FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Top Ten Arguments for Raising the Minimum Wage

One.   Seven Nobel Laureates in Economics Endorse the higher minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016, saying it does not lead to lower fewer jobs.

Two.   Job losses from raising the minimum wage are negligible. Minimum wage has already been raised 23 times. Every time it was raised it was opposed by some few who said “it is going to lose jobs and wreck the economy” which is factually untrue as study after study has proven.

Three.   It is a myth that small business owners can’t afford to pay their workers more, and therefore don’t support an increase in the minimum wage. In fact, a June 2014 survey found that more than 3 out of 5 small business owners support increasing the minimum wage to $10.10.

Four.   The value of the minimum wage has fallen dramatically.   Since the minimum wage was last raised in 2009, the price of apples went up 16%, bacon 67%, cheddar cheese 21%, coffee 27%, ground beef 39%, and milk 21%. The minimum wage went up 0%. Plus, in the 1960s the minimum wage was essentially half the average wage. If that was still the case it would be $12.50 an hour.

Five.   Saying we have a “free market” that will take care of workers is a myth. No corporations rely on the mythical “free market,” why should workers? Corporations lobby like crazy all the time in Washington DC and before every state and local government for direct and indirect public assistance. All levels of government provide widespread corporate welfare so why not provide some help to low wage workers?   The Wall Street bailout cost over $200 billion. Fifty billionaires received taxpayer funded farm subsidies in past 2 decades. Corporate jet subsidy is $3 billion a year. Special tax breaks for hedge fund managers allow them to pay only 15% tax rate, while the people they invest for pay twice that much and their secretaries pay a higher percentage. The home mortgage deduction is $70 billion a year, with 77% going to people with incomes of over $100,000 per year. Giving workers more money is small potatoes compared with what corporations and the rich are receiving all the time.

Six. In fact, one way to look at this is that low minimum wage laws are government subsidies to low wage businesses. What do working people do if they do not have enough to eat or get sick or need housing? They turn to government for public benefits. For example in the fast food industry alone research by the University of Illinois and UC Berkeley documents that taxpayers pay about $243 billion each year in indirect subsidies to the fast food industry because they pay wages so low that taxpayers must put up $243 billion to pay for public benefits for their workers.

Seven. There is widespread religious support for living wages. Catholic support for living wages has been taught since 1891. In 1940, US Catholic Bishops stated: “The first claims of labor, WHICH TAKES PRIORITY OVER ANY CLAIMS OF THE OWNERS TO PROFITS, respects the right to a living wage.” Protestant churches were first on the record for living wages since 1908. Religious support for living wages has a long history and has been recently been reaffirmed by the Episcopal Church, the Jewish Council of Public Affairs, the Presbyterian Church, the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Methodist Church.

Eight. Worker productivity has gone up much faster than wages. Workers are already much more productive. Using the 1968 minimum wage as benchmark, if minimum wage grew at same rate as worker productivity it would have reached $21.72 per hour.

Nine. It is a myth that the minimum wage is only for teens and entry level workers.   Raising the minimum wage to $10 would impact over 15 million workers. 4.7 million working moms would get a raise if we raise it to $10.10. Aw would 2.6 million working dads for a total of 7 million parents.

Ten. There is widespread bipartisan support for raising the minimum wage.In a 2015 poll, 75% of Americans, including 53% of Republicans, support raising the minimum wage to $12.50 by 2020.

Bonus point.   You know the minimum wage is too low when….WALMART announces it will raise its minimum wage to $10 an hour by February next year.

As President Franklin Roosevelt said in 1933: “No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.”

Bill Quigley teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans.  A version of this with sources is available.  He can be reached at: Quigley77@gmail.com 

 

 

More articles by:

Bill Quigley teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans and can be reached at quigley77@gmail.com.

January 23, 2019
Charles McKelvey
Popular Democracy in Cuba
Kenn Orphan
The Smile of Class Privilege
Leonard Peltier
The History Behind Nate Phillips’ Song
Kenneth Surin
Stalled Brexit Goings On
Jeff Cohen
The System’s Falling Apart: Were the Dogmatic Marxists Right After All?
Cira Pascual Marquina
Chavez and the Continent of Politics: a Conversation with Chris Gilbert
George Ochenski
Turning Federal Lands Over to the States and Other Rightwing Fantasies
George Wuerthner
Forest Service Ignores Science to Justify Logging
Raouf Halaby
In the Fray: Responses to Covington Catholic High
Kim C. Domenico
No Saviors But Ourselves; No Disobedience Without Deeper Loyalty
Ted Rall
Jury Trial? You Have No Right!
Michael Doliner
The Pros and Cons of Near Term Human Extinction
Lee Ballinger
Musical Unity
Elliot Sperber
The Ark Builders
January 22, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
On the Brink of Brexit: the Only Thing Most People Outside Westminster Know About Brexit is That It’s a Mess
Raouf Halaby
The Little Brett Kavanaughs from Covington Catholic High
Dean Baker
The Trump Tax Cut is Even Worse Than They Say
Stanley L. Cohen
The Brazen Detention of Marzieh Hashemi, America’s Newest Political Prisoner
Karl Grossman
Darth Trump: From Space Force to Star Wars
Glenn Sacks
Teachers Strike Dispatch #8: New Independent Study Confirms LAUSD Has the Money to Meet UTLA’s Demands
Haydar Khan
The Double Bind of Human Senescence
Alvaro Huerta
Mr. President, We Don’t Need Your Stinking Wall
Howard Lisnoff
Another Slugger from Louisville: Muhammad Ali
Nicole Patrice Hill – Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Scarlet “I”: Climate Change, “Invasive” Plants and Our Culture of Domination
Jonah Raskin
Disposable Man Gets His Balls Back
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail