One of my pleasures is going through the NY Times on the weekend. Taking a seat in the living room with the sun coming through the window I get to catch up on world events. While I enjoy the Car Section and Book Review I find the 'news' increasingly frustrating. This weekend was no different. As I read one article I found a connection to a different article, often in a another section of the paper.
In the Sunday Review there is an article about low income workers in the US starting to fight back against wretched wages. You know, making less than $10 an hour like Salvador, who earns $10 an hour after 10 years at the McDonald's inside the National Air and Space Museum. According to the Economic Policy Institute roughly 20 million American workers earn between minimum wage and $10 an hour.
Caterpillar recently instituted a two-tier wage system. Longer term workers were forced to accept a 6 year wage freeze. Six years. Newer workers must be satisfied with a significantly lower wage. That is OK with CEO Douglas Oberhelman....Find out why after the orange squiggle.
Mr. Oberhelman's compensation increased more than 80% the last 2 years. According to a CEO compensation website, he earned almost $18 million in equity, wages and other sources in 2013. Not bad. Douglas indicated
"I always try to communicate to our people that we can never make enough money". "We can never make enough profit".
That is right, we can never make enough profit, even if we decide not to share it with the workers. A Seattle entrepreneur was quoted with the obvious,
"Employees pay their work forces as much as they are forced to and no more". There's no compelling reason to give raises".
Will those one day strikes by fast food workers do anything? I doubt it. Without stronger unions, and an improving economy resulting in lower unemployment, salaries for the working class will continue to stagnate.
Reading the Sports section was also depressing. Besides the continuing problems with my NY Yankees fielding a team, the main story is 'That's as Bad as It Get's'. It is pretty sad. In western Tennessee there is a school for troubled young kids. While there are plenty of boys to field a basketball team it is hard to field a girls team, so they've lost more than 200 games in a row. But that's not what is sad. Playing ball is a way to teach these young woman teamwork and perseverance. These kids are often part of broken families, or families living with little income. They struggle with drugs. And they struggle with pregnancy and having children at ages when they should be kids. A boy attending the birth of his child at 14 years of age. Another child with 2 children from different fathers. The pregnancy rate in Carroll Country is higher than most counties in Tennessee which is already higher than the national average.
One child was being cared for a relative who was pregnant at 14, had a miscarriage, and then had a son at 17. She didn't finish high school.
So what are Republican Senators trying to do? In the Main Section is the article, 'GOP Senators See an Upside In a Problematic Issue: Abortion'. That's right, an upside. To halt abortions at 20 weeks. Not to attack poverty. Not to improve the situation in so many of our rural counties. Instead, they continue to flag one of the few social issues that still seem to have some traction. Abortion. Not family planning. Not sex education. Not keeping abortion safe, legal and rare. Instead they use it to score points. They could care less about what is happening to so many families.
What does Western Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn say in the Sunday Review, nothing about constituents in nearby Carroll County. Instead, she is worried about energy standards. This is what clueless Marsha, sponsor of an amendment to block ceiling fan standards, says
"First, they come for our health care, then they took away our light bulbs, and raided our nation's most iconic guitar company - now they are coming after our ceiling fans. Nothing is safe from the Obama administration's excessive regulatory tentacles".Good ole Marsha. Does she care about people who don't have enough to eat, can't fix their cars, and who can't even care for their own families? No, she is worried about implementing more efficient fans and lights.
Not to mention the article about China rattling sabers in the China Seas. Launching a new fleet of cutters to intimidate Japan and The Philippines. How did they get all this money to buy these cutters? Here's an idea. Let's bring manufacturing back to the US. Stop buying goods from China. When I bought a new bike for my daughter to replace her stolen Trek I find out they are now made in China. Can't we make bicycles? Can't we make furniture and clothing? Unless we find a way to bring manufacturing back home how will our middle class find the jobs to elevate them from the lower and lower middle class back into the middle class? How can our youngest people have hope they can find a rewarding job without having to go into investment banking?
Well, I guess Monday we return to Anthony Wiener. Whatever.....At least Derek Jeter is back....hitting a home run on his first pitch. Thank You Derek and Mariano for some good news.