Chew On This America

Jan 22, 2013 by

by Kris Trites

Much of the buzz since Obama’s Inauguration speech has been hopeful.  I couldn’t watch.  Inaugurations are classically full of pomp and circumstance that seem incongruous and prodigal.  The inauguration festivities cost was around $180 millon, paid in part by ExxonMobil.

Here’s the short list of problems that I don’t see being solved in his second term.  Social Security, the minimum wage, Congress, and don’t get me started on Climate Change!

You may have noticed when you received your first paycheck of 2013  your FICA deduction was more.  Thank you fiscal cliff deal!  And the Republicans have the nerve to talk about the privatization of Social Security.   There are so many reasons why we need Social Security.  Here’s the lowdown on your paycheck  from MoneyLifeandMore:

In 2011 Congress passed a payroll tax cut in order to increase the take home pay of employees and help the economy. The employee portion of the social security (FICA) tax was reduced from 6.2% to 4.2%. Initially it was only supposed to last until the end of 2011 but it was extended until the end of 2012. Over the last two years most people forgot about the payroll tax cut and incorporated this money into their budget but the tax cut was never a permanent reduction in the tax. When Congress passed the latest fiscal cliff legislation in early January 2013 they left out the payroll tax cut extension and the social security (FICA) tax went back to the normal rate of 6.2% from the reduced rate of 4.2%.

So the least productive Congress since 1940 got a raise this year because Obama issued an executive order ending the pay freeze on federal workers.  Funny, I didn’t hear them complaining about that executive order.  So we are taking less home, they got a raise and it’s still business as usual on the hill.  Maybe they should think about the minimum wage!

Congress last raised the minimum wage in 2007 in increments to 2009 and the amount when adjusted for inflation was less than what minimum wage workers earned in 1968. Raising the minimum wage is proven to spur the economy and isn’t that what we need right now?  Here is what has to say:

A 2011 study by the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank finds that minimum wage increases raise incomes and increase consumer spending, especially triggering car purchases. The authors examined 23 years of household spending data and found that for every dollar increase for a minimum wage worker results in $2,800 in new consumer spending by his or her household over the following year.

A 2009 study by the Economic Policy Institute estimates that Obama’s campaign pledge to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2011 would inject $60 billion in additional spending into the economy.

When the federal minimum wage was first enacted in 1938 at the height of the Great Depression, its twin goals were maintaining a wage floor to keep workers out of poverty and stimulating the consumer spending necessary for economic recovery.  President Franklin Roosevelt called for its enactment as “an essential part of economic recovery,” explaining that by increasing the purchasing power of those workers “who have the least of it today, the purchasing power of the Nation as a whole – can be still further increased, (and) other happy results will flow from such an increase.”

I love to ask questions in Google, like Martin Scorsese asking  Siri in that Ipone commercial, so when I asked “Why can’t anything get done in Washington?”, the answer was a Washington Post Opinion article by Mark Miller “It’s the filibuster, stupid.”

Here is a statistic from

Some simple statistics highlight the present predicament. From roughly 1920 to 1970, filibusters averaged one a year. In stark contrast, in 2005-2006, there were an average of 34 cloture motions filed to end filibusters, and in the 2007-08 Congress there were 139 cloture motions filed, roughly 70 a year.  So far in the current session (2009-2010), 132 cloture motions have been filed.

I don’t usually think of myself as a pessimist, but what will change when the Republicans control the House and the Democrats control the Senate?  I guess that is a true balance of power but Obama’s wheels of change will, once again be stuck in government gridlock.  Honestly it’s not Obama per say, looking back at history as money and corruption have insidiously spread throughout all areas of our government, while Wall Street and big corporations have become rich and the rest of us just watch, ones can’t help but wonder what can possible happen going forward for the better…How can we change it?

Joe Costello, a government insider has written an incredible book “Of By For” that not only outlines the reasons why our government is failing us but talks about how to make a difference and is agitating for change.  Get your copy here OfByForTheBook by Joe Costello

Climate Change is another article.  What will happen when the Co2 levels are irrevocable!  Check out

Thomas Jefferson

“Experience has shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”
Thomas Jefferson







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