The National Association of REALTORS® issued a Call to Action supporting legislation to DELAY IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BIGGERT/WATERS ACT. Don’t miss this opportunity to have your voice heard.
Go to http://www.realtoractioncenter.com and fill out the required fields. Then simply click “Send This Message.”
Only 12% of Louisiana REALTORS® have been heard and the call to action is ending soon. If you haven’t participated, please follow the link above and help support our industry! With just a few minutes of your time, our representatives in Congress will know that REALTORS® in Louisiana and across the country support delaying implementation of the flood insurance rate increase.
This issue is double sided… many of these places cannot afford to pay more… while other can during certain times of the year. While Americans- the working poor do need more, how can you force private corporations to pay more. I do not think picketing is the answer… the sad thing is… I do not know what is.
Here are 12 things you should know about Thursday’s action.
1. If wages had kept pace with productivity gains, the minimum wage would be over $16 an hour.
Corporate profits have soared. Workers are producing more, but they’re not sharing in the rewards.
Productivity and the minimum wage generally increased at the same rate from 1947 to 1969, during this country’s postwar boom years. Using a conservative benchmark, economists Dean Baker and Will Kimball determined that the minimum wage would be $16.54 today if it had continued to keep pace with productivity.
The strikers are asking for $15 an hour.
(Source: Baker and Kimball, Center for Economic and Policy Research)
2. The average fast food worker makes $8.69 an hour.
Many jobs pay at or near the minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour. And an estimated 87 percent of fast food workers receive no health benefits.
(Source: UC Berkeley Labor Center)
3. The CEO of McDonald’s Corporation makes $13.8 million per year.
That’s a 237 percent pay increase over last year, when he was paid a “mere” $4.1 million. Presumably health benefits are also included.
(Source: USA Today)
4. McDonald’s cost the American taxpayer an estimated $1.2 billion in public assistance per year.
In other words, taxpayer money is subsidizing this large corporation’s profits – at the expense of American workers.
(Source: National Employment Law Project)
5. McDonald’s made $1.5 billion in profits last quarter.
That’s up 5 percent from the previous year.
(Source: McDonald’s Corporation)
6. The 10 largest fast food companies cost taxpayers an estimated $3.9 billion in government health assistance and $1.04 billion in food assistance.
Republicans are demanding cuts to government health and food programs. With all the talk of deficit reduction, it’s surprising that no one has pointed out that a great way to lower expenditures would be by ending these backdoor subsidies for highly profitable corporations.
(Source: UC Berkeley Labor Center)
7. These 10 companies earned $7.4 billion in profits last year.
They also paid out $7.7 billion in dividends. Meanwhile …
(Source: National Employment Law Project)
8. Fast food workers are more than twice as likely to be on public assistance.
25 percent of American workers receive some form of public assistance – which is a disturbing figure itself. For fast food workers that figure was 52 percent.
And it’s not just part-time work that’s causing the problem. More than half of full-time fast food workers receive some form of public assistance.
(Sources: University of California, Berkeley/University of Illinois study; UC Berkeley Labor Center)
9. Most of the workers who would be affected by this wage change are adults.
We also hear that it’s not necessary to raise the minimum wage, especially for fast food workers, because most of them are “kids” working a few hours each week for pocket money. Think of this as the “malt shoppe” argument.
But it’s not true. Most low-wage workers are adults. Nationally, adults make up 88 percent of the workers who would receive a raise if the minimum wage were increased to $10.10 per hour. In locales as distinct as New York State and Albuquerque, New Mexico, that figure rises to 92 percent.
(Sources: US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Fiscal Policy Institute, New Mexico Voices for Children/Fiscal Policy Project)
10. Over 7 million children live in minimum-wage households.
And many of these workers are parents. Seven million children – nearly one American child in ten – feels the effects of low wages.
(Source: data from the National Women’s Law Center)
11. This strike is targeting large employers.
66 percent of low-wage workers are employed by organizations with 100 employees or more. Thursday’s strikers aren’t targeting mom-and-pop operations. They’re striking against some of America’s largest corporations.
How large? McDonald’s employs 707,850 people. Yum! Brands (better known as Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC) employs 379,449 people. Altogether these 10 companies employ 2,251,956 people.
The workforce for these ten companies is greater than the populations of Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming, states which hold 28 seats in the United States Senate. Shouldn’t these fast-food workers have a voice of some kind too?
(Sources: National Employment Law Project, US Census Bureau)
richard eskow 175 12 Fast Facts About Thursdays Fast Food Strike12. There’s probably a rally near you.
There’s an easy-to-use website to help you find one. There’s also an online workers’ strike kit, for fast food workers who want to take action.
(Source: Low Pay Is Not OK)
…But look more closely at the job numbers and the news is far from good. The percentage of Americans working or looking for work is at a new 35-year low, before wives and mothers began entering paid work in large numbers to prop up family incomes being dragged down by declining male wages. By the way, the employer survey wasn’t distorted by the shutdown; the Bureau of Labor Statistics counted furloughed workers as employed because they were ultimately paid for their time off. Federal government jobs fell only 12,000 last month.
Always listen for the day-after adjectives, which give a clue as to how candidates and issues will be framed in the future. In talking about Chris Christie’s win in New Jersey, the Washington Post writes of “pragmatic, as opposed to ideological, governance.” But in describing Bill de Blasio, the media uses the adjectives “left” or “left-leaning.”
In an era when almost all economic gains are going to the very top, when poverty is increasing, and when median household incomes are dropping even with two wage earners, to be in favor of raising taxes on the wealthy and providing better schools to everyone else should not be considered “left.” I’d call this pragmatic. By the same token, to be against raising the minimum wage — as is Chris Christie — is not a sign of “pragmatism.” I’d call this ideological.
…In this as in many other dimensions, the conservative mind is remarkably flexible. The minimum wage must not be increased, they say, lest employers lay off millions of low-wage workers. But record levels of CEO pay must not be tampered with because corporations need to attract top talent. The poor must have less if they are to be adequately motivated, but the rich must have more in order to ensure their maximum effort. Food stamps and unemployment insurance must be curtailed to prevent laziness among the needy, yet special tax loopholes that subsidize the wealthy (such as “carried interest” for private-equity and hedge-fund partners) must be retained. The 22 percent of American children now in poverty don’t merit free school lunches or health care, but it is necessary and just that the richest 1 percent of children receive $10 million free of estate taxes. (Robert Reich)
-Median home prices, currently about $200,000 for the U.S., will rise 6% next year after an 11% gain this year.
-The existing home inventory is now near a 13-year low.
-The inventory shortage will not go away- noting that new home construction is still far from historic levels.
-While rising home prices will entice more people to sell homes, many of those people will also buy homes,
-New home construction is what’s needed to expand inventories.
-Markets with stronger job growth will do better next year that those without.
-Some of the best-performing housing markets next year will likely include Salt Lake City, Houston, Denver, Seattle, Tampa and Atlanta
-Coastal California markets are likely to continue to experience inventory shortages given good job growth in many of those markets and little new home building.
-Home sales could get a boost next year if lenders loosen home loan-lending standards. That would expand the pool of potential home buyers.
-Refinance volume will fall next year to a 15-year low
-By the end of 2014, NAR forecasts the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate will hit 5.4%. Rates will rise as the Federal Reserve pulls back on the stimulus measures it has used since 2008 to keep rates low and stimulate the economy.
-Zillow predicts that home values will end 2013 up 6.7% over last year and rise 4.3% next year, eventually falling to 3.4% by 2018.At that pace, home values could exceed their May 2007 peak by the first quarter of 2018, Zillow’s data show.
-While home prices have risen rapidly the past year, inventories haven’t followed suit. Many homeowners, who may still owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, are likely waiting to be rescued by further appreciation in home prices.
Open House Timeline: Countdown to a Successful Sale- An inviting open house can put your home on buyers’ short lists.
Four weeks before the open house
Ask your parents to babysit the kids the weekend of the open house. Then book a reservation for your pet with the dog sitter or at the kennel. Having everyone out of the house on the day of will help you keep your home tidy and smelling fresh. Plus, no dogs and no kids equal more time for last-minute prep. Line up a contractor to take care of maintence issues your REALTOR® has asked you to fix, like leaking faucets, sagging gutters, or dings in the walls. De-clutter every room (even if you already de-cluttered once before). Don’t hide your stuff in the closet—buyers will open doors to size up closet space. Store your off-season clothes, sports equipment, and toys somewhere else. Book carpet cleaners for a few days before the open house and a house cleaning service for the day before. Otherwise, make sure to leave time to do these things yourself a couple of days before.
Three weeks before the open house
Buy fluffy white towels to create a spa-like feel in the bathrooms. Buy a front door mat to give a good first impression. Designate a shoebox for each bathroom to stow away personal items the day of the open house.
Two weeks before the open house
Clean the light fixtures, ceiling fans, light switches, and around door knobs. A spic-and-span house makes buyers feel like they can move right in. Power-wash the house, deck, sidewalk, and driveway.
One week before the open house
Make sure potential buyers can get up close and personal with your furnace, air-conditioning unit, and appliances. They’ll want to read any maintenance and manufacturer’s stickers to see how old everything is. Clean the inside of appliances and de-clutter kitchen cabinets and drawers and the pantry. Buyers will open cabinet doors and drawers. If yours are stuffed to the gills, buyers will think your kitchen lacks enough storage space. Put out the new door mat to break it in. It’ll look nice, but not too obviously new for the open house.
Week of the open house
Buy ready-made cookie dough and disposable aluminum cookie sheets so you don’t have to take time for clean up after baking (you can recycle the pans after use). Nothing says “home” like the smell of freshly baked cookies. Buy a bag of apples or lemons to display in a pretty bowl.Let your REALTOR® know if you’re running low on sales brochures explaining the features of your house. Clean the windows to let in the most light possible. Mow the lawn two days before the open house. Mowing the morning of the open house can peeve house hunters with allergies.
Day before the open house
Make sure your REALTOR® puts up plenty of open-house signs pointing in the right direction and located where drivers will see them. If she can’t get to it on the Friday before a Sunday open house, offer to do it yourself. Put away yard clutter like hoses, toys, or pet water bowls. Lay fresh logs in the fireplace.
Day of the open house
Put checkbooks, kids’ piggybanks, jewelry, prescription drugs, bank statements, and other valuables in the trunk of your car, at a neighbor’s house, or in your safe. It’s rare, but thefts do happen at open houses.Set the dining room table for a special-occasion dinner. In the backyard, uncover the barbeque and set the patio table for a picnic to show buyers how elegantly and simply they can entertain once they move in.Check any play equipment for spider webs or insect invasions. A kid screaming about spiders won’t endear buyers to your home. Clean the fingerprints off the storm door. First impressions count.Put up Post-It notes around the house to highlight great features like tilt-in windows or a recently updated appliance.
Remove shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, and other personal items from the bathtub, shower, and sinks in all the bathrooms. Store them in a shoebox under the sink. Removing personal items makes it easier for buyers to see themselves living in your house.
Stow away all kitchen countertop appliances.
One hour before the open house
Bake the ready-to-bake cookies you bought earlier this week. Put them on a nice platter for your open house guests to eat with a note that says: “Help yourself!” Hang the new towels in the bathrooms. Put your bowl of apples or lemons on the kitchen table or bar counter. Pick up and put away any throw rugs, like the bath mats. They’re a trip hazard.
15 minutes before the open house
Open all the curtains and blinds and turn on the lights in the house. Buyers like bright homes. Light fireplace logs (if it’s winter). Didn’t get those cookies baked? Brew a pot of coffee to make the house smell inviting.
During the open house
Get out of the house and let your REALTOR® sell it! Potential buyers will be uncomfortable discussing your home if you’re loitering during the open house. Take advantage of your child- and pet-free hours by treating yourself to something you enjoy–a few extra hours at the gym, a trip to the bookstore, or a manicure.