Bob Higgins

Is WaPo “Sleeping Over” On K Street? Hotlist

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on August 3, 2006

In a “News” story in The Washington Post this morning “An Estate Tax Twist Reverses Party Roles On Minimum Wage” Staff Writer Jeffrey Birnbaum leads with one of the most disingenuous paragraphs I have read in a major newspaper in awhile:

For years, organized labor has worked hard to raise the minimum wage, while business groups have campaigned to block such a change. This week in the Senate, however, the AFL-CIO is pushing to kill the wage increase while practically the entire business lobby is demanding that it pass.

Perhaps the word disingenuous isn’t strong enough, in fact my departed Quaker Grandmother would have said, “why that Jeffrey is full of beans.” My equally departed Grandfather would have agreed with her, but not being cut from quite the same Quaker mold as Grandma, he would have differed with her somewhat on the nature of Mr. Birnbaum’s stuffing.

Either way the statement is simply untrue and Birnbaum and his employer are, or should be fully aware of the fact.

Either they are trying to follow John Stewart into the “Faux News” genre and making the attempt without benefit of Stewart’s wonderful sense of humor and unique talent for satire or they are in Grandma’s phrase “full of beans.”

The Democrats and the AFL-CIO are not fighting against an increase in the minimum wage at all and the Republicans are not fighting for it, any more than they are fighting for anything else that doesn’t directly benefit the top several percent of those they represent.

Oh the hell with it Grandma, I’m not a Quaker at all, I think the Post and Birnbaum are twisting the truth and this story is just a another sad lie.

The most cursory examination of the AFL-CIO website would have been enough to convince anyone of the organization’s solid and long held stand in favor of minimum wage increases in general, and their belief in the current crying need for this particular long delayed raise for entry level workers.

The AFL-CIO has been running a series of articles this summer under the banner “America Needs A Raise.” They have repeatedly called for the passage of an increase in wages in this session of congress and have repeatedly pointed out this bill as the legislative fraud that it is.

I have excerpted or linked to a couple of them here and here on my website. I have read several others and ….

(As I was writing the last sentence, my email alarm lit up with the news of yet another of the AFL-CIO’s articles by the aforementioned Mike Hall. It seems that the Senate may have a cloture vote vote this evening on a motion to proceed on this issue. The AFL-CIO is calling for a vote against the bill but for the wage. Read it here.)

The fact is that the bill that was passed last week by 230 cynical, and “on the take” members of the House was a disgusting and deceitful fraud which increases the minimum wage with one hand and steals it back with the other by offering another 750 billion dollars in tax cuts and other quasi legal boondoggles to the already bloated millionaires among us. Read Mike Hall’s article of August 1 on this on the AFL-CIO blog.

While you’re there do a search of the site for “minimum wage” and after reading what you find reread Jeffery’s lead paragraph and tell me that he is not living in the same parallel reality as the majority of the modern Republican party.

There has been no “Role Reversal.” Republican’s are simply trying to steal a march by passing a fraudulent wage bill before the election and make it more palatable to their multi- millionaire masters in business by allowing them to expropriate another trillion dollars or so in federal revenue over the next decade, while partially making up for the loss by stealing from the tip jar of the person who served your lunch today.

(For two related articles concerning workers and tips go here and here.)

As Lyndon Johnson used to say, They’re pissin’ in my boots and tellin’ me it’s raining.”

The Democrats on the other hand want a stand alone wage bill, unburdened by giveaways to the wealthy or any of the other economy weakening sleights of hand, shell games and poison pills included in the shameful bill passed last week by 230 graft sucking thieves and liars in the House of Corporate Representatives.

There is a quotation toward the end of the article worth noting:

“Every closely held business in America today is either affected by the death tax or could be affected by it,” one top business lobbyist said. “At the same time, less than 3 percent of the country’s workers get paid at the minimum wage.” In addition, the lobbyist said, “people in the business community understand that it is valuable to Republicans standing for election in November to demonstrate that they have compassion for folks at the lowest end of the economic ladder.”

Where this K Street Fat Cat Corporate Shill gets his 3 percent figure I don’t know, I suspect that the real number is easily two to three times that high, but no matter. If the number is only 3 percent that’s 5 million people, people, many with families, including children, honestworking people, working for far less per year than that fat cat lobbyist quoted above or the venal, corrupt congress person he sleeps with makes in one month.

The Senate is now called upon to show that it has the simple political courage to stop this legislative flimflamery and kick this stinking cow pie out of the yard, which will leave the way open after recess, for the introduction of real legislation that if written with the intent to improve the lot of the least compensated among us will benefit millions of hard working honest Americans, and bring economic and social benefits to the rest of us.

Nothing else is acceptable. As Birnbaum correctly points out our Legislative Houses of Happy Hookers have denied an increase for nine long years. During this time inflation, the ever increasing greed of Corporate America and the economy wrecking foreign and domestic misadventures and follies of the Republican majority have eaten away at the already pathetically meager buying power of the miserly wages that millions of our working poor suffer under.

It is worth mentioning that during this time the same congressional swine have every year increased their own pay through “automatic cost of living increases” to the tune of thirty five thousand dollars above what they made nine years ago, or more than three times the current annual income at the minimum wage.

They have pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps or Gucci Loafer Tassels to a quite comfortable figure of more than $165,000 annually. They “earn” as “public servants” about three thousand dollars more in one month than the minimum wage earner sweats for in a year.

These figures are approximate and do not include their lavish and often padded expense accounts, the best health care and pension plan the public’s money can buy, the dozens of other congressional perks, and all that they are able to steal with the help of their well heeled corporate constituents and the lobbyists whose laps they dance on.

Jeffery Birnbaum and the Post are as cognizant as I am of the fact that the political poles have not reversed themselves on this issue or any other issue. They are also well aware of the role that corporate money plays in congressional politics and I’m afraid they have become too enamored of it.

Further, I believe they need to carefully examine their motives and standards, if they continue to print such transparently biased and twisted nonsense, I will have to wonder if they are waking up with their hair tousled and legs all tangled amid the filthy and fetid bed linens of the same K Street Money Masters where so many of our “public servants.” find themselves on most mornings.

Bob Higgins

Worldwide Sawdust


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