Increasing the Minimum Wage Would Save the Federal Government Billions of Dollars

A study released by the Economic Policy Institute in mid-October shows that increasing the minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour would save the federal government more than $7.6 billion dollars per year.

It stands to reason that anyone who works full-time should not have to live in poverty. And yet, a full-time minimum wage worker who has only one child falls below the federal poverty line. Contrary to conservative myths, 88 percent of workers who are paid minimum wage are adults, over the age of twenty. On average, these workers bring home 50 percent of their family’s income.

Out of all workers who are forced to rely on government benefits to help make ends meet, more than 50 percent earn less than 10.10 per hour. This graph from EPI illustrates how raising the wage to $10.10 could reduce the number of working people who rely on programs like SNAP, WIC and cash assistance.

By passing the Minimum Wage Act of 2014, which would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 over a three-year period, Congress would be making sure that over 27 million American workers who deserve a raise would finally get one. The raise in wage would give a much needed boost to more than 20 percent of American wage earners. It would also make it possible for at least 1.7 million working Americans to no longer have to rely on government assistance to survive.

EPI’s research, which was conducted by Economic Analyst David Cooper, conservatively estimates that raising the minimum wage from $7.25  to $10.10 an hour would save taxpayers a whopping $7.6 billion dollars a year — money which currently goes to fund programs that benefit the working poor, like food stamps, Medicaid, housing assistance and WIC. Not only would the raise save the safety net billions of dollars, it would help ensure that businesses (many of which are earning record profits) are doing their fair share.
The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2014, which has been stalled by Republicans in Congress, would not only give these workers a raise today, but it will protect them from falling below the poverty line in the future by tying the minimum wage to the rate of inflation.

The bill, HR1010, would also give tipped workers their first wage increase in over two decades. Currently, the minimum wage for tipped workers is just $2.13 an hour. The bill would gradually raise the wages of these workers to 70 percent of the minimum wage.

We’ve seen that trickle-down/top-down economics doesn’t work. Under that system, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The biggest advocates of trickle down economics are the same people who so vehemently oppose even the mere thought of seeing one precious cent from their accumulated piles of cash trickle out of their hands. It’s a con game. The almighty job creators don’t actually fuel the American economy; the every day American worker does, but only if she has enough money to buy the things she needs and wants.

In August, University of Wisconsin Professor Menzie Chin released another important economic study. His work clearly showed that the GOP’s pro-business, anti-worker policies actually hurt business and stunt economic growth. Menzie found a negative correlation between Republican economic policies and job growth, as well, busting the myth that asking employers to pay a fair wage will cause them to close down and take away jobs. The main thing that actually causes a company to go out of business is lack of customers to buy their services or goods.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2014 would equate to an additional $32 billion dollars being put into the hands of American workers, who can then spend those dollars paying bills or buying groceries or putting gas in their cars, maybe get a haircut or a new pair of shoes, who knows?

When 20 percent of the country’s workforce has to rely on government assistance to get by, there’s a problem. Taxpayers are the ones who have been paying for the GOP Congress’ unwillingness to solve that problem. As much as the right wing complains about the poor “freeloading off taxpayers,” they’re completely content to allow 1.7 million people to continue to rely on taxpayer funded programs when they could easily help Democrats pass HR 1010 instead — a move that would easily save the government at least $7.6 billion dollars.

That’s the definition of fiscal irresponsibility

The Mystery of Rongorongo

During the 19th Century, ancient artifacts containing a set of etched symbols were discovered on the world-renowned Easter Island, a small remote island located a few thousand miles west of South America, and famous for the hundreds of giant monolithic anthropomorphic statues called moai. The intricate designs appear to be glyphs, or a form of writing, but the meaning of the glyphs has never been deciphered. Some believe that decoding the mysterious writing could offer answers into what caused the collapse of the ancient Easter Island civilization.

rongorongo

The Rongorongo writing was first discovered by Eugène Eyraud, a lay friar of the Roman Catholic Church, who went to Easter Island as a missionary on January 2, 1864. In an account of his visit, he wrote of his discovery of twenty-six wooden tablets containing the unusual inscriptions:

“In every hut one finds wooden tablets or sticks covered in several sorts of hieroglyphic characters: They are depictions of animals unknown on the island, which the natives draw with sharp stones. Each figure has its own name; but the scant attention they pay to these tablets leads me to think that these characters, remnants of some primitive writing, are now for them a habitual practice which they keep without seeking its meaning.”

The name Rongorongo comes from the Rapa Nui language, which is the native language of Easter Island, and means “to recite, to declaim, to chant out.” The irregularly shaped wooden tablets were weathered, burned, or otherwise damaged when they were found. The glyphs were also found on a chieftain’s staff, a bird-man statuette, and two reimiro ornaments. The glyphs are written in-between lines that run across the tablets. Some tablets are “fluted” with the inscriptions falling within the channels created by the fluting.  The Rongorongo images are shaped like humans, animals, plants, and geometric forms. Every symbol that contains a head is oriented with the head facing up, and either facing forward, or profiling to the right. Each symbol is approximately 1 centimeter high. The orientation of the writing is read from left to right, bottom to top. This is known as reverse boustrophedon. According to oral tradition, the tools used to make the carvings were obsidian flakes or small shark teeth.

rongorongo-tablet

The age of the tablets is unknown, as very little direct dating has been done, but they are believed to have originated around the 13th Century, around the same time as forest clearing.  However, this is merely speculative as the inhabitants of Easter Island may have felled a small number of trees for the specific purpose of creating the wooden tablets.  One glyph appears to resemble a palm tree, and is thought to be the Easter Island palm, which disappeared from the island’s pollen record in 1650, suggesting the script must be at least that old.

Deciphering the glyphs has proven difficult. Assuming that Rongorongo is writing, there are three barriers that make it difficult to decipher: the limited number of texts, the lack of illustrations and other contexts with which to understand them, and poor attestation of the Old Rapanui language, which is likely to be the language reflected in the tablets. Some believe that the Rongorongo is not true writing, but proto-writing, which is a set of symbols that convey information without containing any truly linguistic content. According to the Atlas of Language, the Rongorongo “was probably used as a memory aid or for decorative purposes, not for recording the Rapanui language of the islanders.”

While it remains unclear exactly what the Rongorongo is intended to convey, the discovery and inspection of the tablets remain an important key to understanding the past civilizations of Easter Island. The intricately inscribed, neatly lined images indicate that the ancient island civilization had a message to convey, whether it was a casual display for decorative purposes, or to pass messages and stories forward from generation to generation. Perhaps deciphering the codes will someday lead to answers about the collapse of the island civilization, but for now, the tablets remain a mysterious symbol from the past.

A Dichotomy

If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and perfectly good, why do we pray to him to intercede in our lives? A human father is finite and fallible — he may not know that his child needs help; he may be unable to give it; or, conceivably, he may not care enough to make the effort. But an omnipotent, omniscient, infinitely good god is incapable of these failings. We’re already certain that he’s aware of our problems, that he cares about us infinitely, and that he’s able to help us if he chooses. So why do we pray?

“That the believer desires divine assistance in various situations is perfectly understandable,” writes Roberts Wesleyan College philosopher David Basinger. “But that a believer would feel the need to request such assistance from a being who is more knowledgeable, concerned and powerful than he or she is not.”

More Wisdom From Poor Richard’s Almanack:

Diligence is the mother of good luck.

Caesar did not merit the triumphal car more than he that conquers himself.

Where Sense is wanting, everything is wanting.

None are deceived, but they that confide.

Approve not of him who commends all you say.

Despair ruins some, Presumption many.

‘Tis easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.

Suspicion may be no fault, but showing it may be a great one.

Men take more pains to mask than mend.

As charms are nonsense, nonsense is a charm.

As sore places meet most rubs, proud folks meet most affronts.

Admiration is the daughter of ignorance.

Honours change manners.

Without justice courage is weak.

A good man is seldom uneasie, an ill one never easie.

A wicked hero will turn his back to an innocent coward.

It is Ill-manners to silence a Fool, and Cruelty to let him go on.

6000 Year Old Temple Found In the Ukraine

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A massive prehistoric settlement has been uncovered in the Ukraine consisting of a large temple, human-like figurines, and animal remains, which dates back to around 4,000 BCE. According to Live Science, the town once covered an enormous 238 hectares (588 acres) and would have contained more than 1,200 buildings and nearly 50 streets.

The ancient settlement, which researchers are calling a ‘mega-site’, was first detected by geophysical survey in 2009 near modern-day Nebelivka, but only now have excavations revealed some of its incredible structures and artifacts.

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“The high-resolution plot shows the features of a typical mega-site plan structured around two concentric circuits of houses, with mostly empty space between the circuits, almost 50 internal radial streets, a scatter of features outside the outer circuit, enclosed within a boundary ditch, and an apparently ‘empty’ core area,” write the study authors in the research report published in the journal Antiquity. “…one such ‘mega-structure’ suggests the presence of public buildings for meetings or ceremonies, acting as focal points for several clusters of houses.”

The temple was made of wood and clay and measured about 60 by 20 metres (196 by  66 feet) in size. It had two levels and was surrounded by a galleried courtyard. The upper level was divided into five rooms, which were once decorated with red paint.  On top of a platform on this level, archaeologists found numerous burnt bones of lamb, which are possibly associated with sacrifice.

The lower level of the temple was riddled with animal bones and pottery fragments, and contained the remains of eight clay platforms, which may have been used as altars. The structure and layout of the temple has been likened to other temples of the same era found in ancient Middle East cities, such as those in Anatolia and Mesopotamia.

Also within the temple, archaeologists unearthed small gold ornaments, most-likely used in the hair, bone ornaments, and unusual human-like figurines, which are depicted with beak-like noses and unevenly positioned eyes.

Fragments of figurines, some of which look similar to humans, were also found at the temple. Like findings at other Trypillian sites, some of the figurines have noses that look like beaks and eyes that are dissimilar, one being slightly larger than the other.

figurines-temple-ukraine

The age and structure of the ancient city, along with the distinctive figurines, link the site to the Trypillian culture (a modern-day name), which is believed to have extended over an area of around 35,000 square kilometers, incorporating parts of present-day Moldova, Romania and Ukraine, between 5400 and 2700 BCE.

The Trypillian culture established cities to accommodate up to 15,000 inhabitants, being some of the largest settlements in Neolithic European history.  The illustrations on decorative items and other artifacts retrieved confirm that the society was matriarchal and that the people living in these settlements farmed the land using ploughs, produced handicrafts and had a form of religious belief regarding mankind’s origins and the afterlife.

Researchers have noted that there are indications that the inhabitants of these settlements would burn the entire village every 60 to 80 years and then build on top of the ruins. There is no explanation for this practice, but one location in Romania has as many as thirteen levels of foundations that were built upon. Like other Trypillian cities, the newly-discovered settlement also showed evidence of having being burnt down after it was abandoned.

Water Needed To Produce a Pound of Various Foods

Tomatoes require 25 gallons of water per pound

Watermelon needs 28 gallons of water per pound

Onions require 33 gallons of water per pound

Cauliflower and broccoli use 34 gallon of water per pound

Potatoes and spinach use 35 gallon of water per pound

Strawberries require 42 gallons of water per pound

Oranges need 67 gallons of water per pound

Garlic uses 71 gallons of water per pound

Grapes use 73 gallons of water per pound, about 30 gallons per glass of wine

Lemons and limes need 77 gallons of water per pound

Apples require 99 gallons of water per pound.

Blueberries need 101 gallons of water per pound

Corn uses 146 gallons of water per pound

Cherries use 192 gallons of water per pound

Rice needs 200 gallons of water per pound

Wheat uses 219 gallons of water per pound

Asparagus requires 258 gallons of water per pound

Cheese uses 381 gallon of water per pound

Eggs need 396 gallons of water per pound

Chicken uses 520 gallons of water per pound

Walnuts in the shell use 590 gallons of water per pound

Butter needs 666 gallons of water per pound

Pork needs 720 gallons of water per pound

Tea uses 1065 gallons of water per pound, one cup of tea uses 8 gallons of water

Pistachios use 1365 gallons of water per pound

Beef requires 1850 gallons of water per pound

Cinnamon needs 1865 gallons of water per pound

Roasted coffee beans use 2270 gallons of water per pound, 34 gallons per cup

Vanilla beans use 15180 gallons of water per pound