June 22, 2006

Shock: Sanity From the Senate!

Hatched by Dafydd

The crackpot idea to raise the federal minimum wage -- thereby forcing all states to become California -- which we blogged about here... is deader than a Zepplin filled with seawater. The Senate just killed it on a filibuster, and the House refuses even to bring to the floor:

The 52-46 vote [in the Senate] was eight short of the 60 needed for approval under budget rules and came one day after House Republican leaders made clear they do not intend to allow a vote on the issue, fearing it might pass.

This quote from House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH, 100%) is absolutely priceless:

"I am opposed to it, and I think a vast majority of our (rank and file) is opposed to it," House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Tuesday.

Pressed by reporters, he said, "There are limits to my willingness to just throw anything out on the floor."

What's interesting is that the Republicans have persistently offered an increase in the minimum wage -- coupled with various tax and workplace changes that would be friendly enough to business (small business especially) that they would be willing to eat the hike in labor costs... but the Democrats insist they get the minimum-wage hike for free. That's why there's an impasse.

This is a perfect example of the fallacy of "splitting the difference": Johnny wants to divide the cupcake in half, but Betsy wants the whole cupcake for herself; so we'll be fair and just split the difference: Betsy gets three quarters of the cupcake and Johnny gets one quarter.

In situations where one party is right and the other wrong, the naive split-the-difference approach is guaranteed to be unjust. Thus:

Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, offered an alternative that proposed a minimum wage increase of $1.10 over 18 months, in two steps.

The increase was coupled with a variety of provisions offering regulatory or tax relief to small businesses, including one to exempt enterprises with less than $1 million in annual receipts from the federal wage and hour law entirely. The current exemption level is $500,000, and a Republican document noted the amount had "lagged behind inflation." [Fancy that... just like the minimum wage. -- the Mgt.]

Additionally, Republicans proposed a system of optional "flextime" for workers, a step that Enzi said would allow employees, at their discretion, to work more than 40 hours one week in exchange for more time off the next. Unions generally oppose such initiatives, and the Republican plan drew 45 votes, with 53 in opposition.

AP doesn't tell us whether any Democrats voted in favor of this counterproposal or against cloture for the original minimum-wage hike; but after some digging, it turns out (to no one's surprise) that none did.

The Republicans who failed to vote for this commonsense and very fair compromise were:

  • Wayne Allard (CO, 96%)
  • Saxby Chambliss (GA, 96%)
  • David Vitter (LA, 96%)
  • Christopher Bond (MO, 96%)
  • Richard Burr (NC, 87%)
  • James Inhofe (OK, 100%) -- probably not 100% for long...
  • Lincoln Chafee (RI, 40%) -- there's a shock!
  • Jim DeMint (SC, 100%) -- see Inhofe, James
  • John Cornyn (TX, 100%) -- see DeMint, Jim

And the Undyed Finger Award goes to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL, 84%), who managed to fail to vote.

It's disappointing that so many 100%-ers and 96%-ers voted against this; I understand it hikes the minimum wage... but the benefits to small business especially from flex time and exemption from a big chunk of federal regulations more than makes up for the rise in labor costs. Honestly, guys: "the best is enemy of good enough."

That's assuming, of course, that these "conservatives" voted against the Enzi amendment because they were opposed to the wage hike; but that's actually not very likely. I can't find the roll call for the cloture vote, but since it was nearly the same vote as the amendment vote, with just one switch from the Democratic to the Republican position, I wouldn't be surprised if all but one of those certified 100% and 96% conservatives voted to bring the minimum wage hike to the floor... where it would certainly have won.

This on one of the signature conservative economic issues, second only to tax cuts. Would these be the same conservatives complaining about the "leftward drift" of the Republican Party?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 22, 2006, at the time of 3:23 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman

Additionally, Republicans proposed a system of optional "flextime" for workers, a step that Enzi said would allow employees, at their discretion, to work more than 40 hours one week in exchange for more time off the next. Unions generally oppose such initiatives

Someone needs to inform those Unions that they are supposed to be guaranteeing their members working condtions, time charges etc through Collective Bargaining, not Legistation.

The above hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 22, 2006 11:19 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman

So if you're poor, the Republicans don't want to waste time on you...but if you golf...you get a medal!

Priceless indeedy...

The above hissed in response by: monkyboy at June 22, 2006 09:14 PM

Hikes in minimum wages cost jobs on the low end of the income scales.

The Democrats make noises about helping the working poor while stabbing them in the back.

Let's see what examples can we use?

Oh Capital Gains Tax Cuts. When mentioned the DNC sreams like a stuck pig, "Look what the Republicans are trying to give to the Rich."

1) You let me keep more of MY money, you have GIVEN me nothing

2) For every "rich" person filling a capital gain there are 9 families from the middle class filling a tax return for the Capital Gain.

Now if the tax rates are too high, rich people wait, that is one of the advantages of being Rich, you don't NEED access to ALL your money every second. Middle class families file Capital Gains, usually because they need to use the money.

Isn't it SO Clever that the Democrats take credit for "protecting" the little guy while cornholing them?

God forbid that ONE Rich person get a Tax break instead let's stick in in 9 working families and break it off.

Oh here is some interesting information.

During the Reagan Admistration the real buying power of the lowest 20% of American familes, in constant dollars (adjusted for inflation) INCREASED by about 12% they lost all of that increase during Clinton's first term

The above hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 22, 2006 11:40 PM

The following hissed in response by: cdquarles

monkyboy, you pathetic banned troll from CQ:

It's a stretch to even say America has a middle class any more..

Your kind can easily say that by using rubber band definitions. You define away the middle class by calling them 'rich' if they are successful and 'poor' if they are retired.

You are a fool. The bottom 20% by definition will not change much simply because if you improve yourself enough by lets say working full time for a whole year, you'll move to a higher quintile. The next time you don't think that the cap gains tax cut didn't help the middle class, talk to the cop & school teacher family with 2 kids that moved to a better neighborhood because they could sell their old home in the worse neighborhood for enough of a profit to get that nicer house in the better neighborhood plus roll over their retirement fund plus the children's college funds (those being mutual funds that are forced by law to face the gains tax yearly) without having to bail out at a bad time.

Guess what, silly simian, the bulk of said net worth is in the family home, family business or family farm. Most of these people have names that are not Bill Gates, Teddy Kennedy, George Soros, Markos Zuniga, Barbara Streisand, or Warren Buffett.

Finally, silly troll, tell me how does hurting the rich help the poor?

PS, silly man, Reagan's term was 1981 to 1989 and there was a real double bottom recession from 79 to 82. If you are so concerned about the poor, here's a thought: Give the poor help on your own time and with your own dime. Keep your thieving paws off me and mine's property.

The above hissed in response by: cdquarles [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 23, 2006 12:37 AM

The following hissed in response by: Big D

With unemployement dipping below 5%, is anyone (other than illegals) getting paid minimum wage? I thought not.

Hey, I have a great idea! Let's raise the minimum wage, but instead of raising it to 7 bucks or so, let's go all the way and raise it to $10/hr. That would really help out the poor.

No, wait a minute. An even better idea. Raise it to $25/hr. That would eliminate the poor altogether! Genius!

Of, no, now I've got it. Raise the minimum wage to $1 million per hour! Then we could all work just a couple of hours and retire in style! Yeah! And the government wouldn't have to pay social security since we'd all be rich! It would balance the budget! Hurrah!

The above hissed in response by: Big D [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 23, 2006 10:11 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman

As for capital gains tax cuts helping the middle class...please...give me a break.
9 out of 10 tax returns filed with a Capital Gains is from the middle class.

Why does it not surprise me that a Progressive completely ignores this.

Oh and I do believe the correct phrasing would be math, not maths, I do subscribe that there is more than one, though I notice that Progressives include some new creative version. ;-)
Thanks Monky you make my point for me.

The above hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 23, 2006 2:39 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman

Income Growth of the Lowest Fifth
Too bad I can't put the graph here it is a wonderful aid for the reading impaired.

Income Growth of the Lowest Fifth
The 13 percent increase in middle class family income during the Reagan expansion years is irrefutable, but some have asserted that the average income of the bottom fifth fell during the 1980s. Is this factually correct? An answer to this question is provided in the graph on the next page. This graph of the average real income of the bottom fifth of families mirrors the historical pattern of the median family income, with significant income growth during the Reagan expansion period.

These data on the average income of the bottom fifth are provided to illustrate a point. Of the commonly cited decline in this measure between 1979 and 1989, 153 percent is accounted for in the single year of 1980, the last year of the Carter Administration. Clearly it is extremely misleading to attribute the dramatically negative effects of this single year of 1980 to the Reagan period. Moreover, extensive JEC research on income mobility demonstrates that the validity of this average income measure is dubious because most of the members of the bottom fifth in 1979 had exited the bottom fifth and moved to higher levels of income by the end of the 1980s.

The only way Reich and other liberals can make their argument associating tax cuts with income declines is to define a time period that includes enough income declines from other years to offset the income gains following the 1980s tax cuts. If one really wants to examine the trend in real median family income after the Reagan tax cuts, a review of the upward trend displayed in graph 2 will suffice. To argue that tax reduction is historically associated with falling family income, and then to ignore the increase in family income that did in fact take place after the tax cuts went into effect, is simply intellectually dishonest. Yet this is the official Clinton Administration argument against current Congressional economic policy.

LOL you followed your leader Reich like a good little Socialist didn't you Monky tried to use the same trick.

"1980 - $9114
1988 - $9352"

Income Growth During the 1980s

The above hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 23, 2006 2:59 PM

The following hissed in response by: cdquarles

monkyboy, keep up your piss-poor work, pathetic banned troll from CQ:

The fact that the Wal-Mart family made their billions by driving tens of thousands of very real small businessmen into bankruptcy seems lost on the people they have duped

False. The people who "bankrupted real small businessmen" were their former customers, who found the 24/7 hours and low prices (especially for commonly needed items) a much better deal. Wal-Mart didn't put a gun to anyone's head and 'make them a deal that they can't refuse', so to speak.

The estate tax, better known as the death tax, doesn't bring in that much revenue, is generally bypassed by those who otherwise would feel it confiscatory rates, and is utterly immoral. My money and my property is mine. Keep your grubby, greedy, thieving hands off it! I have no right to steal from the Walton family. You have no right to steal from me.

The difference, of course, Dan, is that the middle class Americans could swap their "capital gains" for a two for one Big Mac coupon and come out ahead on the deal.

Where did you come up with this blatant bit of silly sophistry?

Answer this question, troll, how does hurting a rich man help a poor one?

The above hissed in response by: cdquarles [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 24, 2006 11:54 PM

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