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And the Beat Goes On


Exhibit One: Coastal Elites Lying for….Reasons
From NPR: 
A new study estimates that the number of people who have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. is more than 900,000, a number 57% higher than official figures. The analysis comes from researchers at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, who looked at excess mortality from March 2020 through May 3, 2021, compared it with what would be expected in a typical non pandemic year, then adjusted those figures to account for a handful of other pandemic-related factors. The final count only estimates deaths "caused directly by the SARS-CoV-2 virus," according to the study's authors. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19.

Exhibit Two: The Labor Freak Out

by John Cole at Balloon Juice, filling a Festival full with this Rant.  May 8, 2021 7:00 pm

Unless you live underneath a rock, the last couple of days you have witnessed a genuine freak out from the chattering classes about the jobs report. To save you some time, I will summarize:


And really, I am not exaggerating. [Poor], low paying jobs are not being filled, and it is FREAKING out the MBA class. We are at a point where several generations of businesses and business owners have never actually experienced a tight labor market, and they literally have no idea what to do. Since the Reagan era, they have been in the driver’s seat, neutering labor unions, having MBA’s nickel and dime employees to death with suppressed wages, cutting away at medical and retirement benefits, shifting them to 401k’s while not providing commensurate pay increases, and so forth. They’ve spent four decades [bragging] about being job creators while siphoning all the profit upward, treating employees like indentured servants eager to work 35 hours a week for 8 bucks an hour with no stable schedule, so with employees not willing to literally die during a pandemic to smell like french fries and Walmart working the two jobs they need to survive, these [over]lords finally find themselves without enough workers.

The one thing they cannot find themselves willing to try to do is to try to pay them more. You’ll hear anecdotal stories about McDonald’s owners paying a whole 12 dollars an hour for an “entry level job,” sneering while saying it because everyone knows an entry level position shouldn’t pay enough for the serf to pay rent AND eat.

My suggestion to the government is to not do ANYTHING except push for a 15$ minimum wage, and these [owner] will either figure it out on their own and start paying people what they are worth, [or] start picking the tampons out of their own Burger King bathroom toilets themselves, or go out of business. All of these are fine by me.

Museum: What’s really going on is a fundamental shift in the way people look at jobs and families. Two thirds of those who lost their jobs over the past year don’t know if they want to return to the same-old same-old. (see below). But most importantly women are not yet returning to the job market, and they were the majority of the jobs now going vacant.

From the Washington Post 

• A Pew Research Center survey this year found that 66 percent of the unemployed had “seriously considered” changing their field of work, a far greater percentage than during the Great Recession. People who used to work in restaurants or travel are finding higher-paying jobs in warehouses or real estate, for example. Or they want a job that is more stable and less likely to be exposed to the coronavirus — or any other deadly virus down the road. Consider that grocery stores shed over 49,000 workers in April and nursing care facilities lost nearly 20,000.

Devita Davidson, Director at Detroit Food Lab

“We're literally watching the largest labor movement in modern American history happen in the form of paper signs taped to the windows of fast-food and fast-casual restaurants”--

The Restaurant industry publication Plateline:

For every well-meaning owner who set up a GoFundMe and connected their team with resources, there are many more who ceased communication after March 16. “Restaurants that laid people off right at the beginning of the pandemic are now ramping up hiring and not realizing that people don’t want to be abandoned again,” said Chef Eric Rivera in a recent Twitter thread.

• Another group that’s sitting out in significant numbers: women. Alexandra Cherniavsky, a sommelier in Philadelphia, is a new mom. When deciding when to return to work, she discovered an issue women have navigated for ages: “The childcare currently available isn’t compatible with restaurant hours,” she says.
• The pandemic has forced 2.3 million women out of the workforce, according to the National Women’s Law Center, and recent data from Moody’s Analytics shows that mothers of young children lag far behind the rest of the population in returning. “I miss restaurants like crazy, but they don’t seem like safe or supportive places right now," says Cherniavasky. "Plus, I’m hearing too many stories about nasty, entitled guests to want to be away from my baby and deal with that.”
• In fact, a recent survey from One Fair Wage shows that 39 percent of restaurant professionals are planning on leaving the industry over “concerns of hostility and harassment from customers.” But the number one reason? Seventy-six percent of survey respondents plan on abandoning hospitality because of low pay.

Mississippi response? Keisha Rowe at the Mississippi Clarion Ledger

In Mississippi, businesses “report that they cannot get employees to return to work because they can earn more from combined federal and state unemployment benefits than their normal wages … These businesses are no longer suffering from a lack of demand due to COVID-19,” Mississippi state House Speaker Philip Gunn wrote in a letter to Reeves. “Rather, they are suffering from a labor shortage caused by unemployment benefits that exceed normal wage levels for productive work.”

Mississippi’s maximum unemployment benefit without the added $300 a week is $235, so the benefits that “exceed normal wage levels for productive work” end up at $13.38 an hour, just under the $13.43 an hour that the MIT Living Wage Calculator says is a living wage for one adult with no children in Mississippi.

Contrary to Republican claims that people are staying home because they don’t want to work, Ashton Pittman reports that Mississippi’s labor force participation rate is back to pre-pandemic levels. People are either working or looking for work. And the highest job growth has been in low-wage industries like hospitality and food service, where unemployment benefits can outstrip wages.

At the Exit: Thoughts and Prayers
Per the AP

… The judge was tasked with deciding whether the NRA should be allowed to incorporate in Texas instead of New York, where the state is suing in an effort to disband the group. Though headquartered in Virginia, the NRA was chartered as a nonprofit in New York in 1871 and is incorporated in the state.

Judge Harlin Hale said in a written order that he was dismissing the case because he found the bankruptcy was not filed in good faith. “The Court believes the NRA’s purpose in filing bankruptcy is less like a traditional bankruptcy case in which a debtor is faced with financial difficulties or a judgment that it cannot satisfy and more like cases in which courts have found bankruptcy was filed to gain an unfair advantage in litigation or to avoid a regulatory scheme,” Hale wrote. His decision followed 11 days of testimony and arguments. Lawyers for New York and the NRA’s former advertising agency grilled the group’s embattled top executive, Wayne LaPierre, who acknowledged putting the NRA into Chapter 11 bankruptcy without the knowledge or assent of most of its board and other top officers…

The NRA’s financial standing has been upended by the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, it laid off dozens of employees, canceled its national convention and scuttled fundraising. The NRA’s bankruptcy filing listed between $100 million and $500 million in assets and between $100 million and $500 million in liabilities. Still, the organization claimed in announcing the move that it was “in its strongest financial condition in years.” 


Uncle Willie loves to have feedback from both readers who appreciate his point of view as well as from misguided souls who disagree.