Forum Post: Journalist Chris Hedges on Capitalism's "Sacrifice Zones": Communities Destroyed for Profit
Posted 10 months ago on July 25, 2012, 12:05 a.m. EST by LeoYo
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Journalist Chris Hedges on Capitalism's "Sacrifice Zones": Communities Destroyed for Profit
Tuesday, 24 July 2012 09:18 By Bill Moyers, Moyers & Company | Interview
There are forgotten corners of this country where Americans are trapped in endless cycles of poverty, powerlessness, and despair as a direct result of capitalistic greed. Journalist Chris Hedges calls these places "sacrifice zones," and joins Bill this week on Moyers & Company to explore how areas like Camden, New Jersey; Immokalee, Florida; and parts of West Virginia suffer while the corporations that plundered them thrive.
These are areas that have been destroyed for quarterly profit. We're talking about environmentally destroyed, communities destroyed, human beings destroyed, families destroyed," Hedges tells Bill. "It's the willingness on the part of people who seek personal enrichment to destroy other human beings... And because the mechanisms of governance can no longer control them, there is nothing now within the formal mechanisms of power to stop them from creating essentially a corporate oligarchic state."
The broadcast includes a visit with comics artist and journalist Joe Sacco, who collaborated with Hedges on Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, an illustrated account of their travels through America's sacrifice zones. Kirkus Reviews calls it an "unabashedly polemic, angry manifesto that is certain to open eyes, intensify outrage and incite argument about corporate greed."
A columnist for Truthdig, Hedges also describes the difference between truth and news. "The really great reporters — and I've seen them in all sorts of news organizations — are management headaches because they care about truth at the expense of their own career," Hedges says.
The $7.25 Minimum Wage Is Too Low for 21st Century America
Monday, 23 July 2012 15:26 By Salvatore Babones, Truthout | Op-Ed
On July 24, 2009, America's minimum wage went up from $6.55 an hour to $7.25 an hour. It hasn't changed since.
On July 24, 2012, the National Employment Law Project (NELP) is coordinating a National Day of Action to Raise the Minimum Wage, with events planned in more than 30 cities.
The NELP argues that the minimum wage should be indexed to changes in the Consumer Price Index to adjust for inflation. Most other federal benchmarks are adjusted for inflation. The national poverty line, food stamp eligibility and Social Security benefits are all adjusted for inflation every year.
The minimum wage is not adjusted for inflation. The United States has had a national minimum wage since 1938, but it has only been increased 22 times in the past 74 years.
In terms of purchasing power, the minimum wage reached its highest level in 1968. When the 1968 minimum wage is converted into today's dollars using the official Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator, it equals $10.55 an hour in 2012 dollars.
In other words, 1968 America legislated a minimum wage that would be the equivalent (in purchasing power) of $10.55 an hour today.
Activists Seek Increase in Federal Minimum Wage
Tuesday, 24 July 2012 09:30 By Tony Pugh, McClatchy Newspapers | Report
WASHINGTON — In an election year dominated by socioeconomic themes, it seems logical that raising the federal minimum wage would become a heated campaign issue in the battle for the presidency. Stagnating wages and the increasing concentration of wealth among the nation's highest earners have prompted calls to boost the purchasing power of American workers. At $7.25 an hour, a full-time federal minimum-wage earner makes about $15,080 a year, which is below the federal poverty level for a two-person family. But neither President Barack Obama nor Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said much about the minimum wage, though Obama once called for raising it to $9.50 an hour by the end of 2011 and Romney supported indexing it for inflation earlier this year until conservatives cried foul.
In the absence of a prominent push to boost the federal minimum wage, states and local governments have picked up the slack: Eighteen states and the District of Columbia now have minimum wage rates that are higher than the federal level.
In January, eight of those states – Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and Vermont – raised their hourly minimum wages by 28 to 37 cents. Last month, Rhode Island bumped its minimum wage from $7.40 an hour to $7.75, to take effect next year.
In Massachusetts, which passed the first state minimum-wage law 100 years ago, lawmakers are weighing whether to raise the wage to $10 an hour next year. Voters in Missouri will decide in November whether to hike their minimum wage.
Santa Fe, N.M., and San Francisco boast the nation's highest minimum wage rates, at $10.29 and $10.24 per hour, respectively. San Jose, Calif., voters might lift their city's floor wage from $8 to $10 an hour in November, and volunteers in Albuquerque, N.M., are collecting signatures for a ballot initiative that would raise their city's minimum wage to $8.50 an hour.
Large, Profitable Companies Employ Most Minimum-Wage Earners
Tuesday, 24 July 2012 09:55 By George Zornick, The Nation | Report
If you’ve ever had a conversation about the minimum wage with friends and family, you invariably hear an argument about how raising it would hurt small businesses.
There is compelling academic research that increasing the minimum wage doesn’t dramatically impact employment levels, but a new study underscores another important point—most people earning minimum wage work for large, profitable corporations.
Study: One in Four Private Sector Workers Earn Less Than $10 an Hour
Tuesday, 24 July 2012 13:59 By Travis Waldron, ThinkProgress | Report
The last increase in the federal minimum wage was passed into law four years ago today, but the current minimum wage falls far short of meeting the needs of the average worker. To match the buying power of the 1968 minimum wage, for instance, today's would need to be increased to $10.55 an hour.
And yet, more than a quarter of America's private sector workers make less than $10 an hour, according to a report released this month by the National Employment Law Project:
In 2011, more than one in four private sector jobs (26 percent) were low‐wage positions paying less than $10 per hour. These jobs, moreover, were concentrated in industries where low‐wage workers make up a substantial share – in some cases more than half – of the entire workforce.
Arafat Came Offering Peace, Got Poison
Tuesday, 24 July 2012 10:17 By Dallas Darling, The Palestine Chronicle | Op-Ed
If Yasser Arafat, former co-founder of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), died from a lethal radioactive substance known as polonium, not only was it a clear case of political assassination by means of nuclear terrorism, but when he came bearing an olive branch and offered peace to Israel he only got poison.