The Looming Fight To The Death On The #MinimumWage | #FightFor15 on Blog#42

The top three presidential candidates have stated their positions on the #FightFor15. Meanwhile, there is a new fight looming on the horizon and the first trial balloon may well have just been released in Alabama.

The New York Times reports that Alabama’s state legislature is looking into ways it can stop the city of Birmingham from instituting its own higher minimum wage. This might be the start of a trend that counters efforts by cities in other states to increase the depressed wages of its residents, in order to stem the flood of homeless families we should be calling “precariat.” In Los Angeles alone, there are nearly 50,000 homeless and hundreds of thousands more living precariously. By far, those among them who are educated, perfectly employable, employed, and not typical of those we all imagine as candidates for homelessness, outrank those who do. The same scenario exists in other big cities like New York, Boston, DC, and on…

“The Alabama Senate is expected as soon as this week to consider a proposal, which the House approved overwhelmingly last week, that supporters believe would effectively end Birmingham’s ambitions for its own minimum wage of $10.10 an hour.”

Imagine, Alabama is fighting a minimum wage rate that is no longer in contention after several unions have taken national, the fight for a living wage. Cities like Seattle, Los Angeles and others already have $15 an hour minimum wage laws on their books. Can you imagine if, down the line, due to a change in the makeup of those state legislature, there were an effort to roll back such laws? Our current constitutional set-up gives states and localities powers over the management of their affairs, and while the law of the land, Federal law, can only be exceeded but not reduced in many cases, there are many devices by which states can effectively reduce what federal law mandates when they are tasked with managing funds for a specific purpose. This is true, for example of block grants, which very often, states “adapt” in the way they see fit, often changing the original intent of the law under which they are disbursed. Adding to that ability, the reversal of local measures by state legislatures and governors, would completely stifle the democratic process in a huge chunk of the nation, namely, red states.

When this issue is placed against the backdrop of this year’s primary elections, it makes the choice of candidate especially crucial. We know that, to a man, all of the remaining Republican candidates are opposed to raising the minimum wage. What of the Democrats who are running?

Here is Hillary Clinton on the #FightFor15

Here is Bernie Sanders’ position

One last consideration is this one, as of January and February, states are free to reduce SNAP benefits as they wish, with the majority of red states already having signaled that they will, especially when it comes to childless single recipients, including older men and women, women of color, as well as families with children. Interdicting local higher minimum wage laws and reducing basic food aid to populations of working poor is especially cruel and, even in a political state where majorities are already able to obstruct, even more undemocratic. This election is the culmination of a fight for survival that crosses race and gender, with class as the common denominator.

Take heed, and don’t let your vote go to waste!

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