The Week of 02/21/2021 with STL

Greetings Comrades,

Due to personal reasons I have to miss posting anything substantial this week. But I would like to make a few observations before you go:

  • For the next four years, Pres. Biden will not take up the minimum wage increase issue again. There are ways around the parliamentarian’s decision and yet the Dems do nothing. When Biden included the measure with the COVID-19 relief bill he knew it wouldn’t go through. He was just trying to deceive all of the progressives who came out to vote for him back in November 2020. And you know the GOP will do anything to pass their legislation. Why can’t the Democrats do the same on such a vital issue? Because our government does not care about us.
  • I’ve been watching the CPAC conference this Saturday and the Trump-ist con-job is still on. Trump’s followers are speaking mistruth after mistruth in an effort to reach out to the non-college educated, blue-collar voter. And if you look at the numbers, it’s working. Watch some yourself over at C-SPAN and “know your enemy.”
  • See Judas and The Black Messiah. I do not know if you will like the movie as an entertaining, Hollywood film, but it’s a good beginner’s look into the life of Fred Hampton and his demise. It’s in theatres now and it will be on HBO Max until Sunday, March 14. You can follow up with this great documentary, The Murder of Fred Hampton from 1971. The quality is not great but it’s not about the cinematography.

It’s a Crime for a $7.25 Minimum Wage to Exist

Sparking The Left is a serious advocate for the minimum wage increase to $15 an hour. (It should have been to $25 an hour 20 years ago, honestly). Just check out this great tweet by Sen Bernie Sanders we put on the STL twitter feed:

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report released on Mon. 2/8/2021, a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour would boost the wages of the 17 million workers who make less than that now. And another 10 million workers otherwise earning slightly more than $15 per hour might see their wages rise as well. The number of people with annual income below the poverty threshold in 2025 would fall by 1.3 million.

In all fairness, the CBO report also predicted that the increase could be up to 1.3 million jobs lost between the six increases ending in 2025. But a phase-in of a $15 minimum wage would also lift some 900,000 out of poverty. The report also states that there are two points of uncertainty it does not take into account in their final numbers, namely, wage growth or the responsiveness of employment to a wage increase, i.e., how will rich pigs handle these new costs in terms of layoffs, benefits reduction, etc. So these two points show the CBO is not saying their conclusions are scripture.

According to a report done by John Schmitt at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, (Schmitt, 2013), a review of all major academic economic research from the early 1990’s to 2013 on minimum wage increases, minimum wage rates have little or no discernible effect on the employment prospects of low-wage workers. According to Schmitt 2013,

“;;;[T]he weight of the empirical evidence is either inconclusive (statistically insignificant or positive in some cases and negative in others) or suggestive of only small economic effects [pg. 22]

So I am distraught at how this lifeline to the working class, a part of the Biden’s Covid-19 relief bill, may be cut out due to some GOP congressional procedural shenanigans or by one or two Democratic cowards. This is totally unacceptable to the people.

The federal minimum wage being so low is one of the biggest crimes against the people in this country behind our astronomical healthcare costs. And the above cited sources show how many people could be saved by a small hike. The wage has not even increased since 2009. That’s 12 years now. A living wage to everyone, worker or not, should already be considered a human right globally. We cannot even get that for the millions of Americans who work 40 hours a week in the richest nation in history. Low-wage workers cannot stay above the poverty line at $7.25 hr., yet those like Jeff Bezos, who just retired from Amazon with $184.6 billion dollars, could never spend all the money they hoard. And according to the New York Times, Pres. Biden just met with the leaders of major corporations like Wal-Mart, Gap Inc., and JP Morgan Chase, where he probably begged at their feet for help because he promised voters a living-wage (which many experts qualify as $17.50 hr). He has already broken his word in how we will not be getting a full $2000 stimulus check from this worthless government.

This situation and the above cited facts point to one major point that is not new here at STL: We are screaming to the people, “The system does not work for you! Let’s do something about it!” This country’s power structure is simply here to perpetuate the domination of the 1%. And we have to do something about that.

Don’t Be Distracted by This Bourgeois Drama!

If you have been paying attention to the mainstream media over the last week or two you know that the usual outlets are running around with their hair on fire over Pres. Trump getting dirt on Joe Biden from the Ukrainian government. Now with all the evidence I have seen and read, it’s almost undeniable that Trump is guilty of what he is accused of.

That said, the GOP is now busy attacking the non-Rupert Murdoch owned media outlets of being part of a larger deep state conspiracy against Trump and the Right-wing, in general. And, of course, the progressives refute this argument saying FOX News and their print and online cronies are serving as “state media” in the service of the present administration.

Now this is a great soap opera for all of us to watch (I am guilty, too). But it’s sucking up all the oxygen in the mass media coverage of the world. What needs to be covered by the mainstream press is even being pushed further to the margins. This infighting between bourgeois puppets should not be covered. The real story is socio-economic status conflicts all but ignored by the bourgeois media.

I know that before this latest row the mainstream press has never given the proper coverage to the issues that really matter. I’m talking about issues from the astronomical prices of prescription drugs here in the U.S. to the effects of neoliberal policies on the Third World.

The essence of my argument is that the mainstream/bourgeois media currently have a godsend in the form of a juicy drama between bourgeois actors in a bourgeois arena. But it would be completely outside of that arena for CNN or MSNBC to cover issues in the interest of the people.

All this media coverage is drama, not important news to us. Don’t let it fool you. Keep your eye on the prize: media serving the interests of the working class. The rest is just games.

Obama Supports Gay Marriage

Pres. Obama stated today on ABC News that he is in favor of same-sex marriage. This has caused great elation amongst the GLBT community and those that favor equal-rights in general. It is about time that this country’s leading politicians make a stand on this issue when polls indicate that the majority of Americans, with overwhelming support amongst young people, favor the right to marry to be afforded to every citizen in this nation.

Read Here