'Extreme right-wing' Marco Rubio is no moderate: Robert Reich
February 27, 2016, 3:29 AM ET
According to this mythology, workers at the bottom are “unskilled” and don’t deserve more than what they currently earn.
Minimum wage workers at McDonald’s are paid what they are worth in the so-called “free market.” If they were worth more, they’d earn more.
By the same logic, the CEO of McDonald’s is worth his multi-million dollar compensation package.
The notion that people are paid what they’re “worth” is by now so deeply ingrained in the public consciousness that many who earn very little assume it’s their own fault that they don’t earn more. That they simply lack the skills they need to be paid more.
But there’s no such thing as unskilled workers. Only underpaid workers. Their productivity — that is the value of what they produce — has been growing for decades. The problem is that their wages haven’t kept pace with their productivity.
The “paid what you’re worth” mythology also lures the unsuspecting into thinking nothing can be done to change what people are paid. It’s simply the way the market works.
Meanwhile, according to this same view, CEOs who rake in tens of millions and Wall Street traders who rake in hundreds of millions, are simply being paid what they’re “worth” because that’s what the market has dictated.
Rubbish. The “paid what you’re worth” fairytale ignores power and disregards policies that have made inequality skyrocket. Like the demise of antitrust enforcement, which has given big corporations the power to set prices, make record profits, and reward their CEOs unprecedented compensation. This fairytale ignores the attacks on labor unions that have reduced union membership from over a third of all private-sector workers in the 1950s to just 6 percent today. All of this resulting in a massive shift in power and wealth from workers to owners.
Those at the top justify their staggering wealth, and they’re “worth,” three ways:
The first is trickle-down economics. They claim that their wealth trickles down to everyone else as they invest it and create jobs. Just wait for it… But as we know, wealth at the top has soared for decades and nothing has trickled down.
The second is the “free market.” They talk about market forces beyond their control. But remember, markets are created by rules. These rules don’t exist in nature; they are human creations. The political power of the wealthy has let them change the rules for their own benefit — busting unions, monopolizing industries, and reaping big tax cuts.
The third is the idea that they’re superior human beings. Sure, they may be talented but this doesn’t justify the staggering amount of wealth they are now taking home. Nor does it justify the amount of wealth they will pass down to heirs. The biggest intergenerational transfer of wealth in history will occur over the next 25 years as the richest 1.5% of Americans hand down roughly some $36 trillion dollars to their children and grandchildren. That doesn’t make those heirs superior. It makes them lucky.
The reality is there’s no justification for today’s extraordinary concentration of wealth at the very top. Or for how little people are paid at the bottom.
The “paid what you’re worth” myth has proven to be a cruelly effective way to put the blame on workers for not getting ahead — while giving the rich and powerful cover to rig the game for their own benefit.
It is distorting our politics, rigging our markets, and granting unprecedented power to a handful of people while millions of Americans struggle to get by.
Don’t fall for it.
Are You Paid What You’re Worth? | Robert Reichyoutu.be
Judge Kyle Duncan, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, made the remark while serving on a 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel, which heard oral arguments for an appeal to overturn a judge’s order that Llano County officials return to shelves books that they had removed for purportedly not being age-appropriate for younger readers.
Other judges on the panel joined in questioning lawyers from both sides about the basis of their argument and the legal precedent that informed them.
The courtroom arguments were the latest battle in a war against certain books — mostly those that explore themes of race and sexuality — that has swept across the country, often led by Republican elected officials.
The Llano case has slowly unfolded and could potentially serve as a test of how the courts treat protections for libraries and librarians amid the trend of book challenges and efforts to ban them.
The ruling and appeal both pertain to a lawsuit that seven patrons of this Central Texas library system filed in April 2022, alleging their First Amendment right to access and receive ideas had been infringed when officials removed books based on their content.
The nearly hourlong hearing Wednesday marked the latest turn in a saga that first began almost two years ago with the removal of 17 books, including one for teens that calls the Ku Klux Klan a terrorist group, Isabel Wilkerson’s “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” and a comedic children’s book from Dawn McMillan’s “I Need a New Butt!” series.
It was not clear how or when the judges would rule on the appeal.
Jonathan Mitchell, who is representing the sued county officials and is also the architect of the state’s prohibition on abortions, argued the district judge’s ruling should be overturned for multiple reasons, including that the removed books are available to be checked out through the library’s in-house system and that the plaintiffs are not suffering irreparable injury because the books are available. Further, Mitchell said the librarian who had removed books did not do so with viewpoint discrimination.
“The plaintiffs, to be sure, would prefer for the books to be returned to the library shelves. But the First Amendment does not give library patrons a right to demand that books be stored in a particular location in the library, so long as the books remain available to the plaintiffs who are suing,” Mitchell said. “As long as the plaintiffs remain capable of accessing and obtaining each of these 17 books, and no one disputes that they are, they cannot possibly show that there is an ongoing violation of their constitutional rights.”
Katherine Chiarello, one of the lawyers representing the library patrons, focused on the motivation of the librarian who removed the books, arguing that the district judge found the defendants’ removal of the 17 books originated from officials in Llano County disliking the ideas contained in them, which is unconstitutional.
The defendants argue that the books were removed during a regular process of checking library shelves, a process called weeding. Further, they say the books are available upon request.
At one point during the hearing, Duncan, one of the judges, posed a hypothetical scenario to Chiarello: If white supremacist David Duke put his autobiography on library shelves, could a public library not remove the book?
Chiarello, explaining the legal precedent she was leaning on, said that if the book was already in the library, selected by a librarian, and “the substantial motivation for the removal is disagreement with the ideas, then yes, Your Honor, that’s unconstitutional.”
“It doesn’t matter that you and I are offended by that book — it can’t be removed because of that disagreement,” Chiarello said. “There are other things that librarians can do.”
While some of the contested books dealt with themes of race and sexuality, others covered lighter themes, like farting.
Moving away from a hypothetical scenario, Duncan brought up one of the farting books in question in Llano — saying “I never foresaw myself saying these words in the august courtroom of the Fifth Circuit.” In that case, he said, the librarian removed the book, which some patrons did not want. He asked if that was a First Amendment violation.
Chiarello said yes, if it was removed because the government disagreed with the viewpoints in the book.
Minutes later, Duncan said the books in question were not just about farting and butts but also content that had been called “pornographic filth” by defendants.
“The first question is, I mean, on its face, why is removing pornography from a library an impermissible motive under the First Amendment?” Duncan asked. “Surely, a library — if it discovers it has pornography, whether that be on the shelves or on the internet — can remove it.”
Chiarello said she agreed, but noted there would be no problem if the material had passed a legal test typically used to determine whether something is obscene, which did not appear to have been applied in Llano. Duncan responded that the evidence he was pointing to concerned the content in the books “Lawn Boy” and “Gender Queer.”
“Lawn Boy” is about a pre-teen’s experience with oral sex, Duncan said. “Seems obscene.”
The book, by Jonathan Evison, is a coming-of-age novel that has been targeted frequently for scenes that opponents call pornography. Literacy advocates and educators say such books serve an important role for marginalized students who may not see their lived experiences depicted in other literature.
Neither Chiarello or Mitchell immediately responded to emails from The Texas Tribune seeking comment.
Following the district court ruling in March, Llano county officials briefly contemplated shutting down the library system but did not after hearing from a parade of people who opposed the idea.
As the battle has slogged through the courts, some Republican elected officials’ focus on books in libraries has remained fixated. Lawmakers in Texas moved to change how schools stock their library shelves, passing a law that places the onus of identifying sexually explicit books on the businesses selling them to schools.
While supporters of House Bill 900 — including House Speaker Dade Phelan — say it is meant to protect children, librarians and legal experts have worried its language, from Rep. Jared Patterson, R-Frisco, is too vague and broad and some of the requirements will be unrealistic to fulfill — stifling business and ultimately dating and eroding library collections in schools.
Gov. Greg Abbott had not yet signed the bill as of Wednesday afternoon, but unsigned bills automatically become law as long as the governor doesn’t veto them before its deadline.
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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2023/06/07/llano-county-books-appeal/.
The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.
Now, they’re embracing efforts to vote before Election Day in a nationwide campaign dubbed “Bank Your Vote” that they hope will help them retain the U.S. House and win back the U.S. Senate and the White House in 2024.
“We have voters who like to vote on Election Day, and we’ve got to explain to them that we can’t allow Democrats to get a head start,” said Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, speaking on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “We don’t want to wait until the fourth quarter to start scoring touchdowns when you have four quarters to put points on the board, and that’s what this whole initiative is about, and we’re going to lead the charge on getting the Republican ecosystem to chase ballots and build an advantage before Election Day.”
While voting by mail (or absentee voting, as it also is called in some states) has been utilized by states like Florida for years, that voting method exploded in popularity in 2020 as the coronavirus emerged that spring, leading states to adopt and encourage vote-by-mail efforts. Nearly half of all voters (46%) said they voted by mail in the 2020 election, and among that group, about 40% said that it was their first time casting a ballot that way, according to the Pew Research Center.
Data (also from Pew) from the 2020 presidential election showed that Joe Biden did much better than Trump when it came to winning the vote before Election Day, while Trump won more of the vote on Election Day, hence the GOP’s “Bank Your Vote” campaign.
McDaniel said that the RNC will conduct focus groups and message testing on how to best communicate with Republican voters on pre-Election Day voting.
While Republicans around the nation were denouncing vote-by-mail in 2020 saying that it led to voter fraud, there were little concerns about that situation in Florida, where state Republicans embraced the process after the 2000 recount presidential election. That system has enabled them to consistently win close elections in Florida, even during cycles when they had fewer registered voters in the state than Democrats.
“Our state is probably one of the first states that really went through the process to make sure that early voting, absentee and mail-in voting was functional, could actually work, and actually be safe for its residents,” said Naples-area Republican Congressman Byron Donalds, who will co-chair the Bank Your Vote effort for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). “We want to take some of those successes in Florida and really make sure that we get them to other states.”
Republican Party of Florida Chair Christian Ziegler told the Phoenix that while putting an intense effort into banking early votes is something that has worked well for his party for nearly two decades, he does intend to take advantage of the national program to inform Republicans in Florida why it’s good to vote early or by mail ahead of Election Day.
“We need to encourage people to vote early and vote by mail as much as they can because strategically it’s good because it allows you to target less people as you get towards Election Day,” he said. “For other states it’s really going to be a big push that’s going to help them.”
Despite their success at the ballot box, Florida Republicans haven’t been immune to restricting vote-by-mail access in recent years. The Legislature passed and Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an election reform bill (SB 90) in 2021 that limited the use of drop boxes where voters can deposit vote-by-mail ballots and added more identification requirements for anyone requesting a vote-by-mail ballot. It also requires voters to now have to request a vote-by-mail ballot for each two-year election cycle, rather than every four years as was previously the case. A 2022 law (SB 524) raised the penalties for so-called ballot harvesting from a misdemeanor to a third-degree felony.
However, during a campaign stop in Iowa last week, DeSantis told one voter that “We’re going to do ballot harvesting,” adding “I’m not gonna play with one hand tied behind my back.”
During the question-and-answer session with reporters, McDaniel denied that Republicans as a political party had previously actively discouraged voting before Election Day.
“The RNC never said ‘don’t vote early,'” she said, while adding “that certainly it is a challenge if you have people in your ecosystem saying, ‘don’t vote early,’ or ‘don’t vote by mail,’ and so those cross-messages do have an impact. I don’t think you’re seeing that heading into 2024. I think that you’re seeing all of us singing from the same songbook.”
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