Home > Democratic Controlled Congress, Political Ranting > Kennedy Tears Republicans a New One over the Minimum Wage

Kennedy Tears Republicans a New One over the Minimum Wage

January 27th, 2007

You have got to see this speech by Ted Kennedy on the floor of the Senate. After Republicans have introduced at least 179 amendments (no typo) to the minimum wage bill over the past five days, Kennedy hit the roof.

Republicans are trying to kill the minimum wage increase now after having prevented it from coming up repeatedly over the past decade. Amendments of all sorts have been attempted, most of them poison pills, adding up to $200 billion dollars in proposals not directly involved with the minimum wage. And there are another 70 amendments the Republicans plan to throw at the bill.

The Republicans’ main stated objection is that the increase in the minimum wage will hurt businesses, especially small businesses. Kennedy shot that down quickly, by pointing out that over the past several years, Congress has passed $240 billion in tax breaks for corporations, and $36 billion in tax breaks for small businesses–and despite a 42% increase in productivity, not a single extra penny has been mandated for the workers.

Then Kennedy got ticked off:

What is the price, we ask the other side? What is the price that you want from these working men and women? What cost? How much more do we have to give to the private sector and to business? How many billion dollars more, are you asking, are you requiring?

When does the greed stop, we ask the other side? That’s the question and that’s the issue. …

Do you have such disdain for hard-working Americans that you want to pile all your amendments on this? Why don’t you just hold your amendments until other pieces of legislation? Why this volume of amendments on just the issue to try and raise the minimum wage? What is it about it that drives you Republicans crazy? What is it? Something. Something! What is the price that the workers have to pay to get an increase? What is it about working men and women that you find so offensive?

The boldface on that last sentence I added, but with Kennedy’s passion, it very well could have been his.

Republicans are being shameless on this one. Begrudging Americans on the lowest rungs even a cost-of-living increase while piling huge mountains of cash on the few who are making record profits already. Kennedy’s question hits to the heart of the matter: Republicans must find the average American pretty damned offensive.

But this is not a surprise. The GOP passed through bills that supported huge pharmaceutical firms, making obscene profits, over elderly people of modest means just trying to stay alive. They voted for legislation that favored the credit industry, already flush with cash, over the poorer people of the nation. They gave billions and billions to Halliburton and other contractors, and billions more for weapons systems we won’t need or use, and then chintzed on the soldiery by not giving them adequate armor or supplies whilst cutting their benefits and VA care back home. Republicans will fight through hell itself to give another hundred billion in tax cuts to those who sit upon piles of cash, but will not move a finger except in defiance when it comes to a meager nod to the people who actually produce that wealth but are denied access to it.

Whatever their rhetoric or prose, Republicans have spoken loudly and clearly with their actions: they despise the average American, especially those working the hardest and reaping the least.

  1. K. Engels
    January 27th, 2007 at 12:47 | #1

    What is it about working men and women that you find so offensive?

    So the Republican talking points for next week are going to be:

    1) Kennedy is a Communist.
    2) The ‘Democrat Party’ [sic] is trying to stir up class warfare.
    3) The Republican Party is in no way waging a class war against the proletariat.

  2. Luis
    January 27th, 2007 at 12:49 | #2

    And all of them so true!!! Damn those Democrats!

  3. Tim Kane
    January 28th, 2007 at 12:29 | #3

    Perhaps Kennedy’s finest hour in the senate.

    If it gets picked up by mainstream media, which I doubt, it could shame the Republicans, good and plenty.

    In fact they hate ordinary Americans. They send them off to war to be maimed, wounded or die for the sake of oil concessions and enhanced powers for an incompetant president.

    The irony is that an increase in the minimum wage would shore up demand for a sluggish economy whose only gains are in productivity, not in consumption. Increased demand means increased sales, increased revenue and increased Employment.

    If Kennedy’s speach gets tacked on to the Republican invasion of Iraq, their party will almost be completely and entirely discredited – held together by a miniscule of Wealthy and Wingnut fundementalists.

    Such focus to lead to permanent minority status to the Republican party. As they deserve to be.

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