Wage increase is politics as usual

Ohio Democrats want you to make $1.70 more an hour.

And they want your vote.

And your attention.

And if you could sign some petitions, that would be cool too.

In an attempt to drive voters to the polls, Ohio citizens have seen a push by the party to raise the state’s minimum wage, currently at $5.15, to $6.85. However, the relationship between the public and government has been so soured, the motives behind the issue seem questionable.

The issue, typically favored by the Dems, has brought together an odd team of anti-poverty and faith-based groups that only politics can give you. Their goal is to get the issue on November’s ballot.

To reach that goal, the groups must get more than 320,000 signatures by Aug. 9, and they say they’re well on the way there.

Fighting alongside these moral warriors are the Democrats who will be vying for your vote on that same ballot. Candidate for governor Rep. Ted Strickland and senate candidate Rep. Sherrod Brown have both been campaigning on the issue.

And that’s where it gets sticky.

In an economy where being a burger boy can only pay half the month’s rent and it takes two more jobs to buy the gas to get there, minimum wage seems like a highly emotional issue that could drive voters to the polls in November.

In 2004, Republicans pulled a similar maneuver when they used gay marriage ballot initiatives to bring out their voters in numerous states. It was an unfair manipulation of emotions and elections. And the Democrats’ move this year smells like more of the same.

The Republican agenda seems to be faltering with voters across the country. But the GOP’s opponents can’t seem to articulate the program they’re offering in response.

So instead they’re dragging out an issue that’s sure to fire up voters. But do they really want to get into office with the sneaky tactics of the opposition?

This type of political strategy is the worst the Dems can have right now because we’ve seen it before, and we’ve had enough.

Ohio has one of the lowest minimum wages in the United States. It’s lost jobs. It’s losing money. Poverty’s rising. It seems like the right thing to do. And an extra $1.70 an hour could really help pay for textbooks.

According to a study by Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 86 percent of Americans support a rise in minimum wage.

So pass a new minimum wage. But don’t muddy the waters of this election, which surely will be one of the dirtiest yet.

Instead, why not try laying out your agenda and let the voters decide?

Now that would really get us to the polls.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Summer Kent Stater editorial board.