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August 27, 2009 - 8:09pm

Senator Ted Kennedy on Mininum Wage...For the Working People

posted by Bea McManis in minimum wage, Ted Kennedy, working people.

Davie Ohlson made the comment that Senator Kennedy didn't know about working people.  He may not have worked in a minimum wage job, but he sure as heck fought for those who did.

Peter O'Brien
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Kennedy had no clue what a real job was about. He never lacked for anything (as can be seen by his size).
Howard B. Owens
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The minimum wage isn't an unalloyed good. While it undoubtedly helps some people, it also causes many people to languish in unemployment, hitting hardest youth in urban neighborhoods. It probably also prevents some people from gaining their full earning power because employers can use the excuse of the minimum wage to keep wages artificially low (instead of competing for the best employees in an open market, they know the other guy isn't likely to pay much more than minimum wage either). Increases in the minimum wage can also drive marginally profitable businesses out of business. Now you can argue that such businesses that can't afford to give their employees raises don't deserve to be in business, but in a free-market system, the marginal businesses deserve a chance to compete fairly without interference from the government just as much as more profitable businesses do. And I'm not completely unopposed to the minimum wage. The economists don't all agree on the impacts of the minimum wage. And certainly, there are employers who will take advantage of employees without some checks on their power, but I do tend to lean toward the side that the minimum wage does more harm than good. So Kennedy doesn't get any brownie points for his support of the minimum wage. Kennedy's support of minimum wage reminds us, rather, than he never ran a business.
Dave Olsen
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spell my name right, please, and don't call me Davie
C. M. Barons
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Minimum wage regulation may have detractors, but Bea was making a point pertaining to Kennedy's dedication to the working class. The Kennedy family may now represent the gilt essense of upper class America, but the wealth and power that support the notion has existed a handful of generations. The dated notion of nouveau riche would have suited them in the 1920s. The Kennedy clan arose from working class Irish to American business leaders and politicans. For the Irish, the American Kennedy clan embodies the apex of an ethnic dream. Certainly in the American landscape of the mid-20th Century, that embodiment persisted on this side of the Atlantic as well. Our current century is less forgiving of human foibles; the tarnish of indiscretion is less patina, more taint. The dealings of bootlegging, backroom politics, inroads with Germany and the Vatican of Pius XI, Sein Fein, etc. cloud the gleam of Camelot. Still, the Kennedy politicans never concealed their Irish - working class roots (aside from bestowing Joseph instead of Patrick)- a proud loyalty born of both old-school ward rooms and the allure of their Celtic heritage. Fault them for their ethical lapses, they were never less than the vanguard of progressive politics.
Howard B. Owens
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And my point, C.M., Kennedy was not necessarily a working class hero by supporting minimum wage. By the account of some economists, he was doing great harm to the working class. And let's not forget, Joe Kennedy allegedly became rich running rum during prohibition.
Peter O'Brien
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And why is progressive good? Because it was designed to sound that way? Sorry I think it leads to a 2 class society, the powerful and the rest. Kennedy was a prime example of live the way I tell you to and not the way I do. He was an elitist. Instead of helping the poor to achieve, he gave them handouts. As the old phrase goes "Give a man a fish he'll eat for a day, teach him how to fish and he'll eat forever." He has done more to put people on the government dole than anyone else in Congress. Since the inception of the Great Society, which he supported, society has been in a downward spiral. The black family has been extremely harmed by this. But he was a champion of the minority groups????
C. M. Barons
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aka bootlegging- yes, I mentioned that. And I am not calling Kennedy a hero, though some might. I called him "vanguard of progressive politics." Which I don't imagine you would disagree with. Any biography of the Kennedy family would require a balanced portrayal to be accurate. There is plenty of fodder for both sides of the coin. Whatever history bears out in the measure of the Kennedy legacy, the intent of the Kennedy political philosphy would lean toward advantaging the working class. Certainly the Irish-Catholic background of the Kennedies favors a conservative bearing, and the early tone of Jack Kennedy's political compass had more in common with Joe McCarthy than Adlai Stevenson. But the aborted careers of both Robert and Jack leave only speculation on how their influence might have panned out. Ted Kennedy upheld their mantel of empowering the underclasses as they so eloquently voiced it. Whether we look back on the era that Lyndon Johnson dubbed as building a Great Society with appreciation or criticism is the privilege of Monday morning quarterbacks and personal political philosophy. Our perview does not affect the intent of those who behaved under guidance of their best instincts and the methodology of their time. What I hear you saying is that Ted was perpetuating an outmoded agenda. That could be looked at as either the reticence of a septuagenarian or benefit of experience. It's all a matter of perspective.
Bea McManis
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C.M. thanks. At least someone got it. I could have selected a number of speeches, but this particular one illustrated his passion. One doesn't have to have experience the hardships of others in order to understand them. I'll never be a brain surgeon, but I can certainly understand the years of education; dedication and skill required to perform that job. Yes, you can teach a man to fish, but too many make sure he isn't fishing in their ponds. Whether we like it or not there are downtrodden in our country. They are there, not because they want to be, but because of circumstances we may never imagine and hope never to encounter. Joseph Kennedy, for all of his faults, instilled in his children the love of country and the responsibility of giving back to the country of their birth. I can understand the criticism of Ted Kennedy. I can even understand the blind hatred. Perhaps it is that blind hatred that refuses to acknowledge that he, or his siblings, ever did anything right.
C. M. Barons
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Just remember, Bea. You can hate a rich, phillandering politician who advocates for the downtrodden. Don't ever hate a health insurance company that denies payment to the cancer patient whose condition is pre-existing.
Bea McManis
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Posted by C. M. Barons on August 28, 2009 - 4:27pm Just remember, Bea. You can hate a rich, phillandering politician who advocates for the downtrodden. Don't ever hate a health insurance company that denies payment to the cancer patient whose condition is pre-existing. ooops, we're not allowed to discuss pre-existing conditions on this site. I was told to get off that horse.
Dave Olsen
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A. Ms. McManis, you still haven't corrected my name, if you're going to talk about me, that's OK, just get my name right. B. I really try to not hate anyone, even a rich philandering politician (that would burn me out). Well, maybe insurance companies........ Lastly, Originally, I said Ted Kennedy did do some good, you just didn't think that was accolade enough. There are people who could do a great service to this country if they had the opportunity, but unless you are wealthy with a well known family name or connected to them so as to get their financial support, one has no shot of getting elected to office. Our policies are being shaped by elitists who have never made an honest dime in their lives and keep getting re-elected over and over. Ted Kennedy is a prime example. That was my point. I'd have a lot more respect for him if he was as passionate about term limits for US Senators and campaign finance reform as he was about the minimum wage. Because, you see, one effects him directly, the other does not. Follow?
Bea McManis
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Mr. Olsen (sorry about the name mistake) Last night, one of the stories that was told about Senator Kennedy addressed the issue that he "never did a day's work". Apparently, while giving a speech, someone in the audience made the same statement. The following morning, he was touring a facility, and a worker came up to him. The worker held out his hand and said, "Kennedy, I hear you've never done a days' work. You haven't missed anything!". Term limits is usually a phrase that is bemoaned by those who aren't in the majority. Many felt the same way when the Republicans held the majority for 12 years. The truth is that our electorial process is the greatest tool for term limits. The people decide when they no longer need the services of an elected official. If that wasn't so, then we would no longer hear about a 'former' senator or a 'former' representative. We need senior members in Congress. The have come up the ranks and chair the committees. They have the experience and the knowledge to move legislation through the convoluted path. They, also, forge the bonds on both sides of the aisle which are necessary for bi-partisan cooperation. Another story told last night was from Oren Hatch (R) Utah. Senator Hatch said that he and Senator Kennedy were bitterly debating an issue on the Senate floor. Senator Kennedy fought tooth and nail to make his point. When the session was over, he walked over to Senator Hatch, put his arm around him and asked, "How'd I do, Oren?". Off the floor, they were close friends. I can see your point of view. Once again, I do apologize for misspelling your name.
Howard B. Owens
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Bea, I don't see how your anecdote about Mr. Kennedy and working sheds any favorable light on him. Also, you write, "If that wasn't so, then we would no longer hear about a 'former' senator or a 'former' representative." The reason their former is because they quit or resigned under indictment; rarely is it because somebody else beat them in a election. Mr. Reynolds quit, for example, under a cloud of suspicion because of his connection in the Mark Foley matter. The statistical fact is (and I forget the exact number, but it's some where in the 3/4 or 80 percent range), incumbents never lose. But the solution to the problem isn't term limits (term limits haven't helped California at all). The answer is changing election laws that unduly favor Republican and Democrats at the expense of third parties and independents, and make gerrymandering illegal. With those changes, we would have more competitive races that would make incumbency less of an advantage. And otherwise, term limits is just changes one Democrat for another, or one Republican for another, and nothing changes at all.
Bea McManis
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Howard, it wasn't meant to shed a favorable light on him, it just illustrates that the comment is not new and has followed him his entire career.
Karen Miconi
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Bea, not to get off the Kennedy subject, though I think it would be a good thing, Is there some kind of a ricotta stuffing I can make for the long, light green, sweet peppers from my garden? I have seen someone on TV roast them in the oven stuffed with some white stuffing. Any suggestions? I have peppers coming out of my ears!! LOL p.s. Is Mr. Kennedy the reason waitresses received a raise in pay years back? If so, Thank you Mr. Kennedy. I can remember making $1.90 an hr. about 15 years ago. UGG
Bea McManis
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Karen, I'd have to check and see if I can find a recipe for you. Just so we don't take up space on here, email me at [email protected] and I'll send them to you privately. Thanks, Bea PS: Yes, Senator Kennedy spearheaded the minimum wage law.
Karen Miconi
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There's are girl!! Thanx Bea!! Have a wonderful weekend my dear.
Dave Olsen
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Bea; you said, regarding long time senior congress people"They have the experience and the knowledge to move legislation through the convoluted path" I submit that the reason for the convolution is too many long time members. Howard, I take your point regarding gerrymandering and the power the 2 parties in the 2 party system wield. I believe those 2 parties get their power and influence from the financial backing they can muster. The media usually defines a "front runner" by how much money he or she has raised. I think term limits will help to break the "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" mentality. Also, it is my belief that the founding fathers when they wrote the Constitution envisioned citizen-lawmakers who served for a few years and then went back to their regular lives not career politicians. I am generally libertarian in my attitude toward government, but unfortunately term limits are are a necessary infringement on peoples' right to choose. Again, just my opinion.

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