Is the GOP being a bit too clever on the minimum wage?

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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3 Responses to “Is the GOP being a bit too clever on the minimum wage?”

  1. alwayshope Says:

    I wish the Dems would put it exactly like that, Steve.
    It’s amazing how weak they are at a time when they should be able to dominate every issue. IF, a really big IF, Lieberman loses, that will be a wake-up call to all of them. I believe they are just waiting to see what happens. They will sit on that fence until November if Lieberman wins and then if the elections aren’t stolen again and they take back the house, Conyers will do what he had threatened and they will pile on. They won’t stick their own necks out until they are certain they won’t be hurt. Our congress bears no resemblance to what is called for in our Constitution, our congress is a business with the players shuffling back and forth to make policy and then profit from it. There are pitifully few in those public buildings that are there to serve the public.
    I can see minimum wage passing along with a wink and nod by the Dems to make the ultra-rich even richer. What else are they going to do? They don’t filibuster, they don’t investigate, they don’t take any chances. Why should I believe, now, that they will fight for an up or down vote? Whatever agreement they make , it will be done by the time they vote, they will all know the exact outcome of the bill and it will be a compromise……by the Dems.
    I seem a little angry today, but I swear to God, it’s a hundred degrees outside and the humidity is just stupid. It’ like trying to breathe underwater.
    I need to tend my gardens, but I’m not going to, Im just going to sit here and drink a beer and not worry about those creepy tomato caterpillars or the Japanese beetles from hell.
    I need to chill.

  2. hizzhoner Says:

    Back “in the day” when I traveled legislative circles, this maneuver was common practice and wise politicians (there actually WERE SOME WISE POLITICIANS back then.)knew this option was always lurking and practiced political diplomacy to prevent it whereever possible. When the tactic was deployed successfully, there was an unwritten rule that was universally observed. The rule was simple: DON’T GLOAT ! I shake my head in wonder that we have not only lost our wisest statesmen in the halls of the legislature but also, we have lost our most mature statesman…..



  3. stevehigh Says:

    The estate tax is a tough one to explain; people always figure their kids will lose the ‘89 Malibu to taxes when they die. I knew a farmworker who voted against McGovern on this very issue. Even though everyone in his family picked fruit, he was concerned that if he somehow did inherit a huge sum of money, he wouldn’t be allowed to leave it to his kids.

    Few voters are aware that the current inheritance tax exemption is probably larger than their estates, and that the Democratic plan is to make it even larger, to $8 million, I believe. So, to support family farms and family businesses, vote Democratic. Why should people lose the inheritance that is coming to them because of the greedy GOP? Everybody knows they care more about big oil than family farms.

    The best tactic on this issue is to dissemble and sling mud. If the truth is ever discovered, it favors the Democrats anyway, but I wouldn’t bet that family farm on the truth being discovered.


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