Am I the only person who believes that in addition to being morally reprehensible, it was also politically stupid for congressional Republicans to combine the vote for raising the minimum wage with one cutting the estate tax?
I mean, for years the GOP talking point for not raising the minimum wage, presently set at the pathetically low level of $5.15 an hour, has been that doing so would result in businesses eliminating low paying entry-level jobs.
This has always been disingenuous, of course, based upon evidence of good job creation in states with higher than average state minimum wage laws (the last series of increases in the federal minimum wage back during the Clinton administration were likewise accompanied by vigorous job growth). But the job loss boogeyman has unquestionably provided at least some political cover for Republicans on this issue for many years.
So, what are they going to argue now — that although raising the minimum wage is bad because it will cost low income workers jobs, this is okay as long as multimillionaires get some more tax cuts out of the deal?
Republicans in the House are feeling quite pleased with themselves about this:
Representative Zach Wamp, Republican of Tennessee, said Democrats were upset with the legislation because Republicans had found a clever way to link the two. “You have seen us outfox you on this issue tonight,” Mr. Wamp told Democrats in the floor debate.
Well, if there’s such a thing as being too clever, this may be it.
Democrats should hold firm in demanding an up or down vote on the minimum wage bill without the estate tax poison pill. Then, when the GOP refuses to allow it, the Democrats should go to the voters with the simple (and now undeniable) truth that the Republicans in Congress care so little about the problems of working Americans that they won’t even allow an up or down vote on a modest increase in the minimum wage unless their wealthy campaign contributors first get a huge payoff in exchange.
Then let’s ask the voters: Those are the Republicans’ values, are they yours?
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