House Republicans unanimously voted against raising the federal minimum wage. Republicans effectively guaranteed that the working poor will deeper into poverty and giant retailers will continue posting record profits. The Republicans justified voting against the minimum wage hike with the same tired reasons they use to cut corporate taxes and kill regulations. It will drive up unemployment by making it harder got small businesses to hire. When President Obama called for a raise in the minimum wage during his State of the Union Address, Speaker John Boehner imeadiately dismissed the idea saying, “When you raise the price of employment, it makes it harder for small employers to hire people.” However, the Republicans arguement is not bourne out by facts or testimony from small business owners.
America’s CEOs saw their pay spike 15% last year, that’s after a 28% spike the year before. At the same time employees saw their inflation adjusted wages fall 2%. CEO pay spiked 725% between 1978-2011, while worker pay grew just 5.7% over the same period. That means that CEO pay grew 127 times faster than worker pay. The European Union, Switzerland and Berlin are attempting to cap excessive compensation packages.
Not only are Republicans willing to assault American workers on minimum wage, but they are willing to go much further. Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA) suggested that he would propose legislation to end overtime pay for hourly workers. As if the proposal were not preposterous itself, Cantor’s justification for such a proposal is even more ridiculous. He suggests that the more ideal incentive fir working more hours isn’t more pay. It is more time off to spend with your family by going on a field trip or attending a PTA meeting.
Several years ago Republicans were trying to lower and/or eliminate the minimum wage. At no point in recent history have Republicans sided withworking Americans. A person making the minimum wage, which is $7.25/hour, would make about $15,000 per year. The Republicans going against Americans here shows the partys large problem of being out of touch with what Americans go through day to day, despite claiming they understand the people better than Democrats. Eliminating the minimum wage would allow companies to pay whatever they wanted, affording working Americans zero protection.
67% of the american people support raising the minimum wage to $10/hour. Over half of Republican voters feel the same. 3.6 million workers had wages at or below the minimum wage in 2009, that accounts for aporoxamately 5% of all hourly workers. The Labor Department found Texas, West Virginian and Alabama had the highest amount of hourly workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage. If the minimum wage, which began in the 1930s, kept pace with inflation it would be $10/hour today.
But again Republicans side with special interest groups and corporations. The American public does not matter to them until election day. I hope that these tactics will cause the fall of todays Republican party and their extremist Tea Party wing. Democrats are our only protection until something changes, they need to be more bold. Remember nothing changes if nothing changes.
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