Bird Droppings April 8, 2020
Ethics and Politics
There are so many things happening in our world that are often at the whim of a politician who we voted for or in my case against. The auto industry was being remade, wars are being fought, jobs are appearing and disappearing, and health care reform is possibly off and on the table. We are seeing oil prices lower than in fifteen years due to an international price war. I find it is amusing that our elected officials have given themselves unbelievable health care and retirement package along with other perks and yet only offer to restrict and or eliminate our own, especially in times like we are experiencing now. Our officials have literally unlimited health care and a retirement package second to none for serving in the senate or congress and literally a decent retirement for life.
With jobs on the rise in some areas and in others in slow motion, or collapsing as in many hospitality industries, maybe it is a good time to ponder about minimum wage. Our officials who raise their own salary and perks just about every year as the can sneak them in. Amazing how politics works, working people and those trying to work and lift themselves up get often nothing and Senators and Congressmen can vote a raise for themselves. In another session a few years back, Democrats were at one time trying to tie the minimum wage to their own salary raises. I definitely like that idea; however, it didn’t fly. Sadly, even with a minimum wage, many workers are below the national poverty level. Many that are working and for whatever reason extremely limited or hindered in the types of jobs they can get.
Now in a world of budget-cutting in some areas, huge deficit spending in others and now a four trillion-dollar stimulus package who knows what will happen. Some politicians are even offering to reduce minimum wage and increase hours children can work almost as if we are taking steps backward. Other legislation is calling for deregulation eliminating OSHA and EPA and yet deaths in industry under OSHA have significantly been reduced. Not many of us recall days of no PPE in industry. Pollution across our nation has been reduced because people are staying home which shows human impact on pollution. Even now in a time of crisis internationally it is still about the profitability of corporations that find many politicians offering plans to help industry improve their profit not just survive but pay dividends. Dumping coal ash into rivers in coal regions as an example. Asbestos is coming back some are saying.
“Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Funny why should we worry about money and success, who needs it? I recall only a few years back when gas was nearly four dollars a gallon we all are looking for bargains and stretching each dollar. It is true many folks have not the need to keep up with the trends and are content with what they have. But it is how we tend to overlook selfishly those with less. The raise recently proposed for congressmen per year would be more than a fulltime minimum wage paycheck for a year for a family. It is sort of like saying I am more than your equal so I deserve this money actually a slap in the face to the working man or woman.
“Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden
At what point is a lot of money too much and what do you do with billions of dollars? I watch the president rant and rave and yet few are as selfish as is he in terms of his human dealings. I read yesterday where an investor lost billions, but was still worth ten billion dollars. Why does anyone need ten billion dollars? I am not sure a speculator in real-estate is a good choice for a president. It was not too long ago he was bankrupt multiple times. We idolize the rich and wealthy and as Steven Colbert pointed out in his humor one night we like rich people. Thinking back to a good friend’s comment about where sociopaths end up, many are politicians.
“I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, and he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Henry David Thoreau
We have to be able to dream and often that is stripped away with the attitudes and structures imposed by various sectors of society.
“What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates his fate.” Henry David Thoreau
Self-esteem, self-understanding or the knowing of thy self as the ancient Greek philosopher said so many years ago. We need to know who we are and why. I started arguing about the selfishness of so many people including our leaders in Washington who I am sure will justify their raises in some fashion and I am sure through lobbyists will justify not granting a raise to minimum wage. It is amazing what a few fast food lobbyists can do and business owners. Maybe that is how you justify a raise for yourself, be it through savings from not raising the minimum wage. I am looking forward to a day of testing high school kids. I would much rather be writing and reading and taking a garden break. I forgot to visit the local nursery and garden shop this weekend. As you ponder your own place in this world please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts namaste.
My family and friend’s I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)