An American Scandal and A Meek Proposal

In General Interest by Jonathan Tasini3 Comments

Well, bravo for the president for going to fight for a rise in the minimum wage. But, let’s be clear — this isn’t going to do much to raise people out of poverty.

From the prez:

“Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on earth, no one who works full time should have to live in poverty. This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank, rent or eviction, scraping by or finally getting ahead.”

And that goes with a proposal to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9. Well, rubbish. If you work 52 weeks a year, 40 hours a week, the president’s proposal would put roughly $3,640 a year in someone’s pocket. Well, after taxes that’s a lot less. But, the notion that you would be “finally getting ahead” is a fantasy. It’s rhetoric not based in reality.

I’ve been writing for a long time about the minimum wage as an American scandal. If you actually look at how hard people have worked over the last 30-40 years — meaning, if you measured productivity — the minimum wage should be almost $20 an hour.


So, okay, a little fingernail applause for the president for talking about this. But, $9 an hour, respectfully, is a bullshit proposal.


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