HOW TO FIX CONGRESS

Lessons from the tooth fairy

The myth of the tooth fairy has always bothered me. Maybe it’s because of something I read concerning Middle Age superstitions about children’s teeth. Parents in 13th century Britain were instructed to burn their youngsters’ teeth to ensure their kids would avoid hardship in the afterlife. Really? Some claim the Vikings paid for children’s teeth to use as luck charms on the necklaces they wore into battle.

I always believed the tooth fairy is a con. You know, making a child feel good about losing a tooth because it would benefit him or her. Kids have a natural fear of tooth loss because blood and pain are involved. The tooth fairy justified the pain and children dreamed of becoming rich.

So, how does Congress fit into this? Well, that body puts us all through a lot of pain but the payoff is always less than what they promise or what we need, every time. Now we’re facing this strange concept of one political party wanting to superglue the kid’s tooth back into his mouth and just keep going the same way they always have. They don’t want the people to have something good and better because that would make the other party look productive. It’s a child’s game.

The tooth fairy is not real, and neither is honest, genuine bargaining in the House and Senate. We keep seeing the same pretenses, posturing and pontificating during each major Congressional event, like keeping the government running, extending the debt limit and making sure we don’t default on our loans. So, could America be repossessed by the tooth fairy? Who holds America’s debt?

Well, as is true with most stupid questions, there is a very clear answer. The Federal Reserve holds over $5 trillion in US Treasuries. The rest is public debt — that’s you and me. As of May 2021, foreign countries, companies and individuals owned $7.5 trillion of US government debt. Japan and China are the largest holders, with over $1 trillion each. Did Donald Trump know how beholden we are to China when he blamed them for everything?

Should America be asinine and default, we will take other countries down with us and crater the world economy. Mitch McConnell knows this but continues to force our economy to the brink because he’s just another game player in public office. The best thing for the United States would be for McConnell to get thrown out of Congress.

Rather than getting into a short-term discussion of the shortsighted filibuster rules in the Senate and the minimal power of the elected majority, I would like to propose five simple ways to make Congress better.

  1. Change the Constitution’s Congressional rules. Make Senate terms four years instead of six. Make Representative terms four years instead of two. The House members waste too much time raising money and campaigning. Only half the House and Senate would be up for reelection every two years.
  2. No one will be allowed to run for more than three terms. Twelve years is long enough to do some good, get things done and then get out of town. We need to eliminate lifelong political positions. The work of politicians was never meant to become full-time, forever jobs. Ask Adams, Jefferson and Washington.
  3. After their first two years in office, a Senator or Representative can be asked by their state or territory to participate in a recall election. If they get less than 45% support from their constituents, the state will hold a special election within six months of the recall to put someone else in their seat. Motivation!
  4. The current filibuster rules must end and be replaced by the older, more arduous filibuster procedure. All matters must be taken on a straight up vote with majority rule including nominations. No Senate member will be allowed to block a Supreme Court nomination, no matter what year it is.
  5. All candidates for Congress, the US President and cabinet members must submit to Congress a public disclosure of their last four years of federal and state income taxes.

And while we are at these changes to Congress, we should also enforce a 75-year-old retirement age for all Supreme Court justices. It’s the same responsibility as driving a vehicle, only more important.

I believe my ideas sound good, but the half-empty people in the crowd will say they won’t stop the bickering, childish behavior and pernicious party loyalties. While that’s probably true, these moves will help us change out the seats more often. Sure, there will still be those who will take the job for their own personal advancement, but the disclosures will help us uncover them sooner.

The greatest challenge to these changes is the fact that the people who have the power to make them are the very same people who would be affected. There is no greater power. Even if Congress passed a law saying Supreme Court justices must retire at age 75, someone could sue the government, or the Supreme Court could rule against the policy claiming it was age discrimination. Of course, they are the same experts who can’t decide how long it takes a fetus to become a human with rights.

The tooth fairy doesn’t visit homes of parents who are jobless, those struggling against inflation and those who work for minimum wage. Both Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema had no problem voting against a minimum wage increase. How can two Democrats want to keep the middle-class from getting a leg up? Be wary of the tooth fairies in Congress. Some members of that body ask us to put our teeth under the pillow with the promise of money. Then, when we wake up to find our teeth gone but no money, we wonder why Congress played us. They got rich and we have holes in our mouths. It’s time to confront and end the myth that Congress works for us.

BRAND NEW BOOK

We knew that the great divide in America would have a major effect on the presidential election in the year 2020, but something else was lurking that we didn’t anticipate. The world suffered a global pandemic of Covid-19, and everything changed. The lockdown motivated one author to write MASHED POTATOES: Covid, Cancer & Comfort Food. The cover ironically claims the book is a “humorous” recollection of 2020, but one might ask, “Where was the humor?” This is a work of survival to motivate those who desire to get beyond Covid-19, beat cancer and defend our precious Democracy.  The world got Covid, the writer got cancer and we all ate copious amounts of comfort food. It’s time to swallow the truth, survive the madness, take a large spoon and savor some delicious MASHED POTATOES. Get some here. 

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them. Kindle and Paperback Click Here

 

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THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT WORK

Partisan Political Positions Are Usually Wrong

No matter how much a person “loves” their job, when they hang up their apron or close the computer at the end of the week, they enjoy the good feeling that it’s over. The reason? Well, it’s a job, and no matter how much money one gets paid two aspects conflict. One is what someone else tells them to do and the other is what they want to do. That’s why they call it work.

The headline in the Washington Post blasted a hole in the ridiculous theory that people are not going back to work because they are “getting paid” not to work with unemployment compensation. The Republicans honestly believe if they cut off the “free money,” all the worker bees will simply fall back into line. One headline read, “Retail workers are quitting at record rates for higher-paying work: ‘My life isn’t worth a dead-end job.’” The subhead amplified, “Some 649,000 employees gave notice in April, the sector’s largest one-month exodus in over 20 years, a reflection of pandemic-era strains and a strengthening job market.”

So, what is this all about? People are not blind or as stupid as the people in Congress think they are. When we hear Bernie Sanders and other progressives arguing for fair wages in the $15 per hour range, it’s easy to feel low about what we’re getting paid. No one is ever guaranteed big tips, and after being bombarded with the notion that one percent of the people have all the money and don’t pay any taxes, young people turn against “the man” and “feel the bern!”

A global pandemic has changed their world and given them tons of time to think about what they are doing and where they are going. They look at the stock market and clearly see the rich investors didn’t get harmed by Covid-19. Some made out like bandits. Many in the younger generation believe they are seen as economic crooks. They watched Donald Trump handle the pandemic in such an amazing way [irony] and lost faith in the system. However, they aren’t stupid. They know they cannot forever live a life of staying at home, watching Netflix and posting to their social media sites.

Sure, there are some people who are trying to figure out what they want to do next while living on the small amount of state and federal unemployment benefits, but they understand that’s not a true living. The people on Capitol Hill know this, right? Those folks who make the decisions certainly know the meager unemployment income isn’t a sustainable living, right?  Sadly, I’m not certain many of them comprehend the worth of a dollar.

Prices on essential goods are going up. According to MarketWatch.com, “The average monthly cost of groceries in March 2021 increased 3.3% from March 2020, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. From April 2020 to April 2021, the average monthly price of groceries increased 1.2% and in May, it increased 0.7% year-over-year.”

In 1970 I was in college and working as a disc jockey at a radio station making $1.75 per hour, which amounted to $70 a week. Over the years I have used the price of six-ounce Kraft macaroni and cheese dinners as the gauge of economic reality. I ate a lot of those back in the day, and they were 19 cents a box. Today a 14.5 oz. box costs $3.31, so let’s just say the cost of a box has increased from 19 cents to $1.65 in fifty years. After the pandemic, the cost of food is predicted to go up much faster, and let’s keep in mind that one cannot live on mac and cheese alone.

How do we fix the shortage of workers? We have to take a page out of the book of Karl Marx. Yes, I used the M word! You see, Karl was not only interested in how to deal with the supply chain of resources needed to make a product, but also the cost of making each item. It was only after that set of math was completed that Marx calculated workers’ wages. If it costs $15 to make something, and its market price is $20, the workers wage will be a small fraction of the profit. If it takes a worker one hour to make that item, they might be paid only pennies per hour. The workers never knew the behind-the-scenes calculations. Their only interest was getting paid the same as their co-workers. Now with the internet, workers can easily discover the costs and profits of business.

People who work for Amazon know that their owner/boss is the richest man on Earth, so they are not at all naïve about their place in the food chain. The Amazon warehouse worker recruitment website says, “SIGN-ON BONUSES UP TO $1,000 + Get paid up to $20 per hour.” And get this, if you can prove you have the Covid-19 vaccination you get a $100 bonus. Amazon is staying ahead of the curve because they know that if they don’t, their workers will unionize. Now these numbers are for warehouse workers. I am sure the software developers for Amazon’s products, websites and backend business systems are being paid top dollar, because Amazon must compete with giants like Microsoft and Google. As for the people who deliver all those Amazon boxes to your door, they are making $18 to $25 an hour.

The attitudes of the one million waiters and cooks changed when restaurants, even those who took PPP money from the government, sent them away when Covid arrived. Businesses are looking for workers right now, and many will have to deliver better benefits and higher wages to attract them. Many will be new workers rather than former employees returning, so costly and time-consuming training will be needed.

Is it humorous to you that West Virginia’s Joe Manchin came out against the minimum wage being raised to $15 an hour? Do you suppose he thought an increase would be bad for business or was he told to take that position by his donor and benefactor, Koch Industries? We may never know but one thing’s for sure. He didn’t see reality coming. Target, Best Buy, Under Armor and Kay Jewelers all recently increased starting minimum wages to $15 an hour. They did this to get in sync with the labor market, not to make Manchin look like a fool. With the intense competition to hire new employees, the bigger the numbers the better the quality of workers you will recruit.

Joe Manchin is utterly clueless about the post-pandemic economy and the need to protect voting rights. He clutches to the strange belief that only he, and he alone, can bring bipartisanship back to Washington. He’s a less articulate but more naïve version of Jimmy Stewart’s character Jefferson Smith in the movie Mr. Smtih Goes to Washington. Joe is getting his 15-minutes of fame but he’s no hero. One day he votes for the people, the next day he will vote for himself. Manchin is just another $1.75 an hour politician with his hand out.

BRAND NEW BOOK

We knew that the great divide in America would have a major effect on the presidential election in the year 2020, but something else was lurking that we didn’t anticipate. The world suffered a global pandemic of Covid-19, and everything changed. The lockdown motivated one author to write MASHED POTATOES: Covid, Cancer & Comfort Food. The cover ironically claims the book is a “humorous” recollection of 2020, but one might ask, “Where was the humor?” This is a work of survival to motivate those who desire to get beyond Covid-19, beat cancer and defend our precious Democracy.  The world got Covid, the writer got cancer and we all ate copious amounts of comfort food. It’s time to swallow the truth, survive the madness, take a large spoon and savor some delicious MASHED POTATOES. Get some here. 

 

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here