July 31, 2006

Republicans Screw the Little Guy, Again

How often have you seen a good progressive idea catch fire at the local or state level, only to be suppressed at the federal level? This has been the gambit corporations have been using for the past couple of decades to make sure new ideas or new policies will be smothered at birth. Now that the Republicans have a monopoly, they are using this tactic for any number of issues.

A couple of examples:

  • A number states were successfully regulating tobacco companies and spreading their ideas of what was working to rein in that deadly business. When it became too effective, the tobacco companies went to their friends in the Congress to "nationalize" the issue. And when it was "nationalized", the really good ideas got suppressed and the companies got to shape regulations that had some unexpected consequences, including using anti-tobacco ads to attract new teen smokers.

  • States had been defining food safety regulations in order to protect their citizens from food-borne illnesses. Then in 2004 the Republican Congress tried to pass a law that they said would bring more "uniformity" to the rules that food sellers and processors had to follow. Passed by the House this year, this bill would nullify over 200 local or state regulations including California's landmark Proposition 65.

    A major target of the legislation is Prop. 65, which was approved by two-thirds of California voters in 1986 and requires labeling of substances that may cause cancer or birth defects. The law has inspired other states to follow suit with their own rules on food labeling that are more stringent than federal standards.

    (This bill has not yet passed.)

Today, Nathan Newman's dKos diary reports that the Republicans are still up to their old tricks. One of the more despicable parts of the "Minimum Wage" bill the Republican House passed was the fact that this bill is designed to limit the local minimum wage laws affecting tipped workers that have been passed by any number of states and locales. According to the Republicans even though Californians have housing costs that are more than double those of Mississippi, low wage income earners who earn tips in California should be forced to live with the same minimum wage that would make you hard pressed to make it in Mississippi. And certainly the restaurant owners who can charge twice as much for a meal in California will be happier if they don't have to pay so much for their help. Happy enough to trickle a little bit down to their workers, you think?

So who said the Republicans didn't care about ordinary Americans?

Posted by Mary at July 31, 2006 11:59 PM | Economy | Technorati links |