Yesterday the House passed a minimum wage hike. Sounds great, right? Though it is awfully weird that the Republicans would actually be willing to help out workers, since they fight minimum wage hikes every chance they get. And they use the same arguments and dire predictions every time. You know the ones, like "A minimum wage will hurt send prices through the roof" and "minimum wage hikes will cause unemployment to rise b/c business can't afford to hire as many people," that always turn out to be wrong.
Come to find out, the GOP, err, flavored the legislation to make it tastier for their fat cat contributors. Things like another cut in the estate tax. Partisan priorities are exposed pretty cleanly right there, I think: in order for Democrats to be able to protect workers, they have to let the Republicans pass some more cash back to the rich.
That's not all, though: Nathan Newman found another tasty morsel in the bill that lets people like the restaurant industry actually pay their workers less. Newman explains:
The federal minimum wage is explicit that states and local governments are free to create higher minimum wage rates than the federal level for any and all groups of workers. While the federal minimum wage allows employers to pay a lower wage to tipped workers, a number of states have eliminated this so-called tip credit on the assumption that consumers pay tips not to subsidize low-wage employers but to actually reward service.
But the new House bill would preempt those state laws and actually cut wages for tipped workers in states like California, Oregon and Washington where tipped workers would see a lower minimum wage rate imposed compared to what they were guaranteed under state law.
That's right, folks: the Republicans want to cut the wages of California waitstaff making $5.15/hour slinging blooming onions and getting treated like dirt. And Newman is being too kind, here: in fact, the GOP wants to cut workers' wages in Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
I'll say it again: why does the GOP hate workers so much? Why can't they improve workers' pay without figuring out some way to screw them or line their bosses' pockets in the process?
Update: And while we're on the topic, aren't the Republicans supposed to be for states' rights?