Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Paul Ryan: Portrait of An Unserious Man

Rep. Paul Ryan's remedy for man made climate change is to do nothing. Literally. This is what he told the media.

"Climate change occurs no matter what. The question is, can and should the federal government do something about it? And I would argue the federal government, with all its tax and regulatory schemes, can't. And all it will do is end up hurting our country, our people, and especially low income individuals."

What Ryan didn't tell the media is the $181,299 he has received from the oil industry during this campaign cycle.

Ryan talked about his poverty program.

"In many cases, the federal government, in its war on poverty, has inadvertently displaced civil society, prodded out good things that are happening in our communities, when it should be supporting them. It should be manning supply lines, not dictating the front lines."

"And the other point, it has given the notion in our society that this isn't your problem. Pay your taxes. The government will fix this. The government fixes poverty. That's not true. We need to break those notions that so that everybody gets involved and does something in whatever way they can to make a difference in this area. And that is one of the messages we need to pound over and over and over if we are going to be successful in reintegrating the poor and getting them from where the are to where they want to be."

Ryan does not have a basic understanding about poverty. Naturally, Ryan is against raising the minimum wage. Ryan previously made the hysterical claim that raising the minimum wage will keep teenagers from getting jobs.

“The majority of these workers are younger people just getting into the workforce,” Ryan said. “What we don’t want to do is support ideas, especially in this kind of economy, which will reduce the availability of jobs, number one, but more importantly reduce the availability of jobs from the very people we want to get into jobs so they can start climbing that ladder of life, so they can get in and start working their way up and get the skills they need to earn a better job.” He added that his time working at McDonald’s as a young man helped “give me better training to keep moving on in life.”

The New York Times had the actual numbers.

Climbing above the poverty line has become more daunting in recent years, as the composition of the nation’s low-wage work force has been transformed by the Great Recession, shifting demographics and other factors. More than half of those who make $9 or less an hour are 25 or older, while the proportion who are teenagers has declined to just 17 percent from 28 percent in 2000, after adjusting for inflation, according to Janelle Jones and John Schmitt of the Center for Economic Policy Research.

Today’s low-wage workers are also more educated, with 41 percent having at least some college, up from 29 percent in 2000. “Minimum-wage and low-wage workers are older and more educated than 10 or 20 years ago, yet they’re making wages below where they were 10 or 20 years ago after inflation,” said Mr. Schmitt, senior economist at the research center. “If you look back several decades, workers near the minimum wage were more likely to be teenagers — that’s the stereotype people had. It’s definitely not accurate anymore.”

The Chamber of Commerce doesn't want a minimum wage increase. The Republican Party heeds the word of the Chamber. The Chamber of Commerce represents businesses that will fight tooth and nail not to pay their employees more. The Chamber of Commerce released an article on their website titled "A Better Approach Than the Minimum Wage Distraction."

The minimum wage debate is misplaced as part of the income inequality debate simply because raising the minimum wage by $1 an hour, for example, adds about $2,000 to the pre-tax income of those few full-time minimum wage adult workers. (Most minimum wage earners are either teenagers or are working part-time). A $2,000 increase would make a difference to the worker, assuming he or she still has a job, but it doesn’t do much for income inequality when stacked against the incomes of those at the very top of the income scale.

Ryan cited the CBO report. The truth is states that have raised the minimum wage have found no adverse effects. The wage increases were needed to keep up with inflation. What Ryan and other Republicans refuse to mention is cost of living increases. From the Associated Press:

"In the 13 states that boosted their minimums at the beginning of the year, the number of jobs grew an average of 0.85 percent from January through June. The average for the other 37 states was 0.61 percent.

"Nine of the 13 states increased their minimum wages automatically in line with inflation: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Four more states — Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island — approved legislation mandating the increases."

Republicans constantly say that unemployment will increase if the minimum wage is increased. At some point the minimum wage must be raised. Millions of Americans having less spending power will be a drag on the economy. It also costs the federal government money. Forbes reports that WalMart workers $6.2 billion in public assistance. WalMart employees simply do not make enough to survive.

Ryan is against raising the minimum wage because he doesn't want to cut into the bottom line of companies like WalMart. Ryan's war on poverty should be treated like the nonsense it truly is.

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