Is it time for Jack Roberts, Greg Walden, and Gordon Smith to Get on Board?

Chuck Sheketoff

Wal-Mart's CEO H. Lee Scott Jr. reportedly has called on Congress to raise the minimum wage.

Isn't it time for Oregon's leading Republican moderates, US Senator Gordon Smith, US Representative Greg Walden, and elect-me-to-some-statewide-office Jack Roberts, to now get on board and support an increase in the federal minimum wage?


  • PanchoPdx (unverified)

    Isn't the official Blue Oregon position is that Oregon's high minimum wage is good for the local economy?

    Right now Oregon enjoys one of the highest minimum wages and the highest rates of unemployment in the country.

    However, the progressives at BlueOregon tell us that these rankings are unrelated - odd coincidences, if you will.

    To the contrary, they tell us that our high unemployment is actually good for the local economy.

    Well if that is true, why should want to destroy our competitive advantage over other states?

    Who's going to want to start a business here when they can just go to any other state to enjoy a high minimum wage?

    We should ask our Congressional delegation to lobby for a lower federal minimum wage.

    We'll honor state's rights and keep our advantage over those luddite states that haven't discovered the high-minimum-wage-will-improve-your-local-economy secret.

  • (Show?)

    Pancho, there is no "official Blue Oregon position" on minimum wage, or anything else.

    From our About BlueOregon page: What else will BlueOregon do? Probably nothing. We're just a place for progressive Oregonians to gather 'round the water cooler. We expect our contributors to individually motivate our readers to action - but BlueOregon itself won't collectively endorse candidates, stage protests, or even go out for donuts.

  • PanchoPdx (unverified)


    Got me there with your disclaimer.

    How about calling it the unofficial position of every contributor on your masthead that has ever written anything about minimum wage?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Pancho works straight from the right's playbook of disinformation: misstate your opponent's position and claim that is the official and uniform position of all opponents. No wonder righties get pegged as drooling trogs. Funny how R. Nixon and W. F. Buckley begin to look good in retrospect.

    I take Scott's statement as evidence of the New American Feudalism. Working folks can no longer afford the WalMart crap that takes away their jobs. I wonder about Scott's position on raising the minimum wage in China.

  • (Show?)


    Our higher minimum wage must be why Walmart is so desperate to build in Oregon. Our minimum wage workers can still afford to shop there.

    By the way, I believe that job growth in Oregon exceeds the national average now. Our unemployment rate is high because people keep moving in because they want to live here. Maybe they can't afford to live in other states.

    Unlike the righties, we dems actually do care what happens to the people of the country and believe that helping others across the country is the right thing to do. That's why we believe that the national minimum wage should be raised.

  • Andrew Tunall (unverified)

    Curiously enough, Wal-Mart's suggestion that we raise the minimum wage isn't as altruistic as it may first sound. The Wall Street Journal published an article about this and I quoted the following:

    The proposal to lift minimum wage is particularly likely to raise eyebrows. Though Wal-Mart pays above the current $5.15 an hour minimum wage -- the average hourly wage among its 1.3 million U.S. workers is just under $10 an hour -- some of its smaller competitors don't pay as much. As a result, a boost in the minimum wage could pressure the profitability of Wal-Mart competitors.

    "This makes it look like they're doing something for labor, but with little cost to themselves," says Lawrence Katz, professor of economics at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

    On another note, a memo from Wal-Mart was reported on today saying that they were considering a policy of not hiring unhealthy people, in a bid to lower health care costs if they undertake a new employee healthcare system.


  • (Show?)

    Chuck, I'll be glad to support an increase in the federal minimum wage if you'll support repealing the indexing of Oregon's minimum wage.

    Of course, I realize keeping Oregon's unemployment rate among the highest in the country is really a full employment act . . . for Chuck Sheketoff.

    But then I guess you now have another job: President of the Wal-Mart Fan Club.

  • (Show?)

    Jack, quick quiz:

    (1) how many years since 1973 has Oregon's unemployment rate been below the national average?

    (2) Oregon raised its minimum wage in 1989, 1990, 1991, 1997, 1998 and 1999, yet from 1988 to 2000 Oregon's GSP growth outpaced the US average every year and from 1989 to 2000 Oregon had the second fastest growing economy in the nation based on real per capita growth in GSP, and the fourth fastest GSP growth among the states, leading the economists at the state employment office to pin Oregon's high unemployment during the Bush recession on what factors other than the minimumm wage?

    Double-click the Wal-Mart logo. To paraphrase Mo Udall, if nominated I will not run, if elected I will not serve.

  • (Show?)

    Jack, one more thing: the trade you are offering shows you don't respect the goals of or understand the position of organized labor, human services advocates, advocates for the poor, and the majority of Oregonians who repeatedly have supported increasing the minimum wage.

  • Ruth Adkins (unverified)

    Thank you Chuck for your great posts.

    To answer your question: yes it is time for Smith and other moderate Republicans to support an increase in the pathetically low Federal minimum wage.

    They should be supporting universal health care, while they are at it.

    Families can't survive without a decent wage and health care.

    Slightly off topic, but while tabling for Democracy for America the other night I was talking with a gentleman and the topic of Wal-Mart came up--he said he works for Costco and I said I'd had people tell me that "all those retail big box low-end jobs are the same" and how hypocritical it was to oppose Wal-Mart but not Costco. He volunteered that as a cashier at Costco, he makes $19 an hour with excellent health benefits. Now Costco Inc. seems to be surviving just fine, doesn't it? And they have employees who are healthy, happy, and prosperous. What a concept.

  • (Show?)

    Chuck, you've just given a great example of why labor has lost so much of its political clout in recent years.

    First, the attitude that you are either with labor 100% of the time or you are an enemy has made it very difficult to form alliances on individual issues of importance to labor.

    Second, the idea that sosme people disagree with labor on an issue automatically means they "don't respect the goals of or understand the position" of labor or other well-intentioned groups again makes it very hard to promote a constructive dialogue or seek workable compromises.

    For the record, I publicly supported increasing the federal minimum wage when I was labor commissioner, urged our congressional delegation to vote for the increase, called Senator Hatfield and personally thanked him when he did vote for it (along with Congressman Jim Bunn, who Democrats later ran ads wrongly accusing of having opposed it).

    Where I have parted company with labor is over increases since 1996 that I believe have pushed too far, too fast (and now automatically indexes one of the highest minimum wages in the country) because I think it has substantially contributed to our high unemployment--particularly in rural Oregon where, unlike the country as a whole, unemployment is substantially above unemployment in urban Oregon.

    I understand that reasonable people can take a different position on issues like this. I just think it helps to have the intellectual security to permit people to have differing opinions without demonizing them.

  • Steve (unverified)

    On the other end of the spectrum, an employer Mr Sheketoff likes to malign for its tax breaks is building 2 new plants in Hillsboro.

    I believe all of these new Intel jobs will pay well above any min wage, so they haven't totally screwed over Oregon..

connect with blueoregon