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'Tired of Waiting' for Politicians, Minimum Wage on Ballot in Four States


'Tired of Waiting' for Politicians, Minimum Wage on Ballot in Four States

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Voters, "tired of waiting" for federal lawmakers, will soon be casting their ballot in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington to raise the grossly inadequate minimum wage and, advocates hope, raise the standard of living for roughly 2.1 million Americans.


And where's Hillary been on $15 per hour minimum wage? She hasn't said she'd push for it, only $12, but "supports" local efforts such as this. A "progressive" leader on the issue, hardly? She wouldn't even be going as far as she has if it hadn't been for Bernie making it an issue in the national campaign and making sure it got into the Democratic platform. For someone who earned roughly $225,000 an hour for making speeches to Goldman Sachs, you would think she'd have been out front advocating $15 per hour minimum wage for the hard working people of America.


I'm struck by how paltry those ballot measures are. They sound more like some corporate scheme to run a fig leaf over minimal change which still short changes by a lot what wages should be. Some averages recently have a minimal need of at least $17.28 (or there abouts) and I think it should be in the range of $22-$25 an hour. If you are serious about boosting "the" economy that is where to go.

Just think of what you do when you get a break and have more money. I know what I do. I buy those items I've been looking at for so long that finally I can afford. Not only does that put more money in circulation it requires more people to handle the purchasing traffic meaning more jobs. When was the last time that any company saw a corporate tax break and decided that meant they would create more jobs for the community? Never. They buy jobs they way they buy production equipment because that is what a job is to a company. An investment in pulling in money.

Then there is that business about "the" economy. That is always a lie of the face of it. There are multiple economies depending on whose economy, corporate economy, 1%-er's economy, people's economy and so forth. But the only thing the imagination-limited media (looking at you, PBS, NPR) seem able to report on are the stock markets, which are nothing more than betting parlors for privileged scavengers stealing the food from the real workers.


In the 1930s Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said that the states are the laboratories of democracy. It applies to many things, especially to health care. We need a national health program, but we will not have it until we have it in at least one state. Politicians need to see that survival is possible even if one endorses it and it is necessary to show that it works and saves money. In the case of the minimum wage, the conventional wisdom among the Chamber of Commerce types is that it will be bad for business. On the contrary, one can argue that it will stimulate business because lower income people will not bank the increased money and, thus, it will stimulate the economy. Has Kashama Sawant obtained it in Seattle or Tacoma, yet?


This is kinda/sorta good news. At least some minimal changes seems to be getting support at the state level. Unfortunately, $12/hour is still paltry. If that were the wage being paid to kids getting their first jobs and saving for college or furniture (whatever) that would be OK. But minimum wage in this country has become 'standard wage'. In the absence of jobs for higher skills, more education and years of experience, $12 or even $15 an hour as the 'minimum' is simply inadequate. It is not possible to raise a family and send the kids to college on that wage. Definitely better than where we are now, but hardly a panacea.


Another note: if TTP gets pushed through during the lame duck session, couldn't the government be sued under ISDS for disrupting profits? That has already happened in India...


The 15 dollar minimum wage campaigns began back in 2012, long before Bernie or anyone else took it up as a national issue. It has always pushed corporations directly and relied on local initiatives. It has never waited for the federal government to act. Clinton has supported the local 15 dollar an hour campaigns. On the other hand, the current federal minimum wage is 7.95. Raising it to 12 nationally would be great, but has never come close to a vote.


No, it could not. We already have ISDS agreements with other trade pacts. The actual impact of the much feared globalization and trade agreements is a rise in wages internationally and a reduction in world poverty rates. Protectionism is not progressive and is certainly not Socialist. Unless you mean National Socialism.


I've been following the situation in the state of Washington since 2006, shortly after an initiative to raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation.
-- Further, the courts in Washington ruled that their minimum wage can only go up. If inflation were actually deflation and prices went down the minimum wage would stand unchanged. The instant the economy turned around the minimum wage would go up again. A ratchet effect.
-- At that time I heard minimum wage advocates there talk about indexing the minimum wage to inflation+plus, in order to force a decrease in inequality.

None of this background got mentioned in the section of the article about the Washington initiative. So indexed to inflation wasn't good enough, and they want to raise the minimum wage some more?

One of the other comments [ruckndl] mentioned Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis of some years back, who called the states the "laboratories of democracy." Good. This is one of the issues where Federalism and state decision making should reign. And the states can compete on who can raise them the highest and best for society, :slight_smile: - Would you really trust these decisions to the corrupt and faraway Congress? Faraway in both geographic distance and in empathy with the public?

The politics of it said, most economists consider minimum wage laws imposed by government to be bad policy. The ideas spoken of in and about this article remind me of the 'High Wage Doctrine' that was popular during the 1930s, a period of greater-than-10% unemployment. The same is persistently true in Europe today.


People do not need a minimum wage- they need a living wage with bennefits.


Why is she going to be pushing for anything? She's just another citizen.