Much of the discussion about the Democratic proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2016 has rightly focused on the workers who will clearly benefit from the move. But what about businesses? How would higher wages affect them?Teresa Tritch at the NYT calls out those who would oppose such an increase:
The answer — contrary to a great deal of reflexive hand-wringing by some conservative think tanks and politicians — is surprisingly positive. Scholarly studies and the experience of businesses themselves show that what companies lose when they pay more is often offset by lower turnover and increased productivity. Businesses are also able to deal with higher costs by modestly increasing prices and by giving smaller increases to higher-paid employees.
The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, says he expects to bring a minimum-wage increase proposal to the floor of the Senate for a vote in late March or early April. When he does, politicians from both parties need to put aside old canards and instead focus on research that suggests that a higher minimum wage has a powerful upside
This week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided to postpone a vote on raising the minimum wage, in part, it appears, because he does not have enough Democratic support to pass the measure. The holdouts include several Democratic senators from low-wage and mostly southern states who are up for reelection this year. That is pathetic.More on the day's top stories below the fold.
A higher minimum wage is a basic response to the low and stagnating wages that have long afflicted most Americans. It is not a cure-all, it is not new or visionary. It is a time-tested step in the direction of higher living standards, broader prosperity and a more stable economy.
If it is difficult to corral even Democrats in favor of what is by all measures a modest increase — from $7.25 an hour, its level since 2009, to $10.10 an hour by 2016 — what chance is there going forward for innovative and comprehensive policies and programs to address the nation’s economic challenges?
The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson examines President Obama's latest proposal:
“My Brother’s Keeper” has a much nicer ring than “stop and frisk.” It also promises to be a more effective, less self-defeating way to address the interlocking social and economic crises afflicting young men of color.Meanwhile, Jay Bookman at the AJC looks at the Republican attacks against the Affordable Care Act:
I’ll go out on a limb and predict that President Obama gets some heat for launching a program whose benefits are aimed solely at African American and Hispanic men and boys. The nation’s first black president gets slammed by critics who accuse him of “playing the race card” every time he acknowledges that race and racism still play a role in determining opportunities and outcomes.
But obviously they do. My Brother’s Keeper, which Obama announced Thursday, is the kind of targeted public-private initiative that might actually do some good, even without tons of new federal money thrown in.
Just 31 percent of Americans want the law repealed outright or repealed and replaced, which is the foundation of the Republican campaign. Fifty-six percent want the law kept in place, with most of that majority recognizing the need for improvement in how it is implemented.Pat Garofalo analyzes the veto of Arizona's discrimination bill:
Among Republicans, of course, the law is despised. But the contrast between that sentiment and those of the population at large is stunning. Among independents, where most swing votes reside, the sentiment reflects that of the general populace: 57 percent in favor of keeping the law and improving upon it, with only 33 percent in favor of repeal.
To put it mildly, that is not the kind of public attitude that can sustain a single-issue, year-long political campaign.
The bill was just the latest piece of anti-gay legislation to run aground. Kansas’ state house, for instance, passed a similar measure recently, only to see it stymied in the state senate. Another copycat bill in Tennessee has also been shelved. In a slew of states, conservatives are trying to find a way to advance anti-gay laws under the guise of religious freedom, but they’re not meeting with much success.Dorothy J. Samuels at The New York Times adds her take on the topic:
In many ways, this desperate attempt to formally legalize discrimination is the last gasp of a point of view headed towards extinction, and it’s really no surprise that it’s failing to gain traction. Case in point, according to new data from the Public Religion Research Institute, support for same-sex relationships is skyrocketing and is only going to grow more as the millennial generation (of which I am a member) ages.
Most of the attention went to Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto on Wednesday of a Republican-sponsored bill that would have given business owners broad license to discriminate against gay men, lesbians and others, based on far-fetched claims of religious infringement.Finally, Donna Brazille on why she's a Democrat:
But that welcome bow to fairness — and, not incidentally, loud objections from the state’s business community — should not obscure the well-deserved burial two days earlier of another terrible idea from Republican state lawmakers: A 2012 bill to de-fund Planned Parenthood that Governor Brewer not only signed but championed all the way to the Supreme Court.
This other atrocious measure would have punished thousands of low-income women by stopping Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood clinics, other facilities and individual doctors that offer a range of women’s health care services — including family planning, STD treatment and cancer screenings — because they also provide abortion care using other money.
In her 1976 keynote address to the Democratic National Committee, Texas Rep. Barbara Jordan said words I will never forget:
"We believe that the people are the source of all governmental power; that the authority of the people is to be extended, not restricted. This can be accomplished only by providing each citizen with every opportunity to participate in the management of the government.
"We believe that the government which represents the authority of all the people, not just one interest group, but all the people, has an obligation to actively seek to remove those obstacles which would block individual achievement -- obstacles emanating from race, sex, economic condition."
That explains why I am a Democrat.