3.07.2005

Why Does Rick Santorum Hate American Workers?

Rick Santorum's phony wage hike
Salon.com (03.07) Day Pass Required
Lots of folks talking about Sen. Rick Santorum's (R. Pa) clear hate for the Great American Worker and his desire to return us the sweatshops of old, but none nails it like the War Room on Salon.com...

Under Kennedy's proposal, the federal minimum wage would go up in three bumps over 26 months, ultimately hitting $7.25 an hour.

Perhaps because the Florida vote makes them nervous about appearing to be against an increase in the minimum wage, Republicans have a proposal of their own. Under a plan proposed by Rick Santorum, the minimum wage would go up in two bumps over 18 months, ultimately reaching $6.25 an hour. That's a dollar an hour less than the Kennedy plan -- we're quick with math here -- but that's not the worst of it. Santorum's plan would also exempt from the minimum wage, and a whole host of other federal labor laws, any employer with revenues under $1 million; allow some employers to offset minimum wage salaries with tips workers receive; and rob many workers of overtime pay by instituting federal "flex-time" rules. Thus, workers would receive a smaller increase under Santorum's plan, fewer of them would be protected by the federal minimum wage laws at all, and whatever gains some workers made through a minimum wage increase would be lost to offsets from tips or cutbacks in their overtime pay.
Is that clear enough for everyone? Not only will folks earning the minimum wage NOT get a real increase, but just about everyone else will get, how shall we put this? FUCKED. 40 hour work week? GONE. Wages for folks who get tipped? GONE. Minimum wage laws? GONE.

So what is this bill? Beyond being "a trojan horse for assaulting workers rights", Salon points out the following:

But not to worry. The whole exercise is pretty much for naught. Santorum's proposal is plainly meant to give Republicans cover for defeating Kennedy's, and neither proposal has a chance of getting through the House of Representatives, where Tom DeLay has already announced that minimum-wage legislation will be dead on arrival. For the foreseeable future, the minimum wage will stay at $5.15 an hour -- just enough to leave a family of three about $5,000 a year below the poverty line.
Gee, no wonder that "santorum" also has another meaning.

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