The Online Opinion Outpost features opinions and commentary on the latest hot topics from national news sources. As much as you love hearing from The Universe, we thought you might like to hear from journalists around the nation.
Minimum Wage Raise
As Americans, we believe that honest work should be rewarded with honest wages. That certainly means that no one who works full-time should ever have to raise a family in poverty. In the coming weeks, your senators will have a chance to stand up for that principle by voting yes or no on a bill to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour.
It’s important to remember that most workers who would get a raise when Congress passes this bill aren’t teenagers taking on their first job. They average 35 years old. A majority of lower-wage jobs are held by women. Many of these Americans work full-time to support a family, and if the minimum wage had kept pace with our workers’ productivity, they’d be earning well over $10 an hour today.
-Speech by President Barack Obama
The minimum wage makes hiring workers more expensive, eliminates jobs at the bottom of the ladder, and generally slows growth and raises unemployment.
Congress last adjusted the federal standard in 2009. Since then, consumer prices are up 9 percent, but the president is proposing a 39 percent jump.
Along with higher taxes and health insurance costs — thanks to ObamaCare — most businesses will be compelled to substitute more technology for workers.
On Wednesday, April 2, the United States Supreme Court ruled that any cap on the overall amount a person can spend to influence an election is unconstitutional. Following on the heels of the court’s previous decision in Citizens United, the McCutcheon ruling will allow unlimited spending to influence our nation’s political process.
In the words of Justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote the dissent in the McCutcheon case, the ruling “eviscerates our nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.”
You shouldn’t need money or connections to get a fair shake in our justice system. That’s the very essence of our American creed. And yet we know that even with previous restrictions, money had a corrupting influence on our democracy. A Federal Election Survey found that 82% of Americans were worried about special interests buying elections. Three in five Americans thought Congress was already more likely to vote in ways that please their financial supporters, while only one in five Americans thought Congress votes in the best interest of constituents.
In 1816, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” But rather, thanks in part to the Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon, it is now we the people who have been definitively crushed. As has our democracy.
The court on Wednesday took a big step toward refocusing needed attention on political speech by striking down arbitrary limits on political contributions. With this decision, and the 2010 Citizens United ruling, political speech is no longer the redheaded stepchild of the First Amendment.
The fundamental feature of American democracy is the guarantee that everyone shares in choosing our leaders. For some, that means walking precincts and going door-to-door to hand out pamphlets and handbills. It means stuffing envelopes and making telephone calls. Others, who may not have the luxury of time away from family or work commitments, express support for a candidate by writing a check to pay for newspaper advertisements and television commercials.