Skip to comments.Left pushes for $10 minimum wage, but House Democratic leadership balks
Posted on 06/07/2012 6:42:21 PM PDT by jazusamo
The House Democrats pushing for a steep hike in the minimum wage could face an unlikely foe: their own leadership.
Behind Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (Ill.), almost two dozen liberal Democrats endorsed legislation this week to raise the federal minimum wage immediately from $7.25 to $10 per hour, the first such increase in three years.
The lawmakers think theyve found a winning issue in an election cycle thats featured the rise of the Occupy movement, criticism of Mitt Romneys path to wealth and a class-centered fight over the Bush-era tax rates.
But no Democratic leaders have endorsed the measure, and the silence coming from their offices this week has highlighted the potential political difficulty in raising the minimum wage a move thats anathema to the powerful business lobby amid sluggish economic times.
Concerns about the economy have increased since last Friday, when a jobs report showed an anemic May during which only 69,000 jobs were added. A higher minimum wage could discourage employers from creating more jobs and that, in turn, could hurt President Obama in the election.
Jackson said Thursday that hes been in discussion with some Democratic leaders including Reps. George Miller (Calif.), head of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, and John Larson (Conn.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus many of whom are crafting and thinking about the idea of a minimum wage strategy.
But Jackson also suggested those leaders are leaning toward a less aggressive approach that would hike the minimum wage in small increments over a span of years something akin to a proposal by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate labor committee, that would hike the minimum wage gradually to $9.80 over three years.
Jackson called that strategy unacceptable.
We want to start at $10, which keeps us up with the 1968 wage, Jackson said, referring to the rate 44 years ago, which, indexed for inflation, would be roughly $10 per hour.
Our bill, he added, should be seen as an effort to encourage and to push the leadership further than its currently willing to go.
So far this year, Democratic leaders havent been willing to go anywhere on the issue. Harkins bill has received almost no attention; congressional leaders in both chambers have all but ignored the issue; and although Obama vowed after his 2008 victory to hike the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2011, GOP contender Mitt Romney has paid the issue more attention on the campaign trail.
Theres probably not a need to raise the minimum wage, Romney told CNBC in March, remarks that came after conservatives pounced on his endorsement of a wage hike just two months earlier.
Neither the White House nor Romneys campaign responded to requests for comment Thursday.
For some liberals, the absence of a unified Democratic front on the issue represents not only a missed opportunity but an erosion of party ideals.
The minimum wage increase used to be the signatory dynamic of the traditional Democratic Party since they got it in 1938. Thats how decayed they are, the consumer advocate Ralph Nader told The Hill last month. Youre fighting their desire to win the election up against their inherent caution and cowardliness to do anything other than raise more money and put more insipid ads on TV.
Last month, Nader sent letters to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urging them to adopt a sharp minimum wage hike as part of the Democrats 2012 platform a move he said would appeal greatly to the estimated 30 million workers who currently earn between $7.25 and $10 an hour.
You get a conservative voter making eight bucks an hour at Wal-Mart he or she is not going to say, I dont want 10 because Im conservative, Nader said. They know theyre grossly underpaid.
Neither Reid nor Pelosi responded to the letter, Naders office said, nor did their offices respond to requests for comment for this story.
Some Democrats said the push for a minimum wage hike though almost certainly dead on arrival in a GOP-controlled House jibes nicely with the partys attacks on Republicans for supporting the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
Jacksons bill arrives, for instance, as Obama hammers Romney for his success at Bain Capital, a private equity firm, and other Democratic leaders are increasingly trying to draw lines of distinction between the wealthy and middle-class Americans, notably in the ongoing battle over which income levels should continue to benefit from the George W. Bush-era tax rates, which expire Jan. 1.
It draws the contrast that part of the economic recovery has to be jobs and it has to be jobs with sustainable wages, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a supporter of Jacksons bill, said Thursday. Economically its good and strategically its as good, too.
Thomas Sowell excerpt on minimum wage:
"But to people who call themselves conservatives, and aspire to public office, there is no excuse for not being aware of what a major social disaster the minimum wage law has been for the young, the poor and especially for young and poor blacks."
If $10/hr is good, wouldn’t $100.00/hr be better?
One of the main things that killed the job market was them raising the minimum wage.... thus obviously to a liberal the thing that is needed is for us to raise it again!
heck why not just raise it to $100 an hour and we will all be rich and employed!!!!
It just hurt to be so dumb.
Maybe if wages are going up, and prices to cover the wages go up, people will want to spend more money. s/
Combine a significant increase in the minimum wage with the additional costs being shoved down the pipe due to Obamacare, and you've got a certain method to keep people from opening new businesses. I'm undecided as to whether I will keep my doors open if Obamacare is upheld, but I can state with certainty that a significant increase in the minimum wage will lead to the closure of my business. Margins have contracted to the breaking point, and there is no room to absorb additional expenses. Higher payroll dollars equals higher matching taxes for employers - your talking $14 to $16 in real payroll expense per hour at this proposed rate. It is not possible.
any minimum wage is a drag on job creation
Sadly, you’re exactly right.
There’s no way this will get through the House and everyone knows it but it’s the class warfare and the votes for the RATS that this turkey is after.
The majority of RATS seem like they’d be happy to put most small business out of business.
No, the media must blame evil 'business' LOL!
Sure. Put another half million people out of work.
Not enough.....not nearly enough.
If we hadn't had so much immigration these last 20 years, we'd probably have a de facto minimum wage of over $10 per hour.
let us not forget that many union contracts are tied to the minimum wage.. Follow the money!
The country really needs a 99 percent income tax on showbiz libtards.
Churchill, as quoted in William Simon's "A Time for Truth":
"Nothing that they can plan and order and rush around enforcing will take its place. They have broken the mainspring, and until we get a new one, the watch will not go. Set the people free - get out of the way and let them make the best of themselves.
"I am sure that this policy of equalizing misery and organizing scarcity instead of allowing diligence, self-interest and ingenuity to produce abundance has only to be prolonged to kill this British island stone dead."
Our brilliant defenders of economic liberty, Sowell and Williams, have warned many times over the years about the harm done by the perennial vote-getting mechanism of the so-called "progressives" called "minimum wage."
The following message was published many years ago, utilizing Walter Williams' warning about the negative consequences of minimum wage laws on families and those who most need work experience and earnings. His words were true then, and he repeated them on Stossel recently.
Dr. Williams understands and has been teaching, speaking, and writing about the tragic consequences of the so-called "progressive" policies which Democrats have inflicted upon Americans--all in the name of "helping" them.
Slavery to government is no better than slavery to individual masters. Yet, the "regressives" continue to buy power and influence by promoting policies that destroy opportunity, prosperity, and freedom for our own and future generations.
As another poster here has pointed out and as Williams stated above, the "minimum wage" may help higher paid union workers who keep their jobs, but it harms and makes worse off the young who never get hired at all and those who must be laid off in order for a business to survive the additional cost burden.
The IDIOTS don’t realize that the reason why wages haven’t kept up with inflation is because of a combination of Keynsian economics and because our dollars are now not tied to ANY precious metals. THey’ve lost value (against real world-even essential goods) and wages haven’t kept up (yes some becuase of greed, but also becuase of 1) More government regulations on businesses and 2) Because of tightening margins because of international economonic reasons and 3) tied once again to our dollars inflated by national (and intl.) banking cartels).
The best thing we could do for the economy would be to pass Ron Paul’s “competition in currency act”, and no I am not a Ron Paul fan, but on monetary policy and government spending he’s right on.
Rush never fails to make this point. It’s a good one.
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