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Nader writes: "Calling Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the rest of the Democratic Party, elected officials, political operatives and labor's leader Richard Trumka."

Ralph Nader being interviewed during his 2008 presidential campaign, 08/01/08. (photo: Scrape TV)
Ralph Nader being interviewed during his 2008 presidential campaign, 08/01/08. (photo: Scrape TV)

The Democratic Party Sleeps on FDR's Legacy

By Ralph Nader, Reader Supported News

12 August 12


alling Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the rest of the Democratic Party, elected officials, political operatives and labor's leader Richard Trumka. Thirty million American workers want and need a federal minimum wage of $10 per hour which is slightly less than their predecessors got in 1968 - yes 1968 - adjusted for inflation. What will it take for you to make this a priority?

Of course you all would like to see these desperate workers get an additional $2,000 - $4,500 a year for the barest necessities of life for themselves and their children. Sure, it is easy to be on the record and not on the ramparts for a higher minimum wage. What about the trust that your voters and your rank and file invested in you?

Imagine mobilizing Congress to have workers catch up with 1968 when worker productivity was about half of what it is today.

What would President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who signed the first minimum wage law in 1938, say about today's pathetic Democrats (with few exceptions like the more than twenty Representatives who signed on to Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s H.R. 5901 bill to raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour)? Remember how FDR pushed his Democrats in the 1930s? He would not have tolerated today's Democratic Party of caution, cash and cowardliness.

Were the Democrats from the White House, to Congress, to Richard Trumka and the major labor unions to immediately make the $10 minimum wage a national, frontline issue, which they certainly could if they want, here are the arguments they can make:

1. Such an overdue raise is an economically and morally necessary initiative. The U.S. has the lowest national minimum wage of $7.25 per hour among major western nations, by a lot. France is over $11 and in Canada, the minimum wage ranges from $9.40 - $11, plus Canadians have a superior social safety net. Meanwhile, the U.S. has the highest paid CEOs, by far, in the world.

2. Over the years, poll after poll shows that 70 percent of the people support having the minimum wage keep up with inflation. That number includes many conservatives and Republicans. Even Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney, over the years, stood for this principle, even though Romney has hemmed and hawed in recent months.

3. Are there any economists saying that our shaky economy does not need more consumer demand? A $10 minimum wage quickly releases billions of dollars in new spending by the poor. Poor! The single word the cowering Democrats, including presidential candidates, have refused to use since Jimmy Carter. NPR's Tavis Smiley on his poverty tour challenges Barack Obama: "Poor. Say it, Mr. President, say it. Poor!"

4. More income for the poor means less child and family poverty which means less reliance on federal outlays for the poor to survive. The big companies, for example, take advantage of this by steering some of their employees to programs such as Medicaid. As Terrance Heath recently noted in an op-ed in the Nation of Change: "So all of us are subsidizing the wealthy owners and executives of Walmart, McDonald's, and Target."

5. A new report by the respected National Employment Law Project titled "Big Business, Corporate Profits, and the Minimum Wage," said that "the majority (66 percent) of low-wage workers are not employed by small businesses but by large corporations." The 50 largest of their employers are mostly "in strong financial positions." And note this finding by NELP: "The top executive compensation averaged $9.4 million last year at these firms." This means that the bosses, before taking a lunch on January 2, made more money than a minimum wage worker makes in a year. Talk about the corrosive effects of inequality which have been fed by the top one percent taking 93 percent of the income growth in 2010, according to Holly Sklar of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage.

6. Enlightened business leaders are ready to support the Democrats on this $10 minimum wage initiative. Jeff Long, vice president of Costco, gives the obvious reasons that the retrograde corporatists ignore: "At Costco, we know good wages are good business. We keep our overhead low while still paying a starting wage of $11 an hour. Our employees are a big reason why our sales per square foot is almost double that of our nearest competitor. Instead of minimizing wages, we know it's a lot more profitable for the long-term to minimize employee turnover and maximize employee productivity and commitment, product value, customer service and company reputation."

7. A $10 minimum wage will create jobs because sales will increase. Businesses, having lunched off the windfall of a falling real minimum wage since 1968, should be willing to recognize this greater good. The leading scholar refuting the net job loss propaganda is Alan Krueger who now is head of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers. Certainly the people of Santa Fe, New Mexico are not seeing job losses there where the city minimum wage has been $9.50 per hour.

8. The corporate oligarchy has no moral standing whatsoever. Many of the nations' corporate giants pay no income tax or very little, far less than a cab driver. Last month, Ford Motor Co. paid no federal or state income taxes despite registering nearly $9 billion in profits. It is hard for companies making record profits and paying executives record pay to have much credibility on this subject. Further, small business has received 17 small business tax breaks under Obama.

August is the congressional recess month. Members of Congress are back home campaigning. Go to their public meetings and ask them directly whether they will vote for a $10 minimum wage when they return to Washington, D.C. after Labor Day, or call their office. One worker went up and asked this question of his representative, Cong. Bill Young (R-Fla.), who gave him the curled lip - "Why do you want that benefit? Get a job." This snarl made news all over the country.

Ask "the question" Americans, again and again until Labor Day. By then, maybe Mr. Trumka and the AFL-CIO will bestir their political muscles and march with the low-wage workers and recognize what they do for all of us.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author. His most recent book - and first novel - is "Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us." His most recent work of non-fiction is "The Seventeen Traditions."

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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-97 # carneyva 2012-08-12 11:14
Ralph Nader had his say in 2000, when his egomania cost the Democrats The White House and enabled the election to be hijacked by Bush & Co. He misled thousands of naive young and elderly voters. I refuse to listen to anything further he has to say.
+63 # Virginia 2012-08-12 13:33
I'm not sure Ralph didn't see in 2004 what we are now experiencing coming on the horizon due to the status quo politics. Clinton still proudly wears the badge "I repealed Glass-Steagall" (which irrates me every time he utters the fact that he still supports the fact he repealed it), minimum wage has been about $3.00 behind the cost of living for far too long, we are losing hundreds of thousands of jobs overseas and our education system has been sliding downhill since the 1970s.

We Dems have settled for less for too long. We all have to admit that we thought electing an educated black President might help unite us - and we wanted America to be progressive in world affairs. What we have failed to realize is that beneath our political structure, at the heart of the financial foundation, lurks a filthy dirty mob of corruption and greed that feeds the politicians that succumb to it's wannabe wealthy trappings.

Think about who, in their right mind, would want to be subjected to the ridicule and invasion of privacy of political life without renummeration. "I took the heat - now pay me" attitude.

That attitude is not only thrust outward at the mob - but also on the American public who continues to pay these greedy old geezers for their phony Alice in Wonderland "service" as Congressional leaders - rather than protecting the public health, safety and welfare. See
+20 # Kimc 2012-08-12 19:34
I was just reading on another page that Clinton has said that he regrets repealing Glass-Steagal.
Keep in mind that the President isn't a dictator: he doesn't propose laws or even vote on them, Congress does that. He can only sign or veto or let it go by.
If we want Obama to do all those things he promised, we have to get him a solidly Dem House and Senate, no Blue Dogs. Work on that.
+5 # RLF 2012-08-13 06:06
Poor Obama! He has really used his hot seat to talk (which takes no congress or senate) about the problems of workers! Or wait! He has used all of his might with the legislature to pass pro-business bailout and tax breaks! Oops! Just another Harvard asshole!
+1 # Jim Young 2012-08-14 09:36
Quoting Kimc:
I was just reading on another page that Clinton has said that he regrets repealing Glass-Steagal...
...we have to get him a solidly Dem House and Senate, no Blue Dogs. Work on that.

That would add his name to the list that includes very many Wall Street "Insiders with Ethics", to coin a phrase. Other than the Bethany McCleans, Yves Smith, Goldman Sachs alumni and all those in the 4 part Frontline special, "Money, Power, and Wall Street."

Better yet it would add it to the select list of those who pushed hard for it. John Reed of CitiBank was an early convert, now even Sandy Weill (the penultimate Wall Street proponent) has changed his tune. How long before Phil Gramm and Dick Armey follow? Who could defend it after all these guys switch sides, though I'll bet Romney/Ryan will be the last of the dead-enders.
-21 # Kimc 2012-08-12 19:30
I agree. His egomania cost us the White House. Can you imagine how different the country would be if we had had President Gore instead of W?
-93 # gioia 2012-08-12 11:55
Loved your website...until you started publishing Nader. He has nothing to say and much to apologize for...e.g. getting Bush elected. I - and many others- will never forgive his ego -driven run for the presidency. He had no chance and he knew he'd give Florida to Bush. That was obvious to anyone with any political acumen...the results of his scorched earth run are with us today.Please spare us the lectures, Nader; you have nothing to say that we don't already know. You are not the smartest guy in the room...not by a long shot. If I never hear from either you or Palen again it will be too soon.
I won't contribute to any publication that features this has-been spoiler.
+48 # Glen 2012-08-12 16:19
You must be new to the dialogue gioia. Nada had NOTHING to do with the outcome of the election of Bush. That election was illegal and was a done deal way before Nader was a participant. Do your research.

Also, please do some research on Nader. He has revealed some rather heinous designs on citizen safety etc. He has no ego as far as his own research goes.

As I have said before, RSN is not here to please everyone. They are here to inform.
+17 # RLF 2012-08-13 06:07
At least Ralph Nader had the balls to do something about the lack of choices in our elections...unl ike you who constantly whine about the best of two evils!
0 # rradiof 2012-08-15 20:04
Better a "has-been" than a "never-was."
+77 # angelfish 2012-08-12 12:09
What we need is a National Strike! EVERYBODY STAY home and see if ANYONE notices. If we don't hold their feet to the fire things will NEVER change! The People, United, will NEVER be defeated!
+25 # barbaratodish 2012-08-12 13:06
Quoting angelfish:
What we need is a National Strike! EVERYBODY STAY home and see if ANYONE notices. If we don't hold their feet to the fire things will NEVER change! The People, United, will NEVER be defeated!

I agree, we all need to stay home and SLEEP! We all need rejuvenating SLEEP, because we have all been stressed to the max!
+32 # Virginia 2012-08-12 14:01
I'd rather just have a day where everybody withdrew all their money from the banks who actually run this country through Dems and Repugs. Hold out the cash from the banks for 3 days and see if that hammer sends a message. The Fed Reserve feeds our tax dollars without permission the stock market - which adds to the corruption.

We, however, have the silver hammer that they fear. If we remove our money their cash flow is jeopardized and they can't last without it for very long...

Same as cashing in mutual funds. Only those that cash in first will ever see a dime in a Ponzi scheme.

We shouldn't have to take such drastic measures, but our leadership only regulates how to control us - not how to protect us.
+24 # Kimc 2012-08-12 19:42
The way we will take back America from the corporations is:
1) Take our money out of the big banks, Wall St, and don't patronize those corporations any more than you must. (Put your money in member-owned credit unions. Or read "Locavesting".
2) We will start a lot of worker-owned, democratically- run businesses, where the people who do the actual work get the say and share the profit.
a) Form locally sustainable economies
3) We must elect progressive candidates to protect us from the destruction planned by the conservatives.
4) We will start our own currency, and gradually replace the old Dollar with the New Community Dollar, which We the People will control with our own banks or credit unions and regulating agencies.
5) Assume the frame of moral/ethical leadership. Read George Lakoff.
0 # Jim Young 2012-08-14 14:54
Quoting Virginia:
I'd rather just have a day where everybody withdrew all their money from the banks who actually run this country through Dems and Repugs.

wish it were that easy, they'd just get more through quantitative easing. They already got $16.6 trillion and are sitting on $1.5 trillion in just the excess reserves (see
+5 # RLF 2012-08-13 06:08
I think we need a 99% tax strike...that would get some attention!
+3 # shawnsargent2000 2012-08-13 09:56
Quoting angelfish:
What we need is a National Strike! EVERYBODY STAY home and see if ANYONE notices. If we don't hold their feet to the fire things will NEVER change! The People, United, will NEVER be defeated!

Right On!!! Angelfish: If Evereyone in America went on strike, that would get them to wake up!
+89 # PABLO DIABLO 2012-08-12 12:13
PLEASE, no comments that Nader cost Gore the election of 2000, that was the Supreme Court's decision. Had we elected Nader things might be different today. Keep speaking Mr. Nader. YOU ARE RIGHT. Thank you.
+57 # Jorge 2012-08-12 13:40
Yes PD, people need to quit blaming Nader for the 2000 election, Bush was selected by his brother and the Supreme Corporate Court (after being screened and approved by Wall Street/MIC/BigO il). Goldman Sachs screens the presidential candidates now and at lower election levels it is the Chamber of Commerce.
A $10 minimum wage is long overdue and could help prop up the lowest working class. Thanks Mr. Nader for the articulate argument for a higher MW.
+61 # Adoregon 2012-08-12 12:17
Argument #6 is, to my mind, the most persuasive.
Any employer, large or small, is wise to treat and pay its employees fairly and well. When employees believe their pay and benefits are directly linked to how well the company they work for is performing, they will be loyal and will make the extra effort to help the company succeed and thus help themselves to do well.

Ill-treated and ill-paid employees are resentful and have no sense of loyalty.
Resentment and disloyalty always work against a company's success.

This seems so elementary, one can only wonder at the greed and callousness displayed by those at the top of profitable companies.
+21 # genierae 2012-08-12 14:39
Well said, Adoregon, American workers are used and abused, and high turnover and wide-spread burn-out are the results.
+65 # Phoenician 2012-08-12 12:19
I haven't been an ardent fan of Mr Nader in the past, but he scores a bullseye this time. As with Jairus' daughter, the Democratic Party "is not dead, but sleepeth" (Luk 8:52)...and not just sleeping, but snoring. Why is it that we seem to hear only about rabid Republicans? What happened to FDR's fire in the belly? Time to wake up, folks!
+27 # wantrealdemocracy 2012-08-12 13:36
The rating of Congress is at an all time low---yet we continue to vote for the reelection of those 'Representative s' who DO NOT REPRESENT US. People always want to know how they can help change the course of America. We need to turn our backs on those who have turned their backs on us. Vote them out! Wake up folks and don't vote for anyone in Congress now. It is not a matter of Dem or is a question of their voting record. They vote for war, giving trillions of dollars to Wall St. crooks and cutting all of our domestic programs with a call for 'austerity]'.
Benjamin Franklin said the Constitution gives us a Republic, but it is our duty to be constantly vigilant to keep it. We have not been paying attention and democracy is near death in this nation thanks to the corruption of both major political parties. Vote them out!
+11 # Kimc 2012-08-12 19:51
Yes, vote out most of them (there's a few good ones, keep them.) But it isn't the individuals, it's the system. So much money is required now to just get into office, that it makes whores of all of them, with few exceptions.
+46 # tswhiskers 2012-08-12 12:19
Thank you, thank you, Mr. Nader for bringing up that bugaboo, the Poor. It's obvious that the Reps. care only for the rich and expect the overworked and underpaid to support the rich and govt. too. Romney Hood indeed! But the Dems are currently part of the economic problem too. They are no longer the party of FDR and they need to face up to that truth. They are a bit kinder and gentler than the Reps but it is obvious that too many of them feed from the same trough as the Reps. The Dems seem to have regained some of their spine but they have yet to regain their compassion and respect for the working class. The Dems would do well to remember that FDR was a very wealthy man and his wife was wealthy too, yet they, esp. Eleanor, were capable of feeling the pain of the starving and poverty-stricke n to an extent that has not existed in DC for many decades. We desperately need Rooseveltian courage and compassion; the kind of courage that never backed down when they were called traitors to their class. Only then can Dems lay claim to the legacy of FDR.
+37 # Dean 2012-08-12 12:28
If ll.00 per hour is what it takes to bring us up to 1968 standards, lets ask 11.00! Then we can get to some of other things that are needed.
+3 # Kimc 2012-08-12 19:53
Yes, but after we re-elect Obama, and give him clear Dem majorities in the House and Senate. The "just say no" Repubs need to be out of there for anything to get done.
-23 # MidwestTom 2012-08-12 12:33
The minimum wage rise to $10 soon enough, the problem will be that prices will rise faster. All of the Quantitive Easing has created so much new money that prices are guaranteed to rise. The problem is making the money available to only the bankers, they are the only ones that have received a benefit. The original bail out under Bush paid money directly to taxpayers; a much better plan for spurring the economy and creating jobs.. Instead of spending $1.2 Trillion on saving the banks, if that money had gone instead directly to tax payers the economy would have boomed as each taxpayer spent their $6,000 check.
-63 # davidg 2012-08-12 12:36
Nice sentiments, Ralph. If it weren't for the fact that you are single-handedly responsible for the (s)election of George W. Bush and the most calamitous eight years in the history of the United States, I would still be a fan. The very least you might do is to finally acknowledge that the consequences, albeit unintended, of your quixotic candidacy were a total disaster for the country.
+17 # Phlippinout 2012-08-12 15:00
David, what a crock! The only people to blame for Bush is the supreme court, but you know that already and feel the need to give Ralph the blame over and over again. That is why you get the thumbs down. If we want false information we would watch FOX news. Move on and grow up.
-22 # davidg 2012-08-12 16:26
Sorry, fb, but it's just simple arithmetic. Without Nader on the ballot, Gore wins Florida and the election hands down. The Supreme Court never gets a chance to select Bush. Your hero accomplished exactly one thing with his campaign: he gave us the worst president in the history of the United States.
-3 # Kimc 2012-08-12 19:55
I clicked on "good comment" and the number went DOWN by 2! What is this?


I promise you, Kimc, there are no hanging chads in our thumbs-vote count.

While you are reading a comment many other people are also reading it, and voting. When you click a thumbs up or down it refreshes the count with the total of all the votes during that period of time - not just yours.

To see an accurate reflection of your vote just refresh the page and then vote right away.
+1 # Kimc 2012-08-12 20:26
Thank you for the explanation. On thinking about it, I guessed it was something like that.
+55 # Lolanne 2012-08-12 12:36
I've had a love-hate relationship with Ralph Nader for many years, but there's no ambiguity about this piece -- he nailed it square on!

It is an obscenity that the CEOs of these greedy corporations are rolling in money while treating employees so disgracefully. To think that minimum wage employees are not even making as much as they were in 1968! It boggles the mind and puts the issues here in stark perspective.

"No moral standing" indeed! These bloated, greedy top execs (and politicians, for that matter) have less morality than an alley cat in heat.

Asking the minimum wage question of them while they're home is an excellent idea. I'll bet a lot of the repugnant ones will react just like that FL congressman did!
-63 # george1908 2012-08-12 12:37
This is the guy who gave eight years of Bush.
Why give him space or time for anything?
-23 # MidwestTom 2012-08-12 12:40
The other problem that the politicians do not want to talk about is the fact that we can export very few manufactured items because our wage costs and taxes are too high. Look around your house and try to find something that you purchased in the last five years that was made in the USA. You might find a few things, but most clothes and hard goods are imported. Yet as the dollar falls in value *meaning prices rise) those with cash and assets win, while those that work for a living suffer. We have created too much cash that is in too few hands.thanks to bail outs.
+8 # Dion Giles 2012-08-12 19:42
Quoting MidwestTom:
The other problem that the politicians do not want to talk about is the fact that we can export very few manufactured items because our wage costs and taxes are too high.

Wage costs and taxes (the cost of funding a decent society) suffer under pressure of free trade not because they are too high but because the unfettered market seeks goods from wherever the work force is the most cowed - typically China. The problem can be solved in America by setting tariffs so that Americans, not Chinese, are producing for Americans. The massive Chinese flow of cheap goods can always be redirected to raising the living standards of the Chinese people.
+5 # Kimc 2012-08-12 20:00
Bail outs are just one of the symptoms. The crash was due to Wall Street speculation brought about by lack of regulation in turn brought about by money taking over our government. The base problem is corporate capitalism: it's inherent in the system that it is toxic to workers and the money accumulates at the top. We need a different system. We all need to start worker-owned businesses, so the business is democratic and the profit is spread among the people who do the actual work: we can no longer afford the high cost of management!
+1 # RLF 2012-08-13 06:15
You are assuming that we need to let Chinese production into the US tax free and leave the profits corps make overseas untaxed. Got news for you...if I work overseas...I still have to pay income tax...why not the major corps that consume our national infrastructure?
-66 # ShamanX 2012-08-12 12:52
My problem with the minimum wage is that its government intervention into what should otherwise be a free market.

And while you can arguably make the case that its virtually impossible to live on less than minimum wage let alone raise a family, I would argue that the necessity for it is predicated upon a virtual tapestry unintended consequences caused by other government interventions into other markets and areas of life. And yes, many of which are done in collusion with private interests.

I have supported your presidential candidacy in the past Mr. Nader, but this time around Ron Paul has captured my political imagination and convictions. I find the liberty perspective no less enlightened.
+13 # Kimc 2012-08-12 20:03
The libertarian vision is flawed: it doesn't track with the real world. There is no such thing as the "Free Market" -- if we don't make the rules, then the pirates make the rules. An unregulated market produces feudalism. That's what that magical hand is aiming at. It has no love of the worker.
+6 # RLF 2012-08-13 06:18
A real free market doesn't give tax breaks to major corps so that they can put smaller, more efficient co.s out of business. They don't put the onus of the government on small business and sparing the most well to do. You're living in La-La land...this is the real world...wake up.
+27 # walt 2012-08-12 12:54
They should be dealing with the minimum wage and many other things voters have looked for from the administration and Congress.

Sadly, winning the next election seems to always take precedence to the what is right and just.
+1 # Kimc 2012-08-12 20:05
Of course it does. Who can pass "the right and just" when the Tea Party is in there making sure that they cannot pass anything except lower taxes for the rich? Pay attention -- elections matter!
+17 # Human Right 2012-08-12 12:58
There is a huge gap between what the leaders in America do and what the people think they are doing. Privately owned media feeds and maintains carefully written and spoken propaganda to the citizenry. Not much will happen unless the not so silent “third party”, AIPAC, allows it to happen since they control congress and the White House. Even something as seemingly simple and necessary as a wage increase must past muster with AIPAC and its Neocons.
+35 # Manacha 2012-08-12 13:22
I am very tired of Democrats who blame Nader and those who voted for him for Bush victory. If we are fair, the first culprit was Gore who did not have the backbone to ask for a recount as he should have done. 2nd. the Supreme court, and 3rd. the sizable number of the electorate who voted Republican, and 4th. the apathy of the Democratic electorate. In other places, people would just about rioted if an election had been stolen so blatantly. So, it was not Nader, but it was the 4 factors listed above which were responsible for the defeat.
Above all, since when do the Democrats "owe" the progressives. Many people who voted Democrat in the past are so tired of the party becoming more and more Republican, than in disgust they vote Green or something else. Voting is about supporting what you believe in. As parties change, so does voters' alligeance to any party. Please Democrats, save your venom for the fascists in the Tea party, and at least respect what the Greens, Socialists voters are doing.
+9 # DPM 2012-08-12 14:33
I became so disillusioned with both parties by 2000, I stopped voting for the "least of two evils". I have not voted for, nor will I vote for a Democrat or Republican until or unless they change their criminal, greedy ways. Not forth coming soon. I have been accused of being the reason the "right" people lose. But, if that is the case, the winners get what they voted for. God had better love them, because our leaders don't!
-24 # Rain17 2012-08-12 14:42
I will blame Nader. There would have been no FL recount or Supreme Court case had he not run. He knew hew had no chance of winning. And without Nader Gore probably wins FL by 10-30K votes.
-3 # Kimc 2012-08-12 20:09
No, voting is not about supporting what you believe in. Voting is about practicality -- in a democracy (or republic) voting is ALWAYS about the lesser of two evils because you will NEVER completely agree with any candidate unless you run yourself. The realistic need to keep the greater of two evils out is important enough to swallow your ego and vote for the better of the choices that has a chance to win. You don't ever get everything you want.
+5 # RLF 2012-08-13 06:22
What crap! This is true only in the US where we have only two republicans running. In places (REAL democracies) like Australia, they have better electoral systems. Ours was designed to keep the rich in power and desperately needs changing...not just apathy about our choices!
+1 # tswhiskers 2012-08-13 14:25
I would agree with this opinion. Voting in America has always been about which of the 2 mediocrities running could do more good or at least do less damage to the country. When we were blessed with outstanding men in govt., no one knew it but historians many years later. Three examples are Lincoln and both Roosevelts. In Lincoln's day he was despised and called a monkey for his homeliness. FDR was hated by members of his own social class. As for compromise, the Constitution was built on it. Madison et al expected the men in govt. to have to compromise most of the time. That's why, thanks mostly to the Reps., Congress hardly functions these days and why Americans despise most members of Congress
+33 # coberly 2012-08-12 13:38
note to the nader haters.

nader did not cost gore the election. gore did. and the florida election fraud. and the supreme court.

but remember that gore picked Joe Lieberman for a running mate, and I am sorry to say did not look or sound "real" enough for many voters. and, by the way, what has Barack Obama done for you?

i did not vote for Nader in 2000, but I have looked a little harder at politics since then, and BOTH parties are selling you out.

oh, and consider the appeal of Paul Ryan.... to the extent that people like this man... or Romney... we might as well hold elections in an insane asylum and be done with it.
-12 # Rain17 2012-08-12 14:42
Nader ran purposely to defeat Gore. He campaigned in the swing states after promising not to.
-2 # barbaratodish 2012-08-12 13:53
Is it even possible that the 1%, the NWO, the corporatocracy, the military industrial complex, etc., are aware that if the poor are released from their struggles to even survive just basically, that then the poor would have the requisite energy left over to DISCOVER that they have TREMENDOUS INTERNAL resources? Perhaps religions, etc., are the most fearful of the poor being able to remove themselves from the induced guilt that forces most of the poor to deny their power, their true "wealth". The true, authentic "wealth of the poor is their "BEING" instead of thier "HAVING". For instance, the poor ARE their own emotional resources that they, the poor, call on to assist them to innovatively, creatively SURVIVE! Is it any wonder that the poor turn to grey or black markets, or shadow economies, or one-offs, working under the table, etc? All the poor need is to become aware that they, the poor, have the ENERGY that derives from EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE whereas (mostly) all others, the rich, the middle classes, and even the almost poor, are lacking in this THE POWER OF EMOTIONAL (and sometimes, or oftentimes physical) VULNERABILITY. The rich, and even the relatively rich, mistake their economic PERFORMANCES and all their LIFE PERFORMANCES for what only the POOR AUTHENTICALLY EXPERIENCE:name ly the poor, and hardly any others (with few exceptions) EXPERIENCE Real life and death issues instead of QUALITY OF LIFE PERFORMANCES! Let's all DEMAND ON LINE WRITE IN VOTING: NADER FOR PRESIDENT!
+1 # Kimc 2012-08-12 20:13
How is Nader on LGBT issues?
-1 # barbaratodish 2012-08-12 21:25
Quoting Kimc:
How is Nader on LGBT issues?

I would hope he would be for SELF VALIDITY instead of ANY IDENTITY!
-6 # davidr 2012-08-12 14:42
"Remember how FDR pushed his Democrats in the 1930s? He would not have tolerated today's Democratic Party of caution, cash and cowardliness."

What are you talking about, Ralph? The Democratic majorities in the House during the period you make reference to ranged between 60% and 77%. Democratic Senate majorities ranged between 61% and 78%. To this day, those remain the greatest legislative majorities ever held by a single party since Reconstruction.

And even with the huge majority supposedly at his disposal, Roosevelt STILL could not get Social Security and minimum wage legislation passed without excluding large segments of the black community.

So criticize today's Democrats if you like (as you like), but don't distort history to do so. There is absolutely no reason to suppose that FDR could have had greater legislative success in the 111th and 112th Congresses than Obama.
+14 # Rich Austin 2012-08-12 15:07
Part I

The Democratic Party’s neoliberal line is that Nader cost Gore the election.

Baloney! Gore’s campaign cost him the election. It would have been difficult to slip an onionskin between the two candidates’ positions. Ditto Kerry and Bush. (No fair speaking from hindsight. What happened in the there and then is what got us to the here and now.)

Please note that Nader crusaded for safety and environmental laws that over the years have saved millions of lives. Name just one member of Congress that has done the same. C’mon, name just one.
+18 # Rich Austin 2012-08-12 15:09
Part II

Nader also calls Richard Trumka and other labor pie cards on the carpet. Right on! As a [now retired] worker and a member of a progressive union for 46 years, I’ve seen labor’s “orthodoxy” abandon working class principles. When I began working, 33 percent of the U.S. workforce was organized. Now we’re down to twelve percent. In the early 60’s labor honchos embraced cold-warrior, red-baiting tactics and labor density fell. When Reagan did his dirty deed we were down to twenty-three percent. And the pie cards just fiddled while PATCO burned. In 1994 Clinton – as poster boy for the neoliberal agenda – pushed NAFTA, and the suits and ties just scratched their asses. Bang! Union membership fell to sixteen percent. Every retreat by labor has been followed by a loss in union membership.

For shame! The heritage of organized labor is to advocate for everyone, organized or not. If pie cards don’t get it they should be replaced.

We’re in a street fight! There is an old sidewalk adage that is particularly relevant: “I may get by butt kicked, but I’ll hurt the other so bad that he’ll never want to fight me again”.

Let’s send that message to Obama, Pelosi, Reid and other Party bigwigs, and let’s not forget to include Trumka and the Change to Win crowd. If you are afraid of a fight for us move over. We’ll find someone with the courage it takes to fight for the 99%.
+3 # Jorge 2012-08-12 22:09
Well said RA, thanks.
+9 # teineitalia 2012-08-12 15:45
there's plenty of blame to go around for the 2000 election. Nader was just one of the many factors that kept us from a Gore presidency. As someone else here noted,Gore himself should have had the guts to demand a recount. He should have never chosen Lieberman as his VP- isn't AIPAC influential enough already?

Like many, I wish that Nader had stayed out of it; he would have been a great Cabinet member had Gore won.

But that is all ancient history now. Playing the coulda/woulda/s houlda game does no good.... we need to win this election- and the DEMS need to make it absolutely clear that a party platform this year is for LIVING WAGES- not just a minimum wage, but a wage, taking into account all the factors, that a person will need for life's basic necessities. I appreciate Nader on the call to Dem leadership- but would like to see him insist on Living Wages as a party platform. This will take courage and backbone... is there any left in the Democratic party? yes, there is- in the progressive caucus. Get Alan Grayson and Elizabeth Warren and a few others in there and watch them kick ass and take names. A Republican win is unthinkable at this point - forget about minimum wage, social security, medicaid, the whole safety net will be dismantled in no time if the Rs come to power again.
+10 # pietheyn07 2012-08-12 18:26
What on earth does the election of 2000 have to do with today's minimum wage?
+8 # smendler 2012-08-12 19:02
(First off let me just say this: how do we know Nader even GOT the votes that were attributed to him, hmm? We know the FL count was screwed with... Personally, I think Rove et al seized the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, steal the election *and* neutralize the most cogent critic of the present system.)

Now then: can anyone refute any of Ralph's specific points? [...crickets... ]
+5 # Sea Star RN 2012-08-12 22:21
Right on Ralph.... give the Democrats and their affiliates another chance to break away from the corptocracy or lose all credibility.

In 2009, they had control of the White House the House and the Senate and they squandered all the good intentions and volunteer effort and kept Single Payer from trying on the glass slipper and gave us the pathetic Affordable Care Act.

Now here we are again, trying to pass a bill that will only bring us up to minimum wage standard of 1968 and they're only 23 DEMS willing to co-sponsor. Here's the list of them:

Why should we expect anything different in the next FOUR years unless we make our demands now before we go to the voting booth?

Occupy Wall Street has given us an opportunity to collectively band together and create the most formidable citizen lobbying force in modern day.
Many will dismiss them as powerless, but good chance these nay-sayers are partisan hacks from either party. All one has to do is find a local group and attend their next general assembly. Only in numbers will there be an outcome!

For Ralph's sake and ours, I hope we the people don't squander this opportunity.
+5 # lin96 2012-08-13 07:47
It's trite to even be mentioning that Nader cost Gore the election. We all know that Gore refused to have Clinton campaign for him and that there was voter fraud resulting in the Supreme Court crowning Bush as President. Done. A side issue: Let's talk about how the right is trying to rewrite the history of the George W. Bush Presidency. For the first time in our history we have a President and Vice President in exile in the US. Ever wonder why Bush and Cheney aren't traveling overseas, as Clinton does, and earning money giving speeches? They can't. Interpole has indictments out on Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. They could be arrested if they travel overseas for crimes of torture against the Geneva Convention. This has been going on for at least 4 years and the media has not covered it at all. If you want to read about it you have to find the information on the internet. Now....Ralph Nader has decades of experience and all of it involves the betterment of the people and this country in some way or another. I'm grateful he's still putting his point of view out there so people don't forget what the goal should be. I'd like to see him make the GOP squirm a bit more, but the Democrats need to step it up and quit being so tentative. We need a goal that includes "Justice For Everybody That Harms Nobody".
-4 # ithinktoomuch 2012-08-13 07:48
The minimum wage needs to be raised, it's true. But not all business can afford that large jump from $7.20 an hour to ten bucks. It's too much of a shock, especially when you have to add extra payroll taxes on that extra money. This is what business means when they talk about "uncertainty" when dealing with Democrats in politics, and even I, a flaming liberal, have to agree with them on that one. I hate that! We need to raise it by about 45 cents a year, and do that for at least five years running, if not forever.
-2 # billeeboy 2012-08-13 08:36
Sorry, Nader did cost Gore the election. Had Nader not run Florida would not have been close enough for Jeb and the Supreme Court to steal the election. Nader is generally correct in his positions, but he would rather be right than be effective. Being able to wear a halo doesn't solve problems!
+4 # OTM 2012-08-13 14:36
To all who are still accusing Ralph Nader for Bush winning Florida, and thusly the Presidency in 2000. Roughly 250,000 registered Democrats in Florida voted for Bush. It's in the record if anyone cares to look at the facts instead of tossing about blame for what Democrats did. That's acting just as Republicans do. Enough of those facts. this is about the minimum wage.
The minimum wage hasn't even kept up with inflation, let alone poverty wage. All of the positions put forth in this article can be checked out for truth and factual reality. Micky D's and the like can afford to raise the minimum wage, and the wages of all employees by three dollars an hour without putting their bottom line even close to redlining. The true question on most issues comes down to Americas identity. Are we a nation of We the People, or do we just except changing the preamble of the constitution to, We the mighty Corporations and the rest can live in poverty? It's our decision not lowlife, bought off politicians from either party. Are we just Democrats and/or Republicans? Or are we Americans living in the UNITED STATES of AMERICA.
+4 # jonesd 2012-08-14 05:47
When Wal-Mart,, have we the people paying the health care & sometimes the food for their workforce something definitely needs to be done. Nader, as president, would have shamed the members of Congress into a livable wage long ago. There was a reason he was kept forcefully out of the presidential debates.
+1 # RICHARDKANEpa 2012-08-14 08:53
If anyone is old enough to Remember Gore was campaigning to stop that so called dangerous radical Nader.
If Nader had suddenly dropped out his supporters wouldn't have supported Gore.

Today is quite different Libertarians Greens and Dems are not spouting hate.

The problem is what could Obama agree to for Green Libertarian votes that he couldn't be pushed the other way on next year.

Perhaps apologizing and ending the embargo on Cuba.

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