"Until progressives come to understand what [fundamentalists] read, hear, are told and deeply believe, we cannot understand American politics, much less be effective."
- Joe Bageant
Conference: Examining the Agenda of the Religious Far Right April 29-30
I will be in New York this weekend for a two-day conference co-sponsored by the NY Open Center and CUNY Graduate Center Public Programs, to be held at CUNY Graduate Center (Fifth Ave & 34th St, Manhattan).
This message from John Edwards appeared on the One America website this afternoon. I am personally encouraged by this message, being a person who is passionate about progressive politics in Upstate New York, whose economy is one of the worst in the nation and whose taxes are among the highest.
I want to let you know about an important new project I am starting as a part of our ongoing efforts to help lift people out of poverty. Today, I am joining with ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, labor unions, and other grassroots organizations to place minimum wage initiatives on the ballot in some states around the country.
As I have traveled across the country exploring ways to move people out of poverty and into the middle class, I have met many people who are working two or three jobs but are still struggling to get by. They are working hard, but it is impossible for them to survive financially on a minimum wage job.
In a country of our wealth, it is wrong for someone to work full time and still not be able to make ends meet. A job should be a bridge out of poverty - an opportunity to achieve the American Dream. But for America's minimum wage workers, especially those with families, it is not.
Minimum wage workers make just under $11,000 annually - about $5,000 below the poverty line for a single mother with two children. We must do better.
The last increase came in the mid 1990s and since then, inflation has completely wiped out its impact. Although the American people overwhelmingly support raising the federal minimum wage, the Bush Administration and Republican Congressional leaders continue to block attempts to increase the federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour. America's workers deserve better, and that's why I am proud to join ACORN to work for change in targeted states.
Together, ACORN, labor unions, other grassroots organizations, and I will work to create an America that rewards work, not wealth. ACORN has already begun working with community organizations and labor allies to place minimum wage increases on the ballot in some targeted states in 2006. Last year, ACORN led the successful campaign to raise the minimum wage in Florida by $1.00 an hour. I am honored to join ACORN in this important fight.
America is known as the land of opportunity. It is time for us to live up to that name. We need to raise the minimum wage so that working Americans are not living in poverty. They work hard for America. It is time for America to work for them.