Blog Commentary-(ENEWSPF)- John Kasich seemed like a “reasonable” Republican during the presidential primaries. Which leads me to wonder at his recent actions regarding the minimum wage.
Does he hate the human race? (And, I must admit, I am indebted to my Facebook friend Betty Eiben Bennett for the inspiration for the title of this piece.)
How else to justify his “then-no-man-shall” attitude in Ohio this week, signing a bill forbidding any “any city or other local government in the state from raising its own minimum wage above the state’s floor of $8.10 an hour.”
The legislation, which was passed by state lawmakers earlier in the month, was in direct response to an upcoming vote in Cleveland on whether to raise its wage. While the state’s wage will raise to $8.15 next year, Cleveland residents will vote in May on whether to raise their minimum to $12 by 2018 and $15 by 2021. With the new law in place, however, they won’t actually have any power to raise their minimum wage.
Ohio joins a growing number of states that have passed such preemption laws blocking cities from increasing their own minimum wages and implementing paid sick leave requirements. According to a ThinkProgress analysis, 20 states have already passed such laws, including 19 that specifically target minimum wage raises, 11 of which have been enacted since 2013. Fifteen ban local paid sick leave measures.
Perhaps one of my GOP friends can enlighten me as to why a low, below-poverty-level minimum wage is considered justified? Why does the GOP war on workers, and, in particular, the war on those in poverty, continue? Why does John Kasich continue the war?
The math is simple.
Raise the “minimum wage” to a “living wage,” e.g. a wage on which workers can live.
Do it over a few years.
As wages rise, low-income workers will have more money in their pockets to spend. They will have more money than they need to survive.
And they will spend their money.
On dry cleaning.
On so, so much more.
And they will still have money to save. Still have money to spend.
While living within their means.
Without depending on public assistance.
Without depending on our tax dollars.
What is the alternative?
Limit low-income workers to $8.15 per hour, as Kasich prefers. Then, low-income workers will qualify for public assistance.
Consider this 2014 article from Forbes.com:
Walmart‘s low-wage workers cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing, according to a report published to coincide with Tax Day, April 15.
Americans for Tax Fairness, a coalition of 400 national and state-level progressive groups, made this estimate using data from a 2013 study by Democratic Staff of the U.S. Committee on Education and the Workforce.
“The study estimated the cost to Wisconsin’s taxpayers of Walmart’s low wages and benefits, which often force workers to rely on various public assistance programs,” reads the report, available in full here.
“It found that a single Walmart Supercenter cost taxpayers between $904,542 and $1.75 million per year, or between $3,015 and $5,815 on average for each of 300 workers.”
That means that this store, newly-opened in Olympia Fields, cost taxpayers between $904,542 and $1.75 million per year.
Just because the family that owns Walmart won’t pay a living wage.
Let’s pay a living wage.
And get everyone who can work off of public aide.
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