Monday, February 3, 2014

The New Political Mantra

When Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abila crafted his 2014 budget, he planned on really sticking it to county workers yet again.  His proposed budget included another cutting of thousands of dollars from each workers' paycheck.

The unions lobbied hard for this unnecessary assault to be reversed.  The County Board did turn back the brunt of Abila's attack on the workers, but they still took a substantial hit.  

When all was said and done, Milwaukee County workers were paying much, much more - sometimes more than double - what state workers or City of Milwaukee employees were paying:

There was no way the unions or the County Board could call this a real victory. While it was undeniably and greatly better than Abila's proposed budget, the workers were still taking a big hit.  The addition of insult to injury came when the county announced that 2013 was projected to have a $14 million surplus, $5 million of which came from cuts in workers' pay and benefits. There was no need for the county to further exploit the workers.

We are seeing a similar argument going on today regarding the minimum wage.  

President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address, endorsed raising the minimum wage to $10.10 over three years of gradual increases.  This idea has been endorsed by the state's Democratic US Representatives and Senator Tammy Baldwin.  It has also been embraced by state Democratic legislators.  And on Sunday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke switched from her previous stance of raising the minimum wage by a mere 35 cents to the same plan the other Democrats are pushing.

Predictably, the corporate toadies like John Boehner, Scott Walker and the other Teapublicans are against this because it will cut in their corporate overlords ongoing profiteering.  So instead of trying to help the working poor, they make their tired old claims that it would kill jobs, kill the economy, kill Nemo or anything else in an effort to scare people.

Unfortunately for the corporate sockpuppets, 600 economists already have signed on saying that the minimum wage needed to be raised.  Among those are seven Nobel Prize-winning economists.and eight former presidents of the American Economic Association.

So for any rational person capable of critical thinking, it would seem pretty clear that raising the minimum wage.  It would benefit hundreds of millions of Americans, stimulate the economy and get things rolling again.

The catch is that to get people just up to the poverty line would require the minimum wage to be $11.33 per hour.  That is $1.23 more than what the Democrats are proposing and more than four dollars more than what the Teapublicans want to allow workers to make.

Obviously, the Democrats' plan is immeasurably better than that of the Teapublicans.  That said, it is still falling short of where the goal should be.  People will still be swallowed up by poverty but at least they will be sinking at a slower rate.  

It used to be that one time politicians and political parties were promising us that they would make things better.  Now they are only promising to make things less worse than the other side.  Some choice.

To be perfectly honest though, this new political mantra - "We won't hurt you as much as the other guys" - really isn't new at all.  For years, all of us have been voting for the lesser of two evils.  The sad part of that is that no matter who gets elected, it's still evil.

Isn't it time that we expect our elected leaders to work to make things better than to just make things suck a little less?

1 comment:

  1. lol How is the meporer's name spelled? not Abila!