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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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For our children

I agree with John Hilferty about this paper allowing us a forum. I would like to add that I appreciate the people like him who take advantage of this very special asset to our community so that a conversation can be had.

Having said that, I have to say that Mr. Hilferty has succumbed to the Republican myth of private sector free market theology.

I have a chart in my lap created by the St. Louis Federal Research Organization. It shows national wages as a percentage of the economy, Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It starts in 1948 and ends in 2011. Wages are lower than they have ever been as a percentage of what we create. What this says is not necessarily that we make less money per hour but that as we produce more stuff more efficiently we’re getting less of the reward for our labor.

That’s how Mitt Romney pays only 16 percent on his massive income. He gets rewarded not with wages but with capital gains and so, through the Republican preference for money over people, he pays only minimal taxes. No wonder we have Republican-led deficits. Remember it is and was the Republicans who led us to this deficit with two wars at over a trillion dollars while cutting taxes to the wealthiest of us.

I also have another chart showing wages in the private sector vs. public sector. They’re virtually identical. Private sector workers earn on average $45,000 per year, state workers earn $48,700 and municipal workers earn $43,000. So, even if we are willing to say to our public sector brothers and sisters that they shouldn’t make enough to live on, you’re going to have come up with facts to show that they’re the problem.

As for your last non-sequitur about Social Security and Medicare, Social Security is $2 trillion dollars in the black and by law is forbidden to be part of the national budget. Medicare has an easy solution if there were no politics: single payer and cutting costs. We pay almost double the amount for health care as any of the countries with a single payer system.

By the way, I have the “guts” to talk to my children and others of the next generation set. My grandchildren are still too young to understand. I don’t know why you say things like that. It demeans you.

As a “defender of the ‘fair compensation’” for workers, all workers, I’m directly concerned about my children. I won’t be affected. They will. And I’m unconcerned about “greedy bloodsucking corporations.” That’s a different conversation. For our economy to be successful we have to pay more, a lot more, to the people who actually do stuff and make stuff, the workers. If we raise wages then more of us will pay more taxes and goodbye $1.25 trillion in “missing” funds. Public or private, workers need unions to be able to negotiate a middle class wage.

Robin Lehman, Warren



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