Saturday, July 29, 2006

The True Face of Republicanism

This is both depressing and predictable. The House of Representatives agreed to consider a $2.10 increase in the minimum wage, raising it to a still-measly $7.25 over three years, the first hike in 10 years. The problem is that they insist on tying it to cuts in the estate tax, which really only benefits the super-rich. I guess they consider this a win-win situation. If the Democrats agree, the rich gain, while should the Democrats balk, they will be shamelessly accused of voting against a minimum wage increase. And, of course, the working poor will lose, and poverty rates will continue to rise (as they have every single year under Bush).

Then again, remember a year ago, then when the poor of New Orleans were dying during the Bush-administration Katrina screw-up, the congressional Republicans were focused on: yes, you guessed it, the estate tax. Grover Norquist argued that the best way to help the Gulf region would be to cut the estate tax. I'm serious. Bill Frist kept thought repealing the estate tax was a more important priority than the unfolding tragedy in New Orleans. Senator Sessions was "looking for a corpse" in New Orleans, hoping that finding a dead rich person who had lost a business might help them in their estate tax repeal. They didn't find one. Surprise, surprise.

But what the Republicans are doing now is not a surprise. And Catholics like the people who came up with the nonsensical "five non-negotiables" are complicit, by their silence, in what is really a grave injustice. I'll conclude by quoting the Catechism (#2434):
"A just wage is the legitimate fruit of work. To refuse or withhold it can be a grave injustice.[220] In determining fair pay both the needs and the contributions of each person must be taken into account. Remuneration for work should guarantee man the opportunity to provide a dignified livelihood for himself and his family on the material, social, cultural and spiritual level, taking into account the role and the productivity of each, the state of the business, and the common good.' Agreement between the parties is not sufficient to justify morally the amount to be received in wages."
But, to the Bush's ideological fellow travelers, this is only "prudential judgment" and can safely be ignored.

No comments: