In 2008, we experienced a devastating financial crisis. Employment in Tennessee fell by 220,000 jobs, resulting in the worst general economic decline since the Great Depression. Although we are gradually getting back on our feet, we have to ask: “Have we learned from our mistakes?” President Obama called for accountability in 2008: “Let me be perfectly clear. The fact that we are in this mess is an outrage. It’s an outrage because we did not get here by accident. This was not a normal part of the business cycle.” Economists have repeatedly shown that Wall Street engaged in reckless spending on high-risk investments in the housing market, which boosted executive pay in the short-run. But when Wall Street’s house of cards came crumbling down, it was the taxpayers who bailed them out to the tune of $700 billion.
In 2010 House Democrats passed the Dodd-Frank Act, designed to regulate Wall Street and protect Americans from the leading causes of the recession. Unfortunately, Fleischmann voted in 2013 to effectively repeal Dodd-Frank. Later, NPR revealed that Citigroup Bank wrote as much as 80% of the Republican Bill. When the lobbyists of the crooks who caused the 2008 recession literally write our legislation, you’d think our Congressman might speak up for us instead of supporting them. But, no; Chuck did what he was told, like always.
This instance is just one of many cases in which Fleischmann has proven that he is out of touch with Tennessee’s third district. He has opposed raising the minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 since Tennessee has no minimum wage law. Fleischmann references his history of working at McDonald’s as a teenager in his campaign videos, yet he has taken the stance of many Republicans that only teens have minimum wage jobs. The Department of Labor strictly refutes this myth stating that 89 percent of those who would benefit from a federal minimum wage increase to $12 per hour are age 20 or older, and 56 percent are women.” The Department of Labor also points out that it is a myth that raising the minimum wage will decrease employment and hurt small businesses, the hallmark claims of GOP efforts to curb minimum wage laws. Instead, economists find that such legislation would stimulate the economy. That’s why Melody Shekari supports this common-sense measure.
Of course its easy for Fleischmann to ignore working families while he doles out $4,652 of his campaign finances to his son for “work done.”
Fleischmann has a history of defending corrupt companies and their interests. This includes joining 211 Republicans in voting down a measure aimed at punishing companies who steal their workers’ wages. It should be no surprise those companies are the ones funding his campaign. For example federal defense contractor Lockheed Martin, which gave $2,000 in 2015 to Chuck’s campaign, was cited for unpaid back wages “that were among the highest issued during the six-year period examined.”
Melody Shekari knows that there are families who rely on minimum wage jobs who need a living wage, a reality Fleischmann ignores. Melody will work to close corporate tax loopholes that only benefit the wealthy. By investing in infrastructure and education, we create a sustainable path to economic growth. That’s something that is well within our means to achieve. It’s time to stop sending the same do-nothing politicians to Washington. It’s time for a congress that works for us and doesn’t take orders from lobbyists. It’s time we elect Melody Shekari.