Why vote against wage equality?
So, who is against paycheck fairness, a fair minimum wage, sick leave, family leave, fairness for pregnant workers, tax relief for families, early childhood education, and job training?
You can bet some members of Congress will be, and you can bet that they will be primarily members of the Republican Party.
We’ll find out as the economic agenda being proposed by U.S. Rep. An McLane Kuster, a New Hampshire Democrat, moves foward in our nation’s divisive capital. All of those things are in her agenda .
Will they ever be enacted? Time, as is its wont, will tell, of course.
Kuster discussed her agenda, and other issues, at a recent meeting of the Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce. She was there, she said, to hear directly from women about their problems and goals so that she can give them the support they need to succeed.
Good for her, good for the Chamber, and good for the people who attended.
The key, though, still lies with the GOP which controlls the House thus controls the ability of progressives like Kuster to help people who need it.
The issues raised by Kuster are all important , and not just to women. Here’s a way to think about these things that we’ve not heard: What’s good for women is y good for families, thus good for men thus good for the country. John Donne said “No man is an island,” but he could have said the same thing about women.
And we’ve often heard the phrase, “We’re all in this together,” and while it is often said because the speaker can’t think of anything else to say, or desperately needs a platitude, the fact is, it should be true. Yes, it should be true, but it isn’t. If it were, the politicians and businesspeople who still don’t understand why women need, for instance, equal pay would see the error of their ways.
Clearly we are not all in this together, because an awful lot of people, too many of them women, are on the outside looking in. For every Mary Barra of General Motors or Marissa Mayer of Yahoo there are dozens of women working for the grievously unfair minimum wage. Indeed, women hold only 4.8 percent of the chief executive officer positions in Fortune 500 companies.
Kuster made an important point about New Hampshire: In our fair state, women earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Nationally, the gap is 18 cents compared to our 23-cent gap. Why is that?
Some politicians like to point to the fact that things are better than they once were, and that’s true, to an extent. But far too many women are stuck in low-wage jobs and given that the current minimum wage is nearly impossible to live on, and that the vast majority of single parents are women, “better” isn’t good enough.
Recently, in a National Public Radio discussion about proposals to increase the minimum wage (Seattle wants to raise it to $15 an hour, which still isn’t exactly Trumpville) a woman from Georgia challenged opponents of any increase to try living on the minimum for a month.
That’s not a bad idea. How about this: Any member of Congress who wants to vote against a minimum wage increase has to fill in for someone trying to live on it by taking that person’s job and home responsibilities for 30 days.
That should change a few minds. It’s easy to oppose something that won’t affect your life.
It’s also easy for the chairman of the board of Big Stuff, Inc., to cut workers’ hours so as not to have to provide them with health care coverage. After all, it’s not going to affect him.
We hope the Chamber continues to sponsor such discussions and we wish Rep. Kuster well in her attempts to help women and, by helping them, all of us.