Republicans In This State Just Sent A Huge ‘F**K YOU!’ To Workers AND Democracy With One Terrible Move

It’s the lame duck session for Ohio’s legislature, which means they’re going bananas pushing “Christmas tree” bills — and measures added to bills — through before their term ends. This process tends to favor the majority party, which is the Republican Party, and they’ve already made headlines for two unconstitutionally restrictive anti-abortion bills, as well as an aptly-named “guns everywhere” bill.

And that’s still not enough for Ohio Republicans. In their latest act of legislative war, they’ve taken aim at labor and local democracy. How? By adding a measure banning local municipalities from raising the minimum wage to a bill against bestiality, of all things. Governor Kasich has not yet stated whether or not he will sign, but Republican legislators are optimistic.

It should be noted that an anti-bestiality bill passed the Ohio Senate with bipartisan support earlier in the term.

This measure appears mostly aimed at the city of Cleveland, which is about to vote on whether to raise the minimum wage locally to $15 over the next few years. A local group in Cincinnati, Cincinnatians for a Strong Economy, wants to do the same.

Republicans generally claim to be in favor of local government — after all, who knows the needs of a given city or state better than the people that live there? However, incidents like this have made it clear that individual matters of ideological concern trump “principles” every time in the GOP.

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It should be noted that this is merely coming from a place of ideological support and politics — there is absolutely no evidence that banning cities from raising the minimum wage is good for the economy. See, until 2012, only five local districts in the entire country had minimum wage laws. Since then, dozens more have followed suit, allowing for numerous case studies on whether or not a local minimum wage raise “kills jobs,” as Republicans claim, as opposed to accomplishing that dastardly progressive agenda of keeping workers out of poverty.

In many cases, large cities — which typically have higher cost-to-live and unique economic considerations — are a better choice for a minimum wage raise than an entire state, anyway. Take Seattle, for example, which saw the nation’s first $15 minimum wage law (although San Francisco will get there faster):

As one of my colleagues wrote last week, the “unemployment rate in the city of Seattle – the tip of the spear when it comes to minimum wage experiments – has now hit a new cycle low of 3.4%.” Meanwhile, a University of Washington study on the minimum wage law found little or no evidence of job losses or business closings.

Although you can never declare a game over until the final whistle, this experiment is starting to look like a rout.

…I continue to believe that we should assess the data as it comes in, honestly and as free of bias as possible. This is a complex issue — Seattle, with its vibrant tech industry, high median household income and growing population, is different from many U.S. cities. States and cities must adjust their minimum wages to fit their local conditions; this is why a national minimum wage should rise at a pace different from the most economically vibrant locales.

Taking away the ability of local cities to determine their own economic needs is bad policy, and allowing state officials to interfere in municipal democracy is undemocratic. Not only that, but workers deserve a raise. Minimum wage nationally is $7.25, frequently referred to as “poverty wages,” and the minimum wage in Ohio — $8.10 — is not much higher. Republicans who are against welfare for human beings seem to have no trouble picking up the tab for deadbeat businesses that refuse to pay workers their fair share.

From QZ:

It could be that the fears of minimum wage opponents are overstated. One innovative 2015 study examined prices at online menus from local restaurants in San Jose, California, after the city enacted a 25% increase in minimum wages, and found that restaurants were able to accommodate higher costs of doing business through minor price increases. By looking at restaurants within a half-mile of the city’s border, they were also able to demonstrate results “challenging the suggestion that local minimum wages disadvantage a city’s economic competitiveness.” These experiments, however, have benefitted from the steady growth of the Obama economy, with its record 72 months of labor market expansion.

With Donald Trump’s presidency on the horizon, Democrats locked out of national influence will no doubt continue to press a progressive agenda locally, in the cities and states where they have more sway. But as wage floors rise, especially in jurisdictions with older or shrinking populations, they will have to be pragmatic about overreach, keeping in mind the lesson of Kansas’ Republican governor Sam Brownback, who enacted a radical agenda in his state as an example to the nation—a conservative one, rather than a progressive one, it should be noted—and saw the local economy crumble.

It’s just a fact — liberals are better at managing the economy. That’s what history and the facts show. This is undemocratic and anti-labor — in other words, everything the GOP stands for.


Featured image via Alex Wong/Getty Images