LETTERS

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October 2, 2006

Letter to the Editor

Wages

Alec Brandon’s ponderous exhortation (9/16/06, “Slamming progressives on minimum wage”) to “progessives to stop consuming themselves with the fight against poverty and... focus on actually trying to win the fight against poverty” is as daft as it is mystifying. Brandon visits violences on the truth with a brazenness that would have had Richard Nixon blushing from jowl to wrinkling jowl. Here an example of especial audacity: we are assured that while we were away, the so-called “big-box” ordinance was inflicted upon the fair denizens of Chicago by the cabal of nefariously minded progressives to whom Brandon continually addresses himself. Bad news on that score. The said ordinance was in fact approved by the city alderfolk with the blessing of straight-thinking people everywhere. Presumably this was what Brandon was alluding to.

But here the truth and Brandon part ways. Cavaliere Daley, in his considerable wisdom, boldly stepped in on behalf of the defenseless workers and vetoed the ordinance. The measure will never was and will never enacted, as long as Daley is calling the shots at city hall. For Brandon and Daley both know that if the ordinance had been made law, poor people all over the city would have lost the opportunity that they so dearly cherish to land plum seven dollar an hour gigs and duly revolted at the ballot boxes. It is probably worth pointing out that there has been no credible study conducted which concludes that Wal-Mart has anything but a deleterious effect on local economies, depressing wages and destroying the diversity of local stores. Thankfully, despite Brandon’s dire predictions of Wal-Mart walking away from Chicago, the status quo ante summer has been very much preserved.

The “estate tax” is cited as another issue on which the liberal poseurs have hijacked the debate with their so-called “rhetoric.” Here again, Brandon is on pretty poor terms with reality. The “death tax,” as it is uncharitably called by GOP types, is a tax levied on about two percent of the populace when it turns its toes up. The pie-in-the-sky rhetoric on this one is pretty well the exclusive preserve of the right. The talk of Nanny Gummint reaching her sticky mitts into the pockets of poor, grieving widows is a spectacular piece of disingenuous windbaggery. In fact, the Estate Tax is an entirely fair measure designed to prevent the emergence of plutocratic dynasties and level the playing field a slight for those starting out in the world of work, points that have been made ad nauseam by Warren Buffett and other defenders of the impost who are actually affected by it.

James Rumsey-Merlan

Second-year in the College