Posted on | December 2, 2013 | 76 Comments
In an editorial Sunday, the New York York Times argued that America’s troops are being paid too much:
Big-ticket weapons like aircraft carriers and the F-35 fighter jet have to be part of any conversation about cutting Pentagon spending to satisfy the mandatory budget reductions known as the sequester. But compensation for military personnel has to be on the table, too . . .
[T]he Pentagon is obliged to find nearly $1 trillion in savings over 10 years. Tough choices will be required in all parts of the budget. Compensation includes pay, retirement benefits, health care and housing allowances.
Got that, troops? “Tough choices,” your compensation is “on the table,” because defending your nation isn’t really anything special.
On the other hand, says New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, something must be done for America’s real heroes, retail clerks:
The last few decades have been tough for many American workers, but especially hard on those employed in retail trade — a category that includes both the sales clerks at your local Walmart and the staff at your local McDonald’s. Despite the lingering effects of the financial crisis, America is a much richer country than it was 40 years ago. But the inflation-adjusted wages of nonsupervisory workers in retail trade — who weren’t particularly well paid to begin with — have fallen almost 30 percent since 1973.
So can anything be done to help these workers, many of whom depend on food stamps — if they can get them — to feed their families, and who depend on Medicaid — again, if they can get it — to provide essential health care? Yes. We can preserve and expand food stamps, not slash the program the way Republicans want. We can make health reform work, despite right-wing efforts to undermine the program.
And we can raise the minimum wage.
The slack-jawed teenager serving french fries and the hipster grad student serving latte at your local Starbucks — we must increase their pay, says the New York Times, whereas the men and women who take an oath to serve their nation . . . “Tough choices.”
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports:
Seeking to increase pressure on McDonald’s, Wendy’s and other fast-food restaurants, organizers of a movement demanding a $15-an-hour wage for fast-food workers say they will sponsor one-day strikes in 100 cities on Thursday and protest activities in 100 additional cities. . . .
The movement, which includes the groups Fast Food Forward and Fight for 15, is part of a growing union-backed effort by low-paid workers — including many Walmart workers and workers for federal contractors — that seeks to focus attention on what the groups say are inadequate wages.
The fast-food effort is backed by the Service Employees International Union and is also demanding that restaurants allow workers to unionize without the threat of retaliation.
So there you have the New York Times worldview in a nutshell: The SEIU and the AFL-CIO, good. American troops, bad.