Right! Not only does his call to raise America's minimum wage put some real pop in populism, but it could finally start putting some ethics back in our country's much-celebrated, (but rarely-honored) "work ethic." Kudos to Obama for putting good economics and good morals together – and for putting this long overdue increase on the front burner.
But then came the number: $9 an hour. Excuse me, Mr. President, but that means a person who "works full-time" would nonetheless "have to live in poverty." Yes, nine bucks is a buck-seventy-five better than the current pay, but it's still a poverty wage, and it doesn't even elevate the buying power of our wage floor back to where it was in 1968.
This is not merely about extending a badly needed helping hand to people struggling to work their way out of poverty, but about them giving a jolt of new energy to our economy, which it desperately needs. Ironically, while superrich corporations are hoarding trillions of dollars in offshore accounts, refusing to invest in America, minimum-wage workers invest every extra dollar they get in America – spending it right where they live on clothing, food, health care, and other needs. A 2011 Federal Reserve study found that a one-dollar hike in the minimum wage produces an additional $2,800 a year in spending by each of those households – so this is no time to shortchange these workers.
Yes, I know that Congressional Republicans and corporate lobbyists oppose even a $9 wage, but a poll last June found that seven out of 10 Americans (including a majority of Republicans), support raising the wage above $10 an hour. This is a time, Mr. President, think big – and take it to the grassroots.
"Obama Pledges Push to Lift Economy for Middle Class," www.nytimes.com, February 13, 2013.
"The impact of a $9 minimum wage," www.cnn.com, February 13, 2013.
Original article on Jim Hightower.com