Wednesday Open Thread [4.15.14]

Filed in National by on April 16, 2014

LOL. Sometimes the GOP cannot help themselves, and make it clear to everyone just how anti-worker and anti-poor they really are. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) has signed a bill “prohibiting cities across the state from establishing mandatory minimum wage and employee benefits, including vacation or sick leave days.” So while the momentum nationwide is for states to raise the minimum wage to try to get the minimum wage up to a barely tolerable living wage, the Republican Fallin is banning any increase in the minimum wage, forever. I am actually surprised she did not abolish wages and just enslaved the working population of Oklahoma. It’s what the GOP really wants anyway.

A new study finds that rich and powerful interest groups have a much greater impact on government policy than the majority of citizens.

“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

So money talks? No f*cking shit. Gawker says it means that the United States has officially become an oligarchy:

“The study notes that the position of the median American and the position of the affluent American are often the same; therefore, regular people tend to think that their political interests are being represented when they see the triumph of some political position that they agree with. In fact, the researchers say, this is a mere coincidence. Yes, the average American will see their interests represented–as long as their interests align with the interests of the wealthy.”

And this is where it gets interesting. The interests of the average and the wealthy are diverging. And the wealthy are freaking out because they know what happens next. For you see, when the interests diverge, the wealthy can either accept it and make the changes necessary to placate the average American, which will probably cost them some money. Or they can just prepare for revolution and hope that the wealthy and the government they bought can put down the violence.

This is why you see billionaires complaining in the Wall Street Journal about the evils of progressives and economic populism.

NATIONAL–GENERIC CONGRESSIONAL BALLOT–McClatchy-Marist: Democrats 48, Republicans 42. We need a 7-9 point lead to win back the House. 6 points is close, but not yet enough.

There are reports that the Republican National Committee is seriously considering Las Vegas as their 2016 Convention site.

“Las Vegas and Dallas are thought to be the favorites in the competition — thanks mostly to generous GOP donors who will help raise at least $60 million to put on the convention. But GOP leaders said the cities are all under equal consideration.”

Other cities under consideration are Denver, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Kansas City. But having it in Las Vegas will be an image and PR disaster. And yet it is the favorite. Sounds familiar as to how the GOP chooses its policies and candidates.

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  1. puck says:

    There are cities in Oklahoma?

  2. Geezer says:

    Ponca City, for one.

  3. bamboozer says:

    Agreed, America has become a plutocracy with a side of oligarchy. But before revolution I think we’ll see some assassinations, third world style, as well as the retreat of the rich to secure locations only.

  4. puck says:

    before revolution I think we’ll see some assassinations

    We already saw a handful of shootings of bankers and sheriffs trying to reposess farm properties in the 80s, hastily followed by a package of farm finance reforms. Unfortunately the violence often takes the form of murder-suicide of their entire family done by people pushed to the end of their endurance.

  5. SussexWatcher says:

    Well, this ain’t good for Beau: He’s being sued by three current and former employees who say they were denied overtime pay for work transporting fugitives, and then retaliated against. As always, there are two sides to every story, but the optics on this are not positive, as the pundits say.

    http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/local/2014/04/16/beau-biden-named-suit-unpaid-overtime-alleged/7788267/

  6. liberalgeek says:

    I wonder which Republican is going to challenge Biden for “cutting back on overtime for AG office employees”, which is probably the spin on this.

    The guys should probably be entitled to overtime pay, but then they might have appeared on the front page of the News Journal for being highly paid state employees in the AG’s office. If they had interesting faces, Tornoe might have even featured them in a cartoon slow walking fugitives across the MD border.

    2 out of 3 of the plaintiffs are 6 months on either side of retirement and OT in your last few years is one way of bulking up your pension. I’m guessing that they were pissed that they didn’t get to hop on that gravy train.

  7. Geezer says:

    LG: You hit it on the nose. Philly.com had a story within the past week on how this game is played up there, giving employees plenty of OT in their last couple of years on the job.

    There’s a very simple fix for this: Change the rules so OT earnings don’t count in computations for a pension. That’s far more fair than cutting everybody’s pension benefits.

  8. liberalgeek says:

    Or you can change the way that it is distributed. It is often the case that the OT is distributed from most seniority to least in these sorts of professions. More evenly distributing it among all qualified employees is probably a more workable solution.

    Also, if there are huge amounts of overtime in a department, it’s time to hire another person.

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