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By Kristina Andreotta

I can’t think of any workers in our region who are undeserving of at least a $15 hourly wage, but Congressman Anthony Brindisi clearly feels otherwise. He voted against a federal minimum wage increase last month.

His explanation was loaded with right-wing rhetoric, claiming the wage increase would hurt small businesses.

What a load of crap.

Study after study shows that increasing the minimum wage boosts the local economy. Low-income workers are the most likely of anyone to spend any extra money they earn in their paychecks and to spend it locally.

Additionally, the proposed increase to $15 would be gradual through 2025, so businesses would have time to adjust.

So what’s the real reason Congressman Brindisi voted this down? He is clearly prioritizing the desire to appear moderate over the desire to do right by the hard-working people in the district.

There is a myth about minimum wage workers, that they are all inexperienced teenagers performing menial task-oriented jobs. But that’s just a myth.

The truth is that the majority of minimum wage earners are adults, many with families to support. And they work in all sectors of our economy, an economy which would not survive without their labor.

I think Congressman Brindisi should spend the month of August touring workplaces and speaking with constituents. Not just business owners who can afford to donate to his campaign, but to the workers whose exploitation makes possible the profit that fuels those donations in the first place. He should have to look every single worker in the eye and say to their faces why they don’t deserve a more decent hourly wage.

Just one more example of politicians catering to the donor class instead of the voting base. Guess he’s counting on the vast majority of us being too busy (working too many jobs to make ends meet, most likely) to find out the details of this betrayal.

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