July 30, 2006

Sunday Morning musings...minimum wage

Well, the House passed it's winimum wage increase, sure to be defeated in the Senate. Really, this is a two-fer for them, as they will go out and bally-hoo how Republicans are looking out for working Americans and how the EVIL Democrats blocked it. Of course, they will not mention that the actual wage increase isn't actually a stand-alone bill but merely an amendment to the odious Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act. This is typical of the Republicans...attach good legislation to a bill that is awful, and then use Democrats' votes against the bill in campaign ads, a la, (cue deep voice and sinister music) "Evil, liberal, Democrat John Doe SAYS he wants to increase the minimum wage. But when given the opportunity to do so, he voted AGAINST it."

I hope the Democrats come out with an ad that lists every attempt made by Democrats to increase the minimum wage in EVERY session and the Republicans party line votes to defeat said Democratic proposals. A quick search of the House of Representatives web site using "minimum wage increase" pulls up this page. Hmm, just a quick survey of those articles shows that Democrats have been fighting for a minimum wage increase for years and then there is a lot of bloviating from Republicans this month. Interesting chart showing Congressional pay raises over the years vs minimum wage increase for America's workers (pdf). And just who has been in charge in Congress lo these many years? Lest we all forget, the House has been under Republican control since 1994.

Couple of more links. This one from the DNC blog about this "poison pill" includes a link to a pdf entitled, Killing the Minimum Wage - A Report on the Republican Poison Pill Parade documents just a few of the times Republicans have blocked any honest and clean attempt by Democrats to raise the minimum wage.

Okay, let's say that this bill gets to the Senate and perhaps they do pass a version of the bill. So it goes into conference whereby the Senate and the House work out their differences on the bill. Any takers as to whether the minimum wage increase actually stays in the bill? Bueller? Bueller?

1 comment:

Thogek said...

Oh, both of the two Big Parties pull this sort of rider-bill and poison-pill tactic all the time. It's pure poltical manuevering, and wholly deplorable as such, but don't try to make it sound like one party wallows in it while the other stands righteously above such tactics. They both stink of it.


Many opposing minimum wage increases have cited basic economic supply-and-demand behaviors to explain their opposition. Raising legally-required minimum wages would artificially force an increase in the market cost of labor, which would resultingly force a decrease in the market demand for labor (as demand for a service goes down when the price goes up), thus contributing to a raise unemployment rates (since there become fewer jobs available for employment). I'd like to see the Democratic Party's (or anyone else's contesting) response to that argument.

Many supporters of minimum wage increases cite cases of Americans struggling to to support a family on minimum wage as motivating reasons, to help these families from falling deeper into poverty. I'd like to see statistics on what proportion of the American population makes only minimum wages, and see those numbers broken down by age, marital status, dependant status, and other groups. Such information would provide great insight into the extent to which Americans truly are attempting to support a family on minimum wage (i.e., whether or not this is actually as significant a problem as has been asserted), as opposed to (e.g.) cases of high-schoolers working part-time after-school jobs for extra pocket money. Those statistics may very well have been compiled by someone somewhere...