Welcome to 2017, here our President is a misogynistic and xenophobic, pathological liar, and our state representatives openly endorse slavery. What fun! Washington State Rep. Matt Manweller, who has been largely outspoken against raising the minimum wage, recently stated that he would be fine with a $0 minimum wage. When confronted by a voter who explained such wages were eliminated by the Civil War, Manweller said, “add that to the list of mistakes made during the Civil War.” Does this mean he believes the freeing of slaves was a mistake made by our nation during the Civil War?
This story was brought to light by Working Washington who has put out the call to ask Washington State Rep. Manweller what exactly he meant in his email with a local voter. Working Washington is a statewide workers organization that fights to raise wages, improve labor standards, and change the conversation about wealth, inequality, and the value of work, according to their website.
Washington State Rep. Manweller has been a huge opponent of raising the minimum wage in Washington State. His Twitter is literally filled with claims that higher minimum wage is dangerous for children, employment, and the economy.
The federal minimum wage was introduced in 1938 during the Great Depression under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It was initially set at $0.25 per hour and has been increased by Congress 22 times, most recently in 2009 when it went from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour. Currently, twenty-nine states, plus Washington DC, have a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage. Approximately 2,561,000 workers (or 3.3% of the hourly paid working population) earn the federal minimum wage or below.
Proponents of a higher minimum wage state that the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour is too low for anyone to live on stating that a higher minimum wage will help create jobs and grow the economy. They also say that the declining value of the minimum wage is one of the primary causes of wage inequality between low- and middle-income workers. It is believed that a majority of Americans, including a slim majority of self-described conservatives, support increasing the minimum wage.
Opponents say that many businesses cannot afford to pay their workers more, and will be forced to close, lay off workers, or reduce hiring. They say increases in pay have been shown to make it more difficult for low-skilled workers with little or no work experience to find jobs or become upwardly mobile. They believe raising the minimum wage at the federal level does not take into account regional cost-of-living variations where raising the minimum wage could hurt low-income communities in particular.