Thursday, October 20, 2005

Latest Republican assaults on the middle class and poor.....

....just another day in Bush's America.

1. Senate proposals to raise the minimum wage were rejected Wednesday, making it unlikely that the lowest allowable wage, $5.15 an hour since 1997, will rise in the foreseeable future.

A labor-backed measure by Sen. Edward Kennedy would have raised the minimum to $6.25 over an 18-month period.

A Republican counterproposal would have combined the same $1.10 increase with various breaks and exemptions for small businesses.

Kennedy (D-Mass.) said Hurricane Katrina demonstrated the depth of poverty in the country and he pointed out that a single parent with two children working a minimum wage earns $10,700 a year, $4,500 below the poverty line.

But Republican opponents, echoing the arguments of business groups, said higher minimum wages can work against the poor if they force small businesses to cut payrolls.

''Mandated hikes in the minimum wage do not cure poverty and they clearly do not create jobs,'' said Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.).
Man you've got to watch where you look up info these days, found this place while looking for minimum wage info, the "Employment Policies Institute".....sounds legit, huh? BUT according to Source Watch:
The Employment Policies Institute is one of several front groups created by Berman & Co., a Washington, DC public affairs firm owned by Rick Berman, who lobbies for the restaurant, hotel, alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries. EPI, registered as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, has has been widely quoted in news stories regarding minimum wage issues, and although a few of those stories have correctly described it as a "think tank financed by business," most stories fail to provide any identification that would enable readers to identify the vested interests behind its pronouncements. Instead, it is usually described exactly the way it describes itself, as a "non-profit research organization dedicated to studying public policy issues surrounding employment growth" that "focuses on issues that affect entry-level employment." In reality, EPI's mission is to keep the minimum wage low so Berman's clients can continue to pay their workers as little as possible.

EPI also owns the internet domain names to MinimumWage.com (http://www.minimumwage.com) and LivingWage.com (http://www.livingwage.com), a website that attempts to portray the idea of a living wage for workers as some kind of insidious conspiracy. "Living wage activists want nothing less than a national living wage," it warns (as though there is something wrong with paying employees enough that they can afford to eat and pay rent).
Anyway back to the main topic, according to the Dept of labor:
Of those paid by the hour, 520,000 were reported as earning exactly $5.15, the prevailing Federal minimum wage, and another 1.5 million were reported earning wages below the minimum.
Add that to the fact that the minimum wage hasn't been raised in six years.

It sure would be fun to see if Sen. Mike Enzi from Wyoming and his cheapskate colleagues could get by on $5.15 (or less) an hour.

2. Republicans on a key Senate panel on Thursday unveiled a plan to save $10 billion from Medicaid and Medicare...

[snip]

The Senate Finance Committee plans to take up the bill next week as part of a larger Senate effort to save $35 billion over five years in a bid to lower the federal deficit.

Great idea, let's cut the federal deficit on the backs of the poor, forget about the billions we're spending on Bush's middle east fantasy, or the pork barrel projects in the last highway bill, or how about taking back some of those tax cuts for the super rich. Noooooooo - Republicans would rather shaft the people who need the most help.

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