Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Truth on the Minimum Wage

The "it's always politics" thing sheds some light on whyJohn Sweeney (R-NY) is now supporting a minimum wage hike. As the Post Star reported already the "attempt was not successful" and Sweeney said that "it sets the stage for debate."

Nice try, but Sweeney can't even get his party to bring it to the floor for a vote. American Progress Report says that Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) is unlikely to allow it, saying "There are limits to my willingness to just throw anything out on the floor."

So much for the just give us an up or down vote mantra. Sweeney is not a very effective congressman if he can't get his own party to bring a bill he supports up on the floor for a vote.

Efforts to raise the minimum wage since 1997 have failed under Republican control of Congress, as business groups oppose the measure and lobbied against it. ...While the minimum wage has remained frozen, lawmakers' salaries have risen with annual cost-of-living increases keyed to what is given federal employees. And last week's vote in the House Appropriations Committee followed a floor vote days before in which the House cleared the way for members to get another increase valued at thousands of dollars annually.

More Democrats have begun to ask how long the party can go along with such pay adjustments for Congress when Republicans block floor votes on the minimum wage. (The Wall Street Journal)

Today's Post Star Commentary says:

Contrary to myth, raising the minimum wage helps business and boosts the economy. We had high economic growth, low inflation, low unemployment and declining poverty rates after the last minimum wage hikes in 1996 and 1997. States that have raised their minimum wages above the increasingly inadequate $5.15 federal level have had better employment trends than the other states, including for retail businesses and small businesses.

Not a single Democrat voted against raising the minimum wage. And in May of 2005, not a single Republican - not Sweeney either - would join the 136 co-sponsors of the house bill to raise the minimum wage. Voters here shouldn't buy Sweeney's efforts to repackage himself as a person who supports this. We should elect a Democrat who would have supported it last year. Kirsten Gillibrand is with the people of the district on the issues. If people fall for Sweeney's shams now, in November he'll go right back to business as usual and we'll all loose.

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