Wetterling hits Bachmann on minimum wage
Last Thursday, the Patty Wetterling campaign released this statement questioning Michele Bachmann's anti-worker, anti-family stance on raising the minimum wage:
Patty Wetterling to Michele Bachmann: Would You Vote to Give Minnesota Families a Raise?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 2006
(Anoka, MN) — With Republican leaders announcing in news reports today that Congress will vote on a minimum wage increase this summer, Democratic Congressional candidate Patty Wetterling pointed to her opponent's dismal record on the minimum wage in St. Paul and demanded to know whether she would vote against working Minnesota families in Washington, DC, too.
"Families in Minnesota need a Representative in Congress who will fight for them," Wetterling said. "Given Michele Bachmann's past record of voting against working families, Minnesotans deserve to know if they can expect more of the same from her in Congress. No parent should work full-time, year-round and not be able to afford the basic food, shelter and healthcare for his or her family, yet that is the situation hardworking Minnesotans across the state face every single day. We can do better than the Bachmann status quo that puts a partisan agenda ahead of the best interests of Minnesota families."
As a state Senator, Michele Bachmann voted at least twice against a raise for working Minnesotans. It has been nine years since the last increase in the federal minimum wage, the second longest period since it was enacted. In 2003 there were 3.7 million Americans who worked full-time, year-round, and still lived in poverty.
Bachmann Voted Twice Against a Raise for Working Families
Bachmann Voted Against Increasing the Minimum Wage in 2005. In 2005, Bachmann voted against increasing the minimum wage. The Minnesota Senate voted on the legislation SF 3/HF 48, that increased the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour-the lowest amount allowed by federal law-to $6.15 per hour. It is estimated that $100 million will go into the pockets of low-income workers as a result of the increase, which went into effect August 1, 2005.
The bill passed 44 to 22.
Bachmann Voted Against Increasing the Minimum Wage in 2004. In 2004, Bachmann voted against increasing the minimum wage. SF 3 authored by Senator Ellen Anderson increases the state's minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $6.40 an hour.
The bill passed 36-30.
I like the phrasing of this press release. Framing the minimum wage as a "family values" issue lets voters see that, despite Michele Bachmann's claim to the "values" voter, she does not have the best interest of the working families of the Sixth District in mind.
However, the Wetterling campaign could have gone further in attacking Bachmann's record on the minimum wage. During her time in the MN Senate, Bachmann has made some pretty extraordinary statements regarding this issue. For instance, there's this doozy, stated during testimony on January 26, 2005, to the Jobs, Energy and Community Development Committee:
"I was wondering, if most employers are already doing this anyway, isn’t minimum wage really just superfluous? Why do we even have one?"
Did Michele Bachmann really advocate abolishing the minimum wage? Does she still hold this out-of-the-mainstream position? Well, wait 'til you hear some of her other plans regarding worker compensation...
"Many teenagers that come in should be paying the employer because of broken dishes or whatever occurs during that period of time. But you know what? After six months, that teenager is going to be a fabulous employee and is going to go on a trajectory where he's going to be making so much money, we'll be borrowing money from him." —Michele Bachmann, 1/26/05, explaining why teenagers should pay employers for the privilege of working instead of receiving minimum wage.
(All quotations taken from the "Quotes" page at Dump Bachmann)
How can we take Michele Bachmann seriously when she suggests that, not only should we abolish the minimum wage, but that some employees should not be compensated for their labor at all, and should even pay the employer to work?
In an era where the average American CEO earns 262 times the pay of the average American worker, the minimum wage has been stuck at a miserable $5.15 since 1997; in that same time, Congress has voted to raise its own pay at least 7 times. Earning minimum wage, a full-time worker will earn just $10,700 a year, leaving a family of three more than $5,000 below the poverty line. Minnesota needs a leader who can take charge on this issue and help working people everywhere. As we can see from Michele Bachmann's record, she is not that leader. Patty Wetterling is, and 86% of Americans agree with her: the minimum wage must be raised.