The Rich Get Richer While The Poor …

The minimum wage increase to $15 per hour is essentially dead in the water … for the moment.  I saw a comment from a woman in the state of Washington that every member of Congress should be forced to answer …

“I live in Eastern Washington state and we are fortunate to have a much higher minimum wage for our workers. Our neighbors in Idaho are not so lucky. Many people who are able to live in Idaho work in Washington to benefit from the higher wage. The wage a person earns should be equal to the amount of effort that is required to do the work. I would really like to know though why our politicians think they deserve to make so much money. They say they care about the average worker and want a better life for all Americans, but when was the last time they tried to live on minimum wage?”

She makes excellent points, especially when you consider the fact that nearly half the members of Congress are millionaires!  Many members of Congress live in wealthy enclaves, use expensive healthcare services, and send their children to private or high-income schools.  Never once in their lives have they had to put something back at the grocery store because the total came to more than they had.  Never once have they had to make a choice between paying the rent or the electric bill.  Never once have they lived, even for a single week, in poverty.  Never once have they watched through tear-filled eyes as the repo man took their car away.  And yet, these are the people who make the decisions about our lives.

The current minimum wage of $7.25 equates to $15,080 per year.  The lowest paid member of Congress ‘earns’ $174,000 per year, which equates to $83.65 per hour, or 12 times what the minimum wage earner makes.  Think about that one for a few minutes.

Time in Washington is disproportionately spent fixated on the needs and desires of America’s wealthiest citizens, for they are the donors on which politicians’ campaigns rely.  I have said before that I think every candidate running for a seat in Congress should have to spend one full month in public housing, paid $7.25 per hour for a 40-hour week, and have zero access to their own money or resources.  I think it would be a tremendous eye-opener for many who have spent far too long in ivory towers and cannot possibly understand the challenges most of us face every day.

Amazing, isn’t it, that with the country deep in debt ($28 trillion), Congress was able to find it in their hearts to pass a tax cut benefiting almost exclusively the wealthy, but they cannot find it in their heart to increase the minimum wage that has remained stagnant for twelve years now, despite consistent increases in the cost of living!

Today, the Senate began debate on the pandemic relief bill that was passed by the House on Wednesday night.  The bill would provide a payment of $1,400 to individuals earning under $75,000 and families earning under $150,000.  Personally, I think those limits are too high and it should be reserved for those who are truly struggling … a family earning $150,000 is hardly struggling.  But to the point, the republicans in the Senate are against the bill, they want it to be far less, saying that the economy is coming back, people are going back to work, therefore they don’t need that much.  Tell that to the mother of three who is about to be evicted from her home because she can’t pay the rent!

Republican senators plan to delay passage of the bill by proposing numerous amendments, forcing valuable time to be spent debating each amendment, then voting on it.  Yesterday, thanks to Senator Ron Johnson, valuable time was wasted by forcing clerks to read the entire 628-page bill aloud to an audience of one – Senator Johnson.  Some people, meanwhile, cannot pay their electric bill and are in danger of having their electricity shut off.  The 535 members of Congress have never been in that situation and therefore cannot comprehend what it’s like.  I have been there and worse, and likely many of you have been too, but the people we elect and whose salaries we pay have no idea what being poor means.  They are blind to how the people they say they represent live, and yet they arrogantly say that $7.25 is enough for a family to live on, that the same family does not need a $1,400 stimulus payment.

A word of caution to members of Congress in both parties – keep up the delaying tactics, keep pushing the poor further and further into poverty, and there will be a price to pay.  Enough is enough, and We the People are sick of their greed and arrogance at our expense.  Some claim the U.S. is a democracy – it isn’t.  It is a plutocracy:  government by the wealthy.

37 thoughts on “The Rich Get Richer While The Poor …

  1. Pingback: Saturday’s Theme Music – Michael Seidel, writer

  2. ” $15 per hour is essentially dead in the water … for the moment.”
    Exactly:
    For the moment.
    It will come back, because we will not let it die. We owe it to the country, and to our society, to do better.

    Stay safe,
    -Shira

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re absolutely right … a blow, but not a death blow. It will be back, and likely soon. I think that it is more imperative than ever to get rid of the filibuster, for the Republican Party has made clear that their goal for the next two years is to obstruct any and everything.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, again. Sigh. Scene two, take one. It is the goal of the republicans for the next two years to obstruct as much as they possibly can. After the 2022 elections, one of two things will happen: either the republicans will have made such a bloody mess of things that the democrats will increase their majority in both chambers of Congress (the least likely, but quite possible option), or the republicans will take a majority in both chambers, turning the 3rd and 4th year of Biden’s presidency into a never-ending losing battle. Sigh. It isn’t about doing what’s right for the nation, but what will help the Republican Party regain and maintain power for their wealthy corporate donors. Nothing else matters. Sigh.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Nothing else matters to them, perhaps, but that doesn’t mean that continuing self-education for adults, and early childhood education and decent, safe libraries for kids, cannot change things. Maybe not in the very short term, but with empathy-building and critical thinking skills, when this next generation sees what has happened here, even if we do not at first succeed in the short term, in righting the wrongs of this system, they will do more to build upon what we are doing today, as long as we do not give up.
            But education, in various forms, and enough of a safe Public Transit, Public Healthcare, and saving the Public Library system is crucial to give critical thinking and Humanity a chance to live long enough to get there.

            As long as we “Keep a-pluggin’ away.”

            Safe Air Hugs,
            -Shira

            Liked by 1 person

            • Recently, I have come to realize just how much our education system is failing our young. You are exactly right … the change we need will not come immediately, but the future lies in future generations and we MUST teach them to think for themselves, not to buy into everything they hear or read. I’m fairly certain it won’t happen in my lifetime, but I do hope that at some point, this becomes a nation that sets an example for the world, one that respects individuals regardless of skin colour, religion, ethnicity, gender identity. We’ve got a long way to go … let’s hope we get there someday.

              Liked by 1 person

  3. The Senators including the Democrat should be made to attend a panel which includes their own constituents to answer questions as to their decision. Only afterwards would they be told how many of their own people were there who will report back to their own States including Newspapers and ask for a motion requesting they resign.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 2 people

    • Y’know … that’s a good idea! Even when they are in their districts, they only go to the wealthier neighborhoods, not ones like the one I live in where they might be asked the tough questions. Yes, they need to answer directly to us, and then held accountable.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for this posting, Jill! We never should forget the workers in the past till now had built what some had made rich. Money itself is not working, and whats money other as the equivalent to work? Besides, your members of Congress are pretty humble. 😉 Our members of the Bundestag receive a little more than EUR 10,000 net per month, plus a flat-rate fee of EUR 4,500 per month. Very few of our members of parliament are as trained as most of your Senate members. Michael

    Liked by 4 people

  5. The tone deafness of these jerks is despicable. I like your idea of them having to live on minimum wage for a month and stay in public housing. But, they couldn’t do it-at least most of them that is. There are some, mostly on the Dem side who have lived under these conditions. They know what it’s like and they’re the ones who are usually fighting for a higher minimum wage, cheap or free education and health care etc..It’s amazing that on the Dem side we have one Senator basically, who now possesses a ridiculous amount of power and who is standing in the way of so many things. And that Senator is from a state-West Virginia-who’s people are amongst the poorest, if not the poorest in the country. What a disgrace.

    Liked by 4 people

    • It is despicable, it is unconscionable, and … WHY THE HELL are we still paying their salaries??? You know what’s really amazing, though, Jeff? The voters who elect these people are mostly people who struggle to make ends meet every month, and still they vote for these assholes who tell them they are better off than ever before. It’s like when Congress passed the tax cuts for the wealthy … a few months later people were saying how much better off they were, for they had an extra $10-$15 per pay on their checks, without taking into account they lost a number of deductions, so the net effect was THEY were paying more, while Mr. Billionaire was paying nothing and laughing all the way to their vacation home in St. Moritz! Sigh. We are a nation of largely ignorant people who will shoot themselves in the foot. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yep. The GOP has been unbelievably successful at coaxing people to vote against their own self-interest. Been that way for decades. They know how to exploit the social issues much better than Dems. You know, guns, god, and gays. Remember when Obama got flack for talking about how they cling to their guns and religion? I may as well throw abortion into the mix too. I’d like to get some of them in a room and make them watch factual stuff, instead of the lies and bullshit they pay attention to. So many uneducated fools, and most of them are MAGA cult. UGHHHHHHHH!

        Liked by 2 people

        • Amazing how well their rhetoric and lies work, isn’t it? I think it speaks volumes about the people who fall for their line of b.s. I doubt that even if you got them into a room and showed them pure facts, proven facts with data to back them up, they would believe it … they’d say you made it all up. That’s how well-indoctrinated they are! They’ve lost the ability, if they ever had it, to reason and think for themselves. Sigh.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Jill, what has always troubled me is why the minimum wage is not tied to a CPI or wage index. If it had been when first set in motion in 1968, the minimum wage would be $10.15. There is no defensible reason that the current minimum wage should not at least be a living wage for one person, nationally about $12.60. Or, it could be set by state as some states are more high cost of living places. This is the floor of what we should do.

    States or locales could do more and already do. Even employers do more by choice. Costco is a good example, as well as several banks. Opponents will argue it impacts jobs. Well, that depends on how it is implemented. In the Seattle area, one restaurant raised to an even higher minimum, then raised prices, but told customers please do not tip. So, the dining experience cost similarly and the workers got paid.

    When you get away from DC, many states already do more than the national minimum, including so-called red states.

    Keith

    Liked by 4 people

    • You make an excellent point about the federal minimum wage being tied to the CPI … it’s really the only fair way to do it. A lot of states have set their own minimum wage higher than the federal, but far too many, especially in the south, have not. I still think that those who argue against raising the minimum wage should have to “walk a mile in my shoes”, should have to live on minimum wage for a month, then they might actually understand the challenges.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jill, the point that is missed is in a largely transactional consumer society, having more money to spend helps the economy. Paying better wages is accretive to the economy. What is not factored into most employer equations is the cost of turnover of people. Those who don’t pay well lose folks faster, so there needs to be better monetary ties (and other things) to the company. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I wish I cd like & thumbs-up 👍 this post several times. Stephen Colbert suggested that the 600+pages had to be read to senator Johnson because he can’t read, and although this made me laugh it’s not a laughing matter. The sad thing is that not a single Congress member will read that post and give it any thought or consideration. That in itself is scandalous!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks, Kiki! I do love Colbert … he gets to the heart of the matter with humour. I posted something similar on Ted Cruz’ twitter feed and asked if he was actually capable of reading it himself. No, it’s not a laughing matter, but … we have to be able to find humour … a dandelion is a weed, but still a flower. It looks like the stimulus bill will pass, perhaps as soon as tomorrow, despite Senator Johnson’s efforts to derail it. But we’ve still got many fights in the days ahead, for voting rights, minimum wage increases, and so much more. Everything seems to require a fight these days. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

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