Need a reason to raise the minimum wage? Here are five good ones:
This is a particularly big one –
1. Good for Families: According to economist James Galbraith, raising the minimum wage would raise the incomes of 28 million Americans. Women would particularly benefit because they tend to work for lower wages than men. As Galbraith sees it, raising the minimum wage is family friendly policy:
“With more family income, some people would choose to retire, go back to school, or have children, making it easier for others who need jobs to find them. Working families would have more time for community life, including politics; Americans would start to reclaim the middle-class political organization that they once had. Because payroll- and income-tax revenues would rise, the federal deficit would come down. Social Security worries would fade.”
Chicago families would benefit greatly as well. Hundreds of WOCC members would see an increase in their paychecks. This would provide them with more disposable income for the basics and stimulate the local economy.
2. Good for Economic Recovery: To get the economy back on track, spending power has to be in the hands of those who actually spend in the real economy. That means regular people, not the super-wealthy who tend to hoard wealth or invest in financial products. The minimum wage story is not just a story about income inequality, but rather it’s about an elite that has hijacked the economic system and made it work less productively than before while redistributing more of what is working to themselves.
May be this should be reason number one for those who only think in terms of the bottom line.
3. Helps People Get Out of Debt: An increase of a couple of dollars per hour or more in the minimum wage could make huge improvements in the difficult existence of the working poor, perhaps allowing them to exit the debt treadmill and stand a better chance of eventually rising into a revitalized middle-class. Admittedly, corporate profits might suffer a little and some businesses at the lowest end might disappear. That said, corporate profits as a percentage of national economic output are already at an all-time record levels. And it’s questionable whether such levels of profitability can be sustained. Firms have lots of unused capacity lying around because people can’t afford to buy products and services. Sluggish sales growth is directly connected to lagging wage rates.
This one is a double whammy of goodness for the economy. It helps creditors receive their money and it also allows people to purchase more goods. Both of which can spur the economy during these sluggish times.
4. Protects Workers From Abuse: A higher minimum wage would also help to mitigate the abusive, exploitative working practices of a number of employers, who take advantage of the currently low minimum wage to seek cut-rate help. Such employers often use undocumented labor, which further undermines America’s working poor.
Another reason that just makes sense when one views workers as human beings.
5. Justice for Working Americans: Most of all, a big jump in the minimum wage would be a reparation. Because let’s be clear: class warfare has already been undertaken on behalf of the 1 percent. The past 30 years have witnessed a dramatic redistribution of national and personal income in favor of profits for the rich. At the same time, this period has been associated with a dramatic decline in the performance of the US economy. To raise the minimum wage would be literally the minimum we could do for those who have suffered from the economic crisis: the working population. It would be an act of justice.
In our Fight for 15 campaign we seek to strengthen the working class of Chicago with a living wage, an expansion of the middle class workforce, and a fair shake at the massive wealth created on the backs of our members.
The city, the companies, and above all, the workers would be better for it. We would all benefit with more financial flexibility for families, economic stimulus for the city, and a more readily available consumer base for the companies.
What more do you need to be convinced?