Correspondence

//Correspondence
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Letter to Dr. Ben Carson

November 3rd, 2015

Dear Dr. Carson,

 

Over the past year, there have been advances in wages for workers. Many cities and states have increased their minimum wages providing millions of impoverished of Americans with a long-overdue raise. But at the federal level, progress is nonexistent. Because of party infighting, futile “Obamacare” repeal efforts and corporate lobbying, there has been too little focus on long-needed relief for suffering Americans.

 

You have said that there is something wrong “when you have situations where you have some guys making two or $300 million and you’ve got all the workers struggling.” To fix that, it’s time for you to do more to support raising the federal minimum wage.  While it is good that you support raising it, you must tell us how much you support raising it by. Adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum wage in 1968 would amount to about $11 per hour, significantly above the current $7.25 an hour. Does that seem fair when the CEO of Walmart makes over $12,000 an hour and lavish benefits?

 

Here are some facts about raising the minimum wage for you to consider:

 

You can’t survive on $7.25. A worker making the federal minimum earns approximately $15,000 gross a year, far below the $24,000 poverty threshold for a family of four.
The current minimum wage stifles economic growth. Since 1968, the minimum wage has lost one-third of its purchasing power, meaning that working Americans have far less than they need to spend on necessities
A higher minimum wage will lead to fewer people on welfare: A 2014 study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would lead to a savings of $7.6 billion annually in social welfare programs.
Raising the minimum […]

By |November 2nd, 2015|Correspondence|Comments Off on Letter to Dr. Ben Carson

Letter from Ralph Nader to the House Freedom Caucus

10/26/15

Dear Representative

Over the past year, there have been significant advances in wages for working-class Americans. Many cities and states have increased their minimum wages providing millions of Americans with a long-overdue raise. In Congress, however, progress is nonexistent. Between party infighting, futile “Obamacare” repeal efforts and corporate lobbying, there has been too little focus on long-needed new policies and solutions for suffering Americans.

 

There has been much attention as of late on the influential, right-wing House Freedom Caucus, of which you are a member. It’s time for you and the other ideologically-driven, upper-income members of Congress to show some true gumption and get behind a winning issue that truly matters to working Americans.

 

You should follow through on your words about promoting “the prosperity of all Americans” instead of supporting a corporatist, anti-worker agenda. This year, the Freedom Caucus could reinvent their image as obstructionists by working to pass a meaningful increase in the minimum wage this year. It would be a defining statement for Congress to unite and act on a pressing issue that affects millions of workers whose frozen minimum wages have been gutted by inflation for many years.  Why, just adjusting it to inflation since 1968 would take it from $7.25 per hour to about $11 per hour. (Labor productivity has doubled during that period.)

 

Here are some facts about raising the minimum wage for you to consider:

 

You can’t survive on $7.25. A worker making the federal minimum earns approximately $15,000 gross a year. Far below the $24,000 poverty threshold for a family of four.
A higher minimum wage will lead to fewer people on welfare: A 2014 study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would […]

By |October 26th, 2015|Correspondence|Comments Off on Letter from Ralph Nader to the House Freedom Caucus

Ralph Nader and Academics Sign Letter to Hillary Clinton to Support a $15 Minimum Wage

October 12th, 2015

Dear Secretary Clinton:
Economic policy and income inequality are guaranteed to be two of the main themes of the 2016 presidential election. One way that you can fight for working families this election cycle is to stand up for a $15 minimum wage.

You have repeatedly spoken highly of the Fight for $15, stating “We need you out there leading the fight against those who would rip away Americans’ right to organize, to collective bargaining, to fair pay.” So why won’t you support a $15 minimum wage?

For the past few months, you have repeatedly been non-committal to what you think the minimum wage should be. But your statements to the AFL-CIO on July 30th indicating a support for the $12 minimum wage being debated in Congress is disappointing.

Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour instead of $12 an hour will have a tremendous impact on the economy. It will provide a raise to another sixteen million Americans, injecting millions into the US economy and growing the GDP.

A $15 wage hike would lead to a decrease in public assistance programs. A study by the Center for American Progress showed that even by raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would cause a 6 percent drop in SNAP enrollments, saving $4.6 billion a year. Imagine what we could do with a $15 minimum wage.

Madam Secretary, it is time to start being a true champion of the working class, not just pandering to them for their votes and then turning your back whenever it’s convenient. It’s time for you to use your status as the Democratic front runner to join Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley in supporting a $15 minimum wage.
Sincerely,
Ralph Nader Consumer Advocate
Frank Garvey Organizer – Time […]

By |October 20th, 2015|Correspondence, News Coverage|Comments Off on Ralph Nader and Academics Sign Letter to Hillary Clinton to Support a $15 Minimum Wage

Letter from Ralph Nader to Congressional Leadership

Senator Mitch McConnell
317 Russell Senate Office Building U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable John Boehner Speaker of the House
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Boehner and Senator McConnell,

In your comments after the Republican midterm victories last week, both of you struck a conciliatory tone, pledging to lead your now-bicameral legislative majority in a way that reflects the public sentiment and is open to reaching across the aisle. You would be hard-pressed to find a better chance to turn this rhetoric into reality than the opportunity you have this month to bring a minimum wage raise to a vote in this Congress’ final session.

The midterms results were yet another display of the public sentiment behind a minimum wage raise. On the day of your electoral victory, voters in four states — Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Alaska — checked “Yes” for raises in the minimum wage on the same ballot that they used to elect four new Republicans to the Senate. Their votes match nearly all public opinion polling about the minimum wage, which American workers have witnessed erode from an inflation-adjusted level of $10.92 per hour in 1968 to a miserly level of $7.25 per hour today. The results of a Pew Poll on inequality from the start of the year illustrates this public sentiment: 73% of Americans — including 53% of Republicans and 71% of independents — support increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Republican politicians outside of the Washington echo chamber have gotten the message, too: Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Rick Santorum all have acknowledged that it is time for a raise.

What message will it send to voters if your first act of leadership after the midterms is blocking a vote […]

By |November 17th, 2014|Correspondence|Comments Off on Letter from Ralph Nader to Congressional Leadership

Cory Gardner: Fringe on the Minimum Wage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Statement by Ralph Nader on Colorado Senate Race: “Cory Gardner: Fringe on the Minimum Wage”

Over the years, Cory Gardner has not held back from letting Coloradans know how staunchly opposed he is to minimum wage raises. In 2006, he opposed a ballot initiative to raise the Colorado minimum wage. In 2007, he again voted against raising the Colorado minimum wage. And earlier this year, he spoke out against pending legislation to modestly raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10.

What he is not letting on, though, is how fringe his minimum wage position is relative to history, modern economics, business interests, conservative principles and the public sentiment.

Fringe relative to history: The federal minimum wage is as American as Elvis, enacted in 1938 by an overwhelming majority in Congress. It has been raised over 20 times and has ­­ despite near­constant cry­wolfs by corporate lobbyists ­­ never caused a problem. As Republican Congressman Don Young put it, “I have been through three different minimum wage increases and I have not seen that much of a negative impact to our economy.” A raise in the federal minimum wage today from $7.25 to $10.10 ­­ benefitting tens of millions of American workers ­­ would be no different. In fact, today’s push for a higher minimum raise is less of a raise in the minimum wage and more of a restoration of the minimum wage, seeing as the minimum wage 46 years ago was $10.94, adjusted for inflation.

Fringe relative to economics: Earlier this year, seven Nobel Prize­winning economists and eight former presidents of the American Economic Association endorsed a higher minimum wage, arguing the “a minimum­wage increase would provide a much­needed boost to the earnings of […]

By |October 29th, 2014|Correspondence|Comments Off on Cory Gardner: Fringe on the Minimum Wage

Letter to Tim Cook on Stock Buybacks and Poverty Wages

Tim Cook
CEO, Apple
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 95014

October 23, 2014

Dear Mr. Cook,

“Designed by Apple in California” has a nicer ring to it than “Assembled by workers paid about a dollar per hour, working 11­hour shifts, and sleeping eight to a room in the Jabil Circuit corporate dormitories in Wuxi, China.” But, no matter how you spin it on the iPhone packaging, you continue to turn away from the horrid working conditions and miserly pay at your Chinese factories. Just last month, while you displayed ­­ through a two hour event on the ins­and­outs of tiny iPhone 6 and Apple Watch design breakthroughs ­­ how capable your company is of solving problems it cares to solve, China Labor Watch and Green America revealed ­­ in their newest report, “Two Years of Broken Promises” ­­ how you have failed to apply even a modicum of the problem­solving focus you bring for product design to the “serious health and safety, environmental, and human rights violations” at Chinese factories assembling the iPhone.

“That’s the price of affordable phones,” says the corporatist argument. This could be the case, if Apple was just barely profitable. But, as revealed in a recent letter responding to Carl Icahn’s call for more stock buybacks (you respond to billionaire’s pleas much more often than workers’ pleas), Apple is planning to have repurchased $130 billion of its own shares by the end of next year. In short, Apple is so profitable, that it does not know what to do with $130 billion except buy back stock from its shareholders to maybe boost its share price.

There are many alternate ways could have spent its surplus profits. For example, what if Apple decided to invest […]

By |October 23rd, 2014|Correspondence|Comments Off on Letter to Tim Cook on Stock Buybacks and Poverty Wages