Sunday, December 04, 2005

Try Living, Eating and Heating in Idaho

Job gap study just a start to big problems

Sandy Miller's Nov. 26 article, "Idahoans struggle to overcome gap," depicted what residents face in terms of a living wage. It's a shame so many of them aren't interested in why this happened. Unfortunately, the reasons wouldn't fit in a 400-word letter.

Most of us know any minimum wage increase has been struck down now for years, but did you know that Congress gave itself a $3,000-plus cost-of-living raise before breaking for Thanksgiving -- right after it defeated another bill for a minimum wage increase.

As for health insurance costs, I have to wonder if the insurance companies calculate premium increases the same way that malpractice insurance is calculated. A study in July 2005 revealed that the huge increases in malpractice fees are not because of hits taken by the insurance companies but for their projection of possible hits. And why, in the face of spiraling health care costs, would this administration implement a Medicare prescription benefit that denied the ability to negotiate lower medication prices?

Why is there such a problem with purchasing drugs from Canada? These are the same drugs we purchase here, manufactured by the same companies. In fact, there are over-the-counter drugs sold in America that are manufactured in Canada.

Do you know that in 1990, chief executive officer pay averaged 85 times that of the average worker? It is now more than 300 times the pay of the average worker. Wages for most workers lag inflation, i.e., have fallen, but productivity has grown rapidly over the past five years. Here's an item of interest:

Stephen L. Baum, chairman and CEO of Sempra Energy, earned in 2004: salary, $1,090,563; bonus, $2,183,400; stock options, $1,130,584; other, $540,560; grand total, $4,945,107.

With an administration that gives massive tax breaks to the same businesses who make life impossible for the average American to survive in comfort while also destroying the environment, it shouldn't take freezing in your home before the light turns on -- the kind that doesn't require electricity, anyway.

Get a clue! If what you are spouting is a "talking point" from BushCo, chances are it's false and/or misleading. Manipulation is the name of the game; leave out the negatives, enhance or create some positives. Easy to do when you appoint heads of agencies who are plucked from the very industries they're supposed to monitor. It's doubtful our nation will ever recover from their actions.