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Richard Stallman: We Need to Increase the Minimum Wage in the US

Posted in Finance, Free/Libre Software, Interview at 5:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Direct download as Ogg (00:05:20, 17.8 MB)

Summary: Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation’s founder, speaks about corporations versus benefits, among other related issues


(intro music)

Roy: We’ve spoken about poverty in general, it’s been shown recently that a thing the United States has dropped a great deal in terms of the levels of the child poverty in the Western world. I think it’s second worst now.

RMS: Well, that’s not surprising because you have Republicans doing everything key can to attack


anything that benefits most Americans and you have Democrats rather weak in defending those programs so they’ve been reduced and reduced and reduced. You get a Democratic president who said that he wanted to make budget cutting and deficit cutting a goal. That’s the wrong goal when you’re having a recession. What you need to get out of a recession is deficit spending. That’s what Keynes told us. So, they’re ignoring this. Why? Well, we


can guess it’s because the plutocrats want them to ignore this.

Roy: Would you say that the minimum wage is the main point to concentrate on?

RMS: I don’t know if it’s the main point because it’s one of many important things. Yes, we need to increase the minimum wage in the US. That’s not all we need to do. We need to do a lot of things.

Roy: I think there’s been a great deal recently in the media especially where they speak about how unemployment rates have gone down but they don’t really want to show you which companies were hiring and the fact they were


hiring temporary employees and part-time employees and that’s another issue which robs people from the rights to certain benefits of full-time employment.

RMS: Yes, in the US health benefits and some others are, including retirement income, these have been connected by a mistake in judgement with employment. However, employers don’t have to pay into these things for somebody


who’s working less than half-time. So that gives employers an incentive to hire only less than half-time workers and then people don’t get these things. Now, the solution, in regard to health care is disconnect it entirely from employment. It is a mistake, and likewise for support for the old, it shouldn’t be connected with employment at all. Because if it is connected with employment, that is economic pressure on companies not to employ workers in your country.


They would rather employ people elsewhere or use machines. They would rather spend a lot of money to automate rather than pay people. So it’s an undesirable incentive that this law places on employers. If we simply taxed businesses based on their revenue and used the money to provide health care and income for the old and everything else that is important to do for


people, then these companies wouldn’t have any incentive not to get their work done by hiring people. No, don’t stop it because I want to say a bit more. First of all, when I go into a supermarket or any other store that has self-checkout machines, I urge people not to use them because by using those machines they are increasing unemployment. I don’t use them myself, unless they basically give


me no other choice at all. And I tell the people who work in the store, I’m refusing to use those because I want you to continue to have jobs. You can do this too. We can all do this. We can make it a movement. Second, I learned a few days ago about the role played by offshoring, by complcated chains of ownership running through countries where


the real owners of a company can be secret so it seems that this is something that we need to put a stop to. But why don’t we? Plutocracy, of course. The governments that continue to allow this to be done are obeying the rich that they don’t dare disobey.

Roy: Because they fund them.

RMS: Exactly. So, you need politicians who are courageous enough to


say we are not going to play beggar thy neighbor any more. We’ve going to kick the banksters out of London unless they bow down to a state that isn’t plutocratic. And if they say obey us or we’ll leave, we’ll tell them good-riddance because trying to attract marauders like that in the hope of a little trickle-down


is in the long term a self-defeating policy which anyone can see by looking at it with the long perspective.

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