Friday, July 28, 2006

Buying votes

Republicans are looking to raise the minimum wage before a five-week vacation, even to the absurd $7.25 per hour that Democrats are pushing.
The chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee said the GOP would embrace the increase to $7.25 per hour and probably attach a proposal passed last year that would make it easier for small business to band together and buy health insurance plans for employees at a lower cost. Rep. Howard McKeon, R-Calif., said the minimum wage bill probably will not include tax cuts such as a repeal of the estate tax.

It was not clear what other potential add-ons might soothe unhappy lawmakers and GOP opponents of a wage increase such as the small business lobby.
Like raising the minimum wage, a law to "make it easier for small business to band together and buy health insurance plans for employees at a lower cost" sounds good, but it's utter bullshit. Health insurers, as part of competing with each other, would already offer discount packages if it were possible. All the Republicans' bad idea would do is give discounts to small businesses at everybody else's expense: because insurers would be forced by law to give the discounts, they'd have to hike premiums for everyone else.

Republicans have to raise the minimum wage, but not because it's constitutional, not because it's economically sound, and not because it's the moral thing to do (if anything it is immoral). It's the politically expedient thing to do in this very tough election year: the Tradesports contract for a GOP Senate after the 2006 elections may still be 76.0 bid/77.0 ask, but the contract for a GOP House has fallen to 45.5 bid/46.0 ask. As Professor Bainbridge noted, a recent poll shows 48% of Americans want the Democrats to win back Congress, as opposed to 38% who favor Republicans.

There are a lot of mixed signals. The Democrats can't be consistent on the issues, and there's a lot of infighting that will only drain their campaign coffers. However, there's too much of a risk that Republicans could be defeating themselves, hence Republicans' move on the minimum wage. For the same reason, President Bush finally addressed the NAACP last week. Conservatives like Michelle Malkin and our friend Karol were more than upset, but Bush is a politician, so his loyalties are first and foremost to his party, and his speech was nothing more than stumping for his party. Bush may have gained among blacks in 2004 (both in absolute numbers and a percentage), but Republicans can't count on riding his coattails there. There's a real possibility they'll lose votes elsewhere, so it's critical they don't lose any of the black vote. Perhaps they'll even pick up a few from President Bush's "goodwill" visit, where he naturally denounced racism.

Both parties ignore the Constitution, so as part of buying the people's votes, they feel free to offer this program and that entitlement to every strata of society. In the end, though a particular socioeconomic group might think it benefits from its own special giveaways, it gets screwed as much as the rest of us.

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Blogger TKC said...

Bush may be stumping for the party when he goes to talk to the NAACP and I have no problem with that.

When Bush and the GOP take up the cause of bad Democrat economic policies is where they get into trouble with me.

I'm not a Republican and I never have been. At this rate I never will be. I certainly don't intend to vote for them this time around. I fully intend to stay home on election day. I am tired of going to cast my vote for the barely lesser of two evils.

Friday, July 28, 2006 3:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Brad Warbiany said...

I could be completely wrong, but I thought small businesses were legally barred from banding together to obtain health care as a group. I always figured it was just something the health insurance industry lobbied for.

As I said, I could be completely wrong on that, but that's the way I remember it...

Friday, July 28, 2006 5:11:00 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

When you think it can't get any worse, it does.

I wonder when this country is going to wake up and realize that wow, we really f**ked up.

Friday, July 28, 2006 5:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Matthew Roop said...

I can't believe Republican lawmakers are that stupid. I have been a Republican all my life, and I am proud to be one. But in the Alabama primaries, every conservative lost and every moderate won. Why should we now be suprised when the lawmakers do stupid (read: liberal) things.

ps, so much for the party of businesses.

Monday, July 31, 2006 9:37:00 AM  

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