employment

A Memo to Pat McCrory: Deplorability and Expectation (#bullyblubbering)

#bullyblubbering | #pooreffingyou

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory addresses the Wake County Republican Party 2016 Convention at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, 8 March 2016. (Photo: Al Drago/CQ Roll Call/Getty)

MEMORANDUM

To: Pat McCrory

re: Deplorability and expectation

Over at Salon, we learn:

Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican best known for his controversial bill banning transgender people from using the bathrooms that match their gender identity, is now complaining that the association with anti-transgender prejudice is hurting his post-gubernatorial career.

“People are reluctant to hire me, because, ‘oh my gosh, he’s a bigot’—which is the last thing I am,” McCrory complained on a podcast for an Asheville-based evangelical Christian website known as WORLD on Friday, according to the Raleigh News and Observer.

During a previous interview he told WORLD that “if you disagree with the politically correct thought police on this new definition of gender, you’re a bigot, you’re the worst of evil. It’s almost as if I broke a law.”

It is worth noting, sir, yeah, that’s going to happen: When you go out of your way to do something deplorable, other people regard you accordingly. It is, in point of fact, rather quite difficult to countenance the proposition that you are so incapable of comprehending this point.

To the other, apparently you’ve accepted several opportunities—your phrasing, remember: “I’ve accepted several opportunities”—so it would seem you’re not hurting for work.

Furthermore, you forfeit a good deal of general human sympathy when lamenting of having been “purged due to political thought”: You do recognize, sir, do you not, that you went out of your way to harm other people? You signed a law. You advocated against human rights. You created danger and harm for other people in doing so. If you wish society to commiserate with you as others react to your deplorable behavior, at least have the decency to describe circumstances honestly.

And what the hell do you have against veterans, sir?

Yeah, I know, it gets me, too, that nobody talks about this part, but you also went after veterans.

So, anyway, you were in fear for your safety because you were faced with protesters? And you were “sitting there”? Really, you can flee protesters while sitting?

Seriously, sir, if you would like to start rebuilding your reputation, perhaps you might start with not behaving deplorably.

Honesty would be a start.

Be warned, though: At some point you must face the fact that general human decency is a constant requirement of being viewed as a decent human being. I know, I know, some days it’s tough. I mean, you did sign that bill into law, and all. And you did go out and advocate for it. And you still don’t seem to have a clue what you did wrong.

Seriously, though, the times being what they were, yes, potty police and other assorted urogenital obsessions were going to try; and yes, an intelligent, decent public servant is expected to know better; and no, you don’t get to pretend you are any sort of victim.

And maybe you can stop with the bullyblubbering long enough to tell us what the hell you have against veterans?

____________________

Image note: Photo by Al Drago/CQ Roll Call/Getty.

Rozsa, Matthew. “Pat McCrory, who signed North Carolina’s HB2 bill, can’t find work because people think he’s a ‘bigot'”. Salon. 14 March 2017.

Advertisements

Something to Keep in Mind (Minimumawecity Mix)

McPoverty protesters outside Wendy's restaurant on Lake City Way in Seattle on Thursday, Feb. 20. (Photo: Joshua McNichols/KUOW)

Barry Ritholtz, for Bloomberg:

Consider as an example what Mark Perry, at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote a month before the first phase of Seattle’s new minimum-wage law went into effect. The city’s “government-mandated wage floor … guarantees reduced employment opportunities for many workers.”

As one of my colleagues wrote last week, the “unemployment rate in the city of Seattle―the tip of the spear when it comes to minimum wage experiments―has now hit a new cycle low of 3.4%.” Meanwhile, a University of Washington study on the minimum wage law found little or no evidence of job losses or business closings.

Although you can never declare a game over until the final whistle, this experiment is starting to look like a rout.

Given the strangely anti-labor mood in which Americans find themselves, remember this when we start hearing about what a bad idea a useful minimum wage is supposed to be.

____________________

Image note: McPoverty protesters outside Wendy’s restaurant on Lake City Way in Seattle on Thursday, 20 February 2016. (Photo: Joshua McNichols/KUOW)

Ritholtz, Barry. “Minimum-Wage Foes Tripped Up by Facts”. Bloomberg View. 7 December 2016.

The Jeb Bush Show (Radical Restructure Remix)

Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush waits in a hallway after a campaign event Saturday, June 27, 2015, in Henderson, Nev. (Photo by John Locher/AP)

“My aspiration for the country and I believe we can achieve it, is 4 percent growth as far as the eye can see. Which means we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours.”

Jeb Bush

This is an occasion when it is instructive to read past the superficial narrative. True, this is another occasion on which Mr. Bush required a do-overα, and the line really didn’t sound all that good. Still, though, the rebound was good enough to get Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)―the ostenisble House GOP budget wonk and former vice-presidential nominee―onboard. And even Democratic-sympathizing pundits and politicians alike can find a reason to go with the later iteration; to wit, Steve Benen:

For what it’s worth, the Florida Republican, not long after his interview, clarified that his comments were about part-time vs. full-time employment. The Washington Post reported Bush saying, “You can take it out of context all you want, but high-sustained growth means that people work 40 hours rather than 30 hours and that by our success, they have money, disposable income for their families to decide how they want to spend it rather than getting in line and being dependent on government.”

As a matter of Economics 101, Bush’s broader points have at least some technical merit. When an economy has more full-time workers, it means more economic activity. When employees work more hours, it means more output and greater growth. None of this is controversial.

The problem with Bush’s rhetoric, however, is the real-world implications, and the degree to which he fails to understand the issue.

For example, the Republican candidate, who made $5.8 million in “consulting and speaking” income in 2013, makes it sound as if sluggish economic growth is your fault – you’re just not working enough hours. In reality, however, full-time employment is soaring when compared to part-time employment, and Americans are already working, on average, 47-hour weeks.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (S-VT), running for the Democratic nomination, is also willing to follow that course.

(more…)

The Bobby Jindal Show (Exploratory Sneak Peak Preview Pak)

The ad, which was previewed for some news outlets including BuzzFeed News, features Jindal rhapsodizing — in his signature rapid-fire twang — about the sacred need to protect religious believers' 'freedom of conscience,' which he argues 'must, in no way, ever be linked to the ever-changing opinions of the public.' It concludes with a line that has become a mainstay of his recent speeches and interviews: 'The United States of America did not create religious liberty. Religious liberty created the United States of America.' (McKay Coppins, BuzzFeed, 19 May 2015; photo uncredited))

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal wants to be another culture warrior fighting for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed offers a glimpse of the governor’s groundwork:

With a new political ad airing this week in Iowa, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is informally kicking off his bid for the Republican presidential nomination by casting himself as the conservative movement’s leading voice in the culture war battle over religious freedom.

The ad, which was previewed for some news outlets including BuzzFeed News, features Jindal rhapsodizing — in his signature rapid-fire twang — about the sacred need to protect religious believers’ “freedom of conscience,” which he argues “must, in no way, ever be linked to the ever-changing opinions of the public.” It concludes with a line that has become a mainstay of his recent speeches and interviews: “The United States of America did not create religious liberty. Religious liberty created the United States of America.”

In keeping with what is bound to be a relatively low-budget, scrappy campaign operation at the outset, Jindal’s ad doesn’t have much money behind it. According to an operative at The American Future Project — the pro-Jindal advocacy group launching the ad — the commercial is debuting in Iowa with a “five-figure ad buy,” meaning the organization spent somewhere between $10,000 and $99,000 to get it on the air. It will appear on cable and online and it will run for one week, according to the group.

There really is no question about what is about to happen. Yesterday the presidential hopeful announced his exploratory committee:

“For some time now, my wife Supriya and I have been thinking and praying about whether to run for the presidency of our great nation,” Jindal said in a statement Monday.

“If I run, my candidacy will be based on the idea that the American people are ready to try a dramatically different direction. Not a course correction, but a dramatically different path.”

He said he won’t make a final decision until after the legislative session ends next month. The creation of an exploratory committee allows him to raise money for the White House, though, and is just the latest signal toward Jindal’s seriousness about jumping into the 2016 contest, despite his low ranking in many polls on the large Republican field.

As Elizabeth Crisp reports for The Adovocate, Mr. Jindal is finished as executive of the Pelican State according to term limits, and has begun moving about like a presidential candidate in Iowa and New Hampshire, and turned much of his public expression toward more nationally-oriented policy discussion. That said, there are still opportunities to mix Pelican politics with Beltway dreams.

(more…)

Today

President Barack Obama

So, here we are:

For the first time, companies that have contracts with the federal government are now prohibited from firing or discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, thanks to an executive order that takes effect Wednesday.

(Bendery)

I might have mentioned something about this in passing.

Thank you, Mr. President.

____________________

Bendery, Jennifer. “It Is Now Illegal For A Federal Contractor To Fire Someone For Being LGBT”. The Huffington Post. 8 April 2015.

Worth Keeping an Eye On

The White House

Sometimes it feels nearly head versus wall:

Progressives are angry at the president for caving in to Republicans on the CRomnibus budget bill, and rightly so—the rollback of post-Great Recession regulations on financial derivatives is simply inexcusable. But there is a way for President Obama to win back his party’s base with a bold strike on behalf of the middle class: Raise the overtime pay threshold.

Overtime pay is to the middle class what the minimum wage is to low-wage workers. In 1975, more than 65 percent of salaried American workers earned time-and-a-half pay for every hour worked over 40 hours a week, but by 2013, that number had dropped to less than 11 percent. That’s because the income threshold at which employers are required to pay overtime has been allowed to erode to only $23,660 a year, less than the poverty line for a family of four. The 89 percent of salaried workers who now earn over that threshold can be forced to work unlimited overtime hours for no additional pay at all ....

.... But it doesn’t have to be this way: President Obama could raise the overtime threshold to $69,000—enough to cover the same 65 percent of salaried workers that it covered 40 years ago—and with no prior congressional approval. Because unlike the minimum wage, the overtime threshold is set through the Department of Labor’s existing regulatory authority.

(Hanauer)

And if we find ourselves thinking there must be a catch, there probably is. The first thing to mind, for instance, is that American corporations will revisit the question of which jobs they need to keep close by, and which can be shipped overseas. Then again, even the executives will hedge before they send their expense reports to Bangalore.

____________________

Hanauer, Nick. “Give Americans the overtime pay they’ve earned”. The Hill. 18 December 2014.

The Funky Fishscale Fog

Detail of 'La Pêche Miraculeuse', ca. 1610, by Peter Paul Rubens.

The fictional Jebediah Springfield famously explained, “A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.” In the modern day, wise men like Bill Maher question the vapidity of the word “spirit”. Either way, a transfusion seems out of the question:

So, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is blocking health care benefits for low-income families in order to help them “live the American dream” and Gov. Pence is curtailing food aid in order “ennoble” people.

How very gracious of them.

In theory, the “give someone a fish” adage sounds quite nice, and in a booming economy with low unemployment and broad job opportunities, we can have a credible conversation about work requirements and the safety net.

But Pence, like Walker, runs the risk of sounding horribly out of touch – their argument is predicated on the assumption that the economy is in great shape, and everyone who wants a job can easily get one. I suspect most of the American mainstream would offer a different assessment of economic conditions.

(Benen)

We might also note that while once upon a time perhaps it was possible to teach a man to fish, such that he could do the work properly and earn a living, in a day. In modern times, though, that isn’t quite so easy. That is to say, we can certainly test the thesis, but probably need not: Go out on the street and give a job to the first unemployed person you find.

The objections and complications are easily predictable.

Who says that person is qualified, for instance? Maybe she was a waitress before the restaurant closed to make room for the McDonald’s in the Walmart, or he was a janitor who cleaned the school restrooms before being laid off for budget cuts. In either case, though, you need a “people person” with strong reading, speaking, and interpersonal skills, and maybe, just maybe you can teach that person to solicit telephone survey responses and appropriately record the data in a day.

Or maybe not. Either way, that person is going to need to eat at some point during the day.

And, you know, in most markets you’re probably going to be paying that employee less than they need to continue living in order to do the work.

(more…)

Sisyphus Weiner Galt

Detail of 'Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal', by Zach Weiner, 18 November 2014.

Dystopia is burning, which ought to be a good thing except it is burning with the passions of the stage and just wants to dance! Which, of course, ought to be about as inspiring as Rush Limbaugh in a thong leotard.

Then again, one would think that at some point, prostitution would be the sort of thing only humans could do for each other, but I think society has yet to get through polygamy, incest, and bestiality before moving onto giant robot anime porn. Oh, wait. Rule Thirty-Four. Serves me right for trying to steal a line.

I don’t know, something about mechaphilia or mechasexual goes here. Still, in the Weiner dystopia at least the labor conditions for human prostitutes has improved. To the other, though, it would seem there is not so much difference between the Luddite punch line and a PG-rated future, which on this occasion means post-Galtian.

In the end, perhaps that is the point; people are what the really pointless labor exists for. Maybe that is why we must presume Sisyphus happy. Fruitless labor? Hey, it’s job security.

____________________

Weiner, Zach. Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. 18 November 2014.

The Man From Massacusetts … or … New Hampshire? Maybe Narnia?

Scptt Brown can't remember what state he's in.

One might wonder if Americans prefer to live in some sort of fantasy world in which Good and Evil are constantly dueling it out to no foreseeable end. A hard-fought, close competition is what we seem to prefer, and when it’s, say, sports, that’s probably just fine.

But here’s the analogy: What if the game is only close because one team gets more points each time they score?

Welcome to New Hampshire, where Scott Brown (R) trails incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) by about one and a half points, well within the margin of error. Nobody is quite sure why.

Maybe Shaheen doesn’t shower, or has halitosis, or something. It would be one thing to wonder about the idea that Mr. Brown has no jobs agenda, but he has also boasted that he shouldn’t.

It’s also really quite easy to pick on a former U.S. Senator who complains about his opponent’s outlook on “securing” the U.S.-Mexican border but quite literally never felt like showing up to his committee meetings on the subject. As a senator from Massachusetts, Mr. Brown attended exactly zero border security hearings for the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Or maybe we might chuckle when he cannot remember legislation he sponsored.α

But let us pause for a moment to reconsider his tenure as a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. The idea of carpetbagging in the twenty-first century is hardly rare, but one would expect that Mr. Brown could at least remember what state he is in. And forgetting that he’s not in Massachusetts, anymore, Toto, wouldn’t be so big a deal, except that he keeps doing it.

Really.

James Pindell of WMUR explains the latest slip:

New Hampshire Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown tried to politically navigate how he could run for office in the Granite State thirteen weeks after officially moving here from Massachusetts.

An FEC filing by U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown of New Hampshire, once again forgetting which state he is in.For the most part Brown has not let the move dominate the campaign, which has been about other issues. But then there are moments when mistakes are made.

The report was filed with the Senate last week, as required, but the Federal Election Commission has not put it online yet.

What a show.

____________________

α Then again, he has every reason to want to forget. It’s a bit hard to pitch to a major voting bloc like, oh, say, women, when you have a record of sponsoring legislation trying to strip their rights of self-determination.

Oakes, Bob and Shannon Dooling. “Analysts Say Scott Brown Must Galvanize GOP Base In N.H. Senate Race”. WBUR. 15 August 2014.

Pindell, James. “Analysts Say Scott Brown Must Galvanize GOP Base In N.H. Senate Race”. WMUR. 23 October 2014.