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Short And Long Term Thinking

After an all out assault from conservatives intent on its destruction, the group known as ACORN is no more. The national organization of groups that comprised ACORN disbanded after a series of attacks from people who were seriously intent on its destruction.

In the 2008 Presidential campaign, ACORN was a political issue for the political right with allegations of voter registration fraud. The organization endorsed then United States Senator from Illinois Barack Obama and conducted a get out the vote campaign on his behalf. Throughout this initiative, Republican candidates portrayed ACORN’s activities as widespread voter fraud. In a poll released by Public Policy Polling back in November of 2009, over half the people who identified themselves as Republican Party members and over a quarter of everyone else thought that ACORN had stolen the election for Mr. Obama.

About a year later, ACORN was under attack because of a video from James O’Keefe where he dressed up as a pimp, got his friend Hannah Giles to dress up as a prostitute, went to an ACORN office with a hidden video camera to tape his undercover persona getting the organization’s help in obtaining a house, and then selectively published the results. After the videos were made public, the United States Congress voted to eliminate federal funding to ACORN. Shortly thereafter, ACORN announced it would be closing its offices and disbanding due to loss of funding from government and private donors. The organization that some thought was so influential that it could make a man the President of the United States, was in reality so ineffectual that it could not save itself.

One of ACORN’s priorities was to fight for better wages for the poor. The organization was instrumental in getting the federal government to set a minimum standard for a living wage. And now that the minimum wage policy has one less ally fighting for its protection, one of the things that many conservative politicians are promising to work hard to end the federal minimum wage standards. Rand Paul who is fighting for a Senate seat in Kentucky has suggested that we should abolish the federal minimum wage. Joe Miller is the conservative in Alaska fighting for a Senate seat and saying that we would eliminate the federal minimum wage. Linda McMahan of World Wrestling Entertainment fame and fighting for a Senate seat in Connecticut isn’t exactly opposed to us having a federally mandated minimum wage. She just wants it to be reduced so that more people can be employed. Who cares if people are employed at less than the poverty levels?

The removal of ACORN was just an early step for a longer term vision. At a time when the economy is floundering and some people are having a difficult time making ends meet, some of our politicians want to throw away, or significantly reduce, one of the safeguards to keep some of us out of poverty. The minimum wage is meant to keep companies from taking advantage of people so desperate for work that they would do just about anything. Former President George Bush used the Davis-Bacon Act to temporarily halt the federal enforcement of the minimum wage as a response to hurricane Katrina. All those companies that moved in to do business in the disaster’s aftermath just couldn’t make ends meet paying the minimum wage. They would do much better if they could pay much less. And who cares if the people in the area, some who had just lost everything they had, needed to do their best to make their own ends meet?

The point is that there is a relentless campaign to push some of us to the bottom. People and organizations that stand in opposition of the conservative objectives to eliminate ideas of nationally mandated minimum living standards should probably watch their back. The conservative agenda is unified in its opposition to a federal government working on behalf of the people and that agenda is relentless in its effort to remove federal protections and precautions.

Unfortunately, the liberal agenda just isn’t up to the task of thinking long term like its conservative cousin. For example, when ACORN found itself under scrutiny from Mr. O’Keefe’s baseless videos, the people who benefited most from ACORN’s efforts, Mr. Obama and the rest of the Democratic politicians, stiffed armed this organization of benefactors. The organization that worked so hard to help liberals reestablish a toehold in political relevance couldn’t get any help from anyone it helped. ACORN was set adrift. Lo and behold, now that ACORN’s out of the picture there is a new push to legitimize abolishment of the federal minimum wage, one of ACORN’s more high profile priorities.

Liberals might like to claim that they’re more community minded than their conservative counterparts. But their actions don’t show it. Or maybe they’re so narrowly focused on the here and now they can’t see the long term effects down the road. After the liberals got into political office, I guess they thought that they wouldn’t need the help of an organization that helps liberals get into office. That really is some smart, long term thinking there.

Friday, October 15, 2010 - Posted by | Life, Politics, Thoughts

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