Month: January 2016

Marketplace will decide wages

Increasing the minimum wage and income inequality will continue to dominate the news in 2016. It is expected that income inequality will take center stage during the presidential nominating and general election campaigns. Income inequality is not something that will be corrected by protests in the street; it would take systemic changes in tax laws, lobbying rules and reforms of campaign finance laws. Increasing the minimum wage can be accomplished at the ballot box. Voters sympathetic to workers’ demands for a higher wage are not necessarily the people who would benefit. Oregon has one of the highest minimum wages at $9.25 (the federal minimum is $7.25); a measure in the 2016 general election would call for an increase in our state’s minimum to $15 by 2019 and annual increases after that. Businesses say that an increase will force them to raise prices; some businesses say a wage increase will cause them to cut jobs. An increase in payroll also increases a businesses’ tax bill as well as increased contributions to Medicare and Social Security. Business has always passed on its increased expenses to its customers, a wage increase would be no different. Reasonable people would not begrudge a fellow citizen from earning a life-sustaining wage. The debate will come down to what a living wage is. A post-high school teenager earning $9.25 an hour might be quite satisifed with...

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Paint part of the mural

To the Editor: The Keizer  Mural, located on the long exterior wall of Town and Country Lanes,  is developing with great community input and involvement.  A number of local people are designing the individual images and will soon create a collage with the  numerous elements of the Keizer Iris Parade. Keizer Public  Arts  Commission (KPAC) and Keizer Arts Association(KAA) will soon be sending out a ‘call to artists,’ asking for submissions of  portrait  portfolio work. This’ heads up’ is an opportunity to develop a few representative  pieces of portrait  work for the  paid commissioned  faces that will be a part of the mural. Details will  be explained in the actual call to artist announcement.   Final selections will be done by the KAA board.   If anyone is interested in joining the community mural effort, please attend the next meeting, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 6, at the Keizer Civic Center.  At this meeting Barbara Hunter, a local artist,  will offer  a short presentation on  impressionistic techniques that will be used in the making of the  mural. There will be several mural-related presentations over the next few months. Experience or none, professional or amateur, young or old, all are welcome and we will have  jobs and tasks for  most  everyone. Please, come join the effort,  contribute and be a part of the growing expressions of Keizer  art. We have a number of  images just waiting to be claimed and developed. Come to...

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Gesture brings smile to my face

To the Editor: One afternoon in the the summer of 2013, I had a very brief exchange with someone whose name I still don’t know, but I think about him often and would love to thank him for brightening my day with his inspiring attitude. I had just entered the Keizer Civic Center and was headed toward City Hall when I heard steps behind me. I looked and noticed that an older man was hurrying to get ahead of me. He opened the door and stood there holding it for me as I passed through. I thought “Wow, that’s chivalry!” and I thanked him for the gesture. He smiled and shrugged a little and said “My wife is watching me from above.” As soon as he was gone, I turned into a mess of tears, admiring this man for honoring his wife in such a lovely way. Wherever he is today, I hope he is still smiling at her memory and doing little things to make her proud. Dorothy Diehl...

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Bernie Sander’s lessons for capitalists

By E.J. DIONNE JR. There is an irony to the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders: The senator from Vermont is often cast as exotic because he calls himself a “democratic socialist.” Yet the most important issue in politics throughout the Western democracies is whether the economic and social world that social democrats built can survive the coming decades. Let’s deal first with the tyranny of labels. “Socialist” has long been an unacceptable word in the United States, yet our country once had a vibrant socialist movement, whose history has been well recounted by John Nichols and James Weinstein. Socialists had a major impact on the mainstream conversation. Reforming liberals, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, co-opted many of their best ideas, and it’s one reason they were marginalized. Moreover, the vast majority of “democratic socialists” are now properly described more modestly as “social democrats” because most on the left believe in a successful private sector. But they also favor a government that achieves broad public objectives, from a clean environment to wide access to education, and regulates and redistributes in ways that strengthen the bargaining power of those who don’t own much capital. When Sanders defined his own brand of socialism earlier this year in a speech at Georgetown, he made clear he’s in this camp. “The next time you hear me attacked as a socialist, remember this,” he said, “I...

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Want an outsider for president? Consider Musk

It is reported and polls show many Americans want a person elected president who’s not a politician. Not someone who’s a member of the so-called “establishment” or those folks who year-after-year make certain one of their favorite cronies is elected to the highest political office in the land. I join those who want an outsider elected to lead my nation and will, as I’ve hoped for all the years I have been an adult and paid taxes, work for all Americans not just a chosen few as I feel the case is now, not only in D.C. but in Salem, too, clamoring, often successfully, according to media stories, for favors with every new governor.  At the national level, I want a person not now running, Elon Musk, while at the state level, a person who gets things done and create enthusiasm for all things Oregon, such as Oswald West and Tom McCall did. Musk, born in 1971, is a guy who proved himself early in his life and has continued to prove himself more than many who want to hold the reins of government but offer nothing impressive beyond a glib tongue.  Unfortunate to my dream is that Musk was born in South Africa and the U.S. Constitution demands that the occupant of the White House must be born in the U.S. In Musk’s case, an exception to the U.S. Constitution, Article 2, Clause (5) would have to be made. Musk’s...

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