President Barack Obama came to Connecticut last Tuesday to propagandize a push for Congressional passage of a minimum wage increase.
He brought four New England governors with him, including the state’s own Dannel P. Malloy, who himself urged a wage hike increase in 2013 and recently urged Connecticut lawmakers to raise it to $10.10 and align it with Obama’s proposal.
There, at the Central Connecticut State University’s William Detrick Gymasium in New Britain, Obama made the case. It seemed like … um … common sense to most people in the packed gym.
Outside of Connecticut, it makes sense, too. More than 20 states have pledged to increase their minimum wage. Several businesses—small and large—agreed it makes sense to treat their workers well by giving them a raise.
Since President Franklin D. Roosevelt passed the Fair Labor Standard Act and established the minimum wage in 1938 at 25 cents per hour, the minimum wage increases have failed to keep pace with inflation. Now, CT’s minimum wage is $8.70, and the federal minimum wage is $7.25, adjusted for inflation, it is worth less than the 25 cents used to buy bread, milk and butter in the 1930s.
The last time the U.S. Congress increased the minimum wage was in 2009.
Apparently, many in Congress don’t think it’s good sense to increase these wages anytime soon. Instead, we hear crickets on the Harkin-Miller bill sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. George Miller (C-CA).
Most people see this is a political issue. But for some of us who follow what gets passed and what doesn’t, we noticed how quickly certain bills have been passed –- just this week. For example, a bill to authorize a $1 billion aid to Ukraine passed Tuesday evening. We noticed they found money for that but not for domestic issues such as minimum wage or the extension of unemployment benefits.
What should be the take-away message here?
We at The Hartford Guardian are at a lost for words. Although we’re in March, there’s no way we can dig deeper to find meaning in this madness.
Logic. Ethos. Pathos. None of these tenets of reasoning reserved for Aristotelian government elites apply in today’s political atmosphere. And so it begs the urgent question: why?
When Americans don’t see more “common sense” compromise and bi-partisanship on domestic issues before Congress, it only makes us wonder. And then we speculate on possible answers to soothe furrowed brows.
Is this resistance tied to the Southern-style resistance, which reaches back to the battlefields of the Civil War?
To some of us, there’s no getting around this sad conclusion. We hope we’re wrong. But only time will tell.
Photo Credit: President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the minimum wage, at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut, March 5, 2014. The President is joined by Gov. Dannel Malloy of Connecticut; Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont, Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, and Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts. (The Register Citizen)