Republican U. S. Senate candidate Andy Martin announces his support for an increase in the minimum wage
Andy says a minimum wage increase is relatively meaningless as a matter of pure economics, but it could change the frame of reference of the Republican Party
Andy says “If we want to make people less dependent on government, our economy has to produce good jobs. Both the Democratic and Republican Party paradigms have failed. I propose to pursue the ‘Market Basket’ economic plan”
(Manchester, NH) (August 29, 2014)
I am still euphoric at the successful resolution of the Market Basket controversy. But there are deeper lessons to be learned from Market Basket and its enlightened management.
Today I am proud to announce my support for an increase in the minimum wage, with a small business exception for firms of ten or less employees.
Republicans generally oppose minimum wage increases. One of my opponents, Bob Smith, has a stone-age attitude and wants to erase the minimum wage and other worker protections.
I grew up in a family that valued hard work. I started delivering papers at 11 (yes, boys did that at 11 in those days) and had a very successful paper route. One Christmas I earned the equivalent in today’s dollars of $2,500. The week after I turned 16 I started a part-time job. I was earning the equivalent of $25.00 into day’s dollars. I had to work because I had a car to support. I worked in college and I have worked all my life.
But my family not only valued work. We also valued workers. I grew up respecting workers. At Thanksgiving and Christmas our workers who did not have families were always invited to join us for dinner. My Franco-American uncle from West Manchester, Lucian Marcoux, was the hardest-working man I ever knew.
Because of my upbringing I immediately joined the Market Basket associates when they began their protest; within days I had radio ads, and eventually TV ads, supporting the workers in their efforts to protect their company from corporate and private equity predators.
The Republican Party used to be the party of “Main Street” and “Wall Street.” It was an amalgam of small businesses and large corporations. Today the Republican Party is out of balance. Scott Brown is being supported by Wall Street billionaires who want “more.” Brown’s supporters usually want to take their increased profits out of the hides of their workers.
I have economics training. So let me be blunt and up front. The minimum wage boost may help a few people directly, but it won’t benefit or hurt the overall economy in a major manner. But as we seek to rebalance our economy and rebalance our political party we need to become again the voice of ordinary workers. We need to stop peddling the “hopeium” that so-called “job creators” are out to help workers or to invest in our economy. Today the Republican Party is run by and under the control of job destroyers such as Bain Capital and other firms that export jobs to enrich themselves.
Last time around we nominated a vulture capitalist as our presidential candifate. Romney didn’t do all of the bad things he was accused of. But he did enough of them. He didn’t “kill” anyone but he threw a lot of people out of work when he didn’t have to, all to make more money for himself and his wealthy associates.
Supporters of unbridled “capitalism” have been promoting the claim that when rich people get richer, everyone’s economy improves. The “recovery” from the latest recession proves that is no longer true. The so-called 1% has gobbled up over 95% of the income gains since the bottom of the recession. Most of us are still struggling. Ninety-nine percent of the people are doing poorly or not much better or are less economically secure. That’s why our economic growth is so sluggish. What kind of an economy is it that produces extreme wealth for a handful of people and mediocre opportunities for the rest of us? An economy where people are experiencing downward economic mobility? That’s a Scott Brown economy.
Brown is constantly being invited, and paid, to attend “private equity” conferences where people scheme to see how many more jobs they can export to China, or how many payrolls they can slash. Private equity vultures take over companies, fire employees and export our jobs to China and elsewhere.
In 2012, Mitt Romney could and would have become president if he had made a simple trip to Freeport, Illinois and put his hands up and told his Bain Capital cronies “enough.” I was astounded that in the middle of the presidential election Bain Capital was stripping out the machinery of a plant which made world-class products and exporting those jobs to China. [See link below] Romney was not enough of a man to say no to the people who were still managing a large part of his own wealth. So he lost the presidency. I seriously doubt Romney even realizes why he lost as he is importuned to attempt a comeback in 2016. It ain’t happening.
There is a middle way. We don’t have to live in a country where Democrats try to give away the store, and Republicans are bankrupting the store on Main Street so a handful of wealthy people can become wealthier. We can follow the Market Basket way.
Market Basket offers good jobs, good pay, good benefits, and a good working environment, all while making record profits.
Today we have elevated “shareholder value” above all other factors. Maybe is an abstract econometric equation that might make theoretical sense. But the “shareholder value” catechism has impoverished our economy and impoverished working families. The middle class is eroding and disappearing. Where’s the “value?”
So, no, my support for an increase in the minimum wage does not suggest I believe the move will massively change our economy. But we must massively change the “economy” of the Republican Party if Republicans are ever again to be a majority Party. No more “private equity” presidential candidates (if Scott Brown wins he will run for president in 2016).
We can’t count on the Democrats blowing up our economy as the only avenue to electoral opportunity for us in the future.
Democrats are failures but so are Republicans.
By all means let’s work harder for lower taxes and smaller government. In New Hampshire those goals are our common “religion.” But let’s not loose sight of the fact that when workers have jobs, good jobs, the economy benefits and all of us benefit.
John McCain was in New Hampshire a few days ago to support Scott Brown. In 2008 McCain was buying $500 shoes. How many of you buy $500 shoes? (They are probably $750 six years later.) How many of you can afford to? So let's get real. K Street and Wall Street are playing New Hampshire voters for suckers. In 2008 when McCain ran for president he couldn't remember how many homes he owned. McCain and the Republican Party supported the bailout of big banks; they didn’t support homeowners who were victimized by fraudulent foreclosures. So naturally McCain backs Brown, who long ago sold his soul to Wall Street.
I support an increase in the minimum wage as a symbol of my commitment to seek economic justice for every American. Everyone needs to “profit” from our economy, not just Scott Brown’s campaign contributors. All of us can “profit” from a fairer economy. We had a more open and opportunity-based economy several decades ago and we let the benefits slip away. Now we must fight to reestablish an economy that works for every American. That should be and must be the Republican way if we hope to become once again the majority party in this great nation. Please join me and support me on Election Day.
News conference details: Manchester, NH August 29, 2014
New Hampshire U. S. Senate candidate Andy Martin
Andy Martin backs increase in minimum wage
Manchester, NH, Northwest corner of Elm and Webster Streets
Friday, August 29, 11:00 A.M.