[Marxism] Tomgram: Peter Van Buren, Minimum Wage, Minimum Chance

Ralph Johansen mdriscollrj at charter.net
Tue Feb 16 10:26:56 MST 2016


This article is worth reading for the gory details, as was Barara Ehrenreich's Nickled and Dimed. Whether it's minimum wage, health care, paid sick leave, paid maternity leave, paid vacation time, safe work environment, you name it, we remember our history, as big box fights labor in part by crying over the plight of its small business cohorts who can't afford the expense. 

For example, sixty or more years ago, I attended on behalf of the Friends Committee on National Legislation a hearing in Merced CA of a Congressional subcommittee chaired by Rep. James Roosevelt (D. NY) (Noo Yawk City?) on extension of social security benefits to farm workers. 

One after another, small prune and grape farmers came to the podium and detailed to the more than sympathetic Congressman Roosevelt the unbearable expense of maintaining social security deductions for their farm workers. 

Sitting behind them in the audience were their silent sponsors, the lobbyists and attorneys for large agricultural growers in the Central Valley. Nothing was ever said about the feasibility of making suitable allowances for the small employer. 

The bill did not get out of Roosevelt's subcommittee. 

I also remember that the “friend of small business” in the Senate a little later was the great populist New Dealer “friend of the farmer and the worker” Hubert H. Humphrey of the Democratic Farmer Labor Party of Minnesota, who also carried freight for large industry and agribusiness by focusing on the plight of small business.

So, as Peter Van Buren documents here once more, nothing new, nothing appreciably better, much that’s worse, despite vast gains in productivity per worker - especially in the past thirty years, since labor was soundly defeated beginning in the Reagan administration amid the disparaging mantra about "welfare queens" and the crushing of the Air Traffic Controllers strike.


Peter Van Buren, Minimum Wage, Minimum Chance 
Posted by Peter Van Buren at 7:00am, February 16, 2016.
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