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The US minimum wage “debate”

From World Socialist Web Site - February 21

On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report estimating the effects of raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour, as proposed by the Obama administration. The report intensified the debate within the political and media establishment over a possible increase in the minimum wage.

The report concluded that the minimum wage hike would increase pay for 16.5 million Americans, but eliminate 500,000 jobs. According to the CBO report, the increase would lift 900,000 people, or 0.2 percent of the population, out of poverty. This is a tiny fraction of the 46.5 million people—or 15 percent of the population—now living below the federal poverty line.

The Democratic proposal would leave the minimum wage at a lower level, in real terms, than it was in 1968, nearly 50 years ago. At $10.10 an hour, a worker laboring 34 hours a week—the average in America—would earn an annual pre-tax income of $17,856. This is significantly lower than the government’s absurdly low poverty threshold for a family of three.

Berlin and Washington foment civil war in Ukraine

From World Socialist Web Site - February 20

Recent events in Ukraine are a warning to the working class. They make clear that political leaders in Washington, Berlin and Brussels are prepared to split the country, drive it into civil war and risk a conflagration across the entire region to achieve their geopolitical goals.

Following the failure of the Ukrainian opposition and its Western supporters to overthrow President Viktor Yanukovych by means of demonstrations and replace his regime with an EU-friendly government, armed fascist gangs are being mobilized to achieve the same aim.

On Tuesday, Kiev witnessed the bloodiest clashes since the protests began three months ago. Twenty-six people, including several policemen, were killed, and some 1,000 were injured when gangs armed with paving stones, guns and firebombs engaged in violent street battles with government security forces.

The Comcast-Time Warner merger: The case for public ownership

From World Socialist Web Site - February 19

Last week Comcast, the largest US cable television and broadband provider, announced that it would merge with Time Warner Cable, taking over the second-largest US cable company for $45 billion. The merger would create a vast monopoly that would control over one third of the cable television and broadband Internet markets in the United States.

The merger is yet another expression of the growing control of enormous corporations over ever-greater sections of media, communications, and economic life, and the effective abandonment of anti-trust regulation by the US government.

The company that would result from the proposed merger would have almost twice as many broadband Internet subscribers as its closest competitor, and would have some 32 million customers, according to figures by the Leichtman Research Group. Its two closest competitors, AT&T and Verizon, have 16 million and 9 million customers, respectively.

The UAW debacle in Tennessee

From World Socialist Web Site - February 18

The vote by Tennessee Volkswagen workers to reject the United Auto Workers was an entirely justified rebuke to an organization that has betrayed the working class for decades. After a two-year, multi-million dollar campaign, the 712-626 vote against the UAW was a stunning defeat for the organization, which believed that the backing of Volkswagen management would ensure its victory.

The so-called “union drive” was an attempt by VW and the UAW to impose the UAW on a work force that did not support the discredited organization, which has not called a national auto strike in nearly four decades and devotes all of its efforts to suppressing the resistance of workers to layoffs, wages cuts and speedup. The UAW and the company attempted to blackmail the workers into voting for the union by suggesting that failure to bring in the UAW would result in a new SUV model being moved to Mexico.

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