A reader sent an e-mail to point out what he considered to be a telling pair of events.

One was the Republican-led state Legislature voting to kill a 50-cent increase in the state minimum wage over two years. The other was the Republican-led Legislature’s vote to increase the amount of an estate that is exempt from the state’s estate tax from $1 million to $5 million.

The reader noted he was not directly affected by either of the votes but that it appears to clearly state whose side the majority party favors.

The Republicans maintain that the estate tax change was needed because wealthy Mainers are making their official residences outside the state and that Maine loses their investments because of the onerous tax.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Republicans argue that the minimum wage does not help the economy. They maintain that a state minimum wage is even unnecessary because the marketplace will better dictate what pay should be provided.

This is a re-working of the trickle down theory of economics in which those of us on the lower end of the income scale will benefit from the money that trickles down from the bonanza that the wealthy receive.

Another way to look at it is that we at the bottom end of the pay scale get some of the crumbs from the fat cats who are wolfing down a rich-tasting cake.

The proposed minimum wage increase would translate into a $10 per week pay increase (before taxes) this year and a $10 increase (again before taxes) next year. That would allow the worker to buy an additional package of boneless chicken breasts each week.

Who would be affected by the votes this week.

Let’s take Rockland as an example. According to a survey done by the U.S. Census Bureau from 2005 through 2009, there were about 750 households that earned less than $15,000 per year. On the other end of the spectrum, there were 221 households that earned $150,000 or more.

There is no firm figure on how many people in Rockland have estates worth more than $1 million. But if those fortunate few didn’t have to pay the estate tax they could invest that money in their friendly neighborhood bank, which could then lend it to the minimum wage earners to buy a home.

Except the minimum wage earner couldn’t afford to buy the home on that amount of pay.

But what the heck, they probably didn’t want a house or an extra package of chicken.

The tax cuts granted for the wealthiest at the federal level by President George W. Bush about eight years ago, and extended by President Barack Obama last year, have done little to create jobs. That is unless your idea of more jobs is the Great Recession. The wealthy became wealthy and have horded their money instead of creating those jobs.

The Legislature has also been busy on other bills in these final frenetic weeks. One would increase the number of weeks a person would need to work before his or her employer would be responsible for having any responsibility for unemployment benefits. The bill is titled “An Act to Promote the Hiring of Seasonal Workers.”

The titles of bills often mask their true impact. This is sort of like when the administration of President Ronald Reagan referred to a certain type of new missile as the “Peacekeeper.”

There was more debate and attention given to the bill, now law, that declares the whoopie pie to be the official state treat than has been given to the overhaul of labor laws, minimum wage, and estate taxes.

This Legislature apparently supports fattening up its constituents who are already suffering from an epidemic of obesity and then cutting money to get them the health care they will need to treat those weight-related illnesses.

Maybe those in power expect that the majority of the working poor will be content to get some of the crumbs from those whoopie pies that will be devoured by the wealthy.

Stephen Betts is associate editor. His commentary appears on Fridays.