The Minimum Wage Bill: Real Reform or More Politics As Usual?

Thursday, February 15 2007
Back in the day, when I was growing up, ant farms were all the rage. I could watch them for hours. Sometimes, I would mark specific ants with paint to track them on their daily lives. Or occasionally, I'd add an interesting outside stimulus — like a grasshopper.

The image comes to mind because I couldn't help thinking about my old ant farm as I watched lawmakers scurrying in Washington over the past two weeks. It was a rare opportunity to see how the newly empowered Democrats would deal with their own grasshopper, otherwise known as the minimum wage bill.

As you may recall, the House leadership made raising the federal minimum wage a top priority. It's a juicy issue that plays to one of their core constituencies, labor unions. But like the grasshopper, it has been far more difficult to pin down, thanks to good old-fashioned politicking. And, in the end, it's become a case study of how good intentions often go awry in Washington.

Once Congress reconvened, the House moved quickly to pass a clean bill that simply raised the wage by $2 to $7.15 an hour. It's been 10 years since it last changed, so it was long overdue. In fact, in several surveys most small business owners were unconcerned about the increase because they typically pay their employees more than that already.

Read more@ All Business.com.

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