$15/hr federal minimum wage — truly a modest proposal

You can almost do the math in your head. $7.25 an hour times forty hours: $290 a week. $15 an hour times 40: $600. Raising the federal minimum wage to a modest living wage, we are told by Trump’s party (and at least two selected Democrats) would somehow be calamitous.

The Senate parliamentarian advised Democrats yesterday that raising the federal minimum wage by reconciliation (which requires 51 votes) as part of their $1.9 trillion pandemic relief/stimulus program is a violation of the Senate’s arcane rules [1]. There was no such ruling, of course, when Trump’s GOP, in a 51-49 vote, gave a similar sum to our richest families, partnerships and corporations in tax give backs in December, 2017. If there was, nobody mentioned it, it derailed nothing.

In the richest country in the world, our lowest paid workers are currently free to work full-time and live in poverty. How is paying workers a modest living wage controversial?

If the real concern is bankrupting small businesses that will be unable to make payroll, there are ways to subsidize those businesses to keep them solvent and profitable. Government support to help small businesses who would be burdened by paying a living wage to their workers would be similar to, and benefit many millions more than, the massive subsidies our government already gives to highly profitable fossil fuel conglomerates and other corporate beneficiaries of taxpayer generosity. But concern for small business is not the real concern here, folks.

It’s a hard to understand the rationale of those who don’t want America’s poorest working people to be able to afford clothing, shelter, healthy food and health care. I don’t understand it as anything more than an expression of disdain by the born-comfortable for anybody who was not prudent enough to be born into reasonable financial circumstances. The children of the poor in America have steeper odds of ever escaping poverty than poor kids in most other wealthy nations, plus they and their parents are routinely vilified as lazy freeloaders who refuse to do the impossible– “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”.

How does the existence of millions of full-time workers who struggle to support themselves and their children, even if they work two 40 hour jobs a week, help anyone? How did slavery help the masses of American workers? Yet, there would be a long, bloody fight to the death to preserve the Peculiar Institution. This fight over a living wage seems to be part of that same struggle, a vicious and well-funded fight to benefit a small group of highly privileged individuals.

The parliamentarian’s ruling yesterday took the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, West Virgina’s Joe Manchin, off the hook, for the moment. His vote is needed to pass any law or confirm any nominee in the divided Senate, even 51-50. Manchin seems to be enjoying his new status as a kingmaker. He announced the other day that he opposes the $15 dollar minimum wage, advocating for a compromise $11 an hour federal minimum wage. Only 4 dollars difference, only $160 a week. Why bitch about $640 a month? Show some class! Let’s show our bipartisan spirit and compromise, y’all. Where I come from, $11 is a lot of money!

Where you’re going, Joe, $11 won’t even buy you a blowjob from one of Satan’s lowliest.

I didn’t forget about Joe Manchin’s fellow conservative Democratic kingmaker, Arizona’s senior senator (in office since 2109), Kyrsten Sinema [2], I just can’t think of anything the staunch defender of the filibuster might try to buy for $11. Maybe a Big Mac, super-sized fries, a giant Coke and a nice dessert from a good bakery.

In other news:

Lynch mob victim and former Senator Al Franken cracked “I like Ted Cruz more than anybody in the Senate does– and I HATE Ted Cruz.” Here’s Ted, doing thirty seconds of standup for his peeps:

[1]

The Senate parliamentarian ruled that a plan to gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 does not fit the complicated rules that govern budget bills in the Senate. House Democrats included the measure in a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that is expected to be the first major legislative act for President Biden.

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[2]

from: Kyrsten Sinema’s Self-Defeating, Nonsensical Defense of the Filibuster: The Arizona senator is almost single-handedly keeping Democrats from wielding their majority power—and the party may well lose that power as a result.

This year, all around the country, Republican state lawmakers are pushing an alarming array of bills that are designed to make it harder to vote. They’re targeting absentee voting, early voting, voting by mail, and virtually every other means to cast a ballot. Though their stated justification is the illusory threat of voter fraud, the goal is to reduce turnout in ways that suppress Democratic votes. In short, it’s a cynical move against basic tenets of American democracy.

Democrats have an answer to this challenge. For the past two years, they’ve put forward H.R. 1, a sweeping bill to reform American elections. It would enact automatic voter registration nationwide, expand early voting and vote-by-mail, and more. And it doesn’t stand a chance of passage, as long as the Senate filibuster remains intact.

The case against the filibuster has been made ad nauseam lately—including in these pages, by me and others. But there’s a reason the argument has become unavoidable: The filibuster is the most decisive force in American governance and policymaking today. It decides—by virtue of requiring 60 votes to pass most legislation, rather than simply a 51-vote majority—the outcome of countless policy debates before they can even begin.

source

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