FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Democratic Blood Money

by DAVE LINDORFF

 

The Democrats, fresh from selling out the soldiers and marines in Iraq by handing the mad George Bush $120 billion to continue funding his war, are claiming victory.

Oh, they can’t hide the fact that they gave up on the war issue. But they’re quick to brag that they won a big one by cleverly including in the war funding supplemental bill a hike in the minimum wage, bringing the federal rate from the current $5.15/hour to $7.25.

But America’s long-suffering working poor better hold the champagne.

This bold stroke on their behalf by Congressional Democrats won’t happen right away. Although America’s lowest paid workers have been slaving away at $5.15 an hour since last September 1, they won’t get the first part of the new pay increase until the end of this summer, when it will go up a whopping 13 percent to $5.85 per hour (to put that in perspective, that’s $28/week more, less taxes, for someone working a 40-hour week). They’ll have to wait until around this time next year before they get another boost to $6.55 an hour, and they won’t get that full $7.25 an hour that the Democrats are hooting about until 2009.

And remember, we’re talking about blood money here.

This was a raise paid for in the blood of American servicepeople, and the blood of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians, many of them innocent children.

Besides, that whole raise of 40 percent over two years will actually look a whole lot less by the time they get it, thanks to the actions of Bush and the Democratic Congress.

Figure that the Iraq War, which is costing the nation, at this point, over $300 billion a year in cold cash, and probably double that if you factor in the credit on the debt (the whole thing is being paid for on credit), is a major reason the dollar is sinking against major currencies. That means higher prices for most imported goods, which means just about everything that working stiffs have to buy. It also means higher than necessary interest rates, because keeping interest rates high relative to other countries is the only way the U.S. has left to keep the dollar from crashing totally to the level of a third world currency. Those higher interest rates mean higher mortgage costs and higher credit card interest payments to working people. And don’t forget gas prices. The oil companies will tell you that the doubling of gas prices since Bush took office is all a matter of “market forces,” but the truth is it’s mostly been the war and threats to Middle East supplies that have bid up the per-barrel price and allowed the gouging to happen.

So netting it all out, it’s likely that the higher minimum wage the Democrats just bought at the price of giving Bush his war money will simply vanish by the time people get it.

Besides, the federal minimum wage increase is much less of a deal than it might even appear, since many states have already raised the minimum wage for their workers. In California, workers earn at least $7.50/hour, and that goes to $8.00/hour next January. In New York, the minimum wage is $7.15. It’s also $7.15/hour in Alaska, and will be on July 1 in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Illinois workers, currently earning $6.95/hour, will see their minimum go to $7.50 on July 1. Many other states have minimum wages close to or above $7.00/hour already.

Some deal those Democrats made with Bush!

Boy, they really stood tough with a president who was bargaining from a 28 percent approval rating in the polls.

Kind of makes you proud you voted them into control of Congress last November doesn’t it?

Spend it well!

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His n book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s newest book is “The Case for Impeachment“,
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 22, 2017
Mike Whitney
Liberals Beware: Lie Down With Dogs, Get Up With Fleas
John Grant
On Killers and Bullshitters*
Peter Linebaugh
Catherine Despard, Abolitionist
Patrick Cockburn
The Bitter Battle for Mosul
Ted Rall
Sue the Bastards? It’s Harder Than You Think
Yoav Litvin
The Emergence of the Just Jew
Kim Scipes
Strategic Thinking and Organizing Resistance
Norman Pollack
Mar-a-Lago, Ideological Refuge: Berchtesgaden, II
Fred Donner
Nixon and the Chennault Affair: From Vietnam to Watergate
Carl Kandutsch
Podesta vs. Trump
Ike Nahem
To the Memory of Malcolm X: Fifty Years After His Assassination
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Tough Talk Won’t Fix Chicago
Paul Donnelly
Betsy DeVos and the War on Public Education
Ebony Slaughter-Johnson
The End of an Alliance for Police Reform
Richard Lawless
Wall Street Demanded the Nuclear Option and the Congress Delivered
Liaquat Ali Khan
Yes, Real Donald Trump is a Muslim!
Ryan LaMothe
“Fire” and Free Speech
CounterPunch News Service
Bloody Buffalo Billboards
February 21, 2017
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Finance as Warfare: the IMF Lent to Greece Knowing It Could Never Pay Back Debt
CJ Hopkins
Goose-stepping Our Way Toward Pink Revolution
John Wight
Firestarter: the Unwelcome Return of Tony Blair
Roger Harris
Lenin Wins: Pink Tide Surges in Ecuador…For Now
Shepherd Bliss
Japanese American Internment Remembered, as Trump Rounds Up Immigrants
Boris Kagarlitsky
Trump and the Contradictions of Capitalism
Robert Fisk
The Perils of Trump Addiction
Deepak Tripathi
Theresa May: Walking the Kingdom Down a Dark Alley
Sarah Anderson
To Save Main Street, Tax Wall Street
Howard Lisnoff
Those Who Plan and Enjoy Murder
Franklin Lamb
The Life and Death Struggle of the Children of Syria
Binoy Kampmark
A Tale of Two Realities: Trump and Israel
Kim C. Domenico
Body and Soul: Becoming Men & Women in a Post-Gender Age
Mel Gurtov
Trump, Europe, and Chaos
Stephen Cooper
Steinbeck’s Road Map For Resisting Donald Trump
February 20, 2017
Bruce E. Levine
Humiliation Porn: Trump’s Gift to His Faithful…and Now the Blowback
Melvin Goodman
“Wag the Dog,” Revisited
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe?
David Smith-Ferri
Resistance and Resolve in Russia: Memorial HRC
Kenneth Surin
Global India?
Norman Pollack
Fascistization Crashing Down: Driving the Cleaver into Social Welfare
Patrick Cockburn
Trump v. the Media: a Fight to the Death
Susan Babbitt
Shooting Arrows at Heaven: Why is There Debate About Battle Imagery in Health?
Matt Peppe
New York Times Openly Promotes Formal Apartheid Regime By Israel
David Swanson
Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters
Michael Brenner
The Narcissism of Donald Trump
Martin Billheimer
Capital of Pain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail