Thursday, June 22, 2006


That's right, it's another case to show that many of the legislators who are supposed to represent us in Washington don't give a rat's ass about the majority of us who make up the working class of America.

While a majority of senators voted in favour of a measure --- tacked as an amendment to an unreleated defence bill --- which would raise the minimum wage for the first time in nearly a decade, it still fell short of the 60 votes necessary for approval. Every Democrat voting supported the amendment (John D. "Jay" Rockefeller, IV of West Virginia did not vote), along with several brave Republicans. As one would predict, though, Florida's GOP rookie Mel Martinez voted against the working people of his state.

The Republican leadership, in bed with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and big business, made clear beforehand that they did not intend to allow a vote on the issue. This makes the ninth time in as many years that a stand alone increase in the minimum wage was denied.

What makes me incredleous over this issue is the fact that last week, the House of Representatives voted as it has nearly every year for the past decade to give itself a pay raise, even as many working Americans has been denied the opportunity to at least get to the poverty line. It was hidden as an obscure part of a measure (H.R. 5576; see if you can find it!) dealing with several federal departments, the judiciary, and the District of Columbia. That brings the annual salaries of legislators, many of whom are millionaires or close to it, to nearly $170,000.

CNN's Lou Dobbs is usually a fairly conservative gentleman, with whom I often disagree. Wednesday, he had a stinging commentary posted on the network's Web site. I include part of it here:

Raising the minimum wage to $7.50 would positively affect the lives of more than 8 million workers, including an estimated 760,000 single mothers and 1.8 million parents with children under 18. But even this 46 percent increase would get them only to the poverty line. Don't you think these families just might need that cost-of-living increase a bit more than our elected officials who are paid nearly $170,000 a year?

With no Congressional action on raising the minimum wage since 1997, inflation has eroded wages. The minimum wage in the 21st century is $2 lower in real dollars than it was four decades ago and now stands at its lowest level since 1955, according to the Economic Policy Institute and Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Also, since the last time Congress increased the minimum wage for our lowest-paid workers, buying power has fallen by 25 percent. Yet over that time our elected representatives have given themselves eight pay raises totaling more than 23 percent.

Raising the minimum wage isn't simply about the price of labor. It's also about our respect for labor. One of this country's greatest business innovators, Henry Ford, made history almost a century ago by raising the salaries of his production-line workers far beyond the prevailing wage. Ford not only paid his employees well enough to buy the products they built, but he kept his employees loyal and productive. That's also very good business.

While I don't usually deal with national issues here, this is yet another example of how many of the individuals we send to Washington --- supposedly to represent we, the people --- care more about lining their own pockets and campaign funds while at every turn the working people take it up the backside het again. Friends, I wish we had an individual locally who would have the guts to take on our own "Red-Headed Nimrod", Congressman Adam Putnam (R - Bartow), who is as much in bed with the GOP leadership (Hell, he's part of it now!) and it's culture of corruption.


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