The federal minimum wage has been $5.15 an hour for almost 10 years, and is worth less now that at almost anytime in the last 50 years. Adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage in 1968 would be worth $9.09 today, 75% more than the current wage.Additionally, minimum wage buying power is the lowest it's been since 1955, but the Republicans just don't care about the more than 8 million workers who would benefit from the raise, including an estimated 760,000 single mothers and 1.8 million parents with children under 18.
The Republicans apparently care about millionaires though. How else to explain their efforts to reach a compromise estate tax cut with a higher exemption level? The Senate already voted against eliminating the death tax earlier this year, but now Republicans are looking for a so-called compromise to take care of those super-wealthy families bankrolling the campaign to end the estate tax, including the DeVos, Walton and Gallo families.
Why is it a "no" vote is sufficient to stop the minimum wage issue, but not the death tax? Because, as Republican Sen. Johnny Isaakson said, ". . . this is a classic debate between two different philosophies." I can't disagree with him there:
On the right, we have a Republican-controlled Congress that hasn't raised the minimum wage since 1997, yet over that time they've given themselves eight pay raises totaling more than 23 percent and passed tax cuts that only served to widen the gap between the hyper-rich and the rest of America.
On the left, we have the Democratic Party that also gained from those eight pay raises while fighting for average "working" Americans.
As Lou Dobbs says, "Raising the minimum wage isn't simply about the price of labor. It's also about our respect for labor."
It's pretty obvious that Republicans don't respect working Americans, so to vote for them is to vote against our own self-interests.
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