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Minimum wage increase passes House Sen. Reid decries move as… 
29th-Jul-2006 08:21 am
Minimum wage increase passes House
Sen. Reid decries move as attempt to 'blackmail' working class

Sen. Reid decries move as attempt to 'blackmail' working class

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republicans muscled the first minimum wage increase in a decade through the House of Representatives early Saturday after pairing it with a cut in inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates.

Combining the two issues provoked protests from Democrats and was sure to cause problems in the Senate, where the minimum wage initiative was likely to die at the hands of Democrats opposed to the costly estate tax cuts.

The Senate is expected to take up the legislation next week.

Still, Republican leaders saw combining the wage and tax issues as their best chance for getting permanent cuts to the estate tax, a top Republican priority fueled by intense lobbying by farmers, small business owners and super-wealthy families such as the Waltons, heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune.

"This is the best shot we've got; we're going to take it," said House Majority Leader John Boehner, a Republican. The unusual packaging also soothed conservatives angry about raising the minimum wage over opposition by Republican business allies.

The House passed the bill 230-180 before leaving for a five-week recess.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid vowed Democrats would kill the hybrid bill, along with its 10-year, $300 billion-plus cost.

"The Senate has rejected fiscally irresponsible estate tax giveaways before and will reject them again," Reid said. "Blackmailing working families will not change that outcome."

Republicans countered that Democrats opposed the bill to keep the issue alive for the November elections.

But Republicans also reveled in putting moderate Democrats in the uncomfortable position of voting against both the minimum wage increase and the estate tax cut -- and an accompanying bipartisan package of popular tax breaks, including a research and development credit for businesses and deductions for college tuition and state sales taxes.

The Republican package would increase the wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour, phased in over the next three years.

Under current law, the estate tax is phased out completely by 2010, but jumps back to 55 percent on estates larger than $1 million in 2011.

The bill passed Saturday would exempt $5 million of an individual's estate, and $10 million of a couple's, from estate taxes by 2015. Estates worth up to $25 million would be taxed at capital gains rates, currently 15 percent and scheduled to rise to 20 percent. Tax rates on the remainder of larger estates would fall to 30 percent by 2015.

The maneuver was aimed at defusing the minimum wage increase as a campaign issue for Democrats while using the popularity of the increase to achieve the Republican Party's longtime goal of permanently cutting estate taxes.

That left Democrats fuming.

"Just think of what it is to have a bill that says to minimum wage workers, 'We'll raise your minimum wage but only if we can give an estate tax cut to the 7,500 wealthiest families in America,"' said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.

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29th-Jul-2006 02:03 pm (UTC)
*Tries to remain calm*

I'll never understand why we have multiple issue bills in this country. Certain things might take longer that way, but the way things are now just has "abuse me" written all over it.

But then, I'm kinda fed up with the whole idea of the "representative republic" at this point. I sure as hell am not being represented. (<-- That sentence sounds really awkward.) When 12.7% of congress live below the poverty line, when 33% of congress are people of color, when 10% or 8% or whatever the current number on LGBT folk is are in congress, then I might be more inclined to believe my interests are being represented.
29th-Jul-2006 02:11 pm (UTC)
HELLO!! I love you for this!
29th-Jul-2006 02:15 pm (UTC)
What can I say? I'm an angry trans-girl who grew up below the poverty line. Sociaism already sounded like a good thing, democratic communism is starting to sound even more appealing.

(I hope I didn't inadvertently flag your journal for the NSA with that remark.)
29th-Jul-2006 02:26 pm (UTC)
The weathly just don't want to be left out on earinng more money. Since they don't have that minimum wage to be raised, they've got to increase fundage somewhere. *rolls eyes*
29th-Jul-2006 03:56 pm (UTC) - I'm torn
Now, I hate the wealthy with a totally unreasonable hatred. I grew up below the poverty level which continued well into my late 20's. We can no longer live on my husbands salary because our monthly 'auto expenses' (i.e. GAS) has gone up $300 per month since January of this year. (Not even taking into account the higher household expenses that have appeared since the gas increase.) We don't get our hair cut, we don't buy new clothes, we don't buy expensive grown-up toys and we don't own a credit card. Our only vice is dinning out. Yet I have to take a job for $9.10 an hour just to keep our household together.

But even I think 55% is too high. I can agree with 15% as reasonable, but over half? Even I don't think those fuckers deserve that kind of highway robbery. One thing I have learned (aside from the rich telling their kids that poor people are too stupid to be rich, yet they can not figure out a simple magnetic lock on a door.) when you fuck the rich, they fuck the poor 10x's as much as they were fucked.

There are at least 3 houses that I know of in a one block radius of my house that have eviction notices in the window. Give the dickheads their lower estate tax. The serfs and peasants of this nation can not afford the wrath of the rich any longer. And no one is standing up for us anymore.
29th-Jul-2006 04:07 pm (UTC)
I love the justification that they're cutting taxes on big incomes in ordre to help fund the wage increase. What a crock! Is there a provision that states the tax money saved HAS to all go toward employees? Is there a provision that states employers cannot fire a few employees in order to fund the minimum-wage increases (thereby spending the same amount of wage money but making fewer employees work harder for it)?


I'm all for tax cuts for big businesses as long as (a) they are located in the United States and employ legal citizens and worker of the United States, AND (b) every bit of the money saved from the IRS goes into creating more jobs and providing employee benefits.
29th-Jul-2006 07:46 pm (UTC) - heh
The people in #politics were discussing this last night.
VERY right wing channel on IRC, for those that aren't familiar with it.

When someone said words to the effect, "Who cares about min. wage, how many here actually even earn that?" I replied: "Prolly not a single person. But you know, people that are getting slave wages can't afford to sit around on their asses, rebuilding the world on IRC. So your point is fucking meaningless."

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