Seasoned From the Left

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Bernie Sanders’ catapult into the political scene was unexpected. The underdog is now a viable contender for the Presidency. On more than one occasion, Sanders – a politician with rather socialist policies – has stood gleaming in front of packed crowds and has whipped them into a frenzy. Sanders brought up two issues that were of particular interest to the people: low wages and the 80-hour work week that many Americans must endure.  The Vendetta, therefore, is how can Bernie Sanders alleviate these economic issues within America’s capitalist system? Few people can deny that there is a vast gap between the rich and poor. The concept of free markets and free flowing of money is replaced with hemorrhaging, or heavy bleeding, resulting from a rupture. The very people who originally opened the hatch for their own drinking, and are now trying to seal shut the irrevocable damage and make sure that no one else gets through.

Is it time for a big movement from the left, expelling youthful liberal policies?  No, that would mean disaster. Now is the time for a lesson on wages from the revered Senator from Vermont. Sanders is hell bent on educating America on the need for low wages, while completely ignoring inflation. He is pushing for a national minimum wage increase to $15 dollars an hour, but this is contrary to the point that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) – a measurement for the prices of a basket of goods, usually things that most people use in their daily lives. The CPI has been skyrocketing unchecked from the year 2000 onwards. For instance, the inflation rate was growing from 1999 upwards at times up to 6 percent. [ref]Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed August 4, 2015,[/ref] Following the economic collapse, the CPI fell into the negative, meaning that inflation went down. When the economy is doing poorly, inflation goes down. Yet this did not last long. Inflation came back even though unemployment was at a staggering high. Prices leading to $100+ in food bills and $200+ for chain-store excursions are now considered normal. Wage help is superficial when inflation is spiraling out of control. If a person is making 15 dollars an hour, but the cost of food, housing, automobiles, and basic items are all through the roof, then in reality the wages are actually less and the economy weaker.

Sanders’ ranting has tried to include every group in America who is being affected. The working hours of middle class Americans was a central point of Sanders’ speech. “Collapse,” he said, “the Great Middle Class, once the envy of the entire world, has been disappearing.” [ref]Campaign Speech July18, Fox 10 News Phoenix[/ref] Sanders should ask the majority of the  middle class whom they voted for across the board. Those making more than $50,000 a year leaned favorably toward G.W Bush. [ref][/ref]

The year was 2004, the war in Iraq was in full swing. Working people thought that voting for Bush would bring happy returns – lower taxes, corporate profits and opportunities for advancement. Little did the people know that the rug would be pulled from under them. The question unanswered is what causes people to work long hours? Is it fear of losing their job? One thing is for certain, the concept of moving up the ladder is a symbol of success. When the hope of great success does not happen, things can start going sideways. Over time, workers start families, purchase homes, and enjoy the finer things in life. But when the economy is shattered, the rungs of the ladder split, forcing the workers to walk on stilts like acrobats. Inside both the lopsided world of corporate America, and most workplaces in the country, grows an immense fear. Now, in the present day, people are holding on to their jobs with savage ferocity. Dysfunction festers in toxic environments of simple self-preservation while creativity, ethics, and morale go out the window.

The question is, what can actually be done to fix inflation and alleviate working hours? Can we seriously expect the government to alleviate working hours by setting constraints on business? Well, if business is being assisted by government, why not? There really is no footing to cry Socialism when Uncle Sam has been helping the bottom line along. Grievance procedures for salaried employees might pose as a solution. If an employee feels overworked, he or she can petition for arbitration. When two sides disagree on work hours, they can refer to an agency who can help them come to terms with what is fair. This can be established in a hands-off, yet competitive atmosphere so that neither side feels that they have been left to hold a bag, meaning that neither side feels swindled. As for wages, fixing inflation should be made a priority before wages are adjusted. A fluffed wages index can only mean a false sense of security. If workers are paid more but the prices of goods and services skyrocket, people will actually have less.  Any increase in wages by the government can be erased in less than two years.

Bernie Sanders is asking for a shot at running the economy. Some of his words come across with Socialist undertones, but he will more than likely scale it back when the race heats up. It is good to see Bernie emerging from the Dust Trails. At the very least, the Democrats now have another viable candidate even the odds.

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Paul Minassian is a graduate of Whittier College. He has been teaching Social Studies for some time now. He and has participated in two campaigns and enjoyed the process tremendously. He likes the news of the world but now is solely focused on three domestic issues: the Elections, The War on Terror, and the Economy. Paul's political leanings are Progressive. He believes in fiscal conservatism, but does not like to see the government neglecting it's citizens, or intruding upon their lives.

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