Paul Molino: Lower corporate tax rates does not mean profits are ‘trickling down’
Grocery shopping during COVID-19 can be a challenge. Wearing masks, gloves and dealing with empty shelves becomes the focus.
But what about the grocery clerks who stack the shelves and check out our purchases? They are the brave souls who expose themselves daily so that we might have food on our tables.
What sacrifices are they making for child care, wages, caring for parents or grandparents? How do they manage affordable housing with the high rents and mortgage costs in the county? Can they afford food on their tables? Minimum wage is $13 per hour and many earn less. That is $27,000 per year or $1,850 per month take home. After $1,500 for rent not much is left for food or anything else. But why are they earning minimum wage or close to it?
My first job after high school in 1957 was a grocery clerk for a large, national chain in the Bay Area. I earned $2.25 per hour and felt secure enough to buy a new 1957 Buick Special. Why I did not buy a ’57 Chevy I’ll never know. I was not alone as many of us had new cars parked outside in the store lot. My wages in 2020 dollars is equal to $22.50 per hour or over $47,000 per year.
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That is $20,000 more than our grocery clerks earn today in 2020 dollars. Gee. How did that happen?
Corporate tax rates have fallen from 53% in the Eisenhower administration to 35% with no apparent trickle down benefit to working taxpayers. And there is no correlation between lower corporate taxes and economic growth.
During the 1950s when the rate was 53%, economic growth was almost 4%, according to the Economic Policy Institute at http:/www.epi.org. After lowering the rate to 35% our economic growth dropped to less than 2%.
Granted, it is not easy dealing with economic growth numbers in the middle of a virus pandemic but the determination of our grocery clerks and other essential workers and volunteers require us to take stock of their sacrifices.
They will assume their rightful place among today’s heroes, but we need to know that their plight should be better and understand why today’s clerk earns $20,000 less than I did in 1957.
Paul Molino lives in Grass Valley.
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