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Wednesday, 16 April 2014 08:46

Oklahoma Prohibits Cities From Raising the Minimum Wage While Voting in Tax Credits for Investors

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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

achildjob(Photo: Lady Buffalo)Remember the childhood tale of the Dutch boy who kept trying to stop the leaks in a dam with his fingers until he ran out of them?

That's what workers are facing in trying to survive.  No matter which attempt at turning them into something akin to indentured servants at the service of corporations you look at, the attacks just keep coming.

Yesterday, BuzzFlash at Truthout posted a commentary on a new insidious scheme to shortchange laborers, "Paying Employees With Gift Cards That Have Fees Is a Deplorable Economic Injustice."

When it comes to compensation for laborers today in the US, the scenario playing out is pay decreases by a thousands cuts.

At a time when some cities and states - and the Obama adminsitration and Democrats in Congress - are advocating for an increased minimum wage, which currently is $7.25, other exploitative forces are fighting against it.  

Although some states are moving in the direction of raising the minimum wage, according to the National Journal: "Thirteen states opted to raise their minimum wage above the federal level, starting this past Jan. 1. And so far, nothing dire (or amazing, for that matter) has happened to employers' or workers in those communities."

But some red states are moving in the opposite direction, prohibiting cities within their states from raising the minimum wage within their jurisdictions.  As the Tulsa World reports:

Cities in Oklahoma are prohibited from establishing mandatory minimum wage or vacation and sick-day requirements under a bill that has been signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin.

Fallin signed the bill Monday that supporters say would prevent a hodgepodge of minimum wages in different parts of the state that could potentially harm the business community.

Opponents say those decisions should be left up to individual communities. They complain the bill specifically targets Oklahoma City, where an initiative is underway to a establish a citywide minimum wage higher than the current federal minimum wage.

Fallin signed three other bills Monday dealing with tax credits for banking institutions, public investments, and membership of the Alarm and Locksmith Industry Committee.

This is labeled a state-preemption law, which prohibits any town, village or city from passing any legislation, in this case concerning pay, that raises wages higher than the level mandated by the state of Oklahoma. Governor Fallin is Republican, and the Republicans love to become grandiloquent about touting the importance of local communities not being usurped by large government. Yet, when it comes to paying workers with families who make less than the poverty level, forget about the faux rhetoric.

After all, at the same time Fallin signed three laws that will give tax credits to investors and special interests, including membership dues for the Alarm and Locksmith Industry Committee (most certainly legislative payback for campaign contributions, considering the rather specific exemption).

On BuzzFlash at Truthout today, another commentary focuses on the economic God of the Wall Street pirates, Adam Smith. Smith (1723 - 1790) praised the pyramid structure of exploited workers supporting the wealthy: "The affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many." 

The revolution against England is in danger of devolving back into a monarchal plutocracy without the crowns and the royal family.  Yes, there is still the chance of a Zuckerberg or a Gates entering the billionaire pantheon, but they are the exception not the rule -- and while they are "self made," they also represent the consolidation of wealth into a few hands. They weren't born of royal loins, but they are - in essence - members of the contemporary ruling elite (the contemporary royal court).

Meanwhile, back in Oklahoma, if you are flipping burgers for minimum wage, the state has just ensured that you will continue to struggle to survive, while giving tax credits to Chamber of Commerce favorites.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.