It was good to see the number and unanimity of support for Senator Cantwell's post and her vote on the minimum wage. (The exception among the comments was a red herring thrown in on the sales tax deduction; more about that below.)
Kudos also to Jay Inslee who was all over this minimum wage bill. He used his two minutes on the House floor to hammer the key point right through the heart of the Republican sponsor and then to call him out. It is Inslee's attitude of suppressed outrage that endears him to me. Many of us feel it, but Inslee expresses it so very well. This Republican operation is sleaze and corruption, hypocrisy and dishonesty. Inslee is going to be a good and effective progressive leader for a long time to come. We need a couple three more.
Inslee's key point, of course, was that the tips issue, the effective cut in the wages of hundreds of thousands of workers in states like Washington, was a poison pill that doomed the bill from the start. The call-out was a direct challenge. He pointed out the Republican co-sponsor in an I yield my time so you can come down and tell me why this is okay (not a direct quote) type challenge. The poor fellow tried to make a brave front, but the game was up. He was reduced to: "Has the Congressman heard of these four letters -- E-I-T-C?" Then debate was cut. How lame is that? To use the Earned Income Tax Credit, a Democratic initiative from the 1990s, to say matters would somehow come out okay.
Sales tax red herring
In the comments section below the Senator's post, somebody who didn't know what he was talking about faulted Cantwell for the loss of the sales tax deduction. This will not happen. As we posted in May, Republicans used the budget rules to extend tax cuts for the rich beyond 2008, the capital gains and dividends reductions, rather than take care of elementary fairness in the sales tax deduction. Republicans realize the popularity of the sales tax deduction, and its inevitability, and want to play that tune closer to election time. Remember, Florida and Texas are also states with sales taxes and no income tax.
But even more to the point, Where was this deduction before Maria Cantwell? It wasn't.