazon  position. Instead, they said they were pushed harder and harder to work  faster and faster until they were terminated, they quit or they got  injured. Those interviewed say turnover at the warehouse is high and  many hires don’t last more than a few months.
The supply of temporary workers keeps  Amazon’s warehouse fully staffed without the expense of a permanent  workforce that expects raises and good benefits. Using temporary  employees in general also helps reduce the prospect that employees will  organize a union that pushes for better treatment because the employees  are in constant flux, labor experts say. And Amazon limits its liability  for workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance because most of  the workers don’t work for Amazon, they work for the temp agency.
[…] One former temporary warehouse  employee said he worked seven months before he was terminated for not  working fast enough. In his 50s, he worked 10 hours a day, four days a  week as a picker, plucking items from bins and delivering them to  packers who put them in boxes for shipment. He would walk 13 to 15 miles  daily, he estimated, and was among the oldest pickers.
“At the beginning, I thought I was doing  really well,” he said. “I never missed a day, was never sick, never came  in late. I was the model employee. But after a while, I could only  achieve a certain rate and I couldn’t go any faster. It was just  brutal.”
He said he was expected to pick 1,200 items in a 10-hour shift, or one item every 30 seconds.
The warehouse is organized like a library.  Bins labeled “A” were on the floor. Dim lighting in the warehouse in  which he worked made it difficult for him to find items stored in the  low bins, especially novels with script titles or CDs with small  writing, he said. Often, he got on his hands and knees to find things in  the low bin, and would crawl to other bins rather than continuously  stoop and stand, he said.

From Amazon workers rediscover The Grapes of Wrath by Ezra Klein:

One day, the index “exceeded 110 degrees  on the third floor.” A local emergency room doctor treated so many  warehouse employees for heat exhaustion this summer that he called  federal regulators to report an unsafe work environment. A security  guard called the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after  seeing two pregnant women taken to nurses.
[…] There were occasions in June and  July, Soper reported, when “Amazon paid Cetronia Ambulance Corps to have  ambulances and paramedics stationed at its two adjacent warehouses.”  The company refused to cool the warehouse by opening the garage doors  because managers feared it would lead to theft.
[…] In a more robust economy, Amazon  would have to treat its employees better or they would simply leave to  pursue other opportunities. […] Right now, there are about five  unemployed Americans for every open job. In many regions and industries,  that ratio is much higher, especially among unskilled workers. It might  not be 100-to-1, but it’s close enough to ensure that the one who does  get the job has little power. Orange handbills might have been replaced  by e-mails and Monster.com, but the Joads would surely recognize the men  and women competing to work in that hundred- degree heat, climbing over  one another for the chance to support their kids.

From A visit to the Warehouse of Soul-Crushing Sadness by Mac McClelland:

[McClelland observed employees at an unnamed shipping facililty] Susie told me it’s pretty dispiriting to act as  though her workers are as disposable as the products they’re shipping.  But that’s just the way it is, she said. The logisticsclients  aren’t interested in spending money on a better or more sustainable  work culture. Nor do they need to. There are 100 people employed in the  warehouse I visited, and Susie could fire every one of them today  without costing her bosses a dime of lost profits. She has applications  from hundreds of people ready to take the job.

(Links above via The Grapes of Wrath is not a business model)
You can see why corporations and their Republican politicians don’t  like labor unions. With a union, there is NO WAY any of this would be  happening. The bottom line is that the American consumer (really,  worldwide consumers) need to decide what saving a few dollars actually  entails along the way for the average worker. For my part, I’m not sure  I’ll ever order anything from Amazon again.
Related:
Posts on jobs
Posts on unions

    When employees are disposable, high unemployment benefits the employers

    Here are descriptions of working in Amazon’s shipping warehouses AND, perhaps, a peek into the bleak future of employment for your children and grandchildren in the Corporatist Hellscape that the GOP / Teaparty is pushing us to accept. Read below and you’ll see that when employees are disposable, high unemployment benefits the employers.

    Keep in mind that in a Teaparty / GOP Perfect World, these ‘job growth’ ideas in the graphic above would be federally mandated.

    From Inside Amazon’s Warehouse by Spencer Soper:

    Temporary employees interviewed said few people in their working groups actually made it to a permanent Amazon position. Instead, they said they were pushed harder and harder to work faster and faster until they were terminated, they quit or they got injured. Those interviewed say turnover at the warehouse is high and many hires don’t last more than a few months.

    The supply of temporary workers keeps Amazon’s warehouse fully staffed without the expense of a permanent workforce that expects raises and good benefits. Using temporary employees in general also helps reduce the prospect that employees will organize a union that pushes for better treatment because the employees are in constant flux, labor experts say. And Amazon limits its liability for workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance because most of the workers don’t work for Amazon, they work for the temp agency.

    […] One former temporary warehouse employee said he worked seven months before he was terminated for not working fast enough. In his 50s, he worked 10 hours a day, four days a week as a picker, plucking items from bins and delivering them to packers who put them in boxes for shipment. He would walk 13 to 15 miles daily, he estimated, and was among the oldest pickers.

    “At the beginning, I thought I was doing really well,” he said. “I never missed a day, was never sick, never came in late. I was the model employee. But after a while, I could only achieve a certain rate and I couldn’t go any faster. It was just brutal.”

    He said he was expected to pick 1,200 items in a 10-hour shift, or one item every 30 seconds.

    The warehouse is organized like a library. Bins labeled “A” were on the floor. Dim lighting in the warehouse in which he worked made it difficult for him to find items stored in the low bins, especially novels with script titles or CDs with small writing, he said. Often, he got on his hands and knees to find things in the low bin, and would crawl to other bins rather than continuously stoop and stand, he said.

    From Amazon workers rediscover The Grapes of Wrath by Ezra Klein:

    One day, the index “exceeded 110 degrees on the third floor.” A local emergency room doctor treated so many warehouse employees for heat exhaustion this summer that he called federal regulators to report an unsafe work environment. A security guard called the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after seeing two pregnant women taken to nurses.

    […] There were occasions in June and July, Soper reported, when “Amazon paid Cetronia Ambulance Corps to have ambulances and paramedics stationed at its two adjacent warehouses.” The company refused to cool the warehouse by opening the garage doors because managers feared it would lead to theft.

    […] In a more robust economy, Amazon would have to treat its employees better or they would simply leave to pursue other opportunities. […] Right now, there are about five unemployed Americans for every open job. In many regions and industries, that ratio is much higher, especially among unskilled workers. It might not be 100-to-1, but it’s close enough to ensure that the one who does get the job has little power. Orange handbills might have been replaced by e-mails and Monster.com, but the Joads would surely recognize the men and women competing to work in that hundred- degree heat, climbing over one another for the chance to support their kids.

    From A visit to the Warehouse of Soul-Crushing Sadness by Mac McClelland:

    [McClelland observed employees at an unnamed shipping facililty] Susie told me it’s pretty dispiriting to act as though her workers are as disposable as the products they’re shipping. But that’s just the way it is, she said. The logisticsclients aren’t interested in spending money on a better or more sustainable work culture. Nor do they need to. There are 100 people employed in the warehouse I visited, and Susie could fire every one of them today without costing her bosses a dime of lost profits. She has applications from hundreds of people ready to take the job.

    (Links above via The Grapes of Wrath is not a business model)

    You can see why corporations and their Republican politicians don’t like labor unions. With a union, there is NO WAY any of this would be happening. The bottom line is that the American consumer (really, worldwide consumers) need to decide what saving a few dollars actually entails along the way for the average worker. For my part, I’m not sure I’ll ever order anything from Amazon again.

    Related:

    — 3 years ago
    #class war  #income redistribution  #politics  #unemployment  #war on the middle clas  #'job growth' initiatives  #amazon  #bleak future of employment  #corporatism  #GOP  #jobs  #labor unions  #plutocracy  #Republican Party's 'job growth' ideas  #Republicans  #shipping warehouses  #tea party  #temporary jobs  #union busting 
    image: goodleftund0ne
…
#OccupyWallStreet: American Capitalism and the Plutocracy: Four Lost Decades (for the 99%)
IT TURNS OUT THAT THE AVERAGE AMERICAN’S WAGES have not increased in 40 years. From John Cassidy via The New Yorker (via: theamericanbear):

To me, what is really, really  alarming is this: a typical American male who works full time and still  has a job is earning almost exactly the same now as his counterpart was  back in 1972, when Richard Nixon was in the White House, O. J.  Simpson rushed a thousand yards for the Buffalo Bills, and Don McLean  topped the charts with “American Pie.”
The figures, which appear in Table A-5 at the back of the Census Bureau’s report (pdf), are these. Median  earnings for full-time, year-round male workers: 2010—$47,715;  1972—$47,550. That’s not a typo. In thirty-eight years, the annual  earnings of the typical male worker, adjusted to 2010 dollars, have  risen by $165, or $3.17 a week.
If you do the comparison with 1973 it is even worse.  The figure for median earnings of full-time male workers in that year  (when O. J. rushed two thousand yards and Tony Orlando had a  chart-topper with “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree”) was  $49,065. Between now and then, Archie Bunker and Willie Loman have suffered a pay cut of more than twenty-five dollars a week.
Is it any wonder Americans are not as optimistic as they used to be?

NOT ONLY HAVE THE WAGES OF AVERAGE AMERICANS BEEN STUCK IN THE 1970S, but our take-home income, after taxes, is ENTIRELY UNEQUAL when compared to the richest one-percent. Why? Because tax laws have unequally benefited the wealthy. We’re taxed on income from our labor (higher percentage)  and they’re taxed on income from their capital gains (lower percentage).  But we’re supposed to believe the wealthy make so much more than us because they work ‘harder’.

How Unequal We Are: The Top 5 Facts You Should Know About The Wealthiest One Percent Of Americans
5. The Top 1 Percent Are Taking In More Of The Nation’s Income Than At Any Other Time Since The 1920s: Not only are the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans taking home a  tremendous portion of the national income, but their share of this  income is greater than at any other time since the Great Depression, as  the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities illustrates in this chart using 2007 data:


AND WE’RE ALSO SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE that while our national treasury has gone without new revenue — after Bush’s “temporary” tax cuts that overwhelmingly favored the rich and increased the disparity between the 1% and the 99% — we should ONLY  cut programs and services that the 99% rely on, to balance a deficit  begun during the Bush Administration.
BOTTOMLINE: The GOP believes it’s patriotic to fight for more wealth  for the wealthy, but it’s evil socialism to ask government to help with  jobs for the vast numbers of unemployed. That’s how twisted they’ve  become.

    image: goodleftund0ne

    #OccupyWallStreet: American Capitalism and the Plutocracy: Four Lost Decades (for the 99%)

    IT TURNS OUT THAT THE AVERAGE AMERICAN’S WAGES have not increased in 40 years. From John Cassidy via The New Yorker (via: theamericanbear):

    To me, what is really, really alarming is this: a typical American male who works full time and still has a job is earning almost exactly the same now as his counterpart was back in 1972, when Richard Nixon was in the White House, O. J. Simpson rushed a thousand yards for the Buffalo Bills, and Don McLean topped the charts with “American Pie.”

    The figures, which appear in Table A-5 at the back of the Census Bureau’s report (pdf), are these. Median earnings for full-time, year-round male workers: 2010—$47,715; 1972—$47,550. That’s not a typo. In thirty-eight years, the annual earnings of the typical male worker, adjusted to 2010 dollars, have risen by $165, or $3.17 a week.

    If you do the comparison with 1973 it is even worse. The figure for median earnings of full-time male workers in that year (when O. J. rushed two thousand yards and Tony Orlando had a chart-topper with “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree”) was $49,065. Between now and then, Archie Bunker and Willie Loman have suffered a pay cut of more than twenty-five dollars a week.

    Is it any wonder Americans are not as optimistic as they used to be?

    NOT ONLY HAVE THE WAGES OF AVERAGE AMERICANS BEEN STUCK IN THE 1970S, but our take-home income, after taxes, is ENTIRELY UNEQUAL when compared to the richest one-percent. Why? Because tax laws have unequally benefited the wealthy. We’re taxed on income from our labor (higher percentage) and they’re taxed on income from their capital gains (lower percentage). But we’re supposed to believe the wealthy make so much more than us because they work ‘harder’.

    How Unequal We Are: The Top 5 Facts You Should Know About The Wealthiest One Percent Of Americans

    5. The Top 1 Percent Are Taking In More Of The Nation’s Income Than At Any Other Time Since The 1920s: Not only are the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans taking home a tremendous portion of the national income, but their share of this income is greater than at any other time since the Great Depression, as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities illustrates in this chart using 2007 data:

    AND WE’RE ALSO SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE that while our national treasury has gone without new revenue — after Bush’s “temporary” tax cuts that overwhelmingly favored the rich and increased the disparity between the 1% and the 99% — we should ONLY cut programs and services that the 99% rely on, to balance a deficit begun during the Bush Administration.

    BOTTOMLINE: The GOP believes it’s patriotic to fight for more wealth for the wealthy, but it’s evil socialism to ask government to help with jobs for the vast numbers of unemployed. That’s how twisted they’ve become.

    — 2 years ago with 10 notes
    #class war  #income redistribution  #politics  #unemployment  #war on the middle class  #1% vs. 99%  #capitalism  #cares not a flying fuck  #corporate America  #corporatism  #GOP  #occupywallstreet  #plutocracy  #Republicans  #Satan's Minions  #spending cuts for the rest of us  #tax cuts for the wealthy  #tea party 
    …
For #OccupyWallStreet, an immodest proposal: forgive the debt of the 99%
So my immodest proposal is simply this: Individuals and  households in the bottom 99 percent who owe debt to any large financial  institution that received federal government support during and after  the 2008 crisis should see their debt forgiven. That would  certainly stimulate the economy, as most people would suddenly find  themselves with a great deal more money to spend on iPads (and food, and  clothing, and housing, and healthcare). The debt can be forgiven by  decree or if the government really wants to it can step in to pay it  itself; I don’t much care either way. (Though it’d be nice to see it  just wiped off the books, to enrage the banks.)
Let’s wipe the debt of the 99 percent off the books, tell the financial sector to eat it, and get on with our lives.
— Alex Pareene | A proposed demand for Occupy Wall Street
Would that be fair? Sure it would.

REMEMBER AFTER 9-11 WHEN BUSH TOLD US TO GO SHOPPING, to “enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed“. Who do you suppose that benefited, exactly? He and his rich friends knew exactly what they were doing:
Median wages grew too little over the past  30 years to drive the kind of spending necessary to sustain the  consumer economy. Instead, increasingly exotic forms of credit filled  the gap, as the wealthy offered the middle class alluring credit card  deals and variable-interest subprime loans. This allowed rich investors  to keep making money and everyone else to feel like they were keeping  up—until the whole system imploded. -– Study: Income Inequality Kills Economic Growth

NOW THIS:

Using 2007 figures, sociologist  William Domhoff points out that the top one percent have five percent of  the nation’s personal debt while the bottom 90 percent have 73 percent  of total debt. — The Top 5 Facts You Should Know About The Wealthiest One Percent Of Americans

    For #OccupyWallStreet, an immodest proposal: forgive the debt of the 99%

    So my immodest proposal is simply this: Individuals and households in the bottom 99 percent who owe debt to any large financial institution that received federal government support during and after the 2008 crisis should see their debt forgiven. That would certainly stimulate the economy, as most people would suddenly find themselves with a great deal more money to spend on iPads (and food, and clothing, and housing, and healthcare). The debt can be forgiven by decree or if the government really wants to it can step in to pay it itself; I don’t much care either way. (Though it’d be nice to see it just wiped off the books, to enrage the banks.)

    Let’s wipe the debt of the 99 percent off the books, tell the financial sector to eat it, and get on with our lives.

    Alex Pareene | A proposed demand for Occupy Wall Street

    Would that be fair? Sure it would.

    REMEMBER AFTER 9-11 WHEN BUSH TOLD US TO GO SHOPPING, to “enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed“. Who do you suppose that benefited, exactly? He and his rich friends knew exactly what they were doing:

    Median wages grew too little over the past 30 years to drive the kind of spending necessary to sustain the consumer economy. Instead, increasingly exotic forms of credit filled the gap, as the wealthy offered the middle class alluring credit card deals and variable-interest subprime loans. This allowed rich investors to keep making money and everyone else to feel like they were keeping up—until the whole system imploded. -Study: Income Inequality Kills Economic Growth

    NOW THIS:

    Using 2007 figures, sociologist William Domhoff points out that the top one percent have five percent of the nation’s personal debt while the bottom 90 percent have 73 percent of total debt. The Top 5 Facts You Should Know About The Wealthiest One Percent Of Americans

    — 2 years ago with 23 notes
    #class war  #income redistribution  #politics  #unemployment  #war on the middle class  #1% vs. 99%  #Bush tax cuts  #demand  #forgive the debt of the 99%  #immodest proposal  #occupywallstreet  #plutocracy  #spending cuts for the rest of us  #tax cuts for the wealthy  #tell the banks to eat it 
    image: TBogg
…
The greatest hoax: the right wing and its lower and middle class base supporters enabling the super-rich
“A police officer watching the crowd march by said as long as the  protest stayed peaceful “I’m with them. I’m part of the 99 percent,  too.” — Welcome To The Occupation | TBogg

The greatest hoax of the last couple of decades has been the ability  of the right wing to co-opt members of the struggling lower middle class  and lower class and pretend they speak for them while enacting policies  that enable the super-rich. They’ve used wedge issues like gay marriage  and abortion and the baby Jeebus to alienate folks from their own  economic interests, feeding them a steady diet of hatred of minorites,  the educated, science, and, well, reality to create a voting block of  people so guided by hatred of the “other” that they would crawl over  broken glass to cut their nose off to spite their face…
[…] And so, because the message of the #OWS crowd has an organic  message that resonates, one that surpasses the fraudulent tea party  nonsense of the Koch brothers funded Tea Party, the money boys strike  back. And who else to lead the pushback than two folks who owe their  entire existence to the wingnut wurlitzer. Red State is a fully funded operation of Eagle Publishing, the owner of Human Events and Regnery Publishing. The members of the money party are scared, so they’ve sent out their astroturf specialists to meet it head on. It will fail.
— John Cole, regarding the “we are the 53 percent” Tumblr

Video proof of the plutocrats’ fear at Murdoch’s Fox “News” — the  treatment given to the Teaparty rallies and the Occupy Wall Street / 99  percent demonstrations:

…
As White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “I  think I remember how Mr. Cantor described protests of the tea party — I  can’t understand how one man’s mob is another man’s democracy.” 

    image: TBogg

    The greatest hoax: the right wing and its lower and middle class base supporters enabling the super-rich

    “A police officer watching the crowd march by said as long as the protest stayed peaceful “I’m with them. I’m part of the 99 percent, too.” Welcome To The Occupation | TBogg

    The greatest hoax of the last couple of decades has been the ability of the right wing to co-opt members of the struggling lower middle class and lower class and pretend they speak for them while enacting policies that enable the super-rich. They’ve used wedge issues like gay marriage and abortion and the baby Jeebus to alienate folks from their own economic interests, feeding them a steady diet of hatred of minorites, the educated, science, and, well, reality to create a voting block of people so guided by hatred of the “other” that they would crawl over broken glass to cut their nose off to spite their face…

    […] And so, because the message of the #OWS crowd has an organic message that resonates, one that surpasses the fraudulent tea party nonsense of the Koch brothers funded Tea Party, the money boys strike back. And who else to lead the pushback than two folks who owe their entire existence to the wingnut wurlitzer. Red State is a fully funded operation of Eagle Publishing, the owner of Human Events and Regnery Publishing. The members of the money party are scared, so they’ve sent out their astroturf specialists to meet it head on. It will fail.

    John Cole, regarding the “we are the 53 percent” Tumblr

    Video proof of the plutocrats’ fear at Murdoch’s Fox “News” — the treatment given to the Teaparty rallies and the Occupy Wall Street / 99 percent demonstrations:

    As White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “I think I remember how Mr. Cantor described protests of the tea party — I can’t understand how one man’s mob is another man’s democracy.” 

    — 2 years ago with 4 notes
    #class war  #income redistribution  #politics  #unemployment  #war on the middle class  #fox news  #red state  #53 percent  #99percent  #abortion  #baby jeebus  #fear of the plutocrats  #gay marriage  #Koch brothers  #money boys  #occupywallstreet  #plutocracy  #spending cuts for the rest of us  #tax cuts for the wealthy 
    Rebellion: operating outside the system to be heard within the system →

    MANY OF THE PROTESTERS believe electoral politics is a farce, have no faith in the political system – the two party system – or in the press. It’s a fact that our current economy serves no one but the 1 percent, the plutocracy, the oligarchs. At such a point you either accept your circumstances, or you rebel.

    This is a goal the power elite cannot comprehend. They cannot envision a day when they will not be in charge of our lives. The elites believe, and seek to make us believe, that globalization and unfettered capitalism are natural law, some kind of permanent and eternal dynamic that can never be altered. What the elites fail to realize is that rebellion will not stop until the corporate state is extinguished. It will not stop until there is an end to the corporate abuse of the poor, the working class, the elderly, the sick, children, those being slaughtered in our imperial wars and tortured in our black sites.

    It will not stop until foreclosures and bank repossessions stop. It will not stop until students no longer have to go into debt to be educated, and families no longer have to plunge into bankruptcy to pay medical bills. It will not stop until the corporate destruction of the ecosystem stops, and our relationships with each other and the planet are radically reconfigured. And that is why the elites, and the rotted and degenerate system of corporate power they sustain, are in trouble. That is why they keep asking what the demands are. They don’t understand what is happening. They are deaf, dumb and blind.

    Chris Hedges | Why Corporate Elites Should Be Petrified of Occupy Wall Street

    OF COURSE IT IS ALSO A WELL-KNOWN FACT that not participating in the electoral system we now have only guarantees a win for the party whose participants always show up to vote “R”, no matter how far they have to ride their Li’l Rascals.

    — 2 years ago with 8 notes
    #class war  #income redistribution  #politics  #unemployment  #vote!  #war on the middle class  #99% vs. 1%  #99percent  #occupywallstreet  #plutocracy  #rebellion  #spending cuts for the rest of us  #tax cuts for the wealthy  #the oligarchs 
    The one thing money can’t buy: an understanding that the fate of the 1% is bound to how the 99% lives →

    MAYBE THIS WILL BE REMEMBERED AS THE AWAKENING for American plutocrats and multinational corporations — a very slow, painful awakening, surely.

    The class warfare the rich don’t understand (via gonzodave)

    Is this a class war? Yes, probably. And it’s one of those really long wars, the kind that goes on forever. But in this latest battle, there’s little doubt who fired the first shot. When the financial crisis hit, the Masters of the Universe evaded responsibility and defiantly demanded more sacrifice from their victims. They enlisted their favoured politicians to hold the people hostage and then complained about being unloved despite their crimes. They have won all the early skirmishes – but the people are gathering their forces and starting to fight back.

    “The top 1 per cent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 per cent live Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 per cent eventually do learn. Too Late.” — Joseph Stiglitz

    DESPITE THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE being kicked into high gear on behalf of the Masters of the Universe — with the hackneyed right wing arguments about “punishing success” or jealousy and sour grapes — there is one simple fact at the foundation of the Occupy Wall Street protests: In America the 99 percent are greater than the 1 percent but are asked to sacrifice more and are given less.

    liberalsarecool: When corporations comprising an entire industry fail, and need to be bailed out by taxpayers, there is simply no way of calling it capitalism. Come up with a new word because it is not capitalism.

    Related:

    — 2 years ago with 3 notes
    #class war  #income redistribution  #politics  #unemployment  #war on the middle clas  #99% vs. 1%  #capitalism  #class warfare  #masters of the universe  #middle-class  #plutocracy  #plutocrats  #poor  #spending cuts for the rest of us  #tax cuts for the wealthy  #tax payer bailouts  #the rich  #working class