“It Is (Always) About the Money”

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“Follow the Money”

Deepthroat (FBI source to Woodward and Bernstein about watergate)

What was true then is still true today. The love of money (aka power) is the root of all evil.

I’ve been struggling trying to understand the MAGA phenomenon. Not the fanatical average kind of people who are desperate for what they perceive as a better past—which has some validity, as I will explain—but the powerful, uber-wealthy who continue (at least so far) supporting the former President.

And it really is simple: it is all about the money. The conservative, Christian, family values, apple pie, and baseball moniker is a smoke-screen. If they could monetize abortion there would be a clinic inside every fast food place in the country.

The reality is they do not care about the people they pander to, but they do value them as a commodity to be exploited.

Now, while I am about to throw out many numbers, the math is elementary. Evidence of their level of care is reflected in the minimum wage.

In 1956, the year I was born, the minimum wage was $0.25/hour. The equivalent of $9.81 in today’s dollars when adjusted for inflation.

As the graphic below illustrates, to match the purchasing power of $100.00 in 1956 in today’s dollars one would need $1124.00.


In 1971, the year I started working (washing dishes at the Admiral Inn restaurant in Cumberland, RI) the minimum wage was $1.60. The equivalent of $10.57 in today’s dollars.

And minimum wage was the result of union demand and government action, not corporate empathy with the working man. This piece isn’t the place for it, but I bet you could track the decline in the value of minimum wage over the years with a decline in union membership. I’ll save that for another time.

YearMinimum Wage $ Equivalent 2023 dollars


The current wage remains at $7.25, the longest period of time since an adjustment. How many people working the same job as in 2009 are earning the same amount of money today? (if you are, you need a union.)

Adjusted for inflation, the buying power of one hour of labor in 1956 is equal to $81.48 in today’s dollars. In other words, to achieve the same buying power of one hour of work in 1956, someone has to work 11.23 hours.

According to federal guidelines, the poverty level for a family of two is $16,500.00. Working full-time, 40 hours X 52 weeks, would earn $15,080.00. Wouldn’t the term “minimum” imply at least exceeding the poverty level?

Wouldn’t their family-values concept of one working parent one stay-at-home parent demand it?

Now the most common argument is we do not intend minimum wage for those out in the workforce supporting families, these are entry-level positions.

Let’s, for the sake of argument, accept that premise. Isn’t fair to say that, given that entry level people should earn a comparable wage to those in 1956, minimum wage should have at least paced inflation? It has not.

The missing part of the argument that the intent of minimum wage is just entry level, which diminishes its validity, is the cost of that labor to the companies paying it.

In 1956 employers paid $0.25 minimum wage as a cost of doing business. Today it is $7.25. If we look at the numbers a different way (1 hour of work in 1956 is equal to $81.48 in today’s dollars) the cost of one hour’s labor to an employer is 8% of what it was in 1956.

In 2009, the last time the minimum wage was raised. $7.25 was comparable to $10.33 in today’s dollars. A dollar today buys only 70.184% of what it could in 2009. Are you earning the equivalent of 30% less than you did in 2009? Again, if you are call the AFL-CIO.

So the big question is why?

Here lies the absolute truth in the admonition, “follow the money.” Most Republicans, and a significant number of Democrats, are under the control of big business and well-funded PACs. The Citizen’s United decision (read about it here) enslaved our government to those with the money to fund elections and seek concessions.

They’ll take your $5.00 and $10.00 contributions, then inundate you with requests for more because “your voice matters.” But your voice will be overwhelmed by a sea of zeroes separated by commas into groups of three. Politicians are like dancers at a strip club (so I’ve heard.) Wave a $1.00 bill, you’ll attract some, maybe. Wave a $100 bill, you’ll attract them all. Wave a couple of million, you bought the club.

Most MAGA supporters are being fooled into thinking Mr. Trump is the champion of the little guy. He had four years, with an initially friendly Congress, to raise the minimum wage yet did nothing. But he did cut taxes for corporations and wealthy individuals.

Has any of that trickled down?

Those who are sending in their $5, $10, $25 contributions (mostly to pay legal bills from his insurrection adventure not fund a reelection campaign) can’t see their own buying power sacrificed to the altar of corporate profits.

Clearly, big business has a vested interest in a more compliant Congress and White House, Biden’s support of an immediate $15.00 minimum wage increase rising to $17.25 in 2025 is anathema to their bottom line.

The wealth gap, the difference between the amount of wealth held by a small percentage of people and the rest of Americans, has grown every year since the Reagan decade. The ratio of CEO compensation to worker compensation has grown astronomically.

So all you have to do is follow the money. Right now, Mr. Trump poses a quandary for those in the upper echelons of the wealthy minority and PAC managers. If convicted he cannot offer them anything. So for now they are hedging their bets.

But just monitor where the corporate and PAC donations head, both at the national level for President and the more local Congressional races, and you’ll be able to figure out who is in their grasp and who is not.

Another of the arguments in support of Mr. Trump is he is an outsider, a business man who will bring a business-like approach to government. I suppose if chaos is a successful business plan, January 2017 to January 2021 was a resounding success. In particular, the “peaceful” celebration of the peaceful transfer of power on January 6, 2021.

Plus, an in-depth look at his business history (who bankrupts a Casino?) shows a less than stellar success pattern.

…there are more demons who seek the Presidency than there are saviors.

Joe Bradmeadow

Nothing should be more of a warning against electing someone to national office than the idea they are “business” oriented. Business is necessary and an elemental part of capitalism. But those in government should work towards balancing the common good of the people against those who seek only to profit at their expense. They must not think of government as a zero sum game where profit is the goal.

If we need to “Make America Great Again” wouldn’t a good start be to bring the minimum wage up to a level equal to 1956? If the nostalgia for those days is a justification for anything, that would be a grand gesture.

And it is time for change.

The infusion of fresh blood, so desperately needed, can address the more complicated issues, the incestuous nature of politicians, money, and influence.

And don’t construe this as a petition for socialism. Capitalism is the basis for the most powerful economy the world has ever seen as long as there is a check and balance by sound government oversight.

Government is not designed to run business. Business is not designed to govern a country. But combined, they form the foundation of a truly great nation if properly balanced.

While I believe there is no other choice than supporting the current President in a repeat of the 2020 election, out of a country of 300 million people there has to be someone with at least more dependable longevity we can look to for leadership at the national level.

Government is not designed to run business. Business is not designed to govern a country.

I once heard Joe Biden speak at an event celebrating the release of his book, Promise Me, Dad. This was at the time when he had decided not to run for President in 2016. One of the points he made that night was it was time for the next generation.

I think, because of the Trump years, he saw no one rising to the occasion and made his decision to run. But I truly believe he would have stepped aside for a viable candidate. We need that candidate soon, because there are more demons who seek the Presidency than there are saviors.

As it stands right now, Congress and the Presidency inhabit the most exclusive nursing home in the world. We should not be a country on life-support in a dangerous world.

JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services. Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

2 thoughts on ““It Is (Always) About the Money”

  1. Well said Joe! The younger generation has got to step up. The Mitch McConnells and Diane Feinsteins are doing the country no favors.

    1. Thank you, Maureen. I appreciate your taking time to read and reply. Having grown up in the 60s, I recall the words of President John F. Kennedy “the torch has been passed to a new generation,” That torch is dimming and needs new fuel. Please share the piece on social media, I would appreciate it.

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