Republican Senator Josh Hawley has once again aligned himself with socialist Senator Bernie Sanders by announcing on Friday his plan to tax big corporations who refuse to pay their employees at least $15 an hour.
In what looks confusingly like a compromise that is coming from the left instead of a bipartisan agreement, Hawley’s plan entitled “The Blue-Collar Bonus” is an alternative to the Democrats’ proposed $15 an hour federal minimum wage increase. It goes after companies with revenues of $1 billion or more. Senator Hawley’s plan would require the minimum wage for these corporations to be indexed to the federal median wage after 2025.
“For decades, the wages of every day, working Americans have remained stagnate [sic] while monopoly corporations have consolidated industry after industry, securing record profits for CEOs and investment bankers,” Hawley’s statement claimed.
“Mega-corporations can afford to pay their workers $15 an hour, and it’s long past time they do so, but this should not come at the expense of small businesses already struggling to make it.”
Replace "Josh Hawley" with "Bernie Sanders" and you'd think this was some sort of a compromise deal from the left. https://t.co/dIfRQqPu09
— Alex (@_alex_joshua) February 26, 2021
A similar proposal came from Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden.
According to Axios, Hawley’s team estimates the cost of his pro-worker plan is somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 billion. That is sure to be met with resistance from Republicans. Hawley is pitching a three-year program that aims to increase worker wages in 2021. It would be paid by taxpayers, not employers.
Newsweek is reporting that Hawley has previously “proposed sending quarterly refundable tax credits to workers earning less than $16.50 per hour.” Only workers with valid Social Security numbers would qualify.
Hawley has previously teamed up with Sanders when he demanded $2,000 per person stimulus checks in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Hawley’s populist overtures to partner with Democrats on liberal issues such as the stimulus checks and the minimum wage are seen by many as moderate moves and non-typical for a so-called conservative.
Hawley joined Sanders on the stimulus checks, now on forcing big companies to pay $15 an hour. https://t.co/gvohHUGsjP
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) February 26, 2021
“The bill is targeting folks who are making $34,000-$35,000 a year and less,” Hawley stated. “This is targeted toward people who have been the hardest hit, who are trying to get back on their feet.”
“Federal policy has helped create, over the last 30-40 years, flatlined wages for blue-collar workers,” he continued. “We need to have a broader discussion about a number of those policy choices. A lot of it has to do with our trade policies, and the policies that we pursued with globalization, that have been very bad choices.”
On Thursday, Democrats were dealt what many saw as a mortal blow to their push for a minimum wage boost to $15 an hour when Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled that it could not be included in Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill and the budget reconciliation process. Sanders immediately countered with his proposal and Hawley jumped on the bandwagon even though he opposed the Democratic push for the increase.
Sanders blasted the decision and stated that he would craft an amendment to tax big companies that pay less than $15 an hour.
“In the coming days, I will be working with my colleagues in the Senate to move forward with an amendment to take tax deductions away from large, profitable corporations that don’t pay workers at least $15 an hour and to provide small businesses with incentives they need to raise wages,” Sanders said in a statement. “That amendment must be included in this reconciliation bill.”
Though Hawley and Sanders purportedly want the same thing, their individual plans don’t fully align especially when it comes to subsidizing wages for smaller companies.
Hawley is widely seen as a contender for the presidency in 2024.
Social media was not kind to Hawley concerning his proposed minimum wage plan:
Josh Hawley is a socialist. He's a socially conservative Bernie Sanders. Really, it's obvious at this point. He disdains free markets, small government, and fiscal conservatism, and doesn't care to pretend otherwise anymore. https://t.co/HbJkgFeciY
— Brad Polumbo 🇺🇸⚽️ 🏳️🌈 (@brad_polumbo) February 26, 2021
I have no good thoughts left for Josh Hawley.
What was the point of defeating Claire McCaskill if you're going to propose legislation Bernie Sanders might propose?
— Anna James Zeigler (@ajzeigler) February 26, 2021
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