Are you sick of hearing members of Congress pontificate about the plight of working families when you know they are trying to justify spending our tax dollars to benefit themselves? If lawmakers were concerned about working families they would have given this year’s withholding tax increase a second thought. Instead, both parties decided that whacking the middle class was the prudent way to proceed.
Congressional Democrats have been whipping themselves up over raising the minimum hourly wage to bail out workers from poverty income jobs, but Labor Department figures show that very few Americans will benefit. Why do working families always lose out whenever Washington talks about lending a helping hand?
A $10.10 hourly wage won’t build better lives, just better Democrats.
In 2007 Democratic lawmakers strong-armed businesses into paying income support to low wage earners by forcing a minimum wage increase. Working families were the excuse:
People who work hard and play by the rules should be able to put food on the table and build a better life for their families. We need to do the right thing for hardworking Americans. And we need to do the fair thing for working families by raising the minimum wage.¹
With the January 2013 middle class tax increase long forgotten, the party wants to ingratiate itself with liberal voters by legislating a raise in the guaranteed hourly wage to as much as $10.10 per hour, far below a decent middle class family income. Lawmakers call it fair. Our Department of Labor, which oversees billions in wasted unemployment benefits, has labeled it a women’s issue.²
House Republicans called it a reason to pass H.R. 803, the SKILLS Act, an equally dead on arrival effort to address government waste in job training programs and to substitute marketable skills for a minimum wage income. GOP PR for the SKILLS Act talks of 3.6 million job openings left waiting for qualified applicants.³ Is it a coincidence that this matches the number of workers earning a minimum hourly wage?
Labor Department proves raising hourly wage for working families is an overhyped scam.
The Labor Department reports that 3.6 million workers, 4.7% of the labor force, earned the minimum wage or less in 2012.4 The department may think this is a women’s issue, but only 6% of American women fell into this category last year.5 Over 95% of workers made more than the federal minimum. When we hear White House gibberish in support of a wage hike endorsing “Rewarding Work and Ensuring a Decent Living for Working Families,”6 which working families are we talking about?
Who will benefit most from a minimum wage boost?
While Hilda Solis was at the helm of our Labor Department she tirelessly pushed for rights for illegal workers, including the guaranteed minimum wage. The House Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 was sponsored by California Congressman George Miller, who supports Obama-style immigration reform and whose state is perilously close to our largest foreign supplier of unskilled labor.
A minimum wage hike would be a coup for Democrats slavering over the prospect of Republicans selling out their conservative support base by backing immigration reform. There may not be many working American families who would benefit from hiking hourly pay, but unskilled non-citizens already qualify just because they work here, whether they have the legal right to work or not.
We expect to be lied to by our government, but when lawmakers distort the truth and force businesses to spend money to make the Democratic Party look better to voters the least we should expect is that this money goes to benefit workers who are citizens. With public money in short supply, Democrats are doing what they do best: looking out for themselves.
Updated 6-11-2016: link text.