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Millionaire Republicans in U.S. Senate torpedo minimum wage hike

Jeremy Sprinkle
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Our fight to raise wages will continue

While the majority of U.S. senators sided with the overwhelming majority of Americans who want to see the national minimum wage raised, Senate Republicans - including Sen. Richard Burr from North Carolina - used a filibuster to block a bill on Wednesday that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10. 

"The rest of America marches forward, raising wages every way possible, utterly confident that we have history, economics, morality, and plain common sense on our side," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, in a statement after the procedural vote.

"Any political oligarch in America who thinks they won yesterday is delusional. Those celebrating the Senate’s vote are desperately clinging to greed, fooling themselves with an argument that is rapidly losing merit and muscle tone." -- Richard Trumka, 5/1/14

On Thursday, the Give America a Raise Bus Tour made stops in Greensboro and in Raleigh.

In addition to a minimum wage worker and an economist, speakers at the Raleigh bus stop included MaryBe McMillan of the NC State AFL-CIO. "Americans want an increase," said MaryBe, adding, "It will help our economy, and it is the fair and right thing to do."

"What Republicans did yesterday was mean-spirited. It was shameful, and it was just plain wrong. I guarantee you no one in Congress can live on 7.25.

"Congress needs to raise the wage, and they need to do it now because America cannot survive on 7.25." -- MaryBe McMillan

Rev. Earl Johnson of Martin Street Baptist Church called out a bunch of millionaires who have it all for denying "the least of these" more than the pittance they now earn.

"We have a bunch of millionaires in the Congress and the Senate who have everything they need - health care benefits, a monthly check that's five to six times larger than ours, and yet when it comes to taking care of the poor and 'the least of these', they have no feelings, no guts to do what is right." -- Rev. Earl Johnson

Watch highlights from the bus tour stop in Raleigh.

Rev. Johnson has it right

Writing for Blue Nation Review, Josh Dieker noted perhaps "the most ire-inducing" fact about Republican Senators voting to block an increase in the minimum wage - most of the NO votes came from millionaires!

The average net worth of a US Senator today is $2.7 million, and among Republican Senators, the average is $2.9 million. By comparison, a full time worker, making the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour earns $14,500 a year. That falls far short of the federal poverty line even for a family of just two.

Ultimately, a group of mostly white, mostly old and always ridiculous wealthy men decided that it would be too costly to increase the pay for a workforce that includes a disproportionate share of women of color, single parents, and others struggling to make ends meet each month. An increase of just $2.85 per hour was too much for these incredibly arrogant men and women.

This is what the reality of class warfare looks like. As billionaire investor Warren Buffett famously said:

"There's class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we’re winning."

However, as President Obama said after Republicans defeated the minimum wage increase this time:

If there's any good news here, it's that Republicans in Congress don't get the last word on this issue, or any issue," Mr. Obama said. "You do, the American people, the voters."

North Carolina voters will get the chance this November to re-elect Kay Hagan, the only U.S. Senator from our state who voted FOR an increase in the federal minimum wage.