Letter: Gaughan: the clear choice

In the past two years voters have endured both a contentious presidential and governor’s election, so it is no wonder so few people have expressed much, if any, enthusiasm for the congressional elections coming up on Nov. 4.

But much is riding on this election: Our very dysfunctional House of Representatives is up for reelection, and in the 5th District of Virginia, the clear choice is Democrat Lawrence Gaughan over the incumbent, Robert Hurt.

If anyone is looking for a single good reason to cast a ballot for Mr. Gaughan, then consider this: His election will send to Capitol Hill a yes vote to raise the minimum wage, which is the right thing to do both morally and economically.

Why raise the minimum wage? Because the government spends a whopping $250 billion a year in various welfare payments (especially food stamps) to the working poor; this amounts to a taxpayer-funded subsidy to hugely profitable corporations like McDonald’s and Walmart, who pay thousands and thousands of their workers the minimum or barely above it, allowing them to reap the benefits of cheap labor and pass the costs on to the taxpayers.

This is not how a free market economy is supposed to work. A hike in the minimum wage is the most efficient and economically sound way to raise working Americans out of poverty and provide a boost to the economy by increasing consumption while shrinking the cost and size of government at the same time.

And where does the other side stand on raising the minimum wage? I think it was best expressed in a comment made on the Rush Limbaugh show last week, where it was boldly stated that anyone in America who isn’t rich is nothing but a failure and not worth any consideration. Talk about elitism and class warfare.

After the Great Recession, we now seem to be in a recovery that could best be characterized as “profits without prosperity,” where corporate ledgers have grown fat and CEO compensation is such that even if you do not succeed, you are still set for life.

Isn’t it time someone put their finger on the scales, even ever so slightly, on behalf of those who do the heavy lifting in this economy? Isn’t it time someone supported the kind of people who will never have a wealthy friend to give them a Rolex and pay for a lavish spending spree in New York?

So on Nov. 4, vote to give us the representation we deserve. Vote to send Lawrence Gaughan to the U.S. House of Representatives and get the job done.

Fred Schaefer

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