Fifteen Dollars? No, Give Them a Fish Instead.

by Steve Miller

In 1968, when I graduated from high school, the minimum wage was $1.60 per hour. Working a 40-hour week, a minimum wage earner would earn about $3,328 per year. The economy was different then; gasoline was around 35 cents per gallon and the median household income was just under $8,000 per year.  In today’s dollars, adjusted for inflation, that dollar sixty works out to around $7.75 per hour. It wasn’t a livable wage then and it isn’t now, nor was it ever meant to be.


Fish: The cure for poverty in America.

Let’s go back a few centuries and look at when government first got into the business of regulating a worker’s wage. King Edward III, in 1349, issued a decree setting a maximum wage. It seems that the Black Plague had wiped out most of the work force and the short supply of workers drove up the demand. Consequently, wages skyrocketed, putting a dent in the good king’s wallet along with that of other wealthy landowners who depended on serfs to work their land. Setting a ceiling on what a worker could demand as compensation, and also what an employer could pay, put things back in perspective and kept the rich wealthy and the poor underpaid. So much for supply and demand. Continue reading

ED3 versus Common Sense

by Steve Miller

By the end of last month, more than 200 Maricopa residents applied for permits to beat ED3s imposed solar installation deadline of July 1.  That should provide some idea of how much demand there is from residents to use free energy from the sun versus paying ED3 one of the highest electric utility rates in the state.

Unilaterally,solar dollars over the vocal objections of myself and others, Electrical District No. 3 initiated a policy of only 30 solar conversions per month.  Why?  To protect their revenue source.  In addition to throttling solar progress,  ED3 also raised their fixed recovery cost from 70 cents to $3 – a more than 200 percent increase.

The solar installation providers haven’t screamed too loud – yet.  The 30-per-month policy was the best promotion for solar sales yet resulting in a windfall of new customers.  As with anything where the supply is limited, customers literally threw themselves at solar companies to get in before the deadline.  Year-to-date, solar permits in Maricopa are over 400 percent higher than they were this time last year. Continue reading

Censorship Kills Ideas. Stupidity Prevents Them.

by Steve Miller

“I’m gay, I’m a Latino, and I’m a senator,” said Steve Gallardo, Maricopa County Supervisor, his voice quavering with emotion. “And it’s okay.”

Last March, Gallardo decided to put it all out on the table and let people know what he really thought. “It’s time to let people know about me. And to send people a message.,” he said. Apparently it’s okay to send a message if you’re gay and Latino, according to Gallardo, but it’s not okay if you’re white and straight.

img_7444Gallardo’s tearful appearance calling for the City of Phoenix to deny Donald Trump a venue to speak his mind aired on local news channels yesterday. You could see the emotion in his face, boiling with rage, as he called upon the city to not rent meeting space in the Phoenix Convention Center to “The Donald”. Why? Because, in his opinion, his message was filled with hate.

Does Gallardo really think that the city should deny renting a venue to a presidential candidate based solely on his political message?  Maybe he also thinks that the politician of the 20th century should be removed from his soap box and banned from the park because his message wasn’t politically correct.

What Gallardo is calling for is censorship.  Censorship is the control of the information and ideas circulated within a society and it has been a hallmark of dictatorships throughout history. FCC censors made sure that nothing related to homosexuality made it on the airwaves through the early days of television.  Do you think that freedoms such as gay marriage would have ever taken place if those ideas would have continued to be suppressed by the government today? Continue reading

Home of the Brave, Land of the Incarcerated.

by Steve Miller

Sometime in the near future, President Obama is expected to issue executive orders freeing dozens of federal prisoners locked up on nonviolent drug offenses. Once this has been done, he will have commuted more sentences in a single action than any president has in nearly half a century.

I am not a progressive Democrat but I agree completely with what he’s doing. We should get rid of long sentences and mandatory minimums – especially for nonviolent drug offenses.

prisonThe United States has less than five percent of the world’s population yet we have twenty-four percent of the world’s prison population. According to the Department of Justice, over seven million people were are in prison, on probation, or on parole. In Arizona, over one percent of the adult male population is locked up.

The result of the war on drugs in particular has been explosive growth in our prisons. It has accomplished nothing but to generate a whole plethora of social problems when inmates, who are ill-equipped to deal with society after long periods of incarceration, are finally released. Continue reading

Every Breath you Take, Every Move you Make…

by Steve Miller

Just when you thought it was safe to go back on the Internet we now find that Big Brother is alive, well, and reading your messages.

A bill is working its way through the U.S. Senate, having just been approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee, that would require social media sites to report what they consider to be terrorist activity.

Let’s pause for a moment and consider the definition of terrorism. According to the dictionary, it’s “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.” In actuality, according to 18 U.S.C. § 2331, however, there is a more detailed version that is probably more suited to what the government is trying to accomplish.


Nevertheless, the US Government is asking private companies to spy on their customers and report suspicious activity. It’s not the first time this has happened. In Los Angeles and Sacramento, California, city ordinances required gun shops to keep a log of who was buying ammunition. The police then cross referenced the list with those who may be prohibited from owning a firearm, used the information to obtain search warrants, and effected multiple arrests. That’s okay if you believe the end justifies the means. Continue reading