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by
Bridget Johnson

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January 22, 2014 - 12:09 pm

Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairman Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said that increasing the power of unions is key to addressing income inequality in America.

“We need a comprehensive plan, but let’s start with increasing the right to collective bargaining,” Ellison said on MSNBC. “We’ve got to get workers on the job in a position to demand that the wealth that they create be shared by the company. That’s a key thing. If you look at how wages has stagnated in the United States and you look at how union did something that has gone down, the lines track right together. You got to get power in the hands of the workers. That’s key.”

He also encouraged more spending, saying investment is needed as “America’s infrastructure is crumbling.”

Then comes challenging “philosophy.”

“Because if you listen to my Republican colleagues, what they’ll tell you is that we can’t possibly ask the corporate rich community to abide by a regulation, to health and safety regulations, or pay their parent shared taxes, because if we do, it will hurt jobs. Of course, the opposite is true,” Ellison said.

“If we increase the minimum wage, if we increase wages generally and create a high wage economy, we will see everyone, even rich people, make more money. But, they’ve got the scarcity-based thing and we’ve got to change it.”

Ellison said the federal government needs to lead by example by raising those employees’ wages first.

“Right now, the federal government — highest federal contractors who have more low wage workers than Walmart or McDonald’s combined. The federal government should lead the way. It shouldn’t lead the way on the race to the bottom. It should set the labor conditions of a fair wage economy.”

And finally, the congressman said trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership should be opposed.

“All we’re really doing is taking advantage of those bottom billion who are getting by on nothing. We’re taking advantage of fact that they have no money and very — living on less than a dollar a day. When we go do trade with a country like Vietnam, and without demanding that they increase their labor standards, we’re just creating — exacerbating that issue of rural inequality.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (7)
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"When we go do trade with a country like Vietnam, and without demanding that they increase their labor standards, we’re just creating — exacerbating that issue of rural inequality.”

I wonder if this idiot realizes he's talking about a communist country when he talks about Vietnam?

Inequality in a communist country? How can that be? According to Ellison, giving power to the workers solves all the inequality problems?
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
My union just wants my dues, not collective bargaining on my behalf.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
So the idea is to make all of us equally poor?
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sure, increase minimum wage. Why not? While we are at it let's set a maximum wage too and put everyone on hourly pay scales. Of course you would also have to set the prices for goods otherwise the costs would go through the roof. The maximum wage would have to be low enough to cover the raise in the minimum wage so that some money could be set aside for business expenses like upgrades or repairs of equipment and such.

Or, we could just pay everybody the same wage. Make all schooling and job training free. Give everybody aptitude tests near the end of grade school and send each student on to either college, trade school, or for the really dumb ones, straight on to a menial job. Just think, no one would have to worry what they were going to do for a living, the government would tell them, everyone would be equal, no one would be making any more than the next guy. While we're at it, the Government could collect ovum and sperm and mix them in test tubes, wouldn't want a woman to have to take time off to have a baby or raise a family. The government could take care of all that for us. No one would need a big old house either since there wouldn't be any need for families, we could just have a bed in a barracks at work and a messhall for our meals.

Sure sounds like a great life to me. Now if you will excuse me I think I will go off somewhere and barf!
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wouldn't the really dumb ones be sent to Congress?? After all, Ellison, Pelosi, Reid, Jackson Lee, etc., fit in perfectly there and they are as intelligent as a bag of rocks (sedimentary, not igneous).
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's what I said, straight on to a menial job.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wow. This is a conglomeration of half thoughts and nonsense sentences. He might as well have gone on the program and repeated "bippity boppity boo" for 3.5 minutes.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
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