Why Minimum Wage Gambit Smells Like Obamacare

In General Interest by Jonathan Tasini2 Comments

The lowering of expectations. The willingness to let people wallow in poverty and be bankrupted by big corporations because of the lack of courage in political leaders. That is what I would argue is the conclusion from the president’s minimum wage rhetoric, which is pretty much health care all over again.

The proposal:

The legislative push for a higher federal minimum wage may soon heat up again with a little help from President Obama.The president is said to be in favor of a law that would raise the wage to $10.10 per hour. While Obama has still not publicly announced his support—not even in an economic address he delivered on Friday—an administration official told the New York Times that the White House is fully behind the 2013 Fair Minimum Wage Act.

Let’s do the math. If someone works 52 weeks a year, 40 hours a week (if they are that “lucky” at a minimum wage job to get that many hours), that adds up to a bit over $21,000 a year.

With no pension. Not a single day off. And probably no decent health care.

That $21,000 is BELOW the federal poverty level for a family of four.

Now, I happen to like both Tom Harkin and George Miller, the respective co-sponsors of the bill in the Senate and House. Good men, strong labor supporters.

But, this is pathetic, especially in light of the passage of the $15-an-hour minimum wage in SeaTac, which I believe was the most progressive step forward on Election Day.

Moreover, the truth is that if you look at productivity over the past 30 years, the minimum wage should be about $20-an-hour.

So, $10.10 simply does this:

It simply keeps in place, if it passed, the notion that people work for wages that do not afford a decent living. And it keeps in place the reality that corporate profits will continue to be made on the back of poverty, wide spread poverty.

It is an echo of what we got with healthcare. Rather than take apart the corrupt insurance-drug cartels, Obamacare left them in place — guaranteeing that millions of Americans will continue to shell out hard-earned dollars to leeches, pure and simple (which is one reason I have not much sympathy for the political mess the Administration finds itself in only partly to do with an incompetent Secretary of HHS–you made your bed with this stupid system when you ignored single-payer as the only economically and organizationally rationale solution).

So, now, you leave in place a system of working in poverty.


And this is the “liberal” approach?

Now, if your argument is that politics of the joint (i.e., nothing better would pass the Congress), then, roll that argument out but built the rhetoric around “we need a $20-an-hour wage to do justice”. It’s stupid politics, if you think long-term…but, as I assume some would argue, taking down the system of wage-slave robbery is not the goal.

Last point: It’s one thing for the traditional media to run around pretending like this is a solution or “radical”. But, it should be embarrassing that so-called “progressive” media or “worker-friendly” commentators don’t even point out how pathetic that proposal is–effectively endorsing the idea that it’s okay that we’ve been robbed for over 30 years. and that $10.10 an hour is somehow something we should be fawning over the president.