With all the problems plaguing our country today, the GOP has—of course! how helpful!—decided to throw its collective weight behind blocking an increase in the minimum wage. And today, these efforts paid off—by not paying off—when Republicans in the Senate successfully filibustered a proposal to raise the wage to $10.10 from the current $7.25.
Those in opposition to the pay hike tend to cry, in unison: "will hurt small businesses!" Yet many small businesses favor a hike. And statistically speaking, other civilized countries pay much better than we do, and they've yet to shout about this causing economic catastrophe.
And while there are surely plenty of conservatives who are legitimately worried about small businesses, it's worth asking if others are perhaps more concerned about their big-money corporate donors who buy yachts off the backs off $7-an-hour employees.
But really, all anybody really needs to know about this issue comes courtesy of Senator Michael Bennett, Democrat of Colorado, who noted (get ready, y'all):
Right now, if you work 40 hours a week in America, in the greatest country in the world, at a federal minimum wage, you make barely over $15,000 a year. Think about how crazy that is.
$15,000 a year, folks! As in, just slightly above the poverty line and not much more than the average annual cost of a studio apartment in Oakland, where our office is based. How can any individual, let alone family, afford housing, food, day care, loans, cars, clothing, etc. on this kind of frankly offensive pay?
It's hard to stomach, but Bennett is right: it's time we think hard and long about just how crazy this is.