She told me she had asked MNDFL State Representative Brita Sailer when the state legislature was going to do something about poverty on Indian Reservations. This lady and some of her friends were quite upset with Representative Sailer's answer.
It seems that Representative Sailer's response was that "poverty is a very complex and complicated issue that would take too much time to talk about."
I can understand people would be upset by this kind of racist and arrogant response.
As we talked, this lady asked me if I would be willing to come down to Redby and talk to her and a few friends about "poverty." I agreed.
When I arrived at her home it was quite apparent that she and her children were living in poverty as were most of her neighbors... at least they didn't have homes like the two-million dollar spread of John McCarthy who heads up the work of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association and people in Redby weren't living the life of Riley like Rick Rothausen, Red Lake Gaming Enterprises' retired Chief Financial Officer.
This is what I said about "poverty" which contrary to Representative Brita Sailer is quite simple to talk about when you are on the Red Lake Indian Reservation because you are constantly surrounded by poverty.
What causes this poverty?
Poverty is caused by two things:
1. Unemployment causes poverty.
2. Low wages cause poverty.
There are two solutions to ending poverty:
1. Put people to work.
2. Pay people real living wages.
Talking about poverty is really very simple... racist politicians like Brita Sailer want to turn a discussion of poverty into a big complicated issue.
The reason Representative Brita Sailer and most of her colleagues in the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party have been told to tell poor people that poverty is too complex for them to understand is because the two solutions to ending poverty do not sit well with those like John McCarthy of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association from whom these Democrats are reaping huge campaign contributions.
The casino operations are amongst the largest employers in northern Minnesota and today these casino operations employ more people than the iron ore mining and taconite industry.
Why is it so difficult for Representative Brita Sailer to talk about poverty to the very people whose votes she is asking for? The reason is, because Brita Sailer and her DFL colleagues would have to explain how it is that they reap huge campaign contributions distributed by a man like John McCarthy, the Executive Director of MIGA, who has a lavish two-million dollar spread with a mansion on a hill like some old Finnish feudal lord who lives a life of luxury because he has helped create a cheap labor pool for the casino industry. Poverty wages create poverty... why is this so difficult to understand. Casino managements pay all casino workers poverty wages... are we supposed to expect anything other than people living in poverty will be the result?
For many people living on the Red Lake Reservation the only jobs they can get are working in the casinos getting paid poverty wages; but, for even more people, unemployment is what they get as Tribal leaders allow non-tribal members to do most of the work on the reservation. One has to wonder why there are so many non-tribal members teaching in the schools and working at good-paying jobs in the Red Lake Department of Natural Resources or working on the new casino or installing cable equipment or working on the roads or installing sewers when Red Lake has an unemployment rate exceeding 50%. Why weren't tribal members given first chance at all casino jobs and paid real living wages?
Why are multi-million dollar government contracts going without the enforcement of affirmative action guidelines?
Poverty is very easy to talk about; the real reason why DFL'ers like Brita Sailer refuse to talk about poverty when asked questions is because they are not doing a damn thing about ending poverty.
You end poverty by putting people to work paying them real living wages supplemented with adequate governmental programs like socialized health care, government subsidized housing, quality educations and you enforce affirmative action in hiring.
First it was big agri-business that made excuses why it was impossible to pay people real living wages; then it was the forestry industry that always had an excuse why they treated their horses better than workers; then it was the iron ore mining industry with Carnegie and Rockefeller pleading poverty whenever living wages were the topic of discussion... now it is the casino industry who claims that they are just good people providing people with a little cash to tide them over until people "can get real jobs."
Big money has been made by these profiteers living high on the hog as a result of paying their employees poverty wages... what do we get in return for creating their wealth? From big agri-business we got contaminated ground water; from the forestry industry we got clear-cuts and tree plantations; from the mining industry we got pits and pollution; now, from the casino industry we get diddly-squat as the one-armed bandits rake in the loot faster than any other industry ever has and these mobsters still cry poverty when it comes to paying workers real living wages.
We live in a society where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Those like Representative Brita Sailer would rather not explain any of this when asked about poverty because they are getting a part of the spoils for allowing--- and enabling--- all of this to go on.