To the editor:
All Americans, especially our elected representatives, should give heed to wisdom from the past.
Consider this from Andrew Jackson in 1832: "Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth cannot be produced by human institutions. ... But when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions ... to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society - the farmers, mechanics, and laborers - who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government."
Now consider a bill that has just passed our Republican-majority House of Representatives. It would increase the minimum wage over three years from $5.15 to $7.25. This apparent burst of generosity is an illusion. At $14,500 per year, that minimum will not reach 75 percent of the 2006 poverty level for a family of four. (Meanwhile, since the last increase in the minimum wage, Congress has raised its own salary $35,000 a year.) Beyond that, the proposed bill would reduce estate taxes, benefiting just 7,500 very rich families, and would extend other tax reductions for the well-to-do. That is, while providing token help for the working poor, it would dramatically expand, not narrow, the income gap in America!
Jackson's indictment rings true today: Economic policy should protect the humble members of society, not make the rich richer and the potent more powerful.
Walter H. Crockett,