OPINION: Josh Hawley says workers deserve a raise, but it’s all talk



No matter where we live or what we look like, we work hard for our families.

But today, certain politicians, including Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), hurt all of us with their lies and actions.

Sen. Hawley recently tweeted that workers “deserve a pay raise.”

I, alongside a majority of Missourians, heartily agree. The problem for Sen. Hawley is he represents the Show-Me state. He has to show us a raise, not just talk about it.

In 2018, then state Attorney General Hawley opposed Proposition B, a modest proposal to gradually increase the minimum wage by 85 cents a year. He claimed that it would be out of the mainstream, out of step with other states, and “raising the minimum wage [too] quickly.”

Fortunately for more than half a million Missourians who have seen a raise since Prop B passed, Hawley was out of touch with the people he represents. In fact, Proposition B received 250,000 more votes than he did in his 2018 election.

Now the senator has big claims about giving us a raise. This is nothing more than political grandstanding. What the senator is proposing is a convoluted, complex proposal around tax credits that would provide public subsidies to employees of big and highly profitable corporations.

The price tag is an estimated $200 billion, and Missouri taxpayers would bail out billion-dollar corporations from having to pay a fair wage. This promotes corporate greed but does nothing to address low wages and the fact that Missouri families live in poverty.

The senator takes to Twitter and CPAC, pretending to be a working-class, populist hero, while trying to distract and divide us by blaming new immigrants, Black people and people struggling to make ends meet for our hard times.

Hawley has had plenty of opportunities to stand with working families and make corporations pay their fair share. Instead, he continues to use his power to rig the rules for the wealthy few, hand kickbacks to corporations, defund our schools, undermine our community services and strip working people of our rights to come together in a union.

The senator continues to say one thing but does the opposite. He is destructive, and I call on him to match his words with actions.  And fortunately, the senator has an opportunity to do just that.

On March 5, the senator rejected yet another opportunity to actually raise the wage for workers.

For years, raising the minimum wage has been both necessary and popular. Polling indicates it is popular across the country, and if history is any indication, that would include in Missouri.

The bill is estimated to lift more than 900,000 workers out of poverty and would provide an economic boost to small businesses. More than 500 businesses supported raising the minimum wage in Missouri in 2018 for this same reason.

If Sen. Hawley wants to represent the values of the Show-Me State, he should heed the words of former Missouri Congressman Willard Vandiver, who gave us our nickname: “Frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.”

(Caitlyn Adams is the executive director of Missouri Jobs with Justice, which organizes to build workplaces, neighborhoods, and governments where each of us has what we need for a safe and healthy life from cradle to grave.)


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