If for no other reason, the Republican party's ABSOLUTE REFUSAL to raise the federal minimum wage should be the best reason for why the GOP should lose the 2016 congressional elections. Republican voters (who might earn more) should understand that, by setting the ground floor for the lowest federally mandated minimum wage, that also puts great pressure on their employers to raise their wages as well. How can their bosses explain to a factory worker in Tennessee (or elsewhere) that McDonalds employees are earning more than they are?
If other businesses (big and small) in other countries can pay their workers better, then why can't our job creators compete with their wages? Across the pond in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) the minimum wage is £6.50 an hour for those 21 years old and over. That's $10.44 an hour in U.S. dollars, and $3.19 more than the current minimum wage is in the U.S. (What's up with that? Do the Brits work harder and longer than we do?)
And our neighbor directly to the north (in the maple leaf country of Canada) has several provinces whose legally mandated minimum wages range from $10.00 to $11.00 per hour, but there's also a movement to raise it higher — to $15 an hour — in part, because of the influence of Seattle Washington when they raised their city's minimum wage to $15 an hour.
And then there's the almighty and "exceptional" United States of America (King of the Hill and Master of the Universe) who's had a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour ($2.13 for tipped workers) for the past 5 years. But our job creators have been attempting to convince these workers that they should be very, very grateful — because all the way across the Pacific Ocean on the island nation of Japan, their peons earn a minimum wage of ¥764 per hour (converted from Yens, that's only $7.10 an hour in American money.)
But what's far worse — just to the southwest of Japan is another island nation, the country of Taiwan (officially called The Republic of China), who have a minimum wage of only $3.88 an hour. Egads! And the U.S. offshored a lot of good jobs to them too.
But all told, the minimum wage in Taiwan (at $3.88 an hour) isn't really so bad. Just 110 miles away across the Formosa Strait on the mainland of China (officially called The People's Republic of China), the wages are a lot, lot lower. A Taiwanese multinational corporation called Foxconn (Apple's go-to contractor) has 13 factories in nine cities in the country of China. Foxconn's largest factory is in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, which is immediately north of Hong Kong (where the riots are currently happening) and has a population of approximately 15 million people (almost double that of New York City).
There is no "national" minimum wage in China. The minimum wage is set locally and ranges from ¥830 ($135) per month to ¥7.50 ($1.22) per hour in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region — and from ¥1,820 ($296) per month to ¥17 ($2.77) per hour in Shanghai. That's why Foxconn operates their factories in places like China, rather than in Taiwan (where Foxconn is headquartered).
But according to many very wealthy CEOs, because wages are getting "too high" in China, many of their companies are looking for even cheaper sources of labor. On the southern border of China is the country of Vietnam (where over 58,000 American soldiers had died in war). Vietnam's minimum wage will soon increase from $14 to $18 per month in 2015 (No, that's not a typo — a month, not an hour.) The American sneaker-maker (and tax dodger) Nike has 777 factories in 43 Countries employing over 1 million workers. Just in Vietnam alone Nike has 71 factories with over 311,000 workers.
The Republicans have always said that if the U.S. were more like Europe (because, for some reason, Europeans are Socialists) that would be a "bad thing". So let's look at some of the minimum wages in the Old World (where all the Euro-Commies live):
In Germany the minimum wage is €8.50 and hour (Euros) — which is $10.73 an hour in U.S. dollars. That's more than the "proposed" $10.10 an hour for the U.S. that the Republicans refuse to pass, because American companies like Walmart, McDonalds and Amazon don't want to pay thousands of their temporary and/or part-time workers a living wage (even though they've all been raking in record profits for years). But even if the GOP agreed to $10.10 an hour, that would STILL BE LESS than what the Germans currently earn. Is the GOP telling us that American companies can't do better than our former enemy in WWII?
That's why the Republicans call them "Socialists" — because European countries (in truly democratic societies) make their job creators pay their workers a real living wage. Now let's look at the minimum wages in some other countries in the EuroZone:
- The very liberal Netherlands (whose capital is Amsterdam) pays their workers at least $11.06 an hour, their national minimum wage.
- And Ireland (who has the third most bars per capita) pays their workers a minimum of $11.09 an hour.
- In San Marino (an microstate inside Italy) pays their workers a minimum of $11.49 an hour.
- Belgium pays their workers a minimum wage of $11.69 an hour.
- France (who the Republicans always make fun of) pays their little French fries $12.35 an hour (much more than the cheapskates in the GOP would ever pay them.)
- In Monaco (another microstate, but located on the French Riviera) pays a minimum wage of $12.83 an hour.
- The itty bitty teeny weeny little country of Luxembourg (where Mitt Romney likes to do his banking) can manage to pay their workers a bare minimum of $14.24 an hour (no thanks to people like Mitt Romney).
And what about our friends "Down Under?" In New Zealand the minimum wage is $11.59 an hour for those under 18 years old, but it goes even higher to $14.25 for those over 18 years old. Wow! But in Australia it's a whopping $16.87 per hour!!! So if Crocodile Dundee had never become so rich and famous in Hollywood (and hadn't dodged his taxes), at least he wouldn't have to worry about starving to death — or having to work two jobs just to pay his rent.
In Denmark there's no legally mandated minimum wage, but the average minimum wage for all private and public sector collective bargaining agreements was approximately $20 per hour according to the U.S. State Department last year.
But yet, in the good ole U.S.A. — this "exceptional" country — in this "land of opportunity", our "job creators" only want to pay their hard-working American Patriots a minimum wage of $7.25 hour. Why is that? Maybe it's because they believe "they built that"?
The Republicans today aren't like they used to be — just the opposite. Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican President, gave the First Annual Message to Congress on December 3, 1861:
"Labor is prior to, and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."
Teddy Roosevelt, giving a speech before the convention of the National Progressive Party in August 1912 after serving as the eighth Republican President:
"We hold that minimum wage commissions should be established in the Nation ... We stand for a living wage. Wages are subnormal if they fail to provide a living ... We wish to control big business so as to secure among other things good wages for the wage-workers and reasonable prices for the consumers. Wherever in any business the prosperity of the business man is obtained by lowering the wages of his workmen and charging an excessive price to the consumers we wish to interfere and stop such practices ... we desire that business shall prosper; but it should be so supervised as to make prosperity also take the shape of good wages to the wage-worker and reasonable prices to the consumer ... Wherever nowadays an industry is to be protected it should be on the theory that such protection will serve to keep up the wages and the standard of living of the wage-worker in that industry with full regard for the interest of the consumer ... There is no warrant for protection unless a legitimate share of the benefits gets into the pay envelope of the wage-worker ... The cost of living in this country has risen during the last few years out of all proportion to the increase in the rate of most salaries and wages..."
The last "liberal" Republican President was Richard Nixon: "In the 1950s and 1960s, before Nixon took office, minimum wage stayed on track with productivity. However, that pattern fell off in the next decade. After six years of stagnant wages and escalating costs of living, the Nixon administration stepped in -- In 1974 Nixon signed an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act. That law raised wages by more than 40 percent."
Whereas, Ronald Reagan's administration is the only one not to have raised the minimum wage. At least after lowering the capital gains tax rate for the very wealthy, George W. Bush had also raised the minimum wage (in 3 increments — $5.85 in 2007, $6.55 in 2008 and $7.25 in 2009).
It's time for our leaders to stand up for working Americans; but as we've seen with THIS Congress, most Republicans are against raising the federal minimum wage...so it's up to Republican voters to vote them out.