The Widdershins

Archive for February 21st, 2014

A wonderful Friday to you my Widdershin friends.

Joe Bob and Bobby Joe out of camo...

Joe Bob and Bobby Joe out of camo…

There’s an old story about two good old boys who went hunting one fine day.  For purposes of the story, we’ll call them Joe Bob and Bobby Joe.  Neither Joe nor Bobby were Rhodes Scholars — unless you were talking about their keen sense of culinary discretion exhibited on their less successful hunting days for the veritable asphalt cornucopia of meat selections labeled only by the gentle kiss of a semi’s tire tread.

After Joe and Bobby had surpassed their recommended daily intake of liquor or “huntin’ juice” as they called it, they set out.  Being unusually parched, they drew heavily upon the huntin’ juice and the day proceeded — until.  Until Joe found himself trapped in a tree with a bobcat.  For those who might not know, bobcats are scientifically classified in the Phylum, “Scary,” in the Order of “Mean,“ and in the Genus, “Don’t be gettin’ in my tree.”

An epic battle of man versus beast ensued, but the huntin’ juice had done its job.

Joe screamed down, “Bobby, go ahead and shoot!”

Bobby peering up at his friend in the tree, “Joe, I can’t, I might hit you.”

Joe answered, “Go ahead and shoot, one of us has to have some relief!”

It was all well and good until he invaded my personal space...

It was all well and good until he invaded my personal space…

The news story about Congress folding up and leaving town for the rest of the year reminded me of that story.  Where else other than the nation’s Capitol could you find it acceptable for someone being paid $170,000 a year with an expense account, a multi-million dollar office budget, and slush PAC-funds flowing like huntin’ juice to say, “I’ve worked a whole 13 legislative days this year and I’m done — I gotta go make sure I’m re-elected to this place I wanna shut down.”

Nowhere is this irresponsibility so pronounced as with proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.  The country supports it by 72% in favor and a paltry 27% opposed.  The raise would positively affect perhaps 25 million workers whose average age is 35-years old, not teenagers working at McDonalds as is so often the harangue advanced by the opposition.  The raise would immediately lift 900,000 individuals above the poverty line and out of eligibility for benefit transfer payments.  Even Wal-Mart has figured out if their full-time employees can’t afford to shop there, it’s time to do something.

John Boehner is caught between a rock and the Tea Party on the issue.  The Tea Party and the usual cast of business interests glommed onto a study by the Congressional Budget Office saying a raise in the minimum wage would negatively affect 500,000 jobs over the next three years.  If bald-faced lying was an Olympic Event, these opponents of a living wage would undoubtedly take home the gold.

As the CBO clearly states, no one knows for sure what the definitive effect will be, but the referenced 500,000 jobs Living Wageover the next three years are jobs that won’t be filled because of increased job retention, greater job satisfaction, and higher productivity from those employed.  In short, this supposed bad thing is really a good thing of the “have littles” having a bit more.  These are not jobs being lost, these are jobs already filled by existing workers staying in them longer and therefore, not needing to be refilled.

The Tea Party answer to this overwhelming evidence of what is good for the country:  Not only will we not pass it, we won’t even take it up.

This is the same answer when it comes to just about any other issue facing the country.  Extending unemployment — we won’t take it up.  Immigration — we won’t take it up.  Tax reform — we won’t take it up.  Campaign finance reform — we won’t take it up.  Voters’ rights — we won’t take it up.  Infrastructure investment — we won’t take it up.  And the signature issue upon which the Tea Party faithfully promised to act in both the 2010 and 2012 elections — a jobs program?  We won’t take it up and in fact, we will torpedo each and every jobs plan we have seen in the last four years.

And what have they taken up?  Almost 50 votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  In so doing, advocating the deprivation of coverage to those with pre-existing conditions and college students, charging women discriminatorily higher premiums, rewarding insurance companies for exorbitant salaries instead of healthcare expenditures, and again opening the donut hole for seniors’ life-sustaining drugs.  In short, robbing people of the lowest increase in healthcare costs since the 1950s and instead, taking us backward to where anyone able to secure insurance coverage can suffer from yearly double digit premium inflation.

Do nothing CongressJohn Boehner could answer this challenge.  He could bring any of these issues, already passed by the Senate, to the House floor and allow Nancy Pelosi to work her magic.  What’s Boehner got to lose — the Tea Party caucus wouldn’t pass him the Coppertone if he was on fire and charred to a shade just a hair beyond normal.

To paraphrase Joe Bob, “Congress, go ahead and vote, we need the relief.”  Or better yet, “Congress, just go ahead and go.”

Thread open this is.  Oops, I had a Yoda moment.

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February 2014

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