The reality for working Americans is that wages have been largely stagnant for
over three decades. For many workers -- especially those without a
college degree -- pay has actually gotten worse, meaning that this
generation is the first one in American history which is not doing
signficantly better than the previous one. Part of the reason for
these stagnant wages is that inflation was allowed to erode the federal
minimum wage-- its inflation-adjusted value dropping from $9.12 per hour in 1968 down to just $5.15 per hour in 2005.
Back in 1968, the federal minimum wage was $1.60 per hour-- or if adjusted for inflation -- $9.16 per hour. Yes-- almost forty years ago, the minimum acceptable wage in this country was over $9 per hour.
In Indiana, critics are condemning
a rushed $1 billion privatization of the states' social services work
-- despite the fact that the companies bidding on the contract have
mismanaged similar contracts in other states and, more tellingly, no
one even bothered to determine whether the companies could do the job
cheaper than current state employees:
Congressional Quarterly Weekly
by Shawn Zeller
Originally Published April 14, 2006:
The stolidly liberal legislature of Massachusetts appeared to be playing entirely to type when it passed its landmark legislation to make the state the
first in the nation to provide medical coverage to virtually all its citizens.
But some liberals are rushing to denounce the plan. "This is being sold as achieving universal coverage," says Nathan Newman, policy director for the Progressive Legislative Action Network.
Does it take two to tangle? Two New Jersey legislators are embarking on a six-month project to evaluate whether New Jersey can copy Massachusetts'
recently adopted plan. Before they start hustling around the state,
they ought to take a look at whether the Massachusetts plan is even
going to work in Massachusetts and also think hard about whether it
should be the starting point for negotiations.
Looks like it's a bad idea to play "Let's Make a Deal" with Mitt Romney. The Massachusetts Governor vetoed the employer assessment
yesterday, a move that was expected to happen, but is still deeply
disappointing. What makes it even more distressing is that the employer
assessment -- a charge for medium and large businesses that choose to
not provide insurance coverage to workers -- is that at $295 per
employee, it was rather small, especially in comparison to the $1000
fine for individuals who "choose" to not have insurance, often because
it is not affordable.