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A Tale Of Two State Senators, The Minimum Wage And Bush's Republican Economic Miracle

02/27/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I haven't heard much outrage about banksters and other corporate paragons absconding with multi-million dollar "performance bonuses" as they bailed from their sinking companies. Today there was even a report that the crooks at Bank of America, preparing to ask for more taxpayer billions, have just bought a fancy new $50 million jet. Well thank God, one of our eager beaver legislators has a solution to all these little mishaps of Bush's Republican Economic Miracle: crank up the war on working American families. Meet Wenatchee, Washington's worst wingnut, state Senator Linda Evans Parlette.

If nothing else, Ms Parlette is the very embodiment of the Republican spirit. Her solution is to freeze the state's minimum wage. As Warren Buffet explained this spirit to Republican Party propaganda agent Ben Stein: "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning." Parlette has never had any confusion about which side she's on in that war-- and it isn't Washington's working families. She's just introduced Senate Bill 5362 to freeze the minimum wage, which is at least not as drastic as what the last failed GOP gubernatorial candidate, Dino Rossi, actually proposed -- lowering the minimum wage!

Just by chance, when this news broke I was on the phone with another state Senator, Dan Gelber, the former Democratic House leader of Florida who was elevated to the state Senate in November. Dan is in many ways the polar opposite of Parlette. If she's a nightmare for working families, Dan's entire career as a legislator has been all about championing the aspirations of working Americans. Watch Dan on video to get an idea about what a legislator should be:

I was on the phone with Dan today because every person I know in the state of Florida has been trying to persuade him to run for the Senate seat being vacated in 2010 by Mel Martinez. I feel confident that there's going to be some good news on that front tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, this was Dan's reaction when I told him about Senator Parlette's proposal to freeze the minimum wage:

I disagree with that. You want to talk about "stimulus" and getting money into the economy, the only group of people guaranteed to spend every dollar they have, unfortunately, are people making minimum wage. They are usually living hand to mouth and those are people who, when they get paid, they spend it. She's a little wrongheaded if she's saying that these corporate bigwigs, whose salaries and benefits are being, to a great extent, being subsidized by taxpayers through these huge bailout packages, are going to put their benefits back into the economy. And she wants to take people who are on the edge of poverty and cut their salaries? Because that's what you do when you freeze something and the cost of living still goes up. There's a psychology to getting money into the community. If you take money away from working people on minimum wage, that's not going to help anything, other than move them into poverty and stop them from spending money on necessities.