Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Lots of stuff happening...

Over the last several days lots of things have been happening around the American Political system.  It has been so busy that I haven't been able to keep up, get the information processed and written down here, or somewhere else.  So, I have a bunch of half completed entries sitting around, along with some other things, but this one I had to stop and finish.

I cannot let this one go right now.  I find it amusing, as sad as it is, it might appear that Scott Walker of Wisconsin has some more issues.  As I understand the current political climate there, his seat is undergoing severe climate change, I mean severe seat warming.

So here is the situational report, Wisconsin apparently has a law on the books that deals directly with wages.  Yeah, I checked, it is there.  Loud and proud as they say.  Here are the chapters of the law in question.
104.02 Living wage prescribed. Every wage paid or agreed to be paid by any employer to any employee, except as otherwise provided in s. 104.07, shall be not less than a living wage.
104.03 Unlawful wages. Any employer paying, offering to pay, or agreeing to pay any employee a wage lower or less in value than a living wage is guilty of a violation of this chapter.
It goes on to discuss who does or does not qualify for said living wage.  Now I would place good money on the fact that Walker is going to point at the first section of the law 104.001, but that only states that " A city, village, town, or county may not enact and administer an ordinance establishing a living wage."  So, Walker refusing to do anything to #RaiseTheWage is actually a violation of state law.

Nothing really new here, the GOP loves to ignore the law, but the wrinkle is, the good folk of Wisconsin have gotten wise to this, and filed around 100 complaints with his office, which will force him to investigate the claims, and take some type of action.  Sadly, I figure I have this outcome pegged, and the net result will not be a raise of wages.  In a very real sense, these people are getting hosed by their employers, but they are about to get hosed by their state government as well.  We will leave the federal government out of this for now, because its a lost cause as long as people continue to elect the GOP into a majority.

So what is going to happen you ask.  Well, here is how I am going to call it, right or wrong.  Walker will spend the next week trying to find a way to wiggle out of doing anything.  With nearly 100 complaints, he won't be able to do much of anything, except his job.  His office will look into it, and will do everything it can to attack those who filed the complaints, rather than what can be done to solve the problem, which means eating some crow and raising the minimum wage.

So, this will end up in court, where precedence is rumored to be on the side of the workers, and Walker will be forced by the Wisconsin Supreme Court to raise the wage.   Doing the research on it, I found where there was a proposed rule change by the Wage and Hour Division.  It didn't pass the Wisconsin congress, and it was dealing with a specific segment of the population, just like the collective bargaining ban there is.  So it plays out, Walker either ignores the complaints, or says that it is harmful to raise the wage.  The people behind the complaints sue, the "liberal judges" vote to force a raise, the "conservative judges" vote to keep the wage the same.  It gets appealed if the liberal judges win, and the higher court shoots it down.  If the conservative judges win, it gets appealed and the workers get hosed. 

Even if I am skeptical about the workers actually getting their way, its a battle that needs to be fought.  Sure, it is going to waste money, something the GOP is great at, but it will slowly start proving a point.  $7.25-10 an hour is not enough to live in most places, and Wisconsin is one of them. 

I have often lamented that raising the wage does not work.  I honestly believe that raising it does nothing more than make things worse, but I also believe that when people make so little ($217 a week after taxes) it creates a depression within the economy.  The less people make, the less they spend, which is the downward spiral.  The problem stems from the so called "cost adjustments" that come with increases in the minimum wage.   This has the same effect as people withdrawing from the economy, not spending what they earn.  All in the name of more profit.  I would challenge the likes of Target, Wal-Mart, and all others who supply items into the economy to these conditions:
Do not increase the price of products.  If you are charging forty dollars for a product you sell to Wal-Mart, but you pay your employees $8 an hour, while making a nice profit, keep your price the same.  In turn Wal-Mart who sells your product for seventy dollars keeps its price the same, you will loose money in the first months, but lets see where you are in a year.
 For some companies that will be nearly impossible, some companies will have to increase the price for their products, but that cost is nominal depending on the product, and the number of products produced.