Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Senator Bob Corker is lone defector joining Dems to advance minimum wage

I have been pleased with Senator Corker's leadership in calling for a more robust response to Russian aggression in the Ukraine and I have often been pleased with Senator Corker's leadership on other important issues,  but yesterday I was extremely disappointed when Corker joined Democrats in voting to advance a bill to increase the minimum wage (link). 

Sen. Bob Corker
We know that hiking minimum wage cuts off the bottom rung of the economic ladder. It eliminates the starter jobs that give people experience and entry into the labor market. Some of those jobs that are only worth $7.25 an hour and will simply disappear at $10.10 an hour. Fast food establishments could replace people with self service ordering machines where you punch in your own order and swipe your credit card and they could eliminate a position or two. And who knows, machines might be smarter, faster, make less mistakes, and be more polite.

There are fewer check-out people at the grocery store now and there are more self service check-out machines than there used to be and full service gas stations have disappeared and there are no longer boys who push your grocery cart to your car and put the groceries in the trunk for you. More of those check-out grocery store clerk jobs could disappear and there are a lot of other jobs that could also disappear if the job must pay more than what it is worth. It is not complicated. It is simple economics. It is the simplest supply and demand curve.  I don't expect Democrats to be persuaded by reason and to be rational but I expect it of Republicans. Belief in a market economy is one thing that should separate Republicans from Democrats. 

Sen. Lamar Alexander
I am pleased with Lamar Alexander for his strong stand on the minimum wage.  He not only voted with his Party yesterday, but in the past Alexander has gone farther than most Republicans and has correctly taken the view that we should completely abolish the minimum wage (link). Yesterday Sen. Lamar Alexander called the wage increase a "stale, bankrupt" idea that could cost jobs, and cited a number of GOP-backed proposals that he says will do more to create jobs, such as reforming federal job training programs, building the Keystone XL oil pipeline, approving new trade pacts, and others.  "The issue is right—it's jobs. The American people want it to be easier to find a good-paying job," said Alexander (link).

The vote to advance the bill was 54 to 42. It would have taken 60 votes to advance the bill. After the vote, Corker said that he would have voted against the bill if the issue would have came to a vote, but he voted to advance the bill because the thought it ought to be debated. That is lame. If it would have come to a vote, the Democrats had the votes to pass it in the Senate. Thankfully, the House will not pass the bill. 

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