8.04.2006

Asleep at the Reel

Admittedly, I've fallen behind on all posting, not just the hashing of Project Runway. Busy days ahead, but felt this was worthy of a quick mention. Awhile back I posted about the estate tax, and the push by the conservatives to permanently abolish it. Republicans, while doing many disgusting, unscrupulous actions since they became the majority party, have sunken to an all new low (I'm sure they will reach China soon). A few weeks ago, the labor defenders (laff) in their party thought it would be a great idea to introduce a bill that would significantly increase the minimum wage, which has remained untouched for almost a decade. What, Republicans increase the minimum wage...there must be a catch, pun intended. You probably guessed it - they tied this bill to a permanent reduction in the estate tax. So the wealthiest families in America will escape billions in taxes, while the working guy/gal who struggles to make ends meet will make an extra $2.10 an hour. I doubt this increase even matches the rate of inflation in the last ten years, as the price of gasoline per gallon has certainly increased this much since then. See if this sounds fair to you:




Average Joe: $4,200/year - before taxes

Cheney family: $61 million - no taxes!






Fortunately, the Democrats risked being viewed as enemies of the wage earner, and blocked this bill. I hope they remember this, and when they take back one of the chambers, they will pass an increase in the minimum wage. The Democrats have long since lost my vote, simply because they forgot about the people they're supposed to represent. A pall will remain over the Democrat party as long as the minimum wage stagnates at a paltry $5.15/hour.

Obviously, many state and local governments have taken the initiative to raise the wage themselves. Chicago, a city long steeped in corruption, has done something truly revolutionary. Their city council passed an ordinance that would require "big box" companies like Wal-Mart and Home Depot to pay a minimum wage of $10/hour by 2010. Additionally, they are required to pay at least $3/hour in benefits to their employees. Bravo Chicago! Of course these retailers will assemble an army of legal experts to fight this ordinance, citing equal protection, but there are dozens of court cases that set the precedent for the legality of such a law.

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