GOP Plays Games With the Working Poor

Washington, DC doesn’™t operate on a regular, Gregorian calendar, rather, works in terms of ‘œlegislative days’. The month of August is typically vacation time – congress recesses and George Bush goes to Crawford to clear brush and ignore PDB’™s. When it’™s coming down to crunch time, and there’™s only a few legislative [...]

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Washington, DC doesn’™t operate on a regular, Gregorian calendar, rather, works in terms of ‘œlegislative days’. The month of August is typically vacation time – congress recesses and George Bush goes to Crawford to clear brush and ignore PDB’™s. When it’™s coming down to crunch time, and there’™s only a few legislative days until a month’™s vacation comes rolling down the pike, congress tends to work late into the evening.

Some think that’™s a good thing. Others say it just provides the cover of night to do crap that would otherwise get roasted in the light and heat of the day. Let’™s look at one example – the minimum wage bill that passed the House in the early hours this morning. Well, it’™s being touted as a ‘œminimum wage bill’, anyway – even if that’™s not really the GOP’™s intent:

Republicans muscled the first minimum wage increase in a decade through the House early Saturday after pairing it with a cut in inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates.

Combining the two issues provoked protests from Democrats and was sure to cause problems in the Senate, where the minimum wage initiative was likely to die at the hands of Democrats opposed to the costly estate tax cuts. The Senate is expected to take up the legislation next week’¦

The GOP leadership’™s intent is for the bill to die in the Senate. They no more want an increase to the national minimum wage than do their business partners who would have to pay the increase. So, they play a game with the bill to make the Democrats look like the bad guys. They pass a bill that raises the minimum wage to $7.25, but not before they insert a poison pill – a back door amendment to the bill that would eliminate the estate tax on those inheriting more that $1 Million. So, passing the bill becomes a non-starter.

Democrats have repeatedly said they would muster the support to kill any bill that gave rich folks another tax break. And there is no one on the GOP side of the aisle who, in a midterm election year, wants to be seen as a sugar daddy for the well-heeled. The bottom line is that they know this bill will die in the Senate, so it was easy to vote ‘œyes’ in the House.

Essentially, the GOP is playing games with the working poor. They have no intent of raising the minimum wage, yet now GOP congresscritters up for election this fall can say, ‘œI voted to increase the minimum wage, and my opponent was against it.’ It’™s all crap, and I don’™t know how the Democrats go about educating a non-educatamable (sic) public that this just isn’™t the case.

The only good news is that it might not make any difference anyway. Not much of anyone in the country is paying attention to politics at this time of the year. I’™m sure the issue will be re-visited again after Labor Day. I just think it’™s wrong for the GOP to be playing games on the back of the people who can least afford the games.

Saturday, July 29th, 2006 by Richard Blair |
Category: Politics - U.S.

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