Carol Platt Liebau: The Democrats' Acid Test

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Democrats' Acid Test

So the Republicans have sent to the Senate a "controversial" bill that would raise the minimum wage -- but only if the estate tax is reduced. Democrats (of course) are screaming foul.

It's going to be a very revealing moment for the Dems. After all, cutting the death tax takes nothing from the people to whom a minimum wage increase is, we're told, essential. If the Senate Democrats scuttle the bill, it will be proof positive that they hate "the rich" more than they care about "the poor."


Blogger wrabkin said...

No, it will be proof that they are not morons. The Republicans are offering this up knowing it will never pass, simply because they've read the same polls you have and know that 75% of Republicans (along with 95% of Dems) believe the minimum wage has to go up and they are deathly afraid of having to defend their abhorrent record on the subject in November.

Of course, they can't even pass a real increase in minimum wages without a slap at states that dare require higher pay than, say, Alabama. The Republican bill includes a provision overruling state laws that say forbid employers from applying tip income against minimum wages.

(By the way, didn't your party used to have some respect for states' rights? I guess that's overruled by corporations' rights now...)

And all we have to accept for this generous bill -- an enormous tax cut for the richest 500 families in America at a cost to the treasury of billions.

It's a disgusting, despicable charade. And, of course, you know it. If you want to applaud the political gamemanship of your party leaders, that's certainly your perogative. But to play dumb and pretend that this is anything but a game, well, that's beneath you.

If you want to increase traffic to your site, Carol, why not try treating your readers with a little respect. There are smart right-wingers out there who don't like to be fed the same line of bull that Rush and the gang hand out to the mouth-breathers.

4:37 PM  
Blogger wile e coyote said...


You know mentioning estate-tax repeal to wrabkin is like waving a red flag in front of a bull (Or a Big Mac in front of Bill Clinton).

There is also ample evidence that increasing the minimum wage harms entry level workers while mainly benefiting unions. I believe there was a WSJ article on this; I will look, but would appreciate it if anyone who knows the link could post it here.

5:23 PM  
Blogger wile e coyote said...

Here's the link:

Unfortunately, you might need a WSJ subscription to view this. carolliebau.blogspot rules prevent me from pasting the full article here.

I don't expect wrabkin, dhead or jillmartin to be swayed, but they might at least find it a thoughtful presentation of an alternative viewpoint.

5:29 PM  
Blogger wrabkin said...

An "alternative viewpoint"? Is that what we call an untruth these days?

The self-serving canard that raising the minimum wage costs jobs has been disproved time after time after time. In fact, it's been disproved every time the minimum wage has been raised.

5:40 PM  
Blogger suek said...

How many people will be affected by the increase in the minimum wage? I wonder how much of an increase in FICA collections there'll be as a result...

6:10 PM  
Blogger wile e coyote said...

Either wrabkin is a fast reader, or a psychic able to condemn an article he has not even read.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Alan Kellogg said...

Why do we expect grown-ups to live on minimum wage, when it was never intended to be a living wage? It was meant for those just entering the work force, kids. Kids 16 through 20 who could rely on their parents for support to some degree or another.

So what do we do? We make it just about impossible for kids to get jobs. Unless they jump through enough hoops to give weight lifters hernias.

Let's eliminate the damn paperwork. All any adolescent should need is proof he is 16 or older. All work would be part time, and limited to no more than 12 hours a week, with a maximum shift of 4 hours a day, 2 hours on a school day.

The more work experience a person has, the higher his pay. Work experience carries over from job to job.

6:50 PM  
Blogger Cavalor Epthith said...

Raising the miniumum wage only takes money out of the pockets of corporations and people who want to maximize their profits at the expense of workers like restaurant owners who have poured hours into their lobbying against a minimum wage hike.

Why do prices have to go up for a burger at Wendy's if the minimum wage goes up? Only to appease shareholders people who do no work but expect to make money on the gamble of the stock market. America should beware however, corporate greed and debt have reached a level that points to an evil greater than any terrorist ---Depression!

6:59 PM  
Blogger JillMartin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:26 PM  
Blogger JillMartin said...

As Americans’ disapproval of the GOP lead Congress reaches record historic levels for their do-nothing sleazy bills ….. "I know why you're mad," crowed Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN), to Democrats angry at the pairing of an estate tax cut and the minimum wage issue. "You've seen us really outfox you."

Meanwhile, there is no attempt to stop the super rich scammers….Everyone's heard of offshore tax havens — shell games on far-flung islands that save the already-rich millions of dollars. Each scheme is different, but it's estimated that tax-evading individuals and corporations cost the government as much as $150 billion a year.

The conservative principle that the government should not bank on our children’s future seems to be forgotten. It will be easier to pass a camel through the eye of a needle than get these Republican thugs into heaven. “Sooner or later, chickens come home to roost…”

7:55 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

Jill lives in the fantasy land that states only Republicans and conservatives use offshore tax havens.

Dems insist on taxing money as early and often as possible, that's why they want to keep the death tax. They somehow think the money belongs to the government. So to those libs who visit here, I ask you: come tax time, do you seek to reduce your tax, or do you send along extra money? If it's the first, shame on you for your hypocrisy. If it's the second, I respect your consistency. There is a third option, which is that you pay what the code requires. If that's all you do, then you are doing just what the rich does. If the code allows offshore stuff, no foul is committed. Your guys will continue to tax the crap out of the producers, our guys will continue to let everyone keep as much of their own money as possible. Your guys are jerks, ours are cool.

As to the minimum wage, how many of you libbers own your own businesses? If any of you are starting new workers at 50K, let's talk.

9:54 PM  
Blogger JillMartin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:19 PM  
Blogger JillMartin said...

Marshall, I was obviously addressing the legislators in my comment. You express alot of hatred in your rantings.

11:25 PM  
Blogger skribe said...

Raising the miniumum wage only takes money out of the pockets of corporations and people who want to maximize their profits at the expense of workers like restaurant owners who have poured hours into their lobbying against a minimum wage hike.


What percentage of the workforce are employed by SME's in the US? In Oz it is 70%. If it is similar, then increasing the minimum wage isn't only a matter of taking the billions from the corp execs and shareholders but taking money out of the pockets from the Mum and Dad business owners. But, hey, they own a business so they must be rich, right?

1:46 AM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

The small businesses that can't pay a decent wage should go out of business. I for one do not feel sorry for bad business owners/managers. People do have expenses just to show up to work, such as food, water, clothes, shoes, tranpostation, etc. Perhaps even make a little profit so they can invest in themselves with education or training.

During the past 12 yrs, America has been rapidly turning into a 3rd world country and during this time the wealthiest have quadrupled their annual income.

It is a sad state of affairs when any American works a full week and still could live in poverty.

3:09 AM  
Blogger skribe said...

I'm sure it will comfort those that have lost their jobs because their employer was sent to the wall.

But those us that live in the real world, and have actually run small businesses, will know that MOST small business run in the red for the first few years. That's why so many fail in the first five years. And those that don't, most of them will fail in the second five years.

An increase in the minimum wage isn't just going to affect the megacorps, it affects Mums and Dads, who in many cases have gambled everything they own on getting their business off the ground and profitable. Exactly the sort of people that have expenses just to show up to work, such as food, water, clothes, shoes, tranpostation, etc, and perhaps even make a little profit so they can invest in themselves with education or training or feed their kids or pay the rent. And I know lots of small business owners that would just love to be guaranteed to take home the minimum wage every week like their employees do.

4:34 AM  
Blogger Cavalor Epthith said...

Can we agree on a few things?

There are over six million minimnum wage workers in the USA who would get roughly a two dollar per hour raise over three year. That comes to about 4,000 USD a year or 3,000 USD in pocker after all taxes. In a tax year that come to nearly 20 billion US. The same tax cut for the 50,000 wealthiest in America comes to just under 3 billion USD.

I always hear that taxes are cut for the fiscally wealthy so that more jobs can be created. Sort of the trickle down that comes with the wealthy having more money. I think this is fallacious because organizations on paper, businesses, create jobs based upon market fluctuations not whether the Senior VP has more cash in his pocket. We know even in that case he is not going to hire the most expensive persoanl help for his home he is going to hire the most competent people for the lowest cost.

The goal of the American corporate elite, and those who serve them, the middle class is to maintain a lifestyle through consumerism, debt, and class distancing via choice of domicile and this is a disturbing trend. In years past the goal was product or service oriented that lead to a healthy bottom line and traditional norms dictated whom your neighbors were and amongst the middle class their was virtually no debt.

Even in families with two robust incomes the drive to maintain a bloated lifestyle that hinges upon wasteful consumerism in the name of "happiness" the debt is mounting in all classes save for the corporate and ruling elite who have positioned themselves above the laws and out of the reach of economic collapse with cash shelters abroad.

This goes across all party lines indeed the realm of parties political end with people like you and our esteemed host here who SERVE the elite no matter how soft their pillow. By that distinction all of you should be more interested in why groups mobilize to give 268 billion USD to wealthy families who will do nothing more than protect that cash and gamble it on the NYSE and NASDAQ and why they do not wish to give 198 billion USD to workers that will pump that money back into the consumer economy.

Here is wisdom: A robust consumer economy only benefits the working man and the middle class through low inflation.

5:40 AM  
Blogger eLarson said...

Let's raise it to $100,000 per year. Why settle for anything less?

6:17 AM  
Blogger skribe said...


You this. You that. Who are you talking to here, son? I at least had the decency to use your initials when addressing you, I'd appreciate a similar courtesy if you're planning to impugn my politics, otherwise I doubt there's very much we can agree on.

7:02 AM  
Blogger wrabkin said...

I agree with people who argue that small businesses are crucial to job creation. So from now on, business owners should only have to pay 1977 prices for electricity. How dare anyone suggest that they be forced to pay higher rates, simply because inflation has raised these prices over and over again. Also, small restaurants should only have to pay their suppliers 1977 prices for all the food they purchase. How can we possibly expect them to survive paying 2006 prices? Rents, too, should be rolled back to 1976 levels. The idea that they should have to pay current rents just proves a hatred of business.

Wait, you don't like that idea? You only think they should pay 1977 prices for labor?

Why is that, exactly?

7:32 AM  
Blogger JillMartin said...

Conservatism is dead. It refuses to address the problems of the day and/or actually creates them. More and more people are living in poverty and can not afford basic health care.

Here is another example:

Today in Energy and Environment , House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) said that if he remains in power after the November elections, there will be no action on global warming for the entire 110th Congress.

7:45 AM  
Blogger dodger said...

Why wait till folks die before we confiscate their wealth? Require that everyone file a net worth statement, say every five years, and fork over their "fare share."

The minimum wage is really a tax on employers. Once again, taxes should only be levied to raise revenue, not for social engineering.

8:50 AM  
Blogger dodger said...

The minimum wage was first challenged in 1938 as unconstitional interference with contract. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of an employer, saying a minimum wage was unconstitutional.

A few years later, an employee, deprived of a job because the employer said he couldn't pay that much, sued, citing the above decision.

The Supreme Court reversed and declared minimum wage laws constitutional.

The same judge was the swing vote in bothe cases.

I find it interesting that both employers and employees opposed minimum wage laws.

9:00 AM  
Blogger COPioneer said...

we're DOOMED.

9:16 AM  
Blogger eLarson said...

More and more people are living in poverty and can not afford basic health care.


12:05 PM  
Blogger skribe said...

1977? Hey, let's put Jimmy back in charge. That'd solve everything.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

"Conservatism is dead." That's funny. Jill's a funny girl.

11:10 PM  
Blogger eLarson said...

1977 prices
Is that adjusted for inflation?

10:42 AM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Ditto said, "The small businesses that can't pay a decent wage should go out of business" And what do you think will happen to those workers? They will ALL easily find work at a much higher wage than what they were paid before.
Any Business that STILL pays minimum wage, will go out of business, because most everyone pays a higher rate. Let the free market work, and it corrects itself.

6:43 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Cavalor Epthith said,
"Raising the miniumum wage only takes money out of the pockets of corporations." Not So! Don't you think that those corporations will Pass that cost onto their customers? Right?

10:59 PM  
Blogger Cavalor Epthith said...

American consumers will pay anything for somethring they want to possess. Petrol is a classic example. After Katrina, Americans still lined up in Atlanta for gasoline that was raised to an outrageous $6 because of the stop in operations of the Colonial and Plantation pipelines. One of my reporters in the American South told of fights long lines and a "heightened level of stress" among people in the early days of last September. High credit card debt+runaway housing market+growing energy prices+knowing employers serve shareholders not consumers= worker stress.

Corporations are not people and thus should not be accorded the rights and privileges of the People. This is nothing more than democracy pure and simple and economics as Old Adam Smith would have described. The only reason corporations pass any increases along to consumers IS that profit is their only motivation. Thus the globally laughed about phrase, especially in banking circles on the Continent, "American capitalism is different from everywhere else in the world in that the American business man will sell you the rope to hang him with if their is enough profit involved and soon after there will be another to fill the void hungry for a larger return."
This mentality is where people like Skilling and lay come from but it is also where the hubris and arrogance of people who are "a little less wealthy" than the ruling elite or the corporatre elite whom they serve.


6:25 AM  
Blogger Cliff said...

If Gas is a precious commodity, then why do the Democrats tax it, and so heavily?

5:57 PM  
Blogger Cavalor Epthith said...


Now that is a very good question even though it mere;y a stab in the dark at the opposition. Here are some facts. The federal petrol duty in the US is 18.4 cents /gal. With petrol hovering around 3 dollars/gal on average that is 6.1% of the cost of the price at the pump. The states, severally, also place duties on petrol, this averages about 22 cents/gal bringing the tax cost of a gallon to 40.4 cents. 20 of the 50 state legislatures are in the hands of the GOP by the way, 19 held by democratic majorities and the remainder are split. So one cannot reasonably "blame" either political party for an undue burden of taxation. Rather let us look at the breakdown of the cost of petrol by the gallon.

Roughly $1.62 covers the cost of crude oil. The cost of refining is 61.5 cents and transportation 5.5 cents.

That leaves 31 cents or so, profit for oil companies, per gallon. or a bit more than 10%.

Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service put the facts in a nutshell, "Taxes used to represent as much as 40 to 50 percent of the price you paid at the pump . . . Nowadays, it's a much lower figure than that because they haven't changed in 12 years."

It does seem easy that when a group has a majority that telling the people anything would allow for those leaders to get away with anything. Do not spin facts with us! Opinions are meant to be ridiculed and we have thick skins but when politicians try to spin facts they become lairs and insultors of the integrity of the Electorate.

So unless all those corporate execs at Exxon Mobil, Chevron and BP are democrats in disguise youe question has not a whit of merit in fact. This type of baseless dodging of issues is exactly why your nation is in the political state that it is in today.


8:55 AM  

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