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Why Michael Moore's Hot Take on Minimum Wage Is All Wrong

Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

One of Democrats' liberal wish list items is to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25-an-hour to $15-an-hour. It was that very progressive item that stalled the American Rescue Plan, President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID "relief" bill. 


Every Republican and a handful of Democrats said they believe the federal minimum wage increase should be considered in a separate package, not tied to any kind of pandemic-related aid. Democrats pushed full-steam ahead, even after Senate parliamentarian said the minimum wage being part of the COVID relief bill was a violation of the Byrd rule. The rule was established to prevent "extraneous provisions" from being part of the budget reconciliation process. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) pushed for the minimum wage provision to be reincluded in the American Rescue Plan, which failed to pass. But what's amazing is the number of people who really have no idea what's in the bill, including those, like Michael Moore, who are pushing for the minimum wage increase.

"I know. It's crazy. You would think they would just latch themselves onto this: free checks, children being lifted out of poverty, making sure that – God, just telling anybody that they're working for $7.25-an-hour and then tell them the next day, 'Hey, we just doubled your pay. It's now $15-an-hour,' wow, that's really going to turn the voters off," he said, mocking Republican members of Congress.


Even if the minimum wage provision was added back, passed, and signed into law, Moore is wrong about how this would change over time. The minimum wage increase wouldn't happen the next day. It would be phased in over the next five years. 

The minimum wage would increase to $9.50 beginning on whatever date Congress set. It would then rise to $11-an-hour in year one, $12.50-an-hour in year two, $14-an-hour in year three, and $15-an-hour beginning in year four. 

If people like Moore want to be talking heads that make legislation sound "common sense" then they need to do their due diligence and at least know the very basics of what the bill would and could do. While it's understandable for those who are unfamiliar with the legislative process to assume that laws immediately go into effect, Moore should know better. It's politics and government 101 to know that a law takes time to be implemented.

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