Note to French Hill: Study hall is over on minimum wage | Arkansas Blog

Note to French Hill: Study hall is over on minimum wage


MY MAN! Huckabee hails Hill at Conway rally Monday. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • MY MAN! Huckabee hails Hill at Conway rally Monday.

A few dozen people, heavy on Republican insiders, rallied in Conway yesterday for J. French Hill, the millionaire banker getting a stiff challenge from Democrat Pat Hays in the race for 2nd District Congress. Pressed by questioners, Hill said he is still studying the proposal to raise the minimum wage in Arkansas from a pitiful $6.25 an hour. It's now officially on the ballot. As the hymn suggests, once to every man and banker comes a moment to decide.

Time's a-wasting, J. French. Even Asa Hutchinson, a foe of the minimum wage increase at the outset, has folded to the broad popularity of a tiny pay increase for the poorest of working people. Hill — a banker who pocketed $5 million when he struck a deal to sell his community bank in a sale that cost some of his co-workers either their jobs or a big chunk of their pay with the new, bigger owner — is the notable holdout. Polls show even Republicans favor a minimum wage increase. Not plutocrats like J. Scrooge McDuck, er. J. French Hill.

(Mike Huckabee, a Florida resident who spouts on Fox News, joined the party because his daughter is employed by the Hill campaign as a political consultant.)

As I've mentioned before, the current Arkansas minimum wage can produce  $13,000 a year for a fast-food worker who works 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. Before deductions, shelter, food, clothing. You can see where Hill might have an empathy gap, old Volvo notwithstanding. He golfs up at the Country Club of Little Rock, where the membership fee is $46,000 and monthly dues are $600 or so, not counting drinks, meals and golf cart rental.

Arkansas' minimum wage, one of the lowest in the country, didn't do much for job creation among those down-sized by Hill's bank sale.

Only the voting machine will know for sure, but I'll bet a crisp George Washington that J. French Hill will slam the NO lever in the privacy of the voting booth.

UPDATE: My $1 bill looks safe. J. French was on KTHV this morning and says he's still talking to employees. In other words, he just can't make himself say he'll vote for something closer to a living wage for working men and women. (It's disingenuous when he talks about talking to employers. Most employers are already covered by the higher federal minimum wage. The state limit applies to a limited number of companies.) He's also still set on jerking medical coverage from a quarter-million Arkansans newly covered by Obamacare.

And permit me a chuckle over the image of gun nuts being hoisted on their own bayonets.

I wrote yesterday that the French-man's people and the National Rifle Association were foaming at the mouth over the ad by Pat Hays noting his membership in the NRA (Hays speaks in the ad as he sits at a workbench lovingly oiling his weapons). He's a concealed carry permittee, too. When the gun nuts jumped him, Hays produced a recent letter from NRA boss man Wayne LaPierre. It said LaPierre was nominating Hays for the NRA National Patriot Medal, one of the NRA's highest honors. I commented at the time that the NRA couldn't very well claim this letter from Wayne was meaningless B.S., lest somebody say that everything Wayne says is meaningless B.S. 

Rimshot from the insanely riled NRA, in this morning's Democrat-Gazette:

[Hays spokesman] Furr's statement led Fairfax, Va.-based NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam to declare that "Patrick Henry Hays is a liar."

Hays is "knowingly misrepresenting" a mass-mailing from the NRA "as a personal endorsement," Arulanandam said in a telephone interview. That's why he said the NRA is pleased to announce that the group will be making a "seven-figure expenditure" in television, online and mail advertising and phone calls to defeat Hays.

This is how the NRA treats its dedicated members and Patriot Medal nominees? A man of whom LaPierre wrote:

Mr. Hays: You've stood by me in some of the toughest battles ever fought by the NRA" and "America's gun owners owe you a tremendous amount debt of gratitude."

The morning chuckle deserves a replay of the Hays ad.

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