Baby steps

The Democrats managed to pass a minimum wage increase in the Senate (from a pathetic $5.15 per hour where it has been for over 10 years to a still low $7.25 per hour); against the threat of a filibuster, Harry Reid and the gang allowed some extensions of “small business” tax breaks, offset by some millionaire executive tax increases… a lot better deal, all told, than the Republicans had gone in with.
On the whole, really a small price to pay for dramatically improving the incomes (by nearly 40%!) of those workers at the bottom of the economic ladder who were still earning the minimum wage… now that he has his tax breaks for “small business,” which somehow is never defined in terms of how lucrative the enterprise is, the President is all but committed to sign this into law, and take full credit for something he had been fighting for the first six years of his term.
The next logical step, of course, will be to automatically tie future minimum wage increases to Social Security Cost of Living Allowances (COLAs), to ensure that the Social Security system remains forever solvent. Although the House could– and should– pass that right now, reality dictates that a few more Democrats in the Senate may be needed for that to become law… as well as a Democratic President, because this President would surely veto any plan involving Social Security that is not actually intended to destroy the program.
Well… it’s on to the rest of the agenda, including a toothless statement on Iraq (again, it remains unclear to me how a troop deployment can be overridden by Congress, though the war can be de-funded whenever Congress wants), some Medicare deckchair reshuffling, some homeland security… deckchair reshuffling…
As to suggestions for further action, via digby we have this excellent suggestion from Arthur Silber on how Congress can take action right now to force the Bush Administration to back off of its planned war against Iran. Honestly, will we all just stand by as this President manages to lose not one, not two, but three wars on his watch (counting the turnaround in Afghanistan where we had previously won)? Well… if we let him, he sure as hell will… which is why Arthur suggests “don’t let him.”
Hey– the minimum wage was big, and it was important, and it looks like it’s going to become law. Something to build on… good for you, Nancy and Harry…
But apparently, we will need to build on it… with some alacrity.