Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Last Call For Going Into Overtime

The Obama administration is making a huge move that will give millions of salaried US workers overtime pay they haven't been getting for years.

Under a new rule announced by the White House Tuesday, anybody making a salary of less than $47,476 ($913 a week) will automatically qualify for overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours a week. 
That's roughly double the $23,660 threshold (or $455 a week) that's currently in place.
The change -- which has been criticized as too drastic by many employers -- will go into effect on Dec. 1, 2016. It is intended to expand access to overtime pay for otherwise low-salaried workers who log long hours but have been treated as exempt from overtime because they perform some managerial duties. 
Vice President Joe Biden characterized the changes as "restoring and expanding access to the middle class." 
The percent of salaried workers automatically eligible for overtime has fallen to 7% from 62% in 1975. Under the new threshold, 35% of salaried workers will become automatically eligible, according to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. 
The new threshold will be updated every three years to make sure it stays at the 40th percentile of full-time salaries in the lowest income region of the country. Based on wage growth projections, that means it could rise to $51,000 by 2020.

And it could add $12 billion a year to paychecks.  This is serious stuff folks.  This is going to make a big difference in the lives of retail managers, IT workers, entry level office folks, and more.  Going from 7% of salaried workers getting OT to 35% is a massive win for the working class, and the salary level for OT will keep place with inflation too.

I fully expect this to be challenged in court, and of course the second a Republican president gets into office you can kiss overtime pay goodbye.

But we'll see.  At the very least, employers won't be forcing salaried workers to put in 60-70 hours a week with no OT anymore.  Not unless they are making a significant wage to start with.

Clowns To The Left Of Them, Jokers To The Right, Here They Are

As Democrats portray Donald Trump as a dangerous leader for his party, most of them barely acknowledge he could be president. But some centrist Democrats say they’re ready and willing to work with the business mogul should he defeat their party’s nominee. 
“The people will have a chance to vote. If Donald Trump is elected president there will be a great opportunity to sit down and have a conversation about what that agenda looks like,” explained Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), who has long backed Hillary Clinton. “If he’s president, we’re going to have disagreement. But we’d better all figure out how to come up with an agenda for the American people.”

Getting ready for a potential Trump presidency in their home states may just be good politics for moderate senators such as Heitkamp, Jon Tester of Montana and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin. They’ll be top targets for Republicans in 2018, a midterm year that could favor the GOP if recent trends of lower turnouts in nonpresidential elections continue. And it’s a good bet that they’ll need Trump voters to keep their jobs. 
Trump should easily win North Dakota and neighboring Montana this fall if past is prologue: Montana went to Bill Clinton in 1992, while North Dakota hasn’t gone Democratic since 1964. He’ll also certainly win West Virginia and be favored to win Missouri as well: Both states have been in the GOP column since 2000. 
For Democrats in those states, ignoring Trump’s political success, and by extension his supporters, would be a risky move. So some Democrats say they can see some opportunities for working together during a hypothetical Trump presidency, given that the Republican front-runner has based his campaign on being a deal maker — unlike any other prominent GOP candidate this cycle.

Sure, because running away from a Democratic president worked so well in 2010 and 2014, especially if turnout is an abysmal 36% like the last midterm election.

Look, I understand the impulse to appease Trump voters if you're in friggin' West Virginia and whatnot, but odds are very, very good that Democrats are going to lose these seats, plus Joe Donelly's seat in Indiana, giving the GOP five pickups in 2018.

So unless Democrats out in those states get super-motivated, they are going to get smashed again, and acting like Trump's your buddy is only going to get you a bigger loss.

Ask Kentucky Senator Alison Lundergan Grimes and Governor Jack Conway how well it works to run screaming from a Democratic president.

On the other hand, if Trump does actually win, what Joe Manchin does in 2018 will be the least of our problems as Democrats.

A Photo Finish In This Kentucky Horse Race

Hillary Clinton is claiming victory here in Kentucky as the last few thousand votes come in from the mountain counties, but the margin of victory looks to be very, very close.

The O'Malley vote, the uncommitted vote, even the bonkers vote for Rocky De La Fuente (we do love our colorful long shot candidates here in the Bluegrass State) all could have given Sanders the win, and it didn't.  The closed primary and friendly political establishment here favored Clinton, the angry coal country vote and 90% white demographics of the state favored Sanders, and in the end it was a narrow win for Clinton.

The difference was Jefferson County, Clinton won Louisville 64k to Sanders' 45k, and that margin stood up all night. She also won Lexington's Fayette County 20k to 17k, and again that margin held. What few black voters in the state live in those two counties, and they came out big for Clinton.

Interestingly enough, Clinton also did well here in the NKY, taking Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties, picking up a total of about 750 votes across all three over Sanders.  That means my vote counted, the first Kentucky primary I can honestly say where it did.

Sanders did well in both the east and west, particularly in Pike County (that big pointy county furthest to the east in KY). He won there by 2,400, more than doubling Clinton's total there, but there were also a whopping 1,400 uncommitted voters there as the real draw was the race for State Senator in Pike and surrounding counties.

State Senate minority leader Ray Jones was able to keep his seat against primary challenger Glenn Hammond as they argued about how much each hated Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the heart of Pikeville coal country.  Jones got 6,400 votes to Hammond's 2,900, well more than the Clinton/Sanders race. It means a hell of a lot of people turned out to vote for the local race, and could have cared less about which Dem ran for President...probably because they were going to vote for Trump anyhow.

Anyway, this win is a definite problem for Clinton.  She should be able to put Sanders away at this point and she can't.  She won here 8 years ago by 36 points over Obama.  Last night she won by .3%. I still expect Trump to win here by 15 points, if not 20 in November, so it's not like we're a good example of how Democrats think here.

But she can end this in New Jersey and California next month. The question that remains now is how much damage Bernie Sanders will do before he concedes the race.


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