Review labor history before defending Boehner
I was very saddened after reading the March 9 letter from Vince Alescio defending [House Speaker] John Boehner and the Republicans in Congress’ stance against raising the minimum wage. I now realize just how much of our country has forgotten our nation’s history.
Mr. Alescio agrees with Boehner and his braintrust of business owners and CEOs that raising the minimum wage will cost us jobs instead of creating them. He goes on to add the ridiculous idea that lowering the minimum wage may create more jobs. Just what kind of jobs does he think lowering the minimum wage will create? It will create the kind of jobs that would require a normal worker to work two or three of them just to survive. These kind of jobs only destroy prosperity and force workers to become more dependent on government assistance.
This kind of narrow-minded thinking is exactly what my ancestors (and probably Mr. Alescio’s) fought against when they came to America as immigrants and were preyed upon by unscrupulous factory owners who built their fortunes on the backs of our ancestors.
I recently read about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, where 146 workers (mostly young women) perished after they were unable to escape a factory where there were no sprinklers and the owners had locked the doors to prevent the workers from taking a short break.
At the time of the fire, the workers were earning a wage of about $7 per week for a 70-hour work week. The company and most of the others in the garment district also had an unwritten policy of periodically firing large numbers of workers for no reason and replacing them with new workers at lower wages. Are these the “good old days” that Mr. Alescio and Sen. Boehner would like to see us return to?
History has shown that when workers receive a fair wage and a share of the profits of their companies, the entire country is better financially and emotionally. Remember, Mr. Alescio, somewhere your grandparents and great-grandparents are looking down at you and shaking their heads. I know that mine are.
U.S. had its own Crimea with Iraq
When it was confirmed over the weekend that Putin’s response to the revolution in the Ukraine included sending Russian troops into Crimea, American hypocrisy on both sides of the political divide was on full display.
Secretary of State John Kerry told Russia that in today’s world you don’t “invade another country on completely trumped up pretexts” to protect your national interests. Yet, just over 10 years ago in “today’s world,” the same John Kerry voted to invade another country, Iraq, on trumped-up charges (WMD [weapons of mass destruction]), 9/11 involvement, etc. in order to protect our national interests, a k a the corporate interests of Big Oil.
Republicans, meanwhile, claimed Putin acted as such because Obama is weak. These flag-lapel, patriotic Republicans demanded that Obama do more, hypocritically claiming he is “all talk and no action,” while these same politicians recently voted against legislation that would honor our veterans who were willing to make the supreme sacrifice to protect our national interest.
In reality, Putin’s actions in Crimea had nothing to do with perceiving Obama to be weak and everything to do with an America that no longer has any right or reason to exercise moral authority after invading the sovereign country of Iraq in the 21st century on completely trumped-up pretexts to protect our own national interests.
John J. Pagoda
Blame Buffardi for Rotterdam brush fee
Homeowners recently received a letter from the town informing them of the new brush fee that was adopted by the Rotterdam Town Board on Feb. 26 [Feb. 28 Gazette].
To be clear, this fee was conceived by the town administration prior to me taking office (Jan. 1). In fact it was passed by incumbent Supervisor Harry Buffardi along with incumbent Deputy Supervisor William Calder and incumbent Councilman Mike Viscusi, and received absolutely no support from the officials you elected last November.
I sincerely wish they would have heeded the objections of town residents as well as the two newly elected board members (Councilman Larry Larmour and Councilman Joe Villano) and could have come up with a better way to address how the brush pick-up program expense can be covered with the existing tax levy. In fact, they had already built the fee into the 2014 budget which they passed last fall.
I was directed by Supervisor Buffardi to advise residents of the new fee that was created without my involvement. In this case, I am truly “just the messenger.” I will continue to strive to provide all the town residents with this vital service in the most efficient and cost-effective manner in hopes that such an additional fee may be eliminated.
The writer is the highway superintendent.
Today’s TV shows appeal to worst in us
I am no high moralist. Far from it. However, am I the only one who regrets how television programming has sunk to new lows? Profanity, nudity, sex and crass behavior have become standard fare, the new norm, if you will.
Promos for the programs in which this stuff proliferates airs in prime time for our children to see and hear. We have dumbed down and degraded ourselves to a degree I never thought possible or tolerable.
In my opinion, the moral fiber of our society has declined considerably, and I cannot understand why we so casually accept this?
James E. Callahan
Enlightened stance on time changes
Hoorah! You finally wrote an editorial we all can agree on, “Spring forward and stay!” [March 8 Gazette]!
As for children going to school in the dark, why not start at 9 or 10 a.m.? They’re half asleep anyway, especially when Little League starts. Besides, the school buses won’t interfere with people going to work!
Congratulations and good luck all around
Good luck to [new editorial page editor] Mark Mahoney. His background appears to be a good fit for this area. Great job to [retiring editorial page editor] Art Clayman. People like you and Carl Strock kept us aware and entertained for years.
Also, congratulations to all involved who acquired the $3 million to demolish many of the eyesores in Schenectady. Good luck to [Mayor] Gary McCarthy and company in the quest to clean things up. It’s sure needed.
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