Basu: Even Wal-Mart pays workers better than Iowa law requires

Sometimes you have to wonder what sorts of rationalizations lawmakers feed themselves when they’re cheating the lowest-wage workers out of a shot at a middle-class life. Do they wake up at night hearing a nagging little voice of conscience reminding them an hour of work at a minimum-wage job won’t buy even a loaf of healthful bread, a dozen cage-free eggs and a gallon of milk?

Or do the value of humanely raised food and healthy diets not even make it into the reckonings of the Iowa legislators who gave their final approval this week to keeping the state’s legal minimum wage at a paltry $7.25 an hour? Perhaps, they reckon, the families of those convenience store, restaurant, grocery or hospitality workers — industries that registered in favor of the bill — could do fine shopping at day-old bread outlets and eating caged eggs that challenge consciences.

The registered opponents included labor unions, religious conferences, the Iowa Education Association and Iowa Environmental Council.


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