I would love to believe that Michele Bachmann is an aberration, and doesn't represent the thinking of most congressional Republicans. But the truth is that her statement about the minimum wage (shown above) represents the mainstream thinking of most Republican leaders. They really say that the road to full employment is to abolish the minimum wage (and give more tax breaks to rich people).
This is an outrageous idea. The minimum wage is currently so low that it will not even support a single person working full-time at a minimally decent level -- let alone a family. There is not a single state in the United States where a person working full-time for minimum wage could afford to rent a decent two-bedroom apartment, even if they spent their whole salary for it (leaving nothing for food, transportation, clothing, etc.). How can they expect people to work for less than minimum wage, when they can't even live on a minimum wage salary?
The truth is they simply don't care. As long as their rich donors can make more money, even by abusing their workers, they don't care whether workers can maintain a decent living or not. They don't consider workers to be real people anyway. For them, the real people (those deserving of rights) are the rich people. Workers are nothing more than fodder in the gristmill of capitalism, and when one warm body wears out there is always another to replace it.
The current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour -- about $290 a week (before taxes are taken out), or about $15,000 a year. I'd like to see these congressional Republicans try to live for a year on $15,000 (before taxes). They'd be horrified at even the thought of that (which makes me wonder why they are so willing to force people to work for even less than minimum wage).
Abolishing the minimum wage would probably fatten the bank accounts of some business moguls, but it would never result in full employment. First, new jobs are created by new demand for goods/services. It would be silly and unproductive for any business to hire a new worker, even for a very low wage, if that worker is not needed. Second, demand is not created by lowering wages, because that just gives workers less money to spend and lowers demand (resulting in more lay-offs). Third, why would any worker take a job that would not support his/her family?
The minimum wage needs to be raised -- not abolished. Raising it would not hurt business or cost a job loss (numerous studies have shown that). It would actually create more jobs, helping both workers and businesses, because the money would be spent by workers and circulate through the economy creating more demand.
The Republicans think a healthy economy depends on the rich having more money. They are wrong. A healthy economy is one where even those at the bottom have money to spend, because it is the spending by the masses that drives the economy and spurs development. The simple fact is that money flows upward in a capitalist economy like ours. It never trickles down.
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