Putting a $9 Minimum Wage in Context – David Cooper, EPI

The bottom line, as Dean Baker has pointed out, is that over the last 40 years, minimum-wage workers have not seen the benefits of a growing economy.  As productivity has increased and the economy has expanded, the minimum wage has been left to stagnate.  Imagine what the minimum wage would look like today if it had kept pace with productivity growth.  Figure 3 shows the actual value of the minimum wage over time, compared with what it might have been under three other scenarios.



Rasmussen Poll: 54% Favor Raising Minimum Wage to $9 An Hour

“Most voters don’t think the minimum wage is enough to live on and support President Obama’s proposal to raise it from $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour. They’re more narrowly divided, however, when asked if hiking the minimum wage will be good for the economy.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 54% of Likely U.S. Voters favor raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour. Thirty-four percent (34%) are opposed, while 12% are not sure.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on February 14-15, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.”



Jim Hightower: Do More Than the Minimum on Minimum Wage

Do more than the minimum on minimum wage

Monday, February 18, 2013   |

Posted by Jim Hightower

podcast http://jimhightower.com/sites/jimhightower.civicactions.net/files/5-21_m_show.mp3

story http://jimhightower.com/node/7962

“In the wealthiest nation on Earth,” President Obama declared in his State of the Union speech, “no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty.”   Right! Not only does his call to raise America’s minimum wage put some real pop in populism, but it could finally start putting some ethics back in our country’s much-celebrated, (but rarely-honored) “work ethic.” Kudos to Obama for putting good economics and good morals together – and for putting this long overdue increase on the front burner.

But then came the number: $9 an hour. Excuse me, Mr. President, but that means a person who “works full-time” would nonetheless “have to live in poverty.” Yes, nine bucks is a buck-seventy-five better than the current pay, but it’s still a poverty wage, and it doesn’t even elevate the buying power of our wage floor back to where it was in 1968.


The Politics Of Raising The Minimum Wage – NPR RADIO PODCAST


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I’m Scott Simon. In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for Congress to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour, up from its current rate of 7.25.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong.

SIMON: But does raising the minimum wage help families if it discourages hiring? David Leonhardt is with his. He’s the Washington bureau chief of the New York Times. David, thanks for being back with us.

DAVID LEONHARDT: Thanks for having me.

SIMON: What do history and numbers say? Is raising the minimum wage a good way to help low-wage workers?

LEONHARDT: Raising the minimum wage pretty clearly helps low-wage workers. I think sometimes you hear it described as some sort of free lunch and other times you hear it described as an economic calamity, and I don’t think it’s either of those.

SIMON: Why not?

LEONHARDT: Because what happens when companies have to pay higher wages, the evidence suggests, is that although it may have some modest effect on employment, it doesn’t have a big effect on employment. And so what that means is that the companies absorb the higher wages. And they absorb them either through taking a hit to their profit or they raise their prices, which means that essentially it comes out of all of their customers, which is to say the society as a whole. So, you can think of it as moving some income from the middle and the top toward the bottom.


President’s $9.00 Minimum Wage Proposal Ignites National Fair Wage Debate

via Press-Enterprise (for the entire article visit link)


“The difference between the current federal minimum of $7.25 and Obama’s proposal of $9 would put an extra $70 a week into the hands of a worker such as Hurtado.

A statewide study by the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at UC Berkeley found that out of a workforce of 16.6 million in California, 12 percent make less than $8.80 per hour.

There is no breakdown for local areas, but the nature of Inland Southern California’s workforce suggests substantial numbers of people fall into low-wage categories.

According to the latest data from the state Employment Development Department, about 335,000 people in San Bernardino and Riverside counties worked in either the retail or accommodations industries or in temporary jobs in December, or about 28 percent of all workers who were on payrolls.

That figure includes managerial staff, but many in those industries are low-end workers.


Farrokh Harmozi, an economist at Pace University in New York City, said he strongly favors an increase. He said that the argument that it would mostly benefit “rich kids,” teens who drive their parents’ expensive cars to part-time jobs, is flawed, because studies show that 85 percent are 20 years old or older.

“My feeling is that $7.25 is not even going to buy you a hamburger. It’s a shame to pay someone at that rate,” Harmozi said.”