June 19, 2006
THIS AND THAT
Caption: The minimum wage vote has this man sitting on the edge of his seat.
Here's random selection of updates on several issues.
As mentioned in yesterday's post, the Senate is expected to vote on the minimum wage as early as Wednesday. The AFL-CIO has provided a toll free number to the Capitol switchboard for people to contact their senators. Supporters of the increase are asking for people to call as soon as possible and urge passage of Senator Kennedy's amendment and oppose any alternative proposals that would weaken it. The number is 1-888-355-3588.
MEDICARE PART D.
Speaking of goat ropes, the Associated Press reported earlier this month that four to five million seniors did not sign up for the prescription drug plan by the May 15th deadline and now face permanent financial penalties. A number of groups urged Congress to eliminate the deadline and penalties. These have not moved although legislation to do so was introduced. Meanwhile a real fix to the program would put Part D under Medicare, end the gravy train to drug and insurance companies, negotiate for reduced prices and eliminate gaps in coverage.
COMPARISONS. According to Newsweek (June 12 issue), the US comes in second behind Finland in growth-competitiveness rankings. The strong performance of countries like Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland shows that having a strong social safety net--especially universal health care--doesn't hurt and can actually help increase economic competitiveness.
The July/August issue of Foreign Policy shows that the US ranks with China at zero in the number of weeks of legally required vacation time. Some countries with four weeks or more of legally required vacation time, including Ireland, Norway, and France, ranked ahead of the US in productivity.
Maybe we should all do our patriotic duty and slack off for a while to catch up.
GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED
by El Cabrero