Bold Moves Weekly 7/2-7/9: Missiouri State Legislature Doubles Down on Poverty

Welcome to Bold Moves Weekly, a segment where I go over what I view as the boldest move of the week. As always it’s important to note; these moves are bold as hell. They may not be good moves, they may not be intelligent, self-preservative moves, but they are certainly bold.

The Move:

For two glorious months, St. Louis lived in the lap of luxury. No, none of their teams won a championship, it’s not the early ’00s. Instead, for those beautiful 60 days, the minimum wage was 10 dollars. I know what you’re thinking, “Bird, that’s an exorbitant rate to be paid for any job. Personally I’m a neurosurgeon and I get paid in my rich patients’ leftover ham.” You’re not only in need of a new job, you’re also right. A bill repealing the minimum wage raise passed the Missouri state legislature today, and now the wage is back down to 7.25. This effectively lowers the minimum full time salary to 13,920 dollars, and the morale of all of Missouri to -1,000,000.

Let’s list some of the obvious facts so we can ignore them. Those include the point that 7.25 is literally half of what the minimum wage will be in NY by 2018 and CA by 2020. Also the minimum wage, adjusted for 2014 dollars, was 10 per hour in 1968, 50 years ago. We’re ignoring that stuff though, so let’s get straight to the motives for this change. The state legislature tried and failed to cancel the wage raise before it passed initially. Annoyed at their failure, they repealed as fast as possible. Eric Greitens, Governor of MO and resident stock photo serial killer, described the earlier planned raise to 11 dollars an hour as “a job killer” that will “take money from people’s pockets”. Greitens is in a lose lose situation, as lowering the wage also takes money from pockets. Namely, the pockets of the businesses these workers would have spent their new slush fund on, like grocery stores, or wherever I buy my kid medicine. The article cited above also says Greitens “supports overturning the St. Louis wage. But…he was frustrated lawmakers had failed to stop (the bill) before it took effect”.

Greitens, pre-spree

Why It’s Bold:

It’s not a good idea, generally speaking, for an elected official to lower the pay of roughly 50,000 voters. It’s even worse for them to essentially say “I’m just mad we gave the workers money in the first place”. With bold moves like these Greitens is on a major crusade to make Missiouri a national powerhouse. With the state ranking 36th in economic standing and infrastructure as well as 41st in public safety, it’s not going great. That’s why this is such a bold move, no one else thinks the solution is to make the populace poorer. Well, no one trying to solve this problem at least. It would work if there was some sort of supply shortage for monocles and cigars.

This man needs our help.

The Takeaway:

It’s good to make sure your businesses have the money they need to operate, but if no one has money to use those businesses, it won’t matter. Lowering, or I guess just refusing to raise, the minimum wage will only lead to increases in poverty. This means crime will go up, the economy will continue to suffer, and the public institutions that depend on taxable income will fall short. A fair amount of the 6,000 dollar raise that the state legislature repealed probably would have been used to better the state, but they got rid of it anyways. They, like Mugatu before them, think poverty is in style. Unlike Mugatu, they were elected by the people and can be forced out in a similar fashion. Even though they’re accountable to their workers, the Missouri state legislature actively worked against them. Good luck finding a bolder move this week.

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