LOWER INTEREST RATES

The Fed cut its discount rate Friday to begin dealing with the subprime mortgage morass – as you knew it would. Other measures will be taken to mitigate a very difficult situation. Smart people at high levels of the Administration and Congress are working for the softest possible landing. But my guess is that the softest possible landing will be, at best, rough. Do not expect a quick, painless resolution to our unfolding economic problems.

LESS FEAR OVER LOVING COUPLES

According to the latest Zogby poll, 63% of New Jersey voters said they wouldn’t mind if their legislature upgraded the ‘civil unions’ that gay couples are currently permitted to civil ‘marriage.’ (As before, and quite properly, the government would not presume to tell religious institutions whom they could or could not marry.) One state legislator who’s now willing to go with that flow recently wrote: ‘To paraphrase John Lennon, let’s give love a chance. We might just find it works.’

LESS OPPRESSIVE WAGES

If you missed Saturday’s Democratic radio address, it was delivered by a waitress from North Carolina:

Good morning. My name is Fawn Townsend and I am proud to deliver the Democratic radio address this week.

I am a waitress working the night shift at a restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina and – like millions of other Americans – I have tried to make ends meet on the minimum wage. And as anyone in my position knows, that is a very tough job. You can’t pay all your bills. You struggle every day, but still find yourself falling behind.

Despite the fact that more Americans are working harder while earning less, it took ten years for our representatives in Washington to raise the minimum wage, with Republicans in Congress blocking it along the way.

But during the last election, the people spoke out loud and clear. We elected Democrats across the country who took the lead in passing several minimum wage increases at the state level and improving the lives of America’s working families.

Because the new Democratic Congress kept their word and increased the federal minimum wage last month, many more of us today have a better shot at achieving the American Dream. Millions of Americans now have a little more in their paychecks to help pay for basic necessities like food and clothing. And now more Americans can save to build a better future for themselves and their families.

While the pay increase may not seem like much, it will create ripples in the lives of so many people. More than six million children whose parents earn the minimum wage will benefit with the earnings increase. When you add it all up, the resulting pay raise of $4,400 per year will help families pay for child care, housing and food. In recognition of their brave service to our country, Democrats in Congress passed a pay raise for our brave men and women in the military, helping them and their families make ends meet.

With the money I earn, I hope to buy a used car. With a car, I might then be able to pick up more work so I have enough income to live independently – and no longer rely on my good friends who I live with now. And that is only the beginning.

In order to truly get ahead and reach my life-long goal of becoming a nurse, I hope to attend college in the next couple of years. And thankfully, Democrats have made education a top priority and passed legislation that makes higher education more affordable, which helps make my goal no longer insurmountable.

This year, Democrats in Congress provided aid and helped make the student loan system work for students rather than the banks. Democrats also passed a child tax credit to help parents put money away for college for their children.

I believe that if you work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to earn a decent living in our country. Democrats agree with that thinking and they have shown that raising the minimum wage is just the first step.

Our Democrats in Congress are dedicated to getting millions of low-income children the health care they need by recently passing the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Unfortunately, President Bush has threatened to veto it. On important issues like health care, we can’t afford to put politics ahead of the well being of our children. Everyone should contact their members of Congress and urge them to support the children’s health program and stop any veto, like I have.

I’m grateful that our Democratic leaders in Congress are taking our country in a new direction. They have accomplished more this year than Republicans accomplished in the past six years combined – including giving people like me a long overdue raise.

I’m Fawn Townsend from Raleigh, North Carolina and this has been the Democratic Radio Address.

Thank you for listening and enjoy your weekend.

☞ As we face a possible recession, the Republican leadership would like to further cut taxes for billionheirs and – if only it were possible! – repeal that increase in the minimum wage the Democratic majority forced through. It’s what Jesus would have done.

 

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