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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Christopher Ruddy, editor of the right-leaning Newsmax, breaks once again from mindless Republican orthodoxy by urging his party to support an increase in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 — only days after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie callously told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that he is “tired” of hearing Democrats talk about that topic.

With this column, Ruddy proves that unlike most conservative commentators — I’m thinking of the Koch-sucking George Will in particular, but there are many other examples — he remains independent of the Republican Party’s powerful oligarchy. Here, he argues persuasively that workers need and deserve more money, and concludes with a sentiment that more Republican opinion-makers ought to ponder:

When I stop and think of the more than $10 trillion that went to Wall Street and the banks after the economic meltdown, I wonder why as a nation we can’t help working folks make $10 an hour, at a minimum.

Let’s do some back-of-the-envelope math. If a person works 40 hours a week at $10 an hour, that comes out to a total of $400 a week. This is roughly $20,000 a year.

According to the federal government, the poverty level for a family of four is just over $23,000 a year.

Republicans have, for the most part, opposed such a measure, citing the negative impact it could have on employment and the economy.

They might be advised to re-examine their position.

The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 since July 2009, when it was raised from $6.55 an hour, although some states have enacted a higher minimum wage.

Since then the federal minimum has not kept pace with inflation, which has risen around 9 percent since the last wage increase.

In 1990 the minimum wage was $3.90. It has just barely doubled in more than 24 years!

…Whatever the outcome of the upcoming November elections, the fact is that the GOP is not a majority party and will face an uphill battle winning any national presidential race in the future, if it continues to ignore working voters.

Supporting a minimum wage increase is a good move for the country and the smart move for the GOP as it hopes to attract votes from lower-income, struggling American families and those of us that want them to succeed.

Because if they succeed, we all succeed.

Photo: pbarcas via Flickr

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