Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Shop the Truthdig Gift Guide 2014
December 21, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Get Truthdig's headlines in your inbox!


Loss of Rainforests Is Double Whammy Threat to Climate






Truthdig Bazaar more items

 
Report

Ralph Nader: Raise the Minimum Wage

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Feb 27, 2012
AP / Mike Groll

Occupy protester Bradley Russell holds a sign during the People’s State-of-the-State at Academy Park in Albany, N.Y., on Jan. 3. The rally focused on the need to address hunger in New York and to raise the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour.

By Chris Hedges

The Occupy movement may be able to forge a powerful alliance with millions of working men and women around a national call to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour. The drive to establish new encampments, while important, is going to be long and difficult. The ongoing efforts to stand up to the foreclosure and mortgage crisis, the marches to hold Wall Street accountable, the protests against stop-and-frisk policies in New York City or police brutality in Oakland, while vital, do not draw the numbers into the streets across the country needed to loosen the grip of the corporate state. 

Some 70 percent of the public supports raising the minimum wage. This is an issue that resonates across political, ethnic, religious and cultural lines. It exposes the vast disparities in wealth and the gross inequalities imposed by our corporate oligarchy. The political elite during this election year, which needs to toss a few scraps to the voting public, might be pressured to respond. The two leading Republican candidates, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, say they support the minimum wage (although only Romney has called for indexing the minimum wage). Barack Obama promised during his 2008 election campaign to press to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2011, a promise that, like many others, he has ignored. But the ground is fertile. 

“The 24-hour encampments, largely on public property, broke through,” Ralph Nader told me when we spoke of the Occupy movement a few days ago. “These encampments jolted the consciousness of the nation. But people began asking after a number of weeks what’s next. Once the movement lost the encampments, it did not have a second-strike readiness, which should be the raising of the minimum wage to $10 an hour.”

The federal minimum wage of $7.25, adjusted for inflation, is $2.75 lower than it was in 1968 when worker productivity was about half of what it is today. There has been a steady decline in real wages for low-income workers. Meanwhile, corporations such as Wal-Mart and McDonald’s, whose workforce earns the minimum wage or slightly above it, have enjoyed massive profits. Executive salaries, along with prices, have soared even as worker salaries have stagnated or declined. But the call to raise the minimum wage is not only a matter of economic justice. The infusion of tens of billions of dollars into the hands of the working class would increase tax revenue, open up new jobs and lift consumer spending.

There are numerous groups, including the AFL-CIO, whose leaders dutifully pay lip service to raising the minimum wage but have refused to mobilize to fight for it. Rank-and-file workers, once they had a place and a movement willing to agitate on their behalf, would shame union bosses into joining them. There are 535 congressional offices scattered throughout the country. These congressional offices, Nader suggests, could provide the focal point for sustained local protests.

Advertisement

Square, Site wide
“You could get leading think tanks, like the Economic Policy Institute, the AFL-CIO, member unions, especially unions like the California Nurses Association, which has been very aggressive on this, and a bevy of academics such as Dean Baker and professor Robert Pollin, along with groups such as the NAACP and La Raza, to back this,” Nader said. “There is potential for huge synergy. But it needs the jolt that can only come from the Occupy movement.

“The Occupy movement arose by embracing a rejectionist attitude toward politics, but in the end that is lethal,” Nader said. “It is a form of ideological immolation. If they won’t turn on politics, politics will continue to turn on them. Politics means the power of government—local, state and national—and the ability of corporations to control departments and agencies and turn government against its own people. Not engaging in politics might have been a good preliminary tactic to gain credibility so they could avoid being tagged with some ‘-ism’ or some party, but it has worn out its purpose. The movement needs to become a champion for millions of low-income workers. This does not mean the Occupy movement should support a political party. It means it should go after both parties. It is only by going after the two main political parties that raising the minimum wage will get through Congress.”


New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

katsteevns's avatar

By katsteevns, March 5, 2012 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment

Oops, wrong post, my bad.

Report this
katsteevns's avatar

By katsteevns, March 5, 2012 at 8:43 pm Link to this comment

A comment to this article in Common Dreams:

Posted by DC-CPH
Mar 5 2012 - 11:47am

This is Hedges’ favorite refrain—that all we can do at this point is commit mass nonviolent civil disobedience, i.e., go to jail voluntarily to make some abstract political point, and hope that this has some kind of magical effect on the system.

The wonderful thing about being a strict proponent of “nonviolent civil disobedience” is that you never have to actually explain how your prescription for “action” will actually work in the real world, since everyone is assumed to share your same assumptions. If you are asked for explanation, simply repeat the words “Martin Luther Gandhi” over and over until they have the desired effect of quashing the debate.

What I found interesting about this Hedges piece on AIPAC is that his language is so much more restrained than in his recent denunciation of anarchists. Nothing here about Zionists being a “cancer” on the US political system, simply an observation that they “serve the 1%”? Wow, Chris, you really nailed them!

Report this

By Onepercenter, March 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment

You are going to have to try a little harder than that, Ralph. Good luck to ya. lol

Report this
kulu's avatar

By kulu, March 4, 2012 at 3:53 am Link to this comment

Bob Marston,

Don’t turn friends into enemies. Nader and Hedges are not part of the establishment and not apologists for the Democratic Party at all. You may not agree with the idea of an effort to increase minimum wages but it has been put forward in good faith and should at least be debated.

Its good to see 93% of those polled supported Occupy Oakland but the thing to do now is to convert it to tangible real systematic changes with the focus primarily but not exclusively on getting rid of the corrupt corporate/political system that underlies most of the problems facing America and the world.

Report this
kulu's avatar

By kulu, March 4, 2012 at 1:48 am Link to this comment

Dave,

You say:-
“We’re building a better world right now, organized horizontally, dedicated to direct democracy.”

Yes but how? All this is a laudable goal which I wholeheartedly support. But in the end OWS has to expand, as it has done, from its beginnings of occupying places, to supporting social justice and environmental campaigns and to direct actions to, say prevent foreclosures or close bank accounts at the big banks and so on.

In the end though the power has to be wrested from the 1% and given to the 99%. This is a daunting task that I believe can only be achieved through the ballot box if it is not to become violent - not at all an unrealistic prospect given the brutal responses of police to peaceful protests to date.

As to Nader’s idea of fighting to increase minimum wages; why not? It could be another prong to OWS’ attack on the the 1% and become a thorn in the side of Walmart and other exploiters. Why not Occupy Walmart, boycott Walmart or both?

Report this

By Carol Giangreco, March 3, 2012 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think OWS should get behind Nader’s idea to raise the minimum wage.  It’s symbolic, it’s crowd gathering, it’s a purpose that serves the working poor.  Nader’s right - it could grow the movement and it just might work on getting a raise in the minimum wage.  What’s wrong with the idea?  We should try it!

Report this

By Michael Cavlan RN, March 3, 2012 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

Plop

Report this
katsteevns's avatar

By katsteevns, March 3, 2012 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

By JDmysticDJ, March 1 at 10:18 am

“I’ll proffer that determining which hierarchies are “Good” and which hierarchies are “Bad” would be dependent on an individual’s psychology and philosophy.”

Let’s not forget a dependance on an individual’s politics and self or class interests as well. And I would argue, the most important determinants within (...ahem…power) elite decision making.

Report this

By Michael Goldstein, March 2, 2012 at 10:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is a great idea, but great ideas in the absence of a strategy are not so great
after all.  We can lurch along from action to action (Occupy, so far) or campaign
to campaign (Nader) and never disturb the underlying dynamics of a system
that enriches the few at the expense of the many, of peace, and of the
sustainability of the planet.

Neither the Occupy movement nor, as far as I know, Ralph Nader, has yet
formulated a vision of what it will take to unite enough of the 99% in a manner
to permit it to exercise its true potential.  That potential:  a nonviolent but
revolutionary shift in power, so that government becomes our own instrument
for mobilizing our collective resources in the interests of peace, social justice,
economic and health security, environmental sustainability, and a society
hospitable to the needs of the human spirit.

Mr. Nader and most of Occupy seem to assume the viability of an alternate
strategy, a way that enough pressure can be consistently placed on a
government dominated by corporate-funded politicians and corporate-
influenced agencies to somehow turn the tide of its policies.  But they have
neither articulated the basis for this assumption nor developed an actual
strategy.  For the beginnings of a discussion of how to get to where so many us
want to go, check out my blog “Beyond the Politics of Protest, Beyond the Lesser
of Evils,” by clicking on my name, above.

Report this

By elisalouisa, March 2, 2012 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

katsteevns: Many people are driven for altruistic reasons and not for financial gain, both past and present.

Such as Jesus Christ, Gandhi,  Moses, the Prophet Muhammad, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confucius.  More specifically, Carl Sagan, Joseph Campbell, Howard Zinn, Teresa of Avila, Jimmy Carter, Oscar Schindler, Fidel Castro, Salvador Allende, Cesar Chavez, Germaine Greer, Clara Barton, Karl Marx, Simone Weil, Ignazio
Silone, Chris Hedges, Jane Fonda, Robert Scheer, Paul Neumann, Robert Redford, John Steinbeck and Studs Terkel to name just a few on my list.  Some are not even well known.  If you look again, you may even find that you know/have known such a person; a teacher, scientist, one in the field of medicine.


By ReadingJones, March 2 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

That “as soon as wages go up prices go up” is a canard ?fostered by the cabal of oligarchs. It has been ?disproven by many capable sociologists and economists ?in many different studies. The only place it has been ?shown to be true is when the income of the power elites ?goes up then prices do in fact go
up.

So true Reading Jones.

Report this

By ReadingJones, March 2, 2012 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

That “as soon as wages go up prices go up” is a canard
fostered by the cabal of oligarchs. It has been
disproven by many capable sociologists and economists
in many different studies. The only place it has been
shown to be true is when the income of the power elites
goes up then prices do in fact go up.

Report this
katsteevns's avatar

By katsteevns, March 2, 2012 at 10:12 am Link to this comment

By elisalouisa, March 2 at 5:50 am


” The true elites use their God given gifts for the betterment of society in whatever way possible.”

Give us just one example.

Report this

By Ed Romano, March 2, 2012 at 8:27 am Link to this comment

Ecommerce, By the same token wouldn’t that mean that slashing the minumum wage should lead to lower prices?And if the wage was slashed ...to say $2.00 an hour…wouldn’t that give the lump himpers an incentive to pull themselves up by their boot straps, or in some cases their toe nails ?

Report this
Ecommerce Web Design's avatar

By Ecommerce Web Design, March 2, 2012 at 7:38 am Link to this comment

I’m not an economist (nor do I play one on TV) but isn’t raising the minimum wage
simply addressing the symptom, not the disease? Actually, isn’t it just worse in the
end, because as soon as wages go up so will prices. Wouldn’t we just be digging
ourselves into, well, not a deeper hole, but surely a wider one?

Report this

By Ed Romano, March 2, 2012 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

elisa, Can I put a slightly different slant on what you say ? People are getting the shaft….don’t see how anyone can deny that…., but often they are also getting “what they deserve” inasmuch as ...given the choice between a truly rotten candidate and one who is anly half rotten…they very often choose the one one is the most rotten.

Report this

By elisalouisa, March 2, 2012 at 6:50 am Link to this comment

What? Anarchists everywhere on this thread and not one response to JDmysticDJ March 1 10:18 am post? Amazing. As for me, I agree, with a few exceptions and comments.

JD (1.)The needs of the common man/woman are evident but the ability of the common man/woman to provide those needs in an efficacious and just way is suspect.

I reluctantly agree and as proof suggest a simple test to those in denial. Just visit a local mall, gaze upon the mass of humanity buying ridiculous items with credit cards they can never repay, issued to booster the economy in this election year. Look closely and you shall have your answer.

JD(2.)Such is admittedly elitist thinking but the existence of elite is a reality.

True elites do exist. The question here is: Who are the elites? Would they be the power/elite? I suggest not. For money does not make one elite although it does convey power. The true elites use their God given gifts for the betterment of society in whatever way possible. The gift of writing is but one way to further the cause of the people. True elites have guided our civilization for many thousands of years. They are a very minor voice now as that task has been assumed by barbarians who seek more and more power with no thought as to the people. The grapes I had this morning come from Peru. What does that have to do with our subject? Everything. Even the farmers are no longer needed as our food can and does come from various parts of the world. Having no leverage to deal with the power/elite the people no longer have a voice.

I would also proffer that the people are not “getting the government they deserve” as JDmysticDJ states. Rather, they are getting the shaft. We are in a unique situation where our government has been hijacked by the ruthless, criminal power/elite. Big money influences who is chosen as to candidates and again who is finally elected. By buying out candidates of their choice in both parties the oligarchy controls everything. Again, the people now have no recourse thus may find the ways of Black Bloc more appealing.

Report this

By ardee, March 2, 2012 at 3:52 am Link to this comment

By bpawk, February 29 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

just as I thought - people attack others who criticize the poor for not speaking up, instead of attacking those who helped make them poor in the first place - that’s why the left in america will never work - you’re too busy attacking people who want others to speak out - you’re not going for the real culprit. That’s why you’re in the trouble you’re in.

You attempt to speak about the “left” without a clue about your subject matter.

Report this
Dolly13's avatar

By Dolly13, March 1, 2012 at 10:57 pm Link to this comment

Lumpenproletarier, February 28 at 12:29 am asked:

“Could someone please explain this to me?
How can human productivity go up 100%? Anabolic
Steroids? Meth? Energy Drinks? What could possibly
create such a dramatic improvement?”

Computers, dude. Think about it.

PS $10 minimum wage = way too low, in California anyway. I don’t think my guppy could live on $10 an hour. And my guppy is not used to a high-falutin’ bourgeois lifestyle. If you can’t work one, regular job and afford to live decently, you’re not getting paid enough.

Report this

By ReadingJones, March 1, 2012 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

@JDMysticJD & Ed Romano You are two members of my most
admired commentators list. I urge you to study the
Principle of Subsidiarity. It is a portion of Catholic
Doctrine but it is also practiced by the US Military.
Basically it means to push decision making as far down
in any given hierarchy as far as is practical. The
decision about what is practical depends on access to
information…...

Report this

By Ed Romano, March 1, 2012 at 11:40 am Link to this comment

JDmystic, For an opposing point of view I would offer the idea that all attempts to justify the governance of man by man ultimately fail. It’s like trying to square the circle. There is no justification. It can only be accomplished by coercive means…. We can argue that ,given the rapacious and murderous nature of human beings, some force must be available to keep them in order. But at root all goverments are morally illegimate because they seek to advance the interests of a minority at the expense of the majority. ...I probably haven’t given this argument the justice it deserves, but I think I’ve expressed it well enough to be uinderstood. I think it’s a valid position to look at all goverments as ultimately evil and at the same time realize that at this point in our evolution we can’t do without one. I don’t hold to this view, but I think it is an honest one.

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, March 1, 2012 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

If you are a person that believes all governments are innately evil then I must conclude that you are foolish and an anti-social iconoclast although you might be loosely confederated with other anti-social iconoclasts. If you are a person that believes all hierarchy is evil then I must come to the same conclusion. If you are a person that believes there is no better and no worse in the evaluation of our current dominant political factions then I can only reiterate my conclusion.

The simplest and most obvious observations in life show a hierarchy in thinking; psychological and philosophical. Are sociopaths not to be ranked lower on a hierarchical scale than the more altruistic? Are those who are motivated solely by self interest not to be ranked lower on a hierarchical scale than those motivated by promoting the general welfare? Setting aside the oxy-moronic arguments of self interested devotees of Randian philosophy, in all their gradients, it becomes evident that some degree of hierarchy is a necessity in a civilization. That hierarchy can become an evil is also evident. There would appear to be a hierarchy in hierarchies, or to put it most simply good hierarchies and bad hierarchies. Ayn Rand’s philosophy advocated a hierarchy of benevolent free market capitalists free from government intervention and regulation. I’ll proffer that determining which hierarchies are “Good” and which hierarchies are “Bad” would be dependent on an individual’s psychology and philosophy.

The proposal that a new hierarchy free paradigm should be the goal can only be considered a utopian fantasy devoid of rationality. Power vacuums are always filled. Movements that claim to be free of hierarchy are in fact hierarchical with leaders charismatic and ideological. Supposed spontaneous actions are not spontaneous at all; such are planned and suggested by leaders charismatic. Even unruly mobs display a hierarchy with the most unruly taking the lead.

Oxford Dictionary of Politics:

Direct democracy

“Democracy without representation, where those entitled to decide do so in sovereign assemblies, and where committees and executives are selected by lot rather than elected. Direct democracy was practised [sic] in ancient Athens … some argue that modern information technology now makes direct democracy possible even in populous places.”

By the above definition hierarchy would be a reality in the form of executives selected by lot. Ancient Athens has been romanticized beyond all rational proportion. Aside from the obvious cruelties and that were evident in ancient Athens the Athenians were militaristic and determined to increase wealth via empire. “Direct democracy” in ancient Athens came to an end because of factionalism.

“Information Technology” can be subverted by technology as was evidenced by one College Professor and four students hacking into and reversing the results of an experiment in technological direct democracy in Florida, (Within a thirty minute time frame.)

Having once written a term paper regarding the need for direct democracy, (Representatives chosen technologically by lot,) I now see the errors in my thinking. The needs of the common man/woman are evident but the ability of the common man/woman to provide those needs in an efficacious and just way is suspect. Such is admittedly elitist thinking but the existence of elite is a reality. In a representative democracy the citizenry are designated the responsibility of selecting beneficial elites, and they are directly responsible for the elites they elect, or ALLOW to be elected. People do get the democracy they deserve. Activists and humanitarians who desire good democratic governance should focus more on making people more deserving, via enlightenment, and less on utopian thinking which ignores the root problem.

None of us are omnificent saints, but surely the better is preferable to the worse.

Report this

By Metroeloise, February 29, 2012 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment

What we can do is make a living wage the standard for
the minimum wage, world-wide. Pin that to a 20 hour
work week/ 1000 hour work year with an income tax
system that is corrected to actually be marginally
progress calculated on a % of living wage rather than
nominally. Make the income tax curve stay relativity
flat for the fist few doublings of living wage then
steepen up. Make the curve sensitive to time in rate
and source of income. The first years you are in rate
you pay less % particularly if it was a large jump.
Unearned income would be steeper once passed 3x
minimum wage. Income from speculative sources needs
to be taxed at a steeper rate yet. Income from lower
level social service jobs merit a slower rising
curve.

Report this

By balkas, February 29, 2012 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment

let’s look at electioneering and politics from an entirely different point of view
than the usual one. i know you’re dying to hear it; so, i reveal it to you right now:
the 1% has two political parties and 99% none.
‘k, it’s not true that 99% have no political party—the 99% actually has at least 3
political parties, but, since, i expect that in this year’s election the 1%‘s parties
would get about 98% of votes cast, this means, at least to me [i lav speaking for
self and especially in broken english] that in effect, there is only two parties in US
—or to be accurate/adequate, one party with two or one hundred wings.
it doesn’t really matter how many wings represent the 1% long as they ALL
represent and act on behalf of the 1% only.

alas, nader, hedges, moore, et al think that we can s’mhow [they don’t explain
HOW to do it] get ONEPERCENT’S one agent to also represent the 99% as well.

Report this
sallysense's avatar

By sallysense, February 29, 2012 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

hiya again bpawk… it still wonders me what that earlier comment of yours was actually saying ?...

change or no change ?... say or no say ?...

your newest thought doesn’t answer those questions…

rather than answer them… your newest thought goes off on some other stuff instead…

which brings to mind…

we can pull from a grab bag a world full of answers…
for those sidetracking matters layered on each bottom line…
whether purposeful or brainwashed or not knowing any better…
they tend to evade that prime issue or frame a trade or re-define!...

it keeps happening these days in a land where corporate advancement…
uses think-tank manufacturing so folks won’t think for themselves…
leading people into patsy molds holding lesser self-awareness…
it feeds ulterior motives when what is needed most is help!...

anyway…

whether you do or don’t wanna answer those questions concerning that comment you wrote…

is up to you and your thinking and thoughts’n’all…

Report this

By bpawk, February 29, 2012 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

just as I thought - people attack others who criticize the poor for not speaking up, instead of attacking those who helped make them poor in the first place - that’s why the left in america will never work - you’re too busy attacking people who want others to speak out - you’re not going for the real culprit. That’s why you’re in the trouble you’re in.

Report this
sallysense's avatar

By sallysense, February 29, 2012 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

hiya bpawk… something wonders me regarding your recent statement…

“If you don’t speak up but let others do it for you then you deserve whatever they say you get.  If you want change, let it be known or be quiet.”

would the same advice above also apply to those who don’t want change ?... that they should also let it be known or be quiet ?...

and so it wonders me what it is that are you actually saying ?...

are you really saying much of anything ?...

(change or no change ?... say or don’t say ?... what’s actually being said ?)...

or are you just going for some kind of an effect ?...

Report this

By bpawk, February 29, 2012 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

If you don’t speak up but let others do it for you then you deserve whatever they say you get.  If you want change, let it be known or be quiet.

Report this

By ReadingJones, February 29, 2012 at 7:16 am Link to this comment

bpawk you sound like a 1%er go away to wherever those
of your ilk belong go and associate with rush limbaugh,
karl rove and the peckerwoods like them

Report this

By bpawk, February 29, 2012 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

THe average American would rather watch American Idol, hoarders, Academy Awards or some other TV show than care about their own future.  The minimum wagers are mute and won’t stick up for themselves therefore they deserve their plight.

Report this

By RD, February 29, 2012 at 6:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The lowest minimum wage here in Canada is $9 and the highest is $11. The
economy is doing quite a bit better than our neighbours down south and the CAD
is above par with the greenback, and has hovered around par for the last 2 years
or so. I’d say raising the minimum wage in the States is long overdue.

Report this

By balkas, February 29, 2012 at 5:50 am Link to this comment

i am aware that some americans would be upset with what we say on this
site. but those who go ballistic over facts that cut to shreds their
preconceived ideas, or expose their ‘facts’ as lies, do it to themselves.
most of such people appear to be Democrats. which i find more to the
right than even many Republicans.
so, if you guyz want to eat your heart, i cannot stop you nor persuade
you to stop upsetting yourselves.
generally, i avoid reading posts by such people. and i keep a list of
people whose posts i avoid to read!

Report this

By ReadingJones, February 28, 2012 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

If the minimum wage was linked to some multiple of the
total compensation paid to Congress, The Supremes, and
the Executive you would really have something. Or you
could make the rulers compensation a multiple of the
lowest 20% of families.

Report this
sallysense's avatar

By sallysense, February 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment

minimum wage occupation…

big shots swipe billions off the little guys’ crumbs…
the bottom line can’t lay straight ‘til a fair ratio runs…
and thoughts focused elsewhere won’t change topside malice…
for it takes baseline action to fix that blatant imbalance!...

Report this
EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, February 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm Link to this comment

This is a little off-topic, but it has just been brought to my attention that the excellent Margaret Flowers/Kevin Zeese has been removed.

Anyone out there know why???

Report this

By Argy F, February 28, 2012 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

The comment sections enervates to be sure.

How can anyone with a str8 face be against an organized effort to raise the
minimum wage?

One thing to be sure, OWS will accomplish nothing if this comment section is
representative of the people who still profess to be involved.

P.S. Many of you wouldn’t even be alive if it wasn’t for Ralph Nader and his ability
to accomplish REAL change - battling the Corporate Oligarchs. Untold thousands
of your parents and grandparents would have died in minor car accidents before
you were born.

Report this
mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, February 28, 2012 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

Ted Buila - Bravo!

“When will the diversionary nonsense stop?  Romney marches to tunes from Salt Lake City; Santorum is on mission from Rome; and old timer Ron Paul is looking for an warm place near Ayn Rand’s front tit squeezed in along side of gold
buzzards the likes of Hayek, Mises, and Joseph Smith.  And Gingrich is past the point of listening to himself.”

You made me laugh out loud!

Report this

By Jeff N., February 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment

There seems to be a couple paths forward with regards to OWS: either from within or without the political system.  If OWS decides (how one speaks officially for OWS in the first place is a bit unclear) that it is within, then I think an issue like minimum wage is not a bad one at all for the reasons I’ve mentioned below. 

If, however, as some of the commentators on here have intimated, OWS will go forward without the existing fascist US political system, then I don’t see that much is left to be decided.  An anarchist revolution seems to be on order, another option for which I am not opposed.  But it is a lot easier to get broad support and raise awareness with simpler issues that people are familiar with as opposed to an abstract, amorphous ideological revolution.  I’m not sure that the “99%” are really on board for government overthrow, they’re just looking for a fair shake.

Report this

By cmontefu@live.com, February 28, 2012 at 5:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

raising the wage will lower the value of the dollar thru inflation.The dollar is now about 10 cents worth of 1950 dollars.Increase the value of the dollar and have 2 dollars one domestic and one foreign run thru 2 banks.Eliminate the fed and have regulations to control manipulation of the value of the dollar and comodities such as oil.Let supply and demand set value and not wall street.Their is a professor from Florence who has done a paper on just this idea.The system we use is broke it wont fix itself.

Report this

By hil2, February 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Where are the ads on mainstream television that tell about the benefits of raising
the minimum wage. Monied interests should not be the only ones to have ads on
mainstream tv. E.g. MSNBC’s ad nauseum stream of “Oilsands” “Fracking” paid for
by the Petroleum industry and companies like Chevron.  Where are the counter
ads?

Report this

By Ted Buila, February 28, 2012 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment

An unusually weak piece by Chris Hedges re Ralph Nader’s call to Raise The
Minimum Wage.  Hello Chris/Ralph…$10 an hour even working two or three
jobs doesn’t begin to approach a living wage unless you are living under a
bridge/sleeping in your car.  As for worker people/s with a couple of kids and
an elderly parent in tow…getting the crew bagging cans and 5? empties won’t add much to the minimum wage pot. 

Nader could and can do better with his wage number (probably has someplace
else/another time..Hedges maybe missed it.)  I’ll leave it at that. 

As for what this is all about (my guess: election diversion issue/s) Romney from
the way he keeps on flogging Socialist Europe..sounds like the guy’s Mormon
Mission Name & Address Conversion Book (after 2+ years in France) is still
empty. 

Romney and the rest (including RP..he knows better) are telling us that Holland,
Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway (they are in Europe) have gone bust..are
being bull dozed to Hell by big governments and Socialist living wage prices.  Sure…

When will the diversionary nonsense stop?  Romney marches to tunes from Salt
Lake City; Santorum is on mission from Rome; and old timer Ron Paul is looking
for an warm place near Ayn Rand’s front tit squeezed in along side of gold
buzzards the likes of Hayek, Mises, and Joseph Smith.  And Gingrich is past the
point of listening to himself.

Report this

By Ed Romano, February 28, 2012 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

balkas, Just in case anyone ever offer me a shot….can you tell me what it is your drinking when you write a post ?

Report this

By GradyLeeHoward, February 28, 2012 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment

balkas: That was a killer comedy routine in 1780.

Report this

By ardee, February 28, 2012 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment

By GradyLeeHoward, February 28 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

Lower the maximum wage.

Kudos, at least someone gets it.

Report this

By ZenBowman, February 28, 2012 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lets start with ending wars.

Increasing the minimum wage at this point will not help
much, if anything it will continue the trend of
outsourcing and temporary hiring.

The first step is to adopt nonaggression.

Report this

By GradyLeeHoward, February 28, 2012 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

entrophy 2- asymmetrical power- sounds better, more
concise than uneven…..  but otherwise your
assessment sounds accurate.

Report this

By balkas, February 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

mcfreeze,
good point: you own a space, tree, cage, store, etc., you only decide who can and cannot climb the tree, cut
its branches or sit/stand in the space you own and shout from your plot of land.
that is most fundamental thought in personal supremacism; which also establishes open-ended personal
freedoms.
so, if you own a makdonaldo, you only decide how much the laborers should get paid in your facility.
==
and if i may add, nader, moore, zeese, hedges, stein, anderson, and many other ‘leftists’, ‘liberals’,
‘progressives’ either do not see this fact or do but have decided to leave it out in their pieces.

it seems that only ron paul is honest about this fact. he had said that what is yours is yours and you have
no right to it.
and ron paul is simply cashing in on that fact. he knows americans better than me. most of then, seems to
me, still cherish the basic notion that what one owns is one’s untouchable property and no one has moral
or legal right to claim any of it.
after all, that’s the cornerstone of supremacist ideology, bill of rights, constitution and all US ‘laws’ [diktats
by the 1%]

Report this

By jimmmmmy, February 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

ralph your a great human being but, your day is over . retire to the south of france and enjoy the sun, and the free health care.

Report this
mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, February 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment

entropy2 - You’re absolutely correct. The big, ugly and, I’m afraid unsolvable problem is the fact that corporations have already taken over. They are souless beasts that have transformed the definition of labor and productivity into a neatly packaged, inexpensive component of doing business. I think the only democracies that have held strong against this unfortunate phenomena are the N. Europeans. I wonder how long they will hold out? (I sincerely hope they do just to prove that capitalism is an economic system, not a religion.)

Here’s my whole point about wages and OWS: Why bother asking for something that will galvanize the 1% (the wealthy elites) even more stridently against workers? It’s a losing battle. As I’ve suggested many times, Americans need to organize huge, non-violent,non-cooperation strikes targeted and general. OWS’s biggest mistake was trying to “occupy” physical space. They dared threaten “private property” and as a result their motives, patriotism and legitimacy were immediately called into question via a corporate Media that enables corporate interests. Certainly, OWS is a good thing (I believe so), but our economic system in this country is no longer set up to serve people. It owns our government and, as a result, we don’t even have a public system to protect us.

What to do? Quit cooperating. Unfortunately, Americans will continue to worship our “free enterprise” system, rack up huge credit card debt and pretend that we’re “living the American Dream.”

Report this

By gregorylkruse, February 28, 2012 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

Nader’s idea is about the best one I’ve heard lately, and I’m glad Hedges thinks it’s good enough to feature in his weekly article.  There are at least two ways to look at the situation. People are either so stressed that something has to be done to organize them or people are not stressed enough to do something spontaneously.  OWS has “changed the national conversation from austerity to inequality” but it is too small and weak to actually change behavior.  We are at a stalemate, where austerity can’t gain traction and inequality doesn’t have enough power. Only when inequality gains more power will austerity be pushed back, but inequality can’t get more power until austerity gets more traction and pushes harder.  An ongoing campaign for $10 minimum wage would be useful when the pressure on the working poor increases.  It seems to me that a car with $10 minimum wage signs on it would get more smiles than frowns in my town.

Report this

By Jared, February 28, 2012 at 11:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Reformist capitalism really isn’t going to get us very far.  Hedges isn’t a socialist, he’s a capitalist, and these kinds of “trimming around the edges of capitalism” are really offensive.

It’s naive to believe that #1 the ruling elites have any intention of increasing the minimum wage, especially considering their falling rates of profit and the severe austerity cuts they have in store for us (what Greece is going through has yet to arrive in the U.S., but it will and we are on our way) and #2 that a raise in minimum wage somehow translates into better material conditions for the working class while capitalism continues to decimate other small gains made for workers. If anything we are headed for our leaders abolishing the minimum wage, not strengthening it. 

Bottom line: Hedges is a capitalist. He does not speak for the working class but rather is a mouthpiece for the liberal class of the elites.

Report this

By Ed Romano, February 28, 2012 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

Sure, let’s talk about raising the unlivable wage to one that’s merely inadequate. And let’s focus all our energies on this while the corporations continue to make the whole of society a toxic wasate dump. I think it’s time for us to all chip in and buy Nader a rocking chair.

Report this
entropy2's avatar

By entropy2, February 28, 2012 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

@mrfreeze

Remember, it’s never about what workers want/need. It’s ALWAYS about what businesses dictate.

And why is that?

Because the individuals of the working class are DEPENDENT on the 1% to provide their means of life.

Because the individuals of the working class are DEPENDENT on the state to “protect” them from the 1% (whom the state empowers in the first place).

One-way dependency means uneven power. This, in turn, breeds exploitation by the bosses and indifference or tyranny by the state. Two sides of the same coin, except the state and the bosses do not oppose each other.

Power will only become irrelevant when we break our dependencies. That will happen when we individuals become FREED to interact, transact and cooperate among ourselves.

Report this

By MAY 1st SOLIDARITY, February 28, 2012 at 11:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges has gone off the rails these past few weeks. Occupiers are doing this already. We just helped the ILWU beat EGT, using tactics Hedges has admonished. Besides, raising the minimum wage is short-sighted. Corporations and venders will adjust to the new wages, raise rent and rates, reap higher profits, and we’ll be back in the same old mess in no time. The occupiers (the real ones who wisely avoid corporate television cameras) are working toward REAL change - like the abolition of the management class, universal health care and education, direct democracy and a “true cost” economy. I’m sorry, Mr. Hedges, but you’re sounding like the old “New Left”. They failed. We come to the bargaining table with much greater demands. Sure, we’ll fall short. But the outcome will be greater than a measly 10 bucks an hour. STAND IN SOLIDARITY ON MAY 1ST!!!!

Report this

By Robesie Pete, February 28, 2012 at 10:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m tired of all this bullshit. People that votes for democrats is crazy. democrats say they wants this and they say they wants that but they never gets it. We need a good old fashioned revolution. We need to sharpen the ol’ guillotine blade and get down to bidness. We need to purge all them democrats from the gubment. That’ll get ‘er done.

Report this

By GradyLeeHoward, February 28, 2012 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

Lower the maximum wage.

Report this

By madisolation, February 28, 2012 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

Off topic, but Chris Hedges is going to be part of Occupy AIPAC this week-end. I hope there’s a huge turnout.

Report this
mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, February 28, 2012 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

kerryrose -You are absolutely right about the lack of will Americans have shown in recent decades to fight for a minimum wage (and many other worker benefits). As I mentioned earlier on this thread, any time the issue of minimum wages comes up, the corporations, small business owners and the Media all sing a song together: “the world’s coming to and end.” It galvanizes the wealthy AGAINST workers.

It doesn’t take a PhD to know what minimum wage is in store for everyone: the minimum wage in China or the next lowest spot in the world. Remember, it’s never about what workers want/need. It’s ALWAYS about what businesses dictate.

Report this

By madisolation, February 28, 2012 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

To ardee:

Yes, you’re right. Upon further reflection, I think it’s a fine idea to attempt to raise the minimum wage. They should go for it, if that is what they have chosen as one of their goals.
Why not? Can’t hurt. Might help.

Report this

By elisalouisa, February 28, 2012 at 7:42 am Link to this comment

Ralph Nader is telling us what is practical and reachable as a goal. A first step if you will.

We are all OWS, that is all who wish to retake our government. Our voices should be heard as to the disparity of wealth between those who have and those who have not. We can all call on our Representatives in Washington to unite and raise the minimum wage for the common good.

Report this
katsteevns's avatar

By katsteevns, February 28, 2012 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

I suggest that the “rebellious rich”, if they exist, covertly donate a large parcel of fertile land to the Occupiers as a base of operations, a farm, a place to start cottage industries and think tanks.
Located near a large group of Occupiers, say Oakland, would be practical. Donations might start to flood in after that was established.

Report this
katsteevns's avatar

By katsteevns, February 28, 2012 at 6:31 am Link to this comment

700 bases around the world. The MIC takes the lions share of our taxes(not the so-called undeserving poor or lazy). Homeland Security is recruiting youngsters at an alarming rate. They need an alternative.

The focus needs to be on closing the bases and deterring young people from joining and on getting those already signed up to quit. Hedges should be focused on the problem and not the symptoms.

Report this

By ardee, February 28, 2012 at 5:41 am Link to this comment

By madisolation, February 28 at 4:09 am

I guess vigorously protesting the wars might come across as too violent for the leaders of the Occupy movement. Better to pick a cause that won’t offend the elites too much, huh.

I was more than a bit surprised to read so much criticism for this idea and so many seeking to limit OWS to only the channels which they, themselves approve.

Insert witty bon mot regarding ones ability to hold two thoughts together in one head….

Report this

By Argy F, February 28, 2012 at 5:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I believe that among those who don’t obsessively follow the OWS narrative - the
entire movement is only a faint memory, grower fainter daily.

Perhaps you all work and live in an environment filled with the enlightened and
informed. I don’t. Many Americans aren’t even aware that OWS isn’t completely
gone and would in fact be faintly surprised to hear its name spoken aloud. More
so - most would be uninterested.

Let us say public presence flares once again on May 1st with a spectacular
flourish - and then?  What then of May 2?  The public wearies of particular spectacle more quickly the second time around.

What is the real possibility of grand transformational change? If you believe there’s a chance - will it happen by having discussion panels? By declaration?

If everyone can’t agree that mobilization to increase the minimum wage is a worthy action (whether or not we as individuals believe it is a crucial one) - then
all is lost.

Report this

By madisolation, February 28, 2012 at 5:09 am Link to this comment

I guess vigorously protesting the wars might come across as too violent for the leaders of the Occupy movement. Better to pick a cause that won’t offend the elites too much, huh.

Report this
kerryrose's avatar

By kerryrose, February 28, 2012 at 3:57 am Link to this comment

racetoinfinity

No one disputes the real needs of the working class- to pay their bills and to eat.  It my main goal, too.  The discussion revolves around the ideals of OWS.  OWS came to the rescue of foreclosed families because they were victims on predatory banks, and to bring attention to their plight.

I seriously doubt, however, that you will see ‘Occupy the Minimum Wage.’  Not because it is not a worthy goal but because it should be dealt with the citizens who have the balls and unions.  Minimum wage runs the gamet from huge corporations like Walmart and McDonald’s to your neighborhood hardware store.  It is not the issue for Robin Hood. It is an issue for complacent citizens and politicians and unions who need to be kicked in the butt.

OWS is a movement to transform society, not a movement to address all the issues that we have been too weak to take up and are ready to hand over… now do this OWS because we have been incapable.

Report this
racetoinfinity's avatar

By racetoinfinity, February 28, 2012 at 2:50 am Link to this comment

All these intellectual snobs posting comments here who consider advising the #occupy movement to get behind raising the minimum wage to $10 to be useless and condescending ignore the real pressing needs of the working class to just GET BY AND PAY THEIR BILLS NOW, i.e. to not be homeless.  I’m all for it, along with #occupy’s stated intent to focus this spring on keeping people in their homes against fraudulent and criminal foreclosures!

Report this
EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, February 28, 2012 at 1:35 am Link to this comment

I think Medicare for all, or Single-Payer, or whatever you want to call it, might be an even better issue to mobilize the public around, although it may be more difficult to achieve.

The concept of an industry with powerful political ties that does nothing but skim profits off of working people and lower the quality of, and access to good care while leaving the taxpayers to foot the bill for those who cannot afford it etc is a good one for helping to spread the core message of OWS, and also provide a sort of counter arguement to all the debt/austerity talk, and the idea of privatization as the solution to all our problems.

It would also make it a whole lot easier to run a business, and for labor to negotiate effectively with management.

Medicare for all, could and should be a winning arguement that the vast majority of the population can easily understand.

It was totally left out of the much-hyped corporate media health care “discussion”, which only served to plunge much of the country into complete confusion and help to establish astro-turf organizations.

Report this

By Lumpenproletarier, February 28, 2012 at 1:29 am Link to this comment

“The federal minimum wage of $7.25, adjusted for
inflation, is $2.75 lower than it was in 1968 when
worker productivity was about half of what it is
today.” I don’t dispute the math of the lower wages,
but worker productivity has increased by 100%? That
is just not true. Human beings have a finite capacity
of productivity; overall health and fitness are the
primary drivers of this capacity. As a whole, our
population has become more health conscious since the
60’s. Smoking less. Eating better. Exercising more.
But still, 30% of the population is clinically
diagnosed as obese; a much higher percentage than in
the 60’s. Could someone please explain this to me?
How can human productivity go up 100%? Anabolic
Steroids? Meth? Energy Drinks? What could possibly
create such a dramatic improvement?

Report this

By kulturcritic, February 28, 2012 at 12:21 am Link to this comment

Raising the minimum wage will only perpetuate the illusion we are living… until the very last minute of the CRASH… wake up Chris… you are a bright gut… stop ignoring the facts of the case.  Life in this industrial strength culture of make-believe is unsustainable.  Doing things to encourage the illusion of safety, growth, security and progress only hastens the death of innumerable more species and cultures on this planet.

Report this
kerryrose's avatar

By kerryrose, February 28, 2012 at 12:12 am Link to this comment

I agree with dave.  Why should OWS quibble about the cost of renting a body (more commonly known as wage labor) when they are interested in transforming society which could include the hierarchical labor system altogether.

In essence- why quibble about the metal that casts our chains instead of our enslavement altogether?

When you quibble about the particulars of a injust system it means you accept the system with just minor tweaks.  Reject it altogether!

Report this

By gerard, February 27, 2012 at 10:33 pm Link to this comment

Strange we all think we know what OWS people “should” do—we who are mostly a bunch of people “over the hill” trying to talk sense to each other and only slightly out of touch with this “direct democracy” bunch who are trying to fight for our great grand children’s future on a planet exploited half to death by heartless, souless agencies suffering from an advanced case of economic paralysis, many of them comatose from luxurious over-indulgence.
  Let OWS alone, and wait and see what happens, is my advice.  They may have better ideas than we do.
They may be sensitive enough ahd smart enough to frame the public mood and put it to work on any of a number of urgent problems.
  Those who criticize know darn well they couldn’t—can’t do any better and could scarcely have done worse for the last 50 years or so. So we should shut up with the advice which you know we would not have taken at their age. In fact we would probably have run the other direction to avoid it.
  Face it.  They don’t need us.  We need them. We need to help them find their own way to tomorrow, and wish them well. A few practical suggestions based on personal experience, okay. But “should” is a poisonous word for people who are in a creative frame of mind.

Report this

By jenal, February 27, 2012 at 9:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree Fullblad. Something of grander scale is needed that will resonate with a broader audience, like election reform (one person, one vote), a repeal of Citizens United, or a ban on insider trading by Congress. These are issues with universal appeal that have the potential to unite people on both sides of the aisle. We need reforms that attack the root problem, which is excessive corporate influence in politics and the growing concentration of power and wealth in the hands of an elite few. Raising the minimum wage just doesn’t do it.

Report this

By vajoiner, February 27, 2012 at 9:31 pm Link to this comment

raising the minimum wages will be a fun ride for broke people for a while. at the end of that month prices for service will skyrocket past that $2.75 inflationary difference because, sirs, we are not in the 60s or 70s or 80s. when corporate heads see a dip in their trillion dollar profits of 1 or 2 percent, they will immediately overcompensate to avoid future reductions in their pockets. this is the way it works now. again, not the 60s.

minimum wage hikes are irrelevant. good luck cheering this foolishness on.

Report this

By Fullblad, February 27, 2012 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment

Now I happen to like the works Nader has accomplished. the EPA being a favourite. But what’s this, Ocuppy being pressured to become more mainstream
politically and actually have a demand instead of social experimentations? About time.

Political action on the minimum wage may or may not be the best place to start from a strategic point of view. That can be hashed out by the brain trust. What is important is that the movement continue to flourish and attrack more people. The list of wrongs to be corrected and the effort that will be needed to accomplish these goals is tremendous. A massive majority of the people need to mobilized if anything is to be accomplished, and that must be the prime factor in anylizing which is the best way forward.

Where are we in Ghandi’s four steps? My guess is somewhere between being ignored and ridiculed, having regressed through the winter. My own take is something on a grander scale is needed to grab the attention of the people with their heads to the grindstone,and rally them to critical mass. A “small” victory a piece at a time is too easily defeated in the give with one hand and take with the other powers at the disposal of the oligarch. What is the essential issue of the 99% that will activate the masses?

Report this

By Matthew Swaye, February 27, 2012 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I wear a hoodie because it’s cold out. You have your hands in my pockets, Officer,
because I’m Black. That’s the description I fit. I do not consent to this search. Look
for yourself on Youtube. We’re creating a decentralized digital museum of the New
Jim Crow. Your grandchildren will know what you did for a living. You’re no hero.

youtube.com/watch?v=_S_Q4KumJNE
Female Goldman Sachs executives arrested in Harlem - 1/5/12

Report this

By Jeff N., February 27, 2012 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment

Azcat85, *sigh*.. where to begin with you.. the Cato Institute?? Really?? Looks like I nailed it with Ayn Rand haha.  But seriously, I want to level with you here because I sense you are a genuinely pissed off tea-partier who has been told that government is the root of all evil.  With this government, perhaps you are right.. but just imagine life with your beloved Koch brothers running the show.  I shudder to think..

The link you posted does not include any research or statistics, its just a video of a (black, to make it appear liberal) guy presenting high school economics 101 concepts to us.  While we are talking about NOMINALLY raising the minimum wage, the REAL minimum wage rates have declined steadily for decades.  All we are talking about is keeping the real minimum wage rate consistent with what it has been.  Please, think for yourself here.  Please please please do not rely on the Cato Institute for your “facts”.  Like I said, type in ‘minimum wage studies’ into google and look for yourself, the info is there.

Report this
entropy2's avatar

By entropy2, February 27, 2012 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

@Azcat85 -

State-enforced intellectual “property” monopolies providing eternal artificial rents to the 1%, a state-maintained transportation that buttresses the dominion of big-box dinosaurs, a state-run educational system that exists solely to produce compliant drones for our corporate masters, no-bid “defense” contracts to the MIC war-pigs…just a few—and that’s only on the subsidy end. When it comes to state suppression of opportunity for workers (individually or in cooperation) to freely compete with the elite…well, space just doesn’t permit.

Anyway, I’m just wondering where this mythical “free market” of yours is in this corporate-state hog wallow?

Report this

By Azcat85, February 27, 2012 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

By Jeff N., February 27 at 6:12 pm, as to your link. Try another that doesn’t come
from that fine education establishment represented by Grandma Pelosi.  If
Berserkly says it, it MUST be try.  How about you widen your reading.
http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/minimum-wage-hikes-deserve-share-of-blame-
for-high-unemployment/

Report this

By Azcat85, February 27, 2012 at 7:16 pm Link to this comment

entropy2 - Nice retort. No substance, but a lot of crap. Plutocracy?  Tell me how
the man on the street relates to all your educated dribble.  As a 4% er that hires
people every year, you are clueless.

Report this

By Jeff N., February 27, 2012 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment

Azcat85, thank you for that grossly oversimplified analysis of labor economics.  If you pay people more money, they also spend more money, and the economy grows.  Or would you rather we follow the Chinese model?  Actually, raising the minimum wage has had a negligible impact on businesses and has the added benefit of helping the very poor make it through the day.  Very progressive concept, I know.  The statistics supportin the 70% number are not hard to back up either, check out http://www.spotlightonpoverty.org/OutOfTheSpotlight.aspx?id=3cf428ee-a10b-4e3d-9324-54b9d91b7897 or just search public support of minimum wage on google.. do you read anything before you write or just spew out you’re favorite Randian, arch-conservative commentary?

Report this

By SoTexGuy, February 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment

Nader speaks well to many of the most important issues of our times.. I always enjoy seeing his thoughts .. and Chris Hedges as well. And I agree the average wage earner has fallen way behind the top tier ‘earners’ in America. So far behind that it’s a social crime.

I know this idea has become totally passe in liberal and progressive circles.. and all the math and counts are flung in the face of any heretic that dares to bring this up.. but what if Nader had endorsed Al Gore in 2000?

What would the margin have been? Would the Supreme court have still stepped in? Would the people have filled the streets if they had? In my view Nader had his chance at greatness and chose instead another tilt at the windmill.

Adios!

Report this

By dini, February 27, 2012 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

I agree 100%.  In order to unify we have to come together on the most common
ground.  What better common ground than an increase in minimum wage?  The
majority of Americans will take a stand and fight for the right to have a living
wage or at least a survival wage.

Ten dollars an hour! Ten dollars an hour!  Ten dollars an hour to your 100
dollars an hour, 1000 dollars an hour, 10k dollars an hour.  We want TEN!

You know the have-nots work as hard as the suits and talking heads if not
harder and yet they have to collect bottles to supplement their slave wages. 
The majority of us 99% are slaves to the corporations and their cronies.  Ever
think of yourself as a slave to the rich?  Most of us are.  Time to say NO!  We
want more of our fair share.  Asking for 10 bucks is a good place to start I
think.

Report this
entropy2's avatar

By entropy2, February 27, 2012 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

@Azcat85 -

The free market drives wages.

Um, which “free market” is that? The one that cartelizes the economy in the hands of the plutocracy…the one that fattens the 1% with state-funded subsidies and state-enforced artificial rents…or the one that regulates small competition to corporate behemoths out of existence?

It’s bad enough reading the left-statists here whining and moaning at our corporate-state bosses to toss the working class a few more scraps without boneheaded nonsense from right field about “free markets.”

Report this

By balkas, February 27, 2012 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment

right, supplication, shouts—angry or otherwise will not work.
nor:  come, sayeth the lord: let us reason together [even in
church, synagogue, mosque; let alone in congress] about
reason/justice, is not, i aver, gonna work, either.

but i was never happy with nader running for presidency on a
movement ticket.
at that time i was urging nader to establish a second political
party and then run its delegates for congress.
now we know why he left greens in ‘08 and why he now speaks
the way he does.
he doesn’t want any meaningful social changes. lasts time i
heard, he did oppose US foreign policies. i wonder if he thinks
about US foreign policies now as he did in ‘08?

Report this

By TM, February 27, 2012 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What free market are you referring to Azcat85?

Report this

By Laurence Tribe, February 27, 2012 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

An increase in the minimum wage always attracts atten-tion because it invokes a promise of solving a prob-lem. Never has. Never will, certainly not as long as government wants to tax businesses out of the U.S. and into Asia,etc., putting a dwindling middle class out of work. We already have fifty percent not paying income tax and we’ve added a huge number of non-earners to that list. It seems to me that Nader al-ways has a solution that has curb appeal but of little value in solving the major economic problems this nation faces. Why doesn’t he take on the Fed, an out-of-control private corporation that made every buck in your pocket worth less with QEI and QE II?

Report this

By Azcat85, February 27, 2012 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment

“Some 70 percent of the public supports raising the minimum wage. ” 

Which public are you referring to?  Where does this fact come from?  Pulled out of
to air.  Raising the minimum wage is a lost cause that deceases employment. If a
business has to pay more per worker, they hire less workers!  A simple fact that
just is ignored.  The free market drives wages.

Report this

By ElkoJohn, February 27, 2012 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

Prediction:

Dennis Kucinich will introduce legislation to raise the minimum wage;
the leadership of the Democratic Party will ignore it bc they don’t
want to offend their corporate sponsors;
then back to business as usual.

methinks the knucklehead voters will need about another 16-years
of crony capitalist politics before they’ve had enough,
and trash our political/economic system
for something better.

Report this

By balkas, February 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment

i missed that bit about nader saying that ows should not form or go with another political
party and go only after the two parties.
this does not make any sense as long as only the two parties run candidates for any office,
but most importantly for congress.
in addition, there is no difference on many most important issues between the two parties or
wings of one goose.

i had realized at least 5 or 6 yrs ago that nader did not want any structural changes in the US
governance or change in US ideology; which can be described as the right of person to own
another.
that ideology ensures that most people will forever be servants and a minority masters. i
hope OWS does not listen to nader or any of these ‘progressives’. thanks

Report this

By gerard, February 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

I think one reason why OWS hesitates to unite around any one political goal is that most of the membership is looking for something more abstract yet fundamental to inspire, move, congeal masses of citizens who only now have begun to get together around a consciousness that citizens absolutely must unite and act. So much is broken, and the most serious collapse is the very spirit of democratic participation. Probably OWS best hope lies in a desire to discover or create a new impetus (elan) to replace the dying heart of the present system.
  What OWS may be doing as it organizes itself and learns and experiments is to create a very broad, new political consciousness that “finds its own way” beyond leaning on past theories, beliefs, and behaviors.
  Apparently the basic underpinning of nonviolence as requisite as foundation from the beginning is, in itself, an important step in public learning and experience. Perhaps with broad awareness of that as basic, OWS will mature in its own time, and blossom to furnish seeds for a flowering of democratic culture as yet undeveloped and unforeseen.

Report this

By Fserapo, February 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Clearly the man has met his movement.
The minimum wage fight can be won.
Hooray for Ralph Nader!

Report this
mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, February 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

It’s really interesting that OWS (or anyone for that matter) who is unhappy with our current “system” seeks reform by playing by the establishment’s rules. “Demanding” (or even suggesting) a rise in the minimum wage will only enrage the corporations, small business owners and the Media who will all join in a “three-part-harmony” of outrage that will drown out any OWS (or any other voice). I can hear it now: “Raising the minimum wage will put me out of business…..raising the minimum wage will make us uncompetitive…....raising the minimum wage will only reward the lazy and undeserving…..raising the minimum wage is against what the founding fathers believed, raising the minimum wage causes acne….

Instead I still believe any serious, revolutionary movement in this country must be based on doing exactly the opposite of what corporations want: people simply need to STOP working and engage in targeted strikes. Why argue with “the man?” Simply create a vacuum that the man must fill.

Business owners certainly deserve to make a profit. If they have a beef with “the cost of doing business” and they can’t pay employees a decent wage, perhaps they need to close up shop…

Report this

By hil2, February 27, 2012 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It seems to me…if we stick to a rigid ideological mindset, we miss out on
opportunities to help one another.
Sure, much of the process might be infused with “bankster” behavior, however,
getting more spending power into the hands of working people improves what
Robert Reich calls “the real economy” and jobs. Getting more pay in the pockets
of low to middle income working people increases demand for goods and
services and thus increases demand for jobs and the need for unions to
represent workers.
Doesn’t a just society need just action as well?  If we are to remain a country, we
need a political process, so let’s work with what we’ve got.  Let’s work for social
justice.  Let’s work for a real minimum wage.  We can do it if we work together.

Look at Madison’s public worker protests last year, see the uprising by women
against Virginia “personhood” law, see the Keystone Pipeline Protest.  Grass
roots action is powerful.  We can do the same for the minimum wage.

Report this

By dave, February 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges and Nader reveal just how out of touch they really are here. The system
was designed, in the words of James Madison at the Constitutional Convention,
“To protect the minority of the opulent from the majority.” In today’s
nomenclature: To protect the 1% from the 99%. That Nader doesn’t understand
this fundamental principal of our political landscape is rather disappointing. We
will not beg these criminals to rent us at a minimum of $10 per hour. We’re
building a better world right now, organized horizontally, dedicated to direct
democracy. If Nader and Hedges seriously want to influence the movement they’ll
need to do more than write poorly thought out screeds like this and actually join
the rest of us that are working hard to make this happen.

Report this

By tdbach, February 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

The minimum wage should rise by 10% a year until it is at least $15/hour in today’s dollar, and continue to rise according to the CPI. Someone working full time at the minumum wage should not live in poverty. By what right should anyone gain the service of another at poverty wages?

Report this

By brdonaldson, February 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why does everyone keep demanding “more?”

Why not demand that those supplying the resources decrease their prices so we don’t have to increase wages?

Why not demand that Wall Street accept less profits?

Once wages go up, more people get laid off…don’t most companies begin looking for ways to cut corners in production—meaning automation, cheaper ingredients/materials/components, etc…?

I’m not arguing with anyone, just trying to reason through this.

Report this
David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, February 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE, Ralph Nader:

“This does not mean the Occupy movement should support a political party. It means it should go after both parties. It is only by going after the two main political parties that raising the minimum wage will get through Congress.”
_____________________

Either Ralph is suffering from long-term memory loss or he’s decided to (“Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us”) surrender and covertly serve the Super-Rich’s corporate person owned (D) faction of the corporate party.

When he was younger, Nader used to clearly understand that neither faction of the corporate party has any reason to ever even provide any crumbs, if there isn’t **BOTH** large numbers of people in the streets demanding whole loaves **AND** large numbers of people voting in strong support of a non-corporate political alternative having people’s candidates advocating the substantive systemic changes that movement seeks.

That political reality hasn’t changed. If a movement isn’t willing to produce a seriously significant sized protest vote, in firm electoral opposition against both the (R) and (D) candidates of the corporate party, then the corporate-state has no reason to even think about meeting any part of that politically irrelevant movement’s demands.

There are many problems with the corporate-state’s elections, but none is greater than the People Problem… the problem of people refusing to use those elections for a revolutionary purpose.

Jill Stein for President:

http://www.jillstein.org

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=498&Itemid=1

Report this

By gringo45, February 27, 2012 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

An increase in the minimum wage may have the added benefit of raising prices.  A little inflation eases the debt burden and a weaker dollar would boost exports.

People frequently accuse OWS of not having a platform, so perhaps Mr. Nader is really on to something here.

Report this

By Jeff N., February 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment

JD- “but the idea that Occupy will coalesce around, and focus on this singular issue is absurd.”

No one has said that it needs to be the singular issue.  Why all the negativity and absolutism?  Given that Nader has pulled about 10% of the voting public on an independent ticket, I’m going to go ahead and assume he knows a little more about political strategy than you do.  This would be a great issue for OWS to support because A) its a no-brainer B) it would draw populist support and C) it raises awareness of the group and gets some much-needed publicity.  Why do you people come to a column that you know Chris Hedges writes every week only to immediately trash whatever he says and anyone he associates with.  Let’s think about how we can make this stuff happen, not all the different reasons it won’t work.

Report this
Shoes 4 Industry's avatar

By Shoes 4 Industry, February 27, 2012 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

Nader/OWS/Progressives should also be pushing to lower the Social Security eligibility age to 60, to free up jobs for younger, healthier, less costly workers. And include Medicare with that as well.

Report this

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 >

 
Monsters of Our Own Creation? Get tickets for this Truthdig discussion of America's role in the Middle East.
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Zuade Kaufman, Publisher   Robert Scheer, Editor-in-Chief
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

Like Truthdig on Facebook