Thursday, June 02, 2005

Some States Raise Minimum Wage -- Guess Which Ones?

Given that we have a Republican-controlled Congress that will fight to the death against an increase in the federal minimum wage – didn't you slackers just get a raise eight years ago? -- many states are going their own way and hiking their wage rates to make up for the federal government's “compassionate conservatism.”

"The federal government is not living up to its responsibility, so the states are acting," says New Jersey state Sen. Steve Sweeney, a Democrat who sponsored a law that will raise the state's minimum.

The last time it came up for a national vote was in March, when the Senate considered a bill to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25, over 26 months. It was defeated, on a straight party-line vote, with Democrats for it and all Republicans voting against it.

It is estimated that the buying power of the minimum wage is at its lowest point in almost 60 years.

A total of seventeen states and Washington, D.C. have decided to make the low federal minimum wage irrelevant by raising their own rates to more than $5.15 per hour by October of this year.

Connecticut, for example, already has a minimum wage of $7.15 per hour and that will rise to $7.65 by the end of the year. California has a minimum wage rate of $6.75 per hour, while San Francisco -- that liberal city that conservatives love to hate – insists that all workers make at least $8.50 per hour.

What should be very instructive to Red-State people – pay attention, fellow Nebraskans! -- is the startling similarity between states that tend to vote Democratic and those where people stand a better chance of making a living wage. (States voting Democratic and where minimum wages are rising are shown in blue.)

Almost looks like the same map, doesn't it?

Of the 19 states (and D.C.) won by John Kerry in 2004, 16 of them are among this list of places that actually seem to give a damn about working people. Go figure!

The lesson is as follows: Start acting in your own best interests – which means voting Democrat -- and you may actually achieve a better standard of living.

Keep voting for Republicans, who consistently show they do not care about you, and you get absolutely no sympathy from the rest of us.