Open Letter to Conservatives (Including my Dad) (6/23/06)

Recently, the Senate voted on a measure that would increase minimum wage to $7 per hour, up from $5.15. The measure was voted down, largely along party lines. The bill has been introduced every year for the past nine years, and every year has been voted down in the Republican controlled Senate. That fact alone bothers me, but there’s something else that bothers me more.

Senator Johnny Isakson (R_GA), who voted against the measure, was quoted as saying this: “For every increase you make in minimum wage, you will cost some of them their jobs.” So basically (according to Mr. Isakson), he was thinking for the benefit of the poverty-stricken when he voted against the measure.

I should point out a couple things in my own defense. The gap between the rich and the poor is as wide as it has ever been, and it has been widening ever since Bush took office.

The thing is, I’m sure Mr. Isakson was aware of this when he voted. So if that’s the case, why did he vote against it? The answer reminds me of an editorial my father forwarded to me a while back. A man described government as “an 800 lb gorilla standing over my shoulder demanding my money.” So how does that relate to this vote?

First of all, Mr. Isakson’s campaign funds rely on rich business owners. So, when there’s a vote about how well big business does, business, he’ll vote on their side. Secondly, voting for such a measure would be a vote for the idea of the “800 lb gorilla” controlling more and more.

But cut the crap when you tell me that voting against the bill is out of support for the poor. We all know why you voted the way you did, and it has nothing to do with any thoughts of benevolence. You voted that way because of what YOU wanted and no one else.

So here’s the ‘open letter to conservatives’ part of my writing: I want someone who is conservative who’s reading this to tell me an honest logical argument behind Senator Isakson’s statement. Are there really conservatives who traditionally vote that way because they feel bad for the impoverished? And if so, would you vote to lower minimum wage if you could?

As a matter of fact, I’ll do that one better. As conservatives claim to be voting in the poorest best interest, I’ll do this. I’ll give anyone $100 if they can find someone who lives below the poverty level who would honestly vote against a measure to increase minimum wage because he’d worry about losing his job. Sound good?