No MORE BS: A Worthy Resource and Government Funding

VirtueI am a nerd; when it comes to data, I am a sponge.  I tell dad jokes because they make me laugh.  I have many resources for these articles, and I generally do not share my resources, as I find many people are not as nerdy as I am when it comes to the issues surrounding America.  I also find abbreviating stories fun and hope they are helpful for others who need information but do not have time to track all the data sources I follow as a  nerd.

I am going to recommend the following resource and getting on their email list.  The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is an organization that works to help state legislatures work better.  The NCSL Mission is all about increasing independence and integrity in state legislatures, and I have been very happy to gather and use data from this source.  When I found this resource, I immediately signed up for their email list and occasionally receive state legislature news that is considered “local” or not “worthy” of corporate media reporting.

Ziggy - How Government Should Have to RunA critical activity of the NCSL is training state legislators to operate in their elected roles more fully.  Training has been a concern of mine for many years due to how America selects its elected representatives.  I do not want more bureaucracy, but junior legislators need mentoring, training, and having a network dedicated to watching, reporting, and offering help in training is a critical niche market for Americans to produce more trust in government and those elected to scrutinize the government.  I do not want, and I think America could use, a lot less, lawyers as elected representatives.  Thus, I promote the NCSL’s efforts to help.

My congratulations to the Executive and Legislative Branches of Indiana, you appear to be working well together, and I hope this trend continues.

“The revenue forecast Indiana received is good news and comes on the heels of a decade of fiscal discipline that is paying off in a big way for Hoosiers,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Ryan Mishler, R-Bremen, in a statement [emphasis mine].
House Speaker Todd Huston said the legislative leaders hope to use the extra $2 billion to pay off state debt, give public and private schools funding, and make one-time investments.
Just one year ago, the pandemic entered the ring and seemed to deliver a knockout punch to our booming economy. Our near-record-low unemployment of 3% skyrocketed to a record-breaking high of 17% in a short period. Now, Indiana is not only bouncing back but winning the fight,” said Huston, R-Fishers, in a statement.Government Largess

Now, here is the bitter pill in the good news posted above by the NCSL.  A question has been percolating in my head since writing the series of education articles, Here, Here, and Here, “Where do states get their money?”  With the continuing changes to state tax law, where the state is stealing county and city government tax revenue for school budgets controlled at the state level, more questions continue to percolate.  I do not like the answers I am getting.

Hence, we introduce the information gleaned to inspire action in a more informed manner and understand the relationships between funding government on the state level and the incestuous relationship on the federal level.

Detective 4We find the following article from PEW: “Where States Get Their Money: FY 2019.”  The report contains a graphic that spells out the problems quite well, and I encourage you to visit, find your state, look at the sources, and ask questions!  Averaging all the states, 49.1% of a state’s funding arrives as tax dollars directly.  31.4% arrives as funding from the Federal Government.  However, this is not a good indicator of the incestuous relationship between the federal and state levels of government.  Not all states are equal in receiving federal funds or the reasons for acquiring those funds.  11.3% arrives in state coffers as service charges for teachers’ licensure, building permits, and other executive branch-controlled service charges.  7.4% originates in a miscellaneous category (discretionary funds), which is a problematic category, as political payoffs are paid out of many a miscellaneous fund.  Finally, 0.8% arrives from local funds, or the cities and counties are forwarding funds to the state for various reasons; for example, taxes on homes meant for local public schools but have to be filtered through the state coffers.

Thankfully, no single state is 100% funded by the federal government.  However, FY 2019 definitely should raise some eyebrows and questions in Alaska, Louisana, Montana, and Wyoming, as to why these states top the list for receiving federal funds.  The top 10 receivers of federal funding are Mississippi, Arizona, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, and Alabama.  The states receiving the lowest funds are Hawaii, North Dakota, Virginia, Kansas, Utah, and Iowa.  Also, a category needing more questions asked, scrutiny, and a lot more answers using audits and third-party auditing to explain.

ApathyPlease note, I am only using PEW reported data; I do not know how these numbers were collated, I do not have access to the raw data, or see the bias built-in by humans when reporting numbers through statistics.  I can only report the numbers and hope people take action by asking questions.  FY 2019 needs examined quite heavily as the past is a prelude to the future.  Unfortunately, the past being a prelude to the future is especially true where government funds arrive and depart in any level of elected representation.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: The Honest Minimum Wage Discussion

Calvin & Hobbes - Pragmatic PrinciplesThe following is a brief history of the minimum wage in America.

President Roosevelt asked the Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, “What happened to that nice unconstitutional you tucked away? [emphasis mine]”  President Roosevelt was speaking of the “Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA).”  The 1938 FLSA Act generally applied to employees engaged in interstate commerce or the production of goods for interstate commerce.  FLSA (1938) demanded specific workers be paid a minimum wage of $.025 an hour while also setting the maximum workweek to 44 hours.  Passing FLSA (1938) ran a gauntlet of Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decisions before and after being passed into legislation, and those SCOTUS decisions continue to influence FLSA even today.

FLSA (1938) has been revised several times by Congressional Legislation, and in 1961 Amendments extended coverage primarily to employees in large retail and service enterprises and local transit, construction, and gasoline service station employees.  It also increased the Federal Minimum Wage to $1.00, but wage disparity remained where original minimum wage earners were concerned who continued to earn $1.15 an hour.

Frank & Ernest - EconomyThe 1966 FLSA Amendments extended coverage to State and local government employees of hospitals, nursing homes, schools, laundries, dry cleaners, and large hotels, motels, restaurants, and farms. Subsequent amendments extended overage to the remaining Federal, State, and local government employees.  That was not protected in 1966 to individual workers in retail and service trades previously exempted and certain domestic workers in private household employment.  The 1938 interstate wage disparity disappeared, and the first two classes of minimum wage earners made $1.40 an hour, while nonfarm and farm employees made $1.00 an hour.

FLSA revisions in 1977 saw legislation passed to start 1978 with all covered employees earning $2.65 an hour.  This FLSA revision was important as now the wage disparity between groups of employees was finally eradicated, and FLSA finally applied to all workers.

Frank & Ernest - ITGrandfather FLSA clause – Employees who do not meet the tests for individual coverage, and whose employers were covered by the FLSA on March 31, 1990, and fail to meet the increased annual dollar volume (ADV) test for enterprise coverage, must continue to receive at least $3.35 an hour.  A piece of legislation that was a sop to the president and a contentious Congress.

FLSA revisions beginning 09/01/1997 created a subminimum wage — $4.25 an hour — established for employees under 20 years of age during their first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment with an employer.  The FLSA revisions represented more contentious legislation that played the American worker and American Economy as pawns for personal political power.

Non Sequitur - DecisionsWhat did the minimum wage do to America?

Never forget, the actions of a legitimate government will always cause injury.  Where the minimum wage is concerned, this aphorism is doubly applicable.  Minimum wages reduce entry-level jobs, training, and lifetime income. Politicians regularly propose a minimum wage as a means of raising income and lifting workers out of poverty. However, improvements in some young workers’ income due to a minimum wage come at a cost to other employees.  For example, a young retail worker begins at minimum wage and works hard.  After 5-years, that employee has had a couple of pay raises that they worked hard to obtain.

Frank & Ernest - EmploymentNew FLSA revisions increase the minimum wage.  Now that hard-working employee is back to working for minimum wage because a politician wanted to incentivize other young workers to get a job.  But increasing the minimum wage cuts the hard-working employee’s hours; they now need a second job to make ends meet at the new minimum wage because they both lost their hard-earned raises and saw hours cut to afford new hires an opportunity.  Add in the inevitable rise in the cost of living to pay for higher wages, and this hard-working employee has been injured three times by their employer, due to government actions.

To make matters even worse, the fraudulent president tells that employee they should have learned to code and program computers.  The government injuries are sufficient to create an eternally challenged and debt-ridden poverty class in America.  Begging the question, what is just or fair about a minimum wage?

Editorial - Educational TruthThe other injury to that hard-working employee, entry-level jobs are going to dry up due to a higher minimum wage because technology will be implemented to replace that entry-level worker and eliminate their positions.  Look at the rise of contactless stores, walk-in, place items in your cart, walkthrough checkout, pay with your phone app, walk out.  Robots have been developed to replace kitchen workers making pizzas, flipping burgers, and stocking shelves.  More entry-level positions are dying because the cost of keeping an employee has become too expensive, which is especially true in the businesses and industries where profit margins are already slim, grocery stores, fast food, and warehouses, among others.

Minimum Wage Laws – State Government Injuries

Each state has the power to negotiate a higher minimum wage or meet the FLSA mandated minimum wage.  When America had a lot of entry-level jobs, workers would move to states with higher minimum wages.  The moving started a cycle that has now come back around to bite everyone involved in tender lower parts best left unbitten!  To pay for the higher wages, taxes increased, the cost of living adjusted upwards, and entry-level jobs began requiring skills, experience, education, etc., to match the higher salaries in the states paying more minimum wages.

Ziggy - IRS Non SequiturInflation became a problem, excess populations began to despair of making that higher wage and improving their upward financial mobility, and depression set in.  Instead of reducing the minimum wages, which would have lowered costs and incentivized hiring, the politicians increased the minimum wage, causing further injury to the government’s excess populations’ despair and disgust.  The government compounded their error by increasing welfare benefits and then put exclusions onto welfare benefits, and the problems in depressed populations only grew!

Now, that hard-working employee has three jobs, cannot afford to stop working any of them, cannot obtain welfare, and with the reduced hours cannot maintain their standard of living without a spouse also working three to four different jobs.  Leading to more chaos, less parenting, greater school influence, and the politicians keep compounding the injuries to the people voting them into office.  Is it any wonder why the American population is so angry, disgusted with Congress, and politicians rank lower than public toilets and used car salesmen in integrity and usefulness?Ziggy - The Government

What does a “Liberty FIRST Culture” look like?

  1. No minimum wage!  I know this sounds completely counter-productive, but please understand, the minimum wage law was 100% unconstitutional when it first passed!  The minimum wage is the source of inflationary price gouging and the source for a lot of social unrest, angry people, and wasted blighted neighborhoods in America.
  2. Return to the states their sovereignty where competing with other states is concerned. State sovereignty where wages are concerned will shift populations to where jobs are, incentivizing investments in local communities and local hiring.  There are jobs here in the United States, there are populations who want the work, but the disparity comes from people needing incentives to move, not moving the jobs to those population centers.  Cost value equations play a significant role in deciding where to put manufacturing facilities, warehouses, and other businesses.  State sovereignty is more important in this issue than many realize.
  3. Realize this truth; not everyone needs to go to college. There are thousands of jobs where skill and experience matter more than academic degree success.  The politicians are pushing education because the cost of a college education is where a lot of their power is derived from student loan debt.  Bernie Sanders promising free college should scare the pants off every American; look how bad K-12 is, and imagine all advanced schools in America operating in the same manner.

DutyAmerica, and every other country with a mandated minimum wage, please consider the damage done by higher prices, runaway inflation, and market conditions where unskilled people are paid wages employers cannot afford, forcing massive shifts to technology or simply closing their doors.  Skill attainment requires practice and time, learning, and working; as skills are developed, the market will pay a fairer share than any government mandate can demand.  Trust the system; capitalism works because it rewards people for working, learning, developing new skills, taking risks, and being active in their own futures.  Put Liberty FIRST and watch the world shift for the better.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Patriotism

Jonathan Foreman, author of “The Pocketbook of Patriotism,” made an excellent point about what patriotism is in the introduction of his book, patriotism is “a celebration of this country [America].”  How cool is that, to know that the cheer I feel when I see the American Flag, the thrill I get when I see a parade when I see the US Military in action or marching in a parade, is patriotism, and I am celebrating America.  That sentiment is special to me; I like celebrating America.  I know the No MORE BS movement is global, but maybe patriotism can also be a celebration of your country and your country’s accomplishments, something to consider.  Hence the reason for this article, let us stop being afraid to be patriots or showing patriotism.

LinkedIn ImageAfter 9/11 and the terrorist attacks on that day, the corporate media, as early as 9/12, began trying to curb patriotism, stop the cheering, make citizens feel ashamed of being Americans, and going so far as to decide what American’s can and cannot see due to sensitivity and a perverted desire for nationalism to return.  During 9/11, I served onboard the USS Barry (DDG 52), an Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer.  Our ship was undergoing some maintenance that kept us tied to the pier when our carrier and battle group was called to New York.  We still served the battle group; we just did it tied to the pier.  Our sister ship, another Arleigh Burke, was off the 100-fathom curve performing ship inspections when a German Destroyer sent their condolences extraordinarily and uniquely to our sister ship, and our Navy, and the US Government.  Just remembering the action of this German Naval Destroyer brings tears and chills.  How humbling it was to have our national tragedy recognized by such a great ally and former enemy!  To that crew, you know who you are, thank you!

PatriotismPatriotism is a celebration of all we are, all we have achieved, and the hope of more extraordinary achievements to come.  America never claimed to be perfect, never desired to be the “shining city on the hill,” but America is one of the few countries who actively strive, and for that, I would live nowhere else!  I celebrate America’s Civil War, not because of the slavery issue or the thousands of dead, but because America proved that individual States’ rights are paramount in American governance.  Yes, we need to have some standards between the states for which the Federal Government is responsible, but individual States’ rights are critical to the American Republic, and I would have it no other way.  Do we, the inheritors of this Republic, understand how precious States’ Rights are to us individually?

LookLet us be perfectly clear; the corporate media would have all Americans celebrating nationalism instead of patriotism.  So, let’s clean up the confusion on these terms.  Nationalism, as detailed by Webster is, “an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation, especially to gain and maintain the nation’s sovereignty over its homeland.”  The plasticized version of nationalism’s definition coincides with Charles Reich’s “The New Property” and sees the government’s maintenance over the people as representatives of the nation.  Adlai Stevenson wrote, “Men who have offered their lives for their country know that patriotism is not the fear of something, it is the love of something.”  Adlai Stevenson went further and claimed; patriotism is “not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.”  Love and celebration of your country, what better sentiments can describe and define patriotism; I know of none better.

A principle from leadership is that of the loyal opposition.  Loyal opposition is a person’s true character, but they want and need to know why and know their efforts are acceptable, even when they appear to be in opposition to the proposed plan.  America was born in dissent from loyal oppositionists.  The American Republic owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to the loyal oppositionists and dissenters.  Through the paths of opposition and struggle, America was stronger for their loyalty and opposition, dissent, and eventual unity in the ideals that make America great.  Hence, to subdue dissent is the height of nationalism as a means to change America’s fundamentals, and treason is not a strong enough word for the actions of those who refuse dissent, declaim loyal opposition, and censor speech they find personally or politically unpalatable.

Mount RushmoreOne of the little-known founding fathers was John Dickinson.  John Dickinson (1732–1808), known as the “Penman of the Revolution” for his Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, was, at various times, a militia officer in the Revolutionary War, a member of the First and Second Continental Congresses, a primary drafter of the Articles of Confederation, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and the state president of Delaware (1781) and Pennsylvania (1782).”  John Dickinson is mentioned here for a song he wrote that was popular leading up to and during the American Revolution.  The lyrics are meaningful, but the music can be listened to here.  One phrase from the “Liberty Song” has been oft-quoted many times, “Then join Hand in Hand brave Americans all, By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall; In so righteous a cause let us hope to succeed, for Heaven approves of each generous Deed [emphasis mine].”  Consider how many times you have heard or seen this phrase in one context or another, and cheer for the man who wrote those immortal words!

Detective 3Thomas Paine was an English-born American political activist, philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary who authored, among many others, “Common Sense” and “The Right’s of Man,” two books highly recommended for future reading.  Thomas Paine is quoted saying, “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”  Of all the self-evident truths a patriot should never forget or be confused upon, this is the single most significant point and hinge for a country’s future.  The other self-evident truth, needing full remembrance, comes from President Thomas Jefferson, “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”  The legitimate government will always injure the citizens, hence the need for a smaller, more responsible, and flexible government.

American Patriotism is inclusive, generous, and tolerates and supports dissent.  I am not a judge of your patriotism, confusion between nationalism and patriotism, nor do I care about your personal choices, provided those choices do not interfere or remove the freedoms and liberties of others.  I feel this needs to be made clear, your choices are yours alone, and the consequences from those choices are yours to evaluate and consider without any input from me.  That is tolerance, generosity, and inclusion; without the plastic words, popular culture would have you believe.

Literary ArtsPlease believe and live the following truth; you, as an individual, are the key to America’s future.  Your choices are essential; your consequences suffered or enjoyed are part of your story that makes America grow or shrink.  Your choices and consequences will determine both your destiny and America’s destiny.  A “Liberty FIRST Culture” depends upon you, and you are worthy of the heritage and the honor of this position!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.