Written by thillman
Thursday, April 03, 2014 10:43 AM
Democratic Candidate For Congress,Indiana 6Th District
March 15, 2013, during consideration of a bill to consolidate
job-training programs (H.R. 803), Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.)
offered an amendment that, among other things, would incrementally
increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Rep.
Luke Messer (R-IN) voted against this amendment. In January 2014,
Rep. Messer said that he was now open to considering a “two-tiered
increase” in the nation’s minimum wage, but still no vote has been
taken and Speaker Boehner has said he would rather commit
suicide than vote for a “clean” increase. It’s very clear that
that Mr. Messer and the Republican majority in the House of
Representatives will not buck their corporate masters on this
issue, but it's time to raise the minimum wage.Â
In 2007, the federal minimum wage was
increased by $2.10 to the current $7.25 an hour. The minimum wage hasn't
even come close
to keeping up with inflation over the past 40 years. Sadly, 40
percent of Americans make less today than 1968?s minimum wage,
as measured in today’s dollars and if the minimum wage had risen
in step with productivity growth since 1968, it would be
over $18 an hour today.Â
The United States had no minimum wage until
1938, when Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as part
New Deal. Before then, employers could pay workers whatever they
wanted, and they usually wanted to pay very little. Between
1912 and 1920, 13 states plus the District of Columbia passed
minimum wage laws, only to have them struck down by the U. S.
Supreme Court because they were “unfair” to workers as it kept
them from making low-ball offers. In 1933, congress passed
a law that mandated a .25 per hour minimum hourly wage, only to
have it struck as well in 1935 (Schechter Poultry Corp. v.
In 1938, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt,
had to fight Republicans, conservative Democrats, the Supreme Court and
leaders to pass a lasting minimum wage law. In doing so, He warned
“Do not let any calamity-howling executive with an income
of $1,000 a day, who has been turning his employees over to the
Government relief rolls in order to preserve his company’s
undistributed reserves, tell you – using his stockholders’ money
to pay the postage for his personal opinions - tell you that
a wage of $11 a week is going to have a disastrous effect on all
American industry.”(1938, Fireside Chat, the night before
signing the Fair Labor Standards Act that instituted the federal
Studies from both conservative and liberal
think tanks have recommended raising the minimum wage, and Australia has
results from raising theirs but opponents continue to promote two
ideas that are antithetical to the economic well-being of
American workers. The first idea being that the minimum wage hurts
the economy by reducing job creation. The second being
that the minimum wage reduces the opportunity for social mobility.
These views are being promoted by Billionaire Charles Koch,
who believes that the U.S. actually needs to get rid of the
minimum wage altogether, which he considers a major obstacle to
But this isn't what we have learned from the
example set in Australia and its more than $16 an hour minimum wage
the only major world economy to avoid the 2009 global recession.
Australia also ranks ahead of the United States and its $7.25
an hour minimum wage in terms of social mobility and the
opportunity for individuals to climb the social ladder. The United
States came in 10th, far below countries like Denmark, which
ranked first, Norway, Finland, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Spain
and France. Australia also had no recession like the U.S. and
there was not a single quarter in which GDP declined in Australia.Â
While raising the minimum wage is ultimately
no cure-all for the economy, countries like Australia show that
workers a living wage will not result in economic Armageddon.
Instead, it highlights how conservatives often revert to scapegoating
low-wage workers for America’s economic woes. In the U.S.,
economic inequality has grown rapidly, and the lagging minimum
wage is in large part to blame. Some states have moved to address
the growing gap between what people earn and the rising
cost of living, but nationally the minimum wage has barely moved
In a robust economy, the minimum wage really
doesn't mean anything since the demand for labor is high and the market
will likely exceed the minimum amount set by the government.
However when the economy is in a recessionary or stagnant mode,
the minimum wage is an important tool in maintaining the crucial
relationship between labor and capital. In essence, it becomes
a “buyer’s market” for labor and allows market forces to keep the
value of labor artificially low.Â
The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 would raise
the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour over two-and-a-half years,
steps of 95 cents each. It will also adjust the minimum wage
annually to keep pace with the rising cost of living - a key
policy reform known as “indexing,” which 11 states are already
using to prevent the minimum wage from falling in value each
year and finally it will raise the minimum wage for tipped workers
- which has been frozen at a meager $2.13 per hour for
more than twenty years - to 70 percent of the full minimum wage.Â
An increase does not cost jobs. Research
indicates that the higher cost of hiring someone is offset by the
stability an employer
gets out of it - better paid workers quit less. It would reduce
income inequality. Two different studies have shown that raising
the minimum wage will help raise the incomes of poor people.
Finally It could help the economy. People who make less money
tend to spend a bigger portion of it. A 2011 study by the Federal
Reserve of Chicago found that for every $1 increase in the
minimum wage, the worker's household spends about $2,800 more a
year. The Economic Policy Institute has said that raising
the minimum wage to just $9.40 by 2014 would increase gross
domestic product by $25 billion and create 100,000 new jobs.
The typical minimum wage worker today isn't a
teenager but an adult who brings home at least half of the family's
We must recognize the value of work and reward it. Restoring the
minimum wage as a “living wage” not only helps these hard-working
Americans raise their standard of living, but it shifts the costs
of public assistance from the taxpayers. No one who works
full-time in this country should have to live in poverty. It's
time to raise the minimum wage.
Written by thillman
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 9:29 AM
Growing your own garden transplants from seed may take some extra work, but it does have its advantages.
Â You'll have a much wider choice of species
and cultivars since most garden centers have limited space and tend to
the plants that sell quickly. Rather than having to buy a dozen of
one type of tomato when you only need one or two, you can
grow just the amount of each plant you need. Or you can grow five
flats of flowers all in the same color for that border garden
you've been planning.Â
On the other hand, growing plants from seed
does present some challenges, including finding enough space with the
environment for healthy plants. They'll need bright light, high
humidity, warm - but not hot - temperature and good air circulation.
If your space for plant production is limited, plan on buying the
more commonly found plants from the garden center, and save
the home production space for the special, hard-to-find items you
can only obtain as seed.
Start with high-quality, fresh seed; look for
the freshness date on the packet. Almost any container can be used for
as long as it is clean and allows excess water to drain out the
bottom. Use a fine-textured, well-drained media, such as a
peat moss-vermiculite mixture. Seeds need high relative humidity
for good germination, so place a plastic bag around the container
until seedlings are up and growing. Too much humidity also can be a
problem, so poke a few holes in the plastic to allow ventilation.Â
Be sure to check your seedlings frequently for
moisture needs. The planting media should be kept reasonably moist
the germination period. Water gently to avoid physically damaging
the tender seedlings. Once plants are up and growing, allow
the media to dry slightly between waterings.
Most home growers get into trouble after the seeds come up by not supplying the plants with enough light. Low light causes
plants to become spindly and weak, so place them in as sunny a location as possible. Use artificial lights, if necessary.
Proper timing is crucial if you want the
transplant to be the right size at planting time. Seeds of tomatoes,
eggplant should be started about seven weeks before your outdoor
planting date. Pumpkins, melons and squash should be started
about four weeks before planting outdoors. Flower seeds will need
anywhere from four to 14 weeks, depending on the species.
Most seed packets have this type of information on the back.
For more information, see Purdue Extension Bulletin HO-14, Starting Seeds Indoors.
Written by thillman
Wednesday, March 05, 2014 1:45 PM
by Shannon Franklin
Spring is always a good time- the weather gets better, the days get longer, we feel like cleaning things out and there is
motivation for exercise, gardening, eating healthier and just a sense of rejuvenation.
Have you ever stopped to take a moment though
and think about how your health affects your over-all well-being both
AND financially? Many people don’t realize that one area of our
life can have an impact on a variety of other areas. For example,
if you live a healthy lifestyle, you are likely to live longer. Do
you have enough money saved to sustain your lifestyle in
retirement? To counterpoint that, if you don’t have the healthiest
lifestyle you might have more medical expenses. Can you
afford high medical bills and have money to invest for the future?
25 Days to Health and Wealth, courtesy of
Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service, offers a variety of behavior
that can be applied simultaneously to improve your health and
personal finances. Here are 10 tips to get you started on road
to health and wealth fitness!
1. Track yourself- many people do not know how
many steps they take each day, how many calories they consume or
many dollars they spend each month. Track your steps by using a
pedometer (check out pedometer.com), write down what you eat
in a food journal and keep a tally of every penny you spend. Do
the math at the end of the week and see how many steps you
walked, how many calories you ate and how much you spent. After
figuring the amounts ask yourself- if there any “emotional”
triggers that caused a behavior such as spending too much, up
sizing a meal or not walking your daily goal.
2. Unload Your Childhood Baggage- believe it or not, childhood experiences affect health and personal finance behaviors. In
this case, baggage can be defined as the false, irrational feelings and beliefs which distort people’s thinking and affect
their health and financial behaviors. Recognize your baggage and turn it into a positive health and financial message. For
example: Negative: No matter what I eat, I am destined to be overweight.
Positive: Can’t change my genetics but I can go for a walk after dinner.
3. Put Your Mind to It-Visualize your health
and wealth goal, remind yourself of previous successes, use power
“I will save $100/month” instead of “I plan to save $100/month”.
Use negative behavior in past tense: “I used to not exercise
but now I can walk a 15 minute mile”.
4. Commit to Making a Change- behavior changes
take place in stages. Pre-contemplation (not being aware of the need
contemplation (thinking about possibly making a change),
preparation (getting ready to make a change), action (actually changing
behavior) and maintenance (sustaining the changed behavior).
Commitment to change takes place during the preparation stage
of change and is where we develop the “I will….” statements versus
continuing the “I plan to…” statements.
5. Defy Someone or Defy the Odds- Defiance
also has its positive aspects and can be used in a positive way to
health and your wealth. If someone says “you can’t run a 5k by
summer” prove them wrong by starting a Couch to 5k program
or by getting a gym membership and training. If you don’t have a
person to defy than defy the odds by not being another statistic.
6. Think Balance-Not Sacrifice-Balance the
intake of something with the outgo. Many people find that their weight
increases slowly over time. By taking small steps you can reverse
the outcome over time. For example, adding 15 minutes of
brisk walking every day will burn off about 100 calories and
result in about a 10 pound weight loss per year. Changing one
spending habit can also make a big difference. Cutting back on a
$1 soda from the soda machine each day will result in saving
$5 per week which over 4 weeks results in $20 a month saved!
7. Control Your Destiny- To achieve health and wealth, expect a positive outcome and work to achieve that outcome. Your attitude
and beliefs about your control over future life events are important success factors.
8. Make Progress Everyday- Any small step to
improve your health or increase your wealth is better than doing
it’s parking the car a little further away from the store to walk
more, clipping coupons to save money or reducing the number
of soda’s you drink, every little step helps towards taking care
of your health and wealth.
9. Get Help and Be Accountable- Other people
can be an obstacle or a resource to making progress toward health and
goals. The trick is to get supportive people like family, friends
and coworkers on your side. Try walking with a friend, cooking
healthy meals with your spouse or roommate, or walking the dog
each day. The best support comes from people who themselves
practice positive behavior and those who will provide critical
feedback when needed.
10. Say “NO’ to Super-Sizing- this doesn’t just relate to fast food! How many of us have purchased 3 of something because
the fourth one is free? Or how many of us have super-sized our fries for just a few cents more? Saying no to “meal deals”
will help you save on BOTH calories and money while saying no to non-food spending will save you from buying in excess so
that you aren’t spending money to save money.
These are just a few ideas for changing or
sustaining your financial health and wealth. Change takes time and can
so if you fall of the health or savings wagon, get back on and try
to avoid the things that tempt you. If you want to lose
weight, avoid buying cookies at the grocery store or if you want
to pay off your Macy’s credit card, avoid looking at store
ads or receiving email offers. Your health and wealth are related,
so don’t let yourself get under the weather! (Information
Â For more information on this topic or any
other, please contact Shannon Franklin, Purdue Cooperative Extension
HHS/4-H Youth Development, 812-438-3656 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Purdue University, Indiana Counties and U.S. Department of Agriculture
cooperating an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Institution.
Shannon Franklin is Purdue Extension/Ohio County Health and Human Sciences Educator/4-H Youth Development.
Written by thillman
Thursday, February 06, 2014 12:25 PM
In honor of National School Choice Week,
Congressman Luke Messer has announced the formation of the Congressional
Caucus. The caucus seeks to highlight how applying market-based
principles to education can enhance student achievement. Members
of the caucus will be dedicated to expanding educational freedom
and promoting policies that increase high-quality education
for all children.
“No child should be forced to go to a school where they won’t have a meaningful chance to learn,” said Congressman Luke Messer.
“That’s why school choice matters. Whether that means open enrollment, expanding charter schools options or more excess to
virtual classrooms, empowering parents with a choice will give their children a greater chance for success.”
House Speaker John Boehner, author of the
first school choice language ever to become law, said he is pleased with
Messer’s decision to form the Congressional School Choice Caucus:
“In America, a good education is the great equalizer, something
that gives our children the chance to fulfill their potential no
matter how they fared in the lottery of life. That’s why
the more we can do to empower parents to pick and choose the
schools that best meet their kids’ needs, the better. When parents
have the ability to select the best learning environment for their
kids, they thrive and so do their communities. It’s one
way for us to live up to our billing as the 'Land of Opportunity.'
I’m pleased Representative Messer is launching the School
Choice Caucus to draw greater attention to the value and
importance of school choice.”
Congressman Messer is the former head of School Choice Indiana—an organization dedicated to expanding quality education options
for Hoosier families. He also spoke on the House floor earlier this week to commemorate National School Choice Week, which
runs through Saturday. For a link to the video, click here.
Indiana Representatives Larry Bucshon, Todd Rokita, Todd Young and Jackie Walorski are also Congressional School Choice Caucus