Why Corporate Democrats Don’t Want the $15 Minimum Wage.
For those of us on the left, watching the Democratic party abandon even the bare minimum that they promised to deliver for the American people hasn’t exactly been surprising, but that certainly doesn’t make it any less frustrating. As if the quick reversal of immediate $2000 direct checks to the American people during the greatest public health and economic crisis in modern history wasn’t enough, their decision to give up on passing a minimum wage increase through reconciliation with the covid relief bill has been nothing less than a slap in the face. Kamala Harris’ decision to hide behind the advisory decision of an unelected, largely irrelevant Senate Parliamentarian who she has the constitutional power as Vice President to overrule sends a loud and clear message not only about Democrats’ unwillingness to fight, but about how they view the American people.
In giving up this fight to give the lowest earning Americans the raise they have not had since 2009, lawmakers are sending the painful message that the tens of millions of people making a mere $15000 are not worthy. They are not worthy of the raise but they are also not worthy of the dignity, or to be treated by respect for giving their time and their labor. For going on six years now since the “fight for $15” began, corporate Democrats have pretended to be on board. Who can forget Hillary Clinton beaming alongside Andrew Cuomo as he signed New York’s $15 minimum wage into law while she ran for President, as though we would ignore the fact that it was part of Bernie Sanders’ plan, and she didn’t even support it?
Well, five years later corporate Democrats have once again made it perfectly clear that they never actually wanted or intended to pass a $15 minimum wage, but it’s important to discuss why.
As always, it comes down to nothing more than donors and power.
Raising minimum wage to $15 an hour would be a $92 billion raise for 32 million Americans. $92 billion dollars that the United States Chamber of Commerce desperately wants to keep in their pockets, and not return to those whose labor has made their business possible. It’s no coincidence that Biden’s administration signaled they weren’t in the fight for a wage increase after Walmart, GAP Inc, J.P. Morgan Chase, and the Chief Executive of the Chamber of Commerce himself Tom Donohue all raised objections. After all, there was no way Joe Biden’s going to get multi-billion dollar corporations, big banks, and the Chamber of Commerce upset with him when Democrats have super PACs that need funding. One thing that transcends political party lines in Washington D.C. is the idea that the will of the donor class matters more than what’s in the best interest of the people, and the donor class would certainly rather they have that 92 billion dollars instead of workers.
That being said, there’s also something to be said about the idea that Democrats simply like running on the $15 minimum wage. If it were to pass and be signed into law, then what would they have to promise to “fight for” next? If they actually delivered on something, what would we expect from them after? I highly doubt that Joe Biden will seek re-election in 2024, but considering Kamala Harris is the one that the donor class wanted to win in the first place, I’m sure there’s already discussions about her intentions to run for President. Would it really be surprising for Kamala Harris to have the temerity to run on fighting for a $15 minimum wage in 2024? If she has no intention of cancelling student loan debt, implementing Medicare for All, or ending any of the wars in the middle east, what else does she have?
At the end of the day, the American people are nothing more than a game in the eyes of the vast majority of our lawmakers. It only took a little over a month for the Biden administration to abandon virtually every reason the American people had for voting for them, and it’ll admittedly be entertaining to see Kamala Harris attempt to make the same promises again in a couple years time. At this point, Bernie Sanders’ intentions of forcing the vote on the $15 minimum wage are the only chance we have of getting it, in a government controlled unilaterally by the Democratic Party. Personally, I don’t have the patience to ever hear “vote blue no matter who” again.