At this point, it is clear: Elizabeth Warren is not holding any punches in her fight to defend the middle class of America. Her rise to the U.S. Senate has turned many people’s heads and dramatically changed the dynamic on Capitol Hill. But on March 14, in the Senate committee meeting titled “Keeping up with a Changing Economy: Indexing the Minimum Wage,” she really raised the stakes: [See video]
Had it kept up with the growth in income going to the top 1 percent, it would have been even higher, at $24 per hour; and the wage would have exceeded $33 per hour at its peak in 2007. [From video]
Given the fact that the minimum wage should be at $22 or even $33 an hour, focusing the debate on raising it to $9 an hour seems almost insulting. Even conservative think tanks agree that the minimum wage needs to be far higher than the modest $9.00 per hour of the President’s proposal.
Imagine the shock to the system $22.00 an hour would be to an employee. An immediate effect would be a reduction in two-income, lower income households. A single wage could afford the same lifestyle currently enjoyed by two people working three minimum wage jobs, even accounting for the inflationary reaction. This would relieve unemployment pressure across the board. In addition, it would create an improvement in the government budget, reducing pressure on programs such as Medicaid and Food Stamps, while also bringing in far higher tax revenue. It is a win-win scenario.
And it is about time someone talked about it.
Nathaniel Downes is the son of a former state representative of New Hampshire, now living in Seattle Washington.
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