Tuesday, August 01, 2006

House Votes Minimum Wage Hike

Yep, must be an election year. After nine years of stonewalling, the House Rethugs have now passed a hike in the federal minimum wage, which has stagnated at $5.15 an hour. However, in typically calculating Rethug fashion, it's tied to vast cuts in the so-called "death tax" which will cost the treasury billions in lost revenue. (As an aside, it's especially pissing me off because the sales tax deduction from federal income tax is also being held hostage in this same bill. We don't have an income tax in Washington State, so the sales and property tax deductions are about the only tax relief we have.) It's a prime example of a cynical "poison pill" proviso that pretty much will guarantee that the senate will fail to pass the increase in the minimum wage.

This way the fuckers can go back home and say "we tried but the senate liberals don't want you to have a living wage". Never mind that some of those "liberals" are actually members of their own party.

Jesus, give me a fucking break. The current minimum wage hasn't changed in nine years, and with inflation, that amount of money has lost 20% of it purchasing power -- today it's worth just $4.14. I'd like to see those rich fuckers try to live for just a month on that tiny amount of money. They haven't had any problems passing salary increases for themselves over that same period, now have they?

And the hardcore Rethug blowhards are still whipping that same old dead horse about employers having to cut jobs if the minimum wage goes up.

Bullshit. Despite the rantings of the so-called Employment Policies Institute, there has been no valid study that backs up this assertion. In fact, in high-minimum-wage Washington State (ours is $7.15 per hour and is tied to the inflation rate), the economy is far better than in states where the minimum wage has remained at the federal rate. You can see the same effect in all of the other states who have decided on their own to raise their state minimum wage.

BTW, that Employment Policies Institute, despite its neutral-sounding name and its claim on its website that is just a non-profit research organization, was founded by an asshole named Rick Berman, who also lobbies for the restaurant, hotel, alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries. But you won't see that in any of the news stories or think pieces that mention EPI -- for example this opinion piece that appeared in the Louisville Courier-Journal, written by EPI's own Mike Flynn.

Funded by an industry with a dedication to keeping wages down? Nope, no conflict of interest there. Read the straight dope on the EPI at the Center for Media and Democracy's SourceWatch.

I have worked with unemployment insurance programs, in one capacity or another, for the last 30 years, and I can tell you flat out that I have never -- never -- met even one unemployed person who lost his/her job because of an increase in the minimum wage. That's zero. None.

And really, when you think about it, the minimum wage is an insult to workers. As Chris Rock once said, if you're working for minimum wage, your employer is telling you he'd pay you even less if he could get away with it.

2 Comments:

spadoman said...

We live in a job depressed area of the country. The paper mill closed, the ore docks shut down decades ago. The only jobs are the service industry, ie McDonald's hamburger flipping.

My daughter works as a veternary technician at a local pet hospital. She started there a few months ago making minimum wage, which was $6.15 an hour here in Wisconsin. She was told after she'd been there a few months, she would get a raise.

She was given a raise to $6.50 in the middle of May, then found out the state mandated a raise to $6.50 for the minimum wage on June first. Hence, no raise as promised because she would have gotten to $6.50 anyway by mandate.

What a scam. People do lose their jobs because of minimum wage. They quit because they can't live on it. That's how they lose them.

$6.50 an hour, less 25% tax equals $4.87. Drive 15 miles one way, (no public transportation available) in an old car (that's all you can afford if you can even keep it running), and you burn up two gallons a day, that's another $6.19 where I live, per day, to get to and from work.

Your getting my point. Taking care of children and day care reduce this more and my daughter brings home $60.00 a week for 40 hours.

Rethugs and the Dems have a long way to go to change reality for a lot of Americans. They shuffle and lie while having all they need. It sucks.

We fought for this? I think not.

nunya said...

Oh, it gets worse: Tips Caught Up in Minimum-Wage Debate
As if waiting on rich people wasn't bad enough. Yeesh, I'm poor and I know I tip better than middle class and higher. I've had too many friends try to survive as waitresses and waiters. My ex-mother-in-law kept giving me this card with a tip table on it, and insisting that that was my part of the bill. I lost it with her one day, viciously condemning Republicans in the same breath. I did mention "ex" didn't I? Not that I ever married her spoiled rotten brat of a son. He asked me one day (many many years ago) why the pork chops were so small? I asked why he couldn't pay half the daycare for his kid when he made twice what I did? My veteran husband supports the spoiled brat's child. My veteran husband doesn't vote Republican any more.