It has been a while, but I feel a rant coming on…
So, the senate today voted for cloture on a bill to raise the minimum wage. To start with, “cloture” is voting to vote on a bill. Isn’t it your only job to vote on bills? You need to vote to vote on a bill? Yes, these are the people we elected. I know I’m proud.
So this minimum wage bill…it would raise it from the current $7.25 to $10.10 over three years. I’ll pile drive into the economics soon, but I first want to draw attention to statistics. Yes, they’re manipulated and blah blah blah. EVERY one of our elected officials use statistics in desperately trying to keep their jobs. Why do they only use them to keep their job and not to do their job? 71% of Americans support raising the minimum wage. 71%! Assuming we have a representative government (quit laughing), and accounting for statistical error, geographic dispersal, and such, shouldn’t there be more than 54 senators voting to vote for this bill?
Yes, 42 senators (4 didn’t bother to vote. They would be both representatives from the great states of Arkansas and Mississippi. Good on ya’, there, Senators. Way to have a spine) voted against having a vote on this bill. Since the GOP filibustered, it required 60 votes to move to a vote. I’m not deriding republicans in this instance. I’m mocking the inefficiencies of our government that require our senators to have a supermajority vote to vote on a bill. I’ll remind us all. We elected these morons.
Now, moving on to the actual value of the bill that “we the people” voted against voting on… The annual difference between the existing and proposed minimum wage, for a full time worker, is less than $6K. All the following numbers come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (). As of 2012, 1.6 million earned the minimum wage. Another (tipped) 2 million earned less. This bill does nothing for the tipped positions.
Fun with math! 1.6 million x $6K = $9.6 Billion dollars. That is assuming minimum wage workers get 40 hours per week (they don’t.) Now, $9.6 Bil is a lot of money. One might expect that most minimum wage employees work for small businesses; the ones that don’t receive extravagant amounts of tax breaks and subsidies. I italicized “that” to emphasize it as opposed to “who” since I’m not quite ready to say businesses are people. One would be wrong in this assumption.
66% of minimum wage employees work for a company with more than 100 employees. 92% of those companies are profitable. 78% have been profitable for several years running. These companies employing 66% of the minimum wage workers would have to pay an additional $6.4 billion in wages if this bill were to pass. That’s a lot. It isn’t quite as much as the $174.8 Billion that those companies paid out in profits over a three year period. All these numbers come from the National Employment Law Project.
So, the economic impact of this bill to the majority of employers affected would be less than 4% of PROFITS. Let me reiterate. It is less than a 4% impact to profits to a collective group receiving over $50,000,000,000 per year in net net net, bottom line profit. Yeah, I can see how they’d be pissed.
I sincerely wish we could collectively elect just a few people who passed Economics 101. I’m not an economist. I have an English degree, but I did take 2, yes 2!, economics courses, and I can see the flaws in the arguments of opponents of voting to vote on this bill. Doesn’t “voting to vote on” just sound more stupid every time I write it?
It will kill job creation! How? If I’m CEO of one of those 66% employers, and I have a market disruptive idea which I’ll define for our purposes as one that will make a shitload of money, am I going to go, “Whoa there! We’re paying the pawns $10.10 now. Let’s scale it back?” Only if I’m as stupid as most senators.
It will hurt the economy! Those in lofty positions forget that the poor earn less than they need. I am just speculating here, but I’ll guess most people who get a raise from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour are not setting up a trust fund. They’re spending the fucking money! How does more people spending hurt the economy? Let’s just look at the big elephant and say raising the minimum wage would minutely affect the profits of the wealthy. That is all it would do.
Yes, there are some small business owners employing one or two or three minimum wage workers. Let’s say it is three and those three work 35 hours per week per the average. We’ll say that is around $16K/yr impact to the business owner. Will that affect the business owner? No argument. Yes, it will. I’m going to also guess that business owner isn’t planning on launching a whole lot of new, job creating businesses with that $16K. If he/she was, why didn’t they already do it? $16K may be a big impact to that small business owner. I would suggest the $5.3K benefit per employee is a bigger impact.
Yes, this all has a ripple effect. McDonald’s has to pay $10.10, and The Gap has to pay $11.35. All the math adds up to a blip of total dollars compared to annual profits. Let’s go back to the elephant in the room. The greedy don’t want to share. It isn’t about the economy or job creation or any bullshit you toss out to defend. It is about not being willing to slice the pie in a way that is slightly less unfair to the workers.
Now, back to the imbeciles we elect to represent us… You voted against voting on a bill to help the working poor. I just want to state that again; you voted against voting on a bill to help the working poor. You weren’t voting against the bill based on your own math or beliefs of how a free market economy works. I’d accept that even if I disagreed with your math or beliefs. No, you voted against voting on the bill. Why? Why not let this bill go before the elected “representatives” of the people? Afraid you’d have to make a choice between voters and donors?
Senators et al, do you ever look in the mirror? If so, do you feel disgusted? You should.