Math! What is it with Republicans and not getting how inflation works??? I bolded my favorite parts:
BLACKBURN: What we’re hearing from moms and from school teachers is that there needs to be a lower entry level, so that you can get 16-, 17-, 18-year-olds into the process. Chuck, I remember my first job, when I was working in a retail store, down there, growing up in Laurel, Mississippi. I was making like $2.15 an hour. And I was taught how to responsibly handle those customer interactions. And I appreciated that opportunity.
Making $2.15 an hour certainly does sound worse than today’s minimum wage, which federal law mandates must be at least $7.25 an hour. But what Blackburn didn’t realize is that she accidentally undermined her own argument, since the value of the dollar has changed immensely since her teenage years. Blackburn was born in 1952, so she likely took that retail job at some point between 1968 and 1970. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator, the $2.15 an hour Blackburn made then is worth somewhere between$12.72 and $14.18 an hour in today’s dollars, depending on which year she started.
At that time, the minimum wage was $1.60, equivalent to $10.56 in today’s terms. Today’s minimum wage is equivalent to just $1.10 an hour in 1968 dollars, meaning the teenage Blackburn managed to enter the workforce making almost double the wage she now says is keeping teenagers out of the workforce.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 30 years since Labor Day was a day of rest for the laborer.
I worked at a Woolworths in our local mall when it ceased. A reasonably young wife and mother of 2 who, along with my co-workers, was looking forward to that extra day off—and then management announced, “we will be open from noon to six pm on Labor Day.”
One after another each “holiday” fell under the sword of consumerism for those who labor in low wage jobs. Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas were the last to get the ax, but it finally caught up to them too.
That first year they wanted to “see how it would go.” Truth is, that first time at least, it cost them more to be open than they made, but some people did show up and they saw it as “promising”. Figured it might take another holiday or two for the public to realize they could do more than spend time with their families on America’s days of celebration.
They were right.
And so we Americans celebrate a day set aside for the laborer with rah-rah parades that way too many laborers cannot attend because they are busy ringing up that purchase of shoes that just couldn’t wait.
We celebrate America’s independence with patriotic floats rumbling down main street in the morning followed up by a hearty breakfast at our favorite restaurant served up by a waitperson making just over $2 an hour who couldn’t attend the holiday festivities if they wanted to keep their job.
We honor our veterans with speeches and bands playing patriotic songs and solemn prayers while way too many of them stand behind counters willing to serve us yet again while we shop for things that couldn’t possibly be purchased on any other day.
For the low wage earners of America there are no holidays.
Roseanne Barr 1991
A raise in the minimum wage is smart economics and beneficial to society. So what are we waiting for?
House Democrats have introduced a bill in the House — bound to go nowhere due to the Republican majority — that would increase the minimum wage to $10. This would give the wage the purchasing power that it had in the 1960s.
Conservative opposition to a higher minimum wage hinges on a few tired arguments that ultimately protect big businesses and hurt low-income workers. Here are the favorite conservative myths when it comes to the minimum wage and why there’s really nothing to them:
1) The minimum wage kills jobs. “It’s a classic election-year ploy to make the Democrats look like they’re protecting low-income workers. I think it’s well understood that raising the minimum wage hurts workers on the lower end of the pay scale in that it does kill jobs,” said a recent statement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. However, several academic studieshave shown that raising the minimum wage does not have a negative effect on employment. In fact, an analysis of state minimum wage increases showed that those state boosting their wage “had job growth slightly above the national average.”
2) Increasing the minimum wage hurts small businesses. Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) reacted to a proposal to raise the minimum wage by saying that small business owners are “going to have to lay people off.” However, two-thirds of low-wage workers actually work for big corporations, most of which have largely recovered from the recession and could therefore afford to increase wages. The three largest employers of low-wage workers haveall seen large profit increases in the last few years.
3) Increasing the minimum wage only benefits teenagers. Many Republicans argue that raising the minimum wage just hurts teenagers’ ability to gain work experience. But as a new report from the Economic Policy Institute shows, nearly 90 percent of minimum wage workers are 20 years old or older. Plus, “more than a third (35.8 percent) [of minimum wage workers] are married, and over a quarter (28.0 percent) are parents.”
“Get a job.”
The United States is a low-wage country. (Here a chorus of Republicans pipes up: Yes, but it’s the greatest low-wage country in the world, and don’t you forget it!) In fact, in 2009 the United States led developed nations, with 24.8 percent of workers earning less than two-thirds of the median income. By comparison, the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland and Germany all came in at between 20 and 21 percent of workers earning less than two-thirds of their respective median incomes. (Republicans: We’re number one!!!)
John Schmitt of the Center for Economic and Policy Research offers a set of policy conclusions stemming from this observation. A key problem is that the United States has set its minimum wage too low, so that the minimum wage doesn’t exert upward pressure on low wages defined in relation to the median: “In France in the mid-2000s, for example, the minimum wage was set near the country’s low-wage threshold and that country had among the lowest levels of low-wage work in the OECD.” In the United States, though, that’s not the case even in states with minimum wages set well above the federal level.
The growing prevalence of low-wage work in the United States contributes to income inequality from the bottom, just as the increasing wealth of the top 1 percent, and especially the top 0.1 percent, adds to inequality from the top. The middle is a shrinking place, and you can bet that, without a major shift of economic and political direction, its future is not only to shrink but to be squeezed downward.source