This situation is this. A warehouse workers spends the day doing their job. When their done, they can spend up to 25 unpaid minutes, it seems, waiting to go through security to make sure they didn't steal anything.
Apparently this is quite legal, at the federal level anyway. The federal appeals court found in favor of the workers but the Supreme Court, 9-0, begged to disagree stating:
- "The court found that the workers don't have to be paid because under federal law, they do not have to be compensated for time spent performing an activity that they were not hired to do."
REALLY? Apparently so, and with the Republicans taking control of Congress, you can believe this will not be fixed ... or should it?
Absolutely it needs fixing. Any time a company demands time of a worker, where that time is not at a worker's discretion (even to be present or not) it requires compensation (or should, at least).
This is not that uncommon. A chip manufacturer near me requires employees to be at the workstation, dressed in their bunny suit (supplied by the company and kept on the company site), before the start of the shift. Illegal and unethical, but they still require it.
Of course, a salaried worker is at a disadvantage here as the company sets whatever hours they wish. Teachers, for example, are required to do do lunch and bus duty outside of their normal work activity and hours, or even attend and work evening/weekend functions at the school that have nothing to do with teaching their class.
I have a problem with the "standby concept"' where the employer wants you to be on call without pay, paying only doing actual work. If you are tying up my time, my having to be sober and available for my employer, I need to be paid for it!
Good point. Although there are lots of jobs where work load is so variable that employees cannot be "on the job" enough to provide for all emergencies, it is badly overused, IMO.
Doctors, or fire fighters, are an example where it is necessary to maintain an "on call" list. And "waiter" might be an example where one is used, but is hardly necessary.
Yeah, by all means, certain occupations require this arrangement based on their very nature. But these professionals are much of the time salaried and well paid to take account of this requirement. It is the penny-enny outfit that hired the waiters and such that get nickeled and dimed and its not fair.
I had to deal with that in my company. The rule was IF the on-call status substantially interferes with an employee's ability to conduct non-work related activities, like going to the theater, then they were on the clock. Otherwise they weren't. Most of the time our "on-call" employees fell into that category. The biggest problem we had was in getting them to clock in and out when they took a call (the work was night dispatching.)
There is one other status called "salaried, non-exempt". This was for employees whose work hours were indeterminate so the company and employee agree on some sort of salary, say $2,000/mo. That is what they get paid regardless of the hours they work up to normal overtime thresholds. If there is overtime, it is calculated in a rather funky way. Finally, unless an employee takes non-accrued leave of some sort, they get the salary regardless of how few hours they work.
The solution here seems a bit more fair. As I see it, being on standby is always an imposition because it has to affect non-work activities by its very nature, its much like sitting on pins and needles wondering when THAT call will come. Even if they never call, it is the fear of what do you do and what are you involved if and when they do call.
If they were not hired to do it, and they are not being paid to do it, then that time constitutes their free time. If they choose not to spend 25 minutes of their free time doing a security check for Amazon, then they are free to bypass it and leave. It needs a group of brave souls to do exactly that, and then dare Amazon to fire them. Unless I've missed something.
Not likely. No right to work state can bar the lay off (lay off, not firing) for any reason or none. Anyone not consenting to be searched will be laid off, and the company could probably make a good case in the unemployment office for being fired for cause.
I don't like it, I think it's crap, but it is what it is.
That would be an interesting discussion between Amazon and the UE office. "We fired them because they refused to work for free", lol.
In any case, I suspect the search was a condition of employment; you don't want spend your own time getting searched by us, then don't ask for the job.
I don't fault the Justices for their decision, one that probably really grated on the more liberal members, but the law seems to tie their hands. It is up to Congress to do something and that's not likely since more than 1/2 would side with Amazon anyway.
Its stuff like this which keeps reminding why I think large corporation are the bad guys and need reigning in. While they are legal, they are unethical.
But I DO fault the justices for their decision. If (and I think you're right) that a search is a condition of employment, required to work there, then it should be paid for. It becomes a part of the job, and IS an integral part of the work to be performed. I see the idea that the search wasn't part of the work to be paid for a complete weasel job; like saying that cleaning up after painting a house isn't part of the job, either. I've had too many jobs (maybe the SC needs to do some physical labor), with too many different tasks, to think that a company hires ONLY for a specific task.
As far as reigning in corporations because of this; they follow the law just as the employees do. Employees are quite happy to skirt the line and get by with whatever they can, just like the other half of the contract is, and to go after only one side is ludicrous.
Yes but all the power is on one side. It's like David and Goliath, but David doesn't have his sling.
True. Unions have the power to completely shut down a company, but a company never has that much power. Unfair, but again it is what it is.
And truthfully, after 45+ years in the workforce, I find that companies and workers balance out fairly well. The pendulum is never static, but seldom gets as far out of whack as it did during the recent recession. Even then, it always swings back and suddenly the shoe is on the other foot.
So it would be your opinion a worker's right to strike (used very little over the course of time) is as powerful as the employer's right to fire unjustly (which happens 100s of times a day).
Employers have been so effective in wiping out competition from its employees that a less than 7% of all private sector workers belong to unions; and it is getting smaller.
In the last 20 years there have 458 work stoppages involving more than 1000 people. That sounds like a lot until you realize that only accounts for less than 1% of available working time.
And how many companies were hurt by these strikes? Well, that is hard to tell, but there is a little less than 18,000 corporations with 500 or more employees; in 20 years. That means (and these are very rough figures) that there is a 0.1% chance of a major corporation (who are the ones who have union workers, if they have any) being struck in any given year.
In comparison, there have been ~183,000 mass lay-offs from 1995 through 2006 for an average of a little less than 17,000 mass layoff events each year.
That equates to 20 million people laid-off during that same period or and average of 1.8 million people involved in mass lay-offs each year. Given the average employed was 98 million, that means almost 2% of the workforce was laid off each year by employers.
Now tell me, who was more disruptive, those with the power to fire or those with the power to strike (all 7% of them). The shoe has never been on labor's foot, except in rare instances, not in the history of the U.S. Hell, in the early days, corporations got the federal military and state troopers to come in and bust up strikes for them. When has labor ever gotten that kind of help from the government?
First, can you define "fire unjustly"?
Second, on the one hand you want to look ONLY at huge strikes, but at individuals laid off. Hardly seems a reasonable comparison - how about if we look at big strikes vs "unjust" layoffs of over 1,000 (business failing doesn't count for obvious reasons.
Puts a little different spin on it doesn't it? Employees have the capability to shut down companies any time they wish - that they seldom do is is that not too many of them are that stupid. Some yes - I've known companies shut down permanently by unions demanding wages that just weren't there. But normally the objective is to squeeze the company for every dime the union can get out of them.
I thought about that, but "over 1000" was the only BLS stat I found at the time. Having said that, it occurs to me I don't recall hearing about strikes against small companies, i.e., companies less than a 1000 or 500 employees.
Given 50% of employees earn less than $17/hr, it doesn't sound like they did a very good job of "squeezing every dime" out of employers. That statement loses even more credibility when account for the fact that only 7% of employees belong to unions so haw material is your claim, even if it were true.
Let's say that "Employees have the capability to shut down companies any time they wish - that they seldom use it ..." is universally true, it is only true in theory, not in practice. And, if it is true in practice, the statement loses validity in the real world.
Further, I have the theoretical power to murder my neighbors. but in the real world I don't have such power because of the moral and legal ramifications, so what good is it.
Also, it is a very long stretch that unorganized employees to believe that they even have a theoretical power to strike in such a way as to shut down a company, which means 93% employees do not have that power even in a theoretical sense.
I is also clear that most strikes, there are a few exceptions, are called by those 7% of employees because working conditions force them to. They must be forced to do so because in most strikes, the employees are hurt more than the employer, at least for the generation that is striking.
So, bottom line, while a few employees have a theoretical power to shut a company down, in a practical sense, it is meaningless because they rarely can use it.
Employers, on the other hand, can be and, in many cases, are abusive to employees in practice, not in theory.
I doubt you will hear of those, outside of local news. Too small and insignificant for national news.
I would doubt that that many of the 7% in a union are earning only $17 - if they are it isn't much of a union. But you answer the question yourself; unless labor is too expensive there isn't much reason to go overseas, but it is happening. Ergo; labor is too expensive here.
Not sure that the old unions ever saw much of moral (or even legal) ramifications. They have improved, but then as they have their power has waned, too.
Yes, we are talking about unionized employees (although all employees COULD unionize). It is true that most cannot close a large company, but certainly can close the doors on the location where they work.
Sorry, there is absolutely nothing "clear" about that at all. Most strikes are called for purely monetary reasons, not working conditions. That the employees are hurt never seems to make much difference - perhaps they are not smart enough to figure out the biting the hand that feeds them isn't always the brightest thing to do?
Yet, they very often DO use it. Less now than in the past as there usually isn't that much left in company coffers, but it does happen and not infrequently.
Do employees steal? Sleep on the job? Call in sick when they want a golf game? Use company resources for personal profit? Employers aren't the only ones being abusive, not by a long shot.
Yes, companies do have the power to lock out workers and they have used it many times; the latest examples are the sports leagues.
If your company tells you to take a UA (piss test), depending on contract you do it. What if the medical provider (subcontractor) is short staffed and the wait period goies from 10 minutes to an hour? Who pays who for excess time? This was the other argument. Screenings are done via subcontractor and their mismanagement of staff or circumstances lead to prolonged screening times that Amazon was not liable for.
Depends on the contract, but the ethical answer is the employer pays. If they were sent to Quest or Lab Corp or the like, it is very possible the wait is long, and it has nothing to do with mismanagement, it's just the way they does business.
That last part is the same argument though. You can't really guarantee that Quest is fully staffed each day. There will be delays beyond your employer's control. The wait will very.
The other analogy would be a work commute on a toll roadway or perhaps the millions that cross into Cali via Mexico each day on the work commute. No employer will pay for time extended in the security line. This is a bit of a stretch, but it begins to address the commute vs work task debate.
It seems to me there is a substantive difference between the time spent getting to work (the employer could care less whether you got home). a requirement if you want to get paid, and the time spent waiting due to an employer required task that you would not normally do on you own to earn an income.
You would always choose to get to work, which lets the employer off the hook for paying for the wait time. But you would never voluntarily take a drug test, or in this case, get screened. To me, that is a huge difference and is what should obligate the employer to pay for the time they make the employee wait, even though it is not directly their fault. Nevertheless, if they didn't require the screening, there wouldn't have been any wait time. If they put out, then they need to charge the screening company for the cost.
The other part I think of issue was mentioned in the SCOTUS opinion. There are other employers that use screenings. This ruling would stifle the greater economy. What I think they had in mind were the countless government/private contracts that do pre-checks before entry. I had a colleague that supervised the cleaning crew (all disabled) for a high clearance location. There are many employers that screen before and after work. Amazon and their subcontractor argued that the delays were anomalies.
So is the differential being what you quantify as required or not? That concept was part of the case law they drew upon. It's not so simple. For example, a hard hat is required on a construction site; so is a hammer (for some). Who pays for these required items? A uniform is required for some work sites. Who payes for the laundry? Parting out the expenses is an old back and forth struggle. The employer simply does not pay for all required preliminary tasks, equipment, etc. Rather it is the employee that contractually agrees to take on this detriment. The option would be to subtract these tools and time from net wages and see if you could beat that working somewhere else.
- A 2008 OSHA ruling requires employers to pay for safety related equipment.
- It is clear from the FLSA rules they INTENDED for uniform expenses to be picked up by the employer in most cases. A judge in 1960 ruled that the law was not clear enough and decided that in most cases, an employer does not, but not all, like service employees who earn less than the minimum wage.
- "Tools of the trade", however, is a different matter because the employee is selling a skill and part of that skill are the tools they use. So it makes sense that when an employer hires a skilled worker, then they are hiring their tools as well.
It still boils down to the ethics, or lack thereof, of the employer and taking advantage of the much less powerful employee who isn't in any position to bargain; especially today; maybe when unemployment is 4% but not when it is 6.8% and a lot of those are involuntary part-time.
The SCOTUS ruled that the test for whether preliminary or postliminary activities are paid for by an employer, is not whether something is required by the employer, but whether something is "integral and indispensable" to an employee doing their job. So employees who have to spend time putting on safety equipment to perform their role can expect their employer to pay for that time, as this activity is integral to being able to do the job. Security screenings are not integral to the task of picking and packing products in a warehouse, so according to current legislation, employees can have no reasonable expectation of payment for that time.
So the judgment is technically correct, but I think the test should be redefined. In my opinion employers should be required to pay for: any preliminary or postliminary activities that are integral and indispensable to an employee doing the job they are contracted to do (safely) OR any activity that solely and directly benefits the employer alone. This would capture everything captured by the current test, but also things like the Amazon security screening, which only directly benefit the employer, to the detriment of the employees. It would also exclude things like travelling to work which can obviously be shown to directly benefit both the the employer and the employee.
Problem is that there is slim to no chance of getting a law amended in favour of ordinary workers at the expense of big business, as big business currently owns congress.
Absotutely! However, the 9 - 0, bi-partisan ruling was their interpretation of current federal law and regulations; there was no doubt in their collective mind what the law said. But, that doesn't mean the law/regulation shouldn't be changed, and it should be.
But, as you conclude, with the current configuration of Congress, the law will not be changed. But that doesn't mean DOL couldn't change the regulation so long as it isn't prohibited by language within the authorizing law.
Indeed, but I envisage that it would be challenged in court on those very grounds, and there would need to be a ruling as to whether the change by the DOL was within the bounds of the authorizing law. Still worth a try.
Would be interesting to campaign for an outright amendment though, just to highlight the extent of the difficulty in amending laws in favour of ordinary people vs corporate persons. Can you imagine, all the corporate lobbying power of Amazon and other big businesses, against a group of workers from a warehouse. Such an underdog story might capture a few people's imagination.
You've got my support. Any requirement by an employer that requires time or effort from an employee should be compensable.
Absolutely true, but if any Department is on the side of the employee, it is DOL and they are the ones who write the rules concerning this matter. One possible venue is petitions to those Congress people who support fair play (yes, pay as well) for employees to get them to put pressure on DOL for a rule change.
If an employee feels that he or she is not being paid for time on duty, the solution is to quit. Get another job. Or work for yourself. This has nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats. Vote with your feet and stop whining.
This is always a pat and unrealistic reply. The ONLY time it is applicable is when unemployment is below the natural rate. In that case, and only that case, does the employee have the "real world" options you suggest. Any other time, you are spouting unachievable theory.
And it absolutely haves everything to do with Conservative and Democrats for the former believe in and make policy from your unreal world theory while Democrats make policy based on the real world situation.
"Democrats make policy based on the real world situation."
When did unlimited resources and money become the real world?
They don't rely on unlimited resources and money, that is unfounded Conservative propaganda not based on reality. Explain the skyrocketing deficits caused by Reagan and Bush 43. Yes, Obama suffered from what Bush started and was required to add to it in order to fix the previous administration's screw up. Since fixing the debacle, Obama has brought deficits down.
Explain Obamacare, and where the massive subsidies are coming from? Explain the exponential growth in entitlements and where the money is coming from? Explain the "stimulus" package and where the money came from?
No, Democrats have never figured out that their pockets DO have a bottom, that there is not unlimited funding to give away. And the only deficit Obama has brought down is the one he created himself.
Most of the subsidies come from defined taxes and lower Medicare costs (which is a reality). Those "subsidies" are partially returned in a healthier America which ends up in 1) either lower overall healthcare costs, 2) greater worker productivity, and 3) potentially a lower tax (state) bill for you personally.
As to the "stimulus", how much do your think it would have cost America to go into biggest depression the world has ever known; the stimulus was cheap by comparison and cost you personally very little, which would not have been the case in a major depression.
Given the question, you would seem to oppose social security, Medicare, and Medicaid as well, the growth in which comes down to not producing enough new babies to keep the population growing.
Now, based on your desire for society not to help itself, it is understandable you don't mind having an America where most were nearly destitute like they were in the Gilded Age or truly destitute during the Great Depression. If you want to return to those days by all means stop wasting money keeping 50% of the working people, and their families, of the richest country in world out of the poor house and letting them return to the streets or tenements.
You need to keep in mind, your attitude toward society as a whole, as opposed to just you and your family, and the economic philosophy attached to it, was in vogue up until FDR. And, unless you were wealthy, not just in the top 40%, America was a terrible place to live; maybe not as bad as poorer countries, but terrible nevertheless. The only thing that might have been better than today is the opportunity to drag yourself out of most of society.
Why do you want to go back to a period where there was a big recession or a depression every 5 - 6 years and people lived miserably, by and large.
"Most of the subsidies come from defined taxes"
What I said, isn't it? A bottomless pocket of available money from the people.
Stimulus: You did not answer the question of where that money came from. For the most part it went to corporations, not people, but still from the bottomless pocket of the citizen (of the future, but still the citizen).
No, Medicaid does not come from more babies; it comes from the entitlement philosophy of the liberal, always eager to dip into that bottomless pocket to buy more votes. Medicare is an insurance program paid for by the worker, not the general tax. It is true that those monies are stolen by the politicians, but it is still an insurance program and not an entitlement. That the liberal mind thinks more people is the solution is because they think a Ponzi scheme will work, not out of any rational consideration.
On top of all that, Obamacare will not and has not reduced the national costs for healthcare one iota; it has instead increased those costs by feeding more money to the insurance companies instead of hospitals.
And the rest of the post is more of the same: the liberal Democrat knows where MY money should go better than I do and will take ever more. The bottomless pocket syndrome at its best.
Do you expect the gov't to run on volunteer service? It doesn't work that way, it actually costs money to pay for salaries, services, and materials. What you ultimately disagree with is WHAT the gov't spends its money on; if it is one of your favorite issues, I really doubt you would care how much they spent because it would be "justified" in your eyes.
For example, and I am not saying this is you, but back prior to 1864, all of the so-called "States-Rights". "limited gov't" states lobbied hard for the national gov't to spend as much as it needed to enforce the runaway slave provisions of the Constitution and laws. It was in their material interests to make sure the feds took care of this for them so they didn't care what it cost. I'll bet $100 there is a least one issue where you hold the same opinion.
W - "You did not answer the question of where that money came from. For the most part it went to corporations, not people, but still from the bottomless pocket of the citizen (of the future, but still the citizen)."
ME - The answer is self-evident, the debt since taxes were effectively lowered, not raised to pay for it. The proper purpose of running a debt is to absorb the cost of responding to emergencies. While I understand that many on the RIght think of the Great Recession is a simple correction and needed to happen in any case, most people know better. The Great Recession of 2008, otherwise known as the "Almost Great Depression of 2008", was, by any measure, the "Great Emergency of 2008" and it needed to be addressed. It is too bad Conservatives responsible for the economic policies that ultimately set up the environment for the Great Recession to be born in, didn't consider the 200-year history of their failed policies before going down the path that destroyed millions of lives and added at least 3 trillion dollars to the debt all by itself plus the additional $2 trillion PBO spent trying to set things right.
You are quite wrong that corporations got most of stimulus. No, 2/3rd went to states to keep their schools open and police/fire depts function, unemployment, and tax rebates (effectively lower taxes).
Wrong again, ACA has 1) reduced the cost growth of Medicare and 2) reduced the cost growth of health premiums (it certainly did for my company anyway and, from reading the news, many other companies as well)
The thing about a representative gov't is that representatives you and I elect, in aggregate, reflect what the "society" wants and not what you or I want; we just have a say in the matter, not a veto.
What the "Progressive" mind thinks is that society (as reflected by their representatives) have an obligation to see to the Welfare of society in general for the betterment of the whole. Minimal-state Liberals and most Conservatives believe society has no responsibility to itself and that Social Darwinism is the proper solution.
You missed the "more babies" point. Growth in GDP is directly tied to population growth and the decline in baby production has hurt long-term growth in GDP.
However, in this day and age, what is the point of GDP growth if 80% goes to the top 1% and the remaining 80% get to split the remainder. That was the way it was in the Gilded Ages and is being approached today; that is why most Americans don't think there has been any growth at all instead of the healthy 2 - 3% growth that PBO has achieved.
Hard to see how ACA has reduced medicare when no recipient of medicare can get any ACA. Medicare has fallen, yes, because the government is refusing to pay a reasonable doctor/hospital fee. Not because the cost was shifted to the ACA.
Now why would the federal government feel responsible for keeping schools paid for by states open. My republican state of Idaho kept our schools open with a "rainy day" fund; it's called fiscal responsibility. What was wrong with the blue states that depended on someone else to pay for their kids education?
No, the "progressive" mind thinks that government is responsible for the welfare of individual citizens instead of the citizens being responsible for themselves. Not the general welfare of the country as they are driving it to bankruptcy by taking responsibility for individuals.
Real GDP growth requires production. Production done by the 99%, not by the 1%, and for which they are paid. That's what good a higher GDP does.
W - "Hard to see how ACA has reduced medicare ..."
ME - Because written into the law were provisions specifically designed to lower Medicare, and presumable Medicaid. The data that has come in so far shows good success with more to come. I am not aware they have cut back reimbursements to Dr and hospital except in cases where fraud, waste, and abuse have been found (and they are finding a lot)
W - "Now why would the federal government feel responsible for keeping schools paid for by states open. "
ME - Not sure what you are referring to, but it is my position that, unlike the 1800s, education is a nation security issue and should be treated as such. Don't know of feds paying to keep Blue state schools open; but as far as I know, all states have rainy day funds.
W - "No, the "progressive" mind thinks that government is responsible ..."
ME - You have a warped view of what progressives desire. What most progressives believe is that the one of the purposes of a good government is to make sure that society has access to the basic needs, e.g., health, economic security in old age, housing, and removing artificial impediments to obtaining work, etc. Most progressives don't look for gov't to provide the "good" life for each individual; only enough to live which then benefits all of society, even those who subscribe to Social Darwinism.
W - "Real GDP growth requires production...."
ME - Agree with this and that the 99% are the ones who provide the labor for production (or services). The problem is, when GDP grows due to their effort, they do not personally benefit from it. The only people, by and large, who are seeing real growth in income are the top 20%. Real wages for the rest have been flat for the last 15 years. Why is that?
You and I have very different concepts of what basic needs are. For a start, govt. need not provide anything you can provide yourself with some work, and free health care or housing is not "basic". I do note that you say "society" but actually mean "individuals" as well - govt should provide access to clean water, sewage, roads, etc. - things for society that individuals can access if they are willing to work for it.
I've never met anyone working a job for no pay - they get paid for increasing that GDP as much as you like to claim that they don't. Maybe wages have remained flat because there has been little to no increase in the amount of production being done (without investment in automation, where the investor should get the increase, not the janitor).
OMG! (Oh my gawd!, not Oh my God), this is gonna look like I agree with My Esoteric... when I really agree with the essence of your perpsective.
But... given the reality of life, as we live it today, do you really disagree with Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security? Can you envision the reality of seniors or the poor without those programs?
It is the honesty of personal responsibility to say we all should plan and conduct our lives to be prepared for the needs those programs accommodate - but the reality is that a HUGE majority of us do not, (or are unable to).
So on the righteous side of the argument is a society plagued by a sub-culure of homeless and enfeebled seniors, and on the reality-side is a society that provides some basics. Knowing what I know - I go with the safety nets that supports those unable to provide for their "twilight" years, as well as those too irresponsible to plan for them. Gotta take the bad with the good.
As for your "needs" point. I (almost) totally agree. But... have you considered how many poor houses we would have to build for seniors if we did not have Medicare? Or how many that would be living in electric-less and heat-less paid-off homes because they could no longer work and there was no income to pay the utility bills? Or should we just park them next to the homeless addict on the sidewalk heatgrates?
No, I do not think our government should ensure everyone has home, or a cell phone, or a hundred other entitlement "basics," but I also think that a "you are on your own" mentality is more detrimental to our society than than helpful.
The concept of the reality we live in is; "It is what is is. Deny it if you want, decry the injustice of it if it makes you feel better, but it won't change the reality that the aforementioned programs do serve a function to advance our society's development.
"..."Maybe wages have remained flat because there has been little to no increase in the amount of production being done
Admittedly I grabbed this out of context, but I think you can do a little "Googling" and find that American worker production is up. More doing with less bodies. But as you mentioned, automation and changing work force needs are changing the norms we have lived with since WWLL.
Medicare and SS are not free programs provided by the largesse of the government; they were (for the most part) paid for by the person receiving them. That there are a relatively few that did not pay is fine - as you point out we need to support our seniors even from their own poor decisions and we do so.
The production of the US worker is not up, just as you say. What IS up is the production from the machine that worker is using, and there is a difference. Hours worked per year continues to fall in the us as we add ever more "free" days where the worker is paid but no production is accomplished and that most definitely affects the production of the individual worker.
W - ",,,need not provide anything you can provide yourself with some work,,,,"
ME - If ALL people could find work that pays a living wage ALL the time, then we agree, for there would be no need for gov't to provide basic needs to live; ALL people could afford it. Unfortunately, that is NEVER the case and NEVER will be.
W - " ...and free health care or housing is not "basic". ..."
ME - Nobody said anything about "free" (other than those without income). What I said is that ALL people have a right to access to essential health care and minimal housing and that the gov't is responsible for ensuring that access. Obamacare is that access on the health front. If people have no or little income, there is Medicaid; for people with minor or modest incomes there is subsidized health care (except in states that didn't expand their Medicaid program, those state legislators declared this set of people don't have access to health care); for people who have livable incomes or better, they have the exchanges to find insurance now, regardless of preexisting conditions or spending too much of the insurers money on care. For these people, there is not subsidy, just access to a marketplace of insurers. For the people are lucky enough to work the one out of two business that offer health insurance, then they have access that way as well.
Housing is trickier since there is no marketplace in the same sense as there is for insurers, but, I am sure there are good ways to insure people who can't afford a roof (not a car roof) and desire not to live outdoors, don't have to.
W - " ...Maybe wages have remained flat because there has been little to no increase in the amount of production being done "
ME - That is tantamount to saying virtually all of the growth (the part kept by the rich) was due to technology improvements. In the long term, GDP grows for only two reasons 1) increase in population and 2) increase in output per hour worked, productivity in other words. Productivity can increase in one of two ways as well, 1) people work harder and/or more efficiently and effectively on their own or 2) technology allows people to produce more for the same level of effort. What you imply is that over the last 15 years, 80% of labor has been lazy and isn't producing more per hour per individual in 2014 than they did in 1999 and therefore didn't earn wage increases. Instead, you are saying that 80% of the growth came from technology improvements developed solely from the pockets, minds, and labor of the rich. I am sorry, but that makes no sense to me on the face of it.
As to "society" vs "individual". There would be no society without individuals. A group of people working apart from each other does not make a society, just anarchy, but a group of people working together for the betterment of all is a cohesive, progressive society.
We have a very basic difference in that concept of a "living wage" - to the liberal it is not only full of luxuries but also necessities to be handed out because the individual won't work for them.
People have always had access to health care - they just needed to pay for it. And Obamacare has not helped the poor with getting health care one whit as the free insurance plans are worth what the citizen is paying for them. Not what the govt. pays - that's in the hundreds per month - but the zero that the consumer pays. I know - I have one of them and it is totally worthless short of a catastrophic illness/injury. For the poor, they now have access to an insurance program that will pay nothing until the person is bankrupt - much the same as it already was except that the insurance companies pocket a windfall.
Yes, medicaid costs will/have gone down, accomplished by shifting the cost to the ACA. Actual costs have probably risen as a result, but by pretending that there is no cost to the ACA we can say money was saved even when it isn't. But you indicated medicare costs went down, which has not happened.
I didn't imply that actual worker productivity, without any additional technology, has not risen - I said it very plainly. It is what I see as the normal work week (not what is paid for, but what is actually worked) continues to fall.
You're right - without individuals there is no society. So let individuals provide for their needs with a little thrown into the community pot for the society. Not the 30,40 or 50% now required so society can give it away, but just enough to maintain society while the people maintain themselves.
W - "... living wage" - to the liberal it is not only full of luxuries but also necessities to be handed out because the individual won't work for them..."
ME - You must listen to liberals than I do, but I have never heard one, even those are real socialists, ever seriously say such a thing. Having said that, there is probably one or two out there somewhere living in lala land.
W - "...People have always had access to health care ..."
ME - You no as well as I do, that simply isn't true; should I say "pre-existing conditions" just for starters?
W - "...I know - I have one of them and it is totally worthless short of a catastrophic illness/injury. ..."
ME - People who buy Bronze Plans, which I am guessing you have, are 1) people who never had insurance before and can't afford better plans or 2) are healthy and don't expect to use health services much, meaning the high deductible doesn't really make a difference, Also, I don't think anyone who earns the minimum income to qualify for the Exchanges will, except for the Bronze plan, ever pay nothing. Further, if you buy the Silver plan, a low income individual can receive out-of-pocket support as well which, effectively, lowers the out-of-pocket deductible. On the other hand, the Platinum plans offer better coverage than what I offer my employees, which is one of the best.
W - "Yes, medicaid costs will/have gone down, accomplished by shifting the cost to the ACA. ..."
ME - That is actually not true. ACA was designed to reduce Medicare cost growth via several different programs; this is already happening. Instead of using the savings from lower cost growth to reduce the deficit, ACA is using it to pay for ACA.
W - "but by pretending that there is no cost to the ACA we can say money was saved even when it isn't."
ME - Here is a PDF that explains how and how much Medicare cost growth was expected to decrease - http://www.cms.gov/apps/files/aca-savin … t-2012.pdf and here is one from Bloomberg, a source the Right generally trusts: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/ … estimates.
-This gives a great explanation of where savings come from and a few examples of achieved savings to the date of the report: http://www.cms.gov/apps/files/aca-savin … t-2012.pdf
- This gives initial savings from attempts to reduce fraud, waste, and abuse: http://www.stopmedicarefraud.gov/fraud-rtc06242014.pdf. This report indicates there is $5 of identified savings for every $1 spent.
W - "Maybe wages have remained flat because there has been little to no increase in the amount of production being done (without investment in automation, where the investor should get the increase, not the janitor)."
ME - That statement implies output per hour per worker is flat; which is not true. The fact that a 'given" person worked more or less hours is not material, nor is the fact that the groups avg hours worked relevant. Productivity increases if output remains constant but the avg work week declines from 40 hours to 35 hours per week. Productivity also increases if output grows while avg hours worked per week remains constant. Productivity is simply total output divided by total hours worked (I shouldn't have added "per person" before.)
Now, let's use your idea that workers have worked no harder and therefore do not deserve any portion of GDP growth. Let's say a marvelous new machine was bought for $100,000 and it increases each workers output by some amount. The owners expect a certain return on that investment and they get it from increased profits of the company, which consumes "some" of the resulting increase in GDP. So who gets the rest? Right now it is top management and not the workers, yet top management worked no harder either. Why do they get the benefit and not the worker?
W - "So let individuals provide for their needs with a little thrown into the community pot for the society."
ME - First, the United States is a community as well as 500 person town. Second, it would be nice if what I quoted from you were true; but it is not. It has been more than a century since the "community pot" was sufficient to provide for those in temporary or, in the case of mental or physical disability, permanent help. If what you said was true, there would have been no bread lines during the Great Depression. In addition to being overwhelmed and incapable for local civic, religious, and private groups to provide for those in need, they can and have discriminated on who they choose to help. The reason the fed ends up with the responsibility is because state and local organizations and entities are incapable of doing it themselves.
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