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Upper management shouldn't earn more than 20X lowest paid

To The Daily Sun,
I was intrigued by an article on page 11 of The Daily Sun on April 16 about Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments, who decided to cut his own pay so that each employee under him could earn a base salary of $70,000. I would hope and pray that corporate America would take notice of this story and act accordingly. I think most people would agree that greed at the top of most large companies is hurting those at the bottom.

I am employed by a company that the CEO who recently retired earned in excess of $11 million a year. While he has taken all that money out of the company, myself and many co-workers have been struggling to make ends meet. I have worked full time for 11 1/2 years with this company and had all above average evaluations, yet my wages are such that I still qualify for fuel assistance. My wife and I have not had health insurance for more than 5 years now, since my employer has steadily increased the rates for it. In 2008 I filed bankruptcy, in 2014 I avoided foreclosure (at least for the time being) and I am still struggling to pay the bills. My wife and I have only one vehicle between us though we need two and that vehicle will not pass inspection this coming June, nor do we know where the money will come from to replace it. We tend to buy 10-15 year old vehicles since that is all we can afford. So it was nice to read that not all those at the top of companies are so greed struck that they let those under them languish in poverty.
I have a potential solution for this problem. No, it's not a higher minimum wage (that only hurts the small businesses), nor is it having a labor union (though I have previously been a union member and my needs were met). I propose that a law be written that says no one at the upper end of any company can earn more than 20 times the wage of the lowest paid worker if that lowest paid worker is earning less than 400 percent of the federal poverty rate. Also a law like that should only apply to medium and large businesses so as not to hurt the smaller up and coming competitors. I don't know what the exact numbers should be in a law such as that; I'll leave that to our lawmakers.
I think of the biblical example of Jobe and how he was one of the wealthiest men of his time. Not one of the many people that served under his leadership would say anything against him because their needs were taken care of. Now that's a great example of how to treat your employees.
Thank you Dan Price for setting an example and I sincerely hope that you are blessed many times over and others at the top take notice and follow your lead.
One last thought, as our state legislators are about to vote to legalize casino gambling, just remember if it passes no product will be produced, though many workers will be taken out of the workforce to fill these non-productive jobs. Many who can least afford it will become addicted to gambling and most of the money put into it will leave our local economy for Nevada to line the pockets of greedy executives at the top of that industry. Call and write your representatives and let them know your thoughts.
Bob Ely

New Hampton

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E. Scott Cracraft - The Paris & Conrad Hilton III spoiled brat trust fund tax

Americans pride ourselves in our education system and we have a lot to be proud of. But, do we really value education when many conservatives bash teachers and professors and view education in terms of the "bottom line"? Or when many retirees who are far from poor do not want to pay taxes for schools since their kids no longer are in school?
Our other problem is that many politicians do not really see education as a priority that the taxpayers ought to pay for. After all, the U.S. House (and the N.H. House) has recently cut funding for public services and while giving tax breaks to the rich. They want to abolish the inheritance tax on the rich and sell this by calling it a "death tax". Would the idea "sell" if we called it "The Paris and Conrad Hilton III Spoiled Brat Trust Fund Tax"?
They also want to give billions to what Eisenhower called "the military industrial complex". Everyone is for better national security but having a poorly-educated population hardly makes us "secure."
There are countries that do things better than we do with education and with impressive results. In Germany, higher education is now free. In Denmark, students get free tuition as well as a government stipend to live on. Our students not only go into debt but often have to work full-time. Perhaps that is why many European students know so much about what is happening in the larger world: they have the time to travel abroad.
Germany also has an education system that fits country's needs. Every German student receives a basic, general eight grade education. Then, based on tests and the student's interests, those college bound are sent to one of two types of public high schools. One is the gymnasium where you go if you are humanities-oriented. If you are more science and math oriented, you attend a Realschul.
If you are going into a skilled trade, you go to still another type of high school that combines general studies with hands-on training. By your last year, you are often working in a PAID apprenticeship. The German government, companies, and the unions all cooperate in these programs. In the U.S.A, there are very few paid internships for students.
While public education has made this country great, many want us to go backwards. The conservative Christians want the taxpayers to subsidize their private schools where they teach Creation "science", revised history, and "abstinence only" sex education. But, they are not satisfied; they want it in public schools too.
Others want to remodel education along neo-liberal lines. They want vouchers for private schools. They see the failures in our education system as an argument for privatization.
Actually, this model has been tried. The first real experiment in neo-liberal economic policies proposed by Milton Friedman was in Chile. But these policies could only be imposed after a U.S.-backed military coup that installed a brutal dictatorship where no one could oppose them. A group of economists trained by Friedman called the "Chicago Boys" were hired to supervise it.
Funding for public services were drastically cut, unions were suppressed, and public enterprises were sold off to private investors. Followers of Dr. Friedman like to talk of a "Chilean Miracle". While it did make some Chileans rich, it was very hard the working classes. The "miracle" fell apart and it was the economic problems it caused that led to a concerted effort to remove dictatorship.
In education, the neo-liberals created an system that conservatives here would approve of. Deep cuts were made to higher education and "subversive" professors were fired. Chile had some of the best universities in South America but the government promoted private "universities" which were for-profit and were of dubious quality. And, as in America, funding of public schools was tied to a community's tax base with poorer areas getting poorer schools. Since then, Chilean students have had to pay higher and higher tuition and take out loans. Sound familiar?
After democracy was restored, Chilean students set about to change it. A series of strikes over the last several years by both high school and college students (supported by parents and educators) finally produced results. Recently, Chile has decided to provide free education at public universities and cut the public funding of private schools and "universities".
It baffles that the wealthiest country in the world cannot follow the example of other democracies.

(Scott Cracraft is an American citizen, taxpayer, veteran, and resident of Gilford.)

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