Our nation has been at its best when honoring a longstanding social contract that balances unbounded wealth building opportunity with fairness. Sharing our burdens as well as our benefits across various income groups is what has always made America strong.
This is not to argue against minimum wage increases as much as to argue that this remedy must not be substituted for reforms at deeper levels.
You know what might help in this crisis-to-end-all-crises? Having a Surgeon General in office. President Obama nominated someone for the job last November, but his confirmation has been blocked ever since.
As the country's largest full-service restaurant corporation, Darden plays a major role in setting national industry standards. And now, in the midst of a bitter shareholder fight, it has a decision to make. Will it tighten the vice on workers or will it change course and follow a high road approach to prosperity?
No matter what Republicans say, President Obama is not on the ballot this November. The GOP can't seem to admit to the public that the President has already run his last race.
If we count the workers who are marginally attached to the job market or working part-time for economic reasons, as many as 25 percent of all African Americans are under-employed. What's worse: wages in the job sectors where black workers are concentrated remain far below what anyone would consider a "living wage."
With so many business-hub communities surrounding Seattle (more than a dozen not counting bedroom communities), residents desiring low-cost local services do not have to drive far to find businesses not constrained by the new minimum wage.
When lawmakers, policy experts and advocates gather this week in Washington for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's annual policy summit, they will be discussing passing common sense immigration reform, accessing affordable health care and living in a clean environment. These are the issues that Latinos care about most.
There's a lot more to living wage proposals than emotional appeals to help working families and reaction to corporate welfare. Increasing wages will increase spendable income, which will increase demand, which will increase economic activity that benefits everyone. It's anti-austerity economics turned into a workable program.
GDP growth is less and less relevant to the wellbeing of most Americans. We should be paying less attention to growth and more to median household income.
For half a century beginning with Franklin Roosevelt, there was a direct connection between the problems that afflicted American society and the remedies on offer from our democratic system. High unemployment? The New Deal, the World War II mobilization, and the postwar boom took care of that. Stagnant wages? With unions, growing productivity, minimum wage laws, and other regulation of labor standards -- American real wages tripled. Education? The G.I. bill, massive investment in public universities, community colleges, and later in public elementary and secondary education produced a better educated and more productive population. The exclusion of blacks from the American dream? A mass movement and a revolution in civil rights law made a big down-payment on redeeming the promise of Lincoln. I could go on, but you get the point. In the last century, democratic politics addressed real problems.
Glaringly absent in the Fed's policy platform is a commitment to a fair architecture for capitalism that equitably distributes the fruits of enterprise by providing incentives for ethically pricing each person's contributions to the sustainable public good.
While leaving the U.S. may never be an issue of economic survival, the new economic climate is making it a much more tempting option than ever before.
Latinos may be tempted to sit on the sidelines in the 2014 midterms. Some have even counseled that the best way for Latinos to show their power is to stay home. While there is good reason for frustration, we cannot afford to be apathetic or to indulge in the politics of spite.
History shows that Henry Ford doubled wages and still managed to increase profits. Are we really supposed to believe McDonald's can't spend a single penny more on workers without going bankrupt or ruining the U.S. economy?
A minimum wage increase will positively affect a sizable portion of the population, will have a moderate stimulative effect on the economy, and will be easily affordable. And by indexing it to inflation as the Harkin-Miller bill suggests, it would ensure that low income American workers would not risk seeing their wages eroded during the next recession.