“1 in 3 grocery workers is on some form of public assistance, “ writes Joe Garofoli in Grocery workers in California see wages shrink. They survive by taking advantage of food stamps and the earned income tax credit. Estimates are that U.S. taxpayers supplement the incomes of Walmart employees to the tune of between $900,000 and $1.75 million per store, or $5,815 per employee. Alan Grayson, House Rep. from Florida, claimed that the largest group of individuals on Medicaid are Walmart employees, a claim labeled “Mostly True” by Politifact.
Communism is when the government pays your wages. Communism has come to America.
Today’s conservatives have came out quite forcefully against raising the minimum wage. Republican presidential hopefuls Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Paul Ryan have all weighed in.
Senator Rand Paul: “When you set the minimum wage, it may cause unemployment,” he told ABC News during his 2010 Senate campaign. “The least skilled people in our society have more trouble getting work the higher you make the minimum wage.”
Representative Paul Ryan: “I think it’s inflationary. I think it actually is counterproductive in many ways. You end up costing job from people who are the bottom rung of the economic ladder.”
Senator Marco Rubio: “The question is is a minimum wage the best way to do it? And history has said the answer is absolutely not. In fact, the impact of minimum wage usually is that businesses hire less people. That’s the impact of it. They’ll just hire less people to do the same amount of work.”
Senator Lamar Alexander does not “believe in the concept of a minimum wage.” Karen Handel, recent candidate for the Republican nomination for Senator from Georgia insists, “The federal government has absolutely no business being involved in mandating salary and wages in the private sector.” Conservative columnist George Will weighs in fervently against the minimum wage. Charles Krauthammer opposes the Obama administration proposal to raise the minimum wage by noting, “A child can tell you: If you raise the minimum wage by a third, you’re going to lose jobs.”
As far back as 2006, George Will was a big promoter of Walmart, however, as were the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Manhattan Institute. If we assume that an increase in the minimum wage will lead to an increase in low wages paid at retailers like Walmart and Target, and fast food outlets like McDonald’s, and that this will allow more employees to feed their families without needing to resort to food stamps and the earned income credit, isn’t opposing minimum wage increases while promoting the companies who thrive off of paying low wages and forcing employees onto food stamps, tantamount to promoting communism, where the government pays worker salaries?
The Earned Income Tax Credit, EITC, was enacted in 1975 and expanded on several occasions most notably the Reagan Tax Reform Act of 1986. It provides lower income individuals and families with a tax credit to be used against their federal income tax liabilities, or as a refund if their tax liabilities are lower than the credit. Conservative economist Greg Mankiw is a big supporter of the EITC (preferring it to an increase in the minimum wage). Republicans objecting to a raise in the minimum wage have insisted on supporting the EITC, such that President Obama jumped in to the debate to agree with them.
If Republicans believe that the government should subsidize the wages of low wage employees and provide a subsidy to their employers that come from the taxes Americans pay, what about the tax policies they propose? The Paul Ryan budget would lower taxes on the wealthy and on corporations, already paying taxes the last few years at the lowest share since the 1930’s. Who does this leave to subsidize low wage earners so their employers can keep a larger share of revenue as profit? The rest of us!
As a progressive, I support the EITC and other efforts by the government to ensure the well being of its citizens. But I am not nearly as communist as today’s conservatives, who seem to think that the government should be paying the wages of American workers.