Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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January 10, 2019

Sullivan’s Salvos     1/15/19

In this edition:

*Senators Grassley and Ernst – Do Your Jobs!
*Krugman on Minimum Wage
*Did You Know?

*Senators Grassley and Ernst – Do Your Jobs!
         On December 19, the US Senate voted 100-0 to fund the US government. Obviously, those 100 votes included the votes of Iowa’s two Senators, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst.

         Then Donald Trump threw a tantrum, and decided to close down the government until he gets a wall. Unfortunately, Iowa’s Senators flip flopped in order to capitulate to Trump. So now they refuse to fund the government.

         Wait a minute! You voted on December 19 to fund the government. Trump throws a fit, and you change your mind?

         A lot of people depend upon the federal government for a lot of things. Real people are being hurt! Iowa’s Senators should quit taking hostages, and vote to fund the government. Just like they did BEFORE Trump’s tantrum!

         Push for a wall all you want. But do your jobs, and keep the government running!

Monday, January 21st marks the federal holiday celebrating the birthday of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior. I am so pleased that our country has chosen to honor this great man, and I hope you enjoy the holiday in his name. As usual, the Board of Supervisors will be doing a proclamation in his honor; this year, that will be Thursday, January 17 at 9:00 AM.

         We would like to think America has come a long way since the 60s. After the 2016 elections, I’m not certain I feel that way any longer. Race was a HUGE issue in the 2016 election, and the team the racists supported won.

         Look at America today. Black Lives Matter is a response to the epidemic of black men being killed by police. The US Supreme Court killed much of the Voting Rights Act, and they are likely to kill Affirmative Action. Black men are more likely to go to prison than college. The list goes on and on. Our society still has a deep racial divide.

We also need to recognize that King was a radical. America grudgingly accepted racial reforms because they were less dangerous to the status quo than the other issues King championed. King took seriously the Biblical teachings that the love of money is a sin, and that rich men will not be welcomed into Heaven. (Yes, King was a Social Democrat!) He proposed seismic changes to the political and social structures that exist in America. In addition, King was adamantly anti-war. To the status quo, he was the most dangerous man in the world.

         Take some time this week to read some of the great books that are out there on Dr. King. More importantly, take some time to read the things he wrote himself. 

And if you are so inclined, there are several worthwhile local celebrations. Here are a few:

The MLK Unity March begins at 9 AM at Eastdale Plaza, marching to the Scanlon gym at Mercer Park. Festivities there begin at 10 AM, with lunch served at noon.

Bethel AME Church is holding a service and program at 2PM at the church. (I will be one of the speakers at the event.)

The Coralville Public Library will do a reading of the “I Have A Dream” speech at 5pm that day at the Library. (I will be one of the readers.)

The University of Iowa celebrates Human Rights Week in conjunction with the MLK holiday. There is a long list of events; see for details.

We have SO much work to do. We cannot forget that. But we also need to take the time to celebrate our successes. Happy MLK Day!

*Krugman on Minimum Wage
Nobel Laureate Economist Paul Krugman recently let loose with a string of tweets that simply nailed it! I have copied and posted them here:

Some thoughts inspired by this @ritholtzarticle on Seattle's minimum wage, which was loudly declared a job destroyer -- but wasn't. The reality is now clear: there has been no visible hit to employment in the restaurant sector, where you'd expect to see one if anywhere.

Furthermore, this is no surprise: at this point there's a large body of research on the effects of minimum wage hikes, which shows little if any employment effect in the U.S. context. This literature is very solid, because state actions provide natural experiments.

But there's steady drizzle of claims that minimum wage hikes do too kill jobs -- a sort of minimum-wage skeptic literature -- that continues no matter how strong the evidence gets. And the usual suspects predict disaster every time a hike is proposed.

Why can't this issue seem to get settled? Because there are powerful, wealthy interests who don't want to accept what the evidence says. I hereby propose we call this "Upton Sinclair economics", after the famous line "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it." And minimum wages are hardly the only example.

In fact, the most important example of Upton Sinclair economics surely involved taxes, where the belief that tax hikes destroy economies and tax cuts work miracles survives no matter how many times it fails in practice.

You'd be hard pressed to get a better test than the contrast between, on one side, Jerry Brown's California, which right-wingers declared was committing "economic suicide" by raising taxes (and increasing the minimum wage).

*DID YOU KNOW?  "I want to say to you as I move to my conclusion, as we talk about "Where do we go from here?" that we must honestly face the fact that the movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society. There are forty million poor people here, and one day we must ask the question, "Why are there forty million poor people in America?" And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising a question about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I'm simply saying that more and more, we've got to begin to ask questions about the whole society."
---Martin Luther King, Jr.

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