Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

May 8, 2013

We the People: Minimum wage is not enough to live on

CROSSVILLE — For folks too young or too unaware what has happened to our economy the past 30 years, here is an answer. Ronald Reagan, G.H.W. Bush and the Republican Party are responsible for what we know as "Reaganomics," an economy that continues today resulting in few "labor unions” and the resulting low wages and lack of worker benefits. 

Newly elected Reagan’s (1981) first attack on the middle class economy was his dismantling a labor union representing 11,000 striking air traffic controller employees, whom he “fired.” Their PATCO union was destroyed. Reagan and his rich, conservative friends (not one who needed job security, Social Security, Medicare, wage increases, work safety rules, benefits, pensions, etc.) “cheered” and pressed for more! Reagan disrespected all “labor unions” even though these unions had represented the average workers from the often dangerous, unregulated working conditions, the greed and selfishness of corporations that, even today, are no longer under contract to pay workers a decent living wage.

Before Reagan, corporations' annual profits gained from the work employees were responsible for, “unions" contracted to see the huge profits made, were shared by all involved. Annual wage increases, improved benefits including pensions and health care, all were contracted by the “unions." But Reagan and the Republican Party pushed the “trickle down” economics theory, trusting corporations to “voluntarily” share the profits without the pressure of organized labor and government involvement. These huge annual "profits" instead began going to CEOs with million dollar salaries, stock option bonuses, private jets and “golden parachutes” upon leaving. Unions, representing workers' interests, decreased in numbers resulting in today’s economy with very few jobs available especially with decent pay, even for college graduates. Only athletes and move-television actors with their million dollars pay have strong unions today!

Because low wages for years have not kept up with "inflation,” working class families used easy to get and to use "credit cards" with high interest rates, in attempts to keep up and get by. Soon credit cards maxed out and family homes began being refinanced for second mortgage monies to pay for living expenses. Continued rising inflation along with these huge debts with no true raises in pay made using credit necessary. Today, too many families are in the impossible financial position with little ability to repay their debts, especially with the rare raises in pay and too many trying to live on minimum wage.

All this, while the rich get even richer !

Today’s minimum wage should be $22 an hour based upon historical inflation numbers. Instead, the lack of unions leaves workers with no voice and no choice but to accept the $7.25 an hour current today, with no benefits or even a 40 hour work week.

Young workers have been lied to and taught to hate labor unions but everyone had best hope that a number of United Working Class Unions "reappear," as they are the only real solution to save the 99% from the “out of control capitalism!” Support any and all labor unions or workers will be working for low minimum wages forever…No elected state or federal representative will help as they are apparently in office to protect their own interests and the interests of their wealthy financial supporters… and those interests are not ours!

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Lion and the Lamb: A promised land?

    Back in biblical times there was a group of people who believed that God had promised them a segment of land on this planet that would be theirs forever. Who could have known back then that this ancient promise and territorial justification would be used by their descendants today to claim the same segment of land?

    July 29, 2014

  • We the People: Bring back the American dream

    Our economy continues to expand. The stock market is at record levels, yet many ask why so many of us are struggling?  Barely half of us believe the American dream is attainable.

    July 29, 2014

  • Tidbits: Taking a low-tech break

    Feeling increasingly strangled by my electronic leash, with phone, text messages, email, social media and a variety of other forms of communication always at my side, I took the weekend off.

    July 28, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Governing before and after mass corruption

    Laws in America were originally written simply. Every citizen could read them quickly and understand their meaning. The founders wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance and the Constitution of the United States, none of which was longer than 4,500 words.

    July 28, 2014

  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014