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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin Makes It Illegal To Establish A Minimum Wage

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin Makes It Illegal To Establish A Minimum Wage

In a move that fits seamlessly into the GOP’s War on the War on Poverty, Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin (R) has signed a bill into law that prohibits cities in the state from establishing mandatory minimum wages or vacation and sick-day requirements. The new law’s proponents claim that such a ban is necessary for economic homogeneity across the state, as allowing different municipalities to have different minimum wages could draw work disproportionately away from or towards certain cities. In essence, it seems that the logic goes something like this — if we all lose together, we practically win together.

According to Rep. Randy Grau (R-Edmond), the bill’s main supporter in the House, the ban provides “safeguards that protect small businesses and consumers,” while raising the minimum wage “could derail local economies in a matter of months.” According to Grau, without a “level playing field” across the state, it seems that economic prosperity would all but perish. Currently, Oklahoma’s minimum wage stands at $7.25, equal to the federal level.

The bill was officially passed by Oklahoma’s House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Oklahoma’s new law comes only two months after Governor Fallin, the chair of the National Governors Association, led a national conference of governors that clashed over President Obama’s proposal to increase the national minimum wage to $10.10. In February, Obama signed an executive order that required federal contractors to pay their employees $10.10 an hour. But Gov. Fallin, along with many of her Republican colleagues, found the minimum-wage hike to be poor planning.

Claiming that the market would “take care of itself,” Governor Fallin insisted that a higher minimum wage was not only unnecessary, but actively harmful to the American economy.

“I’m not for increasing the minimum wage because I’m concerned it would destroy jobs, especially for small-business owners,” she said at the time. Her concerns were quickly echoed by GOP leaders, who latched onto a Congressional Budget Office report that said raising the minimum wage by nearly $3 could reduce jobs in 2016 by about 500,000. Of course, the CBO also found that approximately 45 million Americans would fall below the poverty line in 2016 if the minimum wage were to remain at its current level. That finding was handily ignored.

Many critics say that Fallin’s new measure unfairly targets Oklahoma City, where proponents of Obama’s $10.10 wage are collecting signatures to support the increase. The author of the initiative petition, lawyer David Slain, told the Associated Press that he was disappointed that state lawmakers “would vote in such a way to take the right of the people to decide minimum wage.”

In a press release on Monday, Governor Fallin insisted that increasing the minimum wage is not the path out of poverty that Democrats suggest it is, stating:

“Most minimum-wage workers are young, single people working part-time or entry-level jobs. Many are high school or college students living with their parents in middle-class families. Mandating an increase in the minimum wage would require businesses to fire many of those part-time workers. It would create a hardship for small business owners, stifle job creation and increase costs for consumers, and it would do all of these things without even addressing the goal of reducing poverty.”

Governor Fallin, once again, seemed to ignore the CBO’s report that such an increase could boost collective earnings by $31 billion for 33 million low-wage workers and bring an estimated 900,000 people out of poverty. But who’s counting?

 Photo: pbarcas via Flickr

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  • Daniel Jones

    Republicans fight the War *For* Poverty.

  • Ironballs Mcgillicutty

    I’m sorry but I don’t get those Oklahoma voters. All of those struggling working people there that go and vote for the party that says right up front that the minimum will never go beyond $7.25 on our watch, and that you’ll never have vacation pay or sick leave. Furthermore we’re stopping the medicare expansion and we’re sending reps to Washington to suspend your unemployment benefits and repeal your ACA health care. To go against your own self interest any more than that you’d have to literally go f*ck yourself.

    Oklahoma is not a wealthy state. There are a lot of chickens voting for Colonel Sanders there. Well, the ones who are still allowed to vote anyway.

    • Dominick Vila

      These are the same people who oppose organized labor because of its focused on higher wages and better benefits. We have to go no further than looking at what happened during the Third Reich to understand the effectiveness of brainwashing, and when it comes to convincing people that voting against their own interests is the way to go, the GOP is second to none.

      • CPAinNewYork

        You’re right: many people are really stupid.

  • Dominick Vila

    I bet the same people who want to make the minimum wage, paid vacations, and paid sick leave illegal don’t have a problem with the redistribution of public funds to large corporations and the elite. Their problem is limited to anything that helps the middle class and the poor. Incredibly, many of those directly affected by policies like the ones proposed by the Republican Governor of Oklahoma are planning to vote Republican! Is it ignorance, ideology, other issues that are more important to them than their own well being, or all of the above?

    • jointerjohn

      These are the same hypocrites who clamor for local control of schools, decentralization of government, and free and open markets. Now, when a municipality proposes to exercise those fundamentals, the state steps in and stops them. Is there anyone left out there who still believes the current republican party is sincere about anything they say? They have proven time and time again they don’t actually believe in anything. Every issue is simply a word-game they play to further the accumulation of all wealth and power into the hands of the few and keep it out of the hands of the many. Ignore what they say and watch what they do, you will become liberated by the discovery.

      • Allan Richardson

        Local control of schools was fine when most local school boards were conservative; now that some have begun to realize that liberal policies make more sense, the red states have begun restricting them also.

        Here in Georgia we have two predominantly Democratic voting counties containing the city of Atlanta: Fulton and Dekalb. They are surrounded by mostly “red” voting suburban counties. In the latest redistricting, the GOP majority of the Assembly took little slivers of Fulton County and added them to districts which are mostly in the suburbs. By the legal definition of “local delegation” the Fulton County local delegation consists of those Representatives and Senators whose districts include ANY part of Fulton County. So now the “local” Fulton delegation to each house of the Assembly includes the members elected by voters IN Fulton County, AND a larger number elected by voters in neighboring counties with a small minority, each, in Fulton. And thus the Republicans have control of state laws affecting the most heavily Democratic county in the state. And today’s Republicans do not make up their own minds about anything that is in the party platform; they vote the straight party line.

        • jointerjohn

          This will make it very interesting to see how the clash of today’s republican party with the Rand Paul pretend-libertarians plays out. As you have reinforced by example, the party establishment is a bunch of absolute control freaks. In comes an ambitionist with a libertarian sales-pitch, and the sparks will begin to fly. Libertarianism and today’s republican party are completely incompatible. Just imagine how Senator Paul would explain the Oklahoma Governor’s position on this. His only available option will be to attack minimum wage. Watching them destroy each other is my favorite sport. Fortunately there is a game going on 24-7.

    • Vintagechick

      I believe you are basically correct, but I take exception to her comment about “Most minimum-wage workers are young, single people working part-time or entry-level jobs. Many are high school or college students living with their parents in middle-class families.” Although not in Oklahoma, (unfortunately in PA which is equal or worse, in my opinion), I find that there are a great number of adults working at least 2 jobs at minimum wage and trying to survive. To state that “most” are young, is either ignorant or just blindingly stupid.

      • Allan Richardson

        Everybody but Republicans already knows that! It’s one of their favorite diversionary tactics (“but what about Johnnie or Janie trying to save up money for the prom?”), combined with the “loss of jobs” scare.

      • CPAinNewYork

        Politicians aren’t that stupid, but they’re given to mouthing phony facts to win an argument. In Biblical times, “forty” was actively used in literature to mean “many”. We had the great flood, which lasted forty days. In literature, we had Ali Baba and his forty thieves.

        The point is, don’t take what politicians, government officials and authors say literally. When Ms. Fallin says “many” or “most”, she’s just trying to outmaneuver the opposition.

    • latebloomingrandma

      Not to mention that this state keeps sending James Inhofe back to the Senate. He is considered to be among the stupidest Senators.

    • CPAinNewYork

      It is basic stupidity.

  • Moshulu

    One of the most pathetic states in the country, and of course, it’s a red state!!!

  • Mark Forsyth

    I’ve yet to see this sorry bunch of republicans find and support anything that will create livable wage paying jobs.They are fond of pushing the concept,[a lie],that every proposal,every plan,and every program designed to help working class people is a job killer.No doubt Gov.Fallin supports states rights.

  • stsintl

    Isn’t it interesting that the Neo-Capitalists, and their Republican stooges, don’t want government interference in their businesses, unless it constraints their profit margins and campaign donations.

  • doumor_99

    Geez I wonder if she considered the cost of living from East to West. Did she cap the price increases to help with the cost of living for the people she just trapped.

  • Lynda Groom

    Oklahoma has 21.4% of its citizens w/o health care insurance. Literacy levels are abysmal. A full 12% of adults read at 3rd grade level or below. A full 31% adults read at between 4th to 7th grade level. In short, 43% are functionally illiterate so they most likely are unaware of the governors actions. One good bright spot is that as of last October the rate of unemployment was about 5.5%.

  • rockcut

    As a Sooner graduatre and a big Sooner football fan, I am embrassed by the thinking of the Gov. of Oklahoma. I am sure glad I only went to school there and do not have to live in a state that has officals that are so openly against the poor. I guess they do not take to heart the prayer “There but the grace of God go I”

  • jnap

    When is the working American going to rise up and confront those that are determined to keep them in poverty? Rise up workers before you become slaves.

    • Big Oil is Watching

      when the sheeple start thinking for themselves and stop being brainwashed by the GOP and its false morality

  • Big Oil is Watching

    typical GOP thugs trying to get their slave labor in the USA for their corporate masters.. The GOP looks upon the working classes as serfs

  • jmprint

    That’s one dumb beetch!

  • ThomasBonsell

    It’s strange how a minimum wage increases would destroy jobs when it never has in the past.

    The first minimum wage a instituted in 1938 when the unemployment rate was 19%. By the summer of 1941 (end of fiscal year 1941) unemployment was 9.9%. no jobs destroyed there

    Most minimum-wage increases come under Democratic administrations, and ALL Democratic administrations since World War II have created more new jobs than have every GOP administration. Yet the GOP repeatedly relies on lies about everything to justify its existence.

  • Sand_Cat

    The GOP is right that “the market will take care of itself,” because the unregulated market operates by means of a particularly merciless and brutal social Darwinism – perfect fit for the GOP, don’t you think – and it’s almost guaranteed that implementing the full Republican plan for the nation would quickly starve all those pesky poor people or force them to seek refugee status in civilized nations.

  • charleo1

    It’s always the small business, sham isn’t it? That’s put out there as an excuse to do nothing to help ordinary people, and staunch the flow of Middle Class America, now gushing into the ranks of the working poor, at an alarming rate. Even as we read yet another article where another Right Wing Government, is ratcheting the noose ever tighter around the neck of working Americans.The reality is, building a robust consumer class in China, South East Asia, or N. Africa, will take years, and a considerable amount of capital before it’s accomplished. However, with the 1.4 billion customers in China alone, the potential profits are enormous. Unimaginable, really. And I do hope hard working Americans, who’s labor is being pilfered at this very moment to
    pay for it, feel their sacrifice, more accurately, their involuntary contribution, is
    worth it. Although, I fail to see how empowering the Communist Gov. in Beijing, by running the economy here, in the ground, is something a lot of
    Americans would support, if they had ant idea what was happening.

  • Independent1

    It sounds like Oklahoma and my state of Maine are trying to see which one of them can be governed by the most radical governor. As bad as Mary Fallin sounds though, I still think Paul LePage here in Maine is more radical. Not only has he recently vetoed several bills passed by the state legislature via bipartisan votes, one which would provide Medicaid expansion, another to raise the minimum wage and another for allowing first responders to use the new drug that can stop opiate overdoses. And then today, he’s threatening to veto a budget bill passed by the House via a 136-8 vote and by the Senate via 35-0 vote which would fix a lot of budgetary problems facing Maine’s healthcare and educational sectors; his complaint being that the bill would force hospitals to wait 12 days in order to get reimbursed for healthcare they provide to patients covered by Medicaid.

    • toptwome

      Well one thing good for you is your legislature. We can hope that a state like Maine could get rid of the republican governor and vote for a Democrat to replace him. We have seen too many republican governors and legislatures going republican and then there Is no hope at all for anything that will benefit the people.

  • toptwome

    Well isn’t that special. God save us from the destructive antics of the GOP. They can’t be that horrid or can they? I really have nothing nice to say about republicans who are so deceptive and so determined to lie, hate and spew venom. This is anti-American to say you can’t have a minimum wage. I hope that makes a lot of voters mad and ready to vote.

  • Mikey7a

    According to Rep. Randy Grau (R-Edmond), the bill’s main supporter in the House, the ban provides ”safeguards that protect small businesses and consumers,” while raising the minimum wage “could derail local economies in a matter of months.”

    If the “consumers” cannot afford to shop at your small business, due to their miserable wages, you will have to lay off employees, and quite possibly CLOSE your doors anyway. That in turn, would be bad for the economy. So how does the above statement by Mr. Grau, make ANY sense to anyone making minimum wage?

  • Budjob

    WOW!! Canada is looking better everyday!!! The hopelessly and helplessly SCREWED UP!!!

  • CamCubed

    When people say “Third World country”, they immediately generate an image of a country covered in rainforest, inhabited by illiterate brown people wielding spears and wearing fig leaves. Problem is, most developing nations that we would stick with that label are actually pretty technologically advanced.

    So, what distinguishes a developing nation from the “developed 1st World”? The status of its economic prosperity. This is reflected in a number of indexes, from national GDP to living standards. Many “3rd World” nations have immense GDPs due to their exportation of highly desired natural resources. Yet, their people do not enjoy that wealth, only the top percentage of those actually considered citizens do. Thus, high GDP does not always reflect in high standards of living. Suffice to say, the USA is headed right for that same status, ironically fulfilling our European predecessors’ predictions.

    The only thing keeping conservatives and vulgar libertarians from recognizing America’s encroaching economic devolution is their insufferable, unjustifiable, baseless (even disproved), and downright irrational faith that the “market takes care of itself”. But since that is at the core of their entire doctrine, then America’s collapse is inevitable. They would have to accept such a massive radical change that they wouldn’t even be recognizable as American conservatives anymore.

    Yeah, like -that’s- gonna happen.

  • CPAinNewYork

    I think that Mary Fallin is a barefaced liar. She doesn’t think that raising the minimum wage will cause people to lose jobs. She just wants to protect the profits of the employers.

    Who would be so stupid as to believe drivel like that?

    Do the Republicans really believe that people are that stupid? Yeah, they do.

  • westseadoc

    I’m kind of new to “The National Memo” and I haven’t viewed enough of its stories to know if it is a neutral, liberal, or libertarian bent. It certainly isn’t a conservative one. The problem I have with “liberal” web blogs is, being independent, I often go on the side of the question that makes the most sense to me, probably 55 / 45 with a more populist bent but not a “liberal” one. It seems that every time I go against the conservative slant, I get some denigrating comments on morals or “commie” points of view, but if I go against the “liberal” slants, I get vicious character assassination comments.

    That being said, I am in favor of a raise in the national minimum wage as it is well shown that small increases do help decrease the degree of poverty of a population and improves the economy slightly. However, some well meant (???) but, IMHO misguided populist activists are seeking to make draconian raises in the minimum wage as if that will elevate the poor out of poverty. They are “correct” for a very select few. If everything eventually gets to equilibrium, you can’t legislate it away and will likely make it worse as it will stifle opportunities for the most vulnerable of citizens; the poor, those of limited education, those with little experience, etc. Additionally, since labor is the largest expense of a small business, anything that increases labor costs will, at some time, either force an owner to cut other benefits or expenses, their own pay (that’s another question entirely), or go out of business. An owner will not have to be insolvent to choose to close a business; one might close it because the amount of compensation for the risk and effort expended to stay in business is more than it is worth, for instance. Instead, since the greatest driver of poverty (other than teen age pregnancy) is education. If we accept a common mantra (that might be inaccurate) — that around 50% of the people are not educated adequately for what will constitute the jobs of the future, we must make education a priority. Anything also that stifles job creation is worse in the longer run, than low paying jobs. One can always work more than one job, if enough jobs are available but zero is still zero, if there are no jobs available. The cost of opportunity loss is a worse problem for any number of reasons that go beyond immediate dollars, including experience, self-esteem, etc. I would propose, instead of any major increases in minimum wage, that businesses be assessed a small tax that would be targeted specifically for worker training and retraining as grants and scholarships. Therefore, those most willing to work for their future won’t have costs as the main barrier; this particularly benefits the poor, the youth, and the displaced from lack of training.

  • Chris

    I’ve always been republican, but I’m switching to democrat. Fallin passed a bill last year updating workers comp for hernias. I got a hernia at work and workers comp won’t cover me now. I have to pay $2000 out of pocket for getting injured at work. All because I couldn’t say the exact time amount of weight I was lifting and I didn’t feel a sharp pain when I got a hernia. But the injury undoubtedly happened at work and now I’ve lost my savings and vacation to take care of my medical bills.