The Stand

Market wages, federal layoffs, our white socialism…

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Monday, March 20, 2017

 


THIS WASHINGTON

 

► In today’s Seattle Times — State budget would target 1 in 5 workers for big raises — If approved by the Legislature, most of the state’s 95,000 workers would get a 6 percent raise through the 2019 budget year. But nearly one in five workers — more than 18,000 — would see larger pay boosts. Many of the increases are necessary to recruit and keep workers on the job, Gov. Jay Inslee and Democratic lawmakers have said. Those positions range from mental-health and social-service workers to State Patrol troopers and workplace inspectors.

ALSO at The Stand — The consequences of our state’s low pay — The state’s own salary survey found that 99 percent of state job classifications are below market rates. Some 66 percent of state jobs are more than 25 percent behind, and 23 percent are more than 50 percent behind market rates.

► From KNKX — Carbon tax keeps popping up in divided Washington Legislature — Washington Democrats — and their allies in the labor and environmental movements — aren’t letting go of the idea of a carbon tax. They chalk up last November’s defeat to a flawed initiative, not a lack of public support. And they say another attempt at the ballot is likely.

ALSO at The Stand — Join WSLC at hearing for Clean Energy Transition Act — The Clean Energy Transition Act (HB 1646), sponsored by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-Burien), represents an innovative, comprehensive climate solution. Said WSLC President Jeff Johnson:

“HB 1646 recognizes that we must tax carbon and that we must invest those revenues in providing equity, high quality jobs, and the clean energy economy. The economic transition away from fossil fuels must be intentional and done in such a way that workers and communities are not left behind, but have an opportunity to prosper in the new economy.”

► In today’s News Tribune — Stop the PDC from becoming the petty complaint department (editorial) — We’re all for candidates accounting for campaign funds, but this growing game of partisan tug of war via complaints is getting out of hand.

 


LOCAL

 

► From The Stranger — Uber loses legal challenge, but Seattle unionization law still at risk — The City of Seattle, labor advocates, and Uber drivers hoping to unionize won a victory in King County Superior Court on Friday. King County Superior Court Judge Beth Andrus didn’t buy Uber’s argument that the city’s unionization rules were arbitrary and capricious.

► In the Tri-City Herald — Why AutoZone chose Pasco for $50M warehouse — AutoZone Inc. is nearing completion of its ninth U.S. distribution center, a 443,819-square-foot behemoth near Pasco’s King City Truck Stop. It will employ about 200 when it is fully operational, with an annual payroll of about $10 million. The state of Washington is providing $200,000 in cash and up to $3.2 million in tax breaks to AutoZone for the warehouse.

 


TRUMPCARE

 

► In the Spokesman-Review — Hundreds attend pro-Obamacare vigil in Spokane park — Kandi Quasne would be disabled without medication that costs $3,900 per month. Quasne, a dressmaker and seamstress who owns Amazing Alterations, began having severe pain in her hands and fatigue in 2014. As a small business owner, she hadn’t been able to afford health insurance for several years, but she qualified for a subsidy under the Affordable Care Act. She shared her story Saturday evening at a vigil held in Cowley Park, where several hundred people gathered to protest Congressional Republican plan to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the American Health Care Act.

► In the Spokesman-Review — Trumpcare is ill-considered; start over (editorial)

► From The Hill — House GOP faces make-or-break moment on Trumpcare — The House GOP leadership team is aiming for a floor vote on Thursday, but it remains uncertain if the measure can pass. House denizens should prepare themselves for an arduous Thursday. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) warned that “late votes are likely.” Assuming all members show up to vote, Republicans can only afford 21 defections to secure the minimum 216 votes to ensure its passage.

EDITOR’S NOTE — All four of Washington’s congressional Republicans — Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dan Newhouse, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Dave Reichert — are poised to vote “yes” on Trumpcare. In doing so, they would give massive tax cuts to the wealthy by stripping $880 billion from Medicaid for a plan under which the Congressional Budget Office estimates 24 million fewer people will have health insurance. Their statements echo Paul Ryan’s rhetoric about the newly uninsured simply being people exercising their “freedom” to go without health insurance. Translation: with nearly a trillion dollars stripped from Medicaid and health premium subsidies, they will be “free” to no longer afford it.

► From Huffington Post — White House admits Trump ‘insurance for everybody’ guarantee isn’t going to happen — The expectation of everyone in the nation getting health insurance if Trump took office came from promises he himself made.

► In today’s Washington Post — GOP lawmakers wouldn’t come to a town hall — so voters brought literal empty suits — In the past two months, Republican lawmakers who have dared to brave town halls have been upbraided, booed and yelled at. Some legislators are taking a simple lesson from the shouting: You can’t get booed if you don’t show up.

► From The Hill — Poll: Trump job approval hits new low — President Trump’s job approval rating has dropped to a new low of 37 percent, according to the latest Gallup tracking poll. Only 37 percent of respondents approve of the job the president is doing, compared to 58 percent who disapprove. The drop comes as Republicans pitch the GOP healthcare plan, seeking to rally members behind their proposal to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

 


THAT WASHINGTON

 

► In today’s Washington Post — Overshadowed executive order sets stage for threatened federal programs, workforce. Layoffs loom. — Less-known and less tamper-proof — but longer-lasting — than Trump’s budget proposal is his executive order, released three days earlier, outlining a “Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch.” The order and the budget proposal, plus an earlier hiring freeze memorandum, present a management strategy designed to jettison agencies, oust programs, slow hiring and dump employees.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Trump’s cuts to transportation would hurt economy (editorial) — Someone will have to explain to us the logic in following a call for $1 trillion in infrastructure spending during a presidential campaign with a budget proposal that seeks to cut and in some cases eliminate federal support for a range of transportation projects and services that are vital to the state’s and nation’s economy and quality of life.

► From Daily Kos — Got laid off? Republicans plan to make you pee in a cup for your unemployment benefits — Last week, Congressional Republicans pushed through a measure undoing Obama-era rules for when states can drug test applicants for unemployment insurance.

► In today’s NY Times — No crackdown on illegal employers (editorial) — Spending billions on border enforcement is futile if there are few consequences for those who hire undocumented workers.

 


NATIONAL

 

► In today’s NY Times — The money behind the conservative legal movementTens of millions of dollars flow each year to a collection of non profit groups — from the Federalist Society to the Judicial Crisis Network — that are trying to reshape the federal and state judicial systems. Most of the money moves anonymously, other is disclosed. Here we take a look.

► From The Onion — Convict sentenced to generating $80,000 to $100,000 in profits for private prison — “The defendant is hereby ordered to create a minimum of $80,000 in net profits at a medium security prison owned and operated by the CoreCivic corporation,” said Judge Gary Mueller.

 


TODAY’S MUST-READ

 

► From Forbes — Unspeakable realities block universal health coverage in America (by Chris Ladd) — No one stated their intention to create a social welfare program for white people, specifically white men, but they didn’t need to. By handing control to employers at a time when virtually every good paying job was reserved for white men the program silently accomplished that goal. White socialism played a vital political role, as blue collar factory workers and executives all pooled their resources for mutual support and protection, binding them together culturally and politically. Higher income workers certainly benefited more, but almost all the benefits of this system from health care to pensions originally accrued to white families through their male breadwinners. Blue collar or white collar, their fates were largely united by their racial identity and employment status… When Democrats respond to job losses with an offer to expand the public safety net, blue collar voters cringe and rebel. They are not remotely interested in sharing the public social safety net experienced by minority groups and the poorest white families. Meanwhile well-employed and affluent voters, ensconced in their system of white socialism, leverage all the power at their disposal to block any dilution of their expensive public welfare benefits. Something has to break.

 


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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