Article 43



Monday, June 21, 2021

NWO - Burrito Economics

image: chipotle pay

Burrito Economics

By Robert Reich
June 15, 2021

House Republicans are blaming Democrats for the rise in Chipotle burrito prices.

You heard me right. The National Republican Congressional Committee ISSUED A STATEMENT last week claiming that Chipotle’s recent decision to raise prices on their burritos and other menu products by about 4 percent was caused by Democrats.

Democrats’ socialist stimulus bill caused a labor shortage and now burrito lovers everywhere are footing the bill, according to NRCC spokesperson Mike Berg.

Republicans have finally found an issue to run on in the 2022 midterm elections. Apparently, Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head weren’t getting enough traction.

The Republicans tortured logic is that the unemployment benefits in the American Survival Act have caused workers to stay home rather than seek employment, resulting in labor shortages that have forced employers like Chipotle to increase wages, which has required them to raise their prices.

Hence, Chipotle’s more expensive burrito.

This isn’t just loony economics. It’s dangerously loony economics because it might be believed, leading to all sorts to stupid public policies.

Start with the notion that $300 per week in FEDERAL UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS is keeping Americans from working.

Since fewer than 30 percent of jobless workers qualify for state unemployment benefits, the claim is that legions of workers have CHOSEN TO BECOME COUCH POTATOES and collect $15,000 a year rather than get a job.

I challenge one Republican lawmaker to live on $15,000 a year.

In fact, evidence suggests that workers are holding back from reentering the job market because they dont have childcare or are still concerned about their health during the pandemic.

Besides, if employers want additional workers, they can do what they necessarily do for anything they want more of but canҒt obtain at its current price pay more.

It֒s called capitalism. Republicans should bone up on it.

When Chipotle wanted to attract more workers, it raised its average wage to $15 an hour. That comes to around $30,000 a year per worker still too little to live on but double the federal unemployment benefit.

Oh, and there֒s no reason to suppose this wage hike forced Chipotle to raise the prices of its burritos. The company had other options.

Chipotle’s executives are among the best paid in America. Its CEO, Brian Niccol, raked in $38 million last year - which happens to be 2,898 times more than the typical Chipotle employee earned. All of Chipotles top executives got whopping pay increases.

So it would have been possible for Chipotle to avoid raising its burrito prices by - dare I say?  paying its executives less. But Chipotle decided otherwise.

By the way, I keep hearing Republican lawmakers say the GOP is the “party of the working class.” If that’s so, the Republican Party ought to celebrate when hourly workers get a raise instead of howling about it.

Everyone ought to celebrate when those at the bottom get higher wages.

The typical American worker hasn’t had a real raise in four decades. Income inequality is out of control. Wealth inequality is into the stratosphere (where Jeff Bezos is heading, apparently).

If wages at the bottom rise because employers need to pay more to get the workers they need, that’s not a problem. It’s a victory.

Instead of complaining about a so-called LABOR SHORTAGE, Republicans ought to be complaining about the shortage of jobs paying a living wage.

But don’t hold your breath, or your guacamole.


Posted by Elvis on 06/21/21 •
Section Revelations • Section NWO • Section Dying America • Section Workplace
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Monday, March 22, 2021

Made in Mexico - Ford’s Next-Gen Vehicles

image: ford

America Last
Ford Announces Plans to Move Plant to Mexico 2 Months After Biden Enters Office

By Jim Hoft
The Gateway Pundit
March 17, 2021

The United Auto Workers union has informed workers at the Avon Lake Ford plant that it plans to move a major project slated for 2023 from Northeast Ohio to its plant in Mexico.

The letter, dated Friday, March 12, stated that Ford is going back on its agreement to build a “next-generation vehicle” at the Avon Lake plant in 2023.

In 2019, the UAW says Ford promised to invest $900 million in a new project at the Avon Lake plant, that was set to begin production in 2023. The agreement also included a “complete revitalization” of the facility.

Ford released a statement to 3News Tuesday that said:

Ford employs more hourly workers in the U.S. than any other automaker, assembles more vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker, and Ford chooses to invest in America more than any other automaker.

“We remain committed to investing $6 billion in our U.S. plants and creating and retaining 8,500 jobs in America during this four-year UAW contract. We are invested in Ohio Assembly Plant and our dedicated workforce there,” the statement says. “Since 2019, we have invested more than $185 million and created and retained more than 100 jobs at Ohio Assembly Plant, including actions planned for this year. This includes increasing our capacity to build additional Super Duty trucks at Ohio Assembly Plant to meet strong consumer demand.”


Posted by Elvis on 03/22/21 •
Section Dying America • Section Workplace
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Saturday, January 30, 2021

Visas and Ageism

image: h1b worker

U.S. Companies Use Visa Program to Displace Older High-Tech Workers

By Patricia Barnes
Age Discrmination in Employment
April 23, 2019

American companies are using the H-1B visa program to displace older high-tech workers with young, foreign workers who are paid less and willing to work long hours.

That is the thesis of an article by William R. Kerr, a business professor at Harvard University, published in THE MIT SLOAN MANAGEMENT REVIEW.

Kerr writes that older workers have GOOD REASON TO BE CONCERNED about how GLOBALIZATION affects their CAREER longevity.

He states that some 90 percent of immigrants brought to the U.S. to work at American tech companies via the H-1B program are under the age of 40.  He said U.S.companies find these workers attractive because they are paid less than older workers and are willing to work long hours and weekends.

As the appetite for tech workers increases among U.S. companies, the employment level of older Americans stays flat and becomes a dwindling share of the overall employee base,Ӕ writes Kerr.

The H-1B visa program allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

Kerr proposes the following changes to the H-1B program:

Instead of a lottery, the government could rank salary level as a way to prioritize visa requests across companies and support higher-valued needs.

Introduce a minimum salary level for an H-1B workers to limit a companys ability to use H-1B visas just to reduce their labor costs by displacing older workers.

Kerr says even these policy changes are unlikely to provide enough job security for older tech workers “because experience is less valuable in tech than it is in other fields, and strong IT capabilities exist all around the world.”

Several lawsuits have been filed without success by American workers who were laid off and replaced with foreign workers using H-1B visas. One of the most prominent was a federal lawsuit filed in 2016 by 250 IT workers who were laid off by the Walt Disney Company after being forced to train their foreign replacements. That case was subsequently abandoned after an adverse ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Gregory A. Presnell of Orlando.

A major problem for all older workers is that federal courts hold that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 does not prevent employers from terminating older workers because they are paid more.

THE NATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR AMERICAN POLICY REPORTS that four of six high-profile US tech companies - Amazon (2,515), Microsoft (1,479), Intel (1,230), and Google (1,213) were among the top 10 employers for approved H-1B petitions for initial employment in FY 2017.


Posted by Elvis on 01/30/21 •
Section Dying America • Section Workplace
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Saturday, December 12, 2020

Rise Of The Temp Workers Part 11 - Gig Delivery

image: gig economy

Corporate chieftains (backed by the economists and politicians they purchase) are creating what they call a workforce of non-employees for one reason: Greed. It directly transfers more money and power from workaday families into the coffers of moneyed elites.
- Rise Of The Temp Workers Part 9 - The Gig Economy

The structure of the labour market has fundamentally changed, and what we used to think of as unemployment has been replaced by mass part-time work, much of it unwanted.
- Unemployment is low only because “involuntary” part-time work is high - Business Insider, December 2019

Airbnb and DoorDash IPOs leave gig economy issues unresolved

By admin
The Finance Info
December 10, 2020

The GIG ECONOMY - aka the sharing economy - has been one of the most important online phenomena of the decade. This week it also made a loud splash on Wall Street, as the stock market listings of delivery company DoorDash and home rental company Airbnb met a euphoric reception.

But for a sector that is already getting long in the tooth, there are a surprising number of unresolved questions. Of particular interest this week: Are these good businesses? And, as their sometimes deleterious impact on society prompts a backlash, will they make good businesses in future?

This is an important transitional moment. Following last year’s initial public offerings of ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft, the main exemplars of this new style of online marketplace are now on the public markets.

It’s hard to argue with the gig economy’s impact. In the year before they went public, the four companies generated more than $100bn worth of rides, deliveries and home rentals between them (though some bookings have fallen back during the pandemic).

Using apps to organise informal markets has undoubtedly resulted in important new forms of competition and unleashed extra resources in the economy. That includes giving more people scope to participate in a part-time labour force (this is the “gig” part of it) and extending the use of assets like private cars and homes (the “sharing” part).

But that has not translated into profits. Even the flattering financial metric these companies prefer to be judged by - adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation - showed all four to be loss - making in the 12 months leading up to their listings, with some $3.3bn in red ink between them.

So are their BUSINESS MODELS half-baked, or just half-evolved?

While Airbnb has a solid gross margin above 80 per cent, the pre-IPO range of 45-57 per cent for the other three shows how much their supposedly lightweight marketplace models are weighed down with the costs of trying to generate demand.

These include the subsidies that have been lavished on consumers during vicious battles for market share. This may not have generated clear financial returns for shareholders, but it has undoubtedly generated consumer benefits. For many people, getting a ride whenever you want or ordering a meal from a smartphone are now just part of everyday life.

Regulation will undoubtedly increase costs further and limit the companies’ room for manoeuvre. The benefits of labour market arbitrage paying lower costs for informal workers - are likely to erode as the political heat intensifies. Meanwhile, city authorities are starting to realise that it may not be in their residents best interests if the streets are full of empty ride-share cars, apartments are unavailable for rent to local workers, and restaurants close down because of excessive fees charged by delivery companies.

The stock market has a way of exerting discipline. Even if the current euphoria rewards profitless IPO candidates, the pressure will build to hone their business models. UberҒs stock price has more than tripled since its low point in March but it is still not above making sensible financial decisions. This week, it gave up on its expensive in-house attempts to develop autonomous driving and flying cars.

There are two obvious avenues to get to profitability. Consolidation has already swept through the ride-sharing and delivery apps, and there is more to come. Survivors will be in a better position to raise prices.



New Food Delivery Service Helps Local Economy

By Camri Nelson Dayton
News 1
November 21, 2020

DAYTON, Ohio - Brian Hoeflich is picking up food for his first delivery of the day. He’s a driver for Dayton’s very own new food delivery service, 937 Delivers.

“I like the freedom of it and the fact that I’m working on my own and basically self-managing myself when I’m on the shift,” said Hoeflich.

With food in hand, Hoeflich is on his way to drop it off to the customer. 937 Delivers takes pride in not only its customer service, but also making sure it keeps its drivers and customers safe from COVID-19 through contactless delivery.

“From the time I pick up an order to the time I drop it off, I’m adhering to every COVID restriction that there is, as well as, you know wearing a mask keeping myself distant or going out of a restaurant, and then when I deliver I just delivered it to the door,” he said.

Unlike national food delivery services like DoorDash and Uber Eats, 937 doesn’t hit restaurants with extra fees. There’s a $5 delivery fee for customers and a $2 fee for partnering businesses.

“Everyone’s wallet is tight these days from the businesses to the customers. It’s better to have a more affordable system,” he said.

Pizza Bandit is just one of 12 Dayton restaurants who have partnered with 937 Delivers.

Marketing and Development Contractor Brian Johnson says it was important for this co-op because it truly helps the local economy.

“It’s critical that as much of the money spent on services and food like this stay in the community, where it’s offered,” said Johnson. “So, it was really important to us that we not be shipping off 30 percent to California and rather keeping that 30 percent here to help all of our local businesses get through this.”

937 Delivers is currently in the pilot stages, but will begin official orders on November 27.


Posted by Elvis on 12/12/20 •
Section Dying America • Section Workplace
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Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Take This Job And Shove It

image: wind up workers

[L]ivery car driver Douglas Schifter killed himself outside the gates of City Hall, after writing in a suicide note posted to Facebook, “I will not be a slave working for chump change. I would rather be dead.”
- Democracy Now, March 22, 2018

(American economics is so badly wrong that it says absurd, bizarre, hilarious things like: the economy’s booming!! at the precise moment that life expectancy is cratering, suicide and depression are skyrocketing, young people can’t afford to start families, old people can’t afford to retire, and average incomes have barely budged for half a century. LOL So when people living shorter, unhappier, grimmer, poorer lives, to the point that they kill themselves in despair, have become a “booming economy,” then, my friends, a theory of dunces has replaced reality with a grotesque and backwards illusion. The earth isn’t flat - though American economics would like us all to believe it is, in a weirdly Soviet twist.)
- Looking to 2019

I am single, 64, getting Social Security and working whatever jobs I can find that pay the bills. I’m finally in a job I like now, but it has taken years to get to this place. During those years, I worked in factories, in retail and at a gas station, and I did home care. You name it, and I’ve done it. I’m tired of job hopping to survive.
- Anita

Most of the women (and men) I worked with who suffered a similar fate never seemed to quite get back to where they were even though they worked as hard as I did and even in the booming tech market. And I pretty much expect every day that this could happen to me again, no matter how hard I work or how many points I put on the board. The worst part is the isolation. This is the first time I have ever let on how bad it was (is), and it still feels extremely risky to do so in a valley rife with swagger.

This happened to me in my 40s, and it took me a good 10 years to get back to a normal wage. It took periods of working three jobs at crummy wages and doing whatever I had to do to keep going. The truth is, your friends don’t notice the struggle, because they fear it will happen to them. Decide who your genuine friends are, and come clean to them. If nothing else, it will help to talk about it and frees you up from pretending. This is more widespread than most people think.
- Linda

And exhorting us to simply save more without telling us how to do it doesn’t help us either. I went with my sister to one of those financial-planning seminars and had to leave the room a few times because I was so upset by what I was hearing. It was just so sobering. I have no savings. The planner kept talking about putting 30 percent of your assets into this or that thing. Well, 30 percent of zero is zero. 
- Chris
- Boomers Burned By Recession Part 8


I can understand where all the people above are coming from.  LOOKING BACK at my own fall from happy middle-class American, to long-term unemployed/underemployed poor - the way I look at cheap low-wage temp jobs changed dramatically.

Before LOOSING HOPE OF LIVING OUT OLD AGE with a little peace and dignity, I’d DO ANYTHING TO MAKE A FEW BUCKS, which sometimes meant taking short-term minimum wage temp jobs, even if for one night sweeping floors for the janitor that called in sick that day - and come home with a check for $20.


Slavery in the U.S. may be illegal - but these crappy temp jobs that pay near nothing seem pretty close.

I guess that’s the PROCESS of middle-class turned POOR.  Kind of like the STAGES OF GRIEF. It starts with a sort of denial that translates to HOPE, moves through resentment (anger) of DEAD-END, low-pay jobs that wears you out while spiraling down a financial hole, and ends in ACCEPTANCE meaning SUICIDE, or living in POVERTY.

I’m guessing some BOOMERS that got the same BAD LUCK as me - FEEL THE SAME.



The Silent Exodus Nobody Sees: Leaving Work Forever
The “take this job and shove it” exodus is silently gathering momentum.

By Charles Hugh Smith
Of Two Minds
September 23, 2020

The exodus out of cities is getting a lot of attention, but the exodus that will unravel our economic and social orders is getting zero attention: the exodus from work. Like the exodus from troubled urban cores, the exodus from work has long-term, complex causes that the pandemic has accelerated.

These are the core drivers of the exodus from work.

1. Labor’s share of the economy has been in multi-decade decline. It’s easy to blame globalization and/or automation--and it’s true that the decline in labor’s share accelerated from 2000 on. But this trend began around 1970, long before China joined the World Trade Organization and the advent of “software eating the world.”

image: fred wage decline over the last 50 years

2. While it’s convenient for those reaping the big gains to blame globalization and/or automation, the real driver was financialization - the neoliberal move to deregulate finance so it could turn everything into an exploitable “market” that could be made to serve one master: shareholder value, the innocuous-sounding code-phrase for anything goes and winner takes most--if you’re rich.

image: fred inequality by income last 40 years

Shareholder value was the super-wealthy’s self-serving justification for unlimited greed as corporations went from being enterprises serving communities, the national interest, employees, customers and shareholders to financialization machines whose sole purpose was enriching insiders via loading the company with debt to pay huge bonuses to top managers, stock buybacks funded by debt, the abandonment of trustworthy accounting principles and so on.

Financialization and the deification of shareholder value sluiced all the gains into the hands of the few at the top at the expense of the many. As the chart below indicates, the top 0.1% enjoyed income gains of around 350% since 1979 while the bottom 90% barely topped 20%--a number that would be sharply negative if real-world inflation were included.

Simply put, the bottom 90%--wage-earners--lost ground over the past four decades of financialization while the wealthy winners of financialization became super-wealthy. The rewards of labor/work have diminished to an extraordinary degree for the bottom 90%, and even the 91% - 99% bracket has found their labor has mostly served to enrich those above them.

These trends will drive both the top wage-earners and the bottom wage earners out of the workforce. The managerial class that keeps the whole machine glued together can either retire or use their human and financial capital to find other less stressful ways to make a living and downsize their expenses to match their reduced income.

Some will be voluntary, many will be involuntary, but the results will be the same: a mass exodus of hard-to-replace skilled workers. This is what I’m calling the take this job and shove it exodus.

Once the Federal Reserve starts sending “free money” directly to households, many at the bottom of the pay scale will realize they too can take this job and shove it.

In Unprecedented Monetary Overhaul, The Fed Is Preparing To Deposit “Digital Dollars” Directly To “Each American” (Zero Hedge)

‘I cry before work’: US essential workers burned out amid pandemic Essential workers reported stress caused by increased workloads, understaffing, fears over Covid and struggles in enforcing social distancing. (The Guardian)

What few well-paid apologists seem to realize is that to equal the purchasing power of the minimum wage I earned in 1970 ($1.65/hour), the minimum wage would have to be close to $20/hour now. The absurdly under-reported rate of official inflation (the Consumer Price Index) claims that a minimum wage of $12/hour now equals the purchasing power of $1.65/hour in 1970, but since I’ve kept records of all expenses I can report that this is totally false.

Wages’ share of the economy has been in a relentless 50-year slide. The entire machinery of inflation calculation has been driven by the desperate need to mask the true collapse of the purchasing power of wages.

Once the workforce awakens to this, the silent exodus out of the workforce will gather into a flood tide. Permanent unemployment payments, Universal Basic Income (UBI), free Fed money--regardless of the program or name, these will enable a mass exodus of those at the bottom of the workforce pay scale while burnout will also decimate the ranks of essential managerial / skilled workers.

It’s payback time, people. Hey, Financial Aristocracy, clean your own floors and slaughter your own meat. Hey, corrupt politicos and apparatchiks, wipe your own tables and watch your own brats. The take this job and shove it exodus is silently gathering momentum.

The Protected Class of pundits, technocrats, flunkies, toadies and enforcers believes the take this job and shove it exodus is “impossible”, just as everyone believed the Titanic was unsinkable. Just as the Titanic sinking went from “impossible” to inevitable, so will the take this job and shove it exodus move from “impossible” to inevitable.


Posted by Elvis on 10/07/20 •
Section Dying America • Section Workplace
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