The Rural Patriot

November 3, 2006

7 Days @ Minimum Wage; Wrap-up

Filed under: Federal Government,Minimum Wage,Poverty,Wages,working families — theruralpatriot @ 8:22 am

[NOTE: The following post is a comment posted in my last post from the series It is from Mr. Mike Doyle; Mr. Doyle is an interviewer for the series. His input is important, and I want to share his comment with the community.]

I invite anyone who hasn’t seen the video blog yet to come take a look at www.sevendaysatminimumwage.org. We originally expected to end the project after the initial week, but due to its success it’s been been extended through Election Day, November 7. The interviews are pretty stark and honest, and they’ve been viewed by more than 30,000 people since the project began on October 23 (they can also be seen on YouTube under the user name, “7daysatminimumwage”).

ACORN and AFL-CIO launched the blog as a way to get contemporary audiences to join in the national debate over fair wages. We hoped, naively or not, that Paul and Susan, Jessica, Jeffrey, and the other poverty-wage workers who agreed to tell their stories to America, would become Internet celebrities in the fight for social justice. That’s actually starting to happen. A few days ago, part one of Jessica’s harrowing interview, in which she describes raising four kids while getting a degree and begging her employer for full-time hours and benefits, became YouTube’s top video in the News & Blogs category (the real heartbreak is in part two, though, if you’re brave enough to watch it).

(more…)

October 30, 2006

7 Days @ Minimum Wage – Day 7

The last story in this series: Day 7 – Mallory

On Day 7, Mallory shares her story of dreaming of a better future of education and independence, but facing no opportunities on a minimum wage paycheck.

This linked page contains all links for the prior six chapters.

This is my last plea for your involvement prior to election day.

Tell Congress: It’s Time for a REAL Vote to Raise the Minimum Wage. Send a letter to tell your U.S. representative and senators that when they get back to work after the election, they must put a clean vote to raise the minimum wage at the top of their agenda.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and the AFL-CIO are partners in a grassroots movement to do what the U.S. Congress refused to do. We urge voters in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and Ohio to raise the minimum wage by voting “Yes” on November 7.

For more information, visit:
ACORN
AFL-CIO
ROSEANNE BARR

Please support this effort.

October 28, 2006

7 Days @ Minimum Wage – Day 6

Day 6 – Amanda

On Day 6, Amanda talks about missing the opportunity to do “normal” things with her family, like go to the movies or buy birthday presents for her siblings, because her minimum wage paycheck doesn’t cover the things she needs.

Day 1 – Paul & Susan
Day 2 – Erin
Day 3 – Jeffrey
Day 4 – Jessica
Day 5 – Chris

Will you contact Congress  or talk to friends/family in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and/or Ohio to have them vote “Yes” on November 7 to increase the minimum wage?

October 27, 2006

The Bush Administration Tax Cuts

Filed under: Bush Administration,Federal Government,Wages — theruralpatriot @ 12:37 pm

Did you know:

45.8% of the benefits from a reduction in capital gains and dividends went to people with incomes over $1 million. There were 284,000 taxpayers in this income group. This is .19% of all taxpayers.

10.8% of the benefits went to people with incomes between $500,000 and $1 million. There were 593,000 taxpayers in this income group. This is .40% of all taxpayers.

(more…)

7 Days @ Minimum Wage – Day 5

Day 5 – Chris

On Day 5, Chris tells a shocking American tale of day to day existence on the edge of homelessness. Without a regular 9-to-5 job, Chris searches for work everyday. If he can’t make $35 a day, he will lose his room and be forced onto the streets.

Day 1 – Paul and Susan
Day 2 – Erin
Day 3 – Jeffrey
Day 4 – Jessica

As I have been urging you throughout this series, please view these videos and take action “to tell your U.S. representative and senators that when they get back to work after the election, they must put a clean vote to raise the minimum wage at the top of their agenda”.

October 26, 2006

7 Days @ Minimum Wage – Day 4

Day 4:  Jessica

Jessica, an educated mom of four, tells her life-story of struggle to get ahead and make a future for her family. Jessica does everything she can to break out of a daily cycle of pain inflicted by having to scrape by on the minimum wage.

Day 1 – Paul and Susan
Day 2 – Erin
Day 3 – Jeffrey

I’m going to say it again: “Tell Congress: It’s Time for a REAL Vote to Raise the Minimum Wage. Send a letter to tell your U.S. representative and senators that when they get back to work after the election, they must put a clean vote to raise the minimum wage at the top of their agenda.” And don’t forget to tell your friends and family in “Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and Ohio to raise the minimum wage by voting “Yes” on November 7″.

October 25, 2006

7 Days @ Minimum Wage – Day 3

Day 3 – Jeffrey

Jeffrey shares his story of taking care of his newborn son with his minimum wage paycheck. After paying for rent, diapers, formula, and the electric bill, there is little left for groceries.

As Ms. Barr says:

Its not about teenagers working for pocket change at a hamburger joint, because 70% of people working at the minimum wage are adults with family responsibilities.

If you have seen these posts this week but haven’t clicked and watched the videos, I challenge you to do so. Please don’t make assumptions about our citizens who earn the minimum wage. These are real people with real stories to tell, and we all need to hear these hard truths.

(more…)

October 24, 2006

7 Days @ Minimum Wage – Day 2

I encourage you to visit the site and watch the video every day during this campaign. Comments are allowed at the site for each day’s viewing.

Day 2’s video:

“On Day 2, Erin talks about needing to work increasing hours at her minimum wage, grocery store job to make ends meet.

Day 1’s video can be found here.

Again, if you have friends and/or relatives that live in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and/or Ohio, ask them to vote “Yes” on November 7. to raise the minimum wage.

October 23, 2006

7 Days @ Minimum Wage

The ALF-CIO and ACORN are sponsoring the video blog “7 Days @ Minimum Wage”. For the next seven days, we will post their link. Please click this link and watch the video.

7 Days @ Minimum Wage brings you 7 real people with 7 real stories of living on the minimum wage, hosted by Roseanne Barr and sponsored by the AFL-CIO and ACORN.

On Day 1, Denver couple Paul Valdez and Susan Windham tell their story of living on the minimum wage. Paul receives $35 for a full day’s labor in back-breaking construction work.

(more…)

September 20, 2006

Citizens’ Hearing on Health Care – Part 2

This past Saturday, September 16, a “Citizens’ Hearing on Health Care” was held at the Allegany-Limestone School.  Below the fold are my notes from the hearing.  Because of the length of the transcription, I have decided to post in two parts.

Testimonials were given so local legislators and candidates would hear first-hand accounts of how complicated and inequitable today’s health-care system is with bureaucratic layers that make it difficult to afford or access.

Those giving testimony told hearing panel members that health reform is critical. Furthermore, the U.S. needs to join other countries and provide a national single-payer health system that will cover everyone.

The hearing panel comprised: state Assemblyman Joe Giglio, R-Gowanda, of the 149th District; state Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, of the 57th District; Cattaraugus County Legislator Linda Witte, D-Olean, who’s running for the 149th Assembly District seat; and Eric Massa, a Democratic candidate in the 29th Congressional District. The elected officials and candidates agreed the health-care system needs substantial improvement and they supported many of the recommended changes.

Part 1 – Testimonials
Part 2 – Candidates’ Comments/Q&A

(more…)

September 19, 2006

Citizens’ Hearing on Health Care – Part 1

This past Saturday, September 16, a “Citizens’ Hearing on Health Care” was held at the Allegany-Limestone School.  Below the fold are my notes from the hearing.  Because of the length of the transcription, I have decided to post in two parts.

Testimonials were given so local legislators and candidates would hear first-hand accounts of how complicated and inequitable today’s health-care system is with bureaucratic layers that make it difficult to afford or access.

Those giving testimony told hearing panel members that health reform is critical. Furthermore, the U.S. needs to join other countries and provide a national single-payer health system that will cover everyone.

The hearing panel comprised: state Assemblyman Joe Giglio, R-Gowanda, of the 149th District; state Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, of the 57th District; Cattaraugus County Legislator Linda Witte, D-Olean, who’s running for the 149th Assembly District seat; and Eric Massa, a Democratic candidate in the 29th Congressional District. The elected officials and candidates agreed the health-care system needs substantial improvement and they supported many of the recommended changes.

Part 1 – Testimonials
Part 2 – Candidates’ Comments/Q&A

(more…)

September 5, 2006

Median Household – 1999 to 2005

Filed under: Wages,working families — theruralpatriot @ 11:15 am

One graph says it all.  Only four states, (Montana, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and Wyoming), and the District of Columbia saw an increase in median household income over the past six years.

Source:  U.S. Census Bureau data analysis by Victoria Turk and Marisol Bello/Detroit Free Press…John W. Fleming/Detroit Free Press.

Main source from Detroit Free Press article A MICHIGAN CENSUS SNAPSHOT: More feel pain of tight economy.

Mortgage Moms – the New “Swing Voter”?

Filed under: November 2006 Election,Polls,US Economy,Wages,working families — theruralpatriot @ 9:34 am

First, it was the soccer moms; then we had the security moms.  This November, it may be the mortgage moms – “voters whose sense of well-being is freighted with anxiety about their families’ financial squeeze” –  who help to determine the outcome of the elections.

Even though the economy is growing and the national unemployment rate is low, middle-class families are finding themselves in a vulnerable position.  Adjustable interest rates, flat wages, rising energy prices, and the increasing national debt are contributing factors to their sense of unease. (more…)

August 31, 2006

Latest Numbers on Uninsured Americans

Filed under: Poverty,Wages — theruralpatriot @ 10:42 am

The number of medically uninsured Americans rose to 46.6 million – almost 16% of all Americans; up 1.3 million from last year.  This is the fifth year in a row that the uninsured number has increased.  From 2004 to present, 400,000 more children are now uninsured; 1 in 5 “impoverished children lacked coverage”; “22% of Hispanic children were uninsured”. 

 Most experts cited the cost-driven decline of employer-based health coverage and private insurance for the overall increase.

(more…)

August 14, 2006

Wal-Mart: Friend or Foe?

Earlier this spring, we were informed that there was a possibility that Wal-Mart stores might be built in Salamanca and Wellsville.  At this point, I’ve not been able to verify where those plans stand as of now.

Salamanca Area Chamber of Commerce President Susan Zaprowski thought “it would be terrific”.  Salamanca Planning Board Chairman Michael Zaprowski said, “We certainly could use a project like this.” Joe Roosa, one of the possible developers of the project, said “It will be good news for Salamanca”. 

State Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, said, “I think it’s important to open up the area for development because of the positive economic benefits.”

Personally, I think that it would be just great … for Wal-Mart.

(more…)

August 3, 2006

The U.S. Economy and You (Part 3)

Filed under: US Economy,Wages — theruralpatriot @ 9:12 pm

The US consumer is altogether shopped out, over-indebted, with negative savings and now bombarded with high oil prices, fluttering housing and rising short and long rates. The poor consumer also suffers from a slumping labor market generating a pathetically low number of jobs, flat real wages and suffering of the redistribution of income from labor to capital (as the profit share of the economy has surged); on top of it all, the equity market downturn has negative wealth and consumer confidence effects.”

(more…)

July 28, 2006

The Federal Minimum Wage Debate

Filed under: Congressional Votes,Eric Massa,Randy Kuhl,Wages — theruralpatriot @ 12:42 pm

The minimum wage rate hike issue has become a hot campaign topic not only across the nation, but also on our local level.

From  Randy Kuhl’s July 25 press release:

“Massa attacked Kuhl for what he claimed was Kuhl’s vote against an increase in the federal minimum wage. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out similar news releases attacking other Republicans around the country, including Rep. James Walsh (R-Onondaga).  Both Kuhl and Walsh have long supported an increase in the minimum wage. Both, in fact, are co-sponsors of a bill to do exactly that. So, what’s going on here? Are Kuhl and Walsh talking one way and voting another? Nope. In fact, the vote that the Democrats are talking about actually had very little, if anything, to do with the minimum wage.”     (Canandaigua Messenger 7/21/06)

Eric Massa counters this argument:

Massa repeated his charge today that Kuhl plays politics with his vote on the minimum wage, and that while he appears to support the increase, he has also worked to block votes on the increase procedurally. “Randy Kuhl says, ‘I’m in favor of increasing the minimum wage – but let’s not vote on it.’ If that’s not playing politics, I don’t know what is.”

(more…)

July 25, 2006

The U.S. Economy and You (Part 2)

Filed under: US Economy,Wages — theruralpatriot @ 8:31 am

In Part 1, I touched upon the decrease in average annual wages from 2000 to 2004 for four-year college graduates.  Today we will take a further look at the possible reasons for this.

That Raise Might Take 4 Years to Earn as Well

Wage stagnation, long the bane of blue-collar workers, is now hitting people with bachelor’s degrees for the first time in 30 years. Earnings for workers with four-year degrees fell 5.2% from 2000 to 2004 when adjusted for inflation, according to White House economists.

It is a remarkable setback for workers who thought they were well-positioned to win some of the benefits of the nation’s economic growth, and it may help explain why surveys show that many Americans think President Bush has not managed the economy well.

Not since the 1970s have workers with bachelor’s degrees seen a prolonged slump in earnings during a time of economic growth. These workers did well during the last period of economic growth, 1995 to 2000, with inflation-adjusted average wages rising 12%, according to an analysis by the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute.

(more…)

July 24, 2006

The U.S. Economy and You (Part 1)

Filed under: Unemployment,US Economy,Wages,working families — theruralpatriot @ 7:35 pm

The U.S. economy is strong!  The tax cuts are working and we must make them permanent!  The estate tax, (now known as the “death tax”), must be repealed!  We have to do this to keep our economy strong and growing! 

If you have any exposure to traditional media, there is no doubt that you have heard these phrases.  But, I ask, how’s your “personal economy” doing these days?  How did you like your last raise? (what??? You didn’t get a raise? )  But you received a tax cut, didn’t you? (you mean the one that we didn’t notice because the price of EVERYTHING has risen and the cut was barely noticeable?).   What’s that I hear about how your money just doesn’t seem to go as far as it used to go? 

I think it is time to take a look at some real numbers.  We can find  those numbers at our own government’s websites. 

(more…)

Blog at WordPress.com.