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Kerry Praises Senate Minimum Wage Vote

by Pamela Leavey

The vote on raising the minimum wage for the first time in 10 years moved a step closer to in the Senate on Tuesday as Senate Democrats cleared a key hurdle in the path, compliments of the GOP members of the Senate. Democrats had to agree to “business tax breaks that House Democrats want removed,” and final “Senate passage of the legislation is expected later this week.”

John Kerry said today’s vote on the minimum wage legislation clears the way for the bill to move forward and bring a long overdue pay raise to American workers. The 87-10 vote in the Senate came as Kerry and other Democrats successfully cleared a key hurdle to completing the Senate bill.

“The Senate vote today was a giant step forward in our effort to win a pay raise for millions of Americans who have had to wait too long for an increase in the minimum wage. The $2.10 increase would take the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour and is long overdue. I look forward to this legislation becoming law and finding other ways to assist men and women who are working hard and trying to make better lives for themselves.”

Could this have something do with the end of the Republican filibuster? Democrats: No raises for Congress until minimum wage is increased“.

13 Responses to “Kerry Praises Senate Minimum Wage Vote”

  1. I will pay my employees the new minimum wage, I will charge my customers more to pay for it. Our economy is static, when gas goes up the price of milk goes up. Why do you think it is different with wages?

  2. Most of the folks who favor such legislation have never had to meet a payroll in their lives, Frank. Employers will not only have to pay the differential between the new and the old minimum wage, but also will bear the cost of increased FICA matching and SUTA & FUTA taxes.

    What business is it of the government’s to intrude on a private agreement between employee and employer as to terms of compensation? There shouldn’t even be a minimum wage law to begin with.

  3. Moondawg

    Most small business owners feel the same way Frank does – the corporate cronies are the ones complaining.

  4. It seemed to me that Frank also was complaining – about having to raise his prices, but perhaps I was mistaken. Raising prices isn’t an option for everyone, especially those facing larger competitors in their markets. Actually many of your so-called “corporate cronies” are happy with the move, because while they for the most part don’t have many (or any) minimum wage positions, often their smaller rivals do. As the Economist pointed out recently:

    CEO’s who support higher minimum wages are not, as the media often casts them, renegade heros speaking truth to power because their inner moral voice bids them be silent no more. They are by and large, like Mr Sinegal, the heads of companies that pay well above the minimum wage. Forcing up the labour costs of their competitors, while simultaneously collecting good PR for “daring” to support a higher minimum, is a terrific business move.

    But kudos to Dems in the Senate for joining with Senate Repubs to add in small business tax breaks to their bill that will offset some of the adverse impact. Jeers, however, to House Dems for trying to kill that part of the minimum wage bill.

  5. Moondawg

    I’m a small business owner in a market that was not so long ago dominated by cottege industry types. Now my main competition is large corporations mass marketing similar products to mine to Targets and WalMarts. My only option to compete and make a living has been to raise my prices to garner the niche market of smaller retailers who want quality products rather than mass marketed products.

    As for tax cuts for small businesses. I feel that there are small businesses who will truly benefit from further tax cuts – especially true small businesses, not larger “corporate” small businesses.

  6. Well, Pamela, I’m not sure what Target & Wal-Mart have to do with this thread – they already pay above the federal minimum, which is why Wal-Mart’s CEO was one of the people calling for the minimum wage to be raised – he knows that the higher minimum will have nearly no effect on his firm’s bottom line, while at the same time it will raise costs for many smaller competing retailers; i.e., the higher minimum wage helps Wal-Mart (which is a result I’m sure liberals did not intend).

    I don’t know precisely what you believe a “true small business” is, but it got me to curious – what does the Senate version of the bill define as a small business? Taking a look at the text of S.AMT.100, it says that the IRS code will be used to define a small business: a corporation or partnership with annual gross receipts of not more than $5,000,000. Fine & dandy, but reading farther down we see that the IRS code itself has been amended to put the limit at $10,000,000 – that is, the Senate snuck in a major change in the definition of what constitutes a small business for tax purposes. Tricky, tricky!

    Will be interesting to see if that part of the amendment makes it through conference committee…

  7. Moondawg

    Target and WalMart got into the thread in my relating my personal experience with raising prices for my products to compete with mass market merchandisers who are now glutting the market of my industry with lower end products in stores like Target and WalMart.

    It’s tough for “small” small businesses to competer with the mass marketers, who by the looks of the change in tax code you noted are what I would term corporate or large small business. I’ve been a small business owner the better part of the past 25 years.

  8. Moondawg

    I should also clarify that as a “small” small business owner, I have no problem with paying above the minimum wage, even if it means it hurts my bottomline and my bottomline is what is the sole support for my daughter and I. I think it’s a crime that the minimum wage has not been raised in 10 years.

  9. That’s quite lovely that you have no problem with paying above the minimum, however other business owners may not have the resources to absorb the impact without cutting jobs.

    But hey, why stop at $7.25? Let’s make it $10 an hour. Or $20. How ’bout $75 per hour? That’d really help “working Americans”.

    What should the magic government-decreed minimum level be for wages? And why?

  10. Moondawg writes: “That’s quite lovely that you have no problem with paying above the minimum, however other business owners may not have the resources to absorb the impact without cutting jobs.”

    Then they should be out of business. Anyone with a potted plant IQ knows you pass on the cost of a min. wage hike to your customers via cost increases in your products. If they’re too stupid to figure that out, they should be out of business (and I say this as the spouse of a small business owner, who hasn’t paid anyone below $8/hr. in years, and has a rather lucrative business going as a result).

  11. Moondawg

    I don’t have the resources, I do it because it’s the right thing to do.

  12. Todd, as I’ve pointed out earlier here, some small businesses can’t pass on the cost to consumers because their larger competitors aren’t about to raise their prices – they already pay above the minimum wage, so they don’t have to. If the smaller business raise prices but its competitors don’t, who do you think the consumer is going to buy from?

    Still no answer to my question, Pamela? What is the magic number for the minimum wage? If $7.25 is good, wouldn’t $7.50 be better? $7.75? Do I hear $8? 9? What is so special about $7.25?

  13. Moondawg

    I’m not going to waste my energy reminding you what it was like for workers before there was a minimum wage.

    My teenage daughter worked at a local grocery store for a few months last summer for minimum wage. That grocery store was part of the largest chain of groceries stores in the country. Howcome they don’t pat above minimum wage? It’s the corporate giants that screw people the most. It’s common knowledge.