President Clinton signed into law yesterday one of the few clear Democratic victories of the 104th Congress: an increase in the federal minimum wage, that will take the hourly wage from $4.25 to $5.15 by 1997.
President Bill Clinton: “Nobody who works full-time with kids in the home should be in poverty. If we want to really revolutionize America’s welfare system and move people from welfare to work and reward work, that is the first, ultimate test we all have to meet. If you get up every day and you go to work and you put in your time and you have kids in your home, you and your children will not be in poverty.”
The enactment of the first increase in the minimum wage in five years comes at a time when Clinton’s standing among progressives and advocates of the poor in his own party is weak because of his decision to sign the Republican plan to overhaul — or, many say, repeal — welfare. He’ll sign that bill tomorrow.
In international news, a Roman Catholic Church newspaper alleged yesterday that the highest circles of power in Mexico were behind the 1994 murder of ruling party presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio. The archdiocese of Mexico said, in an unusual, outspoken editorial in its publication, that the Colosio slaying was clearly a plot and not the work of a lone gunman. Colosio was the PRI candidate, and he was campaigning in Tijuana when he was gunned down.
The Mexican government says it formally is protesting U.S. sanctions against telecommunications firm Grupo Domos. The Clinton administration is using the Helms-Burton law to punish the firm for doing business with Cuba. It’s denying visas to directors of the firm and their families.
Burma’s military government has imposed a seven-year prison sentence on a personal assistant to democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and two other party members.
Yesterday, we played excerpts of Ralph Nader’s speech accepting the presidential nomination of the Green Party at the Greens’ National Convention in Los Angeles. We received enormous response from you, the listeners, to Nader’s call for a new democracy movement in the United States.
Marcia Newfield: “Today’s program was just the best. Ralph Nader absolutely should be played over and over again. Marcia Newfield from New York City.”
Unidentified caller 1: “Anybody who doesn’t vote for Nader is a fool, after hearing these excerpts.”
Anita Anderson: “Hi. This is Anita Anderson, and I loved listening to Ralph Nader’s speech. We need more alternative programming to counteract the Democrats and the Republicans.
Mark: “Hey, my name’s Mark. I’m calling from Los Angeles. And I heard today Ralph Nader’s acceptance speech, and it just — I just let a big sigh of relief to hear finally a candidate that’s running for president to actually talk about the real issues that’s going on in this country. The other candidates have just made me weep.”
Unidentified caller 2: “Democracy Now!, I have just decided who I’ll vote for. I thought your program was excellent. I think that the Green Party nomination was really necessary and needs to be broadcast. I am ordering a copy of those tapes so that I can save it in my archives and to pass it among my friends. For once, we have some clear thinking and some clear comments about the state that we’re in. And I commend you for your great work in bringing this to us. It is really unfortunate that the networks did not carry this on the television the way they do the regular party conventions. And I’m going to see if we can’t make a change. Thank you again. Thank you. Thank you.”
And if you, too, would like to get a tape copy of yesterday’s program with large portions of Ralph Nader’s speech, you can call 1-800-735-0230. That’s 1-800-735-0230.