Conservatives carp about Americans who “depend on the government.” What they don’t say is that most of these people are working. Between an unlivable minimum wage and jobs that offer less than 40 hours, they qualify for government programs to support with food, housing, and medical care. They aren’t living lives of luxury.
Who really benefits from this system? Large corporations and the investor class who rely on working people to underwrite the subhuman salaries they pay. Laura Clawson of Daily Kos explains how raising the minimum wage would help workers while lowering the deficit. Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker says, says we shouldn’t talk about the minimum wage because it’s not a real issue. Is the family where both parents work two jobs just to get by a real issue?
Democrats are far from perfect, but they’re the best bet working people and the middle class have in this new age of Robber Barons and the slaves they have representing them in federal, state, and local government. There is nothing conservative about rigging the system to make the wealthiest even richer. We need a wealth tax.
Huffington Post reports that income inequality costs the average American worker $18,000 a year. This number is drawn from an Economic Policy Institute report that considers how money has been redistributed from the working poor and middle class to the 1%. The question is not just lost income, but also how increased productivity has not been matched by increased salaries. Huffington Post author Jillian Berman puts it this way: “The rich have gotten richer at the expense of the rest of us.”
This article is another example of why good job news can hide deeper problems. If workers are getting low income jobs or not getting decent raise, they will have a constant feeling of falling behind, one step from bankruptcy – social insecurity. This problem will not be solved until something changes so there is a more equitable distribution of income and wealth. America needs a raise, the kind of raise that will let working people pay off their debts and save for the future.
Investigative reporter David Sirota has a new home at International Business Times. Today he reports on a trend in city and state government: cut worker pensions while giving aid to billionaires who own sports franchises. Sirota quotes the Emergency Manager [Dictator] Kevyn Orr who calls money put toward the stadium “economic development.” Orr did not address how a reduction in pensions would hurt the economy. Somebody has to sacrifice. It might as well be working people. Their used to doing with less. Billionaires need our help.
Former owner of the Chicago Tribune Sam Zell claims that the 1% work harder than the rest of us. That must be why Tribune Media entered bankruptcy under Zell’s hard-working leadership. Once again we have a very rich person feeling sorry for himself while putting down the people whose hard work have made him rich. Zell claims that "Lots of people have come from nowhere and become part of the 1 percent.” Economic mobility in America is worse than it has been in the last 100 years. No one except the super rich and their lackeys believe in the pull yourself up by your bootstraps lie anymore. I don’t feel sorry for same Zell. He’s working very hard at feeling sorry for himself.
Huffington Post offers a great chart that contrasts the minimum wage and productivity since 1947. The picture is stunning. The poorest working people tread water while they contribute to consistent increased productivity. According to the article, a minimum wage that kept up with productivity would be $21.72 per hour. Instead, it remains at $7.25.
Where does the extra value poor working have produced go? Maybe we should ask the billionaires.