Despite the fact that the minimum wage bill that didn't pass the cloture vote was due to the fact that it was tied directly to a massive rollback of the estate tax and $38 billion in other tax breaks, we are going to get a barrage of the "democrats are filibustering the minimum wage hike" nonsense.
With all of that, it is painfully obvious that any increase in the minimum wage should be a stand alone bill as opposed to part of something that would be as Senator Durbin said "the worst special-interest bill I have seen in my time in Congress." Which also gives the opportunity to make the Republican Senators eat their words and look the damn fools that they are.
Especially these seven millionaire Republican Senators who are against a straightforward increase in the minimum wage.
I have written a number of diaries over the past few weeks that deal with class warfare issues. And it seems as though every day brings another disgusting example of how We the People get the royal shaft in so many ways while the uber-rich continue to add to their piles of millions.
Take Cat Killer, MD as a prime example. While Fristie continues to indicate that no minimum wage bill will be considered unless it is part of estate tax repeal and other tax cut extensions, he is worth somewhere between $10,000,000 and over $40,000,000. His oh-so-generous thoughts towards the working poor:
Frist also reiterated that the GOP will not split the minimum wage apart from the estate tax, and that future votes on the pay increase will be linked to cutting taxes on multimillion-dollar estates.
"These issues must be addressed as a package, all or nothing," he said.
All or nothing. Very nice. So to all of the nearly 8 million Americans who have to struggle every day on a $5.15 per hour wage, the man who controls the legislative agenda doesn't think that you deserve a small raise unless more millionaires and billionaires get to keep thousands more.
And what would that minimum wage increase do for these families? Well, according to Center for Economic and Policy Research study from December 2005 (linked in the preceding paragraph):
By our estimates, increasing the federal minimum wage to $7.25 per hour over the next 26 months as proposed in the "The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2005," would raise the annual earnings of the average full-time, full-year, minimum-wage worker2 by $1,520 per year. This raise would be enough to cover about seven months of expenditures on transportation for the average low-income family, or nine months worth of groceries, or 11 months of home heating and utilities, or 22 months of clothing. For the typical part-time, full-year, minimum-wage worker, we estimate that the proposed increase would raise annual income by $1,050, or enough to cover about five months of average transportation expenditures, or six months of groceries, or seven months of heating bills, or 15 months of clothing expenditures.
And thanks to the good folks at ThinkProgress, we know of seven very wealthy Senate Republicans who should be ashamed to call themselves Americans.
Other than Cat Killer, MD, we have the following 6 Ebenezer Scrooges:
Mitch McConnell (Majority Whip from KY)
Worth between $2,000,000 and $4,500,000, McConnell voted against the minimum wage increase in 2005 and in 2006.
Charles Grassley (Finance Committee Chairman from IA)
Grassley controls the tax legislation, and I see some very douchebaggish comments from him in my Daily Tax Reports that I get from work. This lovely man is a man that Norquist would be proud of. Worth between $2,000,000 and $5,000,000, he had the following quote last month:
"I would vote to raise the minimum wage," Grassley said. "But when you raise minimum wage, you raise unemployment. So we're looking to find something that will raise the wage without hurting employment.
"Less than five percent of the people making minimum wage are completely relying on that income as their major source of income."
But guess what? This is just not true (from the Center for Economic and Policy Research report:
The reality is that many households depend on minimum-wage workers for a substantial portion of their income. A substantial share of minimum-wage workers, for example, are adults making significant contributions to the total household income. In the early 2000s, for example, fewer than one-in-five minimum-wage workers was under the age of 20 and half were between ages 25 and 54. In 2002, minimum wage workers earned an average of 68 percent of their total family income.
Judd Gregg (Budget Committee Chairman from NH)
Forgetting the fact that this guy is worth between $3,000,000 and $10,000,000, the budgets over the past few years aren't something that you should be proud to be a part of. However, his thoughts are that raising the minimum wage would have an adverse effect on small employers and would lead to less job opportunities.
As if this has more of an effect than the huge healthcare costs that is killing most small employers' ability to compete or even offer health care to their employees. Or that tax credits to employers who raise the minimum wage could be provided at the expense of the estate tax, going after billionaire tax cheats or providing big oil with billions of dollars in tax giveaways.
Johnny Isakson (GA)
Worth between $7,500,000 and $25,000,000, Isakson was so thoughtful as to say the following just a couple of months ago:
"Robert Reich, once observed `most minimum wage workers aren't poor.' He is right."
Of course, the same Center for Economic Policy and Research report indicated:
Of course, even with a substantial raise in the minimum wage, families that rely on minimum-wage workers will still be struggling. A full-time, full-year, minimum-wage worker earns $10,300 annually, putting her below the poverty threshold of $13,020 for a one-parent, one-child family. They are also far below a basic family budget, which is an estimate of how much it costs to purchase basics, such as housing, groceries (no meals out), health care, child care, and other necessities within a community. Basic family budgets for a one-parent, two-child family ranges from $22,329 in rural Nebraska to $58,320 in Boston, Massachusetts, with a national median of $34,920. However, a full-time, full-year, minimum-wage worker only earns about one-third of the median family budget for a one-parent, two-child family.
Lamar Alexander (TN)
The former presidential hopeful is worth between $12,000,000 and $43,000,000. And this jackass was quoted in 2002 as saying that
I don't think there's any such thing as a good minimum wage.
Well, when you own between $3,000,000 and $6,000,000 just in real estate, it is probably safe to assume that you are talking out of your ass when discussing what a "good minimum wage" would be.
Gordon Smith (OR)
Smith's holdings include $10,000,000 - $50,000,000 in stock alone, and while he says that he is in favor of raising the minimum wage (and voted to increase it in October 2005), according to thinkprogress, he voted against a raise in the minimum wage on two other occasions.
So this should be kept in mind, and should certainly be used when discussing how much the Republicans are "looking out for the working poor" or how the Democrats "are not allowing a vote to raise the minimum wage".
And just another example of the class warfare - especially from those who are responsible for determining what gets voted on or what the legislative priorities are.
Which leads to another example of how wealthy republicans in Congress hate the working poor.