GOP Worships the “Hand,” Disrespects Those Who Work with Them
The consistent theme is that Republicans don’t want to control corporations at all. Their mantra is: Let the hand do its work!
Historically, that hasn’t gone so well for workers and citizens. From air pollution to worker health to product safety, the hand has failed to protect the people. Without laws safeguarding quality and purity, “swill milk,” sold by “dairymen” who knew it was dangerous, killed 8,000 babies a year in New York City in the 1850s. Without laws regulating pollution, smog from mills in Donora killed 22 people and sickened 13,000 nearly a century later in 1948. Without laws or adequate government enforcement, workplace exposure has killed – and still kills to this day – untold thousands of workers, including far too many painfully struggling for breath from asbestosis, silicosis and black lung.
Knowing that history, Americans support government regulation. Wall Street is a perfect example. Gambling on Wall Street caused the Crash of 1929. Government responded with the Glass-Steagall regulations in 1933. Wall Street persuaded Congress to repeal them in 1999, then resumed gambling and crashed the economy again in 2008, after which Americans strongly supported restoring financial regulation.
Similarly, Americans support government-mandated raises for low-income workers now. An overwhelming majority – 71 percent – wants the government to increase minimum wage. USAToday/PewResearch conducted that poll after President Obama called for raising minimum wage to $9 and linking future increases to inflation.
Another important poll taken after President Obama’s call was conducted by the IGM Forum, which is run by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. The Forum asked a group of top economists whether they thought increasing the minimum wage to $9 was worth any potential disadvantages. When weighted by their confidence, the poll found 62 percent agreed the raise was worth the risk.
It seems wise in a democracy to go with the judgment of the great majority of citizens and experts rather than with the invisible fist, which has proven itself evil and which, at this moment, has low-wage workers down for the count.