Cruel Missouri Republicans Cut Minimum Wage By 23 Percent

 

Since Republicans have been in complete control of the federal government and a majority of the states, it has become increasingly simple for any imbecile to get a fairly accurate sense of why the conservative malcontents even exist. Obviously it has nothing whatsoever to do with governing to advance the general welfare of the United States of American or the people; they exist to serve the filthy rich, evangelical extremists, bigots, and two specific foreign nations. The problem with having a white trash punk occupying the White House and distracting the public with a daily clown show is that there are myriad Republican atrocities occurring at an ever-alarming rate across the country with little-to-no media coverage.

This week in Missouri, the “Show Me State,” Republicans showed Missouri residents and the rest of the nation precisely how savage the GOP is to the people in their never-ending crusade to take from the working-class to enrich the wealthy and businesses. As this author has stated over the past decade; there is nothing, absolutely nothing that Republicans have done for the general welfare of the people going back to the Reagan era. In fact, in keeping with their typical policy of taking everything imaginable from the population, Missouri Republicans took any hope of escaping poverty for already low-wage workers; just to show how barbaric they can be.

The GOP-controlled state legislature passed a law forbidding any municipality in the state from raising the minimum wage. It is a practice that state-level Republicans have been implementing regularly since the people’s movement to “raise the wage” began gaining support.  But Missouri is the “Show me State,” and to show the nation their cruel intentions they made matters that much worse; they cut the St. Louis area’s minimum wage by nearly 25 percent; from $10.00 an hour to $7.70.

What started this most recent Republican outrage is what typically incites Republicans to barbarism; someone did something that benefitted Americans and in this case it was a city’s assistance for low-wage workers in the St. Louis city limits. The state GOP passed a “preemption” law forbidding localities from helping their workforce climb out of poverty. Missouri’s Republican governor, Eric Greitens, said he will allow the law to go into effect to ban cities and counties statewide from raising the minimum wage one penny higher than the Republican approved minimum.

The downgrade will officially go into effect on August 28 and for poverty wage workers in St. Louis, their wages will be “pushed back down” to where state Republicans say they belong; from $10 to $7.70 per hour.

As is typically the case, Republicans claim that paying workers more than slave wages will kill jobs – a claim that has been debunked regularly. The state’s governor is too much of a coward to sign the bill into law and make it his own, so he is just letting it go into effect. Missouri’s Constitution only requires a governor’s signature if they intend to veto a piece of legislation. Still, those workers in St. Louis will remember who is responsible for cutting their wages over a regularly debunked Republican lie. The governor said Republicans had to cut existing wages by 23 percent in a couple of months to save jobs. Greitens said,  “the St. Louis minimum wage would kill jobs. And despite what you hear from liberals, it will take money out of people’s pockets.”

Greitens statement is contrary to the facts and he knows it, but he is a Republican and lying to enrich business is one of the primary reasons he is in politics; it is obviously not to help the people. Raising the minimum wage from “slave level” to just poverty level does not impact jobs negatively, but it does help the workers survive and that is abhorrent to Republicans.

According to one of myriad economists’ studies, a minimum wage increase in one area does not affect the level of employment in surrounding areas.  According to a research economist with the Center for Equitable Growth, Ben Zipperer; “At least at the county level, on average, we don’t see major spillover effects.”

One study conducted by U.C. Berkeley researchers revealed that even though the restaurant industry employs mostly low-wage workers, they found that among San Francisco restaurants, a 2004 wage hike from $6.75 to $8.50 had absolutely “no effect on employment growth.”

The city of St. Louis originally passed the small, incremental minimum wage hike two years ago, and business groups immediately filed suit to stop it. However, their efforts were temporarily thwarted when the case went to the Missouri Supreme Court where Justices ruled the St. Louis wage hike was lawful. Undeterred, Republicans rushed to defend business, passed the new state preemption law, and effectively rendered the Court’s ruling irrelevant. St. Louis workers will get a wage cut from $10 to $7.70 per hour and no other municipality in Missouri will ever raise the minimum wage again.

This nasty Republican and Koch brother idea of passing preemption laws has become wildly popular in GOP-controlled states, especially since more cities and counties have tried to help their workforces by doing what state and federal Republicans refuse to do on principle; raise the minimum wage. And since big business groups haven’t yet gained control over localities, they just pay Republican state legislators and governors to block them from the state capitol.

Right now, at least 17 (Republican) states have preemption laws banning localities from enacting minimum wage legislation, according to the National League of Cities. And it is noteworthy to mention that while raising the minimum wage is wildly popular among the population, Republican donors have been arguing vehemently against them with great success. And the business community has the Koch brothers money, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) behind them creating all the “model preemption legislation” Republicans and big business need to keep workers poor earning wages at below poverty levels.

With the level of success the Koch-funded ALEC is having giving Republican state legislatures a means of keeping low-wage Americans in poverty, it is not a stretch to predict that Republicans in Congress will take the “preemption legislation” to heart, and ban the states from helping their citizens climb out of poverty.

Missouri Allows Employers To Fire Women For Using Birth Control

For human beings that live in a free society, it is impossible to imagine how horrible it would be to live in an uncivilized Hell where it is necessary to pass a law to protect a woman’s personal freedoms and privacy. In a free society, those personal freedoms and privacy are generally guaranteed to all citizens, so it would never be necessary to even consider a law that protected women from being punished for anything legal, much less for their personal choices. Conversely, patriarchal theocracies controlled by a religious sect would likely forbid such a law from being considered in the first place, much less debated and passed.

In the American state of Missouri, when a city had to pass an ordinance that prohibited employers and landlords from punishing women for exercising their legal Constitutional right to use contraceptive birth control, the religious Republican legislature and governor reacted like the Taliban – minus the guns.

The religious Republicans running the state of Missouri, under direction from the religious Republican Missouri governor, are deep into the process of enacting legislation granting religious individuals authority to punish women if they dare exercise their Constitutionally-protected freedom to use birth control or have an abortion without facing the wrath of the religious right. It is important to note, this is Missouri in America, the Show Me State. And the religious Republicans are showing the nation they are doing exactly what this author has warned about for a decade; use their ugly, savage, insidious religion to control women by punishing them for disobedience. The Missouri Republicans initial form of punishment is being fired and homeless, or become a slave birth machine for evangelical Jesus and the Vatican.

The anti-women legislation was the subject of a “special legislative sessionconvened by Missouri Governor Eric Greitens to put a screeching halt to a recently-passed ordinance that “prevents employers and housing providers from punishing women for their “reproductive healthcare choices.” The focus of the special session was to, as quickly as possible, overturn what in a civilized society should have been a completely unnecessary ordinance. Apparently, the city of St. Louis must not feel Missouri is civilized if they had to pass a law to protect women’s personal privacy and freedoms already guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.

The ordinance enraged religious Republicans in the governor’s mansion and both chambers of the state legislature that concurred with the governor; the St. Louis ordinance is “a radical attempt” to transform the area into “an abortion sanctuary city.” So the state’s House and Senate quickly passed SB5 on June 14  to put women back under religious men’s control. But still, the legislation wasn’t nearly harsh enough so six days later (June 20) the Republican House passed “an expanded version of SB5” awaiting Senate passage and the governor’s promised signature.

The new and improved SB5 authorizes any landlord or housing provider to refuse housing to any woman based on their reproductive health choices, such as using birth control or if they ever had or contemplate having an abortion. And a landlord can evict a woman for using birth control, having or had an abortion, or for “becoming pregnant while unmarried.

Employers will have the power to fire any “female staff members” who use birth control, or refuse to hire them for being “non-compliant” to a church-driven edict. And to skirt any federal or state privacy laws, particularly medical privacy laws, the theocratic SB5 authorizes employers and landlords access to “what forms of reproductive health care they are using.”  Obviously, men who have had a vasectomy or use “rubbers” are exempted from religious control.

This hideous religious legislation, and that is all it is, puts the great majority of Missouri women at risk of losing their employment or their residence according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) because,

99 percent of all sexually-active, reproductive-age women have used contraception.”

As Sejal Singh of “Feministing” opined, “whether or not someone is part of that 99% is none of their boss’ goddamn business.” Missouri’s religious right Republicans, like all nasty religious right Republicans, disagree that it is none of their business. They claim it is their biblical right to “invasively give employers and landlords power to police highly personal choices women make about their bodies and lives.

There is already a federal law, the Federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against women because they have had or considered having an abortion, but there is no specific federal legislation protecting women from being punished for using some form of birth control, or becoming pregnant while unmarried; in a free society there is no need for those kinds of legislation. However, in Trump’s savage America, his evangelical administration is frantically rolling back or stripping civil rights protections across the board, and with a conservative Supreme Court anxious to expand evangelicals’ religious liberty to impose biblical edicts as the law of the land, women are in serious peril and not just in Missouri.

Most Americans oppose being ruled by a theocracy, and yet that is precisely what is unfolding now that religious Republicans own the federal government. All of these anti-women’s choice measures are attempts by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to exert control over American women and impose the Vatican’s 1968 Humanae Vitae that forbids sexual activity not intended to produce offspring.

A major reason this religious savagery continues unabated is because the media, Democrats, and women’s rights activists and advocates are terrified to cite the only source of any and all of these anti-women laws. Until the media, women’s rights activists, and Democrats start citing the Vatican and evangelical fundamentalism as the only source of terror being inflicted on American women, legislation like Missouri’s SB5 will continue spreading across the land. And with an evangelical maniac like Mike Pence directing Trump’s domestic policy, Americans can look for more extreme versions of SB5 being enacted at the federal level.