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Bar graph showing price increases in college tuition, milk, gas, and fuel oil since the last time the minimum wage rose.
Two congressional Democrats are introducing a minimum wage increase bolder than the one President Obama put forward in his State of the Union address. Where Obama called for the minimum wage to be raised to $9.00 from its current level of $7.25, then tied to inflation, Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin and California Rep. George Miller want to see it raised to $10.10 before being tied to inflation. That's close to the 1968 minimum wage of around $10.50 (in 2012 dollars). The minimum wage for tipped workers, which has been frozen at $2.13 since 1991, would be raised to 70 percent of the full minimum wage. "I was very happy the president at least talked about" increasing the minimum wage, said Harkin. But:
"I think it's too low," Miller said of Obama's $9 proposal. "If you're going to index it at that level, you lock people into a sub-minimum wage. We've always struggled to have the minimum wage keep up with the times. You play catch-up, and we need to stop that. Establish it at what it should be—[roughly] 10 dollars an hour—and then index it, and get on with life so you don't keep falling behind."
Writing in Dissent, Colin Gordon and John Schmitt made a similar point, that "a built-in cost-of-living adjustment would likely displace or at least delay future legislated increases," making its initial level especially important. And make no mistake, the minimum wage is an important factor in the economy. The vast majority of the tens of millions of low-wage workers who would get a raise as a result of increasing the minimum are over 20 years of age, around half work full-time, more than half are women, and close to half are people of color. Many have families; 17 million children have a parent who would get a raise. Raising the minimum wage would pull working families out of poverty, it wouldn't increase unemployment, and with two-thirds of low-wage workers working at companies with more than 100 employees, we're not talking about something that targets small businesses.

President Obama's proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9.00 an hour was a start. Raising it to $10.10 would be better.

Tell Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 and tie it to inflation.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 09:18 AM PST.

Also republished by Invisible People, In Support of Labor and Unions, Daily Kos Economics, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Damn, that took some guts (24+ / 0-)

    Nice to see we've got some Democrats that have those. Now we need to spines to go with them and we're on to something. Yeah, the Repukes in the House will never let this happen. Ever. But Democrats can be seen as on the side of the angels in this fight and speak loudly they're for the 99% by taking this stand and making a fight for it.

    You can't assassinate the character of any of modern conservative. You'd have to find where it was buried, dig it up, resurrect it, then kill it. And killing a zombie isn't really assassination, is it?

    by ontheleftcoast on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 09:25:28 AM PST

    •  Triangulating the Triangulator (8+ / 0-)

      It's a good idea to force Obama to improve the starting point for his negotiations.  

      Now, how do we get around Reid's jello-like leadership in the Senate?

      It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

      by Betty Pinson on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 11:52:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Would be easier to raise if min wage based on (6+ / 0-)

      local cost of living.

      High cost of living cities effectively have a very low minimum wage if one considers the standard of living the minimum wage implies in the city.  The cost of living in the US varies so widely, that no single minimum wage can make economic sense across the country.

      $10.10/hr is far too low in many places.

      A person making  the current minimum wage of $7.25/hr in Tulsa, OK would need to make $17.62 in New York City to have the same purchasing power.  Meanwhile, the current minimum wage in NYC is only $7.25/hr - the Federal minimum wage.  For all practical purposes, NYC does not have a meaningful minimum wage.   The cost of living between these two cities are so large that a single minimum wage for these two cities cannot make sense.  Minimum wage laws need to be  set at different rates to reflect their cost of living.

      The major failure of minimum wage laws are in the high cost of living cities - which ironically are run mainly by Democrats at the local and State level (NYC, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, etc.)

      Having the minimum wage vary by location, based on BLS cost of living data for low income households would allow members of the House and Senate from low cost of living locations to support the move, while also having a meaningful minimum wage in high cost of living locations.

      See the following to compare cost of living
      http://money.cnn.com/...

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 12:44:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nextstep

        a while back I wrote a diary suggesting that raising the minimum wage would put the businesses I'm associated with out of business.

        I had some difficulty explaining the economic realities of Appalachia, and doubtless failed to say what I meant to say.

        Indexing the minimum wage to cost of living makes sense. Not because we don't want to pay more, but because...ah, nobody wants to hear it.

        It is, however, a bit bracing to see Darwinian capitalism embraced on the left. Particularly when I'm the small, local business people speak of supporting.

        "Good Lord, how can the rich bear to die?" -- Nikos Kazantzakis

        by Shocko from Seattle on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 04:13:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd include a tax credit for small biz (0+ / 0-)

          A really big, significant increase in the minimum wage, coupled with a temporary, refundable tax credit to offset the difference between new and old.

          Full offset the first year and 20% less in each of five years.

          That should create a soft landing for small businesses.

          We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

          by bmcphail on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 04:50:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I completely Agree (0+ / 0-)

        I have a career that pays me well over the minimum wage and my wife makes a little more than minimum wage, and between our two incomes we barely get by, Every dime we have goes to bills and basic essentials. I have no TV, I use the internet at work, as does she, and on our phones, we have one reliable car and another that is fixing to crap the bed.
        Gas prices are outrageous, and so is everything at the super market, that is in direct correlation with the price of fuel. It is time to give everyone a LIVING wage not a minimum. My concern though is that even with a decent wage we have to get our taxes under control and help the hard working people keep more of our money, or figure out a way to get gas prices lower like maybe drilling here? Or getting the XL pipeline going.
        A living wage over 15 an hour would be a good start though.
        Thanks for reading

        Just a thought

  •  IMO the minimum wage needs to be set by the feds (6+ / 0-)

    not as a single number but as a separate number for each state, based on an easily quantifiable metric.

    for example - identify a subsistence level basket of goods for a family of 4, cost it out for that state, divide by 2 (assume two FT jobs for two adults) and that's your min wage for that state.

  •  i can't remember which comic said it... (13+ / 0-)

    but if you're working for minimum wage, what your boss is saying is if i could pay you less, i would.

    $10.10 is no where near enough, but it's a big improvement. i hope they can get something done.

    "...i also also want a legally binding apology." -George Rockwell

    by thankgodforairamerica on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 09:31:18 AM PST

  •  Hmm. I thought that if the min. wage had (6+ / 0-)

    kept up with inflation, it would be over $16, and if it had kept up with productivity gains, it would be north of $21?

    Either way, a $10 target is better than $9.

    What I'd prefer to see is a plan to increase it by $1/yr. until it does reach parity with inflation, at the very least.

    At the same time, we need to

    1) tax capital gains (except the first $500K of a primary residence sale) as income AND

    2) establish a 50% AMT on ALL income in excess of $5M/yr. 75% AMT on ALL income in excess of $50M/yr and 90% on ALL income in excess of $100M/yr.

    3) If you have assets in excess of $5M and NO taxable income, then 10% wealth tax on ALL assets, regardless of type.

    When 1% take 121% of the gains from "recovery", people actually recovering from lost employment are trading down on wages and benefits. Current strategies by moderates don't even consider winning the Class War.

    by Words In Action on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 10:19:14 AM PST

  •  Laura, do you realize that would increase FICA (10+ / 0-)

    In fact if unemployment was 5%, that would affect about 30 million workers and net the SS trust fund 5-6 billion bucks in a best case scenario, EACH YEAR.

    Create 20 million jobs and raise the Min wage and watch the FICA roll in. This will go a long way to insure SS is good thru 2090.

    Photobucket

    ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 10:46:18 AM PST

  •  About time we didn't just try to keep pace (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Noodles, elwior

    but actually try to give working people an edge.

    Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

    by Troubadour on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 10:58:46 AM PST

  •  On a certain level, it will be fun to watch (0+ / 0-)

    At $10.10 an hour, several of my coworkers will be laid off and salaried middle management will have to do some of the functions that the laid off employees used to do.

  •  1968 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior

    In 1968, there was no NAFTA and China was in the middle of the Cultural Revolution.

    •  It makes no sense (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, fille americaine

      To ship US jobs to China when our own country can produce most goods and services here.

      The race to the bottom doesn't help anyone except the 1%. Even their benefit would be short lived.

      It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

      by Betty Pinson on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 11:46:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Where and with who? (0+ / 0-)

        If you work in a manufacturing environment, you can't stop and check your Twitter feed every 15 minutes.  Only every half hour.

        Where could you open a factory in this country without neighbors complaining about traffic and pollution?

      •  Not really short lived. (0+ / 0-)

        They get to keep all the money they strip from our economy. Only if inflation eats it up will they pay it back, and there would have to be a severe inflationary spiral to get at it before the rich simply left the country.

        "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

        by bryduck on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 02:40:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Bring back the AT&T monopoly? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior

    No VOIP in 1968.  It was pretty much impossible to outsource a call center.

    •  Stop rewarding outsourcers with tax breaks (4+ / 0-)

      for shipping jobs overseas.  Once the loopholes and tax breaks are removed from companies that ship jobs overseas, workers here will be on a much more level playing field.

      It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

      by Betty Pinson on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 11:47:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What are those tax breaks for shipping jobs? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Utahrd

        they don't actually exist.  If you think they exist, please provide the part of the tax code that permits this.

        These tax breaks are an urban legend.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 12:51:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Um, how about not having to pay (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zinger99

          payroll or unemployment taxes? Foreign tax credits?
          Here's a link to a company that is recommending outsourcing as the good that it is!
          < /snark>

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 02:38:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Foreign employees are not eligible for US (0+ / 0-)

            unemployment benefits, but the business is required to pay local taxes.  Foreign tax credits exist because of the strange US policy of trying to tax business activities of US companies in other countries -- something that successful exporting nations do not do.

            Under US tax policy if two identical businesses had operations in the same countries around the world, if one of the companies were based in the US - it would pay more total taxes than a non-US company.

            There are no tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas - unless you call leaving the US because it taxes in very foolish ways that are counter-productive - a tax break.

            The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

            by nextstep on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 04:45:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think you are reading the term (0+ / 0-)

              "tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas" too literally. No, of course we don't give money for the actual act of outsourcing; the tax breaks are as I noted above--it's the absence of paying US taxes for your labor that is the break.

              "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

              by bryduck on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:55:06 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Are you really that blind? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zinger99

          There are many benefits, besides lower salaries, for shipping jobs overseas. For example companies don't have to pay payroll taxes for overseas workers. By offshoring jobs it allows companies to hold vast amounts of cash offshore on the flimsy pretense it's for their "overseas operations". Here's a longer description

          When a U.S. taxpayer has overseas income, taxes paid to the foreign jurisdiction can generally be credited against U.S. tax liabilities.  In general, this "foreign tax credit" is available only for taxes paid on income that is taxable in the U.S.  The intended result is that U.S. taxpayers with overseas income should pay no more tax on their U.S. taxable income than they would if it was all from U.S. sources. However, current rules and tax planning strategies make it possible to claim foreign tax credits for taxes paid on foreign income that is not subject to current U.S. tax.  As a result, companies are able to use such credits to pay less tax on their U.S. taxable income than they would if it was all from U.S. sources – providing them with a competitive advantage over companies that invest in the United States.
          So a rule designed to help Americans working overseas has been perverted by business to make it profitable to send American jobs (but not the Americans that used to do them) overseas to lower their corporate tax burden.

          You can't assassinate the character of any of modern conservative. You'd have to find where it was buried, dig it up, resurrect it, then kill it. And killing a zombie isn't really assassination, is it?

          by ontheleftcoast on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 02:51:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  US Tax policy discourages putting operations (0+ / 0-)

            and jobs in the US by not having a territorial tax system, by focusing taxation on where good and services are made rather than where they a purchased, by having a 35-42% business income tax rate when developed countries are less than 25% in most all cases.

            Developed countries such as Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, etc. do a far far better job in business tax policy than the US, while having high wages, low unemployment and big government.

            However, a company minimizing exposure to a tax system in conflict with the rest of the developed world is not a tax break anymore than a wealthy person leaving California because of the state income tax to live in Washington, Texas or Nevada which has no state income tax.

            The way the US taxes has the effect of discouraging US jobs, lower wages and lower economic growth and then does a poor job in getting tax revenues.

            I have done international business for over 25 years, and few people appreciate just how bad US tax policy is for nearly 100% of US citizens (our policy is great for International tax lawyers).

            The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

            by nextstep on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 05:03:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I'm happy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Boppy, elwior, blueoregon

    that this includes raising the wage for tipped employees. I've been a little concerned that raising the minimum would actually result in a pay cut for me since MN restaurants will definitely start a push to enact a tip credit at $9 or $10 per hour.

  •  Minimum wage should be indexed to Congressional (5+ / 0-)

    pay raises. Every time they give themselves a raise the minimum wage should be increased. They like to whine that businesses can't afford it, well since they refuse to collect taxes, neither can we afford to pay them.

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 02:31:47 PM PST

  •  I'd say $15.50 is more appropriate. Ballpark. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSPS owl

    Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

    by Troubadour on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 02:32:30 PM PST

  •  So, do I see an $8/hr compromise in the (0+ / 0-)

    works?

    "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

    by bryduck on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 02:33:50 PM PST

  •  Petition signed; thank you! (0+ / 0-)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Love one another

    by davehouck on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 02:36:21 PM PST

  •  LOVE IT (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blackjackal

    This is effectively a redistribution from the wealthy executives and shareholders of some of our largest companies, and the customers of those companies to the employees of those companies. Basically like a tax increase on the middle and upper class and a subsidy for the lower class. Except far simpler and easier to get passed and implemented.

    The downside is that prices on some lower-end products will probably go up. But the most price-sensitive people are going to be the ones getting a raise so it should be a net gain for them.

    There is a difference between a responsible gun owner, and one that's gotten lucky...so far.

    by BeerNotWar on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 02:49:07 PM PST

  •  mandated wage (0+ / 0-)

    Does anyone here who is so eager to raise the mandated wage to 10.10/hour know what the economic value of racking grocery carts is? As a small grocery store owner, I can tell you it is not 10.10/hour.

    •  don't understand your point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zinger99

      Are you saying it's too much? That's what market forces are for. Are you saying it would put you out of business? If so you're finished anyway. That you'd have to let some people go? Because it would be Federal it would be a level playing field.

      I'm not trolling, just curious.

      If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

      by jgnyc on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 03:29:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, I am saying it is too much (0+ / 0-)

        It has no rational connection to the work being performed.
        It will result in fewer jobs and fewer hours for low wage workers. Given X dollars in sales projected for the week, I have only so much I can pay in labor dollars. If the wage goes up the hours go down, resulting in longer hours for salaried workers and reduced service for the customer.

        And yes, I may be finished. Maybe I'll bump into you in one of the big chains as we navigate the self-service check-outs.

        •  welcome to the future (0+ / 0-)

          I've been automated out of two careers over the last few decades. No complaints, I saw it coming both times, but haven't been happy about it either. It is what it is.

          However ... in your case, and again I'm not trolling I think there are contradictions here that are interesting in the abstract and painful and real in the concrete, if you are providing groceries at good retail value why do you think that "reduced service to the customer" is going to drive you out?

          Also "rational connection to the work being performed."? If it's cashier just do the job yourself. The most successful small shop keeper I know, and Manhattan is not easy for the not corporate, works most of the hours himself. Good years he does very well. Bad years .... he survives. I don't think you'll respond that the work is beneath you but, previously when an owner said that to me, I responded: don't make plans for new years - and he was gone by Halloween.

          Is that exclusively a cashier wage issue? i.e. opening hours? If so it's a level playing field so my guess is the market will pass some of this onto the consumer. Minimum wage rate increases will equal price increases. In abstract I get this. Some inflation makes sitting on all the money at the top less attractive (as would some high end tax rates). In the real world it's going to hurt as I'm usually up against my budget brutally.

          Can anyone resist the big box stores and their economy of scale? It's an old story - see early 19th century garment artisans - and one that will either be addressed or continue a drift towards 21st century feudalism.

          In your case can you depend on some customer loyalty? Can you modify the business model? I've been living "change or die" more and more each year month.

          If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

          by jgnyc on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 04:40:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  indeed (0+ / 0-)

            My business will need to change or die. I understand that.

            But for any business, mandating that the entry-level worker gets a three dollar raise means that the employer will be unable to give a raise to the experienced worker who has been working hard, learning new skills and warrants a merit-based raise. That will be the initial reaction, anyway, until the surviving businesses raise prices. And with indexing the rate to inflation, it seems like it will accelerate inflation.

            By the way, my cashiers earn more than minimum, but if this increase happens I don't see how I will be able to hire first-time workers or special needs workers, which is a real shame. I don't know where those people will find work.

            •  the problem of course (0+ / 0-)

              is that 40+ hours of minimum wage is not a living wage. All ships rise with the tide? Obviously not given the current economy.

              Where anyone gets work in this post New Deal country is getting sketchier and sketchier. I'm old chasing kids around learning two new skills a year and it's touch and go.

              But forcing the minimum closer to a living wage seems like a price that must be paid. And it would be a level playing field so your competitors would have the same issues.

              If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

              by jgnyc on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 07:10:24 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Rly? (0+ / 0-)

          So a CEO who sits on his ass while his company gets (intentionally) run into the ground is worth $50 million?

  •  isn't going to happen but a good fight to pick (0+ / 0-)

    The next 21 months (at least :-<) are only going to be about the final battle with the bathtub-drowners but it's good to pick some fights and try to move the Overton.

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 03:25:29 PM PST

  •  Add (0+ / 0-)

    Add Healthcare to the chart.

  •  Especially important with Chained-CPI which would (0+ / 0-)

    erode the minimum wage, too.

    Bad thing, Chained-CPI

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 05:32:45 PM PST

  •  Will never get a vote in the House (0+ / 0-)

    And it will be filibustered in the Senate.  That having been said, it's worth a shot to at least push the concept to the American people who almost all want it.

    Republican threats amount to destroying the present if we don't allow them to destroy the future too. -MinistryOfTruth, 1/1/2013

    by sleipner on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 06:15:41 PM PST

  •  Why start the graph in 2009? n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  If the minimum wage was indexed by the REAL (0+ / 0-)

    cost of goods and not some fantasy made up statistic that leaves out the most expensive items like food, gas and medical costs (CPI), that would be one thing.  How about though we index it to CEO salaries since they would not have a job without their workers....and perhaps then there might be some damn equity.

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