Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bush, Republicans Remain Disingenuous On Raising Minimum Wage

President Bush and Congressional Republicans continue to disingenuously discuss hiking the minimum wage.

The headlines today are misleading. "Bush Supports Democrats' Minimum Wage Hike Plan," reads the Washington Post. But in truth, Bush only will support such a hike -- from $5.15/hour to $7.25/hour -- if it comes with a corresponding tax break for small businesses.

It's not much different that the effort from Congressional conservatives this summer to tie a hike in the minimum wage with deep cuts in the estate tax.

Democrats should reject the conservative spin. Once they control Congress, they should "fast track" a hike in the minimum wage. The legislation should pass quickly. Then let President Bush look like Ebenezer Scrooge as he decides whether to be a "compassionate conservative" just once in his presidency.

***

The conservative spin is that government should help both rich and poor. The truth is that deep tax cuts under the Bush Administration have overwhelmingly benefited the well-to-do.

It's amazing that conservatives spin that they are champions of "family values," when their record over the past six years is so incredibly lopsided. While the Bush tax cuts have provided an average tax cut of nearly $124,000 for families earning over $1 million, and just $647 for "middle-income families."

Meanwhile, the tax cuts haven't helped the poorest among us -- with the exception of those with hefty child-care bills -- because the cuts provide no relief to low-income families who don't owe income taxes, but pay payroll taxes. Furthermore, in 2003 Bush successfully pushed the Republican-controlled Congress to accelerate most income tax cuts enacted in 2001, rather than have them phase in. But that acceleration didn't include the child tax credit provision enacted in 2001 -- which most benefits low-income families.

Conservative television pundits and radio ranters like to spin about the values of "limousine liberals." But what can we say about "corporate jet" conservatives, who only care about helping the very wealthy?

If Bush were truly a "compassionate conservative," he would understand that working full-time at minimum wage means an annual income of $10,712, or $8,000 less than what the government defines as poverty. In other words, a person would have to essentially work two full-time jobs, or for two-adult households, have both work full-time jobs, just to be above the poverty line.

***

The other conservative objection to raising the minimum wage is that it might hurt job growth, or kill jobs altogether. It's a myth.

A March 2006 report by the Fiscal Policy Institute found that increasing the minimum wage actually helps job growth: "[T]his report examined recent state-by-state trends for small businesses employing fewer than 50 workers and found that employment and payrolls in small businesses grew faster in the states with minimum wages above the federal level than in the remaining states where the $5.15 an hour federal minimum wage prevailed. ... This report also found that total job growth was faster in the higher minimum wage states. Faster job growth also occurred in the retail trade sector, the sector of the economy employing the most workers at low wages, in the higher minimum wage states."

7 Comments:

Anonymous whoop4467 said...

No suprises on this subject! "Stay the course" Bush in destroying America. It will be one his legacies!

8:17 PM  
Anonymous hughee99 said...

While I don't think the two should be necessarily linked... I do not have an issue with the government offering corresponding tax breaks for small businesses to help offset this new expense and keep costs down. While their method may not be much different from their attempt to link the minimum wage to the estate tax, the target audience is much different. People who inherit estates are not affected by an increase in the minimum wage, people who run small businesses are.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about this
pass the minimum wage first, and then in a separate bill, the Democrats can entertain the idea of another tax break for small businesses?

9:09 PM  
Anonymous hughee99 said...

I'm all for that...
Personally, I think the minimum wage is far more important to pass, with or without any tax cuts for small businesses, I just wouldn't opposed giving a modest tax break to small businesses as a result. Nor would I be opposed to the break being phased out eventually.

9:09 PM  
Anonymous sutz12 said...

Screw them.....they had their chance.

Put up a simple one item bill. Minimum wage increase, vote up or down. Make all of the repubs go back to their districts and tell them why they voted the way they did. Compare and contrast with the increases they approved for themselves over the last 10 years.

Make Shrub veto it, and listen to his numbers hit bottom. Let's see him put a good "Christian, moral" spin on why the minimum wage should be below the poverty line.

This should be on Bush's desk before the end of January, and take effect before the end of 2007, if not immediately upon signing.

9:09 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

The same Repukes and the Bush Administration, demanding a tax break for small businesses in order to enact a minimum wage hike, have dramatically cut the Small Business Administration's budget to almost half of what it was under Clinton.
http://tinyurl.com/yefvjk
The SBA is, by the way, a major funding resource for small business growth in America.
Before the Republicans and Bush propose a tax break to purportedly help businesses in the face of a minimum wage hike, perhaps they should first complete studies on claims that these SBA cuts have been passed onto small business costs.
Otherwise they are just hypocrites.

2:06 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

The same Repukes and the Bush Administration, demanding a tax break for small businesses in order to enact a minimum wage hike, have dramatically cut the Small Business Administration's budget to almost half of what it was under Clinton.
http://tinyurl.com/yefvjk
The SBA is, by the way, a major funding resource for small business growth in America.
Before the Republicans and Bush propose a tax break to purportedly help businesses in the face of a minimum wage hike, perhaps they should first complete studies on claims that these SBA cuts have been passed onto small business costs.
Otherwise they are just hypocrites.

2:06 PM  

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