By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press
San Diego iMayor Todd Gloria’s call for increasing the minimum wage during the State of the City address on Wednesday is drawing sharp reaction from the local wannabe plutocracy. What Gloria proposed was putting any such proposal before the voters next November. The very idea scares the crap out of them.
You take it to the bank that these “checkbook” democracy types who see it as their duty to pay signature gatherers to spread misinformation getting their corporate vetoes of city council actions blessed at the ballot box will now act to make sure that a proposal via our elected representatives never makes it before the voters.
The same folks that have spun community planning, environmental stewardship and housing for low income people into a conspiracy to drive JOBS out of the city are busy figuring out a way to drive a stake into the heart of any minimum wage increase, even if it’s to be decided at the ballot box.
As the Los Angeles Times points out, it took UT-San Diego exactly 16 minutes after Todd Gloria finished his speech to post an editorial challenging his call for an increase in the minimum wage.
From the LA Times account:
The editorial sought to cast doubt on Gloria’s assertion about the benefits of raising the minimum wage. Gloria “insisted [the increase] would be good for business in San Diego.”
A news story posted later quoted former Mayor Jerry Sanders, now the chief executive of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and possibly the most popular political figure in the city. Raising the minimum wage “could stunt job growth,” Sanders told the reporter.
Here’s the conclusion of the UT editorial:
At least some of what he said and proposed will be eclipsed early next month when voters elect a new mayor, who will lay out his own vision, his own proposals and his own goals for San Diego.
In other words, they’re hoping that Kevin Faulconer will win the mayoral election and find a way to deep six this ‘radical idea.’
Economic Inequality Should Be the Central Issue
I’m glad they’ve chosen to make that call. Let’s make raising the minimum wage the defining issue of this campaign. A vote for Kevin Faulconer should be construed as a vote against raising the minimum wage.
Activist Linda Perine has great take on this issue and its implications for social justice in an article posted at LGBTWeekly:
A slow, but powerful awakening is transforming our country. When McDonalds and Wal-Mart instruct their employees to apply for government assistance because their billionaire owners refuse to pay a living wage; when Warren Buffet and Bill Gates tell us the system is rigged against the middle class; when someone attempting to register people to vote on a public square is arrested and abused by our city police – as Dylan said, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”
Rev. King told us that the arc of history bends toward justice. If this is so it is because the joined hands of a coalition of the willing – LGBT folk, neighbors, women and workers – push back against the forces of greed and intolerance.
San Diego is at the center of these historic political currents. Feb. 11 we can build on this national wave of progress and inclusion by electing David Alvarez as our next mayor. Or we can take a giant step backward and become the only one of the twelve largest cities in the U.S. to choose the party of exclusion and homophobia.
What we can expect over the next few week is an unrelenting wave of ‘experts’ warning the San Diegans of dire consequences should any increase in minimum wages occur.
What you need to know is the ‘science’ behind these claims is as suspect as that bandied about by the climate change deniers. The minimum wage has been raised repeatedly since Franklin D. Roosevelt led the charge for its enactment back in the waning days of the Great Depression and we have all somehow survived without capitalism collapsing.
(Getting into an argument here with the corporate apologists who will inevitablely write in to challenge this assertion is a fools errand. Here’s my backup. And this. And this. And I’m standing by it.)
Here’s my favorite part (because it’s true) of the conservative argument for raising the minimum wage by Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who’s bankrolling a statewide initiative on the subject. (Unz has his own issues with immigrants, which I strongly disagree with.)
Our federal and local governments currently spend vast sums of money subsidizing the social benefits and living standards of our working-poor, including mailing them checks via the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). These expenditures constitute an enormous corporate welfare program in which businesses obtain the full value of their low-paid workforce while shifting much of the cost onto the general taxpayer, a classic example of economic special interests privatizing their profits and socializing their costs. Private sector employers should cover the expenses of their own workers rather than force middle-class taxpayers to pay the tab.
Gosh. Shrinking government assistance programs, lower taxes and a better life for hard working Americans: how can any red blooded patriot be against that?
You see, it’s not so much that our modern day Ebenezer Scrooges don’t want to pay people; it’s that raising the minimum wage is a fundamental attack on corporate welfare. If the world doesn’t collapse with a minimum wage additional things like making companies pay their fair share of infrastructure costs might be next. Or ending subsidies. Who knows? (FYI-The vast majority of small businesses already pay their employees more than minimum wage)
Let’s make raising the minimum wage The Issue in the mayoral campaign over the next few weeks. Fighting it out at the ballot box makes a whole lot more sense than (figuratively) building guillotines out in front of the Chamber of Commerce.