Rejected morality

After President Obama’s State of the Union which included the proposal to raise the federal miminum wage to $9 an hour. An article notes John Boehner’s opposition to the proposal.

The article mentions “Obama’s proposal to raise the minimum wage by $1.75 over the course of three years is hardly radical. The minimum wage, after all, only goes up over time, and even Republican President George W. Bush signed a similarly incremental minimum wage hike into law during his second term. What probably concerns House Republicans, as well as the business lobby, most about Obama’s proposal is not the nominal minimum wage hike. It’s the inclusion of a cost-of-living adjustment, which would tweak the minimum wage each year to adjust for inflation. This would guarantee that workers on the lowest rung of the economic ladder don’t lose purchasing power, but it would also mean fast-food companies and other low-wage employers would have to pay higher wages just about every year, except in rare cases of deflation”.

The article goes on to add “it means lawmakers wouldn’t have to legislate a new minimum wage every few years. The cost-of-living provision would give members of Congress less to squabble about — and it would basically wipe out a bargaining chip for those who oppose higher minimum wages. The president’s proposal is only a day old, and the battle lines on the issue have barely been drawn”. It says much about society, not just in the United States, that a decent and honourable proposal can be ignored and undermined by vested interests in stark opposition to all common good and basic morality.

The article mentions “Republicans may try to give Democrats some kind of nominal increase in the minimum wage while jettisoning the cost-of-living piece of the package. Whether or not Democrats hold strong to the inflation measure may determine if they produce a truly progressive piece of legislation. Without it, the proposal isn’t much different from previous minimum wage increases, both Democratic and Republican”.

The piece continues “The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 per hour since 2009, when the last of a series of increases signed by Bush went into effect. The $7.25 rate translates into a salary of about $14,500, well below a living wage in most areas. The federal rate prevails in 31 states that do not mandate a higher one. Ten states have already put cost-of-living adjustments on their books, meaning minimum-wage workers in those states see a raise just about every year”.

The fact that nothing has been done since 2009, even by President Obama himself, shows that much is wrong with Western societies. It shows how the debate has again been tilted in favour of those that are the very wealthiest who often have no conception of the kind of life many of the poorest are living on. The piece ends noting “indexing is championed mostly by advocates for low-wage workers, the idea has found some conservative adherents as well, given that it provides employers with predictability. Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, most notably, said on the campaign trail last year that he supported tying the minimum wage to inflation. (He later qualified his remarks, saying the minimum wage shouldn’t be raised in a weak economy.)”.

If the GOP are to have any hope of winning over voters at the next elections they must surely see what is not only sensible, but moral.


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