Citizen Telegram Letters to the Editor – Jan. 23, 2014 |

Citizen Telegram Letters to the Editor – Jan. 23, 2014

What will and won’t happen with higher wages

Raising the minimum wage should be a no-brainer, but we will have to convince U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton and his Republican colleagues. The proposed $9 per hour minimum (up from the current $7.25), doesn’t even get workers to where they were in 1967 (it would have to be $10.56 an hour to have kept up with inflation), yet Republicans offer the same flawed arguments. Here are the facts:

It WON’T ship jobs overseas. Minimum wage jobs are highly concentrated in the service industry: cleaners, store clerks, food workers, etc. Jobs that cannot be shipped overseas because they serve the people here.

It WON’T hurt workers. Virtually all minimum wage earners support raising it. That wouldn’t be true if it was going to hurt them.

It WON’T hurt business. Business will pass the costs on to consumers. Believe it or not, consumers overwhelmingly say they will pay the extra dime on their coffee or few cents on their purchases to support the working poor.

It WILL give over 15 million people money to meet everyday needs – money that WILL immediately be poured back into the economy, boosting overall growth.

It WILL reduce the number of people on food stamps and other government aid. (Republicans should support the proposal for this reason alone!)

It WILL be representative of the American people, over 70 percent of which support the minimum wage raise.

Here is a challenge to Scott Tipton and other Republicans: Do better than the Democrats; propose legislation that increases the minimum wage to more than $9 an hour.

Peter Westcott


Let the rule of law rule

Why should Obama’s James Clapper be prosecuted for lying to Congress about the NSA, a felony?

The central tenet of America’s founding was the rule of law would be the equalizing force, the ultimate guardian of justice. Justice is blind, no man is above the law. We are, in the words of John Adams, “a nation of laws, not men.”

Our founders considered inequality to be inevitable. Some would be rich; many would not. Some would achieve great power; most would not. Some individuals would be naturally endowed by God with unique and extraordinary talent, while most people would be “ordinary.”

Thomas Jefferson wrote of “a natural aristocracy” among men, based upon “virtue and talents.” The one exception was the rule of law, the “level playing field,” a universal set of rules. It was, in the words of attorney and journalist Glenn Greenwald, “the non-negotiable prerequisite that made all other forms of inequality acceptable.”

The founders believed that only if everyone operated under the same rules would outcome inequality be just.

The law can ensure that the elites are subjected to its dictates on equal terms with the powerless. Jefferson argued that the essence of America was that “the poorest laborer stood on equal ground with the wealthiest millionaire.” Thomas Paine wrote that “the true and only true basis of representative government” is equal application of the law to all citizens, rich and poor. Equal application of the law to our financial and political elites is a prerequisite for a free and cohesive society. James Madison wrote that it is “one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and the people together” and warned that once it’s missing “every government degenerates into tyranny.”

Lee Mulcahy


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