Another election must be around the corner, because politicians are talking again about "jobs, jobs, jobs." This talk is the epitome of hypocrisy, coming as it does from politicians who refuse to make themselves legislatively accountable for achieving and maintaining full employment. "Jobs, jobs, jobs" is nothing but campaign rhetoric. The politicians not only know they don't intend to create jobs and full employment once they are elected; they also have the unmitigated gall to assure employers they'll be able to pay their workers a sub-poverty minimum wage.
Think about this: Why do most people work? Isn't it because they don't want to be poor?
Like "jobs, jobs, jobs," the minimum wage is being hypocritically kicked around like a political football by mean-spirited, self-serving politicians. They first refuse to create the jobs they talk about, and then they saddle millions of workers and their families with a sub-poverty minimum wage that bears no relationship to a living wage based on all "cost-of-living" factors. Any school child knows that if you pay people a poverty wage they are going to be poor. Just try raising a family on an hourly minimum wage of $6.15, $7.25, $8.50, $9.00, or even $10.00. What America most needs from its tax dollars is jobs that pay real living wages--not more militarization, foreign military bases, wars and occupations.
Another thing we hear so many over-paid politicians hypocritically talking about is health care. This hypocrisy is especially rich, because these same politicians enjoy platinum-grade publicly-funded health care compliments of the tax-payers.
If we had a National Public Health Care System that was operated, administered and funded like public education, we could put fifteen-million people to work at real-living-wage jobs in neighborhood and community health care centers across the country. Such a system would provide all Americans the free platinum-grade health care the politicians now receive at taxpayer expense.
To produce real value from our tax dollars, what we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity." That act would finally make politicians legislatively accountable for their rhetoric by requiring investments for living-wage jobs, a minimum wage tied realistically to the cost of living, and a truly universal publicly-funded national health care system.
Alan L. Maki is Director of Organizing for the Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council.