Senate Republicans Save Us from Higher Federal Minimum Wage: Good Job (for Now)

I’m almost surprised that the majority of Senate Republicans voted for what was the economic and ethical right thing to do. Naturally, Obama blasted away at them for it:

“They (Republicans) prevented a raise for 28 million hard-working Americans. They said no to helping millions work their way out of poverty,” said the man who has already endangered hundreds of fast food workers with unnecessary job loss. Like $10.10 an hour is going to end poverty anyway.

The Republicans said “no” to an increase in structural unemployment. Raising workers’ pay would end many of their jobs. It wouldn’t have been a raise, but a firing for many of those “28 million hard-working Americans.”

What troubles me is that, as great as it is that the Senate Republicans opposed the measure, they have already declared themselves open to compromise.

Susan Collins has said she and some other Republicans would be willing to reach a compromise on a lower figure, but so far, Democrats have shown no inclination to compromise. In a clear sign of the political value Democrats believe the issue has, Harkin and others have said they intend to force another vote on the increase closer to this year’s elections.

A lower figure would, of course, do less noticeable damage to the economy. But since no one would notice the non-damage, all they would see is a lower minimum wage. They would think the Republicans had cheated them out of better pay.

Susan Collins is playing into Democrat hands by offering such a concession. The Democrats get to posture on the minimum wage law that they are safely incapable of raising. So, unlike Obamacare, the damage done by the minimum wage law will never be felt. Democrats can keep up the pretense that they are helping people by raising it.

What we need are Republicans who are consistent and clear in opposing minimum wage as a job-killing measure. Some Republicans have used such accurate rhetoric, including John Boehner. But with Susan Collins claiming Republicans are willing to approve a higher minimum wage law as long as it is lower than what the Democrats want, the message gets lost.

Perhaps Susan Collins is refusing to cooperate with other Republicans. I suspect that is not the case. I suspect she spoke for many other Republicans when she made her offer of a lower wage hike. She certainly spoke as if she thought she was speaking for many of the Senate Republicans.

If the Republicans are wavering on the economics of raising the minimum wage, it will cost them. It will make the ignorant voters despise them. Since they don’t understand economics they have nothing to go on except the way Republicans act. Are they self confident or doubtful? Republicans who vote right but act doubtful are Republicans who are going to cave when they vote on the issue the next time.

Republicans will also lose the support of those voters who are knowledgeable in economics. Those voters will see the GOP Senators wavering on an easy decision and figure they cannot trust Republicans to do anything right. They will tend to forget to show up at the polls.

Republicans, I beg you, stand for the free market and the free economy. Show some confidence in what you know is true.