It’s not a racist dog whistle. It’s just racist.
The national effort to raise the minimum wage (which hasn’t been done since July 24, 2009) is a winning issue for Democrats. Because of this,
conservatives Republicans corporatists are freaking out.
It’s got them so freaked out that economist Art Laffer, the father of “trickle down economics”, skipped past using coded, dog whistle racist rhetoric and went straight to pure, unadulterated racist rhetoric. Here he is on Fox News in a segment from January:
[T]he minimum wage makes no sense whatsoever to me. I mean, honestly, it’s just the teenage — black teenage unemployment act and this is the very group that we need to have jobs not be put out of work because of the minimum wage.
It’s no surprise that the
Republican conservative corporatists are in panic mode. They know damn well that this is an issue they simply cannot win on. Here’s President Obama from his speech in Ann Arbor yesterday:
[Y]ou would think this would be a no-brainer. Politically, you’d think that folks would be rushing to do this. Nearly three in four Americans support raising the minimum wage — nearly three in four. Here’s the problem. Republicans in Congress — not Republicans out in America, because some of them get paid the minimum wage, so they want to see it raised — Republicans in Congress don’t want to vote to raise it at all. In fact, some want to just scrap the minimum wage. One House Republican said, “It’s outlived its usefulness.”
Nearly three in four Americans support raising the minimum wage. It’s no wonder. Here’s what the minimum wage looks like, based on 2013 dollars, since it was created in 1938 (via RaiseTheMinimumWage.com):
If it had kept up with inflation, the minimum wage today would be $10.74. Republicans know this. Thus the freakout.
Here in Michigan, there is an aggressive effort to put raising the minimum wage on the November ballot. The group coordinating the effort is called “Raise Michigan”. Raise Michigan is currently collecting petition signatures and they need your help. Please visit their website and sign up to help. They are being supported in their efforts by labor groups, progressive activists, and a wide array of others.
This IS a winning issue for Democrats. Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Gary Peters supports it. Democratic candidate for Governor Mark Schauer supports it. Nearly three in four Americans support it. This is the sort of issue that can cut through the millions of dollars of corporatist spending against our candidates and reach people who understand that raising the minimum wage won’t hurt corporate America, will give American workers a raise, and boost our economy.
Once more from President Obama yesterday:
[Zingerman's owner Paul Saginaw's] point is simple: Fair wages and higher profits are not mutually exclusive; they can go hand-in-hand. That’s what Henry Ford understood. And Paul opened Zingerman’s doors 32 years ago last month so he knows a little bit about business. But he and business owners like him believe higher wages are good for the bottom line.
This ballot referendum will bring Democrats to the polls in this midterm election, something we’re not very good at. Do whatever you can to help.