It’s the Wages & Benefits, Stupid.

After businesses complained they can’t find enough people to keep their doors open Indiana is set to become the latest state to bring back a requirement that unemployed workers will have to actively search for jobs to get benefits.

“Unemployment has been extended again, stimulus money again – you know, if you’ve got a couple of kids you’re really getting a lot of stimulus money,” Hunter said. “It’s good for them, but it’s bad for me.”

Hunter’s assumption is a common refrain from business owners, the reality is more complicated.

Micah Pollak, a professor of economics at Indiana University Northwest, said plenty of studies have shown that unemployment benefits are not, by and large, keeping people from taking jobs. Instead it boils down to wages.

“I think it’s kind of like a cop-out for business owners to say that because it puts all the blame on the workers and then they don’t take any responsibility for what’s happening,” Pollak said. “I mean, if a couple hundred dollars a week is enough to convince a worker not to work for you, then I think you need to question what kind of work environment and pay are you offering.”

Indiana Public Media

Republicans’ “Economic Miracle”: Tax Cuts. Don’t believe it.

I live and work in the Midwest, which remains locked in a half-century doldrum of population stagnation, locally concentrated job losses and decay. In many ways, the Rust Belt is emblematic of the lack of focus on value to residents. Indiana is the perfect example, since no state in the Rust Belt has cut taxes as aggressively as this one. A decade ago, local property tax caps were added to the Constitution, limiting local spending. Then corporate taxes were cut, and income taxes cut. All of this was done with the hopes of boosting population and economic growth. 

That didn’t happen. Indiana’s economic recovery from the Great Recession was no more than lackluster, and the clearest result of the rush to cut taxes was to make Indiana a magnet for low-wage employers. The state’s per-capita income dropped to 86% of that of the nation as a whole, down from near 90% in 2012. Half of all job growth went to adult workers without a high school diploma.  

The lesson here is that selling your state on price instead of value is likely to draw bargain shoppers. These businesses will view the workforce as a commodity. That is a poor harbinger for the future.

MarketWatch

Right-Wing Solution to Hiring Problems: Cut Unemployment Pay. Impose Desperation for Low-Wage Jobs. Right-Wing Philosophy: Sticks are Better Than Carrots.

This right-wing website expends a great deal of effort bemoaning the inability of companies to find workers (mostly low-wage workers).

The problem, according to this right-wing view: The government’s unemployment pay assistance. The solution appears to be: Make workers suffer low income so they are forced to take low-wage jobs.

Completely ignored: The pandemic, workers’ fear of catching the virus, and one other solution: Increase wages.

Half a Billion Facebook Users’ Personal Info Hacked and Made Available

There’s a reason why Zuckerberg called people who entrusted their personal information to facebook “dumb fucks“:

a dataset containing 553 million Facebook users’ data—including phone numbers, full names, locations, email addresses, and biographical informationwas published for free online. (It appears this is the same dataset Motherboard reported on in January). More than half a billion current and former Facebook users are now at high risk of various kinds of fraud.

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What Do You Do When Hate Knocks on Your Door?

This is my personal story of being targeted by the alt-right. It details the events but mainly my thought processes, the information I found on mainstream media and the internet about the organization that targeted me, and how I responded. I have received a lot of positive feedback and I’m treating this as a living document. Apparently these folks engage in a lot of intimidation tactics and do this kind of thing frequently.

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Republicans Screwed Up on Biden’s Relief Bill

Numerous Republican politicians have been denouncing the relief bill recently passed by Democrats. It’s part of a planned, coordinated, strategy by Republicans to turn public opinion against the bill (75% of the public likes the bill).

“The [Republican National Committee] circulated rapid response emails and put together research documents on the legislation that they blasted out to reporters.”

“Republicans lost credibility on that issue during the Trump years, especially the first couple years when we had the power to do something about it,” said Brendan Steinhauser, a Republican consultant and former campaign manager to Texas Sen. John Cornyn. “There was no interest in doing anything about it. It was just, ‘let’s not even talk about spending or the debt or deficit or anything like that.’”

Politico