The Republicans in the House have finally voted to increase the federal minimum wage to $7.25/hr. So you know there's a poison pill attached, right? In fact, the mother of all poison pills is attached: drastic cuts in the Estate Tax.
How despicable, these men. Rep. Steven LaTourette of Ohio, one of the least despicable Republicans and a strong supporter of the minimum wage increase, suggests that they had to give Senate Republicans something to induce them to increase the minimum wage. Thankfully, as citizens, we don't have to think like that. We don't have to worry about Senator Warbucks wanting X so he'll vote for Y. We tell Senator Warbucks we want Y because Y is moral and right, and we don't want X because X is immoral and wrong, not to mention X will plunge us far deeper into fiscal hell and besides only 18 rich families and a few right-wing nutjobs want X anyway. We also tell Senator Warbucks that if he doesn't do our will, we'll remember come Election time. And then Senator Warbucks laughs, forgetting that arrogance is the downfall of many a man.
Some right-wingers are no doubt readying the "spirit of compromise" argument. To which I respond in two ways: one, when during the last six years have Republicans cared about "compromise"? Two, we do not "compromise" with immorality. We do not "compromise" by permitting more welfare handouts to more rich people who earn their zillions on the backs of their workers in the first place.
Harry Reid suggests that the bill won't pass. But Harry Reid might be wrong. The Nelson twins and Max "not Mike Mansfield" Baucus and the senior Senator from the State of Wal-Mart have already jumped ship; now Mary Landrieu and Mark Pryor and Ron Wyden might be induced to jump, too, being none too sturdy as defenders of the Estate Tax in the first place. Lincoln Chafee is in the political fight of his life, which could mean he stays strong and then again could also mean he might be susceptible to suggestion (a suggestion like, "no more RNC help against Stephen Laffey unless you give us some help on this"). And who knows what George Voinovich is thinking? On the other hand, some Republican Senators are so implacably opposed to a minimum wage hike that they'll oppose it no matter what goodies are attached. But leave nothing to chance: call your Senator and tell them you want the minimum wage increase but you don't want the Estate Tax gutted, and would happily kill this bill if that's what it means. I mean, I don't know if, say, Robert Menendez is really mulling this over, but I didn't have to mull it over, not even for a second. I knew what to do. Make them go on vacation without a minimum wage hike if necessary, then come back and do it right.
And if Democrats up for re-election can't guard themselves against the inevitable Max Cleland hatchet job, where their votes against this poisonous bill get blown out of their proper context, then it's their own damn fault.