Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Minimum Wage is a Republican Ideal?

I think not! Once again, the Republican-controlled ND legislature has shown their true arrogant plagiaristic selfs and held a photo-op touting their "Republican" bill to raise the minimum wage. Funny, they've killed the bill the last 10 times the Democrats have brought it to the table. The real credit should go to Sen. Tim Mathern (D-Fargo) and Rep. Jasper Schneider (D-Fargo).

The Forum has more to say on the issue:

Forum Editorial: Democrats initiated wage bill
The Forum
Published Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Monday’s celebratory photo op for signing a minimum wage bill was among the more bizarre political sideshows to come out of the North Dakota legislative session. Conducted by a Republican governor and Republican lawmakers, the lead participants pretty much soft-pedaled the fact that the original minimum wage bill was a Democrat initiative. Indeed, all the majority Republicans did was amend the bill to say it would not take effect until the federal minimum wage is raised, which Congress is expected to do this year.
The efficacy of government setting wages in a diverse jobs marketplace aside (we think it’s a bad idea for North Dakota), the failure of Republicans to properly acknowledge the primary role of Democratic lawmakers in the wage bill was petty. Oh, a brief mention was made of the Democrats, but it seemed almost an afterthought. And a couple of Democratic legislators and a labor union leader were on hand, but their marginal participation came off as so much window dressing.

The original bill was written by Sen. Tim Mathern, D-Fargo, and Rep. Jasper Schneider, D-Fargo. It was given little chance of passing because the Republican majority historically has been against raising the state’s minimum wage. But Congress changed hands after the November election and the new Democratic majority said it would advance a federal minimum wage hike. President Bush went along and said he would sign a wage bill. Apparently when the Republican president said he would support a higher minimum wage, Republicans in the North Dakota Legislature began to dance to his tune.

If a minimum wage hike was anathema to Republican legislators in the past, why would they think it’s a good idea now – even if the president apparently thinks so? Why did they appropriate what clearly was – and has always been – a Democratic initiative? Free-market, conservative Republicans have no business lining up behind a wage philosophy that contradicts everything they say they believe.

And since the minimum wage hike was a Democratic bill from the start (changed minimally to reflect pending federal legislation), why snub Sen. Mathern and Rep. Schneider? That’s rude and a tad dishonest.

Sometimes politics – even in civil North Dakota – just stinks.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.


Tim Mathern said...

I asked a number of Republican legislators to cosponsor the minimum wage bill with me. Each declined and I introduced it anyway as I believe workers on the bottom end of the wage scale need an increase. After the Republicans saw the train going down the track they decided to jump in front to lead it! Of course they killed my bill in the process. I wonder how they are explaining it to the business groups that were against the bill! Senator Tim Mathern

GraemeAnfinson said...

If my understanding is correct, the bill only raises the minimum wage when the feds do. Don't they have to do that anyway? What a waste of time.

Greg said...

You are right, which makes this even more outrageous.