<\body> Stories in America: Minimum Wage Earners on Today's Oprah, South Dakota's Abortion Ban on Tonight's NOW

Friday, April 14, 2006

Minimum Wage Earners on Today's Oprah, South Dakota's Abortion Ban on Tonight's NOW

Oprah has been doing great programming on poverty, our poor education system and teenage girls who dumb themselves down to attract boys. She still does shows about dieting and makeovers, but you have to give her credit for exposing social issues to millions of viewers (mostly middle aged women) around the world. If she only focused on these kinds of issues, half of her audience would probably tune out.

Today's program focuses on the thirty million Americans who currently live on minimum wage, which has been $5.15 an hour for the past nine years. Republicans would like you to believe that all minimum wage earners are teenagers working at fast food joints, but that's not the case:
Supporting one child on minimum wage is hard enough, but imagine feeding a family of six with only $16,800 a year. Brian and Mary are faced with this reality every day.

Brian, who draws blood and does lab work at a local hospital, makes $9.22 an hour. Annually, he makes $9,000 less than the federal poverty level and still manages to provide for his wife and four daughters. His wife Mary had to quit her job after one of their daughters was diagnosed with autism, and that's when their financial situation turned desperate.

The Templeton family does not qualify for Medicaid and they have no health insurance. Medical bills keep piling up. The last bill they received was for $5,000.
I wonder if Oprah will mention the fact that every year, Democrat-sponsored bills to raise the wage are killed by Republicans. Probably not. She tends to steer clear of naming parties.

And Tonight's NOW focuses on South Dakota's Abortion Ban:
South Dakota's Alpha Center, headed by Leslee Unruh, is one of dozen clinics across the state that provides what they call 'post abortion counseling.' "There is no freedom after abortion. You carry an empty crib in your heart forever," Unruh said.

One of the center's clients, a young woman named Carrie, attributed her stress to the abortion she had when she was 21. She is now married and the mother of three children. "Taking a life is considered murder...sometimes I think I should take myself down to jail," Carrie said.

NOW attended the Alpha Center's 'Purity Ball' in which young girls in South Dakota pledge their chastity to their fathers in an effort to abstain from pre-marital sex.

In age where the lines of politics, personal ethics, and religion are blurred, NOW asks the question: When is it appropriate for personal morality to become government policy?


At 4/14/2006 12:52 PM, Anonymous sara said...

I used to think Oprah spent too much time on expensive makeovers and tips for redecorating, but you're right, people would probably tune out. I doubt most viewers are political activists.

At 4/14/2006 2:08 PM, Anonymous truthseeker said...

I'll beat timmy to this dumb questions: then why not pay them $50 an hour?

At 4/15/2006 5:47 PM, Anonymous timmy said...

And I'll beat truthseeker to this one: Then why not pay them $100 and hour?

At 4/15/2006 5:52 PM, Anonymous AJ Fish said...

Man, as important as the minimum wage issue is, I am really glad she did that "Stupid Girls" show. And Pink is pretty cool too.

At 4/15/2006 6:45 PM, Blogger storiesinamerica said...

Yeah, I didn't know much about Pink until that show. Did you hear the comment she made about her husband? That he was amazed when she wanted to share books and talk about real issues?

I'm glad she did that show. Hearing those girls say they dumb themselves down for boys was very sad...

At 4/15/2006 6:46 PM, Blogger storiesinamerica said...

p.s. timmy, do you think taxes should be lowered? Then why not get rid of them?

At 4/15/2006 8:54 PM, Anonymous timmy said...

p.s. timmy, do you think taxes should be lowered? Then why not get rid of them?

Yes, I do think they should be lowered. I also like Milton Friedman's "negative income tax" idea for poor people.

I don't believe in eliminating taxes, just redirecting them in a vastly more efficient manner.

If I had to pick one guy whose ideas (particularly concerning taxes and the minimum wage) have impressed me quite a bit, Thomas Sowell would be at the top of the list.

At 7/25/2006 12:11 PM, Anonymous Ann said...

Would this family be better off if the father were unemployed? If not, then raising the minimum wage is gambling with their future.

And what about the autistic daughter? Would they like to see her locked out of the workforce for life because of high minimum wages? Wouldn't she be happier if she had a chance to work, meet people and know that she was contributing to society, even if only in a small way? Why deny her the pride of a job?

The way to help this family and others is through a higher Earned Income Tax Credit, which can be targeted to poor families. Not all those that earn minimum wage are middle class teenagers, but many of them are. A high minimum wage means more money for those middle-class teenagers, while poor black teenagers and 'special needs' individuals may be locked out of the market completely. It's not an efficient way to help poor families.

At 7/25/2006 12:22 PM, Anonymous truthseeker said...

Sorry Ann, but your Republican talking points are stale and false. San Francisco's minimum wage is $8.50 an hour and guess what? They didn't lose any jobs. While $8.50 isn't enough to have a decent living in SF, it sure beats $5.15 an hour. By the way, do you apply the same rules to CEOs who make $100 million a year? I didn't think so.

At 7/25/2006 3:45 PM, Anonymous Ann said...

How do you know that San Francisco "didn't lose any jobs"? And what rule are you talking about regarding CEOs - should there be a minimum wage for CEOs? Should they get EITC? Be specific.

Why would you prefer a higher minimum wage rather than higher EITC? You didn't address any of my arguments. Do you really think that the number of jobs is totally independent of wages? Unless there's literally no connection whatsoever, there's a tradeoff where a higher minimum means more money for some (including middle class teenagers) at the expense of lost jobs for others. Are you saying that this tradeoff never occurs?

I'd genuinely like to understand why anyone (other than a politician) would support a higher minimum wage rather than higher EITC. Politicians like the minimum wage because they can pretend that it doesn't really cost anyone anything. But anyone who doesn't believe in the 'magic free lunch' would surely prefer to see benefits targeted to those that really need them, while allowing even low-skilled people to have a job if they want one.


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