So, an increase in the minimum wage is, at long last, all but in the bag — something I’ve strongly favored for years. So why does it make me feel so dirty?
The answer, of course, is the obscene price we’re paying for it: a price that’s been working out to about 100 American soldiers a month.
First the good news:
After a decade-long wait, America’s lowest-paid workers saw Congress poised Thursday to increase the federal minimum wage by $2.10. For years, the idea of increasing the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour has been stalled by partisan bickering between Republicans and Democrats.
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We’re very hopeful we’re going to see finally that increase in the next couple of days,” said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., the chairman of the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee.
This would be the first change since the minimum wage went from $4.75 to $5.15 on Sept. 1, 1997, under former President Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress.
Now for the bad news: The only reason congressional Democrats are getting this done is because they’ve attached it to the Iraq funding bill. Yup, the very same bill in which they are selling out both the voters who elected them and our soldiers by giving Bush a blank check — you know, the one they said they’d never give him — on continuing the war in Iraq.
Call me ungrateful if you must, but somehow I can’t take much pleasure out of a minimum wage increase bought at the price of brave young American blood.