…And the Poor Get Poorer
Re Saket Soni’s “Low-Wage Nation” [Jan. 20]: yes, wages have been and are falling or flat. Yes, US workers are, to some degree, “contingent,” as are (legal and illegal) immigrant workers. I could add that a high unemployment rate is the “new normal.”
And these phenomena are caused by not passing an immigration bill? There are laudable reasons for passing that bill, but helping US wage earners is not one of them. Unless, that is, you can repeal the law of supply and demand. Soni is, in effect, advocating the opposite of his well-intentioned cause. An excess of low-skilled labor is not the only cause of US wage earners’ (and no-wage earners’) distress, but it may top the list of economic and social variables.
The Viagra Effect
Believe it or not, there was a time, not that long ago, when employers had to offer employees top-notch healthcare or they didn’t get top-notch employees [Katha Pollitt, “Goodbye, 2013,” Jan. 20]. There was also a time when birth control wasn’t even an option—most insurance companies wouldn’t cover it, and if they did, premiums were exorbitant. When did birth control coverage begin? When Viagra came out and was immediately covered. As an employer, I say you do not have, nor should you, the right to dictate anything to your employees.
The biggest mistake was having employers control healthcare in the first place. It started during World War II as an incentive when wages were frozen. No employer should have that kind of power over the lives of employees.
In “A New Era for New York City” [Jan. 20], Bob Master says, “State-level gerrymandering will preserve redoubts of reactionary power at least until the next redistricting in 2022.”
But the evils of gerrymandering can be neutralized without waiting until 2022. State constitutions can be amended. Promote constitutional amendments that say simply, “The people of the State of _____ direct that a system of elections shall be created by law that results in voting strength in the (House) (Senate) (Congressional delegation) that is distributed between and among the various parties in direct proportion to the distribution of total statewide votes received by each party in the General Election.”