The problem with press releases and economic gorilla dust is no one bothers to do the math. So, Wal-Mart will get a lot of hugs and free good press from announcing that it will raises workers’ wages–but the truth is it’s still a sham. People working for Wal-Mart will still live in poverty. The only positive part of the announcement–though unintended–is how Wal-Mart’s announcement shows how pathetic the pre-election (is it even still on the agenda?) White House-Democratic Party’s signature minimum wage proposal is.
The campaign for a $10.10 federal minimum wage, championed by the president, Democrats in Congress and a whole raft of “liberal/progressive” organizations, is a very bad idea.
To be clear, I’m not arguing it’s too ambitious. The opposite: what we need is a campaign, now, today, for a minimum wage of $20-an-hour. Anything less is a failure to confront poverty in America and a bankrupt economic system.
$10.10-an-hour will not allow people to make a fair living, or challenge the basic, “We-make-profits-thanks-to-poverty” system that underpins today’s real world economy.
Anything short of $20-a-hour is a capitulation to the most narrow politics, particularly on the part of so-called “liberals/progressives” who are, unintentionally, locking into place deep poverty in America and ratifying the basic principle of the so-called “free market”.
And $20-an-hour actually relates to real life after you look at a very complicated idea: simple math.
I’ve been looking long and hard, trying to find something, just one thing, to say positive about the crooks on Wall Street and in the banking industry. Maybe it’s the Summer Solstice–but, eureka! Those guys have helped moved the poverty conversation in the right direction.
With about 250-300 ballots left to count, the ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage to $15-an-hour in the city of SeaTac is leading by just 19 votes. It’s lost a bit of ground since Tuesday’s lead of 43 votes. But, win or lose, it could set a different standard for the debate around the minimum wage.
The votes keep trickling in. But, as of close of business today in Seattle, the initiative to raise the minimum wage to $15-an-hour in SeaTac is hanging on. And it looks better today.
Uh, yeah, every vote does matter. Especially when it comes to making sure people don’t live in poverty. Mark one up for a move to a serious minimum wage!
For a very long time, I’ve pointed out the moral outrage of the so-called “minimum wage”, so-called because it is really a poverty wage, not a minimum wage. Minimum wage gives the impression that it is the minimum a person can live on. But, you can’t live on that wage. That’s where a hike in the poverty wage is welcome, even if it is still not enough.
Maybe this falls under the rubric of “don’t blame children for the sins of their parents” and maybe I’m just a wee bit cynical BUT…the president couldn’t find another qualified woman to runs his numbers as his budget chief besides someone who headed up the Wal-Mart Foundation?
Yesterday, I wrote that the president’s proposal to hike the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 was a meek proposal. And that it was pure rubbish to argue, as he did, that that hike would help people get ahead. Just to add today a bit more.
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.
It’s not surprising that a growing number of workers around the globe are losing faith in political leaders. After all, the economic debate often seems completely divorced from the realities of workers’ lives, whether it’s blaming workers for national budget squeezes actually caused by bankers or CEOs imposing mass layoffs to cover up obscene executive compensation at the heart of bottom-line revenue shortfalls. The debate in the United States is a good example.
Everyone likes to compare their city to New York City. If you can be like the greatest city in the world, hey, you’ve made it. But, uh, this might not be a comparison the Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Board wants making the rounds.
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You want to know how your dollars are spent when you buy stuff? It’s not for the wages of the workers who serve you: