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All People Matter

Ten Observations On Mitt Romney’s Comments On 47% Not Paying Federal Taxes—These Are Many Of His Own Voters He Is Talking About

Mitt Romney believes that nearly half of Americans are moochers on the public dime.

(Above–Mitt Romney. Photo by Gage Skidmore.)

Here is what Mr. Romney said

” There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax…[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Here are my observations on Mr. Romney’s comments—

1. If 47% of the electorate was in the tank for President Obama before the election season began, he’d be ahead by a lot more right now since there clearly are also many tax paying people who support the President.

2. People who don’t pay federal taxes are still paying sales taxes and may well be paying property taxes.

3. Since nearly every Black voter in America is voting for President Obama, I guess taking all Black folks as freeloaders fits in with the Republican worldview.

4. As conservative commentator William Kristol points out, many of those who don’t pay federal taxes are people who will most likely vote for Mr. Romney.

5. It is states that are likely to support Mr. Romney where people get the most government money on a per-citizen basis.

6. Many don’t pay federal taxes because of Republican policies over the years.

7. Since he won’t release his tax returns, how can we know that Mr. Romney is paying any taxes?

8. Many hard-working people don’t pay federal taxes because many jobs in this country don’t pay very much money.

9. Many highly profitable corporations–and we all know that corporations are peopledon’t pay any income taxes.

10. I don’t know a single person of working age who does not work or, if not working, who is not actively looking for work. Not one such person in my life comes to mind. And few people I know well are voting for Mr. Romney

Going back to point #4, here is what some of what Mr. Kristol wrote about Mr. Romney’s assertions—

“It’s worth recalling that a good chunk of the 47 percent who don’t pay income taxes are Romney supporters—especially of course seniors (who might well “believe they are entitled to heath care,” a position Romney agrees with), as well as many lower-income Americans (including men and women serving in the military) who think conservative policies are better for the country even if they’re not getting a tax cut under the Romney plan. So Romney seems to have contempt not just for the Democrats who oppose him, but for tens of millions who intend to vote for him.” 

Mr. Romney’s views are in many ways an indictment of Republican policies over the years and of millions of people who are likely to vote for him this fall.

His comments are meant to delegitimize Obama voters as lazy people who do not work when just a moment’s thought on the subject would suggest this not to be the case.

Mr. Romney has made it clear who he is and what he thinks of millions of decent Americans.

We are each free to interpret this information as we wish as Election Day approaches.

September 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 7 Comments

Labor Day History And Facts—Labor Day 2012 Is On September 3

Labor Day for 2012 is Monday, September 3.

All work merits respect. We should treat all working people with respect. How we treat our fellow working people is a mirror of the extent to which we respect ourselves.

A good way to treat working people with respect on Labor Day is to tip at a time-and-a-half rate if you eat out or ride in a taxi or do anything else that normally merits a tip on this upcoming Labor Day. People workng on Labor day merit the same time-and-a-half rate of pay that you would expect for working a holiday.

( The picture above of people working at sea was taken by Danny Cornelissen for the portpictures.nl website.)

Here is a history of Labor Day from the U.S. Department of Labor.

From that history–

“Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our countryMore than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers. Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.” But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.”

File:Construction worker.jpeg

Here is the web home of the AFL-CIO.

Here is an American labor movement history timeline from the AFL-CIO.

Here is a series of article from the liberal magazine The American Prospect about where American workers stand today, and what can be done to improve how working people are treated in our nation.

Here is a history of women in the American labor union from New York State United Teachers. 

Here is a history of black Americans and the labor movement.  

The history of labor in the United States is your history. Work is the time and effort of your life. We need the wages and benefits we earn at work to be able to live decent lives.

There is also an International Labor Day.  International Labor Day, or May Day, marks the Haymarket Riot in Chicago in 1886. Please click here to learn more about the Haymarket Riots and the Haymarket Trial.

Respect for working people involves understanding that the goods you buy must be sold for a fair price if the people who make and sell those goods are to receive a decent wage and good benefits. Selling goods at a fair price also helps your own employer stay in business.

Respect for working people does not stop at the American border. Cheap goods we purchase in America are often produced by underpaid and poorly treated workers in other nations.

Labor Day is, for many at least, a time to get a break from work.

It is also a time to reflect upon what it means to be a working person at a time when the rights of workers—to the extent they exist at all—are under ceaseless strain.

( Photo above by Holger Hubbs.)

August 21, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 5 Comments

Tip At Time-And-A-Half On Memorial Day—Self-Respect And Respect For Fellow Working People Are The Same Thing

Memorial Day weekend is coming up.

There will be a lot of people out and about over the holiday weekend.

Though, of course, the purpose of the holiday is to recall our soldiers who have died in our wars.

While out and about enjoying your holiday weekend, please be mindful of the people who are working over the weekend and on Memorial Day.

Treat them well and tip them well.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday.

Tip people the same time and-a-half-rate that you would expect to be paid for working a holiday.

If you normally tip at 15%, tip at 22.5 % on the holiday. If you normally tip at 20%, tip at 30% on the holiday.

If you are not paid a fair wage on a holiday, that is not the fault of the person helping you on Memorial Day.

Self-respect and respect for fellow working people are the exact same thing.

Sometimes I go to the convenience store up the street on holidays.

When I do, I buy the folks working a $1 lottery ticket to thank them for working the holiday.

We’ve got to look out for each other and treat each other well.

It is up to each of us to look out for each other and treat each other well.

May 25, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Why Not Show Some Valentine’s Day Love And Respect For Your Fellow Working Person?

Valentine’s Day 2012 is Tuesday, February 14.

If you have a Valentine or not is your concern alone. The gender of that person is your concern alone.

I’m not like these conservatives out there prying into your bedroom and your personal life in the name of limited government and personal liberty.

My Valentine’s message here is that we show some love for each other as working people.

Above is a picture I took last week of a well-done display to sell Coca-Cola products at a nationally known drug store chain.

That display took some hours of a person’s life to get right.  All that Coke was delivered to the store by a working person driving a truck. Many working people had a hand in making that display possible.

The things that everyday working people get right have value. The hours of our lives have value.

The respect we show for others as everyday working people is a measure of the respect we have for ourselves.

Let’s treat each other well as working people. Leave good tips for good service. Treat people as you would wish to be treated. Understand that the frontline person you are taking with is not the same person who set the company policy that you are frustrated with at a given moment. Understand that labor has the right to organize and to insist on fair treatment.

We are not powerless. We have the everyday ablity to respect others and to respect ourselves. We can make life better for ourselves and others if we each make the decision to work together for a more fair and just society.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

February 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

Wisconsin Workers Fight Back—We All Have The Option To Fight Back

Citizens are flooding the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison to protest efforts by Republicans to almost completely restrict the right of public employees in Wisconsin to unionize and to collectively bargain.

(Above–Protests at the Wisconsin state capitol.)

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says these changes are needed because Wisconsin has a budget crisis.

Yet it would be easy to ask unionized workers to pay more for their benefits, without also passing legislation that makes simply maintaining a public employee union from year-to-year very difficult.

The point of Republicans in Wisconsin is union busting.

Is this what working people in Wisconsin who voted Republican wanted last November? Don’t we have any respect for each other as working people in this country anymore?

It is one thing to ask public employees to pay more for benefits. That does not have to be the same thing as union busting.

It is good to see working people fighting back in Wisconsin. People all across the nation have the option to fight back against Republican assaults on hard-working Americans.

February 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Working People Celebrated In Cincinnati Mural—Let’s Have Confidence In Ourselves

I’m sitting right now in the giant half-rotunda of Cincinnati’s Union Terminal.

The picture with this post is a section of Winold Reiss’ famous mural depicting the history of Cincinnati.

You see both black and white working people in the photo.

This would be a better nation if we could see ourselves more clearly as fellow working people—no matter if white collar or blue collar— and not tear each down because of resentments,or due to racial and ethnic differences.

I think respect for fellow working people is in good part about self-respect. Let’s have the confidence in ourselves to have faith in our ability for collective action. Let’s have the confidence in ourselves to fight back and win against rising income inequality and declining benefits and wages.

January 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Have Respect For Your Fellow Working People Who Must Labor On A Holiday—So Many Ways To Ask If Burger King Is Open On Christmas

Last year I wrote a post about a Burger King in Houston being open on Christmas Day. The post was prompted by the picture you see above. I took that picture last December on a very rare snowy day in Houston.

(Picture copyright Neil Aquino.)

My feeling was that Burger King did not need to be open on Christmas Day. The employees would want to be at home with family and Burger King on Christmas Day seemed depressing. I realize  many folks eat at Burger King and I pass no judgment on that fact. I’m simply not certain that Burger King on Christmas Day is needed by anybody if only for the reason that the staff would be forced to be work.

I can recall growing up in New England in the 1970’s when many business places were not open on Sunday.  I don’t know if that was for the best or not, but it was at least a day of rest to a greater extent than we see today. On the other hand, more hours open means more hours for staff to be employed.

On the Christmas Day just past, I did in fact visit a local convenience store/gas station. So you can say I’m a hyprocrite. I walked over to the store to buy an early edition of the Sunday Houston Chronicle. I get the final edition delivered to my door. I did not need to buy the early edition.

However, I also bought two $1 instant lottery tickets and gave them to the clerk. I thanked him for working the holiday. It is up to you to judge if these facts exonerate me.

Burger King stays open on Christmas Day and on other holidays for a very good reason. Many people want to spend money to eat at Burger King on Christmas Day.  At the end of this post are just some of the search terms that internet users wrote on or around Christmas Day 2010 to see if Burger King would be open Christmas Day. There is something like 65 different versions of the question listed below. That is not all of the listings. My blog got more than 900 page views on this topic alone for a post over a year old. (I guess that is some assurance that Texas Liberal has at least a little pull on Google.)

(Above–A Whopper. Here is nutritional information on Whoppers. A Whopper will meet almost all your daily saturated fat needs. Here is nutritional infromation for all Burger King menu offerings.)

Business places have plenty of profit motive to be open on holidays. So I suppose the question is what can we do as working people to acknowledge the fact that some folks must work holidays for non-essential reasons. And ,of course, the same consideration must be accorded to people who must work for the public safety or in any type of business that cannot shut down for a day.

Here are some possibilities for us to act in a respectful way that asserts that value and dignity of all labor—

1. In jobs where tipping is customary, we could tip at the time-and-a-half rate that all workers should expect on a holiday.  If you normally tip 15% for good service, than you could tip 22.5% instead on holidays. If you normally tip close to 20%, as you should consider doing if you have the resources, than a tip near 30% would be fair. This may seem high, but the fact is that your waiter is working a holiday and working people should be mindful of the needs of other working people.

2. We could thank the person for working the holiday. How hard is that?

3. We could tip well and acknowledge the fact someone is working a holiday even if we feel somehow mistreated at our own work. Part of the respect we can show for fellow working people is not to spread around the misery we may feel simply because we lack the personal discipline to care about others.

4. We could advocate year-round for better treatment for working people. All work has value. It is a measure of our own self-respect that we see value and commonality in the circumstances of people who also give the hours of their lives to earn a living. All too often in our nation we have put aside our own best interests and the best interests of fellow working people so we can focus on hating people not like ourselves.

New Year’s Day 2011 is coming up. There is always some holiday on the horizon. Let’s treat people well.

Here is a series of articles from the public policy magazine The American Prospect dealing with how the rights of labor could be improved right now.

We all have the ability to make life better for ourselves and for others. This ability to make life better never takes a holiday.

Here are but some of many ways people inquired as to the availability of a Whopper on Christmas Day—

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December 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Flight Attendant Today Was A Pro And I Told Her So

The flight attendant on my Cincinnati to Houston flight this afternoon was a pro. She was polite, communicated well, and was patient.

As I was leaving the plane, I offered her a complement.

We’ve got to be respectful of our fellow working people. It is up to working people to advocate and offer respect for other working people.

Work is the hours of our lives.

February 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Houston Janitors Set-Up Facebook Page As Contract Expires In 2010

Houston’s commercial office janitors must negotiate a new contract for 2010. As part of the effort to gain public support for what will be a tough fight in a difficult economy, the janitors have set up a Facebook page.

Here is the link to that page.

Above is a picture from the Facebook page showing part of previous successful efforts for janitors to gain a contract in Houston.

Here is what the janitors say—-

“In the fall of 2006, low-wage janitors stood up for good jobs during an historic four-week strike for a better future for Houston’s families. Prior to the strike, most of Houston’s 5,300 commercial office janitors in Houston were paid just $20.00 per day and had no health insurance or any other benefits….By taking to the streets, these workers won a union contract that doubled their pay, gave them access to affordable health care, and created a path to prosperity, not only for their families, but for thousands of service workers. This contract expires in the spring of 2010…Today, the janitors are seeking a new agreement that will help Houston’s economy recover, building it stronger and fairer. The fight that Houston’s janitors are taking on is a campaign to preserve good jobs and health care for workers everywhere.”

Before she was Mayor of Houston, Annise Parker was a supporter of this cause. There is no reason to think she won’t be on-board with the janitors this time as well.

All work has merit and people deserve good pay and benefits for the work they do. We must work so that we can make money and live. Work is the hours of our lives.

We need to support the janitors and support all people fighting for the respect that hard work deserves.

February 4, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Martin Luther King Died Helping Working People

Above is a picture of a City of Houston garbage truck that I took at a Houston Martin Luther King parade two weeks ago.

The truck has a sign noting that Reverend King died while helping striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee.

We should recall Reverend King died helping average working people just like you and me.

All work has value. All working people merit respect. When you don’t respect working people, it is as if you don’t respect yourself.

The fact that so many people don’t respect themselves helps explain in part why this society is so messed-up.

How can they respect others when they do not respect themselves?

Here is my Martin Luther King Reading  & Reference List. It is the best such resource on the web.

A book about Reverend King in Memphis is Going Down Jericho Road—The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign. This book is by Michael K. Honey.

I can’t include Jericho Road in my King list since I have not yet read the book, but it is well-reviewed.

Here is the Facebook page of the City of Houston Solid Waste Management division.

February 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Who Needs Jobs When We Can Have Machines And Free Content And Outsourcing?

Above is a picture of the machine that one uses to check out books at the Houston Public Library.

You’ll not imagine this, but real human beings once did this work.


That is crazy talk!

We’ve got machines and free content and outsourcing now to take the place of the antiquated notion of jobs.

January 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 4 Comments

Tip Time-And-A-Half On New Year’s Day—Fellow Working People Merit Our Respect

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

If on New Year’s Day  you make use of the services of a person who normally would receive a tip,  please be certain to tip that person the same time-and-a-half rate you would expect to be paid for working a holiday.

(Photo above–The Di Costanzo family on New Year’s Eve 1942 at the restaurant they owned in New York City.)

This is only fair.

Cab drivers and waiters are working people just as you are.

If you are not paid extra for working a holiday, please do not take it out on others.

The rights and status of working people in this country are tenuous enough as it is.

If we do not respect each other as fellow working people, we are all screwed.

Please respect the labor of others just as you would hope others would respect the hours of your life that you spend at work.

And, also, please don’t drink and drive on New Year’s Eve.

December 31, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Must Burger King Be Open On Christmas Day?

(12/25/09-Blogger’s Note—As of 11 AM central time on Christmas Day, over 200 people have visited this post. Most all of them have done so by asking a search engine question about if Burger King is open Christmas Day. So I can’t deny that some folks do want Burger King open on Christmas. Are the folks asking this question working themselves today? If they go to Burger King, will they thank the staff for working on the holiday? Maybe even offer a tip? My own view remains that places should be closed on Christmas Day and that workers should get a paid holiday. Thanks.)

(12/24/11–Blogger’s Note–This is still a very popular post.)

Must this Burger King on Houston’s Harrisburg Blvd. be open on Christmas Day?

Don’t you imagine that the people who work at Burger King would like to be home on Christmas Day?

I don’t figure they are going to staff the place with Jewish folks and Muslims.

I suppose if Burger King is paying workers maybe three or four times normal pay to work Christmas—That would at least be something.

I doubt that is how much the staff will be paid.

All work has value and work done by employees at Burger King is honorable employment.

I know people need money and want all the hours scheduled on the job that they can get.

I know some folks may not have money for a fancy holiday dinner.

Yet, must so many places be open all the time?

When do people have the chance to rest and reflect?

You see it is snowing in the picture.

It snows in Houston every few years. It snowed a few days ago.

The snow gives the Burger King sign a festive holiday look.

No–Not really.

And there will be no festive holiday for folks at Burger King on Christmas Day.

December 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 19 Comments

Hyatt Hotels In Boston Outsource Housekeeping Staff For Much Lower-Paid Replacements—Governor Threatens Boycott

Hyatt Hotels in Boston have fired longstanding housekeeping employees and replaced them with outsourced and lower paid staff.

( Above–Boston is a great place to visit. But please do not stay at a Hyatt in Boston until they do right by the people who have worked hard for the company.)

From a September 18th post in the USA Today blog Hotel Check-In— 

It all started on Aug. 31 after the morning shift, when Hyatt Hotels’ corporate headquarters laid off the entire housekeeping staffs at the Hyatt Regency Boston, Hyatt Regency Cambridge and Hyatt Harborside Hotel, according to the Globe. Citing the tough economy, the existing housekeepers – some of whom at worked at the hotels for years – were fired. Hyatt then hired new workers from an out-of-state staffing firm, according to the story. And in a point now being disputed by Hyatt, the Globe also said that the housekeepers had to train their replacements after being told they would fill in for vacations…. Fast forward to this past Thursday. Several hundred hotel workers came out to rally against the firings in front of the Hyatt Regency Boston, chanting “Hyatt, shame on you,” according to the Globe..US Representative Michael Capuano and state Senator Anthony Galluccio called for a boycott of Hyatt, according to the Globe’s piece. “Maybe they should have just taken the chocolates off the pillows, I don’t know,’’ Capuano told the people assembled, according to the story. “If we let them do this, another hotel will do it, and then another business, and on and on.’’… The controversy kept snowballing today, with even the Harvard Business Review scolding Hyatt in its blog post headlined, “Lessons From Hyatt: Simple Ways to Damage Your Brand.”

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has threatened a boycott of Hyatt Hotels  by state employees on official business. 

Hyatt provides jobs for people and most of us need jobs. But we can’t get by in a nation where loyalty and good work has no value. Hyatt should bring back the dismissed workers. If wage cuts must be made, then deal with the people who have had a hand in making Hyatt a successful hotel chain.

When will American business places realize that if they hope to make money, that there are going to have to be workers and consumers who have good paychecks and steady work?

When will American consumers realize that a focus on price at the expense of everything else will lead only to a downward spiral of wages and benefits?

September 25, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Please Tip Time-And-A-Half On Labor Day—We Should Respect Our Fellow Working People

Labor Day is Monday, September 7. Here is a Texas Liberal post on the history of Labor Day with links to other facts about Labor Day.

Please remember that someone working on Labor Day is working a holiday. If you make use of the services of a waiter or a cab driver or anyone how normally gets a tip, please consider a tip at a time-and-a-half rate from what you would normally offer. If you normally tip 20%, tip 30% for the holiday.

People who work a holiday should get paid time-and-a-half. This is the rate of pay you would expect for working a holiday. If you are not paid that rate, please do not take out your frustration with this fact on a fellow working person.

Please treat working people with respect. Please do so all the time, but please be certain to do so on Labor Day and over Labor Day weekend.  How we treat other working people is a measure of the extent to which we respect ourselves.

September 4, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 2 Comments