Union Democrat staff

Minimum wage argument spot on

To the Editor:

Richard Peterson's Letter to the Editor regarding the minimum wage of Wednesday, June 12, was spot on. It followed the front page report in The Union Democrat of June 7 to 9, (weekend edition) titled "Rich get richer, poor get poorer" and in the same edition on page A6, a report on the costs to the community of low wage jobs.

The Obama administration has proposed an increase in the minimum wage to $9 per hour, which no doubt would help, but according to a study by consumer advocate, Ralph Nader, is nowhere near enough.

According to this study, adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage needs to be set at $10.50 hour or more to put us on a par with 1968 wages. That's 45 years ago! Yes, indeed, the poor are getting poorer, which, in my opinion, wasn't exactly news, but the article put numbers to the reality. Richard's letter put a face on all these numbers and statistics and pointed out the costs in human terms, which this country seems to have entirely forgotten since the crash of 2008. The poor are blamed for being shiftless, when actually they are working very hard just to make ends meet and that gap is getting wider all the time. Gas, food and everyday living costs just seem to keep on spiraling up with no relief in sight for the wage earner, so something needs to be done, and soon. We all pay the costs in the end when a worker cannot support himself and his family in dignity.

Myrna Doering


Watching out for Big Brother

To the Editor:

I do not trust government to know too much about me. Whatever the original justification for gathering telephone and other records, ultimately there will be pressure to use it - illegally or through new laws - to make sure I'm paying the "right " amount of tax, according to some taxpayer-subsidized bureaucrat who will interpret every rule in favor of paying more tax.

There will be pressure, as there clearly was recently for my data to be used by people in power of different political persuasions to restrict my free speech and political activities - pressure for my data to be used by people "who know better" - to coerce me into certain behaviors, and away from others, that some experts deem better than my own choices.

This kind of intelligence-gathering is an invitation of the worst types of tyranny, a quiet tyranny that can claim it's holding elections, while using information received to discredit, frame or blackmail its opponents.

Shall we cast away freedom for safety and lose both?

This is not a matter of Left or Right, it's a matter of rights and liberties and our system of justice, freedom of conscience and everything else that falls between the First and Fourth Amendments.

It was troubling enough when Bush started it up, but what's happened since gives it an entirely sinister new dimension. This is a black hole; if we let it grow and feed, it will devour the free governments of the earth.

How many more rights are the American people going to pretend that we aren't losing as we march forward towards a totalitarian police state? The line in the sand has to be drawn now before it's too late.

Government scares me. It should scare you, too.

Ray Anderson