Links: Be ready, Ds. What happened to OT? Do R’s care about deficits?

September 26th, 2017 at 8:40 am

–First, from yesterday’s WaPo, when the pendulum swings back, assuming the nation’s still standing, D’s need to “be ready to launch thoughtful, vetted, well-understood and well-articulated plans in key policy areas.” I offer nudges in the areas of taxes, health care, poverty/inequality, and jobs.

–The salary threshold for overtime pay should have been raised long ago, but team Trump isn’t going there. They’ve said they’ll consider raising the salary threshold but to a lower level than Obama proposed. The DoL asked for comments on the threshold, and here’s a link to mine.  See also EPI’s Heidi Shierholz’s comment; she fought really hard for this as DoL’s chief economist back in the day and she takes a really trenchant dive into the issue.

–Do Republicans really give even half-a-crap about budget deficits? Actually, they kinda do, but only as a tactic to argue for spending cuts. In today’s NYT.



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9 comments in reply to "Links: Be ready, Ds. What happened to OT? Do R’s care about deficits?"

  1. Smith says:

    I believe the plan outlined for Democrats is wrong. Fundamentally, it follows the Clinton Obama policy of moving the Democrats towards the center right to recapture power. It is the now failed system of trying to elect Blue dog Democrats and boost turnout to eek out national victories. Obama’s landslide election in 2008 was a 53% to 45% popular vote, in the middle of an economic crisis that made headlines daily, and included emergency legislation (as the Dow dropped from 13,000 to 9,000). That’s not really a landslide, and his margin was much smaller in 2012 (against a history of successful incumbents increasing their margin). Below is my program and comments to counter the weaknesses I see in where this blog anticipates the pendulum should be expected to swing.

    Healthcare – Keep universal coverage front and center, as Truman and Democrats proposed since 1948. It doesn’t have to be strictly single payer, pay more attention to how things work in France, Germany, Japan, U.K. and Canada.
    Taxes – Tax proposals are good, especially your link to American Prospect, but you miss a fundamental point of restoring prosperity. Top marginal rates need to be higher than 60% because the goal is confiscatory, 90% above $2 million a year, same as 1963, taking away incentive to earn more is a feature not a bug. It’s restoring rates, not hiking them. Minimally, start the conversation there. In this regard, Sanders was too conservative because he wanted to win. Non presidential candidates and grass roots movement will have to push for these higher rates.
    Jobs – Subsidized employment is corporate welfare that hurts fair wage employers and lowers everyone’s wages. Guaranteed jobs are a mistake and wasteful if the unemployment problem actually stems from a dysfunctional economic system. Why treat symptoms and cause harmful side effects instead of addressing root cause. Businesses and rich people collect too much money and keep it, suppressing growth and full employment economy. There is also the recent phenomena of an over-skilled workforce which depresses wages and growth despite historically low levels of unemployment. The government needs to tax away the money business and rich people accumulate, and spend part of it on employing the underemployed, meaning not just infrastructure, but significantly increased R & D and education.
    Inequality/Poverty – EITC is the Republicans favorite poverty relief measure for a reason. It’s corporate welfare and hurts fair wage employers. The $15 minimum dwarfs the entirely EITC program but the increase wages don’t come directly from the taxpayer.
    Missing totally from discussion of poverty is what actually causes it, which is usually the result of a household with less than one full time wage earner. Early childhood education doesn’t address this at all. Universal quality childcare that allowed single parents however might work. Other programs that helped chronically unemployed might help, but not wage subsidies, not corporate welfare and EITC, especially not for those without children.
    Full employment policy would also help those who are disadvantaged and seeking ways into the labor market. What doesn’t help is increased immigration (as opposed to just maintaining the current historically high level present) and denying immigrant full labor rights (because we require employer sponsorship for 1/3 or more of all immigrants).
    Complaining about OT requirements is almost a sick joke because Obama had eight years to take care of this and didn’t. Yeah, it should be part of any platform to enact on day 1, except the members serve for 5 year terms, and Obama had the gift of open seats he was incapable of accepting, presaging his open seat Supreme fiasco.
    Unfortunately too, no liberal argument for more taxes shouldn’t include a war on waste and fraud in government, for obvious reasons.

    • Smith says:

      The OT issue is a especially significant for me since I raised the problem of exempt status before it was noted on this blog, but acknowledging this blog is unique and does get points for making and highlighting the issue. Still, there are important points about the nature of exempt status that are never raised. Exempt status rules (meaning not covered by time and a half rule for work over 40 hours) is in some sense outmoded as today office workers are nearly all exempt, yet they are the new factory workers of the modern economy. Why are so many workers denied a basic right of a 40 hour week when 100 years ago this was a huge issue. Part of it has to do with the cushy nature of office work vs physically hard and dangerous work of the industrial economy. But a good argument can be made for eliminating the distinction of exempt status so everyone enjoys the benefits of mandatory overtime pay over 40 hours or more (or less, why not 35 hours already). Employers are very adept at calling workers professional or management to push them into exempt status. Other countries avoid this loophole. There is also a special exemption for tech workers.
      This blog, while commendable for raising the issue at all, seems oblivious to these questions.
      1) Should exempt status be eliminated or sharply restricted to a small portion of the workforce or under conditions that leave most workers covered?
      2) Should hours be cut to 35 hours instead of 40? Should a modern economy really engage labor at levels of 100 years ago? Is there really no progress to be made in a 100 years?
      3) What about the special exemption for tech workers? Isn’t it just a nonsensical break for tech employers that robs the erstwhile highest paid workers, and thereby suppresses everyone’s wage? (everyone because everyone’s wage effected by everyone else)
      4) How did Bush (or his manipulators if you view his presidency that way) outsmart Obama, who couldn’t get regulations changed? The tech thingy was even a Clinton era break.

  2. Ted Baiamonte says:

    Very weak article in New York Times. Republicans are against new taxes for same reason that our founders were,namely, they interfere with freedom from big liberal government. In fact, Republicans want to make deficits illegal with a balanced budget amendment. Further, Republicans are opposed to government spending because monopolistic spending is hugely wasteful;mostly used to create a crippled class of perennial liberal voters . And yes government spending crowds out the initiative all the people who are crippled over successive generations by it.

    • Brett Showalter says:

      lol, what is this shit. Republicans love to jack “fees” and “rents”. That is what the American fatasses don’t understand. Federal spending boosts actual tax revenue as it really goes into business expansion compared to “private” spending, which is a debt based illusion.

      They can’t cut the debt without cutting American wealth. You must be a sounding board for the plutocracy.

  3. Serene says:

    It doesn’t matter, Jared. The Ds are using data, algorithms and perhaps machine learning to intentionally polarize the country over race. This is by far the more dastardly behavior, and if it doesn’t stop I’ll be voting Republican until it does stop.

  4. Serene says:

    Oh, and CHECK MATE!

    • Serene says:

      I should have better stated this. If you want to not act evil, act like people. Don’t act like computers. Don’t act like your data is better than their data. Don’t put political strategy over human issues. Act human. Be yourself. Mom new best when she said, “Just be yourself”, and most of us learned this lesson before we had the ability to use data to form strategy. Political strategy is nothing but a primitive form of AI.

      Be human and be a part of our democracy. This is how I live. I know I’m just a single voice in democracy. I intend to live that way.

  5. elkern says:

    Re NYT Article: Dr. B, I think you’re far to generous to the GOP. Their history since Reagan shows clear patterns:

    – manipulate the US economy to maximize GOP political power
    – when in power, force Keynesian stimulus with deficit spending by…
    – cutting taxes (mostly for top 1-5%)
    – Increase military spending
    – and add new bureaucracies to reward GOP aparatchiks with plum jobs
    – “Homeland Security”, TSA, etc
    – when out of power, suppress growth by…
    – howling about deficits (“crocodile tears”, as you say in NYT)
    – use that power to reward their Donor Class

    The Republican Party is NOT really interested in smaller government, but in government which shovels more money to their “friends”. Sure, there are Republicans who sincerely believe the BS about small government and Federalism, but the hypocrisy is exposed by the results of the Cheney Regime, when government power expanded significantly – mostly in bad ways.

    An unfortunate side-effect of their closeted love for the Keynesian Bulge is their habit of overheating the economy (1987, 2007). Perversely, their Wall Street (Lizard) Overlords profit on the way up AND the way down.