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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Open call to Councilor Mayer regarding proposed minimum wage

Jim Scarantino's recent editorial about the minimum wage debate in the Alibi makes sense.

Wow Jimbo. Good job! Have you ever noticed how those people with the most toys refuse to share?

The measure of a society is how it treats the least of its members.
Abraham Lincoln

Dear Counselor Mayer,
As a single mother, you have to feel just a little bit bad for those unfortunates who happen to be struggling to feed their families on such a modest income, don't you? Since your income - as evidenced by the kind of vehicle you drive - is clearly nowhere similar to the variety driven by a person on a minimum wage, why work so hard at keeping the gap between you and the poor so wide? Surely you have a couple of constituents who could stand to make a few more bucks, right? It seems logical, at least to me that, out of sheer self-preservation interests, you would see the benefit of increased wages for those who are most in need.

Your politics sound Republican and I do not fault you for that because there are many reasons for having such an agenda however, perhaps it is on order to remind you of the words spoken by one of your greatest party leaders who said, "The measure of a society is how it treats the least of its members." His name was Abraham Lincoln.

How long do you think the Marie Antoinette mentality of "Let them eat cake" can last Sally? All political euphemisms aside, why not do the right thing? It seems patently clear the time for increased minimum wages has come because it translates to self-sufficiency which leads to getting people off the welfare rolls, not to mention the benefits of increased personal self-esteem. You are worth what you earn right? Don't you think a kid with a full belly poses less of a threat to your children in school?

Here's a suggestion Ms. Sally; see what it would be like to live on a minimum wage budget for a month. Take the amount of money garnered for laboring 40 hours at $7.15/hour. Your weekly wages would be $286.00. To be realistic, let's take out taxes for this little experiment; that would diminish your income by about $70.00. Of course, because of your meager earnings, you most likely would elect to forego health insurance which runs about another $35.00 per week but, let’s assume you don't want your children having to go to UNMH if they get sick. There are too many 'welfare' types down there so, you bite the bullet and cough up healthcare money. That would leave you $181.00.

Now go to Wal-Mart - where most poor people shop because it’s the cheapest place around to buy weekly food & toiletries. Provided you are diligent, you could get out of there with a week's worth of food and supplies, sufficient enough for an adult and two growing kids at the cost of hundred-dollar bill. That leaves you $81.00. Conservatively speaking, the local Laundromat cost $35.00 a month so; put $8.75 worth of quarters aside for the monthly laundry expenses. You are down to $72.25.

The first thing you will note is the quality of your diet decreases, You find that foods with high fat content like baloney and weenies cost less but they will quell the grumbling in your babies' tummies. Of course, such foods are not nutritious and they will eventually cause problems with normal growth and brain development. As your Pediatrician has undoubtedly reinforced what you already learned in college (a luxury many poor people have to forego because they had to choose sustenance over education), poor diet will lead to poor growth, diminished concentration and future health disorders like Heart Disease and Diabetes.

Okay, back to that $72.25 you have left. You need to buy some gas. Twenty gallons at $2.07 will cost you $41.40. You are down to $30.85. While your vehicle most likely has no problems, most poor people who are fortunate enough to have a vehicle, cannot afford to repair little things like broken windows. Nor can they budget for adequate maintenance or keep such vehicles safe; the tires are usually mismatched and bald. Now, pay your car insurance, house payment or - more likely - rent and utilities. You are going to be short. Looks like its time to get another job. That most likely means no soccer or baseball for the kiddos because, you can you cannot afford it and besides, you'll probably be working too much to get the kids to practices and games owing to scheduling or just plain being tired. Never the less, think how you would feel about your City Counselor who helped you get just that little bit more money in your paycheck. I think you would vote for her because she has a heart.

Sally, just how many votes do you think you are going to lose by helping out the little guy?

Please, don't kill the idea Councilor because not all your constituents are wealthy after all. When are we going to realize that America's most precious resource is its workers?

Side note: I own three small businesses in Albuquerque & Santa Fe. We are doing, as another Albuquerque businessman, Mr. Joe Powdrell likes to describe his Barbeque recipe, "just good enough." I have no problem sharing the wealth with my employees because; they are my best investment for the future.

I posted a similar comment to this for Councilor Sally Mayer in DukeCityFix today as well because I do not enjoy the same readership exposure.


At Fri May 13, 02:35:00 PM MDT, Anonymous Jesse said...

Excellent letter. I might add that not only is there no time for "baseball with the kiddos," there is no one at home to take care of them - you could easily factor in daycare expenses and have an even larger shortfall.

A traditional conservative (which nowadays appears to be synonymous with Democrat) would also note that since no one is home to take care of that child, that child will not be learning those values that we hear so much about.

At Fri May 13, 07:28:00 PM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

Repost of deleted comment:

Thanks Jesse,

I frequent your blog quite regularly and I’m comforted to find you, and people like you are taking this current administration's antics seriously.

I must admit, I really didn't give the child-care issue much thought. Nevertheless, your comment is well taken. It is amazing that people most affected by the movement currently under foot are oblivious to the attendant reality that they are being systematically disenfranchised. The very people they have elected into power will eventually silence their voices forever. This is eerily reminiscent of pre-World War II Germany and Italy. It sounds like Hitler's Big Lie.

Did you ever read the essay on The Rise of Pseudo Fascism I suggested a while back on your blog?

The Neo-cons have figured out they can use fear and intimidation to control the masses - think about all the terrorist alerts sent out by the Administration prior to the '05 national elections, especially whenever John Kerry's ratings climbed in the polls.

Apparently, Americans fear Gay unions more than they fear domestic violence or lack of funding for school children or the perils facing a single parent challenged with the ominous task of raising child with little more than a minimum wage salary.

When they vote these clowns into office, it is tantamount to handing over the political gun to their very own attackers! It just blows my mind.

All I can hope for is that my children, who happen to be around your age will chance upon the critical catalyzing factor that will polarize them into standing up and speaking out against these miscreants. The Neo-cons have seized the banner of patriotism as their very own and are now poised to hijack the US Constitution. They engage in their all out war aimed at imposing their brand of hateful, destructive religiosity on the masses. They are bent on foisting their color-by-numbers morality, even if it means destroying the very document that was created to protect them.

Keep up the good fight because the day we forget our beloved Constitution and its built-in guarantees designed to protect the minority from an oppressive majority, is the day we abandon Democracy in favor of Facism.


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