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Laelth

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Wills Point, TX
Home country: USA
Member since: Sat Oct 16, 2004, 01:36 PM
Number of posts: 30,189

About Me

I am a native Georgian who's currently hiding out in Texas. I am a liberal, and I am extremely proud of the imperfect (but evolving) republic that we call the United States of America.

Journal Archives

Increase the minimum wage!

An editorial appeared in the local paper on December 12 to which I had to respond. Here's what the local hair-on-fire conservative had to say:

Every God-created human being, born of Adam, has the right to have the things that are necessary for life: shelter, food, clothing, etc. No one in this day and time wants to accept the responsibilities of their own actions. If they have a child out of wedlock, kill it or have it and get more food stamps, there is no shame or disgrace associated with their decisions. The lost of reputation and standing in the community doesn’t matter anymore. The moral conscience of our country is on life support and fading fast. Trusting anyone is a thing of the past. Honor is becoming obsolete. Respect is taught, but more than that, young people follow the example we set.

Grandmothers of today raise their children’s children, so the parents can work or do other things. Can you imagine what kind of grandmothers this generation will produce? This generation of “me and mine” will not be raising anyone else’s children for sure. This is what our current society is producing -- not a self-supporting, responsible generation, but one dependent on the government, handouts and the sympathy and kindness of others.

It has been said that the oldest profession is prostitution. That has changed today. It is being on government assistance, a new form of prostitution and another practice of slavery. Once you’re in the system, you do not get out very easily. Will this current pattern change? Only if parents become more responsible and change. Hopefully, they will..


To which I responded as follows:

In the December 12 edition of The Telegraph, J. M. Bass bemoans the irresponsibility and moral failings of today’s youth. I think his indignation is misguided.

For many years now, studies have shown that American workers are the most productive in the world. Because we work very hard in the United States, it’s hard to stomach Mr. Bass’ complaints about dependency and laziness. Many Americans with jobs still have to rely upon government assistance in order to survive. Wal-Mart, America’s largest employer, pays its “associates” so little that most of them qualify for government aid. In this way, taxpayers subsidize both Wal-Mart’s low wages and its obscene corporate profits.

Elizabeth Warren, a former economics professor who is currently serving in the United States Senate, has shown that the 1962 minimum wage, if it were adjusted for both inflation and increases in productivity, would currently be about $22.00/hr. ($44,000/year.). No wonder American families could survive on just one income in 1962. Our world is very different now. I know a couple of college-educated people with government jobs who are making $18,000/year—less than half what a burger-flipper would have made in 1962.

While the stock market is recording new highs, American wages are approaching record lows. Our Federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr. is both embarrassing and exploitative. In France, the minimum wage is the equivalent of $13.00/hr. In Australia, it’s $15.00/hr. Naturally, our business leaders insist that calamity will befall us if we raise the minimum wage. Nonsense! Australia seems to be doing just fine with a minimum wage that’s over double ours, and our economy was thriving in 1962 when the minimum wage was the equivalent of $22.00/hr. Why can’t we return to those economic glory days?

The answer is simple. Greed is keeping far too many Americans impoverished. Increase the minimum wage and Mr. Bass’ Scrooge-like complaints about people who are less fortunate than he is will evaporate.


My editorial appears in this morning's edition of the paper. Let us hope it does some good.

-Laelth

This, my friends, is far too typical for my generation.



Not to exacerbate any generational warfare which, I agree, is counterproductive, but to educate my Boomer and Millennial friends, today's Doonesbury explains the frustrations and life experiences of many GenXers. Would those Ph.D holding, hard-working, and intelligent people be waiting tables or working as nannies 20 years ago? Somehow, I doubt it. It's not like we Xers don't work hard. We do. It's not that we lack ambition. We don't. Our world is simply much worse, economically, than the one into which our parents were born.

I don't blame Boomers for giving us Ronald Reagan and supply-side economics. I do blame Boomers for their apparent lack of concern and action on this subject. In their defense, I suspect that Boomers lack a frame of reference to understand how much harder it is to live in this world now. The United States was at its richest in 1973, and it has been getting poorer ever since. Boomers came of age when we were at our richest, and they don't seem to understand why their children and grandchildren are struggling. The lack of sympathy and concern many of us get from some boomers (especially our family members) is disconcerting and depressing.

Thus, I post this strip as a friendly and poignant reminder. Take care of your children and grand-children, Boomers. We've had plenty of "tough love." Many of us now need some real love.

-GenX Laelth

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