Looks like real work to me

We last checked on this in 2011:

The Obama administration proposed regulations on Thursday to give the nation’s nearly two million home care workers minimum wage and overtime protections. Those workers have long been exempted from coverage. Labor unions and advocates for low-wage workers have pushed for the changes, contending that the 37-year-old exemption improperly swept these workers, who care for many elderly and disabled Americans, into the same “companion” category as baby sitters. The administration’s move calls for home care aides to be protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the nation’s main wage and hour law.
The White House said 92 percent of these workers were women, nearly 30 percent were African-American and 12 percent Hispanic. Nearly 40 percent rely on public benefits like Medicaid and food stamps. While industry experts say an overwhelming majority are paid at least the minimum wage, many do not receive a time-and-a-half premium when they work more than 40 hours a week. Twenty-two states do not include home health care workers under their wage and hour laws.
Noting that nearly 90 percent of the nation’s home care aides work for agencies, Labor Department officials said such aides would receive the new wage and hour protections. The department said some companions employed by individuals for activities like helping them take walks or engage in hobbies would still be exempt from minimum wage and overtime coverage.

Today:

The Obama administration is moving forward with a contentious and long-dormant proposal to institute minimum wage and overtime standards for the in-home healthcare industry.
Enactment of the regulations, which are under final review at the White House, would represent a major victory for unions that have fought for decades to win higher pay for direct-care aides.

For workers, the issue goes beyond money. “It’s fundamentally an issue of respect,” Ward said, arguing that direct care aides reflect a vital part of the healthcare industry. “It’s being treated as something less than real work.”

I think the respect part of this isn’t discussed nearly enough. We can’t keep saying how much we value hard work in the abstract without ever mentioning how little we value certain kinds of work. Tinkering with the tax code and protecting low wage worker safety net programs (like food stamps) to try to keep people above water is all well and good, but at some point respecting the work that people do means talking about it in real terms; wages and hours and take home pay.

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83 replies
  1. 1
    maurinsky says:

    Well, some of us respect work. The glibertarian wing seems to think that having a job puts you in the moocher class, apparently only owning a business is worthy of respect.

  2. 2
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Here’s the thing.

    Who winds up paying the home care workers? If it’s the health “insurance” industry, oh noes, it will touch our sacred profits! If it’s Medicare/Medicaid, well, that just makes the financial crisis looming for those two entities more acute.

    Health care costs need to be controlled, and the logical way to do that is single payer. However, single payer is Marxist/Islamist/Latino/Blah/Atheist/JustPlainEvil, so we can’t go there. At least not right away.

    Our health care system is the best in the world, if you can afford it. If not, well, you’re fucked. Which applies to probably 95% of the population.

  3. 3
    Zifnab says:

    We can’t keep saying how much we value hard work in the abstract

    Wait, since when does a nation fiercely divided on the very idea of a living wage “value hard work in the abstract”? We value easy work. We value get-rich-quick schemes. We value high stakes gambling and vulture capitalism.

    I’ve never seen anything to indicate we value for work, even in the abstract. The hardest workers among us regularly get pissed on as undeserving of what little they do get.

  4. 4

    To echo @maurinsky I think as a culture we do not respect work, we respect high pay and have moved all the labels of hard work over to it. When a conservative complains about teachers and how his job in say, food service is also important the answer is not that teachers deserve less respect, it’s that he ALSO deserves respect. Anyone who works deserves respect, whether they sweep floors, handle a register, or design buildings. That attitude is definitely not prevalent in our country.

  5. 5
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @maurinsky: You’re not taking into account the goalpost moving. If everyone of the home care workers became their own company and negotiated for their wages, they would get ridiculed for relying on Medicaid as their source of income.

  6. 6
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Zifnab: The much-discussed Paul Harvey Super Bowl commercial was entirely dedicated to the idea that hard-working people need trucks, and that trucks are proof of upholding the value and values of hard-working people. Ideologically, there’s nothing we profess to value more. Materially, well, that’s a different story.

  7. 7
    Roger Moore says:

    We can’t keep saying how much we value hard work in the abstract without ever mentioning how little we value certain kinds of work.

    The biggest problem is that the amount of real respect we give different jobs seems to be in inverse proportion to how physically demanding they are. Farm workers and home health aides who bust their asses every day get no respect. Assembly line and construction workers who have very physically demanding jobs but reasonable work hours get a bit more respect. Engineers and accountants get a fair bit of respect, and do nothings who live off their inheritance from granddad get the most respect of all.

  8. 8
    maurinsky says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    I agree, but that’s kind of what I’m saying. You’re a moocher if you work in the public sector, you’re a moocher if you work for a non-profit, you’re a moocher if you are a cog in a big machine, the only way you aren’t a moocher is if you own the company or make your money off of money you already have (a la Mittens).

    This makes me think of Downton Abbey, and the disdain that the upper classes have for people who actually work. That has nothing to do with the topic at hand, home health care workers, though.

  9. 9
    Roger Moore says:

    @Zifnab:

    Wait, since when does a nation fiercely divided on the very idea of a living wage “value hard work in the abstract”?

    I think what he really means is that we pay lip service to the value of hard work. Everyone likes to talk about how important hard work is and how we have to do right by honest, hard working middle class people. It’s only when it’s time to convert that respect into something tangible that we balk.

  10. 10
    Cassidy says:

    We don’t value work. We look down on garbage throwers, for example, who work pretty damn hard and MBA’s on Wall Street go to “work” everyday. Which one gets the loan for a nice home? Not the guy/ gal working their ass off in the elements every day.

  11. 11
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Have you ever noticed how Obama’s labor activism stems from feminism? Lilly Ledbetter wasn’t just a talking point for a campaign. Home healthcare workers are overwhelmingly female and the work they do has often been devalued because of its domestic nature.

  12. 12
    mapaghimagsik says:

    It’s America. Hard work is for suckers, my friends.

  13. 13
    MikeJ says:

    I’ve never seen anything to indicate we value for work, even in the abstract.

    In the 30s they made movies about truck drivers and mechanics and construction workers. Granted, they still made more movies about rich people dancing, but movies about working people did get made and the characters weren’t assumed to be evil or stupid[1] just because they were poor.

    [1] They were often uneducated, but many times outsmarted the rich.

  14. 14
    Kay says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Oh, I think it’s HUGE. Huge. Republicans mouth this constantly, but only in purely abstract and/or sentimental terms.
    They only get all skittery and dodgy when one goes from “work” to concrete things like “wages”.
    I think it’s perfectly expressed in how they support things like the EITC and oppose minimum wage and hour and workplace safety protections. “Work” is great, as long as we don’t talk about work.

  15. 15
    NonyNony says:

    @Zifnab:

    Wait, since when does a nation fiercely divided on the very idea of a living wage “value hard work in the abstract”? We value easy work. We value get-rich-quick schemes. We value high stakes gambling and vulture capitalism.

    We pay lip service to the value of hard work – “Protestant Work Ethic” is still a phrase that gets bandied about, for example.

    But it has to be the “right kind” of hard work. People idolize the small farmer while disdaining the janitors, migrant farm workers, restaurant wait staff, and grocery store employees.

    Probably has to do with the fact that farmers play into our national mythology of self-sufficient pioneers, while other folks who work for a living reveal that national mythology is a lie and that in reality almost everyone gets to play the servant to someone else at some point in their lives (if not their entire lives).

  16. 16
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @MikeJ:

    That’s very true, and it reflected a society in the midst of an economic upheaval.

    It’s interesting that there is no parallel to that phenomenon in our current day, with an economic upheaval nearly as great.

  17. 17
    Mnemosyne says:

    To me, this is the really awful part:

    Noting that nearly 90 percent of the nation’s home care aides work for agencies, Labor Department officials said such aides would receive the new wage and hour protections.

    So, basically, we have allowed people to set up companies dedicated to exploiting their workers by paying them less than minimum wage. That’s their business model.

    It’s one thing to hire the kid down the street for less than minimum wage to babysit Grandma for a few hours while you run errands. It’s totally different to have a regular worker that you hired through an agency be getting paid less than minimum and no overtime because of ridiculous loopholes in the law.

    Now I am kind of wondering what my grandmother’s home health aide got paid for taking care of her. IIRC, she was live-in and so got room and board in addition to her hourly pay, and I think the rules are slightly different for that.

  18. 18
    patroclus says:

    I don’t think Oscar Pistorius’s defense has a leg to stand on. And it’s probably going to cost him an arm and a, uh…, I’m not sure how he’s going to foot the bill.

  19. 19
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Zifnab:

    I’ve never seen anything to indicate we value for work, even in the abstract. The hardest workers among us regularly get pissed on as undeserving of what little they do get.

    We value the hard work done overseas because it enables us to buy cheap crap at big box stores.

  20. 20
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NonyNony:

    We pay lip service to the value of hard work – “Protestant Work Ethic” is still a phrase that gets bandied about, for example.

    They dropped the original formulation of “Puritan Work Ethic,” ie the good ol’ Calvinist idea that if you’re one of the elect, God will reward you with money and success.

    Not to mention that I’ve always suspected some Catholic-bashing hidden in that formulation. “We have a Protestant work ethic, unlike those lazy a-holes from Ireland and Italy!”

  21. 21
    JGabriel says:

    @maurinsky:

    The glibertarian wing seems to think that having a job puts you in the moocher class, apparently only owning a business is worthy of respect.

    That is SO unfair. Libertarians also respect inheritance!

    .

  22. 22
    maurinsky says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I used to take the bus to work, and I got to be friendly with a woman who had 3 part-time jobs, all of them physically demanding. Put together, it meant she was working well over 40 hours a week, starting early in the morning and ending earlier in the morning, but she probably was making minimum wage or close to it at each of them, and had no benefits despite the number of hours of work she performed every day.

  23. 23
    Another Halocene Human says:

    I followed a link to The Beast from BJ Tuesday and went back and read the essay on classism in atheism. It was really good until the end where the guy just slices into Obama and calls his supporters classist elitist.

    No.

    Obama’s base is a coalition between highly educated elites and the poorest people in this country, people who work all day and have nothing to show for it. How are you going to tell working people struggling in this economy that they should vote the Purity ticket, put another Republican in charge, and lose social security, medicare, medicaid, and the ACA provisions that were due to kick in for them, just so some rich assholes can buy a bigger yacht?

    Fuck, no, only someone who is comfortable enough to worry about purity can take that kind of risk. For everyone else, it’s all about the practical import.

    The guy has OBS bad, goes on and on about NDAA and dronezzz. Seems not to realize (though he almost gains self-awareness a few times) that the gubmint would use drones on Americans termed enemy combatants if we were in fact engaged in a civil war. By the way, who would declare war when The Kenyan Usurper is president? 3 guesses, first 2 don’t count, and it won’t be The New Black Panthers, ACORN, or the SPLC.

    It’s like there is this amnesia about the fact that there was this thing, it was called The Crimean War The American Civil War, perhaps you’ve heard of it?

    Like, you’re an anarchist? You don’t believe in the power of the state? Goodbye civil rights act. Goodbye school integration. Goodbye hope for those living under apartheid.

    Goodbye prosecutions of white collar criminals. Goodbye rich people paying any taxes. Goodbye punishing polluters for polluting.

    No state. The rule of iron lead.

    How can you rant for page after page about poverty, poverty, poverty, and then damn people for taking their best, last chance, even if it wasn’t the purple ponies with sparklemanes you wanted?

    I know a lot of poor people. They are talking about Obama’s proposal to raise min wage to $9. They are talking about Medicaid expansion. They are talking about the GOP wanting to cut Social Security.

    Bring about income equality and you will see some of the authoritarian apparatus of the state wither away because it won’t be needed. Remove the state without remedying inequality and you create hell on Earth. Mmm, check out early medieval European history for a taste of that.

  24. 24
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @maurinsky: The glibertarian wing seems to think that having a job puts you in the moocher class, apparently only owning a business being born a rentier is worthy of respect.

    Fix’d.

  25. 25
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    This also plays into the “raise the age for medicaid and social security” bullshit. That is all well and good if you are an accountant or some other white collar worker. Try telling a 65 year old waitress who has been on her feet for forty years that she can no longer retire at 65, or a construction worker, or a home health worker who’s back is all but shot. I want to throw shit at the tee vee when I see Scarborough and his privileged panel spouting this bull shit in the morning.

  26. 26
    Kay says:

    @NonyNony:

    Kennedy always got it. 2007:

    He said the court decision highlighted “a significant gap in the protections of our laws,” and added that he would work with his colleagues “on a fair solution that treats these hardworking caregivers with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

    He never did a rant on the minimum wage that didn’t include “dignity and respect”. I think modern liberals and Democrats have forgotten it. They should talk about that again. It’s important to people.

  27. 27
    👽 Martin says:

    This will help, but we need the immigration bill to actually round this out. Here in OC everyone will just pay below minimum wage to undocumented immigrants and freeze out the group this bill will help. Of course the GOP will use this as proof that minimum wage doesn’t help workers, which will only make their standing with women and minorities even worse. And they won’t even realize it.

  28. 28
    JGabriel says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Our health care system is the best in the world, if you can afford it. If not, well, you’re fucked. Which applies to probably 95% of the population.

    A “system” that operates in peak form only for the richest 1% is less a system than the spoils of wealth — aka the plunder of class warfare.

    .

  29. 29
    Ariel (formerly CAfan) says:

    OT Where is our Zsa Zsa update? It’s already 2 pm ET.
    Is Zsa Zsa talking to Tunch yet? Has our respected leader slept off the scotch yet? Has Rosie eaten Zsa Zsa in a fit of jealousy ?
    What is going on in WV?

  30. 30
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @👽 Martin: They’ll be committing tax fraud to do it. I hope they get nailed.

    You know what I don’t get? Why ACA doesn’t charge per FTE (40 hours of labor received) rather than count worker by worker. Must have been industry lobbying.

  31. 31
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @NonyNony: That also pisses me off, cause without “those kind of workers” what would the elites do? Where would they live? What would they eat? What would they wear? What would they drive? What would they drive on?

  32. 32

    @👽 Martin: Immigration reform also has to deal with labor rights. The current system both for skilled and unskilled immigration is tilted towards employers.

  33. 33
    ET says:

    If Chuck Todd capitalizes you know you are in trouble.

    Where’s the compromise? Besides the polling numbers, Republicans find themselves in a weak position — politically — because they’ve yet to propose ANY kind of compromise that recognizes they don’t control the White House or the U.S. Senate. By contrast, Obama has offered up entitlement cuts (chained CPI for Social Security is apparently still on the table), and he has indicated a willingness to make additional cuts to Medicare (he said so in the State of the Union). But Republicans are refusing to budge on any tax revenues (via closing loopholes, etc.), even though House Speaker John Boehner offered them up during the fiscal-cliff debate.

    Of course the kabuki theater will continue.

  34. 34
    maurinsky says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    My dad started working as a carpenter’s apprentice when he was 12. He retired 2 years ago at 68, and his body is WRECKED. I think we should consider how many years a person has worked and what kind of work they’ve done before we start deciding that a certain age is appropriate for all retirees. Like we do for firefighters and police officers, for example.

    To the libertarians, you’re a moocher if you are disabled, you’re a moocher if you have a physical type of job instead of an intellectual type of job, you’re a moocher if you’re a kid, you’re a moocher if you work for the public sector, you’re a moocher if you’re a cog in a machine – the only way you’re not a moocher is if you own your own business (even if you make money from govt contracts, obviously) or if you make all your money off your investments, a la Mittens.

  35. 35
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    In the 30s they made movies about truck drivers and mechanics and construction workers. Granted, they still made more movies about rich people dancing, but movies about working people did get made and the characters weren’t assumed to be evil or stupid[1] just because they were poor.

    [1] They were often uneducated, but many times outsmarted the rich.

    @MikeJ: 80 years ago. My grandfather, who’s been dead for almost a decade now, was a child when those movies were being made.

    Shit’s changed.

  36. 36
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    This brings up one of my favorite GWB wall-of-stupid moments, when a woman was talking about having to take multiple jobs to take care of her family, and that goddamned sonofabitch responded with “isn’t this a great country?”

    No, the Very Serious People don’t respect people who actually work for a living, because people who actually work for a living tend to join unions or otherwise demand protections and decent working conditions, and we can’t have that, because the fucking proles are supposed to know their place and keep their goddamned mouths shut.

    When I take over the country, the highest-paid occupation will be sanitation worker. Think about it – if all the stockbrokers in New York went away, never to return, it would hurt, but the city would survive. If all the sanitation workers disappeared, never to return, the city would be uninhabitable in under a month.

  37. 37
    Bulworth says:

    Enactment of the regulations, which are under final review at the White House, would represent a major victory for unions that have fought for decades to win higher pay for direct-care aides.

    See, this is how our beltway media understand the issue. Not the actual workers or the patients these workers care for. It’s about the unions. And we all know how our Media Village Elite feels about unions.

  38. 38
    bemused says:

    @NonyNony:

    There is nostalgia for small farmers because there are so few real small farmers now.

  39. 39
    MikeJ says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: Obviously shit has changed. But the argument was that Americans have never valued labor. They have, and we can again. I think it’s important to point out that things weren’t always this way.

  40. 40
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Remove the state without remedying inequality and you create hell on Earth. Mmm, check out early medieval European history for a taste of that.

    Shit, all you have to do is look at post-Soviet Union Russia to see what removing the apparatus of the state from the economy will do.

    That obscure Scotsman I talk about all the time figured this shit out long ago. Too bad no one ever reads his fucking books.

  41. 41
    Hungry Joe says:

    Even $9/hr., assuming we can get that, is disgraceful, because anyone working full-time should be paid enough to live on. Inevitably, that means a redistribution of (some) wealth, right? Right. Damn straight. Suck it up, richtards.

    And the contention that a raise in the minimum wage means that people will be fired (“It’ll hurt poor people!”) is nonsense. Every time an increase is considered the powers-that-be wail that it’ll wreck the economy and increase unemployment … and every time, it doesn’t happen. A worker isn’t hired because he’s cheap, he’s hired because there’s a job that needs to be done. If a company can’t afford to pay a decent wage, it doesn’t deserve to be in business.

  42. 42
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @maurinsky: Exactly. But the same banksters that robbed Greece blind declared that it was exactly this system that was everything that was wrong with Greece.

    How dare low income workers who work with their hands not work until they die on the job!

  43. 43
    MattR says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    This also plays into the “raise the age for medicaid and social security” bullshit. That is all well and good if you are an accountant or some other white collar worker. Try telling a 65 year old waitress who has been on her feet for forty years that she can no longer retire at 65, or a construction worker, or a home health worker who’s back is all but shot.

    This. I do IT work for a refrigerated/frozen warehousing company. I cannot emphasize enough the respect I have for the guys who spend day after day in those conditions for years. When we open a new warehouse, they expect to lose a quarter to half of the workers within the first week. Some don’t even come back from lunch the first day. It is pretty ludicrous to have a one size fits all retirement policy for such different careers and it becomes cruel when you start setting the standards based on the least demanding jobs.

  44. 44
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: After I started reading his books, I realized all the Hahvahd assholes on the train who carried his books around and the conservative columnists who dropped his name had clearly never read his books.

    Also, too, our economy IS the libertarian paradise compared to 15th and 16th century England.

  45. 45
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Hungry Joe: Ditto on everything you said.

    There was a study recently of the economic recovery in New England states and their respective minimum wages.

    Rentier paradise RI had the lowest and hence the slowest recovery.

    I think the same is true of SE states. FL has high min wage because of the efforts of the state AFL-CIO getting state ballot measure passed. GA does not. GA is still doing poorly, while FL is still floating despite Voldemort’s best efforts.

  46. 46
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @bemused: You mean because so many Americans are absentee landlords of farms.

  47. 47
    Kay says:

    @Grumpy Code Monkey:

    that goddamned sonofabitch responded with “isn’t this a great country?”

    I remember that too, but I saw it differently. I think he was uncomfortable and didn’t know what else to say. He knows he’s supposed to be celebrating this in some abstract way, but conservatives are on such shaky ground with the specifics that they say inane things like that when presented with the actual person.

    I honestly think it’s a political problem for them. I just loathe Mike Huckabee, like, make-my-skin-crawl loathing, but I think he’s an able politician and he talks about this, how the Right lost their “feel” for real world issues like… work. It’s true. They have. They talk about taxes, and that’s ALL.

    Kasich is proposing putting in sales taxes all over the place and it seems to be (so far) really unpopular here, from what I’m hearing. That’s because his voters here actually pay sales taxes, and they don’t pay income taxes, so they don’t care if he’s cutting income taxes. They don’t make enough to benefit from his tax cuts (income) and they’ll be hit by his tax increases (sales). Does he not know this?

  48. 48
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    Oh, I think it’s HUGE. Huge. Republicans mouth this constantly, but only in purely abstract and/or sentimental terms.
    They only get all skittery and dodgy when one goes from “work” to concrete things like “wages”.

    Uh-huh.

    Wank to “hard work”, act shocked when someone mentions “wages”. Wank to “freedom”, act shocked when someone mentions “living life without Xtian moralists setting the rules”. Wank to “democracy”, act shocked when someone mentions “electing leaders who value their own nation’s interests over those of the US”. Wank to “liberty”. act shocked when someone says “Yankee go home”.

  49. 49
    Roger Moore says:

    @bemused:

    There is nostalgia for small farmers because there are so few real small farmers now.

    And ADM, Monsanto, et. al. can use that nostalgia to extract massive subsidies for their industry. Protecting the family farm has always been the justification for farm subsidies, even though most of the money now goes to big-time agribusiness.

  50. 50
    ricky says:

    Give old people home care vouchers and they will reward those who serve them with ample recompense. Might even remember them in their wills since they obviously have no sufficiently caring offspring.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MattR:

    It is pretty ludicrous to have a one size fits all retirement policy for such different careers and it becomes cruel when you start setting the standards based on the least demanding jobs.

    IIRC, one of the proposals of the failed deficit commission was to make it easier for people in physically demanding jobs to retire before 65. If nothing else, we should probably consider revamping the SSDI system (which needs help anyway) to make it easier for people over (say) 55 to retire as disabled if their health makes it difficult for them to find work.

    And then, on the other hand, you have the governor of (I think) South Carolina proposing legislation that lets the state refuse unemployment benefits to people who have to leave their jobs because of health problems. Because obviously the only reason a construction worker couldn’t continue working while undergoing chemotherapy is because he’s lazy and doesn’t want to have to work hard.

  52. 52
    Roger Moore says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    If a company can’t afford to pay a decent wage, it doesn’t deserve to be in business.

    This x eleventy. I’m willing to make a minor, short-term exception for genuine trainees, but no business should be allowed to survive if they can’t make money while paying more than slave wages.

  53. 53
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @MattR:

    Some don’t even come back from lunch the first day.

    When I was a machinist I worked for several years in an El Monte job shop. Old time machinists will know exactly what that means. The place I worked in was famous for machining difficult alloys to very close tolerances. All of this in a building where the offices and the inspection area were the only spaces with air conditioning. We had guys hire on and then roll their tool chests out at first break.

  54. 54
    Angela says:

    @Ariel (formerly CAfan): Curious minds want to know!

  55. 55
    Kay says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans:

    No, I understand your point, they don’t mean it, but I think they can be forced to get specific on this.

    Remember how “liberals loved America but hated Americans” when conservatives won in 2004? That was the charge.

    Conservatives love “work” but they don’t have much use for those pesky workers :)

    “What about this middle-aged woman who works like a dog for 50 hours a week so pisses you off, Mr. Rubio? Why won’t you grant her the respect of ordinary wage and hour protections?”

  56. 56
    Roger Moore says:

    @Kay:

    That’s because his voters here actually pay sales taxes, and they don’t pay income taxes, so they don’t care if he’s cutting income taxes. They don’t make enough to benefit from his tax cuts (income) and they’ll be hit by his tax increases (sales). Does he not know this?

    This is the big, long-term problem for the Republican party. The interests of the Republican elite and the Republican base are sufficiently different that their politicians can only please one or the other. Kasich is obviously choosing to please the Koch brothers rather than the rank-and-file, and it’s going to make it quite hard for him to be reelected.

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:

    @👽 Martin:

    Here in OC everyone will just pay below minimum wage to undocumented immigrants and freeze out the group this bill will help.

    I’m pretty sure this is what everyone is doing already. People around here think I’m an idiot because I pay Merry Maids $130 for an hour of cleaning when I could find someone to do it for $50. But I’m paying the higher price for the knowledge that they’re not using undocumented workers.

  58. 58
    bemused says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Yup. A lot of people seemed to get teary eyed over that truck ad. Heck, most real small farmers can’t afford a shiny new truck.

  59. 59
    Gravenstone says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It’s one thing to hire the kid down the street for less than minimum wage to babysit Grandma for a few hours while you run errands

    I’m reminded of the discussion here a few days ago when the president first pushed the idea of raising the minimum wage. Several posters commented that babysitters can’t be had for minimum wage even now. Yet we as a population have apparently been just fine with allowing people paid sub-minimum wage to take physical care of our elderly and infirm. The mind boggles.

  60. 60
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ricky:

    My family decided to get a home health care aide for my grandmother because, of her six children, four lived out of state. Of the two who lived nearby, one was nearly crippled with arthritis herself and the other was caring for her retarded daughter. Not to mention the fact that my grandmother was in her late 80s, which meant that all of her children were in their late 50s/early 60s themselves.

    So, clearly, by hiring a home health nurse who allowed my grandmother to retain as much of her independence as possible (including the ability to travel to visit out-of-state family in the company of her nurse), her children demonstrated that they only did it because they were insufficiently caring.

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    catclub says:

    @JGabriel: I would guess more like 80%, rather than 95% is fucked by the healthcare system.

    Remember the seniors with medicare are in relatively good shape. Add in medigap insurance and they are pretty well covered.

    80% fucked is still bad.

  62. 62
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @ricky: @bemused:

    I have a Vietnamese friend who farms on leased land. He’s pretty small.

  63. 63
    Roger Moore says:

    @Kay:

    Conservatives love “work” but they don’t have much use for those pesky workers

    It’s kind of like their stupid dodge of “hate the sin but love the sinner”, except that they have it backward: “love the work but hate the worker”.

  64. 64
    Kay says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I had a conversation with one yesterday and he’s just outraged that Kasich is raising taxes (by applying a sales tax to services). Broadening the tax base, as they say :)

    He said “why would he DO that?” and I said “because he needs revenue and he promised wealthy people an income tax reduction?”

    They have so soaked their base in this no taxes EVER thing that now they actually believe one can run a state with no tax revenue.

    Kasich has a bit of a buffer, though, because newspaper editorial boards absolutely love him. They are his biggest fans. It was true during his campaign and it’s true now. It’s horrible to watch because it reminds me of the Bush-lovers in national media: “swagger!” “straight shooter!” Blech. Not this media man-crush thing again.

  65. 65
    Hungry Joe says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I’m willing to make a minor, short-term exception for genuine trainees

    Genuine trainees, yes — as opposed to interns, which now means “people we don’t pay but who are willing put up with doing our scut work for a while in order to pad their resumes because their parents can afford to subsidize them.”

    Years ago the newspaper I worked for hired j-school interns every summer. They didn’t pay them much, but they paid them; the kids lived in semi-dumps, and on Ramen and cheap beer, but it was a summer adventure/invaluable learning experience. Then the honchos at the paper decided, “Hey, we can save money by not paying them at all!” We still got interns … from well-to-do-(and-then-some) families.

  66. 66
    aimai says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I hired a Merry Maids like group once–I asked one of the women privately what she was actually being paid per hour? It was 5 fucking dollars. This was 16 years ago. They were charging me 50 dollars an hour, I think. She wasn’t getting any of that. And she was forbidden from soliciting private work from me. I never hired a group cleaner again. I contract privately with two women and pay them per job so I know exactly how much I’m paying which is slightly above market. They take it all–no pimping middleman.

  67. 67
    different-church-lady says:

    @maurinsky: Exactly — you saved me the trouble of putting words to the thought.

    I can add that the wingnut/glibetarian construction seems to have two points:

    1) If you’re poor or struggling, its’ because you’re lazy and won’t work hard enough.

    2) If you have a job where you work a lot but you’re still poor or struggling, it’s because you’re a moron for having a shitty job.

    They never allow these two conflicting thoughts to coexist in the same moment long enough to have the conflict register. Basically the whole thing just amounts to a highly articulated sneer.

  68. 68
    👽 Martin says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m pretty sure this is what everyone is doing already.

    They are, which is why this will only help so much. But make it so those undocumented immigrants can demand legal protection, and this starts to change.

    But for people unfamiliar with SoCal – everybody hires workers under the table here. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t hired a day laborer or gardener or housekeeper or nanny at one time or another cash-only, where they presumably were undocumented. I have. Best mason I’ve ever met was a guy I hired who grew up in a family of masons and was doing masonry in Mexico since he was a kid. He was so good I paid him double what I agreed. Best $20/hr I’ve ever hired. I wish he could get licensed and bonded – I’d happily pay him $50/hr for his work.

  69. 69
    Roger Moore says:

    @Hungry Joe:
    There are supposed to be labor laws that differentiate between interns who do and don’t have to be paid. Unpaid internships are supposed to be limited to people who are getting substantial, real teaching time (e.g. mentors who devote real time to instruction); people who are there to get some on-the-job experience are supposed to be paid. You can guess how well those laws are enforced.

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    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @👽 Martin:

    Those “lazy brown skins” are some of the hardest working and most skilled laborers around…so much so that they make their white citizen counterparts sometimes look like dilettantes.

  71. 71
    22over7 says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    This times a million. Obama is talking about women here. Women are overwhelmingly responsible for child care and elder care, and traditionally that work is done for free. Interns? Mostly women (although higher-class women). Free. Teachers? Mostly women. How dare they want a living wage and a pension?

    This is not just about workers versus owners. This is also about women and the men who don’t want to pay them.

  72. 72
    Mnemosyne says:

    @aimai:

    This is Southern California, so it’s more difficult than you might think to find someone who actually is documented to do that kind of work. I don’t feel too bad about using the franchise that I do because it’s owned by the family member of an acquaintance, so I feel pretty confident that they’re playing by the rules and not cheating their employees.

  73. 73
    Ruckus says:

    @maurinsky:
    I don’t know, I’ve owned 2 businesses and I don’t feel like I’m getting any respect. Of course I didn’t rape, plunder and pillage my customers so maybe that’s it.

  74. 74
    ricky says:

    @Mnemosyne: With home health care worker vouchers that “family decision” would have been grandma’s.

  75. 75
    Ruckus says:

    @Kay:
    It’s always about the money.
    There is no other measurement of any kind, physical or societal that a conservative understands. Not how hard or necessary a job is, not the sacrifice a worker may make in physical harm, not the innovation a worker may bring to society, nothing matters except how little does something cost. Not even the quality of things or life matters.
    It is always about the money. There just is nothing else.

  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ricky:

    I have no idea what this is even supposed to mean.

  77. 77
    Ruckus says:

    @Another Halocene Human:
    How dare low income workers who work with their hands not work until they die on the job!

    I told one of my family members who told me I had to work till the day I die to go fuck himself. I’d rather not have any family than listen to this kind of crap from someone who wears a suit and tie to work, especially after I’ve put in my 50 working years standing on concrete, bending over and lifting. So all that work hard and retire so you can rest up to die, that’s all out the window now. Now it’s work hard for shit wages and don’t fucking stop. Ever. If you can’t do that, walk your ass onto that ice flow and die because you are no longer useful to the takers.

    The rich are the real moochers. They are stealing the lives and dignity from all of us.

    Our lives and our dignity.

  78. 78
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Unfortunately, this is not going to happen if it depends on Republican votes in the House. Too bad.

  79. 79
    mai naem says:

    Home health/temp agencies are screwing around with employment laws. Some agencies are hiring out these aides and treating them as independent contractors. I would like to know what happens if the aide goes out there and injures themselves on the job. Besides that, I find it highly unlikely that some person is going to pay 15 percent taxes as a 1099r on $8-9/ hr. I ran across a woman who was working as an aide and she said her company expected her to provide the gloves she needed for her job and furthermore she told me that she was expected to call in when she arrived at a clients and if the company decided they didn’t get the voicemail, they screwed her out of an hour.
    @ricky: Home health vouchers are tricky. They have something similar in AZ and what has happened is that grandma talks to dtr/grdtr/son/niece/ whatever and they decide to keep the voucher $$$ within the family but not take care of grandma. Grandma,meanwhile, is aware that family member is now dependent on voucher money so is too chicken to call social worker to tell them they’re not being taken care of.

  80. 80
    Anna in PDX says:

    @MattR: You know, I don’t think raising the retirement age is “all well and good” for anyone. I have a desk job. I am 45. I am in pretty good health, I have good genes, a good metabolism, etc. My partner who is in his 50s is in much worse health than I am and also has a desk job. He will be ready to retire at 65. I may be lucky and be totally healthy at 65 and not even want to retire until 70. but that should be up to me not in a law because of the nature of my job. Raising the retirement age is unnecessary because all we have to do to save social security is raise the fucking payroll tax cap. That is it. And then we don’t need to have this discussion that pits different kinds of jobs against each other even though there are LOTS of other factors involved in retirement for individuals.

  81. 81
    hitchhiker says:

    Late to this thread, natch, but here’s the view from the patient side.

    1. Our fabulous private insurance did not cover any cost for a home health care person.
    2. My husband left the hospital with an indwelling catheter, one working hand, a cervical collar, and zero ability to do so much as sit up unassisted. He had a c6 spinal cord injury that took out much of his motor ability below the nipple line, and 10 weeks in the hospital were enough to make what was left intact a 90-yr-old version of his former 46-yr-old self.
    3. When the agency-supplied person arrived each weekday morning, I could safely leave for my job. She would get him dressed, move his arms and legs through range of motion exercises, deal with the catheter bag, get him showered if it was that day, help him shit, give him breakfast, and get him upright and into the wheelchair. This took four hours.
    4. She was absolutely essential to us for about a month, by which time he’d become healthy enough to begin to manage these things on his own. Because I was teaching then and the end of that month happened to be in late June, it was safe to let her go. He couldn’t be left alone for another month or two, but I was there.

    If I’d had to, I would have mortgaged the house to have this help. It was that important. The people who do this kind of personal care well are indescribably critical . . . nobody thinks about this until suddenly they have to, and then it’s just a freaking nightmare populated by strangers whom you must trust with your loved ones.

    It makes me insane that they get paid nothing.

  82. 82
    MazeDancer says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Those “lazy brown skins” are some of the hardest working and most skilled laborers around…so much so that they make their white citizen counterparts sometimes look like dilettantes.

    Had a moment of making “positive stereotyping” feel less like an oxymoron when I had major surgery and needed home health aides for many weeks. This was 7 years ago in NYC.

    The agency was one that “everybody uses”, if you ask around in Manhattan. Every one of their workers was from some tropical island. Lots of West Indies and Dominican Republic. Every one of them was female and not Caucasian. They were getting 9-12 bucks an hour from the 15-20 being paid to the agency.

    And for weeks the most amazing, hardest working people I have ever met came and helped me survive. From day one in the hospital through all kinds of insanity, these women treated me like a recovering daughter. Such work ethic, such smarts and great senses of humor. So dedicated to providing excellence. They were unhappy if they had to sit still and not provide some kind of service – cleaning, cooking, laundry, shopping, helping in some way. Not a peep of complaint, ever. Just wanted to do a good job.

    In NYC $20-25 is pretty standard for house cleaners. Who can be anyone from undocumented folks with no English to actors who’ll be starring in their own series in a couple of years.

    But these women wanted the agency to arrange for the steady work. Help them with their green cards. And document their wages so they could eventually buy houses. We want all these people to be citizens. As soon as possible.

  83. 83
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @MazeDancer: Sounds like a good agency. Unlike Merry Maids, which like Aimai said is ridiculous. You pay as much or more than you would pay a local indie and the workers make minimum wage (well, almost less b/c they rip them off in various ways–depends on the franchise owner).

    Check out Nickled and Dimed but I also knew some of these folks locally so it’s not just in Maine or whatever you want to believe about Ehrenrich’s account.

    ETA: when I office temped in Boston I made $9 out of the agency’s $15, so this is definitely an appropriate ratio.

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