Wednesday, June 5. 2013
A piece in the Wichita Eagle today -- Dan Voorhis: Businesses will benefit from several recent laws enacted in Kansas -- points out that the Kansas state legislature hasn't only been up to complete lunacy this session. Sure, they've passed new anti-abortion and pro-gun laws that are blatantly unconstitutional, and they've cut income taxes -- exempting "small businessmen" like the Koch brothers altogether -- while raising sales taxes. But they've also been minding business:
Voorhis didn't mention the biggest giveaway, which was a bill that ended regulation of the phone monopoly, AT&T, but then he wasn't really reporting -- he was just echoing what the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce lobbyist was bragging about.
Reminds me why I left Kansas in the first place. It was 1974 and I was working in a type shop downtown. I had gotten a series of small raises early on as the owner noticed how much work I was producing, but he developed eye problems, leaving his idiot son in charge of the company, who did nothing. After a long stretch, I went to him and asked for a raise. He told me that my salary was already the maximum the market could bear in Wichita. He did feign sympathy, however, suggesting that if I really did need to make more money, I should move to a higher wage market, like . . . Tulsa, Oklahoma! I quit shortly after that -- at which point they did offer me a much more substantial raise than I had asked for -- and moved to New York City.
Twenty-five years later I moved back to Wichita, bringing a telecommuting job with me. When that ran out, I looked around a bit, encountering the same lame-brained mentality from business owners I had originally fled. One job prospect offered $12/hour to design and build database-driven websites for a client based in China -- yes, outsourcing their IT work to Kansas.
The one thing that Kansas doesn't need is more leverage for business owners to drive wages down. It depresses the economy, and is depressing for everyone involved, leaving everyone in a state of mental disability.
The biggest political difference between the New Deal and now is the amount of effort Roosevelt put into fighting deflation: both in keeping prices from collapsing and in increasing wages, even going so far as to promote unions. Obama has done none of that, letting wages sink while monopoly rents skyrocket. And if Obama and the Democrats won't fight for you, numbskulls like the Chamber of Commerce get a free ride.
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