In reality, we are our brothers' keepers
'Tis fitting that we cherish the memory of Pete Seeger on the day The State of the Union speech called for a raise in the minimum wage. For four decades now American workers have experienced wage stagnation. Unemployment is still a plague; middle class buying power down. The wealthy have enjoyed reaping 90 percent of the profits from the economic recovery happening on the President's watch.
The problem is that the global corporate entities do not pay living wages and yet pocket untold wealth in profits. Many CEOs get paid some 750 times the yearly salaries of their lowest employees. Before Reagan it was 12 times.
The villain in all this inequity is the economic teaching of Milton Friedman, who about the time Ronald Reagan took office, became popular because he told CEOs not to accept responsibility for the welfare of their employees, just consider them another factor in the economy -- no sense of their humanity, dignity, spiritual worth. From Reagan's time on until now the middle class has been being squeezed out in this country and everywhere. The sense of a common good seems replaced by the selfish accumulation of individuals.
I believe we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers, and government should be for the common good of all, not just for a few at the top of the income bracket. Every man who is willing to and does work has a right to a living wage. The Christian and ethical values of justice, charity, peace, and good will, with love paramount, are very real to me and to many other Americans.
Marion J. Reis
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