Miserly minimum wage creates poverty
Wisconsin State Rep. Nick Milroy, D-South Range, wrote we need a living wage. I agree. But if Milroy believes we need a real living wage, why is he advocating a minimum wage that is still a poverty wage? In fact, Milroy is proposing a pathetic miserly “increase” in the minimum wage. Milroy would like us to believe the Republicans are responsible for the present miserly minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. However, President Obama had a super-majority of Democrats when he first entered office and this Democratic super-majority never raised the minimum wage to a real living wage. In Minnesota, Democrats have a super-majority; and like Milroy, these Democrats mouth the words “living wage,” but not only did they not use their super-majority to raise the minimum wage a plug nickle, they now call for a minimum wage increase that is another poverty wage. Why this hypocrisy between political rhetoric for votes and actual legislation? Any schoolchild understands that if you pay a workingman or working woman a poverty wage they are going to be poor. The minimum wage should be a real living wage which means it needs to be legislatively tied to all cost-of-living factors tracked and monitored by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, indexed for inflation and then periodically increased to provide an improved standard-of-living. In addition, most minimum wage workers do not work a 40-hour week. So, a real living hourly minimum wage is still not the complete answer. What we need, in addition to the minimum wage being a real living wage, is a guaranteed annual income based on the same cost-of-living factors for every working class family. Of course, with the huge number of working people unemployed in this country right now the real solution is jobs. But, if these jobs don’t pay real living wages what good is a job? Most people work so they won’t be poor. The politicians — from both parties — talk about “jobs, jobs, jobs” then refuse to take it upon themselves to be responsible for full employment in the same way they hypocritically talk about living wages, and then legislate poverty wages, again. So this cycle continues and everyone wonders why there is poverty in the midst of such tremendous wealth in the richest country in the world. And if all this isn’t bad enough, both parties continue to squander the wealth of our Nation on these dirty wars killing our jobs the same way they kill people. We need to create tens of millions of jobs to put America to work. How do we create jobs when we are wasting all this money on wars? Thanks to Democrats like Milroy who take campaign contributions from the managements of the Indian Gaming Industry. We are having one heck of a time trying to organize workers employed at the Bad River Lodge, Casino and Convention Center. With the miserly minimum wage of $7.60 an hour being proposed by Milroy, and opposed by Republicans, a working man or working woman would have to work three 40 hour a week jobs and they would still be living on the edge of poverty. What we need is a huge working class movement like the one that forced President Roosevelt to enact minimum wage legislation in the first place. From this movement will come working class politicians. We need a new working class based progressive people’s party if we are going to turn this country around.