Why Is U.S. Minimum Wage Less Than Half What Australia Pays Their Workers?

Opinion

on July 02 2012 12:56 PM
US minimum wage rates
Currently 18 states have their own higher minimum wage. Three states are considering increases to their wage floors. And in D.C., legislation is being prepared to propose another round of hikes to the federal rate. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Why is U.S. minimum wage $7.25 per hour while Australia is paying their minimum wage workers $15.96?

It's not because the exchange rate is different. If anything, the Australian dollar is at least equal to the U.S. dollar. The answer is:  a Labour Party, which is, in fact, the majority party in Australia, represents Australia's workers.

American workers have no political party. The Republicans certainly do not represent them. And the Democrats, including President Barack Obama, have become so beholden to wealthy corporations and rich individuals that they can't be counted on to represent workers, either.

The most recent betrayal by Democrats and Obama was discovered when the details of the secret negotiations were leaked from the Trans-Pacific Trade deal, which found that this deal included tax breaks for U.S. corporations who outsourced their jobs and factories to poor countries in Asia. That's right, the U.S. government is still rewarding American corporations for firing American workers! This new trade deal is worse than the NAFTA trade deal that Obama promised to never copy.

Why are both major parties ignoring the interests of American workers? $$$$$$$$$ -- that's why. The conservative-controlled U.S. Supreme Court has been transformed into another tool of U.S. corporations, and has opened the doors to unrestrained funding of U.S. elections by their recent decisions. And these rulings, for the first time, even allow unrestrained funding by foreign donors! The U.S. government is now completely susceptible to anyone who wishes to buy votes.

Members of both parties rely on the so-called contributions from the rich to fund their campaigns -- a flaw that can be held responsible for the collapse of the U.S. economy and the absence of any hint of morality in the behavior of the elected officials in the U.S. government.

It is a lesson to be learned by citizens in every country in the world: Never allow any private funding of elections. This includes funding by candidates, too. All funding must come from the general taxes paid by the public. Ban all contributions -- period.

Once money from the outside gets inside, votes are sold, and the public's interests are, in turn, ignored.

The forthcoming Nov. 6 election in the U.S. will be the most corrupt election of all time. Why? Because the total of outside money will now be counted in the high hundreds of millions of dollars, and the overall total to both parties will be in the billions of dollars! These monies are not contributions. They are legalized bribes. They are investments by the rich to assure themselves of more tax cuts, and will cause more cuts in public programs for children, the poor, and the sick.

This is what happens when outside money rules your government. We have billionaires like the Koch brothers throwing millions and millions of dollars at selfish politicians to vote for their private interests.

This is why American oil, gas, and coal companies continue to contribute millions of dollars to unprincipled candidates in our government. It's not that they don't know fossil fuels are causing climate change. They're simply more interested in making money than in saving the lives of their own children from the devastations growing in severity by climate change. Making a fast buck is the modus operandi of the rich.

The absence of morality by the majority of the rich is obvious. Their lust for more and more tax cuts is obscene. The accelerating growth of inequality is demolishing the middle class. The median assets of American families have declined almost one half. The income of the average family is dropping by the day. It is now commonplace for college graduates to return home to live with their parents. The rate of unemployment in America's youth ranges from 25 percent-50 percent+. The facts are frightening for young people's futures.

It is not surprising, then, to find as much debt abounding around the world today as there is now. Workers cannot survive on starvation wages. Nobody in America can eat three meals a day if they're living on $7.25 per hour. And woebegone, if they get sick. America has at least 52 million people with no health insurance. Coverage of health insurance by small businesses has dropped from 62 percent to 22 percent.

Meanwhile, private health insurance monthly payments have increased each year by leaps and bounds. More and more people are losing access to health care. Politicians who refused to consider a government run program hid the solution to this sad situation. Health insurance lobbyists persuaded our representatives to protect the profits of insurance companies, instead of protecting the lives of Americans. The solution could have provided all Americans with very affordable health insurance, by expanding Medicare.

Americans can fix this mess if we all get smart -- and get political. Americans need to elect a government that cares. America needs candidates who do not accept bribes. America needs, desperately, to create a Labour Party like 50 other nations around the world have already done. We need to throw out the lobbyists and the bribed politicians. We need to vote for a party that will represent the 99 percent.

Howard M Greenebaum is the author of Don't Do It Like They Did It -- in Washington!, a book that explains how we can save America, and other countries, too. His web site www.boldthoughts.org explains Why and How a Labour Party can benefit all Americans.  See and listen to Howard on YouTube.

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