Sen. John McCain and 27 Other Republicans Demand Repeal of Minimum Wage


1-26-07, 9:12 am

There are 28 Senators who should lose their $165,200 per year jobs. They are listed as follows:

Lamar Alexander (R-TN) – (202) 224-4944 Wayne Allard (R-CO) – (202) 224-5941 Robert Bennett (R-UT) – (202) 224-5444 Christopher Bond (R-MO) – (202) 224-5721 Sam Brownback (R-KS) – (202) 224-6521 Jim Bunning (R-KY) – (202) 224-4343 Richard Burr (R-NC) – (202) 224-3154 Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) – (202) 224-3521 Tom Coburn (R-OK) – (202) 224-5754 Thad Cochran (R-MS) – (202) 224-5054 John Cornyn (R-TX) – (202) 224-2934 Larry Craig (R-ID) – (202) 224-2752 Mike Crapo (R-ID) – (202) 224-6142 Jim DeMint (R-SC) – (202) 224-6121 John Ensign (R-NV) – (202) 224-6244 Michael Enzi (R-WY) – (202) 224-3424 Lindsey Graham (R-SC) – (202) 224-5972 Judd Gregg (R-NH) – (202) 224-3324 Chuck Hagel (R-NE) – (202) 224-4224 Orrin Hatch (R-UT) – (202) 224-5251 James Inhofe (R-OK) – (202) 224-4721 Johnny Isakson (R-GA) – (202) 224-3643 Jon Kyl (R-AZ) – (202) 224-4521 Trent Lott (R-MS) – (202) 224-6253 John McCain (R-AZ) – (202) 224-2235 Mitch McConnell (R-KY) – (202) 224-2541 John Sununu (R-NH) – (202) 224-2841 Craig Thomas (R-WY) – (202) 224-6441

What did these guys (all white Republican guys) do?

On Wednesday (1-24), in addition to voting against a clean minimum wage raise bill, they voted for an amendment to repeal the federal minimum wage, currently bogged down at $5.15 per hour. Oh sure, they will claim that it was a procedural issue or that they are interested merely in ensuring that states can set their own minimum wages.

But the truth is they are out to demolish the one protection that America's lowest paid workers have against starvation.

The irony is that almost all of these guys voted to give themselves raises every single year since 1997, the last year the minimum wage was raised, amounting to more than $32,000. Imagine if working families could vote for their own raises! Imagine if the poorest Americans made $32,000.

Unlike this gang of 28, minimum wage earners make around $10,000 a year, unless they have more than one job. Most don't have any health care benefits. More than three out of four minimum wage earners are adults over 20 who, most of the time, earn the majority of their household income. Many thousands have families, are single mothers, and are people of color.

Each of these Senators will claim that the minimum wage hurts working families because jobs are lost. The truth is the opposite. Low-wage job markets have been largely unaffected by minimum wage increases because employers are able to absorb the higher cost of labor with higher productivity, lower turnover, and lower absenteeism.

The plain truth is that this gang of 28 rich white guys has no excuse not to raise the minimum wage to $7.25, except to send a signal to everyone that they staunchly side with business interests against working families.

And for 'straight-talk' John McCain, who has presidential hopes for 2008, this is the straightest talk of his campaign to date. It is a message that is loud and clear. He doesn't care about the plight of working Americans. He doesn't care about sharpening income inequality in the economy. In fact, he favors policies that promote inequality. He is focused solely on the interests of business and the conservative's favorite past time: pandering to the ultra right. Good luck, McCain. You're going to need it.

--Joel Wendland is managing editor of Political Affairs magazine. Reach him at