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Divided government, working for you

This is cool! Republicans in Congress just blocked a congressional pay increase. Of course if Republicans were still running the show, the COLA would have sailed through like a greased pig. Stuff like this is exactly the reason I was cautiously optimistic about the Democratic takeover last year. If it takes being in the minority for Republicans to act like conservatives, then so be it. I have no illusions about what's going on here, of course. This isn't about responsible stewardship of the taxpayers' money. It's about partisan spite, plain and simple. I'll take it.

And this comes right on the heels of the GOP's block of a minimum wage hike unless it included tax breaks to soften the blow for small businesses. That's encouraging to me because I don't much like the minimum wage, even though the currently proposed increase is likely too tepid to cause significant economic damage. Without rehashing the whole debate here, I'd like to quote a bit from The Economist. (Yes, I know it's all but redundant to link to anything that Glenn has already linked to, but I think this represents the most sensible thinking on the minimum wage that I've yet to hear from either side, and I think it's worth repeating.

It is probable that the minimum wage increase will not cost enough jobs to make its effects readily distinguishable from random economic variation. It is also probable that it will improve the lot of a few poor people, though not many, as fewer than 20% of those who earn the minimum wage live in poor households now. On the other hand, it also seems probable that much of any benefit that goes to poor families will come out of the pockets of other poor people -- very probably even poorer people, such as convicts, who are currently barely hanging onto the fringes of the labour force. . . .

Yep. And isn't it funny that the minimum wage is being debated almost exclusively by people who are guaranteed not to be affected by it one way or the other?


I could support a nice increase in the minimum wage if sterilization was required along with it.

If you can't earn more than minimum wage, you shouldn't be allowed to reproduce.

Better yet, let's pull their U.S. citizenship and make them Mexican citizens, that way they can pick our lettuce and then get back where they belong.

The minimum wage is really a canard.

Even fast food workers earn well above minimum wage.

Out where my brother is (Sussex County, NJ) the fast food places are paying nearly $10/hour to start.

No one's going to support themselves very well on even $20K/year ($10/hour), let alone less.

The vast majority of people earning the minimum wage are teens living at home and retirees looking to earn some extra money.

Besides there are a slew of loopholes around the minimum wage, various food and agricultural workers are exempt from the minimum wage.

Restaurants routinely pay "bus boys" less than minimu wage, just as do agricultural concerns.

The thing that would do the most to increase U.S. wage rates would be to clamp down on illegal immigration.

Illegal immigration puts a persisitent, downward pressure on all wage rates beginning with low skilled and unskilled labor.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest the reason no one's going out of their way to sample the opinions of those affected by a minimum wage increase is that we can probably figure out what their opinion might be.

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