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Archive for Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Lasting wisdom

August 2, 2006

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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,

Lawrence

Comments

erichaar 8 years, 4 months ago

Pilgrim, you need to run for City Commission.

xenophonschild 8 years, 4 months ago

staff04:

Rebooblicans only care about the very rich; they are the only true constituency of the party, and the cadres of privilege pander to the very rich at the exclusion of everyone and everything else. Too bad the local contingent of troglodyte idiots don't see it. But then, they probably imagine they are one of the 7500 blessed families.

Since a lesson from history opened this thread, another interesting note applies to the local contingent of trog idiots. They somehow see themselves as better than other members of society - without anything concrete to base their assumption. They are essentially neo-fascists and, like fascists throughout history, they instantaneoulsy label anyone who disagrees with them, or who points out their many failings, as "socialist" or, even worse, "communist."

They are not very bright, and are more or less tiresome. Perhaps someone more sympathetic than me can recommend some kind of therapy for them.

staff04 8 years, 4 months ago

"When you get poll after poll telling you basically the same thing, you have to respect the right of the American people to say they want change."--Newt Gingrich

Straight from the mouth of the horse that got 'em there...

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

"The minimum wage is not a living wage. It's not supposed to be. It never should be. The minimum wage is a training wage."

OK, but if there's going to be a "training" wage, let's make sure there is actual training going on. Unless a business wants to make training a central focus in their business plan, once a trainee is trained, the wage should quickly rise to a living wage. Otherwise, it's nothing more than exploitation.

A business shouldn't be forced to retain an employee who can't do the job, but a business shouldn't fire an experienced and competent worker just to replace them with a "trainee" in order to save on wages.

If a business can't pay its employees a living wage, they have no business having employees.

staff04 8 years, 4 months ago

Something else he could have included was that the bill that the House passed was not just a minimum wage bill. It was a minimum wage increase attached to an increase in the exemption levels for the estate tax.

The House Republicans knew that a clean minimum wage bill would have easily passed both chambers, but because a minimum wage increase runs counter to the conservative ideology of the Republican leadership, they had to find a way to ensure the bill's ultimate failure. So, what do they do? They attach it to another tax cut, one that would affect only the 7500 wealthiest families in the nation, and one that the Senate has resoundingly rejected already. This way, they get to tell their constituencies that they voted for a minimum wage increase, despite their real intention. Pretty good strategy, but this one might be the straw that broke the camel's back. To assume that the voters are so STUPID that they can't see through this farce is pretty bold.

staff04 8 years, 4 months ago

r-t: I'm clearly not debating the estate tax here, but nice try. What I'm trying to point out is the cynicism with which this bill was brought to the House floor for the sole purpose of giving Republicans political cover this fall. They know, with absolute certainty, that a minimum wage bill could pass in both chambers. They also know that there is exactly ZERO chance that estate tax relief will pass in the Senate. Lastly, they know that 70% or so, depending on which poll you read, of Americans support an increase in the minimum wage, so they can't just sit on their thumbs. The leadership doesn't want a minimum wage increase, once again showing how they are out of touch with mainstream society, so they attach a minimum wage increase to a poison pill. This way they get the best of both worlds: they get to tell people that they voted for a minimum wage increase, AND, there is no minimum wage increase because they sent an unpassable bill to the Senate.

My point is just this: I don't think even Republican voters are so stupid as to not see right through this ploy. Clearly, you disagree.

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