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The campaign for a $10.10 federal minimum wage, championed by the president, Democrats in Congress and a whole raft of “liberal/progressive” organizations, is a very bad idea.

To be clear, I’m not arguing it’s too ambitious. The opposite: what we need is a campaign, now, today, for a minimum wage of $20-an-hour. Anything less is a failure to confront poverty in America and a bankrupt economic system.

$10.10-an-hour will not allow people to make a fair living, or challenge the basic, “We-make-profits-thanks-to-poverty” system that underpins today’s real world economy.

Anything short of $20-a-hour is a capitulation to the most narrow politics, particularly on the part of so-called “liberals/progressives” who are, unintentionally, locking into place deep poverty in America and ratifying the basic principle of the so-called “free market”.

And $20-an-hour actually relates to real life after you look at a very complicated idea: simple math.

The Math:

In the past 45 years, productivity has more than doubled. Productivity is a measure of how much value workers add per some unit, usually hours of time worked. In shorthand, it typically means people are working harder than ever and making more stuff faster (a small bit of that is due to technology) and, thus, cheaper (whether this fast rise in productivity is good for the human soul or the planet is a very important topic for another time).

In the old days, (say, the really “ancient history” of the early1970s) productivity translated into wage gains. If the minimum wage today reflected the cumulative productivity increases, computed from four decades ago to 2014, the minimum wage should be $18.30 today and close to $19-an-hour by 2016 when the proposed $10.10-an-hour would kick in, if it became law.

That’s pretty simple math. Grossly, and somewhat imperfectly speaking, the demand for $10.10-an-hour is a demand that would place the minimum wage a shade under half of what it should be if corporations actually paid for workers’ value-producing labor—as opposed to robbing them of their value-producing labor.

Some more basic math: at $10.10 per hour, for a 40-hour-a-week, a full-time worker laboring 52 weeks a year would gross $21,008, with no pension, and no vacation (for the moment, put aside the reality that minimum wage workers often can’t get full-time work).

That would put a worker just above the official poverty line for a family of three, which in 2014, is set at $19,790 (the numbers are published in the Federal Register and are based on the Census Bureau’s official poverty thresholds.

In that world, you are a slave. To make $21,008, you get no time off. None. Zero.

Second, if you happen to live in a family of four or larger, tough luck—you still are in poverty, which, for a family of four, is defined as an income below $23,850.

Third, and really most important, the official poverty levels are too optimistic because they are set using calculations that do not reflect what it really costs to make it day-to-day, week-to-week. I, and many others, have raised for a very long time the issue of the serious shortcomings in using the CPI and Gross Domestic Product as a measure of economic well-being (in short, a lot of stuff can be made, the economy can “expand” and prices can go up…and the people can actually be far worse off…here is one post). The official poverty level is set using the consumer price index, which rose 1.5 percent for the time period used to come up with the 2014 figures.

Raise your hand and dance a few cool steps if you think that on an annual wage of $21,008—whether you are single or in a family of two, three or four—you could meet your rent, pay utilities, pay for food, gas, cable, and a whole host of other expenses—not to mention, god forbid, save a few dollars for your kid’s education. The official price index does not reflect the real struggle to make ends meet in the wage-robbery economy of today.

So, we should be talking about indexing the minimum wage to productivity—how hard people work—as opposed to indexing it to inflation or the CPI (which the Democrats proposal does) because those are very dodgy numbers to use to judge how people actually live. This is an argument advanced for some time by Joel Rogers, a professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin and one of the country’s foremost thinkers about work and the economy (and, as an aside, the original conceiver of the New Party, the first iteration of what would become the Working Families Party).

I’m guessing that the notion of tying the minimum wage to productivity will have a few worrywarts wringing their hands. They might say that if the minimum wage is indexed to productivity, then, eventually the minimum wage will catch up with the median wage.

Well, it’s worth remembering why that would happen. Wages have been flat for so long that the median wage has barely budged, rising just 0.2 percent annually between 1979 and 2013—while productivity rose almost 65 percent in that period overall.

Why? Well, we know why: employers have been more interested in pocketing profits for themselves (read: huge CEO pay and benefit packages) than giving workers raises. Those profits come directly from the big productivity gains thanks to the sweat and blood of workers (which is why my blood boils when I hear the bi-partisan praise for the small business “job creators” who power the economic engine seemingly on their own).

Oh, imagine the horror when the minimum wage catches up with the median wage. And if that is what worries people, wouldn’t it make more sense to seize the political agenda, and advocate for a higher minimum wage AND a boost in the median wage—partly by making it easier, not harder, to unionize?

The Politics:

So, that’s the math. Predictably, when you get to the politics, you hear the most unimaginative, uninspiring and lazy, “this is the best we can do. Nothing better will pass.” This view also comes along with another politically exciting view: we, (presumably, this means “Democrats”), will have a real difference to show people in the 2014 elections, with a message: “we care about workers, the Republicans do not.”


Politics point Number One. According to the Economic Policy Institute: “Raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016 would return the federal minimum wage to roughly the same inflation-adjusted value it had in the late 1960s.” [emphasis is mine].

Don’t you love it? The great minds of politics, the people who are the warriors for the working “family” (“family” being another annoying capitulation to “messaging”), the movement builders, are promoting a message that boils down to: “Hey, you, minimum-wage worker, have we got a bargain for you. We care so much about how hard it is for you to live on the minimum wage, elect us so we can bring your pay right up into the modern age…into the 1960s.”

And leave it stuck there for a very long time. The bill indexes the minimum wage to inflation, so that as prices rise in subsequent years, the $10.10 would be, as EPI writes, “automatically be adjusted to preserve its real value.”

But, its real value—the real value of how hard people have sweated and labored—has already been eviscerated. Indexing the $10.10 to inflation (not productivity) is keeping its real value linked to a 1960s standard.

Politics point Number Two: you can almost guarantee that, if someone actually notices, say in five years, that millions of people on the minimum wage are still mired in poverty and argues for a new hike, a bi-partisan echo will follows: “We did the minimum wage already, go away.”

So, in the unlikely event the $10.10 passes, it basically dooms millions of people to a life of poverty. Forever. Though it does offer a great opening for a new, inspiring slogan for the 21st Century: “The (Just Kidding) War On Poverty (Lite Version)”, with perhaps even an opening for a theme song to debut on American Idol.

Politics point Number Three (most obvious): $10.10 isn’t going to pass the Congress. So, it really is just a political exercise and one lacking in any political courage whatsoever.

So, why not be bold?

What Should Be Done:

Twenty. Dollars. An. Hour.

Simple. Easy to remember. And consistent with math that accurately values workers’ contributions to the economy.

Think of it. T-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers, and social media memes everywhere that state simply: $20.

That’s all. $20.

The back of the T-shirt might say, “I Am A Human Being”. Eventually, “$20” would carry with it passion, energy, a vision and a simple idea: everyone should have decent-paying work.

And we should not settle for anything less because to do so is inhuman.

In the 1970s, women, and many men, wore a button that simply said “59¢” to signify what a woman’s pay was compared to a man earning a dollar. Eventually, that button, without needing a single word of explanation, carried with it a whole narrative and political demand.

Liberals/progressives (on this issue, it’s hard to see a difference) will react to $20-an-hour either by saying it’s “crazy” or “too ambitious” or “unrealistic” because the polling doesn’t support such a big hike and, of course, it will never pass.

But, the job of leaders and organizations shouldn’t always be simply to cater to where “the public” is today. Or where organizational funders—either foundations or rich people—happen to be.

Instead, we need to look ahead, try to move the country in a different direction, and, sometimes, dramatically. It’s easy to take for granted, for example, the now growing public majority opinion supporting same-sex marriage and legalization of marijuana but those two issues, very recently, did not command majority support. The shift came because a core of committed people did not accept, and were not trapped by, what public opinion happened to be. And, in their actions, they moved the country.

For sure, it’s hard work. Moving the public dramatically involves a lot more than clicking a petition link, doing a “fly-in, fly-out speech” or, even more seductive, getting an invitation to the White House. You have to actually knock on doors and put in serious shoe leather to move the public.

People in SeaTac proved that, in the face of an onslaught of millions of dollars, it could be done—the community waged the successful ballot initiative to hike the minimum wage of $15-an-hour, a level no one would have imagined possible before the campaign began.

The timidity of a $10.10-an-hour rate is even more perplexing given the topic: inequality and wage robbery.  Occupy Wall Street, strikes against low-paying fast food chains, the unease about the Wal-Martization of the economy, the public’s awareness of corporate greed, the huge gap between rich and poor, and the continued anger that bankers complicit in the financial crisis escaped punishment—all converge to create a rich terrain to be bold, and to dramatically change the conversation.  The hiking of the city minimum wage in Seattle to $15-an-hour and the SeaTac ballot initiative show that you can move the conversation.

And those efforts also bluntly underscore how meek $10.10 is in comparison and, actually, is counter-productive and damaging to tackling deep poverty in the country

At the end of the day, win or lose, we should care about dramatically altering the economy of poverty, not having some phony messaging gambit to influence a particular election cycle.

Twenty. Dollars. An. Hour.

Originally posted to Tasini on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:11 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Fuck it.... why not $50? (15+ / 0-)

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:19:53 AM PDT

  •  I don't disagree in principle with the idea... (28+ / 0-)

    Here's your problem:

    When the CBO scored a potential bump to $10.10, it pointed out the loss of about 500,000 jobs.

    THAT was the headline...not the boost in earnings for about 16.5 million low-wage workers, but the half-million lost jobs.

    Now, we can argue here in the echo chamber all we want about the false premise of that projection, but in the end THAT was the headline.

    Now imagine the headline for bumping MW to $20/hr:

    CBO Reports that Minimum Wage Increase will Cost U.S Economy 2 Million Jobs
    This evolution must happen over time. Heck, most cities bumping MW are doing it over the span of many years...and they're not even bumping to $20/hr.

    Our politicians are already relatively spineless. If we are to mitigate the bad press that comes with potentially-unsavory side effects of the raise, we need to do it incrementally. There is no other way politically.

    Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

    by Love Me Slender on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:21:58 AM PDT

    •  Of course this isn't an easy sell (38+ / 0-)

      That number of jobs, if you believe that figure, in our economy is pretty small COMPARED TO the fact that 2014 Job Creation Faster in States that Raised the Minimum Wage...

      As just one example to counter the utter nonsense about the economic "catastrophe" from hiking minimum wages much higher.

      Follow me on Twitter @jonathantasini

      Visit Working Life.

      by Tasini on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:28:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But I disagree... (20+ / 0-)

      respectfully, as you say, "that there is no other way politically".

      That is often the response to an idea that is much bolder than where politicians--who are, indeed, mostly spineless--are at the moment.

      You have to build a campaign and capture peoples' imagination--precisely what the conventional political world is incapable of doing but I would contend people are hungry for.

      Especially when they are in fact literally hungry.

      Follow me on Twitter @jonathantasini

      Visit Working Life.

      by Tasini on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:30:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We don't have the votes... ugh. nt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        emelyn, thanatokephaloides

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:52:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Is it solely a matter of politics though? (7+ / 0-)

        There's no doubt that discussion around the minimum wage are political, but I'm not sure the answers lie in shouting the moral case.

        Perhaps the most important tenet of faith among those who oppose increasing the minimum wage is the idea that increased equality leads to decreased economic efficiency. Their argument being that while raising the minimum wage increases the income of some workers, it decreases that of the nation as a whole.  But.....

        What if they are wrong, dead wrong?

        What if inequality is inefficient?  What if low wages actually decrease the size of the US economy as a whole?

        At a very basic level, I think we need to attack the proposition that inequality is efficient, e.g. that low wages somehow make the economy as a whole better off, before we discuss the minimum wage.

        Jonas Pontusson, the author of Social Europe vs. Liberal America, quiped in that book that low wages are a subsidy to capital. Think about that for a second.

        US firms are hoarding an amount equal to over a tenth of US yearly income in their corporate treasuries.  They are taking cash out of the economy, and letting it sit.  The problem is that they are starving the economy for investment.  

        What does this have to do with the minimum wage?

        Well let's go back to that idea of low wages as a subsidy to capital.

        Even in the fast food industry, the tendency has been for owners to reduce wage rates, and increase churn, as a means to artificially inflate their incomes by avoiding sensible capital investment.  The reality of the matter is that in the end, increasing wages will make this economic model untenable, but there is an alternative.

        Imagine if instead of hoarding capital, business made investments that increase productivity. Not only in  the purchase of equipment, but also in training workers to operate it.  The churn and burn model of industrial relations doesn't work here, because any upside in lower wages is consumed by lost investment in training, and decreased income from downtime.  Increased wages will make the current capital strike (let's call it what it is) untenable.

        There will probably be a drop in total employee numbers, but is that really a bad thing?  If we move from a fast food model that employees 400 people for 15 hours a week on average, towards one that employs 50 full time- at a living wage- is that a bad thing?

        This is the substitution effect.  Increasing the minimum wage will force owners to make more efficient use of their workforce.  Companies know this.  McDonalds has already experimented with the idea of running drive thru orders through call centers and Applebees is introducing touch screen ordering in their restaurants.  In the kitchen, automation is producing machines that automatically cook fries so that you don't need someone manning that station, only someone who tends to the machine when it needs restocked or repaired.  In all reality, the introduction of these sorts of technology will probably drop consumer prices, while creating a smaller, but better paid workforce.  Why hasn't this already happened?  It would break the low wage, high churn model.  And, it reveals an embarrassing example of how inequality often produces highly inefficient outcomes.

        I think that the failure to attack the minimum wage issue on this front, the idea that low wages hold the economy back, is a problem.  It's a much less simple story than than the moral argument, but it's a lot more damning because it undermines the notion that there is no alternative by showing that yes, yes another way is possible. Even if not targeted to the general public, making the case that there is a way to pay workers well and make money is one that should be made as a policy discussion.

        by ManfromMiddletown on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 10:19:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  i think we should do $10.10 for now, (16+ / 0-)

      and let cities do more.  Pushing for $20 in booming areas makes more sense than in others and phasing it in, in terms of the ability of employers to avoid shocks, I agree makes sense.  

      The reform i'd favor, and it gets to the heart of the diminishing purchasing power of the minimum wage, would be to index it to cost of living increases.  More interestingly might be to index it to productivity gains, but i'm not sure if that's scored by a recognized non-neutral arbiter.

      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

      by Loge on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:47:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, do $10.10 for now, like "do the ACA for now (7+ / 0-)

        and we can try for something better like universal not-privatized-actual-health-care-as-opposed-to-everyone-in-the-deep-end-of-the-pribvatized-insurance-pool later maybe if something else happens or something."

        "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

        by jm214 on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 09:44:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That is exactly what i am suggesting. (5+ / 0-)

          Excellent analogy!  

          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

          by Loge on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 10:18:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You know that some states like Alabama (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            thanatokephaloides, JerryNA

            do not have a minimum wage right?  Were it not for a Federally mandated minimum wage, people there could be making $2/hour.

            •  i am aware of that fact, (0+ / 0-)

              but not how it relates in any way to what i am suggesting.

              We push for a $10.10 federal wage as a floor (see the subject line) - or at least refrain from disparaging people pushing for that, since it's enough of a lift as is in the current environment.  where it's politically feasible to go bigger, we go bigger.  And to avoid having to rehash this all the time, find ways to index automatic increases.  

              It'd be like how the ACA has certain minimum requirements but lets states do more with public or single payer options in setting up their exchanges, as Vermont is considering.  Expression of openness to local minimum wages above the federal minimum wage is not opposition to a federal minimum wage.  Really basic reading comprehension stuff here.

              Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

              by Loge on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 02:44:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I saw nothing in the diary to suggest (0+ / 0-)

                that the author was being disparaging.  There are very real political realities at stake and while the Democrats may think that low balling is the less risky route, the reality is that if the wage hike is not enough, it won't really do much for people in their real lives - and they will be more susceptible to claims that the higher minimum wage is to blame for their not improved lives.

                It is a lot like the problem of the stimulus.  Had the Administration gone much higher and made that program more robust with actual cash flow into the economy, the Republicans would not have had such a strong/believable argument in 2010.

                •  nor did i (0+ / 0-)

                  but i wasn't immediately replying to the diarist.  

                  In areas where the cost of living is relatively low, it'll have more of an impact, and will likely have an upward cascading effect on wages.  It's also not really "low balling" in any real since it's an actual increase, the likes of which haven't passed in some time.  There are only, as of this point, a small number of jurisdictions where it wouldn't have an immediate impact to boost wages, and those are all staunchly Democratic cities with comparatively high living costs, like D.C.

                  Had the administration gone in much higher on the stimulus, Congress wouldn't have taken up the measure, and the admin had a hard enough time finding shovel ready projects as is to get the cash actually out the door.  The political angle favors something voters can accept as reasonable, otherwise it's not a problem so much for republicans to oppose it.  This, unlike the stimulus which was abstract, has the greater potential to help get sporadic voters to the polls, though I'd prefer to actually pass it than have it be a wedge issue.

                  Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                  by Loge on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 03:07:13 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Given the situation in the House, (0+ / 0-)

                    the politically bold and astute would be promising steak rather than hamburger on this front.

                    Democrats have to stop relying on the Republicans repelling voters to get somewhere and start focussing on attracting voters with strong, bold ideas - rather than the lowest common denominator of a negotiation that has not even begun.

                    The President could bring his numbers up this way, but he won't do it.  His low marks are not because he hasn't accomplished anything, they come from the fact that he isn't inspiring the majority of the population.

                    Anyway, my family pays $10 to $12 an hour in Alabama for unskilled and often terrible labor - which is about the going rate.  $10.10 an hour won't inspire them.  $15 would, though.  That would motivate them to think about voting for someone other than the entrenched Republican machine.  That is an inspiring potential raise.

                    •  a minimum wage increase would attract votes (0+ / 0-)

                      and $10.10 would go pretty far in a lot of places in the country, though not all.  

                      If Obama wanted to boost his approval ratings for their own sake, like mattresses, the sag in the middle.   Even sporadics are sufficiently savvy to see a statement that's designed to appear bold, but has no chance of becoming law, as not bold at all.

                      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                      by Loge on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 04:05:01 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You really don't get it. (0+ / 0-)

                        Where we are paying $10-$12/hour is a place nearly as desperate as Detroit at this point.  People make more money making and dealing meth than that there.

                        •  i'm including the upward effect (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          on other wages as part of the analysis.  Even if we did pass a $20/hr federal wage overnight -- and you 'don't get' that it's just not feasible -- it'd have to be phased in over time, as was done in Seattle, so the notion of putting cash in people's pockets straight away just doesn't apply.  I get all the arguments you can make, i just don't find them convincing.  

                          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                          by Loge on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 05:55:04 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, your political and economic approach (0+ / 0-)

                            is not likely to either inspire people to vote for your team, nor will it have a real world effect on doing things like give people alternatives to crime and really devastating drug use.

                            Good luck with that.

                            One woman working for me told me that she was surprised that a meth/drug addict working for me would have stolen anything because she had recently been baptized at a conservative church.  The reasoning being that the woman who found god also found the cure to addiction to horribly addictive drugs.  If that were true, the entire South would be drug free and highly productive maybe driving up their minimum wage just through performance alone.  Those Bibles and preachers floating around would be all the cure that any of them need, but that's a pipe dream.  

                            People will stick with the status quo and the Bibles until someone gives them an alternative that is dramatic enough to make a real change.  We are not there at $10.10 an hour.  We might have a chance at $15/hour.

                          •  cool story (0+ / 0-)

                            I'll keep that in mind if I'm ever inclined to defend conservative religion or suggest the minimum wage should remain $7.25.  (Getting my views remotely right seems to be a struggle for you.  I'm not suggesting either, by the way.)

                            Claims that one's policy preferences are good politics should be viewed with skepticism, and claims that one's policy preferences are the only good politics should be regarded with disdain - it's an autopsy before the election.  But here, if Obama's learned anything, it's that overpromising breeds cynicism.  Proposing to more than double the federal minimum wage and calling it a compromise in the context of an election cycle would not combat cynicism, on that basis.  $10.10 would be helpful, and is achievable, by contrast.  

                            Real change and fast change are not the same thing, but as I said, if you think the votes are attainable and businesses can absorb the hit in a place like Los Angeles, I'm all for it.  I considered support for such a law an important factor in recent municipal elections.  

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 06:33:55 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

        •  Or ask for $20, not get it, and carp eternally ... (4+ / 0-)

          About the lack of progress.

          Just like we could have "killed the bill" -- the ACA -- and waited another 60 years for the single-payer starship to visit from Pluto.

          The 8 million newly covered, within the decade to be 10-12-15-18?

          Fuck 'em.  Insurance companies still exist and that's all I care about.

      •  Well (0+ / 0-)

        Then you clearly have no fucking idea how realpolitik works.

        •  we could overreach and get nothing . . . (7+ / 0-)

          that realpolitik enough for you?

          but if you read any part of the comment other than the username, you'd see that i'm all for more aggressive tactics on local levels where it's more likely to be effective, and to the extent those areas continue to grow, it makes the case for taking higher minimum wage increases to other cities and states and the federal level more compelling.  

          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

          by Loge on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 10:18:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agree that local initiatives should continue (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            but that doesn't preclude beating the drum for a substantial increase nation wide. These aren't mutually exclusive tactics. Indeed, they seem to me to be entirely complimentary.

            Nothing human is alien to me.

            by WB Reeves on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 01:08:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  This argument is similar (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            to the debate here in the UK over electoral reform.

            There were a bunch of very stupid people who opposed the proposal to move to the alternative vote - an improvement on simple first past the post, but not a truly proportional representation system - under the slogan "No to AV, yes to PR".

            I argued desperately with these very stupid people that if the referendum in favour of AV was lost, there was no chance of any reform.

            They got their immediate wish. The referendum was defeated. And we now have zero prospect of any electoral reform whatsoever in my lifetime.

            •  hmmm (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              i think i kind of like alternate vote the best, if it's like what i would think of as instant runoff voting or ranked voting.  A true proportionate representation system and you're looking at hopelessly rigid but fragmented parties.  

              Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

              by Loge on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 02:23:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, that is AV (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                And I think it has a lot of merit to it. It enables you to vote for your first choice, but also cast a second vote for your "least worst to keep out the really evil one". Just imagine if Nader's voters could have had their preference as between Bush and Gore taken into account...

                But I would prefer a more proportional system. It is fairer to parties whose support is spread evenly across the country. First past the post benefits those whose support is more concentrated. This was sharply demonstrated back in the 1987 election. The Liberal/SDP Alliance scored about 22% of the vote, and Labour 30%, with the Conservatives on 42%. Labour got 35% of the seats in our Parliament, the Conservatives got 58%, and the Alliance got 3.4%.

                Whatever you call that, it is not democracy.

                •  the ability of Nader voters to take (0+ / 0-)

                  a preference into account between Bush and Gore was, however, available to them.  I like AV for primaries, mainly.

                  We have the same issue with the electoral college, the senate, and gerrymandering.  Under a PR system, the parties themselves would be different from what existed in 1987.  The Tories in each case would likely have still formed a government, as holders of a plurality under the system least favorable to them.

                  Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                  by Loge on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 03:16:02 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Strongly Democratic Maryland just passed a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        minimum wage increase, and even they could not pass it indexed to inflation. That (stupidity and short-sightedness) surprised me.

    •  And where are the skilled analysts on the liberal (0+ / 0-)

      side that can weigh in on the "job loss" noise and demonstrate its falsity -- assuming the CBO has, as usual, left out some important stuff and picked some politically acceptable or merely Narrative-based assumptions.

      "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

      by jm214 on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 09:41:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you start from the assumption that any (3+ / 0-)

        possible job loss has to be false, you don't need analysts. You need good liars.

      •  My argument against the CBO is above (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Their job loss numbers are based on the "belief" that big retail chains will lay off workers and use automation, impractical for many and already used by others.

        The CBO report also doesn't adequately account for the real level of pent up consumer demand and rapid economic expansion that will occur with rising wages. In the working class, every cent of increased wages is spent in the economy for new clothes, cars and other consumer goods.  Can you imagine the economic growth if every American who needed to replace their old car or dishwasher or computer could do so?

        Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

        by Betty Pinson on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 12:50:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You're full of it (7+ / 0-)

      The CBO didn't "point out" that raising the minimum wage would costs jobs.

      The CBO LIED.

      By choosing the words "pointed out", you are actually asserting the CBO is correct when real history has shown repeatedly that raising wages is actually an engine of job growth.

      Then you go on to further confirm your bias against raising the minimum wage with this:

      Now, we can argue here in the echo chamber all we want about the false premise of that
      Really? Who's going to be arguing? All the right wing people who recced your comment? The same ones who are always on the wrong side of every argument (Except for Tasini, wtf?).

      No. There is no argument. Unless your a secret Republican. Those are the only assholes who still think that raising the minimum wage costs jobs.

      Are you a closet Republicans?

      And why did you refer to it as Tasini's problem? Isn't this never ending recession everyone's  problem (except for Wall Street)? Isn't it your problem too?

      Or maybe you're a Wall Street Republican?

      Regardless, your argument amounted to no more than whining about how we can't do better because the serious people said so.

      Well, fuck the serious people. They actually want to lower wages to keep inflation down and support the ever growing flow of profits into fewer and fewer hands.

      Which leads me back to this 10.10 PR stunt. Tasini is right. It's a bad idea. in more ways than he knows.

      •  WINNER WINNER (4+ / 0-)
        Regardless, your argument amounted to no more than whining about how we can't do better because the serious people said so.
        It's not actually being Republican, but if you accept the conservative framing for everything, then what's the difference?
      •  Oh, you're using the "Liar, liar pants on fire..." (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shifty18, PurpleElectric, duhban, AlexDrew it...

        So when the CBO gives us numbers WE LIKE on things like, say, the scoring of the ACA to help it through congress, then they are telling the truth.

        But when they tell us things we DON'T LIKE, they are LYING!

        Make up your mind the CBO worth listening to or not?

        I can tell you one thing: Politicians set their collective clocks on what the CBO says about stuff like this. And I'm not "asserting" anything. The CBO released the report, and it went viral for WEEKS.

        Try entertaining reality the next time you think about pissing in my pool. In the meantime, get lost.

        Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

        by Love Me Slender on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 11:30:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But even the CBO can be "influenced" (0+ / 0-)

          Regulatory capture in federal government has become the rule, not the exception, especially since Citizens United. Its far worse now than when ACA was passed, helped tremendously by austerity staff cut and heavier reliance on outside "experts" and "think" tanks.

          Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

          by Betty Pinson on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 01:01:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Perhaps so, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PurpleElectric, duhban, sviscusi

            but arguments made from a priori assumptions of dishonesty without solid evidence are inherently weak and  only convincing to the already convinced.

            Nothing human is alien to me.

            by WB Reeves on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 01:17:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not saying its dishonest (0+ / 0-)

              but it appears a section was added to the report containing some questionable conclusions, not up to the usual standards of CBO's economic forecasts.

              As part of an advocacy community that works with Congress and federal agencies, there have been many complaints and concerns recently voiced about growing regulatory capture on the Hill. Not from gadfly types, but from Ivy League professors and other experts much more experienced in the workings of the federal government.

              It's alarming, but its not something you read about in the news.

              Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

              by Betty Pinson on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 05:18:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  The onus is on the person (0+ / 0-)

            making the claim that a respected, non partisan institution is lying, to actually prove their assertions.

    •  And that's not even what they said. (6+ / 0-)

      Most of those "losses" were because people would stop having to work two or three jobs to make ends meet, not because people would be fired. And given the current jobs market, those "lost" jobs would likely be filled in almost instantly.

      "He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

      by Hayate Yagami on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 09:50:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's EXACTLY what they said... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FiredUpInCA, WB Reeves, Hayate Yagami

        Running from the reality of the report - and more specifically, what the report will be sold as - is precisely how we DON'T address problems like this.

        Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

        by Love Me Slender on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 11:31:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think the previous poster (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hayate Yagami, sviscusi

          may be mixing up two reports. On the impact of the ACA, they did indeed say that the reduction in employment would be down to people not keeping jobs they were desperate to escape, because they no longer had to keep them in order to get healthcare.

          On the minimum wage, as I understand it, it was a more direct "employers will reduce head count to keep the wage bill under control".

          •  Rereading the CBO report, I think you're right (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PurpleElectric, sviscusi

            Or I'm remembering a different one.

            I recall reading a report or article (probably should have bookmarked it) that said what I said, but whatever it was, it wasn't the CBO's report. On the contrary, they explicitly state that they didn't look at that:

            CBO has not analyzed the effects of either [minimum wage increase] option on the number of hours worked by people who would remain employed or on the decision to search actively for work and join the labor force by people who would not otherwise be working. Therefore, the agency has not  reported the effects of the options on full-time-equivalent  employment or on the unemployment rate

            "He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

            by Hayate Yagami on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 02:22:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The Dept of Labor disagrees with the CBO though: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:


              Myth: Increasing the minimum wage will cause people to lose their jobs.
              Not true: A review of 64 studies on minimum wage increases found no discernable effect on employment. Additionally, more than 600 economists, seven of them Nobel Prize winners in economics, have signed onto a letter in support of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016.

              "He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

              by Hayate Yagami on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 02:32:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Is this really a bad thing? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Betty Pinson

      I'd be very interested to know how they are counting jobs.

      Imagine a fast food restaurant that has 400 "employees" working on average 15 hours a week (but they have to block off 60 hours to be available) at minimum wage.

      It's not hard to imagine a transition (see my comment below) where that you end up with  50 full time employees making a living wage.

      Think about that.

      Even in term of full time equivalents, that 400 "employees" in the original example works out to only 150 full time equivalents.  So yes there will be a decrease in employment here via a substitution effect.... but what about the stimulus effect?

      50 full time employees at $15 hour are going to be pulling down $600 a week ($30,000 in all), as opposed to the 400 making $109 a week. ($43,500 in all)  These are all just educated guesses, but still the point remains.

      Most of that extra $491 a week these folks are getting is going to be spent almost immediately, not hoarded as when it is taken in the form of corporate profits. Imagine the stimulus effect that will have on the economy.  Even Henry Ford realized he was in trouble if his workers couldn't afford the products that they produced.

      Surely the same lesson applies today.

      by ManfromMiddletown on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 10:40:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't write the report... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FiredUpInCA, PurpleElectric

        I merely pointed out how it was reported...and how the next report - only this one saying 2 million jobs will be lost - will likewise be run in news cycles for weeks as wage reform is again put on the back burner.

        Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

        by Love Me Slender on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 11:32:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Most likely the NRA helped write it (0+ / 0-)

          The National Restaurant Association, a very low profile, but extremely powerful lobbying group in DC.  Powerful because they have lots of money and evert member of Congress has restaurant chains in their district.

          Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

          by Betty Pinson on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 01:07:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  IMO, the CBO study is wrong (4+ / 0-)

      Never in the history of the minimum wage has an increase resulted in job loss. Never. Its always been followed by economic expansion and maintenance or increase in the standard of living.

      CBO tries to make a week argument that raising the minimum wage to a paltry $10.10 an hour will force many employers to fire human workers and turn to automation,  e.g. fire all the counter workers at McDonalds and have you enter your  order through automation.

      That's a fallacious argument. First only large, retail chain corporations could afford to automate minimum wage jobs. If McDonalds or Walmart wanted to automate more minimim wage jobs, given the massive piles of cash they're sitting on, they would have already done so. $10.10 an hour isn't some magic tipping point, but their lobbyists probably insisted it was true while entertaining the CBO staff at some nice "educational meeting" at one of the five star restaurants or hotels in DC. Oy, this is how things are done in DC, folks.

      Chain big box stores and fast food outlets have experimented in the past with automation with mixed success. For a variety of reasons, including customer preference, it hasn't worked well, not to mention the fact that its impractical for use in many low wage jobs. Ever try to clean bathrooms or hotel rooms with a computer? How about a haircut or manicure?

      Its not to say some retail corporations won't try it again in the future, but minimum wage increases will have little to do with it.

      Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

      by Betty Pinson on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 12:05:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh I don't disagree that the study is... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Betty Pinson, PurpleElectric

        ...subject to another conclusion. I was simply commenting on its viral effect and impact on the spines of politicians...that's all :)

        Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

        by Love Me Slender on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 12:36:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As intended (0+ / 0-)

          Those job loss myths have been very persistent over decades and members of Congress and the news media are happy to have a CBO "report" that finally, kinda sorta confirms it.

           Judging by the way the report was written, CBO wasn't happy to include the slanted, nebulous asides about "possible" job loss, but you see it all the time now at various fed agencies - FDA, EPA, IOM, etc. Austerity has slashed their budgets and they're under extreme pressure to outsource much of their expertise to corporate funded consultants. Its a feature, not a bug.

          Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

          by Betty Pinson on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 01:18:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  None of the previous increases... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FG, Betty Pinson

        was as dramatic as an increase to $20 an hour. I think even you would have to admit that at some point, an increase would cause serious damage to the economy. Especially if it was quickly mandated. I think the question is where is that point and how quickly can we get to it without shooting ourselves in the foot.

        I think a $20 minimum would put the last nail in many big box stores like Best Buy. They are struggling against Amazon and the likes already.

  •  C'mon now (27+ / 0-)

    You're asking the president, Democrats in Congress and a whole raft of “liberal/progressive” organizations to actually do what any average garage sale proprietor would do? Ask high (actually I'd start at $25/hr.) and settle for something reasonable?
    Aren't you asking a bit much?

    "When I see I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I see I am everything, that is love. My life is a movement between these two." - Nisargadatta Maharaj.

    by mkor7 on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:33:22 AM PDT

  •  Tie minimum wage to the cost of living... (8+ / 0-)

    or when we get to $10.10 it must then be adjusted to the increases Congress gets. They get a 5% raise then the same applies to minimum wage. Or give minimum wage workers a percentage of the hourly wage Congress gets.... Congress "works" 156 days -10 hours per day- salary and benefits included divided hourly so the minimum wage is then factored as a % of their pay. Tying it to Congressional pay will create a furor over the lack of equity "us v them."

  •  $20 now, indexed to cost of living...guaranteed (28+ / 0-)

    it won't increase unemployment, it will decrease unemployment.  All that extra money gets spent, creates jobs for others.  Adds to state and federal revenue...
    We need to get out of the Dickensian rerun we've created for ourselves since 1980.

    O Jungens, ich will doch gar kein Mensch sein (Jimmy Mahoney in Mahagonny by Brecht/Weill)

    by richardvjohnson on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:40:06 AM PDT

    •  good point (7+ / 0-)

      economic growth.

      Follow me on Twitter @jonathantasini

      Visit Working Life.

      by Tasini on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:47:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  40 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Why not 40$? Even more extra money to spend, more jobs created for others. Even more federal and state revenue.

      •  It certainly wouldn't be unjust. That's only $83K (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ChuckChuckerson, ditsylilg, JayRaye

        a year.  If that was the minimum, then the median would be around $100K or a little more.  Children wouldn't starve, every family could afford quality education.  America and the world would be better off.  Only a few thousand rentiers would suffer.  

        O Jungens, ich will doch gar kein Mensch sein (Jimmy Mahoney in Mahagonny by Brecht/Weill)

        by richardvjohnson on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:41:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  what you are ignoring (4+ / 0-)

          is that prices will then rise because folks can afford to pay more now.

          That doesn't mean you should raise the minimum wage, of course you should, it's way too low now.

          But massive rises in the minimum wage will lead to massive rises in prices.

          The problem is that we should have been gradually raising it all along.  The solution is not to solve that by one fell swoop raise.

          •  Prices rise because costs rise. Inflation is (0+ / 0-)

            hardly a concern for the near future.  I remember real inflation (late 70s).  My first mortgage was 15 1/2 percent.

            O Jungens, ich will doch gar kein Mensch sein (Jimmy Mahoney in Mahagonny by Brecht/Weill)

            by richardvjohnson on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 09:17:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  costs rise (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              when enough folks can afford to pay the higher costs.

              •  But really not true. Prices of many important (3+ / 0-)

                things go down because it's cheaper to make them.  The price of my MacBook Air was less than my first PC back in 1997.  People having more money would only raise prices in conditions of scarcity - but nothing is scarce today.  Yes, the prices of things like Rembrandt paintings and vintage Art Deco furniture go up and up, because the supply is inherently limited and demand is potentially infinite.  But the prices of things that normal everyday people buy don't escalate because the people have more money.

                O Jungens, ich will doch gar kein Mensch sein (Jimmy Mahoney in Mahagonny by Brecht/Weill)

                by richardvjohnson on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 11:03:52 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Something is getting scarcer today (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Food. And prices going up accordingly.

                  Drought, disease, and growing demand are contributing to rising food prices, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture reporting this week that the cost of food is up 2.5 percent since May 2013.

                  The federal government expects food prices to rise as much as an additional 3.5 percent in 2014, with heftier price increases expected for fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, and pork.

                  Fresh fruits are expected to rise 6 percent, with oranges and other Florida citrus walloped by disease going up 22.5 percent compared to May 2013. Egg prices are up 10.1 percent since this time last year.


                  “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

                  by Catte Nappe on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 11:25:05 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  yes there are competing things (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  prices go up for some reasons, and other things can make them go down, but I would suggest to you that if you instantly gave a whole lot of people roughly three times as much money as they had to spend before, that's a pretty strong tick in the price rise category that probably isn't going to be offset by things being a little cheaper this year versus last year.

                  It's akin to printing more money.  

            •  Increasing the minimum wage (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              richardvjohnson, OrganicChemist

              is a massive rise in costs. Of course there is a high probability that it will filter through into prices.

              •  It just might filter into reduced profits instead. (0+ / 0-)

                profits are at record level, wages are not.  If Wal-Mart or McDonalds was forced out of business by having to pay living wages, would humanity suffer?  I don't think so.

                O Jungens, ich will doch gar kein Mensch sein (Jimmy Mahoney in Mahagonny by Brecht/Weill)

                by richardvjohnson on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 03:35:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  The money will get spent... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      richardvjohnson, FG

      ...but the benefits won't go to the poorest.

      The guys who benefit will be skilled/educated workers who are currently underpaid. Basically people with non-technical college degrees who work in cubicles.

      Business will benefit because there will be more disposable income. For most businesses, this will balance out any higher wage costs.

      The people who get stepped on are the uneducated and the unskilled. There are millions of unemployed today who don't have the skills to earn even $8/hr. Pushing the bar to $20/hr just puts a job further out of reach for them.

      Raising the wage to $20/hr ($40,000/yr) sounds great for all these college kids. They can now move out of their parent's basements. But if we do this we need to do something for the guys who didn't get to go to college, too.

      •  No one needs to be uneducated and unskilled. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ditsylilg, JayRaye, Betty Pinson

        No one.  Not in the richest society the world has ever seen.
        Paying workers at Wal-Mart and McDonalds $20 an hour would pretty much guarantee that their children would not be uneducated.

        O Jungens, ich will doch gar kein Mensch sein (Jimmy Mahoney in Mahagonny by Brecht/Weill)

        by richardvjohnson on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:44:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Education and skill don't determine your pay; (6+ / 0-)

        they give you negotiating strength, and THAT determines your pay.

        The reason that some people are making $8 per hour is because they are negotiating from a weak position. It's not related to what we perceive as their skill or lack of skill.

         It's also not because their work isn't valuable; the low wage employees at places like McDonalds and Walmart produce tremendous value for their employers.

         A $20 minimum wage would just replace much (but not even all) of the increases in productivity that have happened since the minimum wage was enacted. If employers of low-wage workers are going to basically collude to keep wages artificially stagnant (as they have over the last few decades) than something has to be done about it.

         I'd much prefer to have NO minimum wage and 100% mandatory unionization. Let everybody negotiate wages on a equal playing field. Unfortunately that doesn't seem politically possible, but undoing some of the economic damage that has been done to the poorest Americans with a real minimum wage increase is.

      •  Yikes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Betty Pinson

        I see that you have moved from advocating for charter schools to arguing against minimum wage increases.

        "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

        by bink on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 10:37:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are better ways... (0+ / 0-)

 help poor people than raising minimum wages.

          The best way to to raise taxes on rich people and use the money to build infrastructure and fund benefit programs.

          That said, raising the minimum wage is much more politically feasible than serious progressive taxation. I'll take it if that's all there is.

          But we should be aware that raising the minimum wage will create more unemployment among low-skill workers. We need to be prepared for this.

      •  It will apply to low wage workers (0+ / 0-)

        There are few employers who can dodge the minimum wage, unless they're employing illegals. Even then its difficult.

        Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

        by Betty Pinson on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 01:23:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  you might be right (12+ / 0-)

    but that doesn't change the fact that almost tripling the minimum wage is probably politically impossible. 10.10 is a start sure but we need to start somewhere instead of swinging for the stars and hoping we connect.

    Der Weg ist das Ziel

    by duhban on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:51:59 AM PDT

  •  We would have to beware of creating incentive t... (0+ / 0-)

    We would have to beware of creating incentive to create more labor eliminating tech... and slave labor trade policies..

  •  Look "around" (12+ / 0-)

    In many other advanced countries, Europe, Australia, they're near $20 now.

    Tasini is absolutely correct.

    I ♥ rock crushers.

    by fly on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:58:42 AM PDT

  •  Actually Wages Decoupled From Prod. 45 Not 40 (9+ / 0-)

    years ago, just as the min wage hit its all time peak of some $10.75 adjusted only by inflation.

    I've not found a quick reference to the productivity increase since 1968-70 but others have suggested a wage today even higher than yours, closer to $25 on that basis.

    On the other hand there was a broad array of compressive taxation policies on top individuals and businesses, as well as constraints on business and financial practices, that kept a great deal larger fraction of GDP in circulation where the masses could get at it.

    There's no path to economic justice without re-compressing the top end, that's been shown in all the advanced democracies that outperform ours on behalf of their people, but it's doubly important in our system where spare cash = speech, rights and representation. It's a downright national security imperative to limit the amount of spare cash concentrated at the top because of our system's huge vulnerability to it.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:01:01 AM PDT

  •  Someone with the cojones.... (4+ / 0-)

    to say the truth.

  •  Then if we have to compromise (8+ / 0-)

    and it comes down to $15.  We actually still win by making a major difference in the vast majority of lives.  

  •  Don't Agree with 20 (6+ / 0-)

    Think it would price a lot of labor out of the market.  The average productivity data is accurate, but that is an average, it does not mean all low wage work has a real productivity of 20 dollars per hour.  Are hair stylists or gardeners or fast food workers or babysitters really that much more productive than they used to be?  I would be more in favor of 10-12 dollar per hour minimum wage but vastly increase the EITC, and pay for that with direct taxation of the 1%.  If the EITC was raised to 10,000 annually per worker (all workers, not just those with children) matching the first 10k in income, then slowly tapering down to zero at around 40k, that would be a better way to prop up the lower end of the wage scale and lift them out of poverty.
    Raising the minimum to 20 would push lots of wages up in the economy, not just the minimum.  The effect on jobs is likely not so benign as you hope.  
    Another metric to judge minimum wage is to compare it with the median wage in the economy.  Australia functions fine with a minimum at 50% of median, and that for us is around 15 dollars per hour I think.  It could then index to the median.
    If you ran a campaign on 20 dollars per hour I think you would lose a lot of moderates who can't follow the logic of why a babysitter should get 20 dollars per hour.

  •  Productivity isn't that high. (9+ / 0-)

    Productivity has doubled on average.

    But that's because the productivity for educated/technology workers has multiplied a lot.

    I'm a landlord. I buy and renovate foreclosures. I assure you it takes the same amount of man-hours to replace a roof today as it did in 1974! Productivity for unskilled workers has not budged.

    We have high unemployment today. Millions of unskilled workers cannot find anyone willing to pay them $8/hr. Who will pay them $20/hr?

    There is a better solution: RAISE TAXES.

    Raise taxes and use the money to hire the unemployed to build stuff. Also use the money to pay benefits for those who can't afford to live.

    If we raise the wage to $20/hr, we will be making millions of unskilled workers unemployable.

  •  I'll go even further. We need a 4-day work week, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ffour, JayRaye

    with your $20/hr minimum wage prorated accordingly, to $25/hr.

    Fascism in the mirror is nearer than it appears.

    by PhilJD on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:31:37 AM PDT

  •  $10/hour is so passé (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    claude, JayRaye, Betty Pinson

    $9 kicked in in California yesterday.

    Increasing the minimum wage is a winning issue for Dems.  This Gallup poll makes it clear.

    And if the 1% were smarter than greedy, they would support it because it benefits business.

    Even some smarter than average Repugs support it.

    No brainer.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:35:55 AM PDT

    •  businesses in general do support it (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave, FG, WB Reeves
      Ikea joins a growing chorus of large corporations trumpeting pay raises for employees or abandoning long-held opposition to minimum wage increases. In February, Gap, Inc. announced it would raise minimum wages to $10. And even fast-food companies like McDonald's and Subway, who have been hit with a wave of worker protests over low wages, have recently acknowledged the sky wouldn't fall if wages went up.
      Even Walmart itself, which pays employees notoriously low wages and has bitterly fought efforts at unionization, acknowledged recently that a higher federal minimum wage would mean more money in the pockets of many of its customers and higher sales revenues for Walmart. Walmart spokesman David Tovar conceded that the expected increase in sales could "offset and maybe even exceed whatever impact you pay out to associates."
      Nearly six in 10 small business owners support raising the minimum wage to $10.10, according to a new poll on behalf of Small Business Majority (SBM), with most respondents citing the prospect of increased consumer demand and improved competitiveness with large chain retailers as reasons for their endorsement of the wage hike.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:52:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The 1% does support it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave, Betty Pinson

      They are smart. Threy're the ones who are behind the 10.10 PR stunt.

  •  Just yesterday I was talking about $14/hr (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Trotskyrepublican, Betty Pinson

    wasn't enough for a single mother with 2 children.

    14*40*4.3 weeks in a month = $2,408.00
    What would/could happen is:
    Social Security and tax withholding $275-$300
    living in a really bad neighborhood or a 1 bedroom apartment which would rent for around $850-$900
    cobbled together health insurance Mom goes bare or takes insurance for herself and she gets the kids on Medicaid or SCHIP $200-$250
    lower electric without running the A/C $90
    basic talk phone maybe $20
    internet - $50
    no car bus passes for 3 - $225
    hoping she qualifies for SNAP food/laundry/sundries $200
    praying nothing goes wrong that the $300 left over won't cover

    A $20/hour wage would be about $3,400/mth which would cover:
    Social Security and tax withholding $375-$400
    Rent for 2 bedroom apartment (includes water and garbage) - $1,200
    Health Insurance $450
    Electric - $150 (Florida)
    Phone - $45
    Internet - $50
    car & insurance $300 or bus passes for 3 are $225
    food/laundry/sundries - $600
    Still praying nothing goes wrong that the $200 left over won't cover

    If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

    by JDWolverton on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:37:13 AM PDT

  •  $20 an hour will never happen (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This would be a complete waste of time.

    This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

    by Ellid on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:37:18 AM PDT

    •  But it gets Tasini's name out there. (1+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:
      Betty Pinson

      That's a kind of employment boost.

      It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

      by Rich in PA on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 09:08:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Liberals - Born to Lose (3+ / 0-)

      Yes!!! Let's demand ask politely for only that which we know they will allow! And then the counter-offer will be half of that.

      The "Overton window" may be the most famous term that no one seems to comprehend.

      Let's try the football analogy. The Overton window is like the space between the goal posts. Liberals, in their never ending appeasuousness to meet half-way, even if it's half-way to Hell, have spent the last 40 years moving the Left's goal post rightward to "compromise" and "be pragmatic."

      This has moved the 50 yard way to the right of Barry Goldwater territory.

      It's true. There have been a few over the years who have had the fortitude, the strength of will to resist the Great Appeasmentia and DEMAND what is best for the country instead of Wall Street.

      But the "pragmatists" refuse to have these people's backs. They are too afraid someone will say something mean about them on NPR - like that they aren't pragmatic enough.

      So the bold and the strong get drowned out in a liberal sea of polite accommodation to the serious people of The Wall Street Establishment Show ™.

      •  Oh, come now (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PurpleElectric, cville townie

        Asking for an increase to around $15 would be great.  But $20?  More than DOUBLE what it currently is?  Sorry, not even close to realistic.

        This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

        by Ellid on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 11:49:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  To be fair Ellid, what is politically realistic is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Whimsical Rapscallion

          subject to seismic sea change in relatively short order. Much depends on circumstances and the activism around particular issues.

          Who in 2000 would have thought the election of an African-American President within a decade was realistic? Who thought "gay marriage" was realistic? I could go on but there's no need to belabor the point.

          What can be said with certainty is that the RW didn't achieve its successes by demanding less than what it wanted. Political movements seldom do. We should take the lesson to heart.

          Nothing human is alien to me.

          by WB Reeves on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 02:02:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Justifications for $10.10 (or thereabouts) (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cardinal, NYFM, Loge, FG, virginislandsguy

    Minimum wage historically has hovered around $10/hour
    The year I left HS the min. wage was equivalent to $10.57 adjusted for inflation; the year I left college it was $9.32.

    Proponents of a "living wage", on the other hand, look at various factors; with cost of living differing from place to place and the number of persons expected to "live" on the wage.
    For a single person, that amount for the listed cities would be:
    Tarrant County TX (Ft. Worth)              $9.27
    San Jose, CA                                    $12.01
    Queens NY                                       $12.75
    Cook County IL (Chicago)                    $10.48
    Topeka, KS                                        $8.49

    That's in addition to the always contentious matter of what is "politically feasible".

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:40:04 AM PDT

  •  trying to solve inequality by (5+ / 0-)

    raising the minimum wage significantly above where the current median wage is will not work, I think. I think much of the gains will be offset by inflation and/or outsourcing to other countries. $10.10 may be too low but $20 may be too high.

    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

    by AaronInSanDiego on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:46:26 AM PDT

  •  I think it's the wrong approach (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    billmosby, NYFM, mconvente

    This won't be popular, but a huge hike in the minimum wage is not the right strategy. That's not to say that we shouldn't raise the minimum wage. Only that this shouldn't be the default method.
      There are all sorts of other progressive solutions that make more economic sense:

    1) get rid of free trade agreements
    2) reverse corporate deregulation
    3) single-payer health care
    4) anti-trust law enforcement

      And those are just starters.

    "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

    by gjohnsit on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:53:30 AM PDT

  •  "Productivity" -- USED to measure (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe

    how hard workers worked; how effective the skills they brought to the job were.

    Today productivity gains proceed not so much from what workers do, but what technology   employers invest in, and what management methods they use.

    So "productivity" might be considered a measure of what employers can AFFORD to pay

    But "productivity" as a Adam Smith-ish moral argument of what workers DESERVE and therefore ought to be paid ...

    "Harvard School of Business" will never buy that premise.

    They know better.

  •  If workers are more productive... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doc2, FG

    ...then you get one of two things, or some combination of them.  One, you produce more stuff (good or services), and two, you need fewer workers.  For the mostly service jobs we're talking about, it's vanishingly unlikely that we'll produce more: what, more retail and more fast food and home health care and the other parts of the economy where minimum-wage workers are concentrated?  That leaves the second option, and while employer/shill claims that smallish increases in the minimum wage will reduce employment are silly, a near-tripling of the wage is very likely, by which I mean absolutely certain, to reduce employment.  It would be very good for some people, and very bad for others.  There are a lot of people in our country for whom there's no efficient use, in the nasty economic sense we're talking about, at that wage level.  

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 09:07:37 AM PDT

  •  There should be no minimum wage, or maximum wage, (2+ / 0-)

    or really any wage, or salary, or income.  To each according to his needs; from each according to his abilities.  Simple as that.

    •  Aren't you cute (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Too many of your comments are trollish caricatures for you to be taken seriously.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 11:13:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not following the cause? What kind of traitor to (0+ / 0-)

        the cause are you?  Sound like you are one of those "progressives" who want to keep all their wealth while just giving lip service to the common person, who will be trampled upon whether he makes $8, $10, or $20 per hour.

  •  What's REALLY wrong with 10.10 ... (4+ / 0-)

    Like the Affordable Care Act ... it only PRETENDS to address the problem -- but in so doing it TAKES THE PLACE of an actual solution.

    So, if a higher number is thought to be politically impossible ... then demands for the higher number should be supported by agitation for "even worse" -- lavish need-based subsidy of housing, healthcare, transportation, education, etc.

    Not that I'm expecting Democrats as they are now constituted to embrace "European"  (ewwwww!) Social Democracy -- but it might be a goal for the next generation to try for.

  •  Moving the Overton Window (5+ / 0-)

    Nobody on the right worries about sounding too extreme. Presidential candidates talking about abolishing the EPA, FDA, Dept of Education, so on and so forth. And guess what, the parameters of debate, the policies seem to always move in their direction. We have no one, NO ONE, far out on the left, advocating for way out there left wing ideas that seem unreasonable. We need voices out there talking about dismantling the military, wealth confiscation, guaranteed incomes, outlawing fossil fuel extraction, etc, etc, etc, to leave room enough to actually get some moderate center-left policies for a change.

    "Today is who you are" - my wife

    by I Lurked For Years on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 09:24:58 AM PDT

  •  I'm about as progressive as they come (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente, FG, Catte Nappe, PurpleElectric

    and even I think $20 is excessive - I agree that $10.10 is ridiculously low, but I think $15 is a much more reasonable - and possibly achievable - number to shoot for.  To reduce the impact on the economy it would also still need to be phased in gradually, perhaps $1.50 to $2 a year or so for the next several years.

    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 Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 09:25:42 AM PDT

  •  The $15 Seattle proposal was almost a bridge (3+ / 0-)

    too far for many folks, including Democrats, and was adopted only with exceptions for smaller employers and long phase in periods. $20 is simply too big a shock in my opinion.

    Further, affiant sayeth not. 53959

    by Gary Norton on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 09:35:44 AM PDT

  •  At a certain price you create a black market (8+ / 0-)

    At a certain price, the incentive to cheat - hire people under the table for cash, etc outweighs the legal risks -

    so you end up with a black market for labor worse than we already have

  •  I can't retire fast enough. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson

    I'm not paranoid or anything. Everyone just thinks I am.

    by Jim Riggs on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 10:06:25 AM PDT

  •  Minimum wage issue is smoke and mirrors (3+ / 0-)

    Before you come with pitch forks, I want you to know that I unequivocally support a minimum wage of at least $15 an hour (taking a page from the Seattle 15 movement).

    However, the main issue in this country is the unimaginable amount of cash being hoarded by mega corporations now.  Multi-trillions of dollars.

    I'd argue even further than Tasini; his point about setting the bar high is well taken.  But the other issue that has been entirely ignored in this debate is that the middle class needs a raise.

    If the fast food worker should make $15-$20 an hour (which he and she should), then the teacher and secretary should make $40-$50 an hour.  And the CEO should make A LOT less than $300,000 an hour.

    Because if you raise the minimum wage to $15 or $20 an hour, prices will go up.  And if middle class wages remain stagnant, guess who's getting blamed?  Not the CEOs, it'll be those "other" low income workers.

    Absent literal seizure of the trillions of hoarded cash, how the hell do we solve any structural financial issues?  Tax policy can start, but that won't force businesses to start paying fair middle class wages.

    "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

    by mconvente on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 10:17:37 AM PDT

  •  Well, I guess you have a choice (4+ / 0-)

    Work to get $10.10 that has a decent chance of getting passed.

    Or work to get $20 which has basically zero chance of being passed.

    Heck, even the more touted $15/hr has little chance of being passed unless it is phased in over several years.

    A realistic option that would provide the most benefit is probably fighting for around $10/hr now with it set to rise to $15/hr by 2020.  After that index it to inflation so that it can't drop so far behind again.  Is it ideal?  No, of course not.  But when you can't get everything you want you have to fight for what you CAN get.

    And for heaven's sake we need to get rid of the laws around serving staff ridiculously low minimum wage.

  •  You want $20/hr minimum wage? (4+ / 0-)

    Support labor law reform so we get more unions.  I've negotiated several contracts recently for blue collar factory workers with HS educations who make $30/hour.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 10:31:20 AM PDT

  •  It should be tied to local cost of living (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I think a uniform nation-wide minimum wage is nonsensical. In a lot of places in the middle of the country, you can indeed get by on $10/hr.  In New York or San Francisco, or Hawaii, you cannot.  The minimum wage needs to be adjusted based on the local cost of living.

  •  Challenge (3+ / 0-)

    The link between productivity and pay has been broken not only for minimum wage workers, but for everyone shy of about the 90th or 95 percentile.  That's the message that has to be made, if we're to go significantly past $10/hr.  It's a useful case for a $15/hour wage and essential to support the case for a $20/hour wage.  

    Otherwise you end up with, "and they'd be getting paid $20 for that?"  Rather than the reality, "you're getting paid what your old man got a generation ago, while the dividend doubled in real terms and the CEO's package went up tenfold."

  •  The .10 is just comically tone deaf n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy, JayRaye
    •  It brings to mind an ESPN article (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      from several years ago when the minimum salary for MLB was $320,000.

      There were many players (rookies, etc) right at that level but one guy was getting $320,150.

      The gist of the article was "what special skill did this player have to warrant an extra $150 over the minimum"?  With the caveat, of course, being that it couldn't have been all * that * special considering that is was only a 0.04% or so bump up over the mandated minimum . .

  •  Prevailing wage for laborer nearly $20 Hr now... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson

    Of course there are many exceptions. This should be the base to start from. The Davis Bacon Act was meant to prevent a race to the bottom in competitive contracts.

  •  technology drives productivity (0+ / 0-)

    " people are working harder than ever and making more stuff faster (a small bit of that is due to technology" - ah, No.

    "A small bit?"  really?  Today a worker digging a ditch with a shovel can do about the same amount of work as a worker in 1800.  Actually probably a good amount less.

    Today a worker with mechanical assistance can do 10's or 100's of times as much work as his counterpart from 1800.  The difference is technology increasing productivity and thats where wealth comes from.

    A million more examples could be easily provided.

    A mandated minimum wage solves nothing as all it does it increase the payback for automation and eliminate jobs which is the last thing America needs right now.

    Our economy is broken when CEO's make hundreds of millions of dollars per year while the worker's take home pay goes down due to health care costs and higher taxes.

    We need a solution but a knee jerk "raise the minimum wage" solution isn't it.

    It'll be interesting to see what happens to the entry level job market in Seattle over the next few years.

  •  Are you insane? We cannot get traction to do (0+ / 0-)

    a whole host of things the nation needs, much less ask the #JustSayNo Republicans to vote to raise the minimum wage to a living wage.

    On the other hand, our Democratic Party has become unable to wage winning campaigns on anything in part because we always come to the Table asking only for what we will settle for.

    When what we should be asking for at the start is as much as we would like to have in the best of all possible worlds. Then by the time negotiations are done, we'll end up with what we can accept as a starting step on the path to a better future.

    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

    by Angie in WA State on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 01:59:58 PM PDT

  •  Quibble: 'Productivity' does not equal (0+ / 0-)

    'worker value', at least not at the same correlation or ratio as it did pre-technology boom, and depending on the job.

    Bricklaying: yes, productivity almost completely equals effort per worker.

    Computing: Nowhere near equal

    Working a machine: somewhere in-between.

    Because of the above, I think it better to tie it to income distribution levels, inflation, or cost of living, though the latter will be tough given the wild variances across the country.

    Most of your points are well-made though and you obviously have everyone's best interest in mind.

    While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 02:19:26 PM PDT

  •  What about people making $20 now? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shifty18, OrganicChemist

    or someone making $21 or $22?

    They're not going to want to earn the same amount as someone who works at a fast food restaurant. If you raise the minimum wage to $20, then everyone else will want an equal raise. Companies will raise prices to compensate and, suddenly, $20 won't buy as much as it did when the minimum wage was substantially less.

    Then you'll want a $30 minimum wage because inflationary prices will have devalued the purchasing power of $20.

    •  Fine change the numbers (0+ / 0-)

      Is 15 ok?  Otherwise you're arguing against any sort of minimum wage.

      Sure companies will raise prices to pay for higher salaries but it won't scale linearly.  Every single extra penny a person makes below 35k gets put right back into the economy at an incredibly efficient rate.  That will more than offset slightly salary costs.

      •  Probably not (0+ / 0-)

        Doubling or tripling the minimum wage won't accomplish what you want it to. It won't eliminate poverty because it'll accelerate inflation.

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