Category Archives: coffee muses – Democrats vow to block pay raises until minimum wage increased – June 27, 2006 – Democrats vow to block pay raises until minimum wage increased – June 27, 2006: “WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Democrats ratcheted up their election-year push for an increase in the federal minimum wage Tuesday by promising to block a congressional pay hike unless some of the lowest-paid hourly workers get their first raise in nearly a decade.

‘Congress is going to have earn its raise by putting American workers first: A raise for workers before a raise for Congress,’ said Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Reid refused to spell out exactly how he will block a $3,300 pay raise scheduled for January 1 for members of Congress, who currently earn $165,200 annually. He said with 40 Senate Democrats backing the maneuver, ‘We can stop anything they (Republicans) try to do with a congressional pay raise.'”

So finally someone has a bright idea…Now can we talk about that congressional health insurance? I would just love that kind of benefit…

Support Your Local Farmer, Craftsperson, and Shopkeeper

It looks like if there is a common thread running through recent posts it is the idea of buying local. My concern was originally in the way of food. I feel a bit leery of the commercialization of the organic movement. Call me a “Luddite” but when the big Agri-Business takes over “Organic” food, I tend to not believe they have anything other than money in mind.

David St Lawrence in his blog this morning had this to say:

Why buy locally, when you can get things cheaper from overseas?

It’s really simple. When you buy directly from an artisan or from a farmer, there is a sense of connection that matters. If the artisan and farmer have pride in their work, you take part in a transaction that validates the quality of the goods you have purchased and you have obtained something you are proud to take home.

You are not just buying a cup, a jug, or a head of lettuce. You are buying the careful effort that went into producing what you just bought. Afterward, you will find yourself telling others about your purchase and sharing your joy at finding something that was just right for you.

You have made a connection between yourself and another human being with a meaningful transaction.

I agree with David. By buying locally you are supporting your local economy. If the local economy grows there will be more opportunity. Think of “opportunity” as the real crop you are helping to grow with your support. Now, David (as the new director of the Jacksonville Center) has a vested interest in getting people to support their local craftsperson and artist, but, the only way this country is going to make it in the “Global Economy” is if we change the paradigm on what we buy.

In the Senate, Covering Themselves in Old Glory

In the Senate, Covering Themselves in Old Glory: “The Citizens Flag Alliance, a group pushing for the Senate this week to pass a flag-burning amendment to the Constitution, just reported an alarming, 33 percent increase in the number of flag-desecration incidents this year.
The number has increased to four, from three.”
The naive among us may have trouble appreciating how four flag-burning episodes would constitute a constitutional crisis. But the men and women of the Senate, ever alert to emerging threats, are on the case.

And the not so naive will see this as just what it is, a biannual posturing of the GOP. Yes folks it really is an election year…

House Sacrifices Revenue and Earmarks

Washington Post: House Sacrifices Revenue and Earmarks:

“The legislation, which passed 269 to 156, would exempt estates worth as much as $5 million — $10 million for couples — from taxation indefinitely. The tax rate on estates worth more than the exemption level up to $25 million would be set at the same tax rates that apply to capital gains — now 15 percent but scheduled to rise to 20 percent in 2011. The tax for estates worth more than $25 million would be twice the capital gains rate. The bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the estate tax cut would cost the government $279 billion in revenue over the next 10 years.”

I don’t care what anyone says, I am proud that we here in the USA have the most expensive government money can buy…And buy…And buy. Whatever happened to honest politicians? You know, the ones who stayed bought once the money changed hands. Here they are, trying a endrun…Tie the estate tax to the capital gains tax which happens to be the one tax they plan on doing away with if they can keep control of the government…What we can’t read and remember from one day to the next what their stated agenda is?

“But between 2012 and 2021, the first decade the tax would be fully in force, the cost to the Treasury would climb to $602 billion — $762 billion if the costs of additional interest payments are included. And if the 15 percent tax rate on capital gains is extended beyond its 2010 expiration date, the 10-year cost could be as much as $823 billion, according to the joint committee.”

I realize that the stated policy of the folks behind the Republican Party has been the death of big government. So I guess a way to do this is to tie all tax rates to a tax that you intend to deep six…What a way to run a company…oops, country.