Saturday, February 7, 2015

There They Go Again: Some SD Legislators Are Still Trying To Disrespect Us Voters. Now They're Monkeying With The Minimum Wage Law We Just Passed

     Talk about legislative contempt for the voters.  Talk about political arrogance.  The minimum wage law that South Dakota voters passed last November must have really stuck in the craw of some of the state's Republican legislators.  Without so much as publicly deliberating for a minute that the law passed with a solid majority (55-45), Republican State Rep Jim Bolin with a handful of GOP co-sponsors just sashay into the new law with House Bill 1094, ignore the voters, and try to strike one of the key elements of the statute, the one that says that "in no case shall the minimum wage be decreased."  Tied to the cost-of-living, a function of inflation, the law provides for automatic adjustments when the COLA goes up but keeps it level if the cost-of-living comes down.  Though not specifically stated in HB 1094, it looks to me like the effect of the bill, if it succeeds, is to open the door for wage decreases should living costs come down.
Some SD Legislators Are Concerned With Deflation
Yeah, Right
(graph from

   As academic exercises go, this one is a doozy. Over the past 100 years in the United States, inflation has occurred during 87 of them.  Since 1950, it has occurred during 63 of 65 years, the two exceptions showing deflation of less than 1 percent.  Like it or not, inflation is probably endemic to a growing economy, and certainly the last century of steady upside economic growth has been the proof of that particular pudding. I'd be amazed if Representative Bolin and his political allies don't know and understand that. Given the odds and the history of inflation, those tinkering with this law are doing so as a political gesture, meaningless in real life. They're basically telling South Dakota's voters that their intentions don't matter to them. I suppose they can fall back on the "tyranny of the majority" defense when they justify their political fine-tuning, claiming that some individuals are having their rights trampled upon by the passage of the minimum wage law, but so far there hasn't been much of a groundswell from among those who might claim to be hurt.  This is politically generated activity, not something remotely connected to a grass-roots endeavor.  
What The Voters Giveth, The Legislature Taketh Away
Maybe, Just Maybe, The Voters Got It Right

     In the end, indifference to the voters, arrogant as it is, might actually turn out to have some upside for supporters of the law as it was passed last November.  If those who hate the automatic inflation adjustment think this endeavor is a prelude to getting the COLA component out of the law, they're quite mistaken.Resetting the deal to make decreases as mandatory as increases only entrenches the concept that inflation adjustments are part and parcel of the law.  It basically will give COLA supporters the ammo to point out that the law allows for automatic decreases as well as increases, so why the fuss over the COLA connection?  Fair's fair, right?  Right. As I see it, if Bolin loses, the voters win, and if Bolin wins, the voters still win . . . and I'm okay with that. 

Addendum (added on 2/8 @0553):  Bolin's arrogance and contempt for the voters was on full
Represenative Bolin
Capitol Phone # 605-773-3851
Click HERE To E-mail
display in today's Rapid City Journal, where an AP report on this story notes that Bolin said, "if voters wanted to avoid legislative tinkering, they could have put the minimum wage increase in the state Constitution." Instead of acceding to the clear wishes of the majority of voters, Bolin holds them responsible for making it possible to "tinker" with the new law in the legislature. Considering that the measure passed in both Union and Lincoln Counties, which comprise his district, you have to ask how this man considers himself to be a "representative?"  Just exactly who does he represent? Click HERE to see vote totals by county in South Dakota on Initiated Measure 18.


1 comment:

  1. John, he represents ALEC, most of them do.