Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Let’s Talk Minimum Wage

Yes, it’s been in the news a lot lately. From SeaTac, Washington imposing their $15 an hour minimum, to Seattle’s Socialist city council critter, Kshama Sawant, who also advocated workers seize Boeing’s factories, run it “and shut down Boeing’s profit-making machine,” the notion has been implanted in people’s heads, just in time for the mid-term election.

As usual, the entirely socialist idea is coming primarily from Socialist Democrats as the once again try to mislead voters to turn the country more to their control as we keep sliding closer and closer to a full-blown Communist Nation.

And what with the Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocking the latest effort to forcibly increase a wage minimum in America, we can expect Democrats to make the most of it they possibly can, portraying themselves as so benevolent and seeking to protect workers while they paint Republicans as demonic, evil and uncaring, as usual.

Nothing could be further from the truth, however. In fact, it is exactly opposite.

While admitting that like you, I am not a so-called “expert” on things, I do have the ability to read and reason. So, with that in mind, let’s look at the minimum wage.

It was first instituted in America in 1938 as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act, setting a minimum wage at 25¢ an hour. That doesn’t sound like much today, but it was acceptable in 1938 as the country, in fact the world was still mired in the Great Depression, all previous socialist efforts lauded as saving the world now known to have actually prolonged the suffering: FDR's policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate

But, the hallmark of socialism is that it plays on your emotions and not your ability to reason, to come to a logical conclusion. So we got the first minimum wage in 1938, not long after then President Roosevelt had said in his second inaugural address, “I see millions of families trying to live on incomes so meager that the pall of family disaster hangs over them day by day....I see millions lacking the means to buy the products of farm and factory and by their poverty denying work and productiveness to many other millions. I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.”

Seventy-five years later, Barack Obama, in his 2013 State of the Union address stated, “Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank; rent or eviction; scraping by or finally getting ahead.”

Same tune as was said in 1937 in spite of increasing the minimum wage some 30 times since it was first instituted.

Of course, we are to believe that many families are still struggling, Democrats of course not accepting one scintilla of blame for the Great Recession they say was over in 2009, but apparently is not.

Left-leaning Politifact sheds some light as they rate the claim made by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio that only about 2% of the workers in America work for the minimum wage as Mostly True. They actually came up with a 2.6% figure and took exception to his saying “Americans” instead of “Workers.”

From the same Politifact article, we also see Sen. Portman reveal that about 50% of those working for minimum wage are between 16 and 24 years old, working part-time, likely students I would believe working their way through school.

So, where is this big need? Where is the danger of “It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank; rent or eviction; scraping by or finally getting ahead?” as Obama proclaimed?

Obviously, in spite of what Socialists are crying today, there really I no dire emergency, the overall vast majority of families earning a decent living and supporting their families. But Socialists hate that, any segment of society not being under the rule and caring for themselves, not dependent upon our growing Socialist rulers for everyday essentials.

And if you don’t believe it is linked to Socialism creeping further and further into our lives, look at history.

Shortly after overthrowing the Tsar of Russia in 1917, the Bolsheviks, as they worked towards becoming the Soviet Union, decreed a “minimum wage, limitations on workers’ hours, and the running of factories by elected workers’ committees.”

We saw the failure of that ‘Great Experiment” as the Berlin Wall came crumbling down followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union between 1989 and 1991.

And, raising the minimum wage again does not make us a mirror of the Soviet Union…… yet! It is just one small step in our gradual march towards that goal, started as far back as 1919 in our country.

Now, I know Liberals are going to scoff, ridicule this as “unenlightened” and whatnot, they can’t help it, it is their nature and all they have to rely on, reasoning and logical thinking slipping away from them long ago. It is to be expected.

But stop and consider, in his June 25, 2013 testimony before Congress, James Sherk, Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics with The Heritage Foundation laid out, “Congress typically raises the minimum wage only during times of healthy economic growth and low unemployment. In 1990, Congress enacted a minimum wage hike that took effect on April 1 of that year, when unemployment stood at 5.4 percent. Congress voted to raise the minimum wage again in August 1996—when unemployment stood at 5.1 percent. The next vote to raise the minimum wage occurred in May 2007, when unemployment stood at 4.4 percent. Congress has not voted to raise the minimum wage when unemployment stood above 7.5 percent since the Great Depression ended.”

Why now when we know that real unemployment numbers, those underemployed or that have just given up looking, remains well into double digits?

Why now when we still see so many empty store fronts around the country, left over from many small businesses that failed during the past 5 years?

Why now when we see our sluggish economy stumbling along at a dismal 0.1 percent growth? That is one-tenth of one-percent, barely noticeable.

It is a fallacy to think that these business owners are not also struggling. Refer back to those empty store fronts I just mentioned.

And don’t forget, the majority of those working for the current minimum wage are young people, in school and unskilled.

And yes, there are others with little or no actual skills also working for minimum wage. Single parents divorced with a deadbeat spouse and working part-time trying to raise their children. But, left out of the cries for yet another increase, most of those people, as they gain skills and experience, leave minimum wage behind, gaining wage increases, especially if a very good worker.

On the other hand, forcing employers to increase wages across the board like this means their cost of doing business increases. In order to keep a reasonable profit margin, after all, they start a business to earn a profit, they will have to adjust, likely meaning laying off people they would like to keep.

It also means they can’t hire new people still seeking work.

Proponents of a minimum wage hike will point to “studies” showing this did not really happen in the past. Again, I refer you back to when those increases took place, during times of economic growth, not during a struggling economy.

The average voter won’t think about that, though, hearing only that they should receive more “profit” from their greedy employer, spoon-fed from today’s Socialist Democrat Party, seeking to place more dependence upon them as they confiscate monies from everybody, giving all a mere pittance of what they could be earning.

There is no free-ride and Robin Hood is a myth.

Pushing through an increase in minimum wage, even workers taking over factories like Kshama Sawant called for is not to lift anybody out of poverty.

It is to spread the poverty as we march more toward Socialism.

I’d rather be free to reap the rewards of my own labor and talents, not have some bureaucratic agency decide whether or not I am permitted to buy a loaf of bread or carton of milk today.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Peachtree Restaurant Concert & Vendor Fair 4 Vets

50th Anniversary Pin This May will see the 50th Anniversary of the Hazel Dell Parade of Bands as school bands, businesses and community groups converge to march through the middle of Hazel Dell, Washington.

This “Golden Jubilee” celebrates the founding of the Parade in 1964, a time of a troubled America ripped apart by a Presidential Assassination, Civil Rights struggle, the Cold War and in need of such a spirit-lifting event.

Nineteen sixty-four also saw a growing involvement 8,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean in the small Asian country of Vietnam that would further divide the American public, with returning Troops met with scorn and derision by a misunderstanding population.

Through it all, people in Southwest Washington put aside different views and joined together briefly to enjoy the yearly parade.

The Vietnam War ended but, but the parade went on, every year over the past 50 years, come rain or shine. Many veterans began taking part in the parades, in part to help alleviate frustration and confusion that grew out of that war.

Veterans in the parade would call on others to come out of the shadows and march proudly alongside other veterans--to show pride in their service and sacrifices made. Some had withdrawn into themselves. A small few troubled by both their war experience and mistreatment upon their return distanced themselves from memories. Some turned to drugs and alcohol and eventually ran afoul of the law.

A lot has changed since 1964 as awareness of veterans has grown. The public has realized that the small number experiencing troubles are worthwhile; and that the public that helped create their problems should help them recover their lives.

But, parades alone cannot accomplish that. It takes the dedication of people like Clark County District Judge Darvin Zimmerman, following the example of Judge Robert Russell who created the “nation’s first veterans treatment court” where instead of jail time for minor infractions of the law, “the veterans [are] required to get mental health or addiction counseling, find jobs, stay clean and sober and get their lives back on track.”

Zimmerman, founding presiding Judge of the Clark County Veterans Court says,

“The Vets Court has had approximately 57 Veterans enter since its start in March of 2011. It has the highest graduation rate of any specialty court in Clark County. More than double most other courts as the Veterans really want to succeed. From a taxpayers viewpoint it is a great deal as the VA has the space and time to do all the treatment for the Vets and therefore the average of $6000.00 set aside for treatment costs in the other courts is not necessary. So one way of looking at it is we save the county $60,000 for every 10 Vets that we treat in Vets Court. Plus treating the Vets as opposed to incarcerating them at $82 a day is a savings too.”
When American University evaluated the success of the court they referred to it as being a model court for the nation. Another point of pride is that both Marion County and Multnomah County are modeling their newly started Courts after the Clark County Veterans Court.

Judge Z. was instrumental in obtaining a $350,000 federal grant to establish the Clark County Veterans Court and has worked tirelessly since then in keeping it funded by generous donations from the public and businesses through a series of highly entertaining events held throughout the County.

Through the continuous generosity of their major sponsors these events are kept to a very low price or free to the public. These major sponsors include US Digital, Ryonet Screen Printing Supplies, Waste Connections of Washington, Inc., East Vancouver Costco and DeWils Fine Cabinetry & Appliance.

Peachtree Logo TrimArmed Forces Day, Saturday May 17, another event will be held in conjunction with and immediately after the “Golden Jubilee” Hazel Dell Parade of Bands at the Peachtree Restaurant 6600 NE Hwy 99 Vancouver, WA 98665.

Once again Judge Zimmerman has lined up top-notch entertainment for the afternoon and evening as follows:

1 pm to 3 pm Karen Overton is a native of Portland, Oregon raised on story based songs and is well known throughout Southwest Washington and Portland for her solo performances at wineries, retirement communities, assisted living facilities and of course, Veterans Court events. She performs a variety of popular songs spanning the decades and creating an intimate musical experience based on the audience.

3 pm to 5 pm Tom Mann is a Nashville Performer & Songwriter that has opened for many musical greats such as Keith Urban, Kenny Rogers, LeAnn Rimes and the Oak Ridge Boys. One of his featured songs on his most recent Nashville recorded CD is the song Little Becky about her father going off to war. Tom proudly served in the United States Air Force in Germany and has delighted fans there and all over the United States.

5 pm to 6 pm The Young Old-Time Fiddlers is a family group featuring Heather, Jessica, Andrew and Grace Kobilan, an up-and-coming talent. An accomplished fiddler and musician who recently won the Highland Games Fiddling Contest at Mount Hood Community College, Grace started playing at age 8, recently finishing an extremely close second to a world champion. This 21 year-old sensation is also an accomplished pianist and guitar player. Her love of music and teaching fiddling and piano complements her major in music. Don’t be surprised to see her at the Grand Ole Opry very soon.

Peachtree Collage w Kobilans

6 pm to 7 pm Art Miller plays Ragtime & Barrelhouse Honky Tonk on the piano. A well known attorney in Southwest Washington, Art has been delighting crowds for over 40 years with his Ragtime and Honky-tonk style of piano. For years he was a regular performer at Digger O'Dell's and other major clubs in Portland. Now he obtains great satisfaction in donating his time and talents to the Veterans Court fundraising events.

7 pm to 9 pm Jesse Wade Holyk has been singing at the Harvest Days celebration in Battle Ground, Washington since he was 10 years-old. He has participated in the Seattle X-Factor, auditioned for the first Making the Band show and for several years sang the National Anthem for headliners at the Clark County Fair. Jesse says, “Music is a translation of love and that’s a big gift to give people.”

Special appearances will be made by Miss Clark County, Moriah Smith and Miss Clark County’s Outstanding Teen, Bhanu Kaur. I am also told there will be a “Mystery Guest” from the Miss Clark County Scholarship Organization making an appearance.

In addition to entertainers, vendors will be on hand and you are encouraged to try out the Peachtree Menu, especially their delicious, freshly-made pies.

And of course, your generous donations to the Clark County Veterans Court are greatly appreciated.

Last year’s prize winning float
Last year’s prize winning float

This year, entertainers performing on the float will include fiddler champion Grace Kobilan and Jesse Wade Holyk.

Mark your calendars for Saturday May 17, 2014. The parade is scheduled to begin at 10:30 am. Come early; make a day of it viewing the 50th “Golden Jubilee” of the Hazel Dell Parade of bands and stick around to help Veterans afterwards by attending the Peachtree Restaurant Concert and Vendor Fair 4 Vets.

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