HB 1444 proposed by Delegate Sam Rasoul (11th District) would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.00 in the summer of 2017, to $12.50 in the summer of 2019, and then to $15.00 in the summer of 2021. Thankfully the legislation stops there, or else we could be looking at some rather astronomical wages by 2050. That said, the six or seven people still employed in Virginia would be making serious bank.
Minimum wage laws amuse me, primarily because I understand why so many Democrat politicians propose them. On the one hand, uneducated people working low wage jobs who possess little to no understanding of economics, believe that such legislation will positively impact their bottom line. On the other hand, union members, whose wages are tied to the minimum wage would get a quick boost in pay. The legislation makes sense.
Republicans are forced to oppose the legislation, making them look heartless to the poor and unfriendly to the interests of union members; as well as strengthening the stigma of the Republican Party’s ties to wealthy and insidious corporate interests. It’s these minimum wage laws that allow Democrats, who compete with Republicans for corporate dollars, to maintain the pretense of still being for the little guy.
What does surprise me is that there isn’t a stronger reaction from the media, whose real interest should be the overall health and vigor of the economy, as opposed to shilling for the Democrat minority. As Virginia continues to drop from being one of the most business-friendly states in the nation, the last thing we need is to artificially increase the cost of labor. Oddly, the media rarely, if ever, reports that.
Looking over the bills to be considered in 2017, it has become apparent that Delegates and Senators are all getting behind popular partisan legislation meant to serve as the foundation for their campaigns. Republicans will force Democrats to come out against a 20 week abortion ban and Democrats will try to force Republicans to come out against the poor. The Democrats know they’ll never get their legislation out of committee and the Republicans know that they’ll never get their bills passed the Governor.
So, there’s a small part of me that wonders whether or not we shouldn’t skip this exercise in futility all together. Maybe a great place to start would be to reject all bills written by anyone other than the elected officials themselves. That would get rid of about 99.73% of the legislation right there. However, I am certain, that somewhere within all these hyper-partisan pieces of legislation are real bills leadership actually intends to secure the Governor’s signature to; we’ll just have to keep looking.
The gridlock in Richmond looks a lot like the gridlock in Washington D.C. between 2011 and 2016. That gridlock looks to become a thing of the past, as the Republicans now control both houses of Congress and the White House. This is what we need to accomplish in 2017 in the Commonwealth. We need to give our Republican General Assembly a Republican Governor so that we can start rolling back regulations and putting Virginians in “ROVA” back to work.