(UnitedVoice.com) – As Democrats move to pass a fully partisan, $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, there’s a civil war brewing in the ranks. Some on the far left are adamant that a $15 per hour federal minimum wage must be in the bill. If not, they could pull their backing from the legislation and put its passage on Friday, February 26, in danger.
Republicans have united against the bill because of progressive policies and pork packed into the relief legislation. That’s forcing Democrats to go-it-alone and stuff the legislation with as many Left-wing policies as they can get through. To pass the partisan legislation in the evenly divided Senate, Democrats must use a budget gimmick called “reconciliation.” Only issues that impact the federal budget can be included in a budget proposal. Therefore, they can’t add most of their progressive proposals because they are subject to the 60 vote threshold.
So, is the minimum wage a budget scheme to increase revenue to the Treasury Department, or is it really about helping people?
The Left Is Threatening to Back Out of the Deal
On Wednesday, February 24, Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough heard arguments from both sides of the aisle on whether raising the minimum was permissible under a Senate reconciliation rule known as the Byrd rule. Regardless, it was already stripped once by moderate Democrats Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Neither support using reconciliation to raise the minimum wage. House Democrats reinserted the minimum wage provision after the Senate sent the legislation back to the House for their input.
Democratic socialist firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted that if Senate Democrats willingly cut the minimum wage increase again, she would withdraw her support. She wasn’t alone, as nearly a dozen others agreed with her.
Why Is the Minimum Wage Necessary for Democrats?
For years, Democrats and far-Left politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) claimed that working people aren’t making enough money to survive on minimum wage. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017, 2.3% of the US working population made the minimum wage, and those under 25 years of age represented half of them. However, as larger companies initiated a $15 minimum starting wage in 2019, wages across the lower income levels rose steadily before the pandemic as there were more jobs available than people to fill them.
For Years, the Narrative Was About Improving People’s Lives
However, is that really what this is about? Consider, America’s national debt is over $30 trillion and growing rapidly. President Biden is proposing another $4 trillion package for infrastructure and other liberal wishlist desires later this spring. Where will they get the money to pay for their relief bills or other upcoming big-ticket liberal spending sprees?
When people make more money, they pay more in taxes. It’s not unrealistic to think this is one big Ponzi scheme. Instead of pursuing a highly unpopular tax increase on everyday Americans, Democrats can artificially raise millions of people’s salaries. In effect, it becomes a tax increase by raising incomes without raising taxes.
From their point-of-view, it’s a win-win.
But is it? The minimum wage has a dark side that may not be worth the increase.
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
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