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Letter: Rich, powerful have little regard for workers

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

To the Editor:

This is in response to the Daily Chronicle editorial of Sept. 2, “Some Workers Want More This Labor Day.”

This editorial states that, “ ‘Flipping burgers’ has long been considered the domain of teenagers and others who wish to supplement their income,” although it acknowledges that is not necessarily the case today.

Unfortunately, for many Americans today low-wage jobs are their only option. Corporations have trimmed their work forces and offshored production to increase profits, CEO pay and to avoid U.S. taxes.

Many very profitable corporations such as Apple, GE, Exxon, Citigroup and others pay no income taxes. The effective U.S. corporate tax rate is only 11 percent. Corporate taxes in the 1960s accounted for 23 percent of taxes collected, and now it is less than 10 percent.

Today, half of all corporate profits come from financial services and not manufacturing. We have seen 50,000 U.S. factories close in the last decade.

Most Americans aren’t benefitting from record corporate profits and the rising stock market. While 73 million Americans have 401(k)s, a third are worth less than $25,000, and the average is $60,000.

Ten percent of Americans own 80 percent of the stocks. The Forbes 400 have wealth equaling that of half of all Americans. The bottom 25 percent of Americans have no net worth.  

According to polls, four out of five Americans struggle with joblessness, near poverty or welfare for part of their lives. The editor suggests that increasing worker’s skills would be a better solution than raising wages. 

Although a $15-an-hour wage would “support” a family of three, it wouldn’t be enough to send a child to college or to retire comfortably on. However, an increased minimum wage would be an immediate boost to the economy.

America needs to reform our “free trade” laws and our broken tax code to restore fairness and to reduce income inequality. It won’t happen as long as Wall Street and powerful corporate interests control our government.

Stephen Reid

DeKalb

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