A Call for Action : Congress Raise Minimum Wage

MINIMUM WAGE

Min Wage photo SeniorsCAN_minwage_zps18e9024d.png

Seniors CAN call for action by congress to raise the minimum wage by $0.59 immediately and by $0.59 for each of the next two years. This would raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour as recommended by President Obama to a level already reached or being approached by many states.

These incremental raises would help many families out of poverty but would have minimal impact on employment or costs.

Do not index the minimum wage at this time. When it reaches $9.00, re-visit the matter to consider raising the minimum wage to a living wage and indexing it for the future.

Though we support raising the minimum wage, we realize that any increase will only modestly assist individuals and families. However, it is the right thing to do to promote greater economic justice.

– Norman Gottlieb, Seniors CAN

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9 responses

  1. I think that raising the minimum wage to $9.00 over the next two years is a very modest proposal. It is a step in the right direction. If the minimum wage of 1968 had been indexed to inflation it would be around $10.50. This amount would stimulate the economy and help business expand. This could be thought of as “trickle up” stimulus. “Trickle down” has only worked for the top few percent. Trickle up should work for everyone.

    Greg

  2. A further thought on raising the minimum wage is that an increase in the minimum wage could reduce, somewhat, the need for food stamps and other subsidies from the government. This in turn should raise a few more people to a greater level of independence from tax-payer subsidies which would be healthy for the country both economically and socially. This would not be a game-changer by itself but I think it would be a positive step in the right direction – realizing that other steps need to be taken also. Please express your thoughts.

    Greg

  3. At $13.00 per hour, a minimum raise would raise some people’s income to slightly above poverty level. This would help some families, especially when they find low income housing. Keeping people below the poverty level is not conducive to their wanting to find a job because the job that does not pay enough of a minimum wage to be more than they can get on welfare and food stamps.

    We could probably save enough to help reward businesses that would give that minimum raise. Raising the minimum wage to anything below that is an exercise in futility.

    1. The median wage in the US is only a little over $13.00 an hour for an individual which equates to not much more than $26,000 a year. If a man is married with two children and the wife is staying home when they are young, the family would definately be in poverty and be in need of some government support. Put yourself in the position of supporting a family of four on $26,000 a year and walk in his/her shoes. In the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s a family of four could be supported by the median earnings of one spouse – usually the man. Now you frequently hear that the median income of a family of four is over $40,000, but that is because there is often more than one breadwinner in the family and some work more than one job. Almost all of the wealth, and productivity gains in the last thirty years have accrued to those at or near the top of the income ladder. They of course are satisfied with their position on the ladder and naturally think of their welfare and not the welfare of the country in general. So, they are going to finance and support politicians who enact policies that continue to benefit them and not those who have actually made it possible for them to become wealthy. We have had large productivity gains in the last thirty years which have not been shared with those further down the ladder and has resulted in a growing increase in the wealth and income gap in this country. As this trend continues it brings us closer to a Plutocracy instead of a democracy. Some say that we are already there. Those further down the ladder do not have the wealth and muscle to influence the polititions, especially since the untions have been and continue to be decimated by the conservative movement. As long as the Republicans control or block progressive legislation, I cannot see any light at the end of the tunnel.

      1. Norm Gottlieb has the following to say: …” employers – large comporations, small businesses and homeowners too – to pay their workers a humanistic living wage. A humanistic wage is at least the minimum wage plus an allowance for such common benefits as health care, sick leave, paid vacations, etc.

        Today the stock market, corporate profits and executive salaries are high if not at record levels. In contrast, workers wages are low and stagnant. The increasing gap between the rich and poor is not sustainable. This imbalance has led to a form of discrimination whereby “temporary” workers are taken advantage of because they are poor, desperate for jobs, immigrants or person in other disadvantaged groups.

        We are aware that hiring temporary workers is legal, but laws defining a part-time worker as a person working less than 30 hours/week has created a loop-hole for businesses to avoid particular costs. We are also fully aware that in our capitalistic system wages are kept as low as possible to maximize profits. Actions like Henry Ford’s inspirational 5 dollar a day wage are needed today for long-term growth and prosperity.

        When businesses need only temporary work, they should hire workers for a specified number of hours per day or week and pay them wages proportional to their full-time employees – equal pay for equal work. When homeowners need gardening , house cleaning, child care, or small home improvements they should hire workers as “independent contractors” who would pay all appropriate taxes and make their payments into Social Security. Homeowners and many small businesses have been complicit in an underground economy which is not working to the long-term interest of workers and our government.

        Thanks for the input Norm

  4. Objections to a Living Wage always claim that any increase in the current low-low minimum wage wound imperial the entire economy. Not True!!
    Increase in the minimum wage improves the general economy by providing a
    LIVING WAGE to millions of workers who in turn are able to buy more products and
    services plus pay taxes. Less need for food stamps and other government support
    plans. WALMART is currently opposing a LIVING WAGE IN Washington D. C. and
    threaten to remove WALMART stores in D. C. Apparently WALMART wants low wags, cheap imported goods and high profits. Good for share holders not good for America workers.

  5. Robert Livingston | Reply

    I do not dispute the need for an increase in the minimum wage. I do, however, object to the heavy hand of government requiring an increase by law, especially where large companies are involved in the so-called “service industries,” such as McDonalds or Wal-Mart. Workers in these industries should organize and collectively bargain for increases, permitting labor and management to arrive at a “number,” which each side can live with. Raising the minimum wage in the absence of “negotiations” takes both sides off the hook because of the intervention of government fiat. Workers should stop complaining about the minimum wage. Rather, they should do what other workers have done: organize, bargain, and, if necessary, strike. The best friend of labor is your fellow worker. In solidarity there is strength. A strong union means a better wage.

    1. I agree that workers need to organize and collectively bargain for increases in pay. Your statement that “A strong union means a better wage” is true, but what can be done when so many states have RIGHT TO WORK laws and powerful political groups that thwart the efforts to organize unions? These groups are very well organized and have the money to influence policy that heavily favors business interest over the interests of the middle class. Maybe the HEAVY HAND OF BUSINESS needs to be balanced by the HEAVY HAND OF GOVERNMENT. Teddy Roosevelt used a HEAVY HAND to help the country.

  6. Harry McCracken | Reply

    I am in full agreement the comments made by my fellow seniors. I have notice that after a 2008 survey that Wal-Mart conducted, 9.4% of those surveyed stated that they would not shop at Wal-Mart for ethical reasons, Wal-Mart has stated a “Made in America” as sated in the follow article. However Wal-Mart management still feels that paying more than the minimum wage would simply be to great an expense for the company. While buying goods made in American is a good thing, I think Wal-Mart is going to be doing the right thing but for the wrong reasons (according to Kant- who feels that our actions should be based on a duty of respect for people.
    “The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company says it is “leading an American renewal in manufacturing” and “bringing jobs back to the U.S.” with its pledge made in January to buy an additional $50 billion in U.S.-made goods over the next 10 years.
    But an examination of the company’s “Made in America” campaign suggests Wal-Mart’s caught on to a reshoring phenomenon that was already underway.
    In many cases, Wal-Mart’s suppliers had already decided to produce in the United States, as rising wages in China and other emerging economies, along with increased labor productivity and flexibility back home, eroded the allure of offshore production.
    Though wrapped in the stars and stripes, the world’s largest retailer’s push to bring jobs back to the United States also makes business sense both for suppliers and retailers.
    Some manufacturers are finding they can profitably produce certain goods at home that they once made offshore. And retailers like Wal-Mart benefit from being able to buy those goods closer to distribution centers and stores with lower shipping costs, while gaining goodwill by selling more U.S.-made products.
    “This is not a public relations effort. This is an economic, financial, mathematical-driven effort. The economics are substantially different than they were in the 80s and 90s,” Bill Simon, chief executive of the Walmart U.S. chain, told the Reuters Global Consumer and Retail Summit earlier this month.
    The initiative is modest for now. For a company with $466.1 billion in annual sales, an additional $50 billion of spending over a decade will barely register. Also, the main Walmart U.S. unit sells mostly groceries and already procures two-thirds of its goods – including a lot of food – from U.S. sources.
    Wal-Mart’s high-profile commitment is, though, an important symbolic shift. A retailer that for decades has prompted hundreds of U.S. companies to move production overseas, thanks to its relentless insistence on cost-cutting, now is urging at least some production back. It will even offer longer-term purchasing guidance to some companies to encourage them.

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