The gradual implementaion of a $15 minimum wage is a step in the right direction-- but it should have been in place during the Obama presidency. $15 an hour buys a lot less now than it would have then when that amount was first suggested. There's more support for it now, of course, but conservatives paid by corporate America to prevent this kind of thing from happening are still determined to block it or at least continue to slow-walk it-- and, alas, they're not all Republicans. There are Democrats-- Democraps from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, like Oregon Congressman Kurt Schrader and senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema-- who are as determined as any Republican to stand in the way of transforming the minimum wage into a livable wage.
And the corrupted arch-conservative Democrats in the Senate are demanding that Schumer scale back the $15 proposal. At a meeting he called to discuss it, Bernie firmly stuck with $15 as the minimum, while Manchin and Sinema refuse to go beyond $11. (Arizona already has a higher minimum wage than that.) The Democrap almost sure to lose her seat next year, New Hampshire conservative Maggie Hassan, is willing to go to $12 an hour. Many Republicans feel the minimum wage should be abolished altogether, but a few have offered a compromise: $10. 'The Republicans want $10. $11 gets you above the poverty guidelines. And tipped wages go up to 50 percent of poverty guidelines,' Manchin said on Tuesday morning, adding that he is talking to the National Restaurant Association about the issue. 'I can’t see why that wouldn’t be a good route for everybody.'" And I believe him-- he really can't see why.
Maybe he should try living on $11 an hour-- or agree to raise it to $15 everywhere but West Virginia and Arizona and then discuss that with his constituents. Or he could read the issues brief released by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee this morning: "One of the arguments against raising the minimum wage is that it will result in job losses but this and other arguments ignore the latest research and evidence from states that have increased their wage floors. The latest research and evidence show that raising the minimum wage leaves low-wage workers, as a whole, better off because doing so encourages the creation of good jobs with higher wages, more security, and higher productivity. This is good for workers, businesses and the broader economy. Today, in our third of three issue briefs on the minimum wage, the JEC Democrats explore why raising the minimum wage-- contrary to the arguments of critics-- would:
Lead to job upgrades-- not losses;
Improve employment conditions;
Strengthen wage growth;
Improve health outcomes;
Benefit businesses; and
Benefit the economy.
Their first issue brief on the minimum wage focused on how its real value has gradually eroded since 1968, and their second issue brief on the minimum wage focused on the number of workers who would benefit from raising it. I hope they sent all three of them to Manchin, Sinema, Schrader, Hassan and other Austerity-oriented conservative Dems.
At Bernie's request, Schumer's minimum wage meeting included the 8 Democratic senators opposed to Bernie's indexed $15 minimum wage proposal-- Manchin, Sinema, Hassan, Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Angus King (I-ME). On a press call after the meeting, Bernie said "If you ask me what the most pressing economic problem in this country is today, I would tell you that it is low wages. That is our theory of economics-- not to give tax breaks to the rich-- put money into the pockets of working people and lower income people... There is the simple moral issue. In the wealthiest country on Earth, people should not be working for starvation wages."