Kentucky state senator arrested for drunk driving claims legislative immunity
Kentucky state senator Brandon Smith, a Republican, wants his drunk driving charges dismissed under an 1891 law that protects legislators from arrest while the legislature is in session. He was stopped for speeding and failed a breathalyzer test on the first day of the session.
Comment: Kentucky is famous for its whiskey. He was merely stimulating the local economy. At least that’s what he can tell voters who are wondering about this.
GOP congressman equates minorities with teenagers
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) said on C-Span last week that raising the $7.25 federal minimum wage would “rip the first rung in the ladder of opportunity for teenagers, for minorities, for people who are trying to get into the job market for their first job.”
He continued, “If your labor is an unskilled person just entering the workforce is worth say $7 an hour at a job and the minimum wage is $10, you have just been made permanently unemployable. That first rung of the economic ladder has been ripped out and you can’t get on it. That is a tragedy.”
It’s curious that he equates minority workers with teenagers. Why does he assume minority workers have no more skills or work experience than entry-level teenagers? That was a careless slip of the tongue, or more likely a telling Freudian slip. It could have been worse; at least he didn’t call them monkeys or watermelon pickers, although it appears he may have been thinking along those lines.
His argument is standard GOP fare, and it’s nonsense. Republicans would oppose increasing the minimum wage regardless of whether it was $1, $2, $5, $7.25, or $10 an hour. So what work is “worth” has nothing to do with it. Their opposition is ideological.
Their pretense of trying to help entry-level and low-skill workers get jobs is a fraud. In reality, they’re sucking up to employers who want cheap labor.
Wages aren’t determined according to what work is “worth.” They’re determined by the relative bargaining power of the parties, which is unequal, and normally favors employers in the absence of a strong union. That’s why it’s appropriate for government to put minimum wage protections in place for workers with little or no bargaining power.
In any case, Tom McClintock wouldn’t know anything about entry-level jobs, because he’s never had one. He was born to a wealthy family, and after graduating from college, went directly into political work, gradually working his way up from legislative aide to state legislator and then Congress. He’s never had a real job in the real world at any wage.