Saturday, October 29, 2005

Minimum Wage Raise Rejected

Senate proposals to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.25 was rejected. Republicans say a raise hike may work against the poor and cause small businesses to have to close or lay off workers.

The Kennedy amendment to a spending bill went down 51-47, and the GOP alternative 57-42. Under a Senate agreement, they would have needed 60 votes for approval.

Chris Townsend said this is the 'disgrace of the week', and he blames it all on the Republicans. But, I think it lies with Congress, period! Look at the pay raises they have voted for themselves in the past. Even Ted Kennedy has voted for pay raises for himself.

Research conducted in 2003 indicated that no fewer than 40 Senate members were millionaires, with 22 Republicans and 18 Democrats reaching this elite milestone. And even those who failed to make the millionaire mark were well on their way, with annual Senate salaries now at $162,100.

Look at this article from Jeff Jacoby in January 1, 2004.

Once upon a time, senators and representatives knew that before they could raise their salary, they had to hold hearings and take a vote. Those votes could be politically uncomfortable, and the public's reaction had to be taken into account. Not surprisingly, Congress tended to go long stretches between pay raises, and lawmakers knew better than to hike their pay during a recession. (On a few occasions, they even reduced their pay.)

But Congress has changed the rules. Under the system now in place, House and Senate members automatically get a pay raise every year.

Feingold puts his money where his mouth is, refusing any increase in pay during each six-year senatorial term. Though he is perhaps the least affluent member of the Senate, he has returned more than $50,000 to the Treasury over the past 11 years. Meanwhile, multimillionaire senators like Ted Kennedy, Jon Corzine, and Majority Leader Bill Frist vote to table Feingold's amendment and preserve the annual stealth pay raise.

I think a better way for a pay raise would be to pay a worker for their ability, and the work done rather than have a mandatory pay hike. I see so many people working who are there only for payday. Many times, I see workers slack on their job; and this causes others to have to do more. This is certainly true in the fast food chains! And, I also see it in the department stores I frequent. And, when I worked, it happened in my own office!

Perhaps this is what needs to be done for our Congress! They not only get those hefty salaries, but lots of amenities to boot, including free office space, free foreign travel, paid home travels, etc! They can holler all they want about this defeat - whether they voted for it or not. They KNOW they will get a pay raise every year, regardless of those less fortunate.

Maybe there needs to be a look at the 'checks and balances' among the rich - the government! The public needs to be able to decide whether their representatives are doing the job that they were sent to Congress to do. And, if they aren't, they don't get a raise!

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