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.
Twenty-eight million workers are currently making minimum wage. Less than 25 percent are between the ages of 16 and 19 years old. More than half are women (62 percent).
Clearly policy-makers do not need to fear assessment when the media -- and voters -- shrink from drilling down on pat answers to tough questions. So what does the future hold? More of an awakening of Generation X and Millenials to their potential power?
If the Democrats could stick to two economic proposals, Republicans would be put in the position of stating publicly what Mitch McConnell told his billionaires in private: we are here for you, and you only.
Seven dollars per day is not much. Forget buying a latte at Starbucks each morning. You would barely have enough money to eat afterwards. In fact, forget going out to eat. Period. The tip alone would eat up all of your daily allocation.
How do they make it? I tried to save with modest meals, usually bananas for breakfast and graham crackers for dinner, and yes, I was hungry. Can you imagine the difficult choices a minimum wage worker makes every single day? What about their kids?
Like so much else in education policy, the answer is a firm, "Maybe."
On a cold November morning in 2012, some 200 fast food workers at places like McDonald's and Burger King started an improbable journey with a one-day strike at a handful of restaurants to demand a minimum wage of $15 an hour.
Though some American Catholics imagine that being 'pro-life' means, and only means, being anti-abortion, such a use of the term distorts and misrepresents what it means for the Catholic Church.