Republicans oppose minimum wage, but claim they want to curb poverty?

From the January 10, 2014  New York Times Editorial:

A similar dynamic is developing around the drive for a higher minimum wage. In the December jobs report, the average hourly wage for most workers was $20.35. That means that the minimum wage, at $7.25 an hour, is only one ­third of the average, rather than one ­half, as was the case historically. Raising the wage to $10.10 an hour, as Democrats have proposed, would help to restore the historical relationship. But even that would fall far short of the roughly $17 an hour that workers at the bottom of the wage scale would be earning if increased labor productivity were reflected in their pay, rather than in corporate profits, executive compensation and shareholder returns.

Republicans, however, are opposed to any increase, as if the numbers don’t speak for themselves. Their stance also dismisses research, and common sense, which says that raising the wages of low­ and moderate­ income workers is essential for lessening both poverty and inequality. Instead, in the past week, they have introduced ostensibly “antipoverty” ideas, most prominently Senator Marco Rubio’s plan to transform federal safety net programs into state block grants, another of the shopworn Republican ideas that also include privatizing federal services and slashing domestic spending. Block grants have allowed states to disregard the needs of the least fortunate. The proposal would set back the debate on wages, poverty and inequality.

The December jobs report is telling Congress what it needs to do. Unfortunately, that will not lead to action anytime soon.

Read the entire article here.