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Letter to the Editor: Status quo not a solution

on January 08, 2014 10:20 AM

Some letters offer no intelligent solutions to the 30-year decline of the middle class that has been happening since Ronald Reagan initiated “trickle-down economics.”

Name-calling, personal insults, making outrageous suggestions imagined to be clever — all delivered with a tone of ridicule — have no impact on me or on any thinking person.

However, a letter by Julie Anderson (Jan. 3) is an example of a civil letter with her opinions based on sources. It merits a response.

Ms. Anderson cites a study of ineffective minimum wage increases from 2003 to 2007. With all due respect, that study doesn’t apply to today’s economic situation, which is unprecedented.

Because of Congress’ refusal to pass the American Jobs Act, which would have created good-paying jobs related to rebuilding the infrastructure, and because of the attacks against unions, jobs are scarce and workers have lost their bargaining power. There are three people for every job opening. People are desperate and have to take low-paying service jobs, but they are not adequate to live on.

Ms. Anderson cites a few conservative economists on whom she rests her case. Meanwhile, in a study of “several dozen prominent economists” from both parties, 47 percent supported the minimum wage increase; only 11 percent were against it; the rest were “uncertain” of what would work in this top-heavy economic climate (Initiative on Global Markets, 2013).

It is estimated that increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 “would generate $32 billion in economic activity across the country” (Economic Policy Institute). According to Gallup, 76 percent of Americans support the increase; 47 percent of small business owners agree; and 50 percent of small business owners are opposed.

We shouldn’t have to legislate against greed or fear, but it is clear that it has to be done. For example, when were health insurance companies going to quit treating consumers unfairly? Never. It took Obamacare to force fairness on them.

We have to stop subsidizing super-profitable gas and oil companies and corporate farmers. Stop picking up the tab for what Walmart doesn’t pay its employees. Level the playing field for fast-food businesses like McDonald’s by passing a minimum wage law that forces all of them to pay a fair wage.

Again, right-wing writers continue to use old rhetoric to address a new problem. Maintaining the status quo does nothing to solve the problem taxpayers have of subsidizing rich companies and unfairly paid workers.

Everett Dembosky

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