Freedom First Society

Issue: H.R. 582, Raise the Wage Act. Question: On Passage.

Result:  Passed, 231 to 199, 3 not voting.

Freedom First Society:  Federal minimum-wage legislation is unconstitutional and bad economics, creating unemployment where above market wage rates.

With their “Raise the Wage Act,” Democrats are claiming that more than doubling the current Federal minimum wage by 2025 is needed to ensure that everyone has a decent living.  But the vote merely supports 2020 election campaigning, as everyone realizes that the legislation will not get past the Senate.

We give blue checkmarks to the six members of the Blue Dog Coalition (an official Democratic caucus) who voted no.   We do not score the Republicans on this one, as it was a “softball” no vote for them.

We have assigned (good vote) to the Noes and (bad vote) to the Ayes. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)

Congressional Research Services Summary:

Shown Here:
Introduced in House (01/16/2019)

Raise the Wage Act

This bill amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to increase the federal minimum wage for regular employees over a 7-year period, for tipped employees, and for newly hired employees who are less than 20 years old.

The bill sets forth a schedule of annual increases in the federal minimum wage for individuals with disabilities. The Department of Labor shall no longer issue special certificates for the payment of subminimum wages to such individuals after the final wage increase under this bill for such individuals takes effect.

Labor shall provide, upon request, technical assistance and information to employers to: (1) help them transition their practices to comply with wage increases and other requirements under this bill for individuals with disabilities, and (2) ensure continuing employment opportunities for such individuals.

The bill eliminates the separate minimum wage requirements for tipped, newly hired, and disabled employees. After a specified period, these employees shall be paid the same minimum wage as regular employees.

Labor must publish any increase in the minimum wage in the Federal Register and on its website 60 days before it takes effect.

Freedom First Society Analysis:  The “Raise the Wage Act” was purely about helping Democrats seeking to get reelected.   The rhetoric supporting the bad-economics of minimum-wage legislation had worn thin since 2007 when the House last approved a hike to $7.25 in 2009.  But the politics have changed, helped along by Big Labor “pressure from below.”  It is a horrible indictment of the Democrats that the “Raise the Wage Act” came to the House floor with 205 co-sponsors.

However, before the Democratic-controlled House could pass even this posturing legislation, the caucus had to iron out differences between the new rash of “progressives” and so-called centrist Democrats.  According to The Hill (7-18-19):

Liberals won the battle for enacting a wage hike to $15 across the country, while centrists succeeded in lengthening the phase-in period from five to six years.

Minimum-wage legislation is designed to appeal to the unschooled, who don’t understand or respect the economic principles and principles of freedom being violated.  For example, a high government-mandated minimum wage particularly destroys job opportunities for young workers seeking to gain job experience, unskilled workers, and those seeking part-time work.

But with the “Raise the Wage Act,” campaigning liberals won out.  However, even a Democratic majority couldn’t stifle the reality of the Act’s negative economic impact. Also, according to The Hill (7-18-19):

A report from the Congressional Budget Office projected the hike would lift 1.3 million people out of poverty, but that it would also cost the U.S. 1.3 million jobs by 2024.

Unfortunately, such warnings did little to stifle the claims of those who wanted to convey the idea that government can ensure everyone a decent living through edict. The Hill continues:

Supporters of the wage hike said it will help not only struggling workers, but also the larger communities in which they live.

“When we put money in the pockets of workers, they will spend that money in their local economies,” said Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee and lead sponsor of the bill. [Emphasis added.]

But Scott was not suggesting that representatives finance the increase out of their own pockets.  Unfortunately, Scott was not alone in claiming to bring gifts to the American people:

“The Raise the Wage Act gives up to 33 million Americans a long overdue raise — 33 million Americans — and lifts so many people out of poverty,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during a press conference on the measure Thursday just before the vote. — Roll Call (7-18-19)

Minimum-wage deception is particularly outrageous since it presents a false antidote to the poison of the many government actions that have lowered the American standard of living.  For example, federal “carrots and sticks” have pushed much of American manufacturing and heavy industry to relocate abroad.  Private enterprise would normally consider destination countries, such as Communist China, too risky for investment, were it not for federal guarantees and Export-Import Bank policies.

Capital flight reduces the demand for labor and the standard of living of many wage earners.  Federally mandated wages are no antidote. Unfortunately, socialist and International-socialist programs can use the force of government to create poverty and despair.

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