Recently the U.S. Senate attempted to do something it had not done in eight years. Raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.25 over the next nineteen months. (Read carefully what is to follow because what is to follow impacts all of us, and not just low income workers.) It was voted down along party lines. However, the republicans offered a counter proposal. They said they would support the democratic proposal upon two conditions. Further reductions in taxation upon corporate America , and a change in the law reducing the burden of overtime pay for the business community. For most Americans, that is not breaking news. Most are aware that republicans are the legislators for the interest of the business community. The position of the republican party and corporate America was perfectly summarized recently. A spokesperson for Oppenheimer and Company in New York said, a good corporate citizen does not work for the betterment of the America.. The republican party and corporate America do not care what hardships the hard working American citizen encounters. The reader does not need this writer to list possible hardships people are facing. Each of us can express our own hardship(s) that we are attempting to overcome. Two things are certain. We can not expect help from our government. Nor can we expect help from our employers. They have an enhanced bottom line. Extract as much from the work force as possible. In return give the employee as little as possible. The demand is that each worker must be more productive even at the expense of good health and safety. They will put the final touch to the Oppenheimer and Company doctrine. A good corporate citizen does not work for the betterment of America.
In order to discover how sour the economy really is and how it effects the buying power of Americans consider this. For a reference point, the federal minimum wage was last raised in September of 1997. In the years that have passed since 1997 up to today. The buying power of $5.15 is worth $.17 less on the dollar. In the last eight years since 1997 the U.S. Senate has raised its pay by $28,000. How many employees do you know who are making $28,000.00, let alone an increase of 28,000. ? In addition what the government denies it citizens it provides for itself. Lifetime health insurance and healthy retirement pensions. Those retirement pensions are not 401 plans. There retirement plans are secure moneys not subject to the moods of the stock market. That is just the opposite of what they want for the American work force. On top of that, the government announced that when consumers buy something that product has experienced the greatest price increase of this generation. That is all inclusive for all products. Prices for wholesalers, according to the governments consumer price index like department stores, and super markets have increased has much as 2 percent. In order to enhance their profit they pass a 5 percent increase on to the consumer. As most know, the value of the dollar has been decreasing for months. It has been reported that 80 percent of the workforce saw their dollar buy 1.2 percent less this month than last month. To make things worse their dollars buy 3 percent less today than last year at this time.
Can you imagine what it would be like if we were not in the midst of an economic recovery. That is what our government tells the public. But even economists like Jared Bernstein of the Economy Policy Institute question that recovery because of the great loss of the buying power of your hard earned dollars. That is not in dispute for people on fixed incomes or for people struggling to etch out a living. More and more people are taking on second and third jobs just to barely get buy.The question is, how bad do things have to get before the American people put an end to this sorry state of affairs? Keep in mind that corporate America is experiencing record profits and paying less in taxes. The tax burden continues to be shifted upon the average employee in ever so subtle ways. For example, when your telephone bill increases so does your federal tax on that bill. When you go to the department store to buy something, as noted above, it cost more. With the increase in prices; all taxes to the state and federal government increase. In Florida, our state government is proud of their huge slush fund for a rainy day. The rainy day is upon us and our government is silent. In Florida our republican government is busy making corporate Florida richer and its citizenry more poor.
Little doubt exists in this writers mind that the federal and state government are well aware that capitalism as we know it has exhausted its usefulness. That is why they are backing corporate America as it pushes for employee concessions across the board. That is all the public hears from from the sound, print, and vision media. They insists that in a global community Americans must be willing to adjust their lifestyles to those of the rest of the world. Which means work more and earn less. However, corporate America executives have no intention of adjusting their lifestyles to reflect the lesser standard they demand.
The federal courts long have been a stumbling block to the republicans in congress and corporate America. Corporate America invested record amounts of money in support of the elevation of John Roberts as Chief Justice. They described Roberts as a “darling” of big business. Now they will campaign for the elevation Judge Samuel A. Alito, another darling of big business. They will succeed in seating Judge Alito on the Supreme Court for the reasons stated in previous postings. What that means for America is the end of democracy (civil rights) and (economic fairness) for Americans.
Along with all this, people on fixed incomes social security and pensions earned while working will be placed in jeopardy. The republicans and corporate America have been throwing out the eliminations of those entitlements for some time. Up to this point the republicans and corporate America have lacked the support of the federal courts. Soon that problem will be eliminated. If any hope exists for America; it rests with the ordinary Americans. Who must unite and take action. As a start, we must work for the defeat of Judge Alito.
This writer is available to discuss the above dangers to groups of any size. Also available as a speaker for your luncheon meeting. Short talk with question and answer period.