Time and a Half



There are a lot of fringe benefits about our work life that we really owe to unions. We didn’t get them tanks to the goodness of our employers’s hearts. We got them literally through blood. Regardless of what people know of history, workers died to get the 40-hour work week, weekends and overtime.

But there’s always those who are doing everything they can to roll all of that back. The latest attempt? Conservatives want to give employees and employers the option of comp time versus overtime.

Comp time is when you earn time off for every hour you work over 40 as opposed to time and a half wages. Government workers have comp time though it’s not available in the private sector. Conservatives are trying to give them the option.

On the surface, it doesn’t seem so bad. It gives workers the chance to choose time off or the extra money. The conservative argument? ‘We’re trying to provide workers flexibility.’

It’s one thing I can’t stand about conservatives is their intentional framing of certain legislation. They say it’s about helping workers spend time with their families. Come on. We’re not stupid. It’s REALLY about businesses saving money on having to pay overtime.

One thing you won’t hear the conservatives go on about in their efforts to pass comp time is the fact that employers can dictate when and how much comp time you can take off. They can’t tell you how to spend your time and a half.

There are REASONS why we have certain regulations when it comes to work. It’s for the workers. If you’re going to change the law, at least be honest about the reasons why you’re trying to change it.

I think that’s what irks me so much. It’s the syntax that’s diametrically opposite of their intentions. Like ‘No Child Left Behind.’ That wasn’t really about children. It was about shutting down low-performance schools, ergo fewer campuses and higher student-to-teacher ration which means less in taxes.

Then there’s Voter ID, which conservatives said was about reducing voter fraud. Several studies, expensive studies, have concluded that there’s really no such thing.

But the Voter ID initiatives were never really about making sure a voters were who they were at the poll. It was really about keeping poor voters, who likely won’t have an ID and will likely vote Democratic, from showing up at the poll at all. Voter ID was a solution to a non-existent problem.

I’m not naive. I know that’s politics. It’s not too much to ask though to be honest about what you’re trying to do. Don’t say something is for workers when it’s really for businesses. Don’t say something’s about education when it’s really about shutting down schools and reducing taxes.

They should at least have the decency to  hide their misdirections in the bill and don’t say anything about it until it’s made law, you know, like the Democrats did.

(Interesting observation about this post, Andrew Carnegie once pushed violence against his striking union workers. His foundation helped sponsor the Voter ID study.)


Fundamental Rebel


The Right is rising and it’s exactly the way they planned it. Conservatives have mounted campaigns against medical care, global warming and just about anything or anyone who disagrees with their views. They’ll even eat their own, those conservatives who have the nerve to go moderate.

Global warming isn’t real. Why isn’t it real? Well, because combating global warming would require a shift in how we use fossil fuels. Government medical care is evil. Why? Because it might provide an alternative to the broken, ineffective private insurance system that we suffer from now.

Any deviation requires a swift response from action groups funded by covert donors. Americans For Prosperity, the Koch bros, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Donors Trust et al will start filing information requests, issuing lawsuits and funding political opponents of those going off message.

They enlist starving, angry mobs like the Tea Party bullies and make these top-down organizations appear to be driven by volunteers. Ironically the Right uses the exact methods they warn everyone about. They derive black funding from corporations. They craft a seemingly unified, coherent message and install it through “grassroots organizations.” They try to coin phrases with honorable terminology although they mean to do the opposite. See “No Child Left Behind.” They call minority leaders “racist” because those leaders have the gall to defend the rights of their people. All bullshit.

You know, there’s a term that encapsulates all of this organized rancor, rabble rousing and denying science because it interferes with the economy. It’s called fundamentalism. I’ve never heard of anything productive coming from a case of flaming fundamentalism.

What exactly is the end game? I know the capitalists simply want to restore Laissez-faire. The unemployed simply want a job. The upper-middle class wants to stop paying taxes altogether. The religious? I don’t know exactly what their total aim is. Maybe they all want us to start going to church on Wednesdays and Sundays, wear slacks with our shirts tucked in and reverse the First Amendment so they can have Nativity scenes on courthouse steps.

Sorry, you toss all of that into a blender, no good can come of it.