Democrats have had plans in the works to make a minimum-wage increase a major issue ahead of the 2014 midterms, and now that ObamaCare is floundering so spectacularly and the prospects for centering their campaigns around it are wearing thinner by the day, they definitely need to get the wheels in motion on a bright-and-shiny new initiative they can determinedly tout to their perturbed constituents.
During his State of the Union address early this year, President Obama (in what seemed like an almost non-sequitur at the time) brought up the idea of raising the national minimum wage to $9/hour and indexing it to inflation rates, but certain Congressional Democrats want to go even further with a hike to $10.10/hour, and they’re getting ready to introduce the relevant bills to get things rolling. Via The Hill:
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is spearheading the push to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, but not all Democrats are yet on board. …
Harkin said Wednesday he is not certain whether all 55 members of the Democratic caucus would back his proposal, which would also raise the minimum rate in jobs that rely on tips to 70 percent of the standard minimum wage.
“There are different views on proceeding to it, as an amendment, as a direct bill, how do you do it,” he said. “That’s what we’ve got to figure out.”
“There are some who may want to add something to it, put something else on it, which other people would not want,” he said. “I think people deserve a clean-cut bill. Raise the minimum wage.”
Rep. George Miller (D-Calif), the senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, is the House sponsor of the measure.
Their bill would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2015 in three increases of 95 cents.
Back in February, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi aptly hinted at the Democrats’ tactical plans for this specifically-resurrected-to-avoid-more-pressing-issues issue: “Just keep it simple. We want to raise the minimum wage, and you don’t. Why not?” I.e., that old fallback of the Democratic playbook: Republicans must really hate poor people, because that is literally the only possible explanation they could have for being opposed to such a simple, zero-repercussions gesture.
That minimum wage increases are among the most superficially simple yet intellectually cheap populist faux-giveaways that in the long run actually harm the people they were ostensibly meant to help the most, and are in fact wildly counterproductive to the goal of encouraging and economic growth and employment… will not be mentioned, and indeed vehemently avoided. Get excited.