Money is speech, and thus protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, declaring that Congress can’t block its ability to bankroll media and the messages they convey.
Just as our previous Chart of the Day II: Watchdogs into lapdogs describes the increasing fusion of mainstream media journalists to hew to the corporatist agenda, so this video report from Jessica Desverieux of The Real News Network examines how that control translates into a Senate vote on a proposal to hike the medium wage to ten bucks and hour, though not to a commensurate level of earnings of the then-minimum when esnl started working back in the 1960’s.
In the age of [p]lootocracy, up is down, black is white, and money is speech.
From The Real News Network:
The Lobbyists behind Senate Failure to Advance Minimum Wage Increase
From the transcript:
DESVARIEUX: Although independents voted with Democrats, Democrats would still need six Republican votes in order to reach the 60 votes required to advance the bill. Only one Republican voted in favor of the bill, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker.
But not all Democrats are in favor of a minimum wage increase. Home of retail giant Walmart–Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor voiced his opposition to the bill. Although he wasn’t present for the vote due to recovery efforts in his home state, he wrote in an op-ed in an Arkansas newspaper that said he supports a state ballot initiative that would raise the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour over three years. That’s a sharp contrast to his fellow Democrats’ proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour over the next two years. Pryor was in the minority, since the rest of the senators against the bill were all Republicans.
But with poll after poll showing that most Americans support increasing the minimum wage, why would any Democrat or Republican senator take on such an unpopular position? Institute for Policy Studies economic policy associate Betsy Wood says if you follow the money, you understand how strong lobbying forces outweigh the voice of the American people.
BETSY WOOD, ECONOMIC POLICY ASSOCIATE, INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES: About 76 percent of Americans in a recent poll said that they support an increase in the minimum wage. So the polls show an overwhelming majority thinks that an increase in the minimum wage is a good idea and something that would be good for workers and for their families. But a small contingent of very wealthy Americans are controlling our process through these large corporate lobbies that spend millions of dollars to defeat commonsense legislation that would help millions of families and workers.
DESVARIEUX: In a letter to senators, 20 trade associations urged members of congress to reject an increase to the federal minimum wage. These associations representing industries like hotels and restaurants wrote about the minimum wage, quote:
“The more expensive something is, the less of it one can afford. This is exactly what will happen if the minimum wage is increased — there will be fewer low-skilled workers hired, other workers will lose hours, and employers will have more incentive to find other ways to be productive, such as using technology or automation where they would previously have hired someone.”
Some big names a part of this group include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Restaurants Association, and the National Retail Federation. These groups have put large sums in the pockets of lawmakers in the form of campaign contributions.