The public will decry the "opposite sides of a counterfiet coin" that is party politics, and the disaffected will gather in the center and support locally-selected candidates in larger numbers. Meaning Duckworth & Casey are history, spawning profound changes in the democratic party apparatus.
ActBlue will supplant the national democratic fundraising machine, providing directed contributions to local candidates of choice. Once the "bigs" realize they can cut out the middle fat layer, they will likewise contribute online.
Somewhere around March or April, the "prime time" bloggers in the political arena will reach critical mass with their cross-publication topical journal on all things progressive. Similar to the "AP", the online-only publication will begin to penetrate the likes of Yahoo & Google News with daily releases, and downstream e-mail delivery.
What the hell, it's all just projection after all.
The minimum wage has been an important part of our nation's economy for 65 years. It is based on the principle of valuing work by establishing an hourly wage floor beneath which employers cannot pay their workers. In so doing, the minimum wage helps to equalize the imbalance in bargaining power that low-wage workers face in the labor market. The minimum wage is also an important tool in fighting poverty. [Source: EPI, Oct '04].
Arguments against the minimum wage are usually put forth by those who: have never had to survive on that "floor"; are right-wing conservative idealogues who advocate for a "free market" including the "right-to-work".
Ya gotta love the logic of providing public benefits equal to 87% of the poverty line for a family of three, while minimum wage stagnated at 78% in the 80's. Brilliant. Why mandate a floor that produces net gains to the Treasury, when we can just pay more in public benefits - including healthcare?
I don't believe these are separable going forward. To the extent they remain discrete legislative items, each may be reduced or limited, then promoted as "advances" for "working Americans". If the past is any guide the wage will be debated downward, and medical care for "the X million children" will provide a poor substitute for universal healthcare. ("At least we covered the kids.")
If we are to build a floor for the workers in this Country, we should at least make it built to last. Tie the issues in a package, and include COLAs sufficient to maintain that ephemeral "minimum standard of living". The National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) provides the numbers for rent alone in their Out of Reach: 2005 report:
In Alabama, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $527. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities, without paying more than 30% of income on housing, a household must earn $1,758 monthly or $21,094 annually. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into a Housing Wage of $10.14.
I'm just really tired of seeing "working" and "poor" in the same sentence.
Seems like the relatively new "Portal Toolkit" from Internet Scout project @ Wisc. Edu might be worth a look. The feature set looks good, but not being a programmer, I don't know level of difficulty/usefulness of the software.
Prepared at the direction of Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Iraq on the Record is a searchable collection of 237 specific misleading statements made by Bush Administration officials about the threat posed by Iraq.