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Ear to the Ground

That’s House Speaker John Boehner to You

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Posted on Jan 5, 2011
AP / Alex Brandon

The gavel and sound block for House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio is taken through Statuary Hall to the floor of the House on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday.

It’s official: On Wednesday, the House of Representatives named its next speaker, replacing weeks of rumors with reality by handing Ohio Rep. John Boehner the gavel, “which I accept cheerfully and gratefully, knowing I am but its caretaker,” he said. 

Click here for other highlights from Boehner’s speech on Wednesday. —KA

USA Today:

Boehner was formally nominated by Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the GOP conference. Hensarling hailed Boehner’s up-from-the-bootstraps life story, noting the Ohio lawmaker is one of 12 children and waited tables and mopped floors to get through college.

“He has lived the American dream and will protect it for our posterity,” Hensarling said.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, January 7, 2011 at 5:33 am Link to this comment

MY ANSWER

pw: And they start at entry level incomes,usually with no benefits.

The conditions of employment in America are deplorable. Europeans are much better off. So, the pertinent question is Why? (The real answer for which is historical.)

My Answer: Because they elected a political class with the will to change the Labor Laws.

Some interesting characteristics of European labor-law:
* Personnel representatives (at least two) elected directly to the Board of Directors.
* Four weeks vacation immediately
* The employment contract contains these stipulations:
** It is a viable contract that can be broken only for “grievous fault” (by the employer) or justification of down-sizing for economic reasons (and which must be justified before an Employment Court.
** Considerable separation indemnity is due from the employer to the employee
** Either parent can ask for 6-months following the birth of a child.
** Upon childbirth, a woman is able to recuperate her previous position or one equivalent.
* Employers have tax write-offs if they provide day-nursery facilities. Parents otherwise have tax credits for such facilities if used elsewhere.
* An employee tax is settled upon the corporation to fund Continuous Employment Training programs - so as to maintain/enhance skill levels.

And one other interesting bit of reasoning: If profits are a return on capital invested, why are they not also a return on labor? Labor is an input as much as capital in any business operation.

So, why should profit sharing be the private preserve of Top Management? Why not a regulation that requires equitable sharing of the net profits by all company personnel?

And why should stock-options be also the preserve of only Top Management? Why not allow stock-options (against Performance Metrics) for all Personnel? (In some American companies stocks are indeed offered to personnel at discount prices. But, such stocks cost the company nothing and their sale is pure profit.)

Of course, the above measures would reduce somewhat American workforce productivity, but they would also enhance workforce remuneration. Which, importantly, means more Disposable Income, which means more Consumer Demand, which means more Supply, which means larger business volumes (and thus profits). And a higher standard-of-living for all Americans.

To me, the above notion (called the Virtuous Circle) is a Win-Win Solution for both sides, aside from being both ethical and socially just.

And it is by far better than the present Vicious Circle that has caused the unemployment misery of so many of our fellow citizens.

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By purplewolf, January 6, 2011 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

Why such a big hammer Boner? It is compensation for your smaller accomplishments?

Lafayette:You have many valid points.I believe we need to have certain requirements for anyone who plans on entering a career in politics.Unfortunately,most of those currently in these positions are sorely lacking in the needed skills.Even the lowest paid position of non- skilled workers in this country have to have certain skills or train-ability. And they start at entry level incomes,usually with no benefits. This should be also be applied to the elected so called representatives,who after all,are servants of the people to do their bidding,thus making them service workers as well.Even Mitch McConnell feels that service workers should be paid less than 2 dollars per hour with no benefits.It is time that the same practices are applied to these politicians that the everyday working American has to live with.If your work,job performance,or end results are not what is expected, they need to be fired.No take with you pensions, medical or other benefits and NO UNEMPLOYMENT as they were fired for doing as inferior job.Perhaps if their cushy jobs were in jeopardy,America and the world would see a better class of political employees. Then and if-ha-they correct the problems and start to do the jobs they were elected to do,let the American people be the ones who decide if they deserve a raise in their wages or not.

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By felicity, January 6, 2011 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

Faux pas no. 1 - That’s a croquet mallet Mr. Speaker,
not a gavel.  More to come?

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By Maani, January 6, 2011 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

I’ll bet deep down he really wanted to take that gavel and pummel Pelosi…LOL

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, January 6, 2011 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

A SEISMIC POLITICAL GROUND SHIFT

Despite the comments below, remember this salient fact: The American voting public elected not only this lush to office, but a good many others of his political bent.

A nation of people such as ours, that bases their judgment of its political class upon so little substantial fact deserves the government it gets.

We are the reflection of our political class in office. In any real democracy, this simple fact is inescapable.

During the Reagan years - and quite possibly because of the failure of the Great Society - American political opinion (traditionally centrist) veered hard to the Right. It has yet to turn back, but one can see (despite the mid-term election results) that their thrust forward has been arrested. (The vote against the Dems was a backlash for not having worked the economic miracles that Americans naively expected of them and this PotUS.)

POST SCRIPTUM: The Torch

If progressives want to alter American politics, they must change American grassroots political opinions. Our time would be better spent outside this blog addressing fundamental progressive issues (Income Fairness, Social Justice, Public Health Care, Work-force Skills Enhancement) at the bottom-most level.

When and if that seismic political ground-shift occurs, then LaLaLand on the Potomac will change its complexion accordingly - and not before. For the moment, Americans are largely ignorant of the policy issues suggested above and how they fundamentally affect their well-being and standard-of-living.

The torch is nonetheless still burning.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, January 6, 2011 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

E. J. Dionne of the Washington Post:

Republican “rhetoric is nearly devoid of talk about solving practical problems…. Instead, we hear about ... highly general principles divorced from their impact on everyday life….. During the campaign, they put out a nice round $100 billion in spending cuts from which they’re now backing away. It is far easier to float a big number than to describe reductions for student loans, bridges, national parks or medical research.”

Which is why the political debate in the US has been skewed and off-target for decades. We are so obsessed with money that it confuses our ability to think clearly. (Like not being able to see the forest from the trees.)

A society must first decide what it wants. It thus develops societal objectives that it can expect a party platform to pursue. Amongst those societal objectives are some that relate to the economy:
* Full Employment (as many household earners as possible in decent jobs at decent wages)
* Income Fairness (a far more equitable sharing of the wealth that our economy generates).
* Market Competition
—Assures geographic coverage (no corporate cherry-picking of markets according to their ease of profit-making)
—Assures that there are no market oligopolies (which strangle markets to assure profit-streams by limiting the number of market participants)

There are also issues of social justice:
* A decent Health Care system that assures both Preventive Medicine (that, for instance, will help reduce the Obesity Pandemic) and Remedial Medicine—both of which are accessible to all citizens (and registered non-nationals) at a decent cost.
* Good (and free) Primary and Secondary Education systems that graduate individuals with base skills allowing them to obtain jobs. Low-cost Tertiary Education (vocational, college, university) that allows those who chose to do so higher levels of skill qualifications.

There are Infrastructural matters that must be addressed:
* An energy supply-system that unhooks us from foreign dependency upon fossil-fuels. One that expands renewable energy sources. One that reduces substantially energy costs, which flow through to all operational costs (household, corporate or institutional).
* A transportation system that reduces CO2 emissions. (For instance, replacing commercial aircraft with electric high-speed trains.)
* An Internet highway that is not controlled by private companies, meaning enhancing the oversight of the FCC in the matter of its management.

I could go on, but proposing the above is intended to focus the debate upon matters other than the budget (which is a tentacular beast). We cannot forget the budget, which is in chronic deficit, but it is by looking at its components that will be found its deficit-salvation - along with a better standard-of-living for Americans.

But each and every one of the above suggestions has a mirror-image in industry/commerce that must necessarily be impacted by significant changes. This is where the Replicants will drop their anchors as they strive to keep us attached to a system that is anachronistic, inefficient and wholly inadequate to assuring our future.

It is this inbred fear-of-change that coalesces the Right. And as FDR once said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, January 6, 2011 at 4:46 am Link to this comment

A SEISMIC POLITICAL GROUND SHIFT

Despite the comments below, remember this salient fact: The American voting public elected not only this lush to office, but a good many others of his political bent.

A nation of people such as ours, that bases their judgment of its political class upon so little substantial fact deserves the government it gets.

We are the reflection of our political class in office. In any real democracy, this simple fact is inescapable.

During the Reagan years - and quite possibly because of the failure of the Great Society - American political opinion (traditionally centrist) veered hard to the Right. It has yet to turn back, but one can see (despite the mid-term election results) that their thrust forward has been arrested. (The vote against the Dems was a backlash for not having worked the economic miracles that Americans naively expected of them and this PotUS.)

If progressives want to change American politics, they must change American grassroots political opinions. So, our time would be better spent outside this blog addressing fundamental progressive issues (Income Fairness, Social Justice, Public Health Care, Work-force Skills Enhancement) at that base level.

When that seismic political ground-shift occurs, then LaLaLand on the Potomac will change its complexion progressively. For the moment, Americans are largely ignorant of the issues suggested above (in parentheses) and how they fundamentally affect their well-being and standard-of-living.

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By purplewolf, January 6, 2011 at 12:00 am Link to this comment

That’s NUT HOUSE Speaker John Boner To You.

I knew he would start that phony crying bit and sure enough,he did.He is nothing but a drunken lush who cries in his beer. He sure as hell isn’t crying for the American people he and his party of haters are about to dump unto the American people.

Is this position going to interfere with his nightly bar excursions by 5pm-6pm at the latest every night? He can use his “big hammer” to crack the ice for the harder stuff.

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By Rixar13, January 5, 2011 at 9:17 pm Link to this comment

Weeper of the House - “which I accept cheerfully and gratefully, knowing I am but its caretaker,” he said.”

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