This says a lot about what most Americans think about raising the minimum wage:
That noted, can you imagine that a retro like Joe Barton (R-Texas) would even think to say anything like this in this day and age?
“I think it’s outlived its usefulness,” Barton told National Journal in a story published Thursday. “It may have been of some value back in the Great Depression. I would vote to repeal the minimum wage.”
This from Barton the day after President Obama’s call for raising the minimum wage as a response to the decades long growing inequality in our nation, given in his excellent “Economy Speach” the day before.
What honest American can possibly disagree with this sentiment expressed by President Obama:
The president specifically mentioned fast-food workers – alongside nurses and retail workers – in the speech, describing them as people who “work their tails off and are still living at or barely above poverty”.
“That’s why it’s well past the time to raise a minimum wage that, in real terms right now, is below where it was when Harry Truman was in office.”
He added: “I’m going to keep pushing until we get a higher minimum wage for hardworking Americans across the entire country. It will be good for our economy. It will be good for our families.”
I do disagree with the President on one thing: That the minimum wage must be above his recommendation of $10.10 (about $15,000 per year), which is about $4,000 below the poverty line for a family of four. $10.10 merely adjusts the minimum wage for inflation to when it was made $7.25. Clearly this is inadequate.
A $15 minimum wage would bring the yearly income to about $31K, a decent salary for a hard working fast food employee at, say, MacDonalds. Sure, we would pay a little more for a Big Mac, but this would be worth it, both for the sake of the working poor, and for the sake of our economy in general, by increasing the flow of money. This is the Keynesian approach, otherwise known as demand side, which has already been shown to work.
Here is an important statement by President Obama in his speech several days ago:
These wonky arguments were aimed at showing one central point: income inequality is “the defining challenge of our time.” “The basic bargain at the heart of our economy has frayed,” Obama said, challenging “the very essence of who we are as a people.” Rising inequality threatens economic growth, family stability, and the very functioning of American democracy itself. It’s “a fundamental threat to the American Dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe.”