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The New Minimum Wage

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It is the harmony of our stories which echo in the hallways of our lives. Their reverberations mark us in quarter notes, without rhyme or reason. Caught in a verse without a chorus, without a coda to begin again, the song remains the same and seems to go on forever. Trapped in the lines and spaces, unable to escape our scale and unwilling to change our time.

The new minimum wage in the United States is zero. It matters little what government says the minimum wage is, when there is no work. The administration calls to increase it to $10.00 per hour, just enough to throw millions off of food stamps, but not enough to actually improve their lives. The landlord recently evicted two tenants from this century old, four apartment home conversion. He had waited to drop the hammer, because he too, was hoping; they'd be able to come up with the rent money. Not being paid by a tenant is bad business, but an empty apartment is worse, unpaid rent is deductible from a tax return and empty apartments can't.

The 50% occupancy rate isn't good for the landlord and because the economy is so poor, his choice of new tenants is no better than the one's he just evicted. The restaurant across the street suffers as those working part-time for low-wages can't afford to eat out, they barely can afford to eat period. The media myth presents tales of long-time low-wage workers being pushed into unemployment. The real story is of capable well-trained knowledgeable people, many with college degrees and years of experience, thrown into a low-wage snake pit. The President wants to spend more money for job training" (Pause for laughter) but where are these jobs, training to do what?

The numbers are staggering, the civilian labor force grew by 264,000 last month while the number of unemployed also increased by 223,000. The numbers of new hires proclaimed from the ivory tower at 174,000 but the number actually employed is only 42,000. Officially, because it is the only way to interpret the numbers is to accept the bogus baseline, 10,495,000 unemployed Americans. Another 7,186,000 are working part-time, because it's all they could find. Even those numbers declined by 71,000 last month, as fewer were able to find part-time work. 2,303,000 Americans described as marginally attach, workers who've given up the search for employment because it's just not there or they can no longer do it. Then there is the nearly three-quarters of a million Americans who have given up entirely, described as discouraged.


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I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that (more...)

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