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You know what we could all use today? Some good news! Luckily, New Jersey Senator and very handsome man Cory Booker is here with some!


Today, Booker announced plans for a Federal Jobs Guarantee Development Act, which would guarantee a full-time federal government job paying at least $15 and providing health care and paid sick/family leave for any adult that needs one. This would start with a three year pilot program in 15 local areas, selected by the Department of Labor, and, if successful, be expanded throughout the United States.

Expanded nationally, this would ensure that every American who wants a job has a job, and that they have a job they can survive on -- something that yes, people ought to be entitled to.

There are other benefits as well. If the government were to guarantee $15 an hour jobs with benefits to everyone who wanted them, private sector employers would have to raise their wages and benefits in order to attract and keep employees. It would also provide a counter to the unfortunate fact that employers are more likely to hire white employees and non-disabled employees, and provide jobs for those who have been cut out of the job market due to discriminatory hiring.

The Act is based on ideas long advocated by economists Mark Paul, William Darity, Jr. and Darrick Hamilton, and pushed for by Jesse Jackson during his presidential run in 1984.

As Dylan Matthews of Vox points out, a similar program in India, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, was found to not only increase household earnings for low-income households, both in the private and public sector, but also to increase employment overall in the private sector.

This sounds counterintuitive, right? Shouldn't a program like this decrease employment in the private sector? Shouldn't all those private businesses, now practically forced to pay higher wages to their employees, hire fewer people? But the thing is, this program meant that more people had more money to spend than they did previously, and when people have more money to spend, businesses need more employees and can afford to pay them.

Would a program like this be expensive? Yes, it would! The plan proposed by Paul, Darrity and Hamilton for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates its cost at $543 billion a year. This cost, however, would be offset by the boost to the economy (which would increase tax revenue) as well as a decrease in the funds needed for social programs. Additionally, these jobs would likely be jobs that benefit all Americans -- providing childcare, infrastructure development and other things that would improve our way of life. Essentially, it would pay for itself in the end.

This is a smart thing for Booker to be doing, especially if he plans to run in 2020 as we all assume he will. His close ties to Wall Street, support for school vouchers and vote against importing cheaper prescription drugs from Canada has cost him serious progressive street cred. In fact, the whole prescription drug thing led me, personally, to call off our wedding entirely. Which was very sad because we would be such an attractive couple.

By embracing Medicare-for-all and programs like this one, Booker balances his act and broadens his overall appeal. Being as beloved (and handsome) as he is, he's also in a unique position to advocate for a few progressive ideas here and there in a way that won't totally piss off and alienate centrist/mainstream Dems. In fact, I've got my fingers crossed that he'll start pushing for an end to at-will employment next. GO, CORY, GO!

This is a good and exciting idea, and that's something the Democrats need to be doing a lot more of if they want to kick Trump the fuck out of the White House in 2020. While there are many lessons to be learned from the horror of 2016, one of them is that progressive ideas are not as vastly unappealing as centrists have been insisting they are lo the past... since NAFTA, at least. It's time to start getting creative and a little radical and presenting ideas that people can get seriously jazzed about. We all need that light at the end of the tunnel right now.

[Vox]

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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Once upon a time, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers at least claimed to focus their efforts entirely on immigrants involved in criminal activity. Those days are long gone, and now they're going after anyone, including law-abiding people who are just trying to drive their pregnant wives to the hospital to give birth.

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I'd mentioned this week that there's definitely probably a tape out there of Donald Trump referring to a black person as a "nigger," because Trump is a racist and that's sort of what they do. Sarah Huckabee Sanders won't even affirmatively deny such a tape exists, and she's from the "two plus two equals five" school of communications management. I also speculated that once the tape was released, Republican supporters of the president would flock to defend his vile words: "Hey, if you rearrange the letters in "nigger," you get "ginger" and who doesn't like redheads and the occasional Dark 'n' Stormy?"

The shameful display has already started and the supposed recording isn't even available for pre-order on iTunes. Georgia State Senator Michael Williams stated in appearance on CNN's "New Day Saturday" that if Trump -- who's the president, by the way -- did say "nigger," it would certainly concern him as an "individual" but "not necessarily as a person that is running our country." So, uh, what the hell is that? This has been a standard argument from Republicans ever since Trump crawled his way out of the sewers of birtherism and onto a major political stage: "We think Trump is a terrible human being -- seriously, we have to shower immediately after meeting with him -- but we still think he's a suitable steward of the most powerful nation on the planet."

Normally, you'd think this would work the other way. You know, your brother-in-law is a nice enough guy. Your sister certainly could've done worse. You don't mind the slightly rambling sports-ball discussions with him at family gatherings. He's good for looking after the kids (as long as your sister is present or reachable by cell), but you'd never invest your hard-earned money into whatever half-assed business venture he's trying to get off the ground nor would you back his run for any serious political office.

I've long had issues with the "brilliant asshole" archetype in TV and movies. It's almost always a white male (because women and minorities must be perfect) whose emotional immaturity and overall jerkass behavior we're told to overlook because they're so goshdarned awesome. Do you want some PC "cuck" or do you want Dr. House to figure out that the MS symptoms you're suffering are really just because you ate a stale doughnut? Sherlock Holmes doesn't have time for your feelings or social niceties -- not while he's solving mysteries and being dreamy.

Trump, however, isn't "brilliant." He's just a guy who says "nigger." They're hardly a scarcity in the market. You don't even have to venture out to a klan rally to find one. You can order online -- same day social media delivery.

Williams argues that Trump didn't use the word "nigger" when he was in the "office of the president." It was just some youthful indiscretion when he was almost 60. I don't even know where he's going with this. Does he think Trump has changed? He routinely insults and belittles black people. He also calls black NFL players who peacefully protest "sons of bitches." Was that his way of weaning off calling us "niggers"? Has he been wearing a "nigger" patch on his arm to control his cravings for the racial epithet?

"He used the word in his personal life," Williams said. (It was actually in a workplace context -- SER) "Now if he were president and were to go on TV and use the n-word, I'd have a major problem with that."

media.giphy.com

It's heartening repulsive to see that Williams draws the line at Trump holding an official "nigger" press conference. I think once we reach that point, Trump will probably also reveal that his buddies on the Supreme Court discovered a typo in the Thirteenth Amendment and black folks' work-life balance will start to really suffer.

"I will always say using the n-word is wrong, and it's bad, and should never be accepted in our society. But just because (Trump) might have done it years ago, not as our president, doesn't mean we need to continue to berate him because he used it," GOP state Sen. Michael Williams, who is white, told CNN's Victor Blackwell on "New Day Saturday."

Blackwell, who is black, had to sit there and listen to this crap from a white elected official who is just 45 years old. You know, the word "nigger" doesn't even appear in the Dred Scott decision, for example, but that's not necessary for reasonable people to understand that it was racist as hell. We all know Trump is racist, but now Republicans can't even repudiate the worst demonstrations of his racial animus. The first black president hasn't even been out of office for two full years and already "nigger" is being redefined. What would once end a campaign in its tracks when Blackwell and I were growing up is now just an "oops, my bad."

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