Last month, the Oregonian announced that they had hired the Bend Bulletin’s Erik Lukens to be the paper’s new Editorial Page Editor. At the time, we wrote that it signaled a further shift to the right for the state’s “paper of record.”
In the weeks since, we’ve conducted research into the editorials that came out under Lukens’ direction and have found that it’s even more extreme than we originally thought. On every issue that matters to most Oregonians, Lukens and the Bulletin editorial board took a far-right position that is completely at odds with the Oregonian’s readership.
This is part two of a five-part series.
Across the state, the effects of the economic meltdown are still being felt by working- and middle-class families. While corporate profits have reached an all-time high, the recovery hasn’t yet reached those who struggling just to make ends meet.
And yet? Erik Lukens, the Oregonian’s newly hired Editorial Page Editor, thinks the problem is that poor people make too much money.
No, really. While he headed up the editorial page of the Bend Bulletin, Lukens repeatedly advocated for a wage cut for the poorest workers by cutting the minimum wage. Lukens & Co. believe that Oregon’s minimum wage law (passed by voters in 2002) should allow for cuts to the wages that the poorest workers make.
August 25, 2009: “Oregon’s minimum wage law is a bad idea whose time is coming around again. … Don’t expect the minimum wage to go down. There is no provision for Oregon’s minimum wage to ever go down. We don’t get that.”
November 9, 2009: “Oregon law makes no provision for the minimum wage to decline when the cost of living declines, while Colorado’s constitution requires that the minimum wage there do just that. … Still, knowing the minimum wage can be cut that way lends a sense of fairness to the minimum wage that the Oregon system lacks.”
September 23, 2010: “In Oregon, the bottom line is that while the guy who works at a fast-food restaurant can expect a raise next year, the guy who runs the place probably is making less and being taxed more for the privilege.”
For Erik Lukens, the person who will shape the Oregonian’s editorial positions, Oregon’s real economic problem is that we can’t cut the wages of people who make $8.55 an hour.