April 30, 2014

The Irony Board 4/30/14

I'm not going to spend a lot of time today discussing whether we should have a federal minimum wage, or whether it should be $10.10 per hour, or whether if we raise it we'll ruin the economy or help the economy.

I've admitted being conflicted about the minimum wage issue, in part because when the minimum wage goes up, all other wages don't go up, and I have a hard time understanding how a job that a 'qualified' person has today that pays twice the minimum wage wouldn't be worth twice the minimum wage tomorrow if politicians vote to raise it. On the other hand, I believe that in order for our economy to improve, people need to have money to spend, and to save, and you can't do either of those if you're slaving away for $15,000 per year. So, yes, I'm conflicted on this one, and would appreciate assistance if you can offer some.

But where I'm not conflicted is on the ridiculous nonsense that played out in Washington today when, failing to muster the magic 60 votes to break a filibuster, the Senate was unable to even discuss the minimum wage hike the Dems have made a priority this year.

Since this is a key election-year battle the Dems want to fight (whether that's a good idea or a bad one remains to be seen), they'll be bringing the bill back again, and if it fails again they'll try to get it back again before the mid-term elections.

The filibuster was not unexpected -- that's the way business doesn't get done in DC, as we know.  But the irony of Republicans complaining about a vote designed to go nowhere was not lost on me. Here's Senator John Cornyn of Texas, one of the Republican leaders, commenting on the vote:
Let's talk about the 800-pound gorilla here in the Senate chamber.  This is all about politics. This is all about trying to make this side of the aisle look bad and hardhearted.
Remember, these are the Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell who once made it his top priority to keep Barack Obama from becoming a two-term president. The same Republicans who have filibustered too many federal appointees since the beginning of Obama's first term to count.

These are the same Republicans, and this is the same Mitch McConnell, who fought so hard to win the McCutcheon case, that further relaxes limits on money er, I mean speech, in politics.

And this is the same Republican Party -- different chamber, different leaders, but it's the same party -- that took us to the fiscal cliff, and that voted dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens of times to repeal the Affordable Care Act -- the epitome of a vote that's going nowhere.

Yes, these are the Republicans who today refused to even discuss raising the federal minimum wage, which hasn't been increased since 2009, and the tipped wage, which hasn't been increased since 1991, and who complained that the Dems were playing politics.

Nah -- I'm not conflicted on that part at all.