Thursday, 02 October 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

Putting Some Real Pop in Populism

Monday, 25 February 2013 11:48 By Jim Hightower, Other Words | Op-Ed

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“In the wealthiest nation on Earth,” President Barack Obama declared in his State of the Union speech, “no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty.”

Right! Not only does his call to raise America’s minimum wage put some real pop in populism, but it could finally start putting some ethics back in our country’s much-celebrated, (but rarely honored) “work ethic.”

Kudos to Obama for putting good economics and good morals together — and for putting this long overdue increase on the front burner.

But then came the number: $9 an hour. Excuse me, Mr. President, but that means a person who “works full-time” would nonetheless “have to live in poverty.” Yes, nine bucks is a buck-seventy-five better than the current pay, but it’s still a poverty wage. It doesn’t evenelevate the buying power of our wage floor back to where it was in 1968.

Ironically, the rich save and the poor spend. While super-rich corporations are hoarding trillions of dollars in offshore accounts and refusing to invest in America, minimum-wage workers invest every extra dollar they get in America — spending it right where they live on clothing, food, health care, and other basic needs.This isn’t merely about extending a badly needed helping hand to people struggling to work their way out of poverty, but about letting them give a jolt of new energy to our economy, which it desperately needs.

A 2011 Federal Reserve study found that a one-dollar hike in the minimum wage produces an additional $2,800 a year in spending by each of those households. This is no time to shortchange these workers.

Yes, I know that GOP lawmakers and corporate lobbyists oppose even a $9 wage. But a poll last June found that seven out of 10 Americans (including a majority of Republicans), support raising the wage above $10 an hour. This is a time, Mr. President, to think big and listen to the grassroots.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Jim Hightower

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.


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Putting Some Real Pop in Populism

Monday, 25 February 2013 11:48 By Jim Hightower, Other Words | Op-Ed

Truthout needs your support to produce grassroots journalism and disseminate conscientious visions for a brighter future. Contribute now by clicking here.

“In the wealthiest nation on Earth,” President Barack Obama declared in his State of the Union speech, “no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty.”

Right! Not only does his call to raise America’s minimum wage put some real pop in populism, but it could finally start putting some ethics back in our country’s much-celebrated, (but rarely honored) “work ethic.”

Kudos to Obama for putting good economics and good morals together — and for putting this long overdue increase on the front burner.

But then came the number: $9 an hour. Excuse me, Mr. President, but that means a person who “works full-time” would nonetheless “have to live in poverty.” Yes, nine bucks is a buck-seventy-five better than the current pay, but it’s still a poverty wage. It doesn’t evenelevate the buying power of our wage floor back to where it was in 1968.

Ironically, the rich save and the poor spend. While super-rich corporations are hoarding trillions of dollars in offshore accounts and refusing to invest in America, minimum-wage workers invest every extra dollar they get in America — spending it right where they live on clothing, food, health care, and other basic needs.This isn’t merely about extending a badly needed helping hand to people struggling to work their way out of poverty, but about letting them give a jolt of new energy to our economy, which it desperately needs.

A 2011 Federal Reserve study found that a one-dollar hike in the minimum wage produces an additional $2,800 a year in spending by each of those households. This is no time to shortchange these workers.

Yes, I know that GOP lawmakers and corporate lobbyists oppose even a $9 wage. But a poll last June found that seven out of 10 Americans (including a majority of Republicans), support raising the wage above $10 an hour. This is a time, Mr. President, to think big and listen to the grassroots.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Jim Hightower

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.


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