Cumberland Times-News


May 4, 2014

Minimum wage action a travesty

I am a registered Republican, although I am embarrassed most of the time to admit it, considering the Republican “wingnut” leadership displayed in both houses of congress.

A recent example of how self-serving these wingnuts can be — the minimum wage bill.

I read an article on-line recently that stated that Republican wingnuts in the senate were refusing to even allow the minimum wage bill to come up for a vote — they were filibustering it. Their reasoning is that it would hurt small business — eliminate 1/2 million of the lowest paying jobs but bring 16 million people to just above the poverty level.

Are the number of fast food businesses increasing or decreasing these days? I have not seen many of these businesses closing their doors recently?

A study was done that showed that if the minimum wage had been adjusted for inflation only in the past, not like the annual increases that Congress normally receives in addition to inflation adjustments, the actual minimum wage would be over $15 an hour today (no increases other than adjustments for inflation.) How is it that congressional representatives take their inflation increases every year, and set their compensation
up so they get additional increases annually without having to vote on their increases? When congressmen are asked about their greed the usual response is, “There is nothing we can do about it.” Yeah right!

This is the same political party that year after year gives the oil industry (record profits) about $4 billion-plus a year in subsidies, yet they refuse to increase the minimum wage in any amount for the lowest wage earners.

I find it interesting that when a cop does a favor for money or a gift and gets caught he or she may be charged with a crime and go to jail. When a congressman does the same thing it is called “congressional lobbying?” Go figure.

At the same time these clowns get reelected each election cycle — why is that? Is it because the voters lack interest or that they do not want to hold the congressional reps accountable and vote them out?

It appears that the fault may reside with the voters; otherwise it kind of says “We are OK with what you are doing.”

It does appear that no one in Congress is held accountable for anything. Their work schedule: generally they may report to work mid-morning or early afternoon on Tuesday and quit around noon on Thursday, if they even show up.

If you count up all of the vacations, holiday celebrations, and other paid absences, they average about 8 to 10
hours a week in a 52 week year — parttimers at best. On average, full-time workers, excluding overtime, log in about 2,000-plus hours a year, less 2-3 weeks’ vacation, and a lot of them for minimum wage.

The salaries for the congressmen are about $185,000-plus a year, not counting benefits, travel expenses, staffs, office space and many other perks. No wonder they work very hard to get re-elected. Is this what the framers of the constitution intended for Congress — lifers, loafers and lobbyists? I don’t think so.

It is sad that there are a high percentage of workers in this area working for the minimum wage and they are being denied even an opportunity for the minimum wage bill to be voted on because the “wingnut Republicans” have threatened to filibuster to prevent the bill from coming up for a vote.

You voters who are making the minimum wage need to remember which party blocked you from any chance of getting the minimum wage increased.

Michael Clarke Cumberland

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