Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Social Security COLAs (1975 to 2014)

The very first Social Security check (check number 00-000-001) was issued to Ida May Fuller in the amount of $22.54 and dated January 31, 1940.

(The charts below are from the St. Louis Fed) Historical Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. As you can see, inflation really began taking off ever since the 1970s.

Historical Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers

Beginning in 1975, Social Security started automatic annual cost-of-living allowances (COLAs). The change was enacted by legislation that ties COLAs to the annual increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W).

The chart below shows inflation since the Great Recession started in December 2007 to the present in October 2014. The chart depicts the small red square in the chart above. The only significant drop in inflation happened during the Great Recession (when apartment rents actually went down, instead of up.)

Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers

Most recent SS COLAs:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Poll: 64% of Voters think U.S. is "Out of Control"

In a recent poll by Politico, they asked "Which of the following comes closest to your own views when you think about the United States?" The number one answer to that question that made the morning headlines was: "Things in the U.S. feel like they are out of control right now.........64%

Other poll results:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Why the US should be more like France

Not in the way we grow grapes and ferment wine in Napa valley, and not in the way we process cheese in Wisconsin, but in the way we treat our workers.

Conservatives have been well known for bad-mouthing our European ancestors — especially the French 1 — calling them "socialists" and whatever other insults they can think of to hurl at them 2. Although, "socialist" isn't even an insult, but a political terminology that's used as a scare tactic by the Republicans to invoke irrational fear — equating Socialism to Stalinism and genocide (playing on their base's ignorance).

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Republicans now Demanding MORE Government

The Republican/conservative/tea party politicians have been ultra-critical of all "government" (even though they themselves are part of our "big government") — especially since Obama first took office. They have been demanding less government regulation — while also demanding cuts in taxes and less government spending. They've insistently pushed for cutting budgets or eliminating government agencies altogether (such as the CDC, EPA, IRS, FBI, FAA, FCC, FEC, FDA, etc.).

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Minimum Wage Updates (October 2014)

Clearly the majority of Americans IN BOTH PARTIES favor raising the federal minimum wage, as well as most of our Democratic leaders. So why won't the Republicans in Congress do the people's will?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Why Republicans Should Vote for Democrats in 2016

Republican voters, who might earn more than $7.25 an hour, should understand that, by setting the ground floor for the lowest federally mandated minimum wage (by raising it) also puts great pressure on their employers to raise their wages as well. How can their bosses explain to a factory worker in Tennessee (or elsewhere) that McDonalds employees are earning more than they are?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Please! Send the Helicopters!

In the beginning of the Great Recession, George W. Bush responded to the early signs of economic trouble with a "helicopter drop" in the form of lump sum tax rebates to wage earners, which were provided for in the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008.

Diatribe of a Disgruntled Worker 

While computers, automation, robotics and other methods in the workforce may have increased worker productivity, gads of publications have shown that wages haven't kept pace for the past 30 years. In a service job, such as at a restaurant or bar, an individual's workload is primarily governed by the flow of customers into the place of business and the management's scheduling of its employees. During the "down times", the non-management workers are usually expected to pick up a rag and clean (or otherwise keep themselves busy in other ways) because to be "idle" is "stealing" time/wages from the employer (although the boss is usually not so concerned about wage theft during those times when their employees work through their breaks and/or after their shifts officially end).

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

War Tax for the War on ISIS (ISIL)

With the escalation of our “new” war with ISIS (ISIL), how is this going to paid for — with “offsetting costs” (PAYGO) — such as cutting food stamps, rather than raising the capital gains tax rate on the war profiteers?