Is The Obama Presidency Running On Empty Gas Tank?

Four months into the second term of the Obama Presidency, it seems as if the administration has stalled.

Gun control legislation of any kind has failed to succeed.

Immigration reform is stalled, despite the efforts of Democratic and Republican Senators, including Marco Rubio of Florida.

The effects of sequestration are having a deleterious effect.

There are kinks in the ObamaCare planning for 2014.

There are questions about the improper use of the Internal Revenue Service toward conservative groups.

The Justice Department has intervened to subpoena records of the Associated Press, having to deal with, they say, national security.

The more one looks at the gathering storm, the more it looks as if the Obama Presidency may not have any more victories, and may face a lot of grief, some of it self induced!

9 comments on “Is The Obama Presidency Running On Empty Gas Tank?

  1. Maggie May 14, 2013 6:05 pm
    Mean while they gin up all these “scandals” about Onama, intheir never-ending quest to further erode the power of the American worker and line the pockets of wealthy business owners, Republicans have come up with H.R. 1406: the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013. It was passed in the House on May 8 and is now on the way to the Senate, where one can only hope it will die the death it deserves.
    Sponsored by Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), this Act guts the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 by eliminating overtime pay and substituting time off. One hour worked overtime will earn you no money but will give you an hour and a half off at some time in the future.
    Republicans are trying to sell the idea by telling the public that because so many families have two working parents, this will provide more time for them to spend with their families. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Except it doesn’t take into consideration that so many families depend on the higher rate of overtime pay just to help them make ends meet. It does nothing for the single worker except take away the needed dollars that working overtime provides. It limits the number of compensatory hours to a total of 160. If that time is not used, then the employer has to pay the employee for the unused time but only at the regular rate, not the overtime rate. I did the math on this and this is how it works out: Say you earn $20 an hour and work 106.66667 hours overtime (that is 160 divided by 1.5). If you don’t take your hours, you will be paid $3200, which is 160 hours x $20/hr. It is the same amount you would have made by working the 106.66667 at the time and a half rate of $30. Sounds okay, right? But if you take into consideration that the employer gets the benefit of that unpaid money and the interest accrued on it over a period of a year, while the employee has worked those hours for free at the time the work was delivered and has had to stretch his or her budget while working longer hours and then, at then end, gets no interest on the compensation that was withheld, you can see that the deal is great for the employer and not so much for the employee. Not to mention that nobody is going to stop the clock at that uneven .66667 of an hour and head on home. It works out to 40.0002 minutes. So you may wind up working more hours than you can bank. Think your employer will stop you? Then there is the language of the bill that restricts the times when an employee can use those compensatory hours. Let’s say, you’ve been banking your hours all year so you can spend some quality time with family during the holidays. But the holidays are the busy time for your employer. Guess who wins?
    ‘(7) USE OF TIME- An employee–
    ‘(A) who has accrued compensatory time off authorized to be provided under paragraph (1); and
    (B) who has requested the use of such compensatory time, shall be permitted by the employee’s employer to use such time within a reasonable period after making the request if the use of the compensatory time does not unduly disrupt the operations of the employer.
    If an employee wants to collect the compensatory wages, he or she must submit a request in writing to the employer and may have to wait up to 30 days before the money is issued.
    Nowhere in the language of the bill was anything that takes into account if a worker dies with compensatory hours in the bucket. So it leaves the door open for an employer to pocket the money.
    In summation, the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 gives employers the power to make you work longer hours without paying overtime, dictating when you can use the hours you’ve earned and if you die, your family will never see the hours you earned because they will evaporate.
    This is just another in the long string of attacks on the American worker launched by a party that caters to the wealthy and does everything possible to stick it to the average Joe.
    H.R. 1406 will most likely go down in flames in the Senate. At least I hope so. What a beautiful bonfire that will make.

  2. Maggie May 14, 2013 6:06 pm

    Author of above article: Ann Werner
    The web page is cited above

  3. Juan Domingo Peron May 14, 2013 8:03 pm

    H.R. 1406: the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 provides the employer MAY ADOPT the OPTION of OFFERING this policy! It is optional , an employee is not obligated to take up the option.
    (E) WRITTEN REQUEST- An employee may withdraw an agreement described in paragraph (2)(B) at any time. An employee may also request in writing that monetary compensation be provided, at any time, for all compensatory time accrued that has not yet been used. Within 30 days of receiving the written request, the employer shall provide the employee the monetary compensation due in accordance with paragraph (6).
    Furthermore in 1985 Congress passed a law allowing local and state governments to offer their employees the option of comp time!
    “This weekend, Andrew Malcolm brings us the full text of the Republican Party’s weekly remarks, this time delivered by Representative Martha Roby (R-AL2). In addition to Mothers Day, she spends some time discussing the passage this week in the House of the bill she authored, The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013. ( Lest you think I’m burying the lede here… BREAKING: The House Actually Did Something.)

    A more flexible workplace isn’t a new concept. In fact, many employees in the public sector enjoy this benefit right now. That’s because in 1985 Congress passed a law allowing local and state governments to offer their employees the option of comp time.

    So, why should the rules be different for employees in the private sector? Why should government workers have more freedom in the workplace than everybody else? And why is Washington restricting employers from offering certain benefits that government itself is free to offer?

    Our message to the American people is this: we want to get Washington out of the way of how you use your time. I am proud to champion the Working Families Flexibility Act on behalf of working moms and dads throughout the country.

    The short version of what the bill does (full text here) is to make it legal for private employers to offer workers the option of putting in extra hours and, rather than getting paid for it that week, bank the hours to take paid time off later – providing it doesn’t cause undue stress to the work schedule – without having to use up their vacation days. Currently companies are mostly prohibited from offering this option because of provisions in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938

    This is one of those cases where I can understand opponents having hesitation or questions about the bill, and it deserved the fair debate it received. Those protections were put in place to prevent employers from abusing the system and avoiding paying overtime to workers putting in more than 40 hours per week. But the bill has put in provisions to protect against that, and only offers the workers a chance to opt for the extra time off if that’s what they want.

    I’ve run into similar situations in years past. One place I worked when I was younger always had extra seasonal work in late winter where plenty of overtime was available. But I always wanted to go fishing in the spring, and went so far as to ask if I could bank up some time. I was informed that I could not because of legal reasons, so I can see where this type of flexibility would benefit some workers.

    So if those concerns have been addressed, where would anyone find grounds to oppose the idea? Never fear. The Washington Post will find something, I’m sure.

    Yet the National Partnership for Women & Families opposes the measure. Judith L. Lichtman, the organization’s senior advisor, testified against the bill before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, saying, “it would leave workers with neither pay nor time” and “magnifies the power imbalance between employer and employee.”

    She argued that H.R. 1406 “offers a false, flawed choice that would make times even tougher for workers and their families.”

    No real explanation is offered as to why she’s describing something which seems to be the opposite of the bill as written, but we might get a hint from the fact that the unions and in general and the AFL-CIO in particular hate this bill with a vengeance. While one might wonder why unions representing workers wouldn’t want workers to have more options, (assuming you’ve been asleep for the last 30 years) it’s really not much of a mystery. Unions live off the dues they collect from their members. The more they work and the more they earn, the more money goes into the unions’ coffers. Little things like extra paid time off to go fishing don’t do anything to stack up the cash they need to pump into the next round of elections.

    Will the Senate take up this or a companion bill so it can go to the President? And would Barack Obama sign it if they did? Stay tuned.”

  4. Engineer Of Knowledge May 14, 2013 8:05 pm

    Spot on Maggie! just another bit of legislation to deescalate the standard of living towards the working middle class.

  5. Ronald May 14, 2013 9:15 pm

    I second Engineer of Knowledge in praising Maggie on her discussion of the bill proposed by a Republican Congresswoman (what is it about Republican women that they do not care about labor and families–it absolutely boggles my mind). Maggie, I congratulate you, and of course, Juan is always going to defend any bill that hurts the middle class and the poor! This makes me think he is in the top two percent of income, and if he is not, then indeed he is purely ridiculous in backing management and corporations who take advantage of their workers, and have no concern as to how workers are to support their families in a decent fashion!

  6. Juan Domingo Peron May 14, 2013 9:23 pm

    Evidently for progressives the word “option” and “free to choose” is not in their vocabulary.

  7. Princess Leia May 14, 2013 9:41 pm

    Umm….more like the words “option” and “free to choose” are not in regressives vocabulary.

  8. Maggie May 14, 2013 10:57 pm

    Juan you just are not getting it. This bill is neither new nor about giving workers much needed time off to care for families. If you think THAT’S the reason republicans passed it in the House you are even more delusional that I suspected. This bill simply rehashes legislation republicans passed in the House in 1997! The just reintroduced it and it’s major effect would be to hamstring workers by increasing overtime hours for those who don’t want them and cutting pay for those that do.
    Juan, Mr. Lawyer,wake the hell up! This legislation undermined the 40 hour week that worker have relied on. By cutting hours when employers want..they can get out of paying health care costs. Then they can take those hours from those employees and give them to others who make less per hour.. This then has some employees working unpaid overtime hours beyond the 40 hr workweek and accruing as many as 160 hours of comp time. A low paid worker making $10 who accrues that many hours of over time pay would effectively give the employer and interest free loan of $1,600!! That’s equal to a month’s pay. What about that don’t you get?
    now think about it Juan…wrap your brain around this.. This bill provides employers with a powerful incentive to increase worker’s overtime hours. BUT instead of paying them time and a half when a worker works over the 40 hr wk, the EMPLOYER incurs NO financial cost in the time period the hours are worked.
    This bill will hurt workers. The labor market is still very unsteady in this fragile recovery. Of course in stead of “focusing like a laser” republican words, not mine, the repubs come up with this crap legislation! It will NOT create jobs Juan! It does exactly the opposite. Instead of encouraging employers to hire more workers when business improves which would help the economy, it gives them a very strong incentive to just increase overtime hours of their current employees with out cost them extra and giving them a nice little interest free load.
    Receiving comp time is supposed to be voluntary but anyone who has worked at a $10 /hr job knows full well that it’s an offer from the your employer that you cannot refuse. You think these low wage workers have any real say or can take that comp time just any time? That is what the rethugs don’t want workers to know. It’s totally up to the employer when the employee can take off. They have the power to decide, not the employee. Do you think those workers actually want days off rather than the money? Sure the bill says that employers are not supposed to coerce, threaten or intimidate workers into agreeing to this comp time in lieu of wages. Employers don’t need to utilize that those tactics. Everyone with half a brain understands that in this economy, the employers hold all the cards. Workers who refuse to go along with the employer’s request for comp time you can bet the employee’s commitment to the employer will be questioned and they will then be in fear and vulnerable to having their hours cut or fired for some reason the employer can come up with. In this weak job market low paid workers just cannot take that chance. Without unions to protect worker’s rights to refuse to trade overtime pay for comp time, and with no funds in the bill for enforcement of these provisions, who the hell do you think will win this. The Low paid workers? Think again!

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