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It's been a long time coming, but the gradual crushing of the middle-class Has. To. Stop.  The fastest and most effective way to do that is to Raise the Minimum-Wage which will - just like the now expired payroll tax cut - put more spendable cash in the hands of millions of Americans and foster the surge of Demand that businesses can foster a need to grow and hire more employees to service the increase in clients.

It's really as simple as that.

Republicans say it will cost jobs, but that's never been shown to be true.

For instance, in 2009 researchers conducted a review of 64 minimum-wage studies published between 1972 and 2007 measuring the impact of minimum wages on teenage employment and when they graphed “every employment estimate contained in these studies (over 1,000 in total), weighting each estimate by its statistical precision, they found that the most precise estimates were heavily clustered at or near zero employment effects.” The following year, researchers published a study comparing restaurant employment differences across 1,381 U.S. counties with different levels of the minimum wage” in every quarter between 1990 and 2006. Their conclusion: “The large negative elasticities in the traditional specification are generated primarily by regional and local differences in employment trends that are unrelated to minimum wage policies.

And then you have GOpers like Marsha Blackburn who inadverdantly makes this point even stronger while claiming that having a "starter job" as a teenager for just $2.14 hour was something that helped her "Build Character".  Ok, sure.  Y'know what $2.14 an hour - which was nearly double the then minimum wage - would now be in 2012 dollars?

Between $12.78 and $14.18 an hour.

http://thinkprogress.org/...

BLACKBURN: What we’re hearing from moms and from school teachers is that there needs to be a lower entry level, so that you can get 16-, 17-, 18-year-olds into the process. Chuck, I remember my first job, when I was working in a retail store, down there, growing up in Laurel, Mississippi. I was making like $2.15 an hour. And I was taught how to responsibly handle those customer interactions. And I appreciated that opportunity.
So basically if we followed Marsha Blackburn's lead and people - many of whom are NOT teenagers - should at least expect almost double what the President asked for in this years State of the Union.

The truth is that by freezing the minimum wage, U.S. employers have been getting more and more value for less and less overhead.  If the Minimum Wage had kept up with Productivity over the last 40 years- it would be $21.72/ Hour

My that chart does look a great deal like this one, which shows the growing income gap between the average working and some of those in the 1% - Financial Services Workers.
if this trend is ever going to be reversed, those with the greatest need - those at the bottom - are going to need a boost simply to catch up to what they've been missing out on for the last 3 decades.  Working Harder and Getting Less and Less for it is a Raw Deal that has been fostered by a Financial Sector that is most happy to have America product one single exchangeable commodity  - Debt.

Vyan

Originally posted to Vyan on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 04:32 PM PST.

Also republished by Invisible People, In Support of Labor and Unions, and The Royal Manticoran Rangers.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yes, except climate change (5+ / 0-)

    That's be the top one.  Indeed, our terrible income distribution makes climate action harder as too many have too hard a time keeping up now.  People whose politics are confined to paying this months' rent have a hard time rallying behind less urgent (if ultimately more important) matters

    Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

    by Mindful Nature on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 04:38:17 PM PST

    •  People don't care if they can't take care of (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joedemocrat, JesseCW, notrouble

      Their families or live.

      Is climate change important? Yes.

    •  I was thinking this exactly (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Zinman, JesseCW

      We HAVE to address climate change and other environmental concerns as priority #1, however, few people making current minimum wage are likely to support the changes needed as living day-to-day is their primary concern.  Raising minimum wage is a great start to putting people on better economic footing and thus giving them the opportunity to support addressing these bigger issues.  Plus, it buys democrats (the only party likely to do ANYTHING about climate change) political capital.  This is why we need a strong populist economic agenda.  

      Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

      by Mark Mywurtz on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 05:46:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wedge issue (5+ / 0-)

    It'd be smart for Democrats in all states with initiative processes to get two campaigns going:

    1.  Raise the minimum wage in the state to 5% above the Federal poverty level for a family of four for a worker working 40 hours.

    2.  A nonpartisan redistricting commission (modeled on Iowa's or Arizona's) to redraw all state legislative and Congressional districts, starting for the election following the passage and after every census.

    The minimum wage would bring out Democratic voters in droves, and the redistricting would begin to reverse Republican gerrymandering.

    Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

    by Dallasdoc on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 04:39:39 PM PST

    •  I read in another diary (0+ / 0-)

      the minimum wage would be $16.24 an hour if it had kept up with productivity gains since the 1960's...

      During this trickle down era, almost all productivity gains have gone to business, not to workers hurting growth and costing jobs.

      As a member of Courtesy Kos, I am dedicated to civility and respect for all kossacks, regardless of their opinions, affiliations, or cliques.

      by joedemocrat on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 04:53:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's almost exactly what it is in Australia - (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gooserock

        and Australia isn't exactly considered a socialist paradise from a Western European perspective.

        The UK minimum is about 9.75 US, and is pretty much the shame of Europe.

        income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

        by JesseCW on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 06:38:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Also All gains in Family Net Worth Went to the 1% (0+ / 0-)

        pretty much since Carter.

        And that means the well-off 91st-99th percentiles were at the same dead stop as the rest of us shnooks, even during the Clinton so-called boom. They went nowhere too. You'd think there'd be a way to reach them.

        Chart only covers the good years before Bush.
        Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 07:23:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Here in California, we've got a Democratic (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc, David Kaib

      Governor who the well off judge only by his PR and not his actions.  He's busy making the case any large boosts to minimum wage will endanger the "recovery" that only him and his buddies are actually seeing.

      income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

      by JesseCW on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 06:43:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Those who claim raising the minimum wage (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Mark Mywurtz, JesseCW, Eric Nelson

    will cost jobs completely ignore Economics 101. When millions of people earn more, they buy more goods and services. That leads to economic growth, which creates jobs...Yes, it puts more money into people's pockets just like a tax cut would.

    Therefore, it is impossible to argue tax cuts spur economic growth but increasing the minimum wage would not..

    We all know the problem with Republican tax cuts is they are typically tax cuts for the rich - people with a very low propensity to spend - so they don't spur much growth. If anything, they could force budget cuts that reduce growth.

    As a member of Courtesy Kos, I am dedicated to civility and respect for all kossacks, regardless of their opinions, affiliations, or cliques.

    by joedemocrat on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 04:52:21 PM PST

    •  Actually, suppose it were raised to $1 billion/hr. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock

      That would, I think, rather hurt economic output, so there's some threshold above which all values hurt economic output.  Not arguing that $9 is above such a value (I'd like to see it at $12 or more), just that it is possible to argue otherwise.

      •  Well They'd Be Paying a Shitload of Taxes. (0+ / 0-)

        Of course no they wouldn't. We've slashed taxes on billion wage earners --there actually are some now that we eliminated New Deal compressive progressive taxation.

        If we had that, hardly anyone would want more than a million or two a year because you'd quickly be giving 90% of the excess to government.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 07:25:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's not just that - it lowers the deficit. When (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      incomes go up, the number of people who need food aid ect. goes down.

      What's more, while people effected don't pay the highest tax rates, they mostly pay their taxes instead of hiding money off shore or stashing it in a 401(k) and trying to get something for nothing.

      It will also be a huge boost for Social Security over the short to medium term (though neutral on a long enough horizon).

      income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

      by JesseCW on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 06:41:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It has been 40 years (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, Gooserock

    It has been about 40 years since I earned the mimimum  wage of $1.25 an hour with food service workers at $.75 an hour.  It seems like min wage should be like $12 and $8.
    In 66 in the Navy as an E3 I earned about $97.50 a month with room and board and clothing.

    •  $10.50 is the Equivalent of the 1968 Peak in Terms (0+ / 0-)

      of purely inflation. As another poster said, if productivity gains had been shared with workers as they were in the middle 20th century, $16+ an hour would be the logical min.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 07:26:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'd say it was co-#1 along with putting people (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, worldlotus

    ...back to work. If you don't have a paycheck, it is really hard to say some other issue is more vital.

    That said, I'd like to see more Dems out there talking about an indexed minimum wage and jobs than just President Obama and a few others.

    While we can debate prioritizing issues, I really cannot think of one issue he mentioned that isn't vitally important.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 06:56:16 PM PST

  •  Wage slavery or serfdom or indentured servitude. (0+ / 0-)

    What a way to treat human beings.  
    I say 40 for 40 or fight.
    $40,000 for 40 hours of work or fight.  the government could subsidise this they way they pay farmers not to grow crops or rich corporations to take jobes overseas.

  •  Doesn't make sense to me: Climate change is tops (0+ / 0-)

    for me, because if we don't have an environment that'll support human life... well, minimum wage doesn't matter so much.

    To me personally, everything else is secondary to climate.

    This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

    by AllisonInSeattle on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 10:35:29 PM PST

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