Nope! Nope! Nope!  Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck these guys.
Nope! Nope! Nope! Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck these guys. Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

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Republicans are big believers in letting business lead the way for America. That's exactly what happened today: Republicans in Congress have been so derelict in their duties that big business is effectively raising the minimum wage for them. Walmart has announced that they're raising their minimum wage to nine dollars an hour this year, and ten dollars an hour next year. Let's be clear: Walmart isn't doing this to be "nice." It's not because it's the "right thing to do." It is the bare minimum, the literal very least they could do. They're doing this because the minimum wage in America is so low that it's affecting the bottom line of their business. Workers are getting sick and going broke. Walmart employees are unable to feed their families, so they're working multiple jobs—to the point where their productivity is suffering. President Obama has called for a minimum wage increase on multiple occasions, but Republicans in Congress have done nothing. They're letting America fall apart, in the hopes that big business will put it back together again.

But the point of government is to force big business to do the right thing, not the other way around. If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation and worker productivity, the minimum wage in America would right now be higher than Walmart will be paying next year. You can be sure that Walmart is not paying a penny more than they need to resolve their staffing crises; it's government's job to make sure that workers are being fairly compensated for their time. But government is willfully neglecting its duty, and so now we live in a country where Walmart is praised for making a gesture toward fairness.

The thing that bugs the hell out of me in all this is that slimy Ayn Rand-loving Republicans like Paul Ryan and Rand Paul are going to point to Walmart's "generosity" as a sign that business can regulate itself. That's not what this is. This is business cleaning up the mess left by an inattentive and uncaring government. The American worker doesn't even figure into this story, except as a blunt instrument. When I look at this story, all I see is the beginning of a dystopian novel.