Minimum Rage

« August 2006 »


I am tired of how much of an effort this has become, to be perfectly honest with you. There was a time when politicians feared shame. They've never HAD shame, but once upon a time, they feared it. They feared being attached to the perception of shame. They avoided shameful actions because the court of public opinion still held sway.

This is, obviously, no longer the case. And it's a measure of how much this is no longer the case that even I accepted the "minimum wage hike" passed last week by House Republicans as just another day in filthy, stupid Washington where the filthy, stupid people do filthy, stupid things in our collective filthy, stupid name.

What they did was pass a bill to raise the minimum wage by $2.10 over the next two years - a move they've opposed since the last time it was raised... nine years ago. The two bucks an hour the House graciously extended to the poorest of the working poor restores, essentially, about a third of the buying power minimum wage earners have lost over the years, because the minimum wage has fallen WAY behind the cost of living.

So it's a paltry plan at best, but at least it's something, right? At least moderate Republicans are realizing that the robber-baron gap between rich and poor could bite them on the ass come November, and are doing something about it. Right? Wrong.

Because it's not just a bill that raises the minimum wage. It's tied to a huge, permanent cut in the estate tax. The fucking estate tax again. The one that only multimillionaires pay. The one that they pretend hurts farms and small businesses because they are lying necrophiliacs desperate to please their soon-to-be-dead sugar daddies.

It is, in the annals of blatantly shameless political ploys, obscene to a degree that would make a porn producer blush. I mean, first there's the obvious - giving a tax break to billionaires that will save them more in a year than the minimum wage earners will make in a lifetime. That's your garden-variety new-millennium obscenity, the kind that makes you gag a little when you read it, like a whiff from a globally warmed dumpster.

But then there's the deep analytical obscenity. Let's pretend, for a moment, that Republicans have fought the minimum wage increase for the past nine years did so truly and honestly for the reasons they claimed. That it would hurt small businesses. That it would cost low-paid Americans their shitty jobs when the small businesses can't afford to make the jobs pay slightly less shitty wages. That a minimum wage hike would doom the economy and hurt the very people those liberal elitists say they're trying to help.

If all that's true, then the House Republicans are, seemingly, willing to LET ALL THAT HAPPEN so that 44,000 ancient, super-wealthy assholes can make sure their less-ancient, super-wealthy spawn get every red cent of their fortunes. Fuck people over! Doom the economy! Ruin small business! Every bad thing they said this increase would cause is fine by them if they get their estate tax cut.

Of course, nobody's really upset about that, because, well, even they don't expect us to believe three quarters of the shit they say. Why? Because they no longer fear the appearance of shamelessness? And why is that? Because they don't have to. They can do something shameless, and chuckle with certainty that at worst, it'll only be reported about half the time, and most of that half the time, people aren't listening. Or don't care. Or are so worn out by day after day and year after year of shameless pandering, hypocrisy, and perfidy that it's just another turd in the shitsunami.

Plus, they know it'll get voted down in the Senate and they can go home to their constituents and lie about how hard they tried to help the little man. Preferably at a $1,000 a plate fundraising dinner.

I know it's not easy to get angry, and stay angry, about all this. But we have to, because at the end of the day, the one thing they're counting on is our collective inability to do just that. So once more, with feeling: FUCK THEM AND THE HEIRESSES THEY RODE IN ON.