The worst Democrat in Congress

Henry Cuellar (D-TX), widely considered the most conservative Democrat in Congress, and already notorious for firing a pregnant staffer (details here) even before the FBI raided his house in what looks to possibly be a bribery investigation (details here), thinks the $7.25 federal minimum wage is too high for a broad swath of workers.

So he’s joined forces with Republicans in sponsoring a bill to eliminate federal minimum wage and overtime pay protections for gig workers, which creative employers could apply to any flexibly scheduled workers, potentially affecting millions of wage earners (read details here).

This won’t pass in the current Congress, and it’s unlikely any other Democrats would support it. And with 11 million job vacancies in the economy, it’s also unlikely anyone will work for less than $7.25 once they figure out what the job actually pays.

It’s another effort by conservatives to get taxpayers to pay employers’ wage costs. People do work in jobs paying too little to live on, but only because the government provides them with housing vouchers, food assistance, Medicaid, and other welfare.

Laws requiring employers to pay livable wages are really taxpayer protection acts. They prevent those employers from dumping their labor costs on taxpayer-funded welfare programs, instead of passing them through to customers in the prices of goods and services. Subsidizing their labor costs also allows them to compete unfairly against companies paying their full labor costs.

Don’t expect anything good from Republicans when it comes to workers and labor legislation. But it’s disheartening to see a Democrat behaving like a Republican against workers.

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