Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, December 1, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 16



 Mountain Views News Saturday, December 1, 2012 

HOWARD Hays As I See It


 President Obama won his re-election and is entitled to say that the American 
people voted for him, and by extension, the policies he has trumpeted. But 
the American people also voted for the very same composition of the House 
of Representatives. That is to say, they’ve kept in office both Democrats and 
Republicans at about the same ratios they started with before the election. If 
there is a mandate here, it is to deal with the damn issues that confront this 
country. That reading of the election results is only reinforced by a review of 
Obama’s campaign promises. As he did in his first campaign, he has promised 
to be a uniter, to seek bi-partisanship, and to grow the economy. The current 
fiscal cliff negotiations are a perfect venue to prove those promises are real. 
Sadly, that’s not what the President is trying to do.

 Over the last 40 years or so, the debate between Republicans and Democrats has resulted in a 
seesaw between tax rate changes and spending increases that were both within a range that kept our 
deficit at a tolerable size. Think of the deficit as you would your house mortgage. The size of it is not 
itself important. Its size relative to your income is absolutely important. In our modern era, deficits 
in the $200 billion range are certainly tolerable. We can afford them, pay the interest on the resulting 
debt and continue to grow the economy which further allows that federal debt to be paid back. That 
will sound like heresy to some of my more conservative, fiscal hawk compatriots, but as a trained 
economist I know of what I write.

 To provide just a bit more perspective on this, let’s consider federal revenue and expenditures for 
2007. As they often say in the wine business, 2007 was a good year. Rounded off, revenue was $2.5 
trillion, expenditures were $2.7 trillion, and the deficit was $200 billion. This year’s projected deficit 
is $1 trillion. This is a deficit in a league of its own. It has no precedent.

 Now some would say that the economic collapse is at fault, that economic activity and revenues 
have shrunk so much that the burgeoning deficit was inevitable. Unfortunately, cold hard facts don’t 
support this view. 2012 revenues are $2.4 trillion, just barely under their 2007 level. Were this just 
a revenue issue, our deficit should only be a measly $100 billion more than it was in 2007. Ahhhh, 
for the good old days!!

 The problem is expenditures, not revenue. Federal expenditures for 2012 are $3.5 trillion. That’s 
about $1 trillion more than 2007, and we’re surprised that our deficit has ballooned? More amazingly, 
some in our punditry class – and apparently some among the voters – believe that expenditures have 
nothing to do with today’s problems. I can only refer them back to the last six sentences. But let 
me make it easy for them. Revenues are back to where they were. Expenditures are out of control!!!

 There will still be some who hold fast to the belief that even if expenditures have risen, they are 
justified – necessary even – and we must raise tax rates (on the rich only, of course) to make up the 
$1 trillion deficit. History has always been a cruel task master, and here again it offers a severe wrap 
on the knuckles.

 A recent George Mason University study (here’s the URL for those that insist:
sites/default/files/publication/historical-revenue-path-plus-top-marginal-rates-analysis.pdf) shows 
very clearly that tax rates on the wealthy have little affect on the amount of tax revenue collected by 
the federal government as a percentage of GDP. From 1945 to the present, we have had income tax 
rates from the low 90% range to today’s 35% range. The amount of revenue that has been collected 
has rarely grown above about 18% to 20%. You can raise tax rates all you want, but you will NOT 
increase revenues as a percentage of the economy. The wealthy have the luxury of deciding when and 
where to recognize income by deciding when and where to start businesses and employ other people.

 We are not going to solve this problem with higher taxes. We will solve this problem by keeping 
expenditures within the same range as revenue. When we keep federal expenditures at about 20% of 
GDP, we either balance our budgets or run fairly small, manageable deficits. Today’s revenue is at 
the 2007 level of about 20% of GDP. Today’s expenditures are 25% of GDP, and are projected to rise 
to 46% of GDP by 2050. And that’s without a single increase in the number of government programs. 
God only knows what that expenditure level will look like when Obamacare is fully implemented. 

 Into this national crisis and debate, steps President/candidate Obama. He’s a smart guy; I don’t 
doubt that for a second. So I know he has been shown these very same numbers and trends. He 
knows what’s going on. The only way we solve this problem is to lower expenditures and grow the 
economy. With his second term assured, his response is to deep six the bipartisan homilies and olive 
branch and tell the Republicans A) we need to spend more, B) he will not touch any entitlement 
program at all, ever, and C) we need to tax the rich even more. He doesn’t want to fix the deficit 
or grow the economy. He wants to take more from everyone. He knows he will eventually have to 
increase tax rates on the middle class to pay for his vision of government.

 This is not bipartisanship. It’s not honesty with the voters. It’s not graciousness in victory. It’s 
not principled negotiation. It’s politics as usual, and it’s going to be a disaster for the country. No 
matter what the President says, no matter what spin the media put forward, we cannot afford the 
same old politics as usual.

About the author: Gregory J. Welborn is a freelance writer and has spoken to several civic and religious 
organizations on cultural and moral issues. He lives in the Pasadena area with his wife and 3 children 
and is active in the community. He can be reached at

“This is a big giant prize for unions, this is a big giant prize for those who are anti-
capitalism . . . Don’t think that the people in Bangladesh who perished didn’t want or 
need those jobs.”

 - Fox Business host Charles Payne, on the 129 mostly female workers who died 
earlier this month in the fire at a garment factory producing clothes for Walmart.


 Charles Payne commented not out of sympathy for those who died, but out of 
defensiveness – miffed there were those who might exploit the tragedy by drawing 
connections to the Walmart workers who walked off their jobs in protest on Black 
Friday here at home. Some might draw such connections because, explained Payne, 
“the unions in this country are desperate.”

 There were, in fact, connections drawn by Scott Nova of the Workers’ Rights Consortium in 
an interview with The Nation: “Walmart is supporting, is incentivizing, an industry strategy in 
Bangladesh: extreme low wages, non-existent regulation, brutal suppression of any attempt by 
workers to act collectively to improve wages and conditions . . . This factory is a product of that 
strategy that Walmart invites, supports and perpetuates.”

 From the factory’s perspective, Nova observes, “if they allowed workers to organize and bargained 
a contract, if they invested in necessary health and safety equipment, if they restructured the building 
to make it safe, put in place sprinklers and outside fire escapes, their costs would rise, they would 
have to charge more for their product, and they would immediately lose Walmart and their other 

 Jon Stewart on The Daily Show drew his own connections – suggesting the fire in Bangladesh 
should make those ungrateful Walmart employees here in the U.S. feel fortunate, because “at least 
where you work, there are exits!”

 Charles Payne of Fox and others complain that everybody picks on Walmart, the nation’s largest 
employer with 4,500 stores and 1.4 million workers. A study put out this month by the public policy 
center Demos shows that the attention is well-deserved.

 The study shows how Walmart’s race-to-the-bottom goes back to the 1960s, when founder Sam 
Walton was forced by the courts to give up his scheme of setting up shell companies to avoid federal 
minimum wage laws. It cites a 2005 study from New York University that Walmart pays its workers 
28% less than other big retailers, and one from UC Berkeley describing how the effect of Walmart on a 
community is to replace higher-paying jobs with lower-paying ones. According to that study, average 
retail wages in those communities are 10% lower, and health coverage 5% less, than if the Walmart 
had never opened.

 The Demos study takes figures from the U.S. Department of Labor to show that over the next 
decade retail will be the second largest source of new jobs in the U.S., an industry where the average 
income for a full-time worker is $21,000 a year. It analyzes what would happen if lower-paid workers 
at the large retailers (at least 1,000 employees) were given an average 27% raise, bringing their annual 
income up to at least $25,000. The study finds that in so doing:

 1.5 million families would be lifted from in or near poverty.

 Between 100,000 and 132,000 jobs would be created from more disposable income pumped into 
the economy.

 GDP would go up by $11.8 to $15.2 billion annually.

 The cost of the raises would be about 1% of the industry’s $2.17 trillion in total annual sales, or 
about $4 billion less than the $24.8 billion the industry currently spends on stock buybacks.

 If the cost were passed on to consumers, it would amount to an extra 15 cents per shopping basket.

 Most of the costs, though, would be recouped by higher productivity. Sam’s Club, for instance, 
has only half the per-employee sales as Costco, where the wages are 40% higher. Trader Joe’s is 
another company where higher-paid employees results in more productivity, better training, and 
lower turnover.

 It’s not that the companies can’t afford it. Walmart, for instance, is 23% more profitable than it was 
before the Recession – but keeps employees at minimum wage.

 Whatever the advantage of lower prices, the community ends up paying in other ways. The UC 
Berkeley study shows that in 2004 when Walmart reported $9.1 billion in profits, California taxpayers 
foot the bill for $86 million in public assistance for its employees. Democratic Congressional staffers 
calculated that in 2004, each 200-employee Walmart store costs taxpayers an average $400,000 yearly 
in public assistance (Medicaid, food stamps, WIC, etc.)

 Last June, immigrant workers at Walmart supplier CJ Seafoods in Louisiana walked off the job 
picking crawfish, complaining of 24-hour shifts with no overtime, and threatened beatings to speed 
up work. Workers at Walmart warehouses in Illinois and California staged walk-outs last October 
complaining of unsafe conditions, no overtime pay and temperatures reaching 120 degrees. The 
group OUR Walmart (Organization United for Respect) staged walk-outs throughout the country on 
Black Friday – and the movement’s not going away.

 It’s not that everybody at Walmart is barely scraping by. While Mitt Romney famously spoke of 
the bottom 47%, the Demos study states that if you were to take the bottom 42% of Americans and 
combine their wealth, it would be less than the combined wealth of the six heirs to the Walton fortune 
($90 billion).

 Eight months ago, the body of Bangladeshi labor activist Aminul Islam was found, showing signs 
of torture. He’d been working to organize garment factory workers and bring dangerous conditions to 
the attention of international media. According to Scott Nova of the WRC, “It’s virtually certain that 
somebody acting at the behest of the government or industry killed him.” As for those 129 who died 
in the garment factory fire, their families each received compensatory payments of $1,250.

 By the way – did you know we have a bunch of dandy non-big-box merchants stocked with all sorts 
of gift ideas right here in Sierra Madre? Happy shopping! 



I blame feminism for why I feel entitled to equal rights. I have no qualms 
seeing the toil and struggle of my foremothers allowing me opportunities 
not available to them.

For example, my generation doesn't have to be married. This is the 
product of our mothers' saber rattling. Being married is no longer necessary; 
now it's a choice. And with a choice, there's leverage and you get 
to negotiate your own terms. Free market!

Because of federal legislation, specifically the Equal Credit Opportunity 
Act (ECOA) of 1974 ensuring single women could obtain their own 
credit card, we can now be financially independent. It's not just Roe v. 
Wade, it's women demanding birth control access and informed health care decisions. It's women 
lobbying for gender parity and equal protections.

Due to feminist victories, this country has changed. Our mores have changed. Women have changed. 
Marriage has changed.

Nothing illustrates the quagmire this has made for Republicans more than Congresswoman Michele 
Bachmann's campaign for the GOP nomination for president. Bachmann stated in a speech in 2006 
that she hated taxes but studied tax law in order to be "submissive to her husband." During the primary, 
at a debate in Iowa, she was asked if she were president would she, in fact, be submissive to her 
husband. The question drew boos from the crowd, but it was on point: She was running to be commander-
in-chief, but claimed to have this conservative traditional Christian marriage. For women to 
be the Republican ideal, they have to be unqualified to be president.

It's a weird balancing act. Republican women are required to enjoy the fruits of feminism while championing 
every force that's ever opposed it. This was made clear when Sarah Palin was tapped to be the 
first-ever female GOP veep candidate. Members of her own party criticized her for running for office 
with such young children. Palin tried out the short-lived phrase "conservative feminism," which is up 
there with giant shrimp and authentic copy.

It's an impossible standard for female Republican politicians: They have to be coy and a leader; feminine 
and effective; homemaker and career woman; traditional and radical feminist pioneers.

Republicans have lost battles in the war on women they initially (and unsuccessfully) launched as a 
war on religion. They have a woman problem. They have also maintained the majority in the House. 
How do these two things mesh up? The Speaker of the House chose committee chairs that are all men. 
A sea of white Grand Old Party dudes.

This illustrates the dichotomy of gender equality for Republicans: They want women to vote for them; 
they want to say they have women in their caucus; they want women to be Republicans; but they 
clearly don't prefer them as leaders.

Before the GOP committee chair choices looked like the mug shot lineup for a white middle-aged 
groping suspect, this wasn't as obvious, but now it's undeniable: Republicans treat Republican women 
like tokens. Palin was used as an "us too" shield combating a diverse Democratic ticket. Just like Governors 
Nikki Haley and Susana Martinez get mentioned as a comeback to the criticism of a way too 
homogeneous party.

Brian Kilmeade, host of "Fox and Friends," summed up the Republican opinion on women perfectly. 
When asked how Fox News, the entertainment wing of the Republican party, finds such stunning 
conservative stars to be on their network, Kilmeade offered, "We go into the Victoria's Secret catalogue 
and we said, 'Can any of these people talk?'"

Binders full ... of women.

Tina Dupuy is an award-winning writer and the editor-in-chief of Tina can be 
reached at

California Lottery Commission Approves 
Popular POWERBALL® Game

SACRAMENTO - The 5-member California 

Lottery Commission today unanimously voted to 
formally adopt the multi-state mega-jackpot lottery 
game, POWERBALL. The Lottery conducted 
extensive research regarding the viability of offering 
a second multi-state game and concluded that 
POWERBALL would enhance the organization’s 
current portfolio of games. POWERBALL sales 
will begin in California on April 8, 2013, the first 
draw will take place on April 10, 2013.

 “We have to continually offer our loyal players 
a variety of entertaining Lottery games, and we 
firmly believe that POWERBALL is a right fit for 
the California Lottery,” Lottery Director Robert 
T. O’Neill said. “I expect POWERBALL to add 
anywhere between $50 to $100 million additional 
dollars to supplement public education funding, 
which is our one and only mission. Plus, our customers 
were pretty clear that they wanted us to 
bring POWERBALL to California.”

 The $2 POWERBALL game is played much like the popular MEGA Millions® game. Players would 
choose five numbers from 1 to 59 and one red POWERBALL number from 1 to 35. Players can 
choose their own numbers or opt for a Quick Pick. Draws are held every Wednesday and Saturday 
at 7:59 p.m. PST. Unlike MEGA Millions and SuperLotto Plus®, POWERBALL’s pool closure occurs 
promptly at 7 p.m. PST each draw day. Besides the jackpot, there are eight additional ways to win 
prizes. The amounts will vary due to the State’s pari-mutuel rules.

A major difference between California’s existing draw games is that the POWERBALL jackpot begins 
at $40 million and increases by at least $10 million every roll.

The POWERBALL draws take place in Tallahassee, Florida.

 The mission of the California Lottery is to provide supplemental funding to California schools while simultaneously supporting 
local communities. More than 94 cents of every dollar spent by our players goes back to local communities in the form of contributions 
to public schools and colleges, prizes and retail compensation. Since 2000, Lottery players have contributed $1 billion to public 
schools each year, and, since we began in 1985, Lottery players have contributed a total of more than $24 billion to education. 
The California Lottery urges its customers to play responsibly and within their budgets. If you feel you have a gambling problem, 
or know someone who does, you can get help at 1-800-GAMBLER.