Friday, January 26, 2007

Minimum Wage Bill Killed

Yes, those Republican do-gooders in the Senate have never failed to vote themselves a raise, but they have once again decided that they are the only ones who have to contend with the rising cost of living. So, they killed the minimum wage hike, and it will stay at $5.15. In case you're wondering which Senators were in on the deal, here they are (for Tennessee -- the rest of the list follows below):

Bob Corker: voted against raising the minimum wage -- this is the little weasel who used the Chattanooga mayor's office to enrich his portfolio. Just one one of the sweet scams he ran through the city's offices was good for $4.6 million, wetlands be damned. Now that he's bought himself a Senate seat, his income is sure to go up, especially if he gets some tips from Tennessee's other Senator:

Lamar Alexander: voted against raising the minimum wage -- this is the guy who somehow managed to get rich while earning a relatively modest salary in "public service." Doug Ireland wrote an article about him titled "Politics for Profit: The Rich Rise of Lamar Alexander" (if I can find an online source for the text, I'll add the link).

Oh, and Alexander is also, amazingly enough, one of 28 Republican Senators who voted to eliminate the minimum wage completely (note that at least a couple of presidential wannabes are on the list, too). No, I'm not kidding.

"Gosh," Corker and Alexander reason, "the downtrodden can just pull themselves up by the bootstraps like we did!" However, unlike Mr. Corker and Mr. Alexander, a lot of honest, hard-working Americans aren't willing and able to screw over the US taxpayer in order to make a buck.

Here's a simple bit of math:

A person working 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year at minimum wage ($5.15 per hour) -- before any taxes, insurance, uniform fees, parking fees, day care, transportation costs, or any other expenses are deducted from the gross -- will make $10,300 a year.

40 x 50 x $5.15 = $10,300

OK, first stop for a minute and imagine trying to make ends meet on $10,300 a year. How would you manage? Could you?

Now, consider this:

The current poverty threshold for a single person living in the contiguous US is $9,800. For two people (say, a single mother and her child), the poverty threshold is $13,200. If a man works industriously all year long in a minimum wage job, it's impossible for him to earn enough to support a wife and one child, because the threshold for three people is $16,600 (of couse, the right wingnuts and holy rollers are always shrieking about how women should stay home with their children, but when Republicans are called upon to require their corporate patrons to pay a living wage, those same conservatives suddenly don't seem to remember a thing that Jesus said).

The math tells the story, and it is unconscionable. The richest nation on earth, a supposed Christian nation, should be ashamed of such a failure to take even basic steps to combat poverty. We won't be a great nation for much longer if we continue to neglect our most vulnerable citizens.

So there you have it, folks. A complete list of how our Senate voted follows after the bump. Remember these names when your Senators come calling -- if they ask you for money or for your support, remind them of this vote.

Senators voting against a reasonable, living wage (43 Republicans and 0 Democrats): Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ted Stevens (R-AK), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), John McCain (R-AZ), Wayne Allard (R-CO), Mel Martinez (R-FL), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Larry Craig (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Jim Bunning (R-KY), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), David Vitter (R-LA), Christopher Bond (R-MO), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Trent Lott (R-MS), Richard Burr (R-NC), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Judd Gregg (R-NH), John Sununu (R-NH), Pete Domenici (R-NM), John Ensign (R-NV), George Voinovich (R-OH), Tom Coburn (R-OK), James Inhofe (R-OK), Gordon Smith (R-OR), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Thune (R-SD), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Bob Corker (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Robert Bennett (R-UT), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Michael Enzi (R-WY), Craig Thomas (R-WY)

Senators voting to raise the minimum wage (47 Democrats, 5 Republicans and 2 Independents): Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Joseph Biden (D-DE), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Barack Obama (D-IL), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), John Kerry (D-MA), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Susan Collins (R-ME), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Carl Levin (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Max Baucus (D-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Harry Reid (D-NV), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Robert Casey (D-PA), Arlen Specter (R-PA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), John Warner (R-VA), James Webb (D-VA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Herbert Kohl (D-WI), Robert Byrd (D-WV), John Rockefeller (D-WV)

Senators not voting (2 Democrats and 1 Republican): Thomas Carper (D-DE), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Tim Johnson (D-SD)


Keera said...

Just the other day I was trying to explain why there's so much poverty in the US to Norwegians with all sorts of theories and historical issues, when all it would have taken was two words: Rich Republicans.

Keera said...

PS: Damn those Dems who didn't vote! As it were.

alice said...

I don't know if Thomas Carper has an excuse for skipping the vote, but Tim Johnson is recovering from brain surgery. Also, I don't know what Brownback was ducking, since he's one of the 28 senators who voted to get rid of the minimum wage.

Paige said...

In one's heart of hearts, how could one justify a vote against raising the minimum wage? I would love to have a face-to-face conversation with any one of these senators and have them explain their reasoning, their math to me.

Ruth said...

Excuse my ignorance, but why wouldn't it pass if the vote was 54 for raising the minimum wage and 43 against?

alice said...

That's a good question. Technically, the Senators were only voting to move the bill forward in the process -- basically voting on whether or not they would vote on the bill -- and that requires 60 votes.

jennie said...