Saturday, May 27, 2006

Bryson Joins Majority to Kill Minimum Wage Measure without Having to Defend Decision to Voters

According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, State Senate Republicans watched an "acrimonious House debate" over establishing a $6.15 minimum wage in Tennessee, and voted to kill the bill by sending to a committee that will not meet again. Despite the bill's passage by the Commerce Committee, Republican Senate Leader, Ron Ramsey moved to refer it to the Judiciary Committee for review and Franklin Senator and Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Bryson voted with the majority (17-12) in favor of the move.

Apparently Jim Bryson and his ultra-conservative co-hort didn't have the heart to stand up to successful House arguments made by Democrats that jobless rates dropped only slightly after the minimum wage hikes of 1991, 1995, and 1997. Nor did they have the fortitude to deal with the facts like:
  • The buying power of the $5.15 wage has eroded to $4.73 today; nonetheless, Tennessee offers many tax breaks and incentives to help "bid-ness."
  • Thanks to inflation, the current minimum wage buys a fraction of what past lower minimum wages bought. For instance, according to the Daily Plan,
  • in 1968, the federal minimum wage was $1.60 per hour-- or if adjusted for inflation -- $9.16 per hour. Yes-- almost forty years ago, the minimum acceptable wage in this country was over $9 per hour. But the federal minimum wage has been allowed to collapse down to just $5.15 per hour.
Or as some Tennessee Dems more precisely point out, $4.73 an hour. That's just not good management of financial resources. And it's just plain heartless of Republican leaders like Jim Bryson, who wants to be the next governor of this state. We can see what kind of people he would represent and it definitely is not most average Tennesseans. Worst of all he weaseled out of public accountability by hiding behind a technicality in Senate procedure. Not exactly a profile in courage, is it? Whatever happened to Republican calls for a "clear up or down vote"?

1 comment:

  1. I think this is a trick he learned from Jimmy Naifeh, who also seems adept at burying bills in committee. Guess it works both ways