Friday, August 18, 2006

Issue # 2: The Minimum Wage

Let’s see if I can get out a post before class starts.

Today’s shortcut citation page: http://www.raisemontana.org/.

The minimum wage has not been raised in ten years. Adjusted for inflation, it is about the lowest it has ever been. A full-time worker making minimum wage earns $10,712 a year. The poverty line for a family of three is $15,536, about 1/3 higher. As the wages for the bottom have decreased relative to inflation, the wages at the top have risen. The average CEO now makes 475 times what the average employee makes. This is not the case in other countries. In Japan it is 11 times greater; in France, 15 times greater; in Canada, it is 20 times greater; in South Africa, 21 times greater; and in Great Britain, 22 times greater. (Wall Street Journal, “Are CEO’s Worth Their Weight in Gold?” January 21-22, 2006)

People who earn these wages are normally on public assistance of some form. For the conservatives who oppose raising the minimum wage, why don’t we get these people off of the government and on their own? Let them work full-time and take care of their own selves and their family. Isn’t that what you want? Class is starting, so I don’t have time to do the research, but I would expect I could find evidence that this won’t raise costs particularly much, if at all. Low income people spend almost all of what they make. Compared to the high-income people who we gave tax cuts too, they are the most likely to stimulate the economy with their purchases. Their higher wages could also decrease the burden on the government from entitlement programs.

I’m going to go one better than raising the minimum wage. Let’s end the debate. Inflation averages 3 or 4% a year. We’ll never regularly pass increases in the minimum wage. Let’s tag it to the CPI automatically as social security is. Or better yet, let’s tie it to legislative pay raises. Every time they raise their pay, they’ll actually be helping rather than screwing the poor for once. Back to class!

2 Comments:

Blogger LeftWingCracker said...

Fixed MINIMUM from MINUMUM.

Sorry, I'm a serial proofreader..

Friday, August 18, 2006 2:04:00 PM  
Blogger David Holt said...

No Problem. I was typing with a 5 minute time limit for a break. Thanks.

Friday, August 18, 2006 3:50:00 PM  

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