NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

January 28, 2014

Income equality is an impossible dream

As I See It
Richard Astukewicz

---- — As I write this piece we are talking about income inequality in our nation and the problems it creates in our society. It’s also the problem of the “class warfare” that Democrats and President Obama have brought to the forefront of their agenda to create a larger government to control our lives from the beginning to the end.

There has been this problem in our society from our start and it will always be a problem as man strives for a more perfect government. The problem is not just ours; it is a problem in every free society. Just recently France has raised its tax rate on those making $1 million or more to a tax rate of 75 percent so their socialist nation can continue to pay for all its social programs. This is a classic example of mankind’s struggle to create a better society, failing to realize all men are not created equal.

I remember the comedian Alan King and these words from one of his TV shows: “It’s 10 o’clock and just think, somewhere in the world a person has an appointment with a doctor and this doctor happens to be the worst doctor in the world.” All men are not created equal.

When progressives talk about income inequality, just what do they mean? Are we all to make millions, to live in mansions and have a Rolls Royce in the driveway? I think not. That is an impossible dream, but what do they mean?

There are many reasons for our current income inequality problem. The largest reason for this problem is our nation’s loss of manufacturing jobs that at one time was the backbone of our economy. Gone are the steel mills, shipyards, woolen mills, shoe companies, clothing companies and on and on. Our manufacturing industry has been decimated, sent overseas and has laid waste to our nation’s economy. The good jobs are gone and all we are left with are low-paying jobs.

In the past 20 years we have lost 13,245,000 manufacturing jobs; in construction, 2,100,000 jobs; in manufacturing, 5,563,000 jobs; in durable goods manufacturing, 3,730,000 jobs; and in non-durable goods, 1,832,000 jobs.

These were good-paying jobs that allowed our citizens to live the American Dream, that allowed our middle class to grow and move up the ladder of success. These jobs provided good wages, paid vacations, holiday pay, sick day pay, health insurance and retirement benefits. They are gone from our landscape and will never return.

President Obama and leaders in Washington have a dream, that jobs will come back. It’s only that, it’s a dream, a make-believe Walt Disneyland dream.

This income inequality has led our leaders to start actions on the minimum wage, which they present as a solution to poverty.

Every increase in wages coupled with the cost of doing business is bottom-line profit; it’s a loss of jobs.

The recent push for increased minimum wages will do the same to hundreds of small businesses across our nation. A small business person who will have to pay labor a higher wage will simply be forced to raise the price of his product and/or lay off workers and/or stop hiring.

The recent protests for a $15 on hour supposedly living wage is pure stupidity. Fast-food chains the target of this protest would simply have to double their prices or close. Walmart would have to raise their prices and the many low-, middle-class and poor would lose the stores they depend on to buy affordable needs.

Democrats talk about “Voodoo Economics”; well, that’s what they are proposing as their solution.

What happens to the 29ers and 49ers because of Obamacare? Companies are cutting hours to avoid Obamacare directives; thus the 29ers. Just as companies employing 50 or more workers, they are cutting back to 49 or the 49ers.

So I’m working at a fast-food chain or Walmart at $8 an hour for 40 hours a week. Now the minimum wage increases to $10 an hour. My hours will be cut to 29 (due to Obamacare), so now I am making $290 a week, instead of $320 and I have to apply for my own health insurance.

This is your re-elected president’s plan and vision for America. Once a government “of the people, by the people, for the people” has become a government of Nancy Pelosi, by Harry Reid, for the special interests of President Obama, who knows best what is good for us.

You elected him and the others now live with him as he tries to solve our credit problem with more credit, which is impossible.

“Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide” (John Adams).

That’s where we are, folks, looking at our own suicide with the presented solutions to our problems.

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Richard A. Astukewicz of Salisbury is a retired business manager.