Friday, November 17, 2006

Senator Kennedy Gets the Message

We need a government that works for average Americans again. Truthout has an Associated Press story on Senator Kennedy and his efforts to push back against Bushism:
Democrats are readying a maximum effort to raise the minimum wage.

Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts said Thursday that increasing the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 would be his top priority as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

On the House side, incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., already has listed an increase in the minimum wage as one of the issues that would be taken up during the first 100 hours of the next Congress.

"Americans are working harder than ever, but millions of hardworking men and women across the country aren't getting their fair share," Kennedy said during a speech outlining his legislative agenda for next year. "We're not rewarding work fairly anymore, and working families are falling behind."


Critics of boosting the minimum wage say it kills job creation as employers hire fewer entry-level workers to compensate for the higher wage expenses. Kennedy said the minimum wage has remained at $5.15 an hour for nearly 10 years. Under Kennedy's proposal, the increase would occur over about a two-year period.

If the critics had their way 70 years ago, the lowest paid workers would now be earning about a dollar an hour. It was Franklin Roosevelt's policies that created the great American middle class. Fairness is an important American principle and we need to get back to it.

Maybe in two or three years we can consider a tax on companies that send jobs overseas and a credit for companies that create jobs at home. I'm not against free trade, but the price of free trade should not be the undermining of decent jobs for Americans.

I noticed recently that China is thinking of allowing its workers to unionize so that they can demand higher wages. Many American companies are already objecting. But one of the arguments for Globalization is that free trade would lead to workers earning enough to buy American goods; but how can workers do that if their real wages don't rise? We've got some fundamental problems to deal with in the next ten years.


Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Just watch. If Democrats get even a boost to $6/hour through, count on the U.S. Chamber, National Mfrs. Assn., retail trade groups plus Wal-Mart and the fast-food industry to add so much additional '08 funding to the GOP that the party's war chest will be in the $400 million range.

11:20 PM  

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