When a conservative is proposing taxing the rich as opposed to raising the minimum wage, one knows an issue has traction. When a moderate is suggesting that based on productivity math, the minimum wage should be $18.00/hour, then an issue has traction. When a liberal believes that governors including those in red states are likely to act on the minimum wage on their own, one knows the issue has traction.
The roundtable discussion on ThisWeek was one of the best on the Sunday Morning news programs in a while. It was substantive and discussed the issue of a living wage from several points.
Matthew Dawd had the most important observation that every opponent of the minimum wage should heed. He said that if the minimum wage had increased at the rate productivity did then the minimum wage would be $18.00 Instead that productivity went to CEO pay and to the shareholders. Matthew Dawd must have watched Jon Stewart’s skit on the absurdity of opposing the minimum wage.
This is the continuous transfer of wealth from working America to the rich. This is what has been holding back the middle class for the last 30+ years. That a moderate like Matthew Dawd has so forcefully stated it, one would hope that going forward the issue will take center stage. It will have to be messaged in a manner consistent with the values of working America.
Bill Kristol conceded something one would never expect. He actually proposed taxing the wealthy and redistributing it to the poor in the form of credits. That was astounding but is also worth exploring.
Donna Brazille made a statement that should scare low wage workers. She said that waiter’s minimum wage is $2.13/hour. It is the same as it was early in her working years.
Last week Bob Herbert was on MSNBC where another substantive discussion on the minimum wage was held. He made an important point. “It seems to me that if you can’t afford to pay your workers a reasonable wage,” Bob Herbert said. “You can’t afford to be in business. How is a wage any different for example like your overhead, your rent, than what you have to pay for supplies, and that sort of thing? The idea that workers should subsidize the profits of corporations I think is just silly. Pay workers a reasonable wage.”
National discussions are finally placing the working poor and the failing middle class at the top of the agenda. One hopes it will remain there till America atones to those that have built this country on their backs.