Tag Archives: Tuesday

living wages


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It’s Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

The White House and Senate Democrats are zeroing in on a plan to raise the minimum wage, which has not increased in more than four years, to $10.10 per hour. The Senate is expected to take up the plan sometime “very soon,” according to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

The renewed effort in Congress to increase the minimum wage comes afterimportant victories at the ballot box this past Tuesday.

ThinkProgress outlines five reasons why we should raise the minimum wage:

1. It would bring it in line with inflation: While the federal minimum wage isn’t indexed to inflation (unlike some state minimum wages) and hasn’t been raised in four years, if it had kept up with inflation since its peak in the 1960s it would be over $10 an hour. Many fast food workers have been calling for a $15 minimum wage — a rate that will soon go into effect in a small town in Washington state — which is more in line with what civil rights activists demanded in the 1960s.

2. It would boost the economy: While opponents of a minimum wage increase claim that it will hurt job growth, research points to the opposite. There is little evidence that it would hurt jobs, but it would very likely help businesses through increasing demand, lowering turnover, and boosting prices and would give the economy a big boost thanks to more money in people’s pockets to spend on purchases.

3. It would lift millions out of poverty: Full-time minimum wage workers earn just $14,500 a year, which for someone with two kids means living $3,000 below the poverty line. The wage isn’t enough to make rent in any state. Raising it to $10.10 an hour, on the other hand, would lift nearly 6 million people out of poverty.

4. It would be a big help for women and people of color: People of color make up 42 percent of minimum wage workers despite representing just 32 percent of the overall workforce, and women make up two-thirds of the country’s minimum wage workers despite being half of the population. Raising the wage to $10.10 an hour would lift 3.5 million people of color out of poverty and help close the gender wage gap.

5. Americans support it: A recent poll showed that 80 percent of Americans support raising the wage to $10.10 an hour, and that includes two-thirds of Republicans and nearly 80 percent of those making $100,000 or more. On Tuesday, voters approved minimum wage increases in New Jersey and a town in Washington and they also approved raises in the 2012 elections in three other cities. In fact, when given the opportunity, voters nearly always approve minimum wage raises by substantial majorities.

Raising the minimum wage it’s just good policy, it’s “a political goldmine.” The issue is very popular and cuts across party lines. In fact, it’s the perfect issue to help Democrats attract more white working class voters.

BOTTOM LINE: Raising the minimum wage will be a huge boost to our economy. More money in the pockets of workers means more customers for businesses large and small, which in turn leads to a virtuous cycle that creates jobs and grows the economy.

This Is What Progress Looks Like


Progressives Rack Up Wins on Tuesday

Yesterday was a big day for progressives. Here’s a look at the important victories we racked up at the ballot box and elsewhere.

  • Why Ken Cuccinelli Lost The Election: By defeating Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli II in the gubernatorial election Tuesday, Virginia voters rejected one of the most openly-right wing politicians in the country. While he at times attempted to downplay his record, Governor-Elect Terry McAuliffe (D) repeatedly hammered the point that Cuccinelli was focused on his own agenda of climate change denial, anti-LGBT discrimination, restrictions on women’s reproductive health, steadfast opposition to the Affordable Care Act, and blocking any gun violence reduction efforts.
  • The Biggest Winner From Last Night’s Election? Obamacare: Virginia’s Ken Cuccinelli — the loudest critic of health care reform — went down in defeat on Tuesday night, paving the the way for the “bellwether for national politics” to expand Obamacare to nearly 400,000 Virginians.
  • Minimum Wage Increases Won On Tuesday Night: Voters in New Jersey and SeaTac, a small town in Washington state, voted to increase the minimum wage through ballot initiatives on Tuesday night. In New Jersey, the minimumw age will rise to $8.25 and be indexed to inflation. In SeaTac, a community incorporated around the Seattle airport, voters passed an initiative that means thousands of airport workers will now be paid a living wage of $15 per hour, the most generous in the nation.
  • Hawaii House Committees Advance Marriage Equality Legislation: After five grueling days of testimony from thousands of individuals, the Hawaii House Judicial and Finance Committees — meeting jointly — advanced marriage equality legislation to the full chamber, where it is expected to pass. The legislation already passed the Hawaii Senate during this special session, which Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) called specifically to pass marriage equality.
  • Four Cities Voted To Remove Penalties For Marijuana Possession:These initiatives roll back local penalties for possessing less than 1, or less than 2.5 ounces of marijuana (depending on location), regardless of whether it is for medical or recreational use. But they leave residents vulnerable to not just federal prohibition, but existing state laws.

UCS and Nuclear Weapons


UnionofConcernedScientists

Nuclear weapons have become a security liability, not an asset. Since these weapons were first invented and used nearly 70 years ago, the world has become a much different place. The Cold War has been over for a quarter century, yet the United States and Russia still have thousands of nuclear weapons, hundreds of which are kept on hair-trigger alert, raising the risk of an accidental or unauthorized launch in the absence of any credible threat. Despite the president’s commitment not to build new nuclear weapons, the administration is now planning to spend tens of billions of dollars to do so. In 2009, President Obama pledged to seek a world free of nuclear weapons, but he must take strong steps now if we are to see any real progress during his tenure. —Karla

This Just In
The future of nuclear weapons in the U.S. The future of nuclear weapons in the United States? To safely reduce the number of nuclear weapons in this country, we must ensure that those we do have remain reliable, safe, and secure. But what does that require? A new UCS report, Making Smart Security Choices, takes a big-picture look at the laboratories and facilities that research, design, produce, and maintain nuclear weapons and recommends cost-effective changes that will improve national security and save taxpayers money. MORE

Ask a Scientist

Report: Making Smart Security Choices

“How much does it cost to create a single nuclear weapon?”—Z. Witmond, New York, NY

Although the United States hasn’t built a new nuclear warhead or bomb since the 1990s, it has refurbished several types in recent years to extend their lifetime. It also plans to replace its entire arsenal with a suite of five new weapon types over the next 25 to 30 years, violating the spirit if not the letter of President Obama’s 2010 pledge not to develop new nuclear warheads. This plan, along with modest reductions in the U.S. arsenal of both deployed and reserve weapons, will cost taxpayers some $250 billion in the next few decades. That’s roughly equal to 30 years of federal funding for Head Start programs for kids at 2012 enrollment levels. MORE

Lisbeth Gronlund

Lisbeth Gronlund, Ph.D.,  Co-Director, Global Security Program

Follow Lisbeth’s blog >>

Science in Action
Missile Defense Missile defense: costly and unproven. There are much better ways to alleviate the threat of missile attack than by spending billions of dollars to build a missile defense system with an abysmal track record that will not make Americans safer. Urge your senators to oppose funding for costly, unproven, missile defense sites and to instead work to alleviate the threat posed by nuclear weapons in more sensible ways.

The law that let her abuser go


By Fallon Williams
Brookline, Massachusetts

Honor Jennifer Martel: Protect Victims of Abuse

27-year-old Jennifer Martel was a caring mom to a little girl. Working her way through college, Jennifer hoped to become an elementary school teacher. Jennifer’s boyfriend had a long history of criminal activity, including domestic violence, yet was released on his own recognizance after smashing Jennifer’s head into a mirror Tuesday, Aug. 13. Just two nights later, he was found covered in blood after stabbing Jennifer to death in the presence of their four-year-old daughter and neighbors.

While Massachusetts is at the forefront of the war against domestic violence, the recent murder of Jennifer Martel highlights a gaping flaw in the current system. Under M.G.L. 276 sec. 58A, offenders can be released on their own recognizance, without any bail set, within 24 hours of an assault. An emergency restraining ordered was issued against Jennifer’s assailant, but since Jennifer did not appear in court the day after she was attacked, her assailant was released without bail on his on recognizance.

When I heard about Jennifer’s murder, I was moved to create this petition. It seems senseless that this beautiful, caring young woman is gone. Something must be done to ensure this never happens again. As a child, I was a victim of domestic violence and witnessed the abuse of my birth-mother as well. Luckily, my father was able to remove me from the situation. Most children are not so lucky.

Females murdered by a current or former partner account for 30% of homicides against women each year. In many instances of intimate partner homicide, domestic violence is a precursor to murder. More often than not, victims of domestic violence do not take action against their abusers for a number of reasons, including fear of retaliation. Known abusers should not be allowed to walk free without bail within 24 hours of a repeat offense. Special concern should be warranted when there is a child in the home, as well.

I am asking for your signature on this petition, in order to prompt the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to close the loophole that allows repeat, violent offenders to be released without immediate consequence, putting their victims and the public at risk.

Think Progress … and #ACA


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Yes, People Are Enrolling In Obamacare

Obamacare enrollment has been open for nearly three days now, and the initial interest has been staggeringMillions of people have checked out the health exchange websites, both for the federal exchange at healthcare.gov, and the state exchanges. And while it’s no surprise that opponents of the law are quick to claim that glitches and wait times associated with the demand indicate some kind of failure, the truth is plain: people want to learn more about the law, and people are signing up.

Over at Think Progress, Tara Culp-Ressler has a round-up of five people who have successfully signed up for Obamacare online:

Leslie Foster from California: 28-year-old Foster enrolled in California’s state-run exchange on Tuesday night, when traffic was a little slower and the site worked better. He told the Wall Street Journal that he settled on his choice on Wednesday morning. Foster is eligible for federal subsidies and will only end up paying about $62 each month for his new insurance plan. “It’s a great deal,” he said. He noted that people on other places have been experiencing more glitches, and said he’s glad that his state embraced health reform. “I’m grateful for being in California. They were definitely ahead of the ball,” he said.

Chad Henderson from Georgia: 21-year-old Henderson successfully enrolled in his state’s federally-run exchange early Tuesday morning. Hetold Wonkblog that he wanted to be one of the first people to sign up for Obamacare because he had read a few articles that said young people would be critical to the health law’s success, and “really just wanted to do my part to help out with the entire process.” He did experience delays with the HealthCare.gov site, and waited about three hours before he could create an account. But he said it was “pretty smooth sailing” from there, and enrolled in a plan with a $175 monthly premium.

Bill Henderson from Georgia: Chad Henderson’s father, Bill, also enrolled in Georgia’s exchange on Tuesday morning. In an interview with the Huffington Post, the younger Henderson said his dad has been uninsured for years, remarking, “I can’t remember a time when my dad has gone to the doctor. He’s just sucked it up.” The two enrolled in separate plans even though Obamacare allows Chad to remain on Bill’s plan until he turns 26. Chad said his father wanted him to take responsibility for his own insurance plan.

Kathy Kanak from Illinois: On Wednesday evening, Kanak tweeted that she had successfully enrolled in a plan on her state’s partnership exchange. Illinois worked with the federal government to set up its insurance marketplace, so Kanak used the federal HealthCare.gov site to enroll. “Success at Healthcare.gov! I’m enrolled!” she tweeted around6:50 pm on Wednesday, adding, “Just took patience. Works great once you are in. People at phone center answered right away and were so nice!”

Leslie Peters from Rhode Island: Peters, who has been uninsured for five years due to her pre-existing conditions, was one of the first people to enroll on Rhode Island’s state-run exchange. She said she was “chompin’ at the bit” to sign up, and was surprised at how easy it ended up being. Peters didn’t encounter website glitches and completed the process in about 15 minutes. “It feels great to know I will soon have insurance and not have to worry about this anymore,” she told Kaiser Health News. “Not having insurance is something I worried about all the time.”

BOTTOM LINE: Republicans fear the successful implementation of Obamacare so much that they are willing to shut down the government over it. But even the government shutdown can’t stop the enrollment process and can’t stop people from getting affordable health care coverage. Obamacare is here to stay.