Posted: 03/05/14 00:41, Edited: 03/05/14 09:00
by Dave Mindeman
The Minnesota House and Senate leadership have a disagreement about the minimum wage bill. The House wants an inflationary adjustment in 2017. There is one obstacle to this....
Senator Tom Bakk.
Bakk has been an obstacle to this bill. He ran the clock out on it during the last session - supporting a lower minimum wage than the House. He seems to be on board with the $9.50 bill this time around, but has found another excuse to pull away - this time it is the inflationary adjustment.
It has been years since we have increased the minimum wage. During that period the buying power of those wages has eroded deep into poverty. The $9.50 figure is still poverty wages, but it is the support level that draws the most consensus.
That buying power will continue to erode. And again, when we need to make an upward adjustment, we will have a constant battle to get to a new figure.
The House supports an automated trigger to that number in 2017 - if it is needed. So what is so objectionable to a piece of the puzzle that keeps the minimum wage from moving backward in real terms - at least temporarily?
Only Senator Bakk seems to know. But he is convinced that there can be no support for such an adjustment - more importantly, he won't fight for it.
Bakk likes to portray himself as the champion of the working person. He will fight for labor. But apparently, he supports business interests when it comes to the poorest of workers.
A progressive viewpoint would support the House position. Senator Bakk is the roadblock for this position and he is simply wrong.
If the Majority Leader cannot personally support this bill with the inflationary adjustment, then simply let the debate on the bill go forward.
There is enough obstruction across the aisle, we don't need roadblocks in our own camp.