Tuesday, October 16, 2012
"The notion that ones economic fortunes were connected with ones character ones hard work, ones thrift, ones persistence and dependability ran strong in the American bloodstream throughout the nineteenth century. The theme had its origins partly in the old Calvinist idea that good economic fortunes were a sign of Gods favor, a visible symbol of belonging to the elect. It was also an outgrowth of individual experience, since many, like Lincoln, found that hard work did enable them to get ahead. But with the dawn of the Gilded Age, this belief was transmuted from Lincolns message of hope into a verdict of condemnation. It became a rationale for blaming laborers for their desperation and condemning the working poor for their very poverty. Meanwhile, any government effort to intervene on workers behalf was to be fiercely resisted as a violation of natural law. Proposals for legislation to mandate an eight-hour workday threatened the very foundation of civilization. Even laws forbidding child labor were anathema. Godkin editorialized against a proposal for a New York state constitutional amendment forbidding employment in factories of children under ten. The government, wrote Godkin, might as well tell us what to eat, drink, avoid, hope, fear, and believe." Garfinkle, Norton. American Dream vs. the Gospel of Wealth : The Fight for a Productive Middle-Class Economy. New Haven, CT, USA: Yale University Press, 2006. p 67. From the dawn of the Gilded Age. The 8 hour workday, the minimum wage. I wonder if it would be okay to increase the minimum wage by 3 or 4 dollars per hour. Then some low paid minimum wage earning full-time workers would actually make enough money not to be "takers" and would have to pay some taxes, would earn enough to pay some taxes! As if those who make minimum wage working full time and pay no taxes aren't giving society and the company they work for some service and profit!!!!