Just after the Wisconsin Assembly shut down for the spring, 30 Democrats put forward a bill to raise Wisconsin’s minimum wage to $15 per hour. The current minimum wage is set to the federal minimum wage of $7.25. A minimum that hasn’t changed since 2009 despite the fact obvious to all of us…things cost more in 2020 than 2009.
And let’s note that the bill does not currently have any Republican sponsors.
And what is the response from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R – Never Neverland)?
“It’s bizarre,” Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said of the decision to introduce the bill into an adjourned Legislature. “I assume it’s all about politics.”
In a phone interview with The Journal Times, Vos said, “This just shows how radical Bernie Sanders has made the Democratic Party … It’s all about the politics and showcasing how far left they can be.”
Quick note: the movement to increase the minimum wage has been a Democratic goal for quite some time and has been independent of the Sanders campaign.
Speaker Vos apparently is taking his position cues from the resident of the Oval Office and just spewing out whatever scenario he wants to think is in play. But when push comes to shove, Speaker Vos is the one actually playing politics with your ability to make a living. There are plenty of supporting data in favor of implementing an increase to our minimum wage. And here’s just a bit of it:
According to calculations from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the living wage (i.e. the amount of hourly income needed to afford all basic needs like food, housing and medical care) in Wisconsin is $11.40 per hour for a single adult with no children. For a two-parent household with one child and one parent working, the living wage is $22.76 per hour in Wisconsin.
Of course the Republican talking point is always…raising the minimum wage will have detrimental effects on small business. And yes, they admittedly will feel some short term pain…but they will be working in an improved more liquid economy and will soon see improvements in their revenue stream when their employees and their peers will be better able to afford their goods and services.
And it’s not like the increase will explode full bloom on day one…the bill carefully implements the increase in steps.
A new proposal would incrementally raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour for all Wisconsin employees over the course of five years.
That seems to more that reasonable and will allow all businesses, big and small, to plan and accommodate the changes. Lost jobs? In the Trump economy? IMPOSSIBLE! (ok that last bit was pure snark)
But let’s scroll back to Speaker Vos’ quote for a moment:
… the decision to introduce the bill into an adjourned Legislature. “I assume it’s all about politics.”
Speaker Vos! We pay you an annual salary PLUS a per diem when in session. We expect you to work 24/7/365. If that’s not how you want to work, we could probably save a lot of money if we just paid you when you were in session. Is there room for a time clock in the Assembly and Senate chambers?
And speaking of per diems…maybe we can skip the minimum wage increase and just enact a law requiring per diems for hourly employees. That’s sort of back door but you are used to that when don’t raise taxes but raise fees instead to maintain your purity. (snark part deux)