The House voted on Friday to give women powerful new tools to challenge sex discrimination by employers who pay women less than men for the same or substantially similar work.
The House passed two related bills on Friday. One, approved 247 to 171, would give workers more time to file lawsuits claiming job discrimination.
The bill would overturn a 2007 decision by the Supreme Court that enforced a strict 180-day deadline, thwarting a lawsuit by Lilly M. Ledbetter, a longtime supervisor at the Goodyear tire plant in Gadsden, Ala. Three Republicans voted for the bill.
The other bill — passed 256 to 163, with support from 10 Republicans — would make it easier for women to prove violations of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which generally requires equal pay for equal work.
In the Ledbetter case, a jury found that Goodyear had paid her less than men, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But the Supreme Court, in a 5-to-4 decision, threw out her complaint. It said she should have filed her claim within 180 days of “the alleged unlawful employment practice,” the initial decision to pay her less than men performing similar work.
“The Ledbetter decision is unacceptable and must not stand,” said Representative George Miller, Democrat of California and chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor. Under the decision, Mr. Miller said, employers can get away with years of pay discrimination “if they hide it for the first 180 days.”
The bill would relax the statute of limitations, making clear that each new paycheck violates the law if it results “in whole or in part” from a discriminatory pay decision made in the past.
Under the 1963 law, an employer can justify paying women less than men if it shows that the disparity is based on any factor other than sex. Employers have successfully used this defense in many cases, arguing that unequal pay was justified by the education, training or experience of male employees.
Some courts have also held that a company can legally pay men more than women because of “market forces” or the higher salaries that men received in previous jobs. Democrats said those factors — market forces and prior salaries — were themselves sometimes tainted by discrimination.
The bill would make it harder for employers to use such defenses. Employers would have to show that the pay disparity was based on “a bona fide factor” other than sex, and that the factor was “consistent with business necessity.”
The bill would also allow women to obtain compensatory and punitive damages from employers who violated the equal pay law.
The White House said the bill would allow “unlimited compensatory and punitive damages, even when a disparity in pay was unintentional.” Under the new standard, it continued, “judges and juries would supplant the free market system” in determining wages.
Now that I have people’s attention on the Land Value Tax….I bet you are asking if it is so good what are the benefits? Glad you asked.
Since the early 90′s when I took the courses at the Henry George Institute, I have been a supporter of Land Value Taxation (LVT) because it more since than all the tap dancing politicians do with the tax issue. LVT is a logical and effective way to eliminate all other forms of taxation and still produce the revenue to fund all domestic programs.
- A NATURAL SOURCE OF PUBLIC REVENUE. All land makes its full contribution to the Exchequer, allowing reductions in existing taxes on labour and enterprise.
- A STRONGER ECONOMY. If we tax labour, buildings or machinery and plant, we discourage people from constructive and beneficial activities and penalise enterprise and efficiency. The reverse is the case with a tax on land values, which is payable regardless of whether or how well the land is actually used. It is a payment, based on current market value, for the exclusive occupation of a piece of land. In the longer term, this fundamentally new and different approach to revenue raising will stimulate new business and new employment, reducing the need for costly government welfare.
- MARGINAL AREAS REVITALISED. Economic actitivities are handicapped by distance from the major centres of population. Conventional taxes such as VAT and those on transport fuels cause particular damage to the remoter areas of the country. Land Value Tax, by definition, bears lightly or not at all where land has little or no value, thereby stimulating economic activity away from the centre – it creates what are in effect tax havens exactly where they are most needed.
- A MORE EFFICIENT LAND MARKET. The necessity to pay the tax obliges landowners to develop vacant and under-used land properly or to make way for others who will.
- LESS URBAN SPRAWL. Land Value Taxation deters speculative land holding. Thus dilapidated inner-city areas are returned to good use, reducing the pressure for building on green-field sites.
- LESS BUREAUCRACY. The complexities of Income Tax, Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and VAT are well known. By contrast, Land Value Tax is straightforward. Once the system has settled down, landholders will not be faced with complicated forms and demands for information. Revaluation will become relatively simple.
- NO AVOIDANCE OR EVASION. Land cannot be hidden, removed to a tax haven or concealed in an electronic data system.
- AN END TO BOOM-SLUMP CYCLES. Speculation in land value – frequently misrepresented and disguised as “property” or “asset” speculation – is the root cause of unsustainable booms which result periodically in damaging corrective slumps. Land Value Taxation, fully and properly applied, knocks the speculative element out of land pricing.
- IMPOSSIBLE TO PASS ON IN HIGHER PRICES, LOWER WAGES OR HIGHER RENTS. Competition makes it impossible for a business producing goods on a valuable site to charge more per item than one producing similar goods on less valuable land – after all, producers and traders at different locations are paying different rents to landlords now, yet like goods generally sell for much the same price and employers pay their workers comparable wages. The tax cannot be passed on to a tenant who is already paying the full market rent.
Politicians are always trying to find solutions to the problem of generating revenue for the needed programs of the community, state or country. The answer is so simple, but still ignored, Land Value Taxation.
President-elect Barack Obama‘s proposed tax cuts ran into opposition Thursday from senators in his own party who said they wouldn’t do much to stimulate the economy or create jobs. Senators from both parties agreed that Congress should do something to stimulate the economy. But Democratic senators emerging from a private meeting of the Senate Finance Committee criticized business and individual tax cuts in Obama’s stimulus plan.
They were especially critical of a proposed $3,000 tax credit for companies that hire or retrain workers.
Sen John Kerry, D-Mass., said, “I’d rather spend the money on the infrastructure, on direct investment, on energy conversion, on other kinds of things that much more directly, much more rapidly and much more certainly create a real job.”
The cost of the economic rescue package Obama wants is expected to swell to $800 billion or more. About $300 billion of Obama’s package would be for tax cuts or refunds for individuals and businesses.
One tax provision would provide a $500 tax cut for most workers and $1,000 for couples, at a cost of about $140 billion to $150 billion over two years. The individual tax cuts may be awarded through withholding less from worker paychecks, effectively making them about $10 to $20 larger each week.
What part of the $10 a week will make the homeowner more secure?
More on the interview of Palin for a conservative documentary.
In a wide-ranging interview posted on the Internet yesterday, John McCain‘s running mate was sharply critical of a series of interviews she had conducted with CBS‘ Couric, saying they had been edited to make her appear misinformed, and at one point sharply noted of the “Evening News” anchor, “Katie, you’re not the center of everyone’s universe.”
She also criticized her own campaign for insisting that she conduct other interviews with Couric, even after it became obvious the first encounter had gone poorly. “It didn’t go well, the first day, and then my question to the McCain campaign [was] why are we going to go back for more? … They said, yeah, we’re going back for more. That was not a wise decision.”
Those interviews, conducted shortly after her nomination, were widely viewed as a fiasco when she stumbled over answers, or seemed uncertain of basic facts. Palin added that “to me, the question was more along the lines of, ‘What do you guys do up there?’” and that she then offered a flip answer. “Of course I read newspapers,” she said in the Web interview.
Palin was also asked about Caroline Kennedy‘s campaign to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton as junior senator from New York. “I’ve been interested to see how Caroline Kennedy will be handled. As we watch that, we’ll be able to prove that there’s a class issue here” in the media’s treatment of both Palin and Kennedy’s candidacies.
She talked about the media spreading lies and misinformation….think about that. She said that there was gonna be a class bias in the media with Kennedy…think about that. Sorry all you Palin cheerleaders…she illustrates why the GOP is in such dire straights…they have NO message…NO direction…and a serious lack of grasp on the truth. PLease tell me that she is not the best hope of the GOP.
The Enslavement Of Labor
In the later part of 2008 Wall Street began its tumble, when actually the tumble started back in 2007, but became more visible in 2008. It cost the American taxpayer almost a trillion dollars to help these firms out. Then by the last of 2008 the auto companies asked for help or they would bust. But unlike Wall Street, the auto makers took heat from Congress and the American people. Labor took the most heat. The auto workers and their union were blamed for all the ills of the companies. Even the people in the middle class, mostly the workers, jumped on that bandwagon, blaming everything wrong with the car companies on the policies and practices of the union and its members. NOTHING was further from the truth!
The problem was not that of labor, but rather the economic policies that have run this country for too long.
In the 19th century, American economist Henry George made some profound observations on his way to the formulation of the Land Value Tax (LVT)
When people are compelled to live on — and from — land treated as the exclusive property of others, the ultimate result is the enslavement of workers. As population increases and productivity improves, we move toward the same absolute mastery of landlords and the same abject helplessness of labor. Rent will advance; wages will fall. Landowners continually increase their share of the total production, while labor’s share constantly declines.
To the extent that moving to cheaper land becomes difficult or impossible, workers will be reduced to a bare living — no matter what they produce. Where land is monopolized, they will live as virtual slaves. Despite enormous increase in productive power, wages in the lower and wider layers of industry tend — everywhere — to the wages of slavery (i.e., just enough to maintain them in working condition).
There is nothing strange in this fact. Owning the land on which — and from which — people must live is virtually the same as owning the people themselves. In accepting the right of some individuals to the exclusive use and enjoyment of the earth, we condemn others to slavery. We do this as fully and as completely as though we had formally made them chattel slaves.
Ownership of land is the basis of aristocracy. It was not nobility that gave land, but the possession of land that gave nobility. All the enormous privileges of the nobility of medieval Europe flowed from their position as the owners of the soil. This simple principle of ownership produced the lord on one side, and the vassal on the other. One having all the rights, the other none.
The essence of slavery is that everything workers produce is taken from them, except enough to support a bare existence. Under existing conditions, the lowest wages of free labor invariably tend toward this same state. No matter how much productivity increases, rent steadily swallows up the whole gain (or even more). Thus, the condition of the masses in every civilized country is tending toward virtual slavery — under the forms of freedom.
Of all kinds of slavery, this is probably the most cruel and relentless. Laborers are robbed of their production and forced to toil for mere subsistence. But their taskmasters assume the form of inescapable demands. It does not seem to be one human being who drives another, but “the inevitable laws of supply and demand.” And for this, no one in particular is responsible. Even the selfish interest that prompted the master to look after the well-being of his slaves is lost.
Labor has become a commodity, and the worker a machine. There are no masters and slaves, no owners and owned — only buyers and sellers.
The working class is being driven into this helpless, hopeless poverty by a force like a resistless and unpitying machine. It drives people to acts barbarians would refuse. The Boston collar manufacturer who pays his workers two cents an hour may sympathize with their condition. But, like them, he is governed by the law of competition. His business cannot survive if he pays more. And so it goes, through all the intermediate gradations. It seems to be the inexorable laws of supply and demand that forces the lower classes into the slavery of poverty. And an individual can no more dispute this power than the winds and tides.
The previous was from Henry George’s book “Progress and Poverty”.
There is a way out of this problem, but it will take the ‘nads to change it. If not, then just sit back and this will continue to happen time after time. The solution has a simple title–Land Value Taxation.
Israel will not win the media war as long as they keep killing civilians and especially not if they keep killing aid workers.
It has now been two weeks since the Israeli military began its attacks on the Gaza Strip, and one week since they began their ground invasion. In that time, over 800 people have been killed in Gaza, and around 3,300 others have been wounded.
Both the United Nations Security Council’s resolution supporting a ceasefire and an unrelated Egyptian-brokered attempt seem to have stalled at this point, with Israel dismissing the former out of hand and little result from the first two days of talks on the later. Israeli attacks continued to escalate in the strip, and Hamas fired more rockets deep into Israel, with one targeting an Israeli Air Force base near Tel Aviv.
The United Nations also announced that they will resume their humanitarian shipments into the Gaza Strip as soon as possible, having suspended them yesterday after the Israeli military inexplicably attacked one of their aid trucks. The UN insists that it has received credible assurances that future aid deliveries will not be attacked.
On the home front:
Responding to last night’s report from The Guardian, Barack Obama’s chief national security spokeswoman Brooke Anderson has denied that the Obama Administration would ever participate in secret low level talks with the Hamas government.
“The President-elect has repeatedly stated that he believes that Hamas is a terrorist organization dedicated to Israel’s destruction, and that we should not deal with them,” Anderson insisted, adding “the President-elect’s repeated statements are accurate, this unsourced story is not.”
The Guardian article actually cites several sources including Obama appointee Richard Haass, though most of them are left unnamed and described as “sources close to the transition team,” or a “potential contender for a foreign policy role.”
Before the recent days – which saw additional IDF casualties, and many casualties among the Palestinian and UN workers – the operation was supported by a sweeping majority of the Jewish public: 94% of the Jewish public said they support or very much support the operation, 92% said they believe it benefits Israel in terms of security, and a clear but smaller majority believes the operation helps Israel diplomatically as well.