Column: Our lawmakers are back in the saddle
By JIM HIGHTOWER, OtherWords
AUSTIN, Texas — They’re back. They’re rested. They’re ready!
After all, it had been a full four weeks since their last vacation in March, and meanwhile they’d been doing a lot of heavy lifting. You know — passing a jobs bill, raising the minimum wage, and extending long-term unemployment benefits for millions of desperate folks who’ve been unable to find jobs.
Yessiree, our legislative leaders have been working like mules to strengthen America’s hard-hit middle class.
Oh, wait. My mistake. They haven’t passed any of that stuff. In fact, the GOP-ruled House and Senate Republicans have been working overtime to kill any bills that might lift up America’s workaday families.Still, as you might imagine, killing bills can tucker you out, so those lawmakers (or, in this case, law-killers) undoubtedly needed a break.Sure enough, now that they’re back at the congressional grindstone, they seem full of pep and ready to say “no” again and again. Only a week after returning, for example, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell rose up on his hind legs, mustered a burst of negative energy, and zapped dead a Democratic proposal to hike America’s minimum wage.As a result of the Kentuckian’s legislative labor of love, millions of hard-working people will remain stuck in poverty-wage jobs for the foreseeable future. Who benefits from such a Dickensian effort?Big corporations. McDonald’s, Domino’s Pizza and other multibillion-dollar giants profit richly by starving their own workers.The widening chasm of income inequality in our “Land of Opportunity” is no accident — it exists and grows worse by political design. Americans would be better off if some members of Congress would just stay on vacation and never get back to work.
OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.