About Barack Obama´s Plan to Raise the Minimum Wage in the USA – 2

Though Germany is one of the richest and by population the biggest country in the Eurozone, it has no minimum wage until now.

There is a simple reason for this: As I have been explaining often enough in my blog, most of the German politicians and mainstream economists are since the era of chancellor Gerhard Schröder (1998-2005) staunch neoliberals. And until now those German neoliberals have refused to set a minimum wage with the argument that any type of minimum wage (!) is detrimental for the German economy.

More than 20% of the people working in Germany belong to the group of the so called Niedriglohn-Empfänger (in English: low wage earners). Those low-wages in Germany (in German: Niedriglöhne) are sometimes somewhat over, but often also under the poverty line (in German: Armutsgrenze).

Not everybody in Germany drives a Mercedes-Benz or BMW. Also in Germany those cars are only for the winners of the neoliberal game, not for the losers.

I´m sure the Koch brothers (David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch) and the Tea Party (an AstroTurf-movement mainly funded by them) would agree with this argument of the German neoliberals that any type of minimum wage is detrimental for the economy.

And in fact the Koch brothers are currently railing against Barack Obama´s plan to raise the minimum wage in the USA with a media campaign.

See for this on the website of the Forbes Magazine the article: “As Obama Pushes For Minimum Wage Increase, Billionaire Charles Koch Rails Against It With Media Campaign” (8/8/2013).

See for this on the website of ThinkProgress the article: “Billionaire Koch Brother Says Eliminating The Minimum Wage Will Help The Poor” (7/10/2013).

As Rebecca Leber explains in this article, “a conservative mogul worth $43 billion says he knows the secret to helping poor people. According to Charles Koch, the U.S. needs to get rid of the minimum wage, which he counts as a major obstacle to economic growth.

On Wednesday, the Charles Koch Foundation launched a $200,000 media campaign in Wichita, Kansas, with a hint of expanding it elsewhere. It is the Kochs’ biggest media buy since they promised to do more to “persuade politicians” after suffering losses in the 2012 election”.

Those have been also the arguments of the German neoliberals for not introducing a minimum wage in Germany: That by not introducing a minimum wage this will be the best for economic growth. And that a minimum wage would eliminate jobs. And economic growth and a job (for whatever salary) is the best for the poor too.

We´re are all together in the same boat, aren´t we?

And of course Ron Paul (who sought in 1988 the presidency of the United States for the Libertarian party) is presenting to the US-American public similar arguments against raising the minimum wage.

See for this on the website of the Washington Times the article: “Ron Paul: Raising minimum wage hurts the poorest” (12/30/2013).

Former RepRon Paul, Texas Republican, said in his weekly column that “raising the minimum wage actually harms those at the bottom of the income ladder” and raising it by “government decree” “appeals to those who do not understand economics.”

“Raising the minimum wage increases the price of labor, thus decreasing the demand for labor,” he writes. “Unskilled and inexperienced workers are the ones most often deprived of employment opportunities by increases in the minimum wage.”

The French journalist, novelist and poet Anatole France (1844-1924) made a sarcastic comment about this kind of libertarian” (?!) philosophy ( = “we are all in the same boat and we are all equal”):

“Ils (les pauvres) y doivent travailler devant la majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues et de voler du pain”.

They (the poor) have to work under the rule of the majestic equality of the laws which forbid rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread”. Le Lys Rouge [The Red Lily] (1894), ch. 7

This kind of libertarians forget (or being more precisely: are trying to make us forget) that equality is also bound to certain material preconditions and is not only equality before the law.

If you are poor and hungry, the abstract and formal equality a modern democratic constitution offers will be of no much use for such a poor and hungry citizen. If you are poor and hungry and live in a country that provides no serious social protection and effective labour laws you will be forced to sell your labour power, even your body (this affects mainly women: prostitution) at whatever price.

And of course the social services a country offers (health care system, public housingsocial security) are also an important part of these tangible and specific material preconditions of a real liberty for all people (also for the poor!).

I don´t want to be sarcastic, but the vision of people like the Koch Brothers (Tea Party movement) and Ron Paul of how the US-economy and the society in the USA (social protectionlabour laws and social services) should be organized: Is this really the vision of the “Sweet land of liberty” and “the land of the free and the home of the brave” the average US-American citizen is singing and dreaming about? 

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