Friday, February 22, 2013

Can't live without a living wage

Happy to see Nancy Pelosi throw down a challenge to the GOP on an issue that really matters to the little people. She told the media Democrats would be pushing a minimum wage raise and if GOPers didn't get on board they could explain it to the voters in 2014.

The strategy is straightforward:
“Just keep it simple. We want to raise the minimum wage, and you don’t. Why not?”
She understands the politics perfectly:
“There’s an even greater awareness now than there was six years ago about the disparity of income in our country — and that this disparity is not a healthy thing for a family or an economy,” Pelosi told me. “Raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do, but it’s a popular thing to do as well.”
This was something Republicans once understood as well. When George W. Bush was president, 67 GOPers (still in office today) supported minimum wage hikes. The hike passed with a large bi-partisan majority vote because Democrats didn't put their personal partisan interests over the common good of the working class people.

Not so for Republicans. GOP House leader John Boehner rejected the idea almost before President Obama finished proposing it. Boehner wails it can't be done because, job killer. A claim that is not supported by empirical evidence but yet goes unchalleged by the DC media elites, who merely transcribe the nonsense without comment or context.

In truth, what actual non-partisan research shows is that an artifically low minimum wage effectively subsidizes highly profitable corporate employers. They rake in record breaking profits while the taxpayer foots the bill for social services the employees need. Social welfare the working poor qualify for because their inadequate wages do not cover the barest basic cost of living.

The hell of it is, the paltry $9 an hour still isn't enough in today's economy. If we look at the history of the minimum wage, we find, "it had its highest buying power in 1968 at $1.60, when it was worth about $10.56." If memory serves a gallon of gas was well under 50 cents in those days.

This isn't about protecting jobs. It's about Republicans protecting the wealthy. It comes down to unmitigated greed. Sadly, we don't have Ted Kennedy to make the case anymore.

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