These are all important points. But they can sound pretty abstract to men and women who are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to arranging their work and family lives. For more than two decades the demands and hours of work have been intensifying. Yet progress in adopting family-friendly work practices and social policies has proceeded at a glacial pace.
Today the main barriers to further progress toward gender equity no longer lie in people’s personal attitudes and relationships. Instead, structural impediments prevent people from acting on their egalitarian values, forcing men and women into personal accommodations and rationalizations that do not reflect their preferences. The gender revolution is not in a stall. It has hit a wall.
[ . . . ]
Between 1990 and 2000, however, average annual work hours for employed Americans increased. By 2000, the United States had outstripped Japan — the former leader of the work pack — in the hours devoted to paid work. Today, almost 40 percent of men in professional jobs work 50 or more hours a week, as do almost a quarter of men in middle-income occupations. Individuals in lower-income and less-skilled jobs work fewer hours, but they are more likely to experience frequent changes in shifts, mandatory overtime on short notice, and nonstandard hours. And many low-income workers are forced to work two jobs to get by. When we look at dual-earner couples, the workload becomes even more daunting. As of 2000, the average dual-earner couple worked a combined 82 hours a week, while almost 15 percent of married couples had a joint workweek of 100 hours or more.
[ . . . ]
This is where the political gets really personal. When people are forced to behave in ways that contradict their ideals, they often undergo what sociologists call a “values stretch” — watering down their original expectations and goals to accommodate the things they have to do to get by. This behavior is especially likely if holding on to the original values would exacerbate tensions in the relationships they depend on.
In their years of helping couples make the transition from partners to parents, the psychologists Philip and Carolyn Cowan have found that tensions increase when a couple backslide into more traditional roles than they originally desired. The woman resents that she is not getting the shared child care she expected and envies her husband’s social networks outside the home. The husband feels hurt that his wife isn’t more grateful for the sacrifices he is making by working more hours so she can stay home. When you can’t change what’s bothering you, one typical response is to convince yourself that it doesn’t actually bother you. So couples often create a family myth about why they made these choices, why it has turned out for the best, and why they are still equal in their hearts even if they are not sharing the kind of life they first envisioned.
But I’m still happy about Elizabeth Warren. She sounds like she always has. I’ll be watching closely though.
I saw this coming:
At the same lunch, which was sponsored by three conservative think tanks, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he plans to seek a legislative way to waive the $600 billion in national security cuts that would be required if the superpanel fails.
And this too:
At the lunch event and during an earlier House Armed Services Committee hearing, it became apparent that pro-defense Republicans — who also staunchly oppose any tax hikes to swell federal coffers — want the entire $1.2 trillion amount to come from domestic entitlement programs.
During the GOP supercommittee members’ closed-door meetings, “there is a feeling that the discretionary side has already given its part” of needed federal cuts under the August debt deal, Kyl said.
The Republicans will press the 12-member bipartisan panel to focus solely on reforming politically volatile entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.
“In a $3.5 trillion [entitlement] budget, there is enough slop in the system” to find $1.2 trillion in savings “without touching benefits or how those programs work,” Kyl said.
But I haven’t heard it put quite this way before. Jeebus on a triscuit:
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) also zeroed in on entitlement program cuts.
“It is time we focus our fiscal restraint on the driver of the debt, instead of the protector of our prosperity,” McKeon said.
Up is down and black is white in Buck’s world. McKeon has it exactly backwards. It isn’t Social Security that is driving out debt, it is endless wars and a bloated defense budget. The protector of our prosperity IS our social safety net.
From the RGJ editorial she links to
Assembly Bill 449 would reorganize the state’s economic development efforts. The plan moves those efforts front and center in the state capital by creating a new Cabinet-level Office of Economic Development to be overseen directly by the governor.
The purpose of the new plan is not to start a new diversification program from scratch but to streamline the current maze of development agencies, commissions, departments and semi-governmental organizations and ensure that everyone is working toward the same goal.
The bill also creates the Catalyst Fund to provide competitive grants for businesses that are expanding, relocating or creating new jobs, with money from the state’s unclaimed property fund.
If economic development councils worked so damn well, why are we in the pickle we’re in right now? And, furthermore, how is our deluded Governorship going to convince business and industry to come to Nevada when the state can only boast one of the worst K-12 and higher education systems in the nation?
Keep her post in mind as you read mine.
Assembly Bill 469 was introduced into the Assembly on March 28th by the Government Affairs committee and its first hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, April 12th. I urge you to oppose this bill, and make your opposition known to the members of the committee and your Assemblyperson.
Revises provisions governing public property and purchasing. (BDR 27-678)
The devil, they say, is in the details and I never let an innocuous one-sentence description stop me from reading the entire bill as presented. (pdf)
AN ACT relating to governmental administration; authorizing the leasing of unused state buildings, grounds and property to new businesses seeking to locate or expand in this State; authorizing local governments to enter into agreements with one another to advertise for contracts and make purchasing agreements together; requiring school districts to advertise for bids for the provision of certain services in the school district; authorizing local governments to award contracts based in part upon the best value offered; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.
On initial reading, this doesn’t sound so bad, does it? We’ve got some state buildings that aren’t being used, so it might be nice to see them generate some revenue, right? Letting smaller county governments enter into contracts to get better discounts? Yep, that sounds okay too. Best value? Okay, cheapest isn’t always “best” so, okay. But wait, what’s that about “requiring” school districts to advertise for bids for certain “services?” What is that all about?
The Legislative Counsel’s Digest of the bill spells it out a bit more:
Legislative Counsel’s Digest:
Existing law grants the Chief of the Buildings and Grounds Division of the Department of Administration the authority to manage all state buildings, grounds and properties not otherwise provided for by law, including collecting rent from any state department, agency or institution that is renting space in a state building or property. (NRS 331.070, 331.102) Section 1 of this bill requires each state department, agency or institution to submit an inventory of any state buildings, grounds or properties assigned to it which it is not actively using, and requires the Chief to compile those inventories into a list of unused state buildings, grounds and properties.
Section 1 further requires the Chief to make that list available to the Commission on Economic Development and to authorize the Commission to lease the available state buildings, grounds and properties to new businesses seeking to locate or expand in this State. Section 1 also authorizes the Commission to offer a discount on the first year of the lease to the business, but requires any lease to be for a term of at least 10 years. Section 2 of this bill authorizes the Chief to enter into any leases or arrangements to make use of state owned buildings, grounds and properties for purposes other than economic development.
Wait a minute. There are commercial properties for rent all over the state sitting idle, losing money for their owners, and the state wants to rent out state buildings for free? If I were a private property owner of any of those empty rental spaces, I’d be screaming bloody murder about this. This section of the bill is bad news for them, and what does the state get out of it, exactly? According to the bill, as little as nothing for the first year. Jeezus. No corporate income taxes aren’t enough, we are going to give them free rent too? And, according to AB449, new businesses would also be given grants to bring their business here. Grants. Not loans. Grants. As in: money that doesn’t have to be paid back.
As an aside, AB449 appears to replace the Commission on Economic Development with three separate entities: an Advisory Council on Economic Development (appointed), a Board of Economic Development (appointed), and the Office of Economic Development. Yeah, that’s more efficient! Anyway, AB449 takes the power of the Commission and puts it in the hands of the single Executive Director (appointed) of the Office of Economic Development.
Back to the Legislative Counsel’s Digest of AB469:
Existing law sets forth the procedures a local government must follow to advertise for bids for contracts or to enter into purchasing agreements. (NRS 19 332.039-332.225) Section 4 of this bill authorizes local governments to enter into agreements with each other to mutually advertise for bids or enter into purchasing agreements or exercise authorized purchasing powers to maximize their efficiency and economy. Section 7 of this bill revises the considerations a local government must take into account when considering bids, and requires the local government to consider which bid provides the best value rather than just which is lowest, where best value includes not only cost but also the greatest possible economy consistent with the quality and sustainability of the materials, supplies, equipment and services.
Section 5 of this bill requires county school districts to advertise for bids for persons not employed by the school district to provide services such as custodial services, maintenance and transportation at least once every 5 years, and section 8 of this bill requires the school district to file an annual report with the Legislature or Interim Finance Committee about each contract awarded, or if no contract was awarded, the reasons for not awarding a contract and a comparison of the lowest responsive bid and the cost incurred by the school district in providing the service itself.
Got that? School districts already have janitors, maintenance workers and bus drivers on the district payroll. This bill would require that school districts privatize those jobs, and if they don’t, they must explain WHY to the legislature.
“must advertise for bids for persons not employed by the school district“
Not only are private rental property owners going to get screwed, so are all the facilities, custodial, operations and transportation employees. They will lose their jobs under this bill. Make no mistake.
Gone will be long-term, trustworthy, and knowledgeable employees who feel connected to their schools. Who will come in their place? Who knows? It won’t be the school district who will be responsible for screening these employees. That responsibility will fall to the private contractor.
There is a caveat in the bill that says that any school district employee covered by a collective bargaining agreement on or before July 1, 2011 would be exempt from this requirement. My husband works for Washoe County School District. Guess when their contract expires?
This bill is straight-up designed to get rid of our school custodians, maintenance staff and bus drivers.
Furthermore, taken in it’s entirety, this bill appears to be written to benefit the largest purveyors of these kinds of services. Companies like ARAMARK.
I bet you can’t guess who recently contracted with Washoe County School District to provide nutrition services at all WCSD schools. From the WCSD Nutrition Services web site:
Beginning July 1, 2010, the Washoe County School District partnered with ARAMARK Education, a leading provider of food and nutrition programs, to manage the District’s food services. This partnership will provide a quality, healthy, nutrition-based food service program to the district’s more than 63,000 students. In the coming months, more than 30 of the District’s cafeterias will be transformed into new dining environments with freshly-painted walls, new service areas and equipment, and student-friendly nutrition information. We will continue to enhance more cafeterias each year until all of the District’s cafeterias have been transformed. The students of Washoe County will benefit from ARAMARK’s proprietary, award winning dining concepts and nutrition awareness programs including Cool*Caf™, 12 Spot™ and U.B.U. Lounge. These are research-based, proprietary brands that are designed to reflect the habits, choices and nutritional requirements of today’s elementary students, tweens and teens. Visit the Dining Brands page to learn more about these new dining environments.
That reads like it came straight from ARAMARK’s marketing department.
Guess what services, besides nutrition services, ARAMARK also provides to school districts?
As an award-winning leader, currently partnering with more than 500 school districts nationwide, ARAMARK offers school districts a single source for food service management and planning, plant and operations management, custodial, and maintenance services.
Isn’t that just the most amazing coinky-dink?
Now all that “best value” language, allowing local governments to enter into joint agreements stuff, and use of discounted state buildings for businesses wishing to “expand” in Nevada makes sense, doesn’t it?
AB469′s first hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, April 12th in the Assembly Committee on Government Affairs. I urge you to oppose this bill, and make your opposition known to the members of the committee and your Assemblyperson.
More links and info on school services privatization on the flip side. Continue reading
Tomorrow, I’m pleased to announce that the Washington Monument, as well as the entire federal government, will be open for business. And that’s because today Americans of different beliefs came together again.
In the final hours before our government would have been forced to shut down, leaders in both parties reached an agreement that will allow our small businesses to get the loans they need, our families to get the mortgages they applied for, and hundreds of thousands of Americans to show up at work and take home their paychecks on time, including our brave men and women in uniform.
All those government office are open on the weekend? Really?
This agreement between Democrats and Republicans, on behalf of all Americans, is on a budget that invests in our future while making the largest annual spending cut in our history. Like any worthwhile compromise, both sides had to make tough decisions and give ground on issues that were important to them. And I certainly did that.
Oh yes, indeed, Mr. Obama. You and the Dems certainly did give ground. But what, exactly, did the Republicans give up? Not a damned thing as far as I can tell. From Boehner’s office:
Here are some key facts on the bipartisan agreement:
- THE LARGEST SPENDING CUT IN AMERICAN HISTORY. The agreement will immediately cut $38.5 billion in federal spending – the largest spending cut in American history in terms of dollars – just months after President Obama asked Congress for a spending “freeze” that would mean zero cuts.
- HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS IN SPENDING CUTS OVER THE NEXT DECADE. The agreement will cut hundreds of billions of dollars from the federal budget over the next decade – “real money,” as the Wall Street Journal editorial board recently noted.
- OFFICIALLY ENDS THE “STIMULUS” SPENDING BINGE. The agreement begins to reverse the “stimulus” spending binge that began in 2009 – signaling the official end of a period of unprecedented government intervention that former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan and other economists say hurt job creation in America by crowding out private investment.
- SETS STAGE FOR TRILLIONS MORE IN SPENDING CUTS. Clears the way for congressional action on House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget – The Path to Prosperity – which cuts trillions in spending and offers a long-term blueprint for American job creation.
- GUARANTEES SENATE VOTE ON REPEAL OF OBAMACARE. The agreement reached with Senate Democrats guarantees a Senate debate and vote on legislation that would repeal President Obama’s government takeover of health care in its entirety. The House passed such legislation in January as part of the Pledge to America.
- NEW TOOLS IN THE FIGHT TO REPEAL OBAMACARE. The agreement will generate new tools for the fight to repeal Obamacare by requiring numerous studies that will force the Obama Administration to reveal the true impact of the law’s mandates, including a study of how individuals and families will see increased premiums as a result of certain Obamacare mandates; a full audit of all the waivers that the Obama Administration has given to firms and organizations – including unions – who can’t meet the new annual coverage limits; a full audit of what’s happening with the comparative effectiveness research funding that was in Obamacare and the president’s failed “stimulus” spending bill; and a report on all of the contractors who have been hired to implement the law and the costs to taxpayers of such contracts.
- DENIES ADDITIONAL FUNDING TO THE IRS. The Obama administration has sought increased federal funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – money that could be used to hire additional agents to enforce the administration’s agenda on a variety of issues. This increased funding is denied in the agreement.
- GUARANTEES SENATE VOTE & DEBATE ON DE-FUNDING PLANNED PARENTHOOD. The agreement with Senate Democrats guarantees a Senate debate and vote on legislation that would end federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
- BANS TAXPAYER FUNDING OF ABORTION IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. The agreement includes a complete ban on local and federal funding of abortion in the District of Columbia, applying the pro-life principles of the Hyde Amendment (“D.C. Hyde”).
- MANDATORY AUDITS OF THE NEW JOB-CRUSHING BUREAUCRACY SET UP UNDER DODD-FRANK. The agreement subjects the so-called Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created by the job-destroying Dodd-Frank law to yearly audits by both the private sector and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to monitor its impact on the economy, including its impact on jobs, by examining whether sound cost-benefit analyses are being used with rulemakings.
If the Republicans didn’t get everything today, they’ll get it in the next couple of weeks. Cuts now and votes later to get the rest of their wish list.
Some of the cuts we agreed to will be painful.
Painful for who? Not you. Not any Senator. Not a single Representative.
Programs people rely on will be cut back.
And for this all of you should be ashamed.
Needed infrastructure projects will be delayed.
Eh, what’s another bridge or two falling down? Or a levee failure. No big deal.
And I would not have made these cuts in better circumstances.
In better circumstances the American people wouldn’t be needing these programs, now would they?
I want to think Speaker Boehner and Senator Reid for their leadership and their dedication during this process. A few months ago, I was able to sign a tax cut for American families because both parties worked through their differences and found common ground. Now the same cooperation will make possible the biggest annual spending cut in history, and it’s my sincere hope that we can continue to come together as we face the many difficult challenges that lie ahead, from creating jobs and growing our economy to educating our children and reducing our deficit. That’s what the American people expect us to do. That’s why they sent us here.
” . . . the same cooperation . . . “
Is that what they’re calling extortion these days?
I’ve got a husband who works for a local school district. We don’t know if his job, let alone his pension will survive. I work in an industry that is in constant change. No one can tell us with any certainty what next year will hold. We bought our very modest home in 2001, long before the bubble, and yet we may actually be underwater in our mortgage. That’s how far housing prices fallen in my town. Nothing’s moving out here.
Already strapped state and county budgets are being slashed to the bone. We are all called upon to make the sacrifice of doing with less. We are asked to accept, without question, the decimation of our public schools, fire and police deparments, public services and infrastructure.
And while we Nevadans talk to each other with dismay and note that somehow, someway, the state has to find some revenue, this is what we’ve got in Carson City:
This session is about a man with a plan and he’s sticking to it, and an opposition that has no plan and they are sticking to not having one. Guess who wins most of those?
We are more than one-third of the way through the 76th session and I still have no idea what Democrats are doing. But, hey, state Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford has a new website — stevenhorsford.com — and it’s really neat!
Sandoval can’t find the middle ground young Mr. George was asking about because he does not want to. But Democrats cannot find it because they have built no bridges to get there.
Ultimately, passing a tax increase or not allowing those business/sales taxes to sunset is a simple math problem that all of those students Monday could understand: 28-14-1-28-14. It takes two-thirds in each house to pass it, Gov. Resolute to veto it and then the same numbers to override.
But here is what every student knows that the Democrats apparently do not: When it comes time for the final exam — the one for the Gang of 63 comes June 6 — you have to be prepared. And there is no evidence of reaching out in either house by Democrats to possible GOP pro-tax votes. (Jon Ralston, Las Vegas Sun – 23-Mar-2011)
On a national scale Prairie2 puts it succinctly:
Your Nest Egg Has Salmonella
How long can this go on? The truth is that this can go on forever. The rich now control enough of the media to create “reality”. Even as “concerns” are raised, the myth that nothing can be done trumps all. It is becoming the new “normal”. Every day we are told by the corporate media that it’s not possible to rehire the unemployed even if we started creating jobs at the rate jobs were created during the boom years of the Clinton Administration.
The thought that we could just do what needs to be done to make it happen never passes their lips. The principles that Alexander Hamilton presented to Congress in 1792 that took a back woods group of colonies that didn’t make shovels and created the largest most powerful manufacturing economy the world has ever seen, his words are never mentioned. They talk about manufacturing as if it were as quaint as powdered wigs. China, Japan and Germany all operate on these same priciples that Hamilton proposed 230 years ago. Thirty years ago China was nearly as primitive as 1790s American and now they build 230 mph bullet trains. But we can’t; FOX, CBS, NBC and ABC say so, and they create reality.
The thought that we could just do what needs to be done to make it happen never passes their lips.
This. In nearly every way. This.
As I prepare our taxes this weekend, I think about what we will pay. I don’t mind paying my taxes. Not at all. But when I see that because of the way our tax law has been manipulated, many corporations making billions of dollars in profit pay no federal income taxes at all to the country that made those companies and profits possible, I am outraged by the injustice of it all. I am galled that the CEO of one of those corporations is advising President Obama on job creation when in fact, his company is shedding jobs in the U.S. I am furious at the multinational corporations who have set up shop in our state, and who are reaping billions in profits from the resources they pull from the ground, and who have managed to get the law written so that loopholes and deductions allow them to pull all the profit and pay very little or, in some cases, not one red cent in taxes to the state that made their profits possible.
For me it just brings into sharper focus than it ever has before, how the system has been designed for the powerful, not the vast majority of us.
We The People? Not so much.
Oh, we get a crumb thrown to us now and then. And when that doesn’t work to quiet us down, we are pitted against each other in a myriad of ways: Union vs non-union workers, old agains young, whites against people of color, citizens against immigrants, men against women, religious against non. We are told continually to blame the other. We are told that if we will only “work harder” we will “make it.”
I am petrified by those who have been fooled into believing that workers banding together and negotiating for wages, benefits, retirement and job safety are somehow a threat to our “American Way of Life” and those who control all the wealth, who literally hold our livelihoods and futures in their hands, are somehow the downtrodden and that if we would only let them do whatever the hell they want, it would lead to nirvana for the rest of us.
Many of us have internalized the lie that one day, we are going to “make it” and be able to play at the table with the big boys. Yeah, right. Maybe one out of a million will make it out, but . . .
What’s the net effect? The money that our lucky/skillful player from the lower tables takes from his fellow players in the lower ranks is either left on Table One and added to their very exclusive wealth or, failing to wipe out the new guy, they may reluctantly make room for another seat at the table and chant “One of us” at the initiation ceremony but, what they WON’T do, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, is put that money back into circulation in the lower tables – the tournament just isn’t designed to work that way is it?
Eventually, inevitably, when you design a system like that and you refuse to redistribute the wealth back from top to bottom – there can be only one winner in the end but, as I’ve always said, it’s a long, slow game that grinds away for decades and the money goes up and up the ladder and is a long, painful death for those down below, who don’t even realize what they are losing it all until there’s nothing they can do about it.
We are told to believe the lie that we as workers are just as powerful on our own as our bosses and that we are ”free” to negotiate our own wage. And if our current employer won’t pay us what we want, why we are “free” to take our labor elsewhere, as though jobs paying the wage and benefits we want, in the location we want, are as simple to snag as plucking a plum from a tree.
On television we see ads for retirement planning and cruise ships and BMWs, as though that is the reality for the vast majority of Americans. It is not. For most of us, life is as it is depicted on The Middle, where Frankie’s inadvertant purchase of a $200 jar of eye cream (not $20 as she had thought), threw the family finances into a tailspin.
We are told that popping the few dollars we can every payday into the crapshoot known as our 401k will guarantee us a comfortable retirement. The vast majority of us don’t have enough in savings to last a couple of months, let alone our entire retirement, but we are told that we are the drain on the country for actually expecting that the deal we made with our government over our Social Security would be non-negotiable. We are told that we should be willing to give up what we have paid into our entire working lives, but those making over $250,000 a year can’t spare the extra 3% on any income over that $250,000 to help get the country back on its feet. We are scolded that we don’t care about our children and grandchildren’s future merely because we want to live out the rest of our days without being burdens on them. We are told that we are being “selfish” when we ask corporations to pay their fair share and that we are jeopardizing our country and our children’s future by even bringing it up.
Further, we are ruled, for the most part, by people who cannot bring themselves to spend a dime now to earn a dollar in a year or two, and who cannot bring themselves to put down the anti-tax bong, and say that it’s time for those with the money to help out the rest of us.
The rest of us being the people who work in their companies, who build their roads, who teach their children, who build their gated communities, who cut their lawns, who protect their homes from fire, who patrol their streets, who wait on them in their fancy restaurants, who cook their meals, who check them in at their hotels, who carry their luggage, who drive their limos, who clean their toilets and who pick up their garbage. And on and on.
What I really need right now is to see that it’s not all rigged in favor of the powerful.
But I’m just not seeing it. I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.
“This bill would saddle hundreds of thousands of middle-income taxpayers with a hefty tax increase,” said Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI), ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee. “We all favor repealing 1099, but to do so on the backs of the middle class is irresponsible. With this legislation, Republicans continue their reckless overreach, this time by gouging middle-income taxpayers.”
I am comparing my last pay stub of 2010 to the first one of 2011. Each pay stub is for two weeks. It appears that the Social Security payroll tax holiday has kicked in. My gross wages have not changed.
My 2011 gross taxable wages, however, are increased by the $9.72 premium on Group Term life insurance policy, an increase of $4.54 over last year’s biweekly premium of $5.20. So basically, my gross wages have increased by $4.54 over 2010, even though I don’t see any of that money. My company pays the premium for the policy, but I pay the tax on that premium.
After all the math is done, my 2011 bi-weekly federal taxable wages went down by $7.81 due to the increase in my health insurance and the addition of supplemental eye care ($12.35) plus the additional $4.54 of Group Term Life insurance premium tacked onto my taxable income. All other pretax deductions (401K and Flex Spending account) remain the same.
Got that? My federal taxable wages went down. But my federal income tax went up $20.25 at the same time my FICA payroll tax dropped $35.70. How is that possible?
My net gain 2010 paycheck to 2011 paycheck? $2.99. Every two weeks.
Not even enough to buy a soy latte at Starbucks.
Wow. That’s some kind of ”change we can believe in.”