Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Sep 15th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

sam farr2The idea of raising the federal minimum wage has been gaining national support. Where do you stand on that issue?

It is a shame that our country has not raised the minimum wage so that all American workers can earn a livable income. When Democrats first took control of Congress after the 2006 election, we made wage reform one of our top priorities and passed the first minimum wage increase in years.

Inflation has unfortunately slowly eaten away at that raise. When adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage is now lower that it was several decades ago. If the minimum wage was indexed for inflation, it would be worth almost $11 today. Instead, the current rate of $7.25 per hour leaves workers with just $15,080 a year to pay their bills.

Imagine trying to survive on such a low amount, let alone raise a family. Yet that is what we are asking of our friends and neighbors. In many working-class American families, both parents are spending less time at home because they are working two jobs in order to make ends meet. Low-wage workers have also become an unnecessary burden on government programs as more are forced to rely on federal assistance to get by. Meanwhile, the shareholders of corporations that pay these low wages are enjoying the benefits of record profits.

That brings us to the real problem of a low minimum wage: growing income inequality. The gap between the haves and have-nots has been steadily increasing since the 1980s. The wedge creating this gap is our record low minimum wage. A low minimum wage suppresses the wages of all workers even as GDP grows. So while a select few benefit, many Americans are left living paycheck to paycheck.

Voting to raise the minimum wage does not have to be an “us against them” argument. Instead, Congress should recognize that when workers prosper, everyone benefits. More money in the pockets of American families means they will spend more on goods and services. This injects vital dollars into our local businesses to grow an economy that work for everyone. Raising the minimum wage would help restore balance and stability to our nation’s economy.

We have watched the trickle-down economics experiment fail for too long now. It is time we reinvest in policies that work. I say it’s time for trickle-up economics and that starts with a livable minimum wage.

As Congress closes out its 2013 session, what do you feel is the biggest issue left undone?

The Republican-controlled House waited until the last minute to tackle many pressing issues. While I am writing this response, we are still trying to hammer out the final details for a Farm Bill and a long-term budget deal despite already passing several extensions on both of those issues. I remain hopeful that we will be able to reach an agreement on both this week. However, the reluctance of the Speaker to move any legislation to benefit the American people has left Congress with a lot of unfinished business.

One issue left undone that is particularly troubling is comprehensive immigration reform. Our broken system has forced 11 million people to remain hidden in the shadows. It has split apart millions of families or left them in constant fear that they too will be torn apart. It has denied students the chance to attend college to benefit themselves and our communities. And it has become a drag on our economy as employers scramble to find the workers they need, particularly on the Central Coast.

After the 2012 election, there was real momentum on both sides of the aisle to pass meaningful reform. Regardless of motive, the chance was finally there to push a bill through Congress. The Senate seized on that momentum and was able to reach a bipartisan agreement. Unfortunately, that is the closest we ever came as the Speaker never scheduled a vote here in the House. Rather than listen to the demands of the majority of Americans, he instead listened to only a minority of extreme voices who wish to see reform fail.

The good news is while the post-election environment was our best chance to pass reform in recent years; it will not be our last. Changing demographics and growing public support will continue to push this issue to the forefront. Hopefully that momentum will force Congress to pass reform in 2014 rather than choosing to kick the can down the road yet another year.

Comments (2)Add Comment
burdened citizen
written by Bent Over, December 19, 2013
At a town hall meeting this summer you made a point of how good it was that a young person could get health care for $11 a month under obamacare. In the real world how can anyone get haelth care for the price of 2 whoppers a month. O I get it, someone else pays the difference.
Conservative Santa Cruz County citizen
written by Realist, December 18, 2013
Mr. Farr,
You don't care about the majority of the people or their will. You're a partisan hack and always have been blaming the conservative side of the isle your entire time in congress. Your predecessor was a good man and really for the people of this area. You want to create anarchy and I'm glad their is at least one house of congress that goes against the grain of this administration. Only Dems voted for this AMA without one vote for the other side of the isle and It's coming to fruition with the AMA going downhill since it's implementation. I wish you could be voted out of office, as the democrats are a tax and spend, spend, spend lot.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

A Different Revolution

Aries Moon late Wednesday and Thursday. We think new thoughts and initiate new ideas. Sun in Virgo with Saturn in Scorpio help disciples to create orderly structures to anchor and bring forth new ideas. Stabilizing Taurus moon Friday and Saturday. We anchor new ideas into form and matter, like seeds planted in the soil. We tend them, waiting for green shoots to emerge. Like the gestating Virgo Sun Madonna, awaiting the birth of the holy child, the Soul, the new light at winter solstice. Mercury and Chiron converse about what hurts and what heals.Saturday is a complex day with Mercury (communication), Mars (action!) and Uranus (revolution). Mercury in Libra is opposite Uranus in Aries. Oppositions (recognizing something new appearing over there somewhere) eventually synthesize. Mercury in Libra calls for Right Action and Right Relations, especially with money. Uranus in Aries—the revolution this time must be different.  Also on Saturday, Mars enters Sagittarius. Where are we going, what are our goals, where’s justice, where’s the mountain, do we have good shoes? Sunday Venus trines Pluto—in-depth assessment of money, values and resources. Gemini moon Monday; we talk a lot, tending to tasks in gardens and neighborhoods. Cancer Moon Tuesday and Wednesday; we nurture and nourish. The stars and planets remind us.Note: William Meader, esoteric author & international teacher, will be speaking on “The Soul of Humanity Evolving Through Crisis” at Meditation Mount, 7pm, Friday, Sept. 12.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 12

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Wood Fire Woodie

Scotts Valley pizzeria gets fired up the old-school way

 

What's your all-time best Skyview Flea Market score?

Santa Cruz | eBay Business

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Soquel’s Pinot Winner

When you taste Soquel Vineyards’ extraordinary 2012 Partners’ Reserve Pinot Noir, you will know why it won a Double Gold in June at the 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition.