Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I didn't listen to the speech --I was eating commodity eggs as a feast

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us, but if we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)

No, I didn't listen to the President's State of the Union speech... I was probably eating my third helping of sausage in the parish hall at St. John's. After the eggs and pancakes, of course. We mixed "commodity eggs" in to the real eggs we had --to stretch them. ("Commodities" are those foods promised by the Federal government by treaty, now given only to the most needy --and they consist of canned meats and vegetables, instant mashed potatoes, powdered milk, cheese --well, kinda like a cheese --it's something like a 10% cheese product, peanut butter (with sugar of course), and powdered eggs. Oh yeah --and a drink that is 10% fruit juice. Something like that. They are not a joke per se --some of the foods are real 'comfort' foods that bring back good childhood memories --and the eggs are part of that. But, even though every Native American living on a reservation is due these foods by treaty, the Feds put income requirement on top of them, so now the commods are rare foods to be had. So, it was a big deal to mix in the 'commod' eggs. A real treat.

Puts a whole new spin on a pancake supper for me....

Back to the President's speech --I did look for highlights of the speech in reviews and rebuttals... I found this on the minimum wage which Obama suggested be raised to $9/hr:
--the federal minimum wage, which remains $7.25 per hour. The federal rate has not been raised since 2009, after the last of a series of increases signed into law by President George W. Bush.

Advocates for higher minimum wages consider a cost-of-living adjustment something of a holy grail, since it would remove the need to re-legislate a new minimum wage every few years. As it is now, the federal minimum wage tends to lose its purchasing power each year because of inflation.

If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation since its historic high in real value during the late 1960s, it would now be roughly $10 per hour.

Wait.... So.... even at $10 an hour, that makes an annual income of about $20,800 (before taxes, remember --a higher tax rate than say Mitt Romney pays) --and that income is still below the poverty level.... If one adds to that the usual scheme of having to pay for some health benefits (or not) and any contributions to some kind of retirement fund --the income really sucks. Really. Sucks. Not to mention what it does to the psyche....

If one is to work full time and remain below the poverty level --well... what is there to say? To be raised out of the poverty level of pay, it will take a minimum pay hike to about $17/hr....

So, in my mind, the President's speech, blasted as a liberal or progressive agenda, hardly moves us down the road to economic justice --it is merely a matter of the status quo. Just sayin'. And commods like powdered eggs will remain worth their weight in gold in the poorest county in the Nation --served at a feast night.

Sigh.....

There is a lot of sin I carry to the altar this Ash Wednesday. Economic justice. Pollution. Devastation of the environment. Vanishing species. Gun violence. Violence against women and children. Racism. You know, that kind of thing. And, the sins of our ancestors, which are visited upon the children of today....

Those are the obvious sins. Things known. And done. But we are also called to repent of things unknown, things undone.... Those things we dare not face, or cannot face....

At prayer this morning (a portion of Hebrews 12:1-14)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
....
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Peace. Holiness. Patience. Perseverance. Humbleness....

(Luke 18:9-14)
Jesus also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Oh yes... and loving our enemies....
Off I go.

Dang it... I forgot to copy the address to the link for the quote on minimum wage.... sorry.

Mea culpa.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The argument against minimum wage increases boils down to the likelihood that it will in the end lead to higher prices because employers need to raise prices to make up for the higher wages.

So it's all a giant game of chaseing one's own tail--or maybe like the Red Queen, running as fast as you can just to stay in place.

What ought to be done will probably never be done, even if the power of right-wing obstructionism weakens: take health care and retirement as economic goods that the individual has to pay for on his/her own. Social Security and Medicare do that, but only in part. But a $20,000 income would go a much longer way if society did what it ought to do, and guarantee everyone a certain level of medical care and retirement.

Kishnevi

it's margaret said...

yeah --what ought to be done will probably never be done...

--as to higher income making everything else go up --that works in the economic model of scarcity (capitalism). What we might do instead is put a limit on profit margins.... When insurance companies were blossoming in the 60s and 70s, there was a cap on how much profit they could make --at around 10% as I recall. Now, they are allowed up to 30% profit margin... in order to pay mostly non-profit institutions (hospitals) less.... go figure.

Anonymous said...

Obamacare does have a cap on profit margins for insurance companies (or more exactly, a formula that requires a set percentage of premiums to be paid out to hospitals and doctors). But usually such caps are simply an invitation to creative accounting or outright evasion....

Kishnevi