« A Word About Impeachment | Main | The Threat to Labor's Political Operations »

May 31, 2005


Thank you. I've been saying that for months. What we had to focus on in this session was on defense: 1) killing Bush's Social Security "reform," 2) doing everything in our power to protect the judiciary; and on offense 3) push for a substantial increase in the minimum wage. Pushing it at the state level makes even more sense.

In all, 17 states and the District of Columbia — covering 45% of the U.S. population — have set minimums above the federal rate of $5.15. That has helped cut the number of workers earning the minimum or less (for those earning tips) from 4.8 million in 1997 to 2 million last year, or 2.7% of hourly earners, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says.

"The economy is growin'. We're turnin' th' corner. Mah administration has cut the number of workers scrapin' bah on th' minimum wage in half! It's hard work, but we got it done!"

I like it. It's time for the Democrats to do more for working people and to be seen as the party that tries to help them.

"Probably some others?" Probably every other. I doubt there's a red state that wouldn't vote itself a wage increase, given that almost 70% of Nevada and Florida supported it in 2004. I wouldn't stop with Ohio, Missouri, and New Mexico; I'd go for Arkansas, Mississippi, Utah, and every other initiative state.

Drew: Minimum wage initiatives occassionally fail, usually in places where most people are self-employed or work for small businesses. For instance, I'm not sure minimum wage initiatives would as much of an advantage in states like Montana or South Dakota as they would in Ohio or Arizona.

Huh. I'd like to see that hypothesis tested nevertheless; as would the Montana AFL-CIO, apparently.

It will be the second time the hypothesis will have been tested in Montana. In 1995, a minimum wage increase was defeated 57%-43%.

Jesus Christ, fine. I've learned my lesson never to suggest the use of the initiative to raise the minimum wage in any state where there is a non-trivial chance that it might fail.

After seeing this link at Drum:

CEOs at California's largest 100 public companies took home a collective $1.1 billion in 2004, up almost 20% from 2003. That compares with the 2.9% raise that the average California worker saw last year, according to the Economic Policy Institute in Washington.

I wonder whether it isn't time to roll out the limits on executive pay. Not a chance they're constitional. But it'd offer a nice opportunity to talk about all the wage issues that are affecting average Americans.

There may be a way to do executive pay that could be done at the initiative level. I'll post on that within the next day or two.

Do it, DH. I keep saying, we could use a little (no, a lot) class warfare these days. And executive salaries is a quick way to inflame some passion.

Definitely a good idea. In the states where these pass pretty easily (the more urban ones?), a raised minimum wage also becomes a concrete victory to point to. Our base needs those victories, even small ones.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Where We Met

Blog powered by Typepad