The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


February 3, 2014

Breaking workers’ backs

— President Obama is showing considerable concern regarding the gap between the wealthy and the poor. He proposes raising the minimum wage as a partial solution. A recent Daily Item article noted the world’s richest 85 people are now worth same amount as poorest 3.5 billion, revealing this disparity with real numbers.

I was a “good little capitalist” during my 40-year career, using my professional skills to help the rich get richer. A History Channel series titled the “Men Who Built America” opened my eyes. It exposed how the sweat of lower-class backs (and ruthless tactics) built these mens’ wealth.

If wages were raised, would the wealthy just increase prices? The referenced article also stated that in the United States, “the wealthiest 1 percent have captured 95 percent of all economic growth since the financial crisis of 2009, while the bottom 90 percent have gotten poorer.”

It is my opinion that, no matter if a wealthy man made his fortune by retail sales, manufacturing, or sweatshop, it all comes down to the broken backs of the nation’s poorest. Every month our earnings go to banks, large retailers, utilities, and insurance companies. How much did you get to save? While you are worried about how to make your payments, the rich are worried that they’ll lose their millions.

I do not think raising the minimum wage will help much, but something needs to be done. Perhaps by way of social programs, a high tax on excess wealth could help move some of the money in the right direction. 

Harold Lerch, Sr. Middleburg

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