#1: RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE TO $15A basic moral principle that…

#1: RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE TO $15

A basic moral principle that most Americans
agree on is no one who works full time should be in poverty, nor should their
family.

Yet over time we’ve seen significant growth in
the “working poor” – people working full time, sometimes even 60 or more hours
each week, but at such low wages that they remain impoverished.

What to do?

One step
is to raise the minimum wage to $15 an
hour. This is winnable. A powerful movement is fighting for $15 an hour and
they’re winning new laws in cities and states, and forcing companies to raise
wages.

If the minimum wage in
1968 had simply kept up with inflation it would be more than $10 today.
 If it also kept up with the added productivity of American workers since
then, it would be more than $21 an hour.  

Some opponents say minimum wage workers are
teenagers seeking some extra pocket money.

Wrong. Half are 35 or older, and many are key
breadwinners for their families.

And don’t believe scaremongers who say a $15
minimum will cause employers to cut employment.

More money in people’s pockets means more demand
for goods and services, which means more jobs not fewer jobs.

Studies also show that when the minimum is
raised more people are brought into the pool of potential employees, giving
employers more choice of whom to hire. This reduces turnover and helps
employers save money.

Finally, employers who don’t pay enough to lift
their employees out of poverty are indirectly subsidized by the rest of us –
who are paying billions each year in food stamps, Medicaid, housing assistance,
and welfare, to make up the difference.

The minimum wage should be raised to $15 an
hour. It’s the least that a decent society should require.

Originally appeared at: http://robertreich.org/post/118372382285