Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Leading Economists Call For Raising Minimum Wage

Scott Walker has made the news recently regarding his positions on the minimum wage.

He has come out in opposition to the minimum wage and calling it a "distraction":
As for the minimum wage, Walker warned that "artificially raising the minimum wage" through the federal or state governments would not create high-paying jobs, and that it could raise youth unemployment, which he noted was already high.

When challenged to explain why an unemployed or minimum wage worker would vote Republican given his stance on the issues affecting them, Walker responded that "in the end what people want is freedom and opportunity. You don’t get that through the mighty hand of the government."
More recently, he was pointed out for being the dirty rotten liar that he is when he falsely claimed that minimum wage jobs are "overwhelmingly for young people."

Likewise, Walker's successor and protege, Chris Abele, has come out repeatedly against a living wage in Milwaukee County, favoring his plutocratic pals and ensuring that they increase they're already vast wealth.

Mary Burke, who is running for governor, stated that she felt the minimum wage should be raised, but by an insulting 35 cents an hour.

It's not hard to tell who's pulling the strings on Walker and Abele when groups like the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce and propagandists like the Bradley Foundation's MacIver Institute come out in a panic about any hint of people looking at just raising the minimum wage, much less setting it at a living wage level.

Now Walker looks even more the buffoon when 75 leading economists signed a letter to President Obama and to congressional leaders calling for them to raise the minimum wage:
July will mark five years since the federal minimum wage was last raised. We urge you to act now and enact a three-step raise of 95 cents a year for three years—which would mean a minimum wage of $10.10 by 2016—and then index it to protect against inflation. Senator Tom Harkin and Representative George Miller have introduced legislation to accomplish this. The increase to $10.10 would mean that minimum-wage workers who work full time, full year would see a raise from their current salary of roughly $15,000 to roughly $21,000. These proposals also usefully raise the tipped minimum wage to 70% of the regular minimum.

This policy would directly provide higher wages for close to 17 million workers by 2016. Furthermore, another 11 million workers whose wages are just above the new minimum would likely see a wage increase through “spillover” effects, as employers adjust their internal wage ladders. The vast majority of employees who would benefit are adults in working families, disproportionately women, who work at least 20 hours a week and depend on these earnings to make ends meet. At a time when persistent high unemployment is putting enormous downward pressure on wages, such a minimum-wage increase would provide a much-needed boost to the earnings of low-wage workers.

In recent years there have been important developments in the academic literature on the effect of increases in the minimum wage on employment, with the weight of evidence now showing that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market. Research suggests that a minimum-wage increase could have a small stimulative effect on the economy as low-wage workers spend their additional earnings, raising demand and job growth, and providing some help on the jobs front.
Well, that's just about the opposite of what Walker, Abele and the corporate special interests have been saying, isn't it?

I am sure that as soon as Charlie Sykes and the other propagandists see this news, they'll be scrambling around to dust off and bring up the same unsupported arguments that raising the minimum wage is bad.

But who are you going to believe - a corporate sockpuppet or 75 of the nation's leading economists.

For what it's worth, I don't think that the proposal goes anywhere near far enough.  Instead of raising the minimum wage in relation to inflation, but in relation to production, meaning that people would actually get paid for their work.  But I am also enough of a realist to know that this is probably the best we could hope for now.


  1. Still fail to understand how it is in the best long-term interest of republicans to pass laws which hold the common man down while protecting record corporate profits.