Mark Meadows, a Republican Congressman from North Carolina, has a Christmas message for federal workers who will not be paid for the work they do: it’s what you signed up for.
To the hundreds of thousands of federal employees who will work without pay or be furloughed over the holidays if there is a government shutdown, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) says it is just part of the risk of working in public service.
Meadows, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and a leading conservative voice urging President Trump not to accept a short-term spending bill absent funding for a border wall, was responding to reporters who asked about Transportation Security Administration and Border Patrol agents who would be required to continue working on Christmas without getting a paycheck.
“It’s actually part of what you do when you sign up for any public service position,” Meadows said. “And it’s not lost on me in terms of, you know, the potential hardship. At the same time, they know they would be required to work and even in preparation for a potential shutdown those groups within the agencies have been instructed to show up.”
In case you were wondering, Congressman Mark Meadows will still be getting paid, though:
On the other hand, if the government does shut down, Meadows, unlike more than 800,000 federal workers, would still receive his pay on time.
Mark Meadows is quite the stellar example of a modern Republican politician. He’s got his, everyone else can take a flying leap. In this respect, it is not surprising in the least that Mark Meadows is a big Trump guy. He even used similar language to what Donald Trump once said to the widow of a deceased soldier:
On Tuesday, Trump called the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in the ambush, as she was on her way to meet her husband’s body. Rep. Frederica Wilson was in the car with Johnson and overheard the conversation, which occurred over speakerphone. Johnson told a radio station that Trump told Johnson that her husband “knew what he signed up for,” causing her to cry.
And Donald Trump and the Trump administration have shown the same kind of disrespect to workers as what was just exhibited by Mark Meadows, most recently announcing their intention to take aim at the wages of postal workers:
The White House’s postal task force is calling for rolling back collective bargaining rights for postal unions, and is not looking to undo the Postal Service’s obligation to pre-fund health benefits for future postal retirees.
However, in a long-awaited report released Tuesday, the task force, chaired by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, lacks clarification on steps the Trump administration would take to privatize USPS, as it telegraphed in June as part of its government reorganization plan.
One of the biggest changes to the Postal Service’s business model the task force recommends is that the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Act “be amended to apply to the USPS and its employees, and remove USPS compensation from collective bargaining,” which would mean changes to postal employees’ pay and benefits.
Indeed, the Trump administration has made it quite clear that despite any lip service they might pay toward increasing wages, they actually do not want wages to increase. The reason is simple: wages are an expense. Most of the officials in the Trump administration who are tasked with economic policy decisions are either former executives and/or Wall Street veterans, so naturally they see wages as something that should be cut, because cutting expenses means greater profits, and profits is all they actually care about. They certainly don’t care about workers.
Take Trump’s economic advisor Larry Kudlow, for example. He thinks the federal minimum wage should be abolished.
The White House’s top economic adviser said Thursday that he opposes the federal minimum wage, arguing that the decades-old law is a “terrible idea” that drives up costs for small businesses across the country.
Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said that he would oppose any attempt to work with Democrats in Congress to lift the federal minimum wage should the party take back the House or Senate in the 2018 midterm elections.
“My view is a federal minimum wage is a terrible idea. A terrible idea,” Kudlow said at a Washington Post Live event, adding that raising it would “damage” small businesses by forcing them to face higher payroll costs. Kudlow later called the idea of hiking the federal minimum wage “silly.”
The sentiment that wages are an expense that should be cut is not just held by Trump administration officials like Steve Mnuchin and Larry Kudlow. That sentiment is also held by Donald Trump himself, a man who had a long history of stiffing contractors who worked for him, and has shown the same disdain for his own workers now that he is at the head of the federal government. For example, in August, on the same day he voiced support for a tax break for the wealthiest Americans, Trump also said he would be cancelling the cost of living increases for federal workers:
President Donald Trump says he plans to freeze automatic pay raises for civilian federal employees in 2019, citing the need for government belt-tightening.
In a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Trump said he is zeroing out both across-the-board pay increases as well as locality pay raises that are based on where federal employees live. The scheduled pay raises were set to go into effect in January 2019.
“We must maintain efforts to put our nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases,” Trump said in the letter.
Of course, Donald Trump is a Republican, so this anti-worker sentiment isn’t exactly unusual. It is practically Republican dogma at this point to oppose wage increases at all times. Michigan Republicans are the most recent example, as they have just now followed through on an underhanded scheme to prevent the people of Michigan from being able to vote for a minimum wage increase, instead passing a temporary increase just so they could come back later and repeal most of the wage increase:
The new minimum wage law from the initiative isn’t in effect until March of next year. As written, the law slowly brings minimum wage for tipped workers like waiters and bartenders up to the same level as regular minimum wage and raises minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2022.
But under the bill approved by the Senate Government Operations Committee, the minimum wage would raise more slowly, hitting $12 per hour by 2030 instead of 2022, and stopping there instead of indexing to inflation afterward.
In addition, the latest version keeps the wage for tipped workers lower than minimum wage instead of bringing tipped workers up to the same wage level as minimum wage workers.
Earlier this year, Republicans in both Iowa and Missouri also passed bills to repeal minimum wage increases that had been passed by counties and cities in their respective states:
Gov. Terry Branstad signed two major pro-business bills into law Thursday.
In back-to-back ceremonies, the governor signed a bill immediately barring cities and counties from setting minimum wages higher than the statewide $7.25 hourly floor and a separate measure making significant changes to the state’s workers’ compensation law.
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens says he will let a bill repealing a St. Louis minimum wage become law without his signature.
The decision announced Friday by Greitens means St. Louis’ $10-an-hour minimum wage that has been in place since early May will come to an end Aug. 28 when new Missouri laws take effect.
The minimum wage in St. Louis had been scheduled to rise to $11 in January under the local ordinance passed in 2015. That’s significantly higher than Missouri’s minimum wage of $7.70 an hour.
A bill passed by Missouri’s Republican-led Legislatures prohibits local minimum wages and nullifies any already in effect.
The Republican party couldn’t make it any clearer. If you are a worker, you are seen only as an expense. And if you don’t get paid for your work, well that’s what you signed up for.