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My Turn: How much has corporate America paid to block the minimum wage?

Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don’t vote.” ~ William E. Simon – Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury

President Obama recently signed an executive order to require federal contractors to pay employees a minimum hourly wage of $10.10 per hour . . . a $2.85 increase over the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Doesn’t sound like a huge deal to me but conservatives would like to make us believe that any increase in the minimum wage would destroy civilization as we know it.
Ted Cruz, that mercurial Republican United States Senator and avid sound byte generator who supposedly represents the good people of Texas said, “If you raise the minimum wage, the inevitable effect will be, number one, young people will lose their jobs or not be able to get their first jobs.
What is the honorable senator’s source for this bit of economic insight?
He didn’t say.
Interesting . . . perhaps he didn't say because there is no credible evidence whatsoever to indicate than an increase in the minimum wage kills jobs.
We’ve heard from a conservative U.S. Senator but what would a conservative member of the House of Representatives say about the prospect of increasing the minimum wage?
Let’s go to one of the best known conservatives in the House . . . Republican Speaker John Boehner who, in a 1996 interview with one of America’s favorite conservative publications, The Weekly Standard, said, “I’ll commit suicide before I vote on a clean minimum-wage bill.
Wow! What a promise!
The man who is now the third most powerful man in the United States of America once threatened to cause his own death over a vote on the minimum wage!
Makes you wonder why the good folks who live in Ohio’s 8th Congressional District would re-elect a man who would ever make a promise he evidently was unwilling to keep.
For the record, despite his threat to kill himself, back in 2006, John Boehner simply lit up another cigarette, smoked it down to the nub, and promptly voted to increase the minimum wage.
And, as you may have guessed, the honorable John Boehner failed to end his mortal existence.
So much for John Boehner’s trustworthiness!
I mean, what can you say about a man who won’t keep his word?
Perhaps we should look at the issue of increasing the minimum wage from the point of view of an economist, not from the perspective of a self-serving politician who won't even keep a simple promise.
Pulitzer prize-winning economist Paul Krugman has said that President Obama’s proposal to increase the minimum wage is “good economics” because it gives millions of Americans opportunities to improve the quality of life for themselves and their families.
Krugman and other economists agree that an increase in the minimum wage will flow immediately into local economies throughout America, creating more demand for goods and services, thereby strengthening local businesses and creating thousands upon thousands of new jobs.
An increase in the minimum wage, paid for in small part out of hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate profits hoarded by big names like Wal-Mart and McDonald’s and others, will create a corresponding drop in taxpayer supported benefits like food stamps and Medicaid.
I know what you’re thinking . . . Come on, Davy! Are you out of your ever-lovin’ mind? If an increase in the minimum wage was so good for the economy, why would GOP leaders like Ted Cruz and John Boehner be against the increase?
Could it be that politicians like Cruz and Boehner are simply living out a disturbing reality that threatens our democracy?
You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?
I’m talking about the disturbing reality that corporate America, through their lobbyists and hundreds of millions in cash donations to politicians, control the legislative agendas in Washington, D.C. and state houses across the nation.
According to the Huffington Post, Wal-Mart’s political action committee “spent more than $2 million influencing federal elections in three of the last five federal election cycles.
Huffington has also reported that the Walton family, “billionaire heirs to the Walmart fortune who own over half of Walmart common stock and hold three seats on the company’s board, spent more than $1.3 million on federal elections last year, along with hundreds of thousands more at the state and local level.
According to InfluenceExplorer.Com, McDonald’s corporation has donated in excess of $10 million to Political Action Committees to protect its corporate interests.
Perhaps people like Cruz and Boehner and scores of their GOP colleagues in the House Senate are holding the minimum wage increase hostage to punish low-wage earners in America because they can’t afford to buy high-rolling, glad-handing lobbyists like multi-billion dollar corporations can!
What do you think?

Comments? Questions? Contact the author at: or Tweet: @DavyZJones

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