In today's On the News segment: Republicans want to eliminate your overtime pay; a Bloomberg analysis indicates that everyday employees are the only ones who are not benefiting from the historic profits seen since the 2008 economic meltdown; the Florida legislature is working to fast-track executions in the state, and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. Most of us are still feeling the effects of a struggling economy, but the corporate elite and the Wall Street banksters are doing better than ever. Many corporations have seen record profits in recent years, which have fueled buying sprees on Wall Street, pushing the DOW Jones to it's all-time high. But, the income gap between workers and CEOs, which has gone up almost 20% since 2009, shows that all that profit is going straight to the top. This is exactly why many people don't feel the effects of the modest economic recovery - because this recovery is not our recovery – all the gains are going directly to the top 1%. And this is why corporations are actively fighting the part of the Dodd-Frank act, that directs corporations to report the income differential between workers and CEOs. In 1960, the average CEO was paid about 40 times as much as the average worker. By 1990, CEOs were raking in over 100 times the amount that workers got. And by 2011, some corporate executives – like the one who works for JC Penny's – were making more than 1700 times the salary of an average worker. A Bloomberg analysis indicates that everyday employees are the only ones who are not benefiting from the historic profits seen since the 2008 economic meltdown. This is not only unacceptable, but it's undesirable – without a broad, inclusive economic base, long-term economic growth is impossible. It's time to stop the economic locusts who are sucking every last bit of profit out of our economy for the benefit of themselves alone. Dodd-Frank is forcing the oligarchs to disclose the income disparity, now let's start working to correct it. Let's implement a Wall Street transaction tax, set limits on executive pay, and start taxing those who are obsessed with hoarding money.
In screwed news... Republicans want to eliminate your overtime pay. A new $20,000 ad campaign targets working women, telling them to support the deceptively named "Working Families Flexibility Act." Originally a Paul Ryan brain child, this legislation would remove the requirement to pay someone time-and-a-half when they work over 40 hours per week, in exchange for so-called "compensatory time off." The major catch – when and how that time off can be used would be determined by your employer. The ad campaign will be featured on more than 100 websites that are typically frequented by woman, and the ads focus on the bogus benefit of not having "to choose between work and family." The fact is, employers can already offer flex-time scheduling, and many already do. A worker shouldn't have to give up a federally protected employment right to get that benefit. This ad campaign – and the legislation it's supporting – is a complete sham. Call Congress today and tell them you won't give up your right to overtime pay.
In the best of the rest of the news...
The next Senate race is on in Massachusetts. Yesterday, Representative Ed Markey beat fellow Rep. Stephen Lynch to become the official democratic candidate for Senate in that state. The seat was vacated by now-Secretary of State John Kerry, and it is likely to be an easy win for Democrats. As many in Massachusetts were understandably distracted by the Boston Marathon bombing, the primary race did not gotten much attention. Now that things are starting to settle down in Massachusetts, voters will have the time to focus in on selecting their next U.S. Senator. During his primary victory speech, Markey declared, "This campaign is about standing up to the special interests and the extreme Tea Party Republicans who want to stop progress and send our country in the wrong direction." That sure sounds great to me. The banksters and the Republican obstructionists better watch out... soon, there may be more than one outspoken Massachusetts Senator willing to take them on.
Just weeks after Maryland made headlines by repealing the death penalty, the Florida legislature is working to fast-track executions in their state. A new bill passed by Florida lawmakers would shorten the time between conviction and execution, despite that state leading the nation in the number of death-row cases that have been overturned. When confronted with the fact that many people are found innocent years after their conviction, Republican state senator Rob Bradley said, "this is not about guilt or innocence, it's about timely justice." And Matt Gaetz, the bill's Republican Sponsor in the Florida House, even went a step farther, saying, "Only God can judge, but we can sure set up the meeting." Florida Republicans obviously don't understand our criminal justice system, nor our Constitution. It may come as news to Mr. Gaetz, but God doesn't convict criminals in our country, the court system does. And Mr. Bradley may want to consider that justice isn't at all "timely" when an innocent person is put to death. We should outlaw the barbaric practice of execution entirely. End capital punishment!
And finally... For political candidates, endorsements from notable public figures can make or break an election. Well, former Governor Mark Sanford just received one endorsement that he may not want. This week, Larry Flynt, the publisher of Hustler Magazine, formally endorsed Sanford as his pick for South Carolina's next Congressional Representative. Flynt praised Sanford for "exposing sexual hypocrisy." According to Flynt, Sanford's 2008 Argentinian affair demonstrated "that traditional values are shameful and that he will not live by such rules." No word yet on whether Mark Sanford has thanked Mr. Flynt for his glowing endorsement, or how conservative voters in South Carolina feel about electing the nation's first candidate to be endorsed by Hustler. We think Mark Sanford should be honored by the endorsement...after all, Larry Flynt sure knows how to pick a boob.
And that's the way it is today – Wednesday, May 1, 2013. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news.