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Do Democrats and President Obama Really Want to Raise the Minimum Wage?

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

$10.10 an hour isn't much of a raise, but it's better than a sharp stick in the eye. The truth is that rhetoric about “passing a jobs bill”, “universal pre-K” and raising the minimum wage are things Democrats dust off to reinforce their brand, only when when Republicans are in a position to block them. That makes them branding exercises, not political deeds they intend to accomplish.

Do Obama and Democrats Really Want To Raise the Minimum Wage?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

"...when President Obama was candidate Obama he campaigned on a promise to put legislation through Congress to raise the minimum wage..."

President Obama and national Democratic party spokespeople now agree that the minimum wage ought to be raised, and the mighty executive pen of the White House will soon force federal contractors to pay workers at least $10.10 an hour. Though this only applies to federal contractors, and can be rolled back if Republicans win the White House in 2016 it IS better than a sharp stick in the eye. It's also something the president could have done five years ago, during his first hours in office.

Back in 2007 and 2008, when President Obama was candidate Obama he campaigned on a promise to put legislation through Congress to raise the minimum wage, and to reform labor law so as to make it easier for workers to organize unions and fight for their rights on the job. Both those cynical promises were immediately forgotten when Barack Obama assumed the presidency, and during the two years his party held a thumping majority in the House with a narrower one in the Senate. The administration has never mentioned easing the restrictions on union organizing again, but once in a while, when their poll numbers get low enough, and as long as Republicans are safely in control of the House of Representatives, they dust off their rhetoric on the minimum wage. This is one of those times.

To tell the truth, $10.10 an hour isn't much, it's such a low floor that it probably can pass the House if leaders ever allow a floor vote. But it's far from a wage that will lift people out of poverty.

The elite bipartisan consensus – that's the president and his spokespeople and Republicans too, agree that the “solution” is not so much raising the wage for what people already DO as “training” which will make them fit for better jobs. But that's a joke as well. The US economy isn't producing “better jobs.” Starbucks is full of baristas with M.A. degrees, and most college teachers are now “adjuncts” which means their advanced degrees enable them to work for poverty wages and few or no benefits. PhD incomes have fallen off a cliff the last ten years as colleges and universities re-organize themselves more to resemble the corporations who rule our society.

"...Democrats only take up the cause of the minimum wage when Republicans are in office, to reinforce their fake brand..."

Early in his presidency, Barack Obama proposed recalculating social security benefits to lower them, and late last year he signed off on the reduction of unemployment benefits he now wants immoral Republicans to take all the blame for.

It's not hard to see that Democrats only take up the cause of the minimum wage when Republicans are in office, to reinforce their fake brand as champions of the oppressed. When they're in power, and raising that wage is a sure thing, their attention is somewhere else. But once Republicans get the House or the Senate, they talk about “passing a jobs bill”, about “universal pre-K” and about raising the minimum wage, more to embarrass Republicans than with a view to actually accomplishing any of these things.

They are all branding slogans, blatant and shallow hypocrisy, but so far they have worked to reinforce the Democrats' brand as the party of the oppressed. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and serves on the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. He lives and works in Marietta GA and can be contacted via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

 

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Comments

Let's Raise The Minimum Wage. Sike!

The next time minimum wage is raised or lowered will be a sign of the end of the current economic system.  If minimum wage is lowered, the people will revolt.  If it's raised, the status quo will revolt and attempt other measures to take away something.  This will cause the people to revolt.  Sooner or later, higher or lower, resource inequality versus greed will reach the "enough is enough" stage.  It is a dangerous game to put something in front of hungry people and then say, sike!

Pointer

Excellent Analysis Bruce

See my comment posted in response to Glen Ford's Article about Obama's State of the Union message for more on this topic.

http://blackagendareport.com/content/american-state-union-festival-lies

well said

branding is a polite term for lying.  the one party system, the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, is now and will always be junk. whether by poverty, poison and war or by choice, exodus from the system is our future.  keep on.



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