Republican greed

On the dire need for an overhaul of Minimum Wage

Times have changed, for the worse:

Only one-in-five workers earning minimum wage are teenagers now, and about the same percentage of people are married. About 60 percent of workers earning minimum wage or less are working part-time, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to work. Many want but can’t find full-time work.

Most of the others are constrained by child care, health problem, or school schedules from working more. If we think about those individuals who would see a benefit from an increase, the average worker is older, less likely to be working for discretionary income and more likely to be supporting a family.

Bolding mine. Not trying to insult your intelligence, but since I've had to explain the meaning of the word "discretionary" to college grads about six times in the last few years, I might as well do it again here. It dates back to the 14th Century, and denotes somebody has the power to "judge or choose" courses of action. Often tied with "age of ascension" in certain cultures granting adult status. But in this context, it means you have the freedom to decide how to spend the money you've earned. And when your rent, utilities, and food requirements outpace your earnings, that choice has already been made for you. I know that's long-winded, but I've heard too many Democrats parrot that "just for teenagers" meme lately when minimum wage comes up, and I wanted to drive a stake in that meme's heart. Something I've also heard, which makes sense on a certain level: "We need to bring back the EITC to give these folks a boost." Yes. But not as an alternative to a minimum wage increase. Why not? Because the EITC is taken from tax revenues, and not from the private-sector employer who *should* be paying better. And before you say that next thing:

Monday Numbers: Taking care of the 1%

Chris Fitzsimon lays bare the highway robbery:

5—number of days since the White House and Republican Congressional leadership released the outline of their major tax reform proposal (“GOP tax plan would provide major gains for richest 1%, uneven benefits for the middle class, report says, Washington Post, September 29. 2017)

30—percentage of taxpayers with annual incomes between $50,000 and $150,000 who would see a tax increase under the plan (Ibid)

80—percentage of tax benefits in the Republican tax reform plan that would go to the top one percent of taxpayers (“A Preliminary Analysis of the Unified Framework, Tax Policy Center, September 29, 2017)

It's quite possible Trump actually believes this will be a net benefit for the middle class, but that's only because he has no idea what the criteria is for that category. He probably thinks the middle class are people who can afford a $200,000 membership fee at Mar-A-Lago, but can't afford more than 5-7 maids and gardeners for their own home. And once again, I find it hard to grasp why people would trust a man who has borrowed a lot more money than he's paid back, and managed to turn filing bankruptcy into an art form. The writing's on the wall with this issue:

Counting the local costs of the Connect NC Bond scam

Coming to a poor county near you:

Gov. Pat McCrory applauded local efforts in economic development throughout the years on Friday after he revealed SWELECT Energy Systems LLC will grace Halifax County. McCrory also said the State will soon invest in Halifax County, made possible through the recently passed Connect N.C. Bond Referendum.

“And one reason these bonds were so important is that we’re going to put $6.5 million into Halifax Community College, which is going to help train workers to fill these jobs at (the upcoming SWELECT Energy facility), and also, by the way, you have a great mountain park here, and the park system is so important we’re going to be putting $1.5 million in the Medoc Mountain Park right here,” the governor added.

I'm glad to see a Solar panel manufacturing facility come to NC, and this community desperately needs those 155 jobs. But the truth is, that $6.5 million may end up costing the local community more than it can stomach. There are some details in this forward-looking statement from HCC's President that are critical in understanding the potential pitfalls of this supposed windfall:

Group may take over Pittenger properties

And reporters have already lost the main thread of the story:

Charlotte-based South Street Partners is in talks to become the new manager of properties overseen by U.S. Rep Robert Pittenger’s former real estate firm.

Pittenger Land Investments identifies raw tracts in potential growth areas and gathers investors to buy the properties, which are held by limited liability companies. The goal over time is to make a return by selling the properties to developers.

No. That is their "stated" goal, but you skipped millions of dollars that Pittenger already made by scamming those investors. You guys just covered this a few months ago, and you need to keep this part of the story front and center:

DisConnect NC: Transportation infrastructure missing from revised bond

"I'm sure it's a nice building, I just can't get there from here."

But the cornerstone of his proposal was "a transportation bond of $1.2 billion that will allow for the quicker construction of projects in the 25 year plan." In fact new money for roads, bridges, ports and other transportation projects were so key to the initiative that McCrory dubbed it ‘Connect NC.’

That name remains but all money for connections has been stripped out of the Connect NC bill. There is money for an academic building boom...But the Senate’s plan cuts roughly a billion dollars from McCrory’s proposal by eliminating all road, bridge and transportation projects from the plan.

Another embarrassment for Governor McTravel, who will no doubt be shaking his fists in frustration. But it's also going to be frustrating for the rest of the state, which is in dire need of some road repair and (yikes!) bridge replacements. And for sure the Highway Patrol will really love this:

Tillis starts his own PAC, plays with model of lear jet

Okay, I made up the part about the toy jet, but the PAC thing is real:

In launching a political action committee to raise funds, Thom Tillis has made his first name an acronym: Together Holding Our Majority.

The Federal Elections Commission this week posted the filing that creates THOMPAC. The entity is a leadership PAC – the type formed by members of Congress – which raises money for the lawmaker’s non-campaign expenses and provides a vehicle to contribute to their colleagues’ campaigns.

I think it's blatantly obvious who Tillis' #1 constituent is. He should have named it "THAM" (Thom Holding Alla Money). Me? I'm just trying to hold my gorge down...

The enemy at home: Payday lenders and the military

Swimming in shark-infested waters:

Among other protections, the act bans members of the military from being charged more than 36 percent in annual interest on certain consumer loans. Payday, auto title and tax refund-anticipation loans are among those covered by the cap.

But attorneys general and regulators say lenders have used loopholes in the act to prey on members of the military. Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal regulator, in September said some lenders lurk just outside of military bases to offer loans that fall just beyond the act's limits.

One more issue that sets Democrats apart from Republicans, especially here in NC. Republicans don't think it's their responsibility to "intervene" in a "business arrangement" between two willing entities, even if that arrangement is fraudulent and even if the victim has already put his/her life on the line for the country, day after bloody day, for years. There are a lot of disgusting things associated with the NC GOP's mismanagement of our state, but this one is easily in the top five.

For McCrory, money does grow on a Tree

Ethical questions just keep piling up:

In the months after receiving his $171,071 payout of stock from Tree.com, McCrory appointed the state's banking director and a majority of the banking commissioners who regulate mortgage brokers. Some of Tree.com's payments to McCrory and Sanford weren't publicly disclosed until May 2014, when the company filed its 2013 year-end proxy statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

McCrory declined requests for an interview. In a written statement, McCrory spokesman Josh Ellis said the governor fully complied with state law and "continues to uphold high ethical standards."

From taking money from out-of-state gambling concerns to insider stock trading, McCrory's ethical lapses have become so numerous they can no longer be attributed to ignorance or incompetence. It's time for a special prosecutor to open an investigation, just like George Holding did when Mike Easley was called to the carpet.

The Bergermeister's campaign money problem

It looks like pay-to-play politics is back in style, with a vengeance:

State Senate leader Phil Berger raised nearly $2 million through the third quarter of the year, according to his campaign finance report.

Below are the top individual and PAC donors with listed "election sum to date" contributions.There is a caveat. Every sum listed below exceeds the state's $5,000 contribution limit. There are a lot of them, 42 individual contributors alone.

Bless his heart, Doug doesn't believe Berger's campaign received all that money, that it was a calculation error. There's been some calculating, alright, but it's more along the lines of, "If we get caught, we'll just claim ignorance and 'give' the money back."

Is that an incentive under that Red Hat, or are you just glad to see me?

Elite club membership dues come from the strangest places:

North Carolina's newly minted public-private partnership set up to create jobs across the state revealed its five major donors this week, among them Duke Energy and software firm Red Hat. The largest donation, $200,000, came from Duke Energy. Raleigh-based Red Hat pitched in $100,000, and smaller donations came from Piedmont Natural Gas, Morrisville-based computer maker Lenovo and Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Co.

Red Hat has so far received about $470,000 out of $15 million in incentive projects announced in 2011.

I'm sure many corporatists will view this as Red Hat simply "paying it forward" or some other rationalization, but it should be a stark reminder to the rest of us just how unwise and possibly incestuous this misappropriation of taxpayer's dollars really is.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Republican greed