If you attend a magic show and know how the tricks are done then you enjoy the skill of execution. I hope that holds true for politicians and wages and manipulation. I am going to give the secrets away that are used by both republicans and democrats. If you come out the other end feeling like a rube on a circus midway then I will have done my job. You will be smarter.
Faulconerville Virginia News
First we do not have a two party system. We have two major parties that agree on 80% to 85% of the issues they deal with. Their disagreements are based on who is paying them and bankrolling their runs for office. The trial lawers and the unions are looking out for the democrats. Big business, big pharma, big oil and Wall Street own and control the republicans. There is pactically nothing that regular people come first at and get represented on. Republicans look out for the people who look out for them better the Democrats do. Democrats are lazy, frightened and shakey. Democrats don't waste a lot of effort standing up for you but they show up for the photo when you win. It is our fault we allow them to be so worthless. We have no other place to go.
Monroe Virginia News
Lets look at manipulation. A right wing conservative republican is complaining about the wages of a working person who is a union member. He tells you the union employee averages $47,600 a year and then list off all the benefits the employee enjoys.
Holidays, Vacation, Personal Days, Sick Days, Birthday, Health Ins, Dental benefits, Eye Exams, Pension Benefits. He talks about the benefits but never reveals that the wage he quoted was the full value of the package the employee had. The right winger leaves the impression that all these benefits are in addition to the wage. Does the right wing republican do this to shade your thoughts and raise dislike of the union employee? Is the right winger ignorant of the truth? You are being manipulated.
To cost out a Holiday, Birthday, Personal Day, Sick Day or Vacation Day you divide a days pay by 2080. The 2080 is the number of work hours in a year. The $47,600 is $22.89 an hour, thats $183.12 a day. For each vacation day, holiday, sick day, personal day birthday subtract 8.8 cents per hour from the employees hourley pay. Lets say this employee has 3 weeks of vacation (15 Days), Sick Days (8 Days), Holidays (12 Days), Personal Days (5 Days), Birthday (1 Day). That reduces the hourly wage by $3.61 per hour. Your $22.89 is now $19.28 per hour and thats pre tax and not subtracting anything for rollup. Rollup is the 7.5% social security tax the government gets. There are other small charges included in roolup (Medicare and other Insurances) but to keep this simple I will ignore them.
Now you have your Pension and Insurance Cost to deduct from your hourly wage. Lets let this wage earner be married with two children so the total yearly cost for insurance is $4,620 divided by 2080 that comes to $2.22 per hour. Deduct the $2.22 from the $19.28 and the hourly wage reduces to $17.06 per hour. Dental Benefits and Eye exams reduces the wage .06 cents.
You are now making $17.00 an hour and here come the pension costs. Your part will be approx $1,375.00 per year or .66 cents per hour. That drops your wage to $16.34 an hour before taxes.
Now that is the whole story and when you know it, the employee doesn't seem so special and blessed. These are wages that workers in Lynchburg are familiar with. The right wing republican is doing a snow job on you and setting up a straw man for you to hate. You are being manipulated. There are many other benefits that union employees can buy with their wage package and each time they purchase one their hourly wage gets smaller. Typically younger workers like cash in the paycheck to spend and older workers like pension and insurasnce benefits. Workers nearing retirement may choose to load up heavily on pension. This type of arrangement is called a buffett because it allows workers to pick the benefits they like.
The trick to remember here is that each benefit costs the employee from his hourly pay. Now why didn't some Democratic or Republican Politician tell you this small truth? Either these guys are fools and don't know or they are manipulating us. The right wing conservatives are lying to us each time they speak. They live in a dream world. You don't have to be dumb enough to live there with them.
Every benefit the Union worker has was paid for by the sweat of his or her brow and deducted from their hourly wage.
Madison Heights Virginia News
Lets move on to a trick I think is criminal but nobody is minding the store. Ronald Reagan spearheaded the changes in the law that the companies wanted. The crap is hitting the fan now and is part of the problems that destroyed our economy. As a favor to big business Republicans put workers retirement at risk.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a federal law that sets minimum standards for pension plans in private industry. ERISA does not require any employer to establish a pension plan. It only requires that those who establish plans must meet certain minimum standards. The law generally does not specify how much money a participant must be paid as a benefit. ERISA requires plans to regularly provide participants with information about the plan including information about plan features and funding; sets minimum standards for participation, vesting, benefit accrual and funding; requires accountability of plan fiduciaries; and gives participants the right to sue for benefits and breaches of fiduciary duty.
ERISA also guarantees payment of certain benefits through the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, a federally chartered corporation, if a defined plan is terminated.
The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) enforces ERISA.
When a Company goes under the employees are shifted to ERISA to get their pensions at a greatly reduced level.
Sweet Briar College News
Here's how the scam works.
Your wokforce is slanted toward younger workers who on average will not retire for 25 years. That makes your workers fall in the 40 year old bracket. Any money put in the pension fund is setting and out of use by the company. If they could get their hands on it it could make the business look more profitable than it really is. Management bonuses and stock holder dividends can be increased and the day of reconing is years away.
Guess what the Retirement laws changed and instead of a company being required to fund the pension at the 85% level the new level becomes 15% funding and paper work can be filed with ERISA and nothing put in the Pension Fund for several years. Now there is a path to getting your hands on the money and reducing the amount funded down to the 15% minimal level (or less).
Let the good times rool, The CEO Bonus is record setting and there is still years before the day of reconing. The people who robbed the pension have years to move on to other jobs before the fund is terminated due to inability to pay. The management team in place when the fund folds don't have a clue and may have been working somewhere else when the crime occurred.
Here's the language that allows zero contribution to the plan.
(c) Variance from minimum funding standards
(1) Waiver in case of business hardship
(A) In general
(i) an employer is (or in the case of a multiemployer plan, 10 percent or more of the number of employers contributing to
or under the plan are) unable to satisfy the minimum funding standard for a plan year without temporary substantial
business hardship (substantial business hardship in the case of a multiemployer plan), and
(ii) application of the standard would be adverse to the interests of plan participants in the aggregate, the Secretary may, subject to subparagraph (C), waive the requirements of subsection (a) for such year with respect to all or any portion of the minimum funding standard. The Secretary shall not waive the minimum funding standard with respect to a plan for more than 3 of any 15 (5 of any 15 in the case of a multiemployer plan) consecutive plan years
Now retirement day arrives and the company is hurting. The CEO who got the Bonus is long gone and the company starts bankruptcy procedings and dumps the employees who are retiring on the government. The company representatives take to the
microphone and blame the union for being greedy and destroying the company. They want the rules changed to limit the unions rights to bargin for wages and benefits. The right wingers fire you up and you hate those greedy union bastards who's benefits are so much better than yours. Republicans have another made up issue to campaign on and right wing radio has another lie to spread.
You are being manipulated. The wool is being pulled over your eyes. Now that you know how the trick is done and who
got the money you can be smart enough to challenge the politicians. Why is this type of theift condoned? The person who got robbed is the worker who paid into the retirement all his working years and in the end got a greatly reduced pension from the government. The theif who got the money was the management team and the CEO who took theirs in bonuses and sweetened the dividends of the stock holders so they would remain blissfully unawae of the theift.
No one gets prosecuted and the politicians don't talk about it except to blame the union worker for his greed. This is just another bailout for business. In the end the tax payer ponies up the cost. Like every other segment of our system the money goes to the people at the top.
I hesitate to report and publish this because I fear anyone reading it will be bored silly. Few people want to see the hands and strings behind the curtain. They just want simple bumper sticker explainations and are willing to lay down for a politicians story. Those who are getting richer as you lose money are happy to create a smoke and mirrors show for you. This system has a breaking point and we are close to it. The rich are so greedy they will not stop until they destroy the system and it completely fails.
Here's a base line judgement you can apply to any situation. Who would get excited about a Millionaire having to pay 2% more in taxes? And yet there are bloodthirsty fools screaming that teachers have it too easy and they should pay more for their benefits. There is a great deal wrong here but for some reason you do not see it. Ask yourself what is blinding you?
If that management team finds a third world country that can produce the parts cheaper than the ones now being made in America, kiss those American jobs goodby. If that management team finds a third world country with no enviromental protection laws get out of the way, they will trample you getting their factories relocated there. It is true that harmful and dangerous chemicals are disposed of in the rivers and creeks of third world countries and the big companies are bothered that they can't do it here in the United States. Republicans work hard to give tax breaks to the companies who relocate their operations to other countries and Democrats do dam little to oppose it.
My neice is a teacher in Richmond, Virginian. She has been teaching for 3 years. She teaches year round, summer school
in the summer. Today she makes $5,000 less than when she started. She likes teaching and feels she is giving something
benefical to her students. She uses her own money to buy some classroom supplies.
How long can she continue to work for less and spend her own money for supplies? When I hear someone say we can't raise taxes on the rich I know I am being manipulated. When you can ask a teacher to work for $5,000 a year less but can't raise the tax rate on a millionaire you have entered the silly zone.
If you want to sell me on the idea that the rich are the creators of jobs you have a mountain of work to do. In the last 15 years the rich have gotten tax break after tax break and their incomes have tripled (300%) while ordinary workers in that same 15 year period have picked up slightly over 7%. Here's the real deal, jobs have eroded and been outsourced. The last time we created jobs in any significent number (23,000,000 jobs) Bill Clinton was President. The nose dive started under GW Bush (3,000,000 for his 8 year term) and continued under Obama (approx 2,000,000 so far). The job creating rich have had those tax breaks under Bush and Obama so not taxing them has nothing to do with creating jobs. Quit letting people lie to you. Quit supporting people who lie to you. A politician who is owned by big business does not represent you.
To those who are given the most nothing is expected. When a right winger tells me how strong Unions are and how greedy the workers are I know I am conversing with a lying fool. When I talk to a ditto head who is telling me what he heard Rush say on the radio I am talking to a pathetic fool, just an unpaid servant of the rich.
Elon Virginia News
ACVDN Bottom Line
It will continue to deteriate as long as you play along. When you join together with your friends and neighbors and SHOUT, "I've had enough" that will be the beginning of the needed changes. Why don't you plan to attend the next Amherst County Democratic Committee Meeting. Tuesday March 8th at the Madison Heights Library. Thats in the River James Shopping Center (the one with the Lowes Store). We will build a group of friends working for change, with your help.
Please Heed The Call
As homeless shelters burst at the seams with newly impoverished families, and old folks wonder how on earth they're going to get through their golden years now that their 401 K's are in tatters and their homes are worth 60% of what they paid for them, Republicans are clamoring to let the Wall Street crew who drove our economy into a ditch continue on their path unrestricted and with fewer regulations. Can you believe these bought and paid for scum, (or simply
republicans), have the gaul to say the stupid things they continually say?
Rather than offering the public an apology for their stupidity for creating the Reagan-Gramm deregulation free-for-all that made the banking greed orgy possible, Republican enablers like Sen. Mitch McConnell and others call Obama a socialist for wanting more governmental oversight of the industry, whining in chorus that such intrusion into the private sector would kill jobs and stifle innovation. Republicans don't represent small time republican voters they represent big business. Why these small time republicans vote with the GOP is beyond rhyme or reason.
Monroe Virginia News
You've got to admire Republican leadership, though--if nothing else--for even mentioning "deregulation" and "job-killing" in the same sentence. When the flock you lead have the mental quickness of garden slugs getting over on them is easy.
To be fair the garden slug is better at problem solving than the republican. I don't wory about upsetting republicans, like Sarah Palin they don't read. On election days the Big Gop Queen emits an odor and the republicans flock to the polls and elect the big business approved candidate.
Madison Heights Virginia News
For the last thirty years Americans have been watching their wages decline while CEOs have increasingly taken home salaries and bonuses that would seem excessive to the Sultan of Brunei. According to a New York University study, the top 20% of households owned 85% of all privately held wealth in 2007--leaving the rest of us 80% to divvy up the remaining 15%. Where did America's middle class go? They dipped into poverty while their old middle class money went into the yachts and private jets of the corporate elite.
Interestingly enough, it was also during this time that Republican policies, votes and propaganda made it more difficult for workers to unionize. Organized labor has gone from representing one-third of America's workforce in 1950 to just 12.4% in 2009 with half of those union members working in the much-easier-to-organize public sector. Republicans will not rest until the unions and the middle class are distant memories. Where the GOP turns its attention and who they destroy next is anybodies guess.
Amazingly, mega-corporations, assisted by their Republican chums in Congress, Fox News and talk radio, have managed to get a surprising number of American workers--low skilled through professional--to swallow this anti-union bull crap.
Somewhere along the line, people have forgotten where living wages, worker safety, tolerable conditions and decent hours came from in the first place. Anybody who thinks these societal advances were made possible by the goodness of corporate hearts should see a person trained in restoring brain function.
The Republican Party's history of siding with big business over the American family is as long as it has been damaging. The damage a Republican-controlled Washington could further inflict on Americans isn't limited to economics. When you toss in other family-unfriendly Republican positions on global warming, preemptive and continual war, education, reproductive rights, and their new jaw-dropper regarding unemployment insurance creating "lazy" Americans, it's not too difficult to figure out which party's policies and attitudes favor the American family.
ACVDN Bottom Line
The sad truth is, until special interest money is removed from our electoral system, neither party will truly be the champion of the American family. With the Republican majority of the Supreme Court opening the corporate spigots wide with their Citizens United ruling, that heavenly day is likely to be a long way down the road. Lets try to do something positive while we wait. The Amherst County Democratic Committee has a meeting coming up March 8th (Tuesday) at 7pm at the Madison Heights Library. Thats in the River James Shopping Center where Lowes is located. The Library is below the old Kroger Store. Parking is plentiful. Every journey starts with a single step, answer the call.