From James R. Donnell
President Obama wants to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 over the next three years. That’s a 24 percent increase. A better solution is to pass the Fair Tax Act (H.R. 25 / S. 122). Today’s minimum wage earns $15,080 a year. Subtract $1,154 for FICA (Social Security and Medicare, at 7.65 percent) and $533 of federal taxes due. Ignoring state income tax, the take-home pay is $13,393.
Pass the Fair Tax, and the minimum wage earner brings home the full $15,080. They get an additional $2,505 as a reimbursement for the tax paid on the basic necessities. That’s $17,585 take-home — a 31 percent raise in one year! Yes, the Fair Tax is a 23 percent national retail sales tax on new goods and services. According to the experts, the price of every U.S. produced product we buy is about 22 percent more expensive because companies embed the cost of the taxes they pay into the price of their products — thereby passing the cost of corporate tax on to the consumer. Under the Fair Tax, the prices for products produced in the U.S. should drop an average of 15-18 percent at the wholesale level because the embedded tax is removed. Add back in the 23 percent national retail sales tax, and retail prices only go up 5 percent to 8 percent.
So, increase the minimum wage 24 percent over the next three years and hurt small businesses, or pass the FairTax and create millions of new jobs?
Which would you choose?
Cameron Park, Calif.
Violence Against Women Act should be renamed
From Teri C. Stoddard
In The Hill’s “Progressive groups renew attacks on House Republicans over VAWA” (Feb. 26), UltraViolet co-founder Nita Chaudhary claims, “If [the GOP] were serious about protecting women they would immediately pass the Senate bill. Instead they have, once again, decided to play politics with the health and well being of millions of women and men.”
I hope Ms. Chaudhary doesn’t think that using the word “men” at this point will fool anyone into thinking that UltraViolet or other “women’s groups” (feminist organizations) actually care about male victims. If they truly believe in equality, they would join those who want the Violence Against Women Act to be renamed to reflect the reality that domestic violence is not a gender crime. They would be asking for the entire text to be gender inclusive — not just by adding LGBT and gender identity, but by making sure the discrimination that now exists toward abused men ends. They would be asking for accuracy through accreditation. They would be demanding that abused men (40 percent of seriously injured victims) receive services equal to their female counterparts.
But feminism isn’t about equality, is it?
It’s too bad that ideology has overwhelmed the process of crafting an evidence-based domestic violence bill that puts victims, all victims, first.
Sequester cuts will negatively impact vets
From Col. Rosanne Greco, USAF (ret.)
As our congressional leaders point out, veterans are facing the worst job market in memory. And the sequester cuts will only make things worse — destroying 2 million more jobs and slashing services our vets depend on.
These massive budget cuts could triple veterans’ healthcare premiums while simultaneously firing 100,000 active duty troops to reduce costs. This groundswell of new veterans will only make a bad job market worse. While some businesses seem to be hiring, the unemployment rates for young veterans is stuck several points above the national average.
Our nation’s veterans have already sacrificed so much for this country; why are we now asking them to help balance our books? Congress should find savings somewhere else. The Pentagon itself could easily find enough savings to spare veterans fiscal pain by trimming one or two of its largest programs.
The new Joint Strike Fighter alone is slated to cost $1.5 trillion, and the entire fleet was just grounded for a catastrophic engine failure. Budget cutters should cut waste like the Joint Strike Fighter before they touch a penny reserved for troops and veterans.
South Burlington, Vt.
Republicans need to focus on slashing waste
From Karen Ann DeLuca
There is a potentially fatal flaw in the tone-deaf GOP “negotiating” strategy in the sequester debate. Now that the “agreed to” across-the-board cuts have become a reality, the absence of the beneficial reach of the federal government has become evident on some level to all of the vast voting public. Rather than clamoring for tax cuts, their outcry will then be for an increase in revenues, in particular placing more of a burden on the wealthy and corporations, to restore to functioning service a system decimated by the indiscriminate hatchet.
If Republicans ever truly expect to become a party that is competitive on the national level again, or even just expect to maintain the power they have now, slashing budget waste, and not in haste, should be their mantra — they need to take that “no tax wax” out of their ears. If they don’t, they imperil their hold on their current base, because citizens will long remember what affects them personally, versus in the abstract, and that strikes them close to home.