Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute, spoke in Geddes Hall on Wednesday night. Mishel’s lecture, entitled “Beyond Technology and Globalization: The Reset of the Rules of the Labor Market,” addressed income inequality in the United States and was part of the Chuck Craypo memorial series, “Combining Research and Activism for Social Justice.”According to current director of the Higgins Labor Program at the Center for Social Concerns Daniel Graff, the late Chuck Craypo was an economics professor at Notre Dame, as well as the founder and first director of the Higgins program in 1993.“Chuck Craypo devoted his career of research, teaching and activism to improving the lives of working people,” Graff said. “And to honor his legacy, in 2013-14 the Higgins program initiated a biannual series to bring researchers and activists to Notre Dame’s campus to deliver lectures, lead workshops and foster conversations around compelling themes related to questions of work and social justice.”Mishel began his lecture by defining economics as “about who gets what and why,”and noting that income inequality has ballooned since the 1970s.He said that until this past year, Democrats have focused too intently on technology and globalization, considering both uncontrollable and subsequently viewing income inequality as “God-given,” rather than an addressable issue.Mishel also took issue that Republicans have chosen to focus on economic opportunity rather than income inequality. Mishel acknowledged that the United States does have an opportunity problem, however he stated that prioritizing it over income inequality is illogical, as economic opportunity can’t be improved until income inequality is improved thereby allowing for standards of living and educational opportunity to improve and lead to better economic opportunity.“So what else caused the wage problems if it wasn’t technology and it’s not just globalization?” Mishel said. “It’s the rules of the labor market have been reset over the last 40 years.”Mishel outlined several factors that have contributed to these rules changing.The first factor is unemployment, which, according to Mishel, has been rising over the past 30 years.“Unemployment weakens the bargain power of all workers,” he said. “If [employers] can get whoever they want for whatever they feel like paying, wages are gonna go nowhere.”The second factor is unions, Mishel said.“We have eroded collective bargaining a tremendous amount since the early 1970s,” Mishel said. “It used to be that if you had … an industry and 30-50 percent of the workers in that industry were union, they negotiated collective bargain agreements that the non-union employers accepted … because they didn’t want their workers unionizing or they didn’t want their workers to leave and go to the union sector. So unions were always able to take wages out of competition.”The third factor Mishel listed was minimum wage, which he said is more than 25 percent below what is was in 1968 [factoring in inflation] even though productivity has more than doubled and low-wage workers are, on average, more educated than 50 years ago.“If you increase the minimum wage to $12 … by 2020, that may sound relatively modest,” Mishel said. “But it’s actually a reasonably bold policy. $12 minimum wage would affect 25 percent of the work force. So we’re not just talking about a few people lying at the bottom.”The fourth factor is undocumented workers. According to Mishel, the United States is currently home to eight million undocumented workers, who make up “around 5 percent of the workforce.”“If you have 5 percent of your workforce who are exploitable and exploited, they undercut the labor standards,” Mishel said. “So it would be to our general benefit to make them not exploitable.”“What are you supposed to draw from this?” Mishel asked the audience. “The first thing you should know is that what this means is that if workers have not been getting ahead in terms of their pay, it’s not because we haven’t produced a lot of income and wealth. We have produced a lot of income and wealth. It just hasn’t gone to the vast majority.”Tags: Center for Social Concerns, Chuck Craypo memorial lecture, Higgins Labor Studies Program, income inequality
View Comments British actor-singer David Hunter previously inherited the leading role of Guy in London in the Tony-winning musical Once and has now stepped into the co-starring role of Charlie Price in the Tony and Olivier Award-winning Kinky Boots, opposite Matt Henry at the Adelphi Theatre. A veteran of such other London shows as One Man, Two Guvnors and Seussical, the charming Turner took time early one recent evening to talk West End takeovers, tricky accents and his new baby boy. Do you feel like the go-to guy for musical takeovers? Yes, possibly. Maybe I’ll go on to take over the world—there are a few things I would put right.Does taking over Charlie Price in Kinky Boots feel different from stepping up to play the onstage musician, Guy, in Once?It couldn’t be more different, though strangely the two characters match up well in that they both bring a sort of real grounded energy into the show. Guy in Once spends a lot of time running after Girl and trying to keep up, and it’s much the same in Kinky Boots, where Charlie brings a grounded energy into the unbelievably exciting and flamboyant world of Lola [the drag queen played by Olivier Award-winner Matt Henry]. What was it like joining these two productions under such different circumstances?With Once, I started as a standby so got to know the cast very well and I was actually the one who was responsible for making sure that [the new Girl] Jill Winternitz blended in nicely because I had been with the show six months already by the time Jill arrived. On Kinky Boots, I was the new one coming in, which was an incredibly daunting task, to be honest. The relationship between Matt [Henry] and his onstage Charlie is so key and it has to work, so there had to be time to allow that relationship to grow and to respond. It must have been a huge challenge for Matt to have a completely different Charlie. How did you and Matt find that rapport?We went out to lunch before we started rehearsal and then would hang out in one another’s dressing rooms and say hello, but it’s really been in our stage time together that you find your way through it. What’s interesting is that Charlie in the show is discovering Lola for the very first time, and so to do that as an actor as well as a character is very exciting. I think it would be very different for a new Lola coming in opposite a Charlie who had been there for a long time. Were you advised to come and watch the production, in part to clock the choices of London’s original Charlie, Killian Donnelly? We were told relatively firmly not to watch the show, which is really music to your ears as an actor when the director encourages you to create your own process so that you can be different to any other Charlie. I had seen the show just once some six or eight months before and watched it completely open-mindedly, not knowing I might one day be in it. Then once I got the part, I didn’t watch [the production] again: audiences are coming in to meet me and I am their Charlie. That is how it works and how I think it should be. What’s it been like to sing the first stage musical from pop music diva Cyndi Lauper?Well, I had listened to the cast recording and loved it. What’s great now that I have been doing [the musical] since the middle of August is how brilliant the numbers are to sing: they’re absolutely joyous and exciting and so electric that you can’t help but be swept along by them. Have you met her?We haven’t seen Cyndi yet but we did have Mr. Mitchell [Jerry Mitchell, the director-choreographer] pop by and he was fantastic. He came in to sprinkle some magic over us all, and the minute you see him, you can see why he is so successful. He directs with such vigor and excitement and drive that he just changes the mood in the room. Has your involvement in a piece so obsessed with shoes affected your own footwear? I’m looking a lot smarter these days. I’ve recently bought two or three new pairs of shoes, which is more than I’ve bought in the last few years! Was it tricky to get used to the movement, some of which is pretty demanding?I’ve found that I really have to be absolutely fit and healthy because by the time I put the boots on in the show, it is party time, and you have got to join in! For me, this has been like going to the gym every day, which I have never done in my life. The first time you go on to those [onstage] travelators, your grown-up brain says, “this is really a bad idea” but somehow you get through it.Do you feel a connection to Northampton, the town in the English Midlands where Kinky Boots takes place? What’s been fascinating is that my family is from an old mill town in Lancashire [in the north of England] called Burnley, which is steeped in the same sort of tradition as Northampton is with shoes. The thing with Burnley is that the mills have all closed down, so it’s town rediscovering what it needs to be after the main industry is gone, so that kind of connection to a community all makes sense to me. Accent-wise, the Northampton accent is probably the trickiest I have ever had to do: it’s not one thing or another, but you’ve still got to get it right. Does the positive energy of the show spill over into your own life?Oh, yes! We have a baby boy called Rufus at home who is four months old, so I might have been up really early or standing around the house bouncing a baby all day long, but whatever happens, the show makes me feel brilliant. Every time I leave the theater to go home, I feel fantastic. I have never been in a production where every night you are guaranteed an on-your-feet standing ovation from the audience, who are whooping and cheering. Doing this is a lovely tonic to whatever life throws at you.What is it like being a new father while performing a musical that also has a lot to say about fathers and sons?What’s amazing is how much has changed since I did Once. We got married and my wife got pregnant and had a baby and then before we even knew it, I had started a new show, so I’m a very different man now than I was when I was last in the West End. And for me to be in a musical that has so much to say about family just reinforces how much I am in love with my son.Do you sing Rufus the Kinky Boots score?I sing to him constantly but he’s too young to realize he is getting West End-standard entertainment every day of his life! I must say that Rufus has yet to give me a standing ovation, but if he wants to give [wife] Tara and me a sleeping ovation, that will do just fine! Were you tempted to name him Charlie when he was born?No, and I couldn’t have called him Guy either: that might be a step too far! David Hunter in ‘Kinky Boots'(Photo: Helen Maybanks)
Last Friday, retired University of Georgia Extension Agent Walter Reeves sent an email to several Georgia Extension agents. He shared a link to a CNN story about a man who accidentally killed his 40,000 square foot lawn with a product he thought was just for weed control. Walter attached the product label, both front and back. A debate ensued as to whether the manufacturer made it clear that this product would kill everything. On the back of the bottle under Use Precautions, it plainly stated, “Do not Use on Desirable Plants,” and “Do not Use in Lawns.”A huge mistakeThe herbicide contained the active ingredients glyphosate, which most of you know as Roundup, and prodiamine, which blocks new plant growth. So the poor guy not only lost his grass, but he can’t replant for a while due to prodiamine in the herbicide. He said he talked to three employees at his local garden center before he bought the product, but none of them warned him that the herbicide would kill his lawn.The story prompted me to remind everyone how important it is to read the label on a pesticides and herbicides. When people call me about a pesticide, I try to always tell them, “No matter what I tell you, read the label.”The label gives you important information about how to use the pesticide effectively and safely. You should try to read the label before you buy the product and read it again each time you use the product. Memory doesn’t always serve correctlyDo not rely on your memory when you buy a pesticide you have used before. Read the name of the pesticide product carefully because many pesticides for the home, yard and garden have similar names and packaging. Be sure you are buying the right product.I have even had people tell me they accidently sprayed their lawn or some plants with an herbicide when they thought they had picked up an insecticide, so pay attention to what you grab from your own shelf. Getting into the habit of looking at the label every time you use a product can prevent these kinds of mix ups from happening, and also keeps you, your landscape and the people around you safe. Follow directions exactlyIt is important that you follow the directions exactly as they are given on the label, and only use the pesticide on sites or crops that are listed on the label. When a plant or crop is not listed on the label, it could mean the pesticide has not been tested on them, but it could also mean it will harm or kill that plant or crop. The pesticide label will tell you how to apply the product, when to apply it an how much to use for different areas and different pests. For example, an insecticide may list one using one amount for certain insect pests, and another amount for other pests. Never use more than the label prescribes. Using more can be wasteful, damage the plants, leave an excess amount of the chemical on your food crops or harm nontarget organisms such as beneficial insects. The label will also tell you whether a product is safe to use inside your home, whether its safe to use on food crops and whether you need to keep children and pets away from a treated area after you spray. Many turf and ornamental pesticides should not be used on vegetables, fruit crops, herbs or anything else you plan to eat. Make note of precautionsThe pesticide label also will list special precautions to take. These include keeping other people — especially children — and pets away from the area where the pesticide was applied. It will also include warnings about not applying pesticides when it is wet or windy to prevent the pesticide from drifting or running off into storm water.Pesticide labels always contain a signal word that will tell you how toxic the product is to humans. These three signal words are caution, warning or danger. Signal words will usually be in capital letters. The least toxic products carry the signal word CAUTION. Products with the signal word WARNING are more toxic. The most toxic pesticides have DANGER on their labels. I believe all consumer-grade products now have CAUTION on their label. And finally, the label will tell you what steps to take if someone has accidentally ingested or inhaled the chemical or gotten it on their skin or in their eyes.
Batesville, In. — Kids Discovery Factory will participate in the investigative phase of an exciting development opportunity in downtown Batesville.In collaboration with the Batesville Redevelopment Commission and Batesville Main Street, we will partner with a highly engaged and experienced development team, Rebar Development, Hageman Group and TWG Construction, to explore the viability of a development project that could become the home for Kids Discovery Factory.We are excited about this incredible opportunity and look forward to providing additional information as it becomes available. Thank you to our enthusiastic supporters throughout the region who continue to help us make important progress to bring an innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) discovery center to southeastern Indiana.