Thursday, June 5, 2014
The $15 to $18 an hour minimum wage and why it is so important not only for the workers, but also the U.S. economy’s health and revitalization, and also that of the rest of the world. Marriner S. Eccles, Federal Reserve Board chairman from 1934 to 1947, retired to write his memoir and reflect upon what caused the then greatest economic trauma ever. He thought the major cause of the depression had nothing to do with excessive spending in the 1920s, but a massive accumulation of income by a few, which siphoned purchasing power away from the many and left it in the hands of a few. Let’s look at an example of pay for some chief executive officers (CEOs) in 2013. Aetna’s CEO—understand that he didn’t earn it; he was paid it—$30.7 million or $90,029 per day. WellPoint’s CEO collected --$17 million or $49,483 a day. Centene’s CEO received $14.5 million or $42,483 per day. Cigna’s CEO pocketed $13.5 million or $39,589 per day. United Health’s CEO made $12.1 million or $35,484 a day. Humana’s CEO snagged a measly $8.8 million or $25,807 a day. Now consider that the average worker earned an annual income of $35,239. What the hell did these men, and they were all men, do to deserve such outrageous incomes? Who did the actual work? If you’re not angry, you should be. This is a small example of how cash is siphoned out of the economy. Eccles also believed that mass production has to be accompanied by mass consumption. This implies a distribution of wealth, not of existing wealth, but of wealth as it is currently produced—to provide people with buying power equal to the amount of goods and services offered by the nation’s economic machinery. At this time, we have millions with no excess cash and this is why the consumption game has stopped. Now it is not a game for the have nothings, but the oligarchies seem to be enjoying themselves buying governments and politicians, using the American Legislative Exchange Council to pass laws supporting their riches even more while letting the masses fall into a pit of despair. Rather than covet their greed, these wealthy business owners should use their business sense and support or even advocate for the minimum wage of $15 to $18 an hour. Mark my words, this abuse will come back to bite the rich in the ass. A good example of this maybe what Seattle did by slow walking its minimum wage increase with numerous loopholes, such as excluding the young, old, and the disabled, which ultimately helps the rich and hurts the poor. Some might think this is smart, but look at it this way and consider what might happen when a person takes a piece of meat and puts it in front of a hungry dog; when the dog reaches for it is jerked away. Some might put up with the game for a while, but sooner or later the nasty person is going to get bit.