Shameless (Minimum Wage)

The House of Representatives was busy yesterday engaging in vicious class warfare against working families.

Their two signature accomplishments were: 1) striking the proposed increase in the minimum wage from the Labor-HHS bill, and 2) reviving the effort to repeal the estate tax.

Late last week, members of the House Appropriations Committee voted to include an amendment to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 on a funding bill.  Given that Congress is a few months away from surpassing the Reagan-years record for ignoring the minimum wage, and the fact that its buying power is the lowest it's been since 1955, it's time for a raise.

Yet, instead of letting the measure go to the floor of the full House for a vote, the Republican leadership decided to pull the appropriations bill from consideration and the minimum wage increase along with it.

At the same time, conservatives began crafting a compromise measure to revive the estate tax repeal, which died in the Senate last week.  As the New York Times reports this morning, "Though billed as a compromise, the measure would cost about three-quarters as much as full repeal of the estate tax." Estimated cost over 10 years: $280 billion.


It's hard to find words to express the outrage of these actions.  It's not simply that the policy process has gotten off track.  It's that a key purpose of government has been turned upside down, and done so with apparent impunity.  

Instead of seeking ways to address and ameliorate the unbalanced growth which characterizes this economy, they're exacerbating the problem.  Instead of a small, overdue boost to low-wage workers that would help them reconnect, just a bit, to the growing economy, they want to shovel even more of the benefits of our prodigious productivity growth to the top of the wealth scale.

There's a word for this: shameless.  And shame on all of us if we sit back and watch it happen.

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(This article was co-written with Ross Eisenbrey of the Economic Policy Insititute.)

UPDATE: I will be defending the minimum wage on CNBC (Kudlow & Company) at around 5:20 EST tonight.

Tags: 'New Direction', Blanche Lincoln, Business, Cantwell, Congress, congressional raise, Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act, democracy, democratic values, Economic Policy Institute, Economy, FY 2007 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill, House Appropriations Committee, Hoyer Amendment, HR 8, Inequality, Jared Bernstein, Landrieu, Logging, Logrolling, Mark Pryor, minimum wage, Patty Murray, Pelosi, Poverty, progressive, Social Security, State of Working, Taxes, Yoyo Economics (all tags)

Comments

5 Comments

At least, the Senate should quid pro quo

The Clinton minimum wage hike, I seem to remember, passed with the lubrication of an indefensible tax giveway.

If the estate tax compromise is inevitable, which I suspect it is, Senate Dems in the frame (Pryor, Cantwell, Murray, Landrieu, say) should at least be pressured to trade their cloture votes for a minimum wage bump.

Logs are there to be rolled - and the $1 billion forestry giveaway is just not enough log for $280 billion of lubrication.

by skeptic06 2006-06-21 12:39PM | 0 recs
Re: At least, the Senate should quid pro quo

This is class warfare - the upper class just guarantees they will get paid themselves so wealth won't really be "redistributed".

by breakingranks 2006-06-21 12:54PM | 0 recs
Um . . .

In the future, can we try to avoid any mixed metaphors involving the lubrication of logs, please? kthxbye

by catastrophile 2006-06-21 03:08PM | 0 recs
I thought that...

...since I was giving it to you with the bark on...

by skeptic06 2006-06-21 03:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Shameless (Minimum Wage)

It's clear that the GOP does not represent its voters (many poor whites in the south among them) but instead represents only its donors.

Karl Rove must be smarter than Einstein considering he got 60 million people to vote for this nonsense.

by David Kowalski 2006-06-21 01:07PM | 0 recs

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