Our Current Minimum Wage Versus a Living Wage?

Varying by local rulings and costs of living, our minimum federal wage scale nowhere approaches the living wage estimates which run around $10.00 an hour for a family of four. The latest federal standards:

New Federal Minimum Wage:

$5.85 – July 24th, 2007
$6.55 – July 24th, 2008
$7.25 – July 24th, 2009


This disparity is sometimes closed somewhat by special programs such as food stamps and subsidized housing, but few of us these days don’t know of people that are struggling desperately to maintain both food and energy obligations as well as such other essentials as basic medical care for their families. We have become a radically divided society with massive wealth at the top and hunger among millions (particularly children) at the bottom. Only America of the more than 20 most prosperous nations sentences its poorer citizens to premature deaths:

Gap in Life Expectancy Widens for the Nation
Life expectancy for the nation as a whole has increased,
but the affluent have made greater gains, researchers said.


Some of the losers here, of course, are our many thousands of disabled heroes returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and denied adequate financial support and medical care by our stingy veterans’ programs.

Greed is the dominant political and economic strategy oozing down from the Bush administration and its allies — it is called trickle down economics, a misnomer if ever there was one. Give the super rich massive money breaks and they will spend their accesses on their poor neighbors? If you believe that we have a marvelous bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

The fact of the matter is that we are a nation at a critical decision point. Our economy has been drained by the greedies by our pointless wars and cutting taxes at the precise time we should have been increasing those at the the top of the scale to fund our mad schemes for dominating the oil interests in the Middle East. Our oil companies have, of course, been making out like bandits and we have set up the world’s most massive welfare queen operation in Iraq where the theft of billions of U.S. taxpayer monies is well documented. Some Iraqis will presumably favor keeping us around so long as the handouts come their way. But pretty obviously our own nation is suffering an economic melt down in the course of maintaining these greed based policies.

The bottom line here is that we should be evaluating our presidential candidates as to where they want the monies to go? I hear none of the 3 speaking about implementing a fair minimum wage nationally such as we once upon a time had. I well recall as a college student working a variety of blue college jobs with guys who were able to make it, buy a house, care for their families. That is why we college students took on such jobs summers to earn our tuitions. They paid well.

So check out your candidates. I don’t think we can expect much from McCain. He is tied to the conservatives who are the source of our problems. Hillary looks to be more concerned with getting either herself of McCain elected. This leaves only Obama who has experienced poverty and who had spent most of his life working to assist people in need. I don’t know whether he can afford to take on this minimum wage issue during his campaign. But were he and the Democrats to gain large support, they ought together to be able to turn our nation back towards economic justice. We will be hearing a number of the Republican propaganda slogans about ‘big government’ and such. But what one must watch is who wants to steer what monies towards whom. It’s a pretty obvious choice. Either wars for profit and the corporations or all the rest of us who are struggling to survive. We had a comparable situation in 1929 and unfortunately Hoover was in office long enough to really sink our economy almost beyond repair until FDR — himself quite wealthy — came to office and rescued the vast numbers of Americans then being exploited by the super rich.

Let us hope for _real_ change come January 2009!

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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