Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tuesday Was Thank A Democrat Day

On Tuesday the Federal minimum wage took its first jump in 10 years, the first of several planned increases over the next two years that will eventually set the Federal minimum wage at $7.25/hour.

I know there are folks who will argue that a hike from $5.15 to $5.85 an hour is peanuts. Two comments: If you are making $5.15 an hour then I bet you are damn glad to get that increase. Also, it is the Republicans who have consistently rejected raising the minimum wage, so please take your comments to them.

In fact, Republicans rejected an increase 11 times since 1998, while voting themselves nine pay hikes. Get this twisted logic:
Republicans argued that an increase in the minimum wage would discourage employers from hiring workers and would hinder people in the early stages of their careers from gaining skills and advancing.
Got that? The Republican Party thinks American workers will be so satisfied with $7.25/hour they will lack incentive to find a better job.

What planet are they living on?

This is one issue for which Democrats have fought long and hard. Harry Reid even halted Congress’ pay increase until the minimum wage increase was passed.

Let’s remember, who is the party of oppressing workers with slave wages and who isn’t:
[The increase] ends the longest span without a federal minimum wage increase since the pay floor was enacted in 1938. The last previous increase came in September 1997, when President Clinton signed a bill raising the minimum 40 cents to $5.15 an hour.

Although I suppose we must give President Bush his due: he is at least smart enough to realize that vetoing the minimum wage bill would have been a bad move. Oh, wait. Memory hole, dial us back to May of this year:

When President Bush vetoed legislation setting timetables for U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq yesterday, he also vetoed the first increase in the minimum wage in a decade.
The U.S. House passed a bill Jan. 10 that would have boosted the federal minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25, without another round of tax breaks for business. Senate Republicans filibustered the House bill for a week in January, using Senate rules to force minimum wage backers to win 60 votes instead of a simple 51 majority and then killing the House bill on Jan. 24. 

By killing the House bill, Senate Republicans forced Senate Democrats to add $8.3 billion in business tax breaks. They then refused to allow the combined minimum wage and tax package to move to a conference with the House until the House produced its own package of tax cuts for business.

So just to recap: Republicans have been in charge of Congress and the White House since 2000. In that time they have voted themselves nine pay increases while giving American workers zero. When Democrats gain a slim majority in Congress they use parliamentary procedures to hold up a minimum wage increase until they secure billions in tax breaks for their big business friends.

And they think we’re too dumb to notice. Heh.