I see that last night, long after this weary blogger hit the sack, the Senate shot down the minimum wage/estate tax legislation.
Here’s the vote tally. Four Democrat Senators voted for it (Robert Byrd, Blanche Lincoln, Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson) and both of North Dakota’s Senators voted against it.
On the Republican side, only Lincoln Chafee, Bill Frist and George Voinovich voted against the bill.
This from the article caught my eye:
GOP leaders fell three votes short of the 60 needed to cut off debate and bring the package to the Senate floor, where it was considered certain to pass on a simple-majority vote. Republicans said Democrats will pay a price in November, contending that most Americans support the bill’s call for an increase in the minimum wage and deep cuts in the estate tax.
Has the GOP really strayed so far from its conservative roots that they are now trying to out-pander the Democrats? Are we conservatives now supposed to follow the Republican lead and pretend as though we’ve been wrong all these years about the minimum wage and it’s detrimental impact on the labor market?
I’ve always believed that raising the minimum wage also raises unemployment. Economics 101 tells us that sharply raising the cost of anything, be it a product or the price of services from an employee, causes demand for that product/service to decline. Am I supposed to pretend that this is no longer the case in order to score a couple of cheap political points against the Democrats?
This was such a dumb move by Republicans. Now these Republicans have put themselves in a position from which they cannot ever oppose minimum wage hikes on the basis of their determintal effects to the economy. Now Republicans must concede that minimum wage hikes are a good thing lest they be called hippocrites or flip-floppers.
This was a terrible move, both policy wise and politically. Maybe the GOP has scored some points against the Dems in the short term (I’m not even convinced of that), but in the long run this is going to hurt.