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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

We do not expect House Republicans to take up an increase in the minimum wage during this Congress. But if they did, they would find themselves on the right side of history and public opinion.

A survey of American adults released last week by Quinnipiac University found that 71 percent — including majorities of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans — support raising the minimum wage; 51 percent believe it should be raised to $10.10 an hour or higher.

Our own research has found that raising the minimum wage is consistently and increasingly one of the most powerful policies that we test on our national surveys. As we hear in focus groups across the country, “The minimum wage is way below the cost of living.” These people are not policy experts, but they know the price of gas and groceries.

In a few weeks, Democracy Corps will be traveling to Denver to conduct live dial-meter groups during President Obama’s State of the Union address. Last year, the president’s call to raise the minimum wage to $9.00 an hour received strong approval from the Democrats and Independents in our group.

Carville-Greenberg minimum wage chart

And yet congressional Republicans cannot find the will to even allow this issue to come to a vote.

Meanwhile, in unrelated news, the Center for Responsive Politics announced on Monday that — for the first time in history — more than half of all members of Congress are millionaires.

Photo: Caroline’s eye via Flickr

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  • Mama62

    They will but they will wait until the last possible moment so they can get credit before the elections. They don’t care about people making living wage but by then the handwriting will be easier to see, even for them. In the meantime, no unemployment insurance for the unemployed and the under paid can just wait until the GOP thinks it will benefit them more to raise it. Nice bunch. No idea why anyone who is not wealthy or very religious continues to vote for them.

    • Mark Forsyth

      It will be one very damn cold day before I do

    • Independent1

      Yeah! What the GOP has apparently learned is that the American electorate has very short memories; and come the elections in 2014, the majority of voters will have totally forgotten about the GOP shutting down the government, the GOP fighting to repeal Obamacare, the GOP refusing to extend unemployment benefits for millions who are now struggling to make ends meet; the GOP refusing to raise the minimum wage till this point and on and on. If there’s a fallacy in our democracy, it’s the fact that come 2014, almost 1/2, or maybe more, of the American electorate will be negligent in performing their civic duty of voting; leaving the voting which could easily define how well they can live the remainder of their lives, mostly to Republican zealots with 1/2 a brain.

      • jmprint

        I have an idea! When we get close to the elections, we should all make and upload u-tube videos and remind the word, how these republicans have worked hard at destroying America, and how hard they ONLY work for their RICH friends.

        • Independent1

          We need to try something! Given the popularity of u-tube, what you’re suggesting may help. Although George Bush got elected in 2000 mainly because of the Supreme Court not allowing Florida time to recount its votes, the election shouldn’t have been that close in the 1st place; and may well not have been if the 104 million Americans who were old enough to vote and didn’t, had voted.(Gore ended up winning the popular vote by 500,000 and it could well have been much more than that.)

          • neeceoooo

            Don’t forget the gerrymandering

          • Independent1

            That’s going to be a problem in the House; we really need Dems to take back some red states and readjust the gerrymandering before 2016. But maybe with all the disasters the GOP is foisting on the American people, enough of them will wake up in the next 9 mos and vote some Republicans out of office despite the gerrymandering.

      • plc97477

        All of that assumes the gotp don’t do something else stupid before the election. Give them some rope and they will hang themselves.

        • Independent1

          I misphrased my previous comment a little: I should have said: What the GOP is apparently counting on is that the American electorate has very short memories…
          Let’s hope they’re not only wrong with that but that they also do something stupid as mentioned close enough to the election that the American electorate can’t forget what they did. And it would help if there was a good turnout for 2014 – we need to get Independents and Democrats fired up about the need to get the GOP out of office in 2014 and 16.

  • Dominick Vila

    The best way to offset the Koch money advantage, and effective GOP electioneering tactics, is to let Republicans be Republicans. Remember Romney’s 40% comment? That little incident did more to have President Obama re-elected than all our political commercials and statements ever did.
    By opposing living wages, and refusing to fund an extension of unemployment benefits, the GOP is showing how out of touch they are with mainstream America. In their zest to satisfy a sanguine base that consider benefits such as those mentioned above tantamount to welfare, they are showing how little they care for those who for a variety of reasons have been left behind or are struggling to make ends meet.
    Let them fight a more realistic minimum wage, an extension of unemployment benefits at a time when, according to them, our economy is still struggling and not enough jobs are being created. Let them fight funding for contraceptives, let them fight income inequality, let them fight immigration law reform, let them fight an expansion of Reagan’s Brady Act to include background checks for purchases of lethal weapons sold at gun shows or via the Internet, at a time when 12 year kids are shooting each other, when irate folks shoot a person because he is texting a baby sitter to find out how his kids are doing, and the mentally ill people are killing innocent people. The more bizarre their positions and statements are, the better off we are.

    • Bill Boltz

      Yes, Dominick….and despite the Republicans efforts too derail Obama’s administration. Jobs are being created….not many, but mostly by small business. Corporate America is going to hold on to all that new found cash (Stocks) and practice their version of “Lean Manufacturing” by NOT opening new jobs until Obama is out of office. I remember seeing a similar situation when Jimmy Carter left office and Reagan took office. I went, instantly from working 32 hours to 50 hours a week. They are so transparent…..and they think Americans are stupid.

      • Dominick Vila

        The most remarkable part about President Obama is how much he has managed to accomplish in spite of the obstructionism he has faced since the day he was first elected. Unfortunately, there are many among us who seem to have forgotten where we were in January 2009, and seem determined to take us back to the edge once again.
        Gone are the days when foreclosures and bankruptcies were the order of the day. ENRON, AIG, Bernie Madoff and the rest are history. Effective regulations on Wall Street have played a major part in keeping our banks from going back to the good ole days of derivatives and make believe prosperity. OBL is dead, we are out of Iraq, our presence in Afghanistan has been reduced to one tenth of what it was. Companies are posting record profits, the DOW went from 6,500 points in January 2009 to over 16,000 points…and the GOP continues to claim economic Armageddon. The deficit has been cut in half, and more jobs have been created in 4.5 years that during W’s entire tenure.

        Unfortunately, we don’t seem to be able to connect with the general public, and I believe that has more to do with our inability to highlight President Obama’s accomplishments to the general populace, than “facts” exposed by the GOP. The GOP are great at electioneering, in part because they stop at nothing to advance their cause, we are great at governance, but not that great at electioneering.

        Yes, we won the last two elections, but that had more to do with blunders made by the GOP strategists, ranging from choosing Sarah Palin as a running mate to Romney 48% comment, than a sound and effective Democratic strategy. Our greatest friends, and our best helpers, are the Republicans in Congress whose incredible statements are enough to scare the daylights out of most rational people.

        • Bill Boltz

          You should manage the next Democratic presidential campaign. You put the facts out there for all to see. Is it just me or is the DOW a bit over-valued right now? The millionaire club (GOP) is getting richer by the day, but no investment in the future for American workers. We really need to level the playing field when it comes to campaign spending. I don’t appreciate millionaires claiming to represent me when they really don’t give a shit about everyday people. They seem to get richer in government office. Something really smells in Washington. Have a great day Dominick.

          • Dominick Vila

            The market is over valued, when we take the P/E ratio into consideration, and an adjustment is bound to take place in the not too distant future. However, the strength of the market, before and after the next correction, reflects the strength of our economy, consumer confidence, profits, and the positive effect of low interest rates on private sector investment and consumerism. Again, consider where we were after 8 years of GOP economic and fiscal policies and where we are today, and the only conclusion we can reach is that voting red is the last thing our country needs. We must continue to move forward, not back to days that ought to be one of the saddest chapters in American history.

        • Independent1

          Dominick, I think the problem we have with getting the message out about all the good things that Obama has done despite the obstructionsism, is the fact that people seem to look for and remember sensational things (often the bad, like the Christie bridgegate incident or the problems people claim that they’ve had with Obamacare which they can sympathize with), rather than looking to hear about positive things like even the folks who have really been helped by Obamacare which you rarely see in the news. And this is despite the fact that media people actually donate more to Democratic campaigns than Republican. So in a sense, when GOP lovers claim the media is liberal biased, it is with respect to how media donate to politics, but not by the way they seek out or select stories to be published in their newspapers or broadcast over the airways.

          Here’s the link to an article that bears that out:

          Although the article: “15 things everyone would know if there wee a liberal media” is a little outdated, it still makes the point that the media really does not promote liberal causes and issues well. Journalists need to find a way to sensationalize the good.

          For example; when have you seen in the national news a prominent story about the fact that scientists in New Jersey are on the verge of being able to create plasma (which is what the sun is made up of) cheap enough that it may well not be long before nuclear, coal and oil powered power plans will be obsolete (they can already produce it)? Or that technology in batteries has already reached the point where it may well not be long before homes can store enough solar electricity to make a lot of America’s power grid unnecessary at least in areas where there isn’t a lot of heavy manufacturing?

          Now these could well be life changing stories, yet I haven’t seen big stories about them on the internet (I don’t own a TV); and yet this and even the story about wind power now being producable as cheaply as coal, clearly points out that the GOP’s (and Mitt Romney’s) nonsense claims about Obama’s green initiative stimulus money having been a failure; are just that total nonsense.

          And although you may have already seen it, I’ll post the link again to a list of Obama accomplishments which I believe support my contention that Obama has accomplished more postive things for America than the last 4 GOP presidents combined:

          • Dominick Vila

            There is, indeed, too much focus on negativism, and the media does focus on sensationalism to expand market share.
            It is also possible that the silent majority may once again voiced its opinion at the polls, rather than emulating the strident claims and bizarre rhetoric we hear from Tea Party supporters. Let’s not forget what happened in 2012, the GOP was busy booking ballrooms to celebrate Romney’s landslide victory, which was predicted by most pundits and pollsters (except for Nate Silver), our neighborhood were littered with Romney signs and empty chairs…and Obama was re-elected by a comfortable margin. Immature claims and stridency often backfire, and the same may happen again in November 2014.

          • Independent1

            Let’s hope so!! America needs relief from the constant negative onslaught of the GOP.

      • plc97477

        When their base is the low-information voter they seem to know them pretty well.

        • Independent1

          They have this entertainment outlet called ‘Faux News’ that the vast majority of GOP lovers watch which makes sure that the GOP base remains as low-information voters.

  • Sue Murrell

    The problem with upping the minimum wage is that more businesses will out source jobs overseas where wages are low and zero benefits. This would cause more people to become unemployed. I really would like to see the government impose a tariff tax on imports. This would make the companies that are now outsourcing to finally realize that the products in the USA are made better and could actually cost lest to produce. Keeping the minimum wage at its present state would benefit us.

    • grandbaby1


      • William Longley

        Sue?? Have you ever worked a minimum wage job and supported a family on it? I have and it dont work too well. If companies would pay a livable wage we would not have to discuss this.

        • grandbaby1

          That’s right William. I agree completely. Anyone who feels minimum wage should stay obviously earns above that.

          • jmprint

            Or is married to a congressman, Officer in the Military service with full retirement benefits.

    • Independent1

      Sorry Sue, but that’s not reality. Almost 5 million jobs have come back to the US over the past 3 years because people in foreign countries are going through what America did back in the early 1900s; they’re demanding better wages and benefits. I have relatives who work at Pratt and Whitney aircraft in Connecticut and Pratt has already concluded that it can manufacture its parts cheaper in America for at least a couple reasons: the price of wages foreign countries are now charging are almost at the point where the cost of shipping overseas almost erases the actual manufacturing differential and 2) the quality of work done in many foreign countries resultls in below standard parts that either need to be remanufactured or thrown out.

      Here’s the link to an article you may want to read:

      • Mama62

        The economics of it is pretty simple, Henry Ford understood it. The same principle applies to unemployment compensation. Yes, extended unemployment compensation beyond the insurance benefit of 6 months put the government funds into the hand of people who will spend it, therefore increasing commerce which in turn stimulates the economy. It also creates more consumers for businesses. A concept that Wall-Mart certainly understands.

    • Independent1

      Another point about the minimum wage: many corporations are using the notion that increasing the minimum wage would result in much higher retail prices, when at least for multi-nationals, that’s simply not true. Elisabeth Warren demonstrated at a Congressional hearing that McDonald’s could absorb the cost of raising the minimum wage from around $7.50 to $10.10 by raising the price of one combo meal by 4 cents. Multi-nationals like McDonald’s have so much client turnover that just raising the price of a few of the items they sell would cover paying their employees more.
      What I’ve pointed out to a Bernie Sanders and Angus King is that Congress should consider establishing separate minimum wages for large corporations that sell a variety of products and have sufficient income revenues that they afford easily to increase the minimum wage to over $10/hour while establishing smaller incremental min wage increases for smaller corporations. Just like there are separate requirements from providing employee benefits for companies with 50 and more employees, vs companies less than 50.
      And cosider this, McDonald’s outlets in Europe where the minmum wage is $12/hour actuall are more profitable than their outlets in America. And that could well be because, their customers are a little bit more affluent and therefore can afford to buy the higher end products McDonald’s sells rather than only being able to afford buying from the $1 menu.

      • daniel bostdorf

        Nice !

        NM editors are ferreting out the trolls 🙂

      • plc97477

        What about if we raise the minimum wage for everyone and give the small businesses tax write-offs to help cover it? I have a hard time trying to see how giving some people a higher minimum wage and not others can be considered fair.

        • Independent1

          I’m not sure where you see the unfairness coming in. I have two brothers-in-law, one works for Pratt and Whitney the other worked for a job shop that provided parts to Pratt. They both ran almost the identical machines. Yet my brother-in-law who worked for Pratt had 3 weeks vacation, healthcare, a pension plan and a 401K matching contrtibution; plus he made almost $8/hr more than my other brother-in-law who worked at the job shop. The only difference was one worked for a multi-national and the other for a local almost mom and pop type operation.
          Also, consider this, I believe California now has a $9.00 minimum wage while I believe Arizona’s is still around $7.50 so right at the moment, two people doing the exact same job will get different pay working at the same company just because they live in different states. There’s no such thing as job pay “fairness”. Every employer establishes the wage the employer thinks it needs to pay to attract employees. l
          Also, the unfairness isn’t in setting different minimum wages for companies that can and can’t afford a higher minimum wage, the unfairness is that McDonald’s, WalMart, Target, Burger King and many other multi-national company employees who could easily be making over $10/hr are being held back because mom and pop type operations can’t afford a sudden $2.50 increase in the min wage while these companies easily could. And don’t forget, just because the min wage for smaller companies may not jump up to $10.10/hr, and only go to say $8/hour initially doesn’t mean they couldn’t pay $9 or more if they could afford it, and need to in order to compete for employees. It’s just that they wouldn’t be required to pay that wage and maybe have to go out of business if they couldn’t absorb the cost.

    • Mama62

      There is no evidence of that being the outcome of an increase in the min. wage. Most min wage jobs are actually not outsourceable. It is the medium level jobs that get outsourced. Not service jobs which are the bulk of min wage jobs. Tarffis would help however.

    • dpaano

      Sue, This is a major myth that you’re buying into. The last time we raised the minimum wage, none of these things occurred. We’ve raised the minimum wage in California, and we’ve not seen any of these things happen. Again, this is one of those myths that people seem to think are true without researching them.

    • jmprint

      This is the same line that they have been using since the early 1980′.
      I feel those sending jobs overseas, need to pay a cost of living tax in the US.

    • daniel bostdorf

      Sorry—this is factually incorrect. Could you post a link to where you get these “statistics?” Thanks.

  • howa4x

    Sush don’t tell them. If raising the minimum was a test case they should look no further than NJ. When Christie was leading in every poll he vetoed a bill to raise the minimum wage $1/hr. The legislature then put it to a referendum in the election and even though a popular Christie and the chamber of commerce campaigned against it. they failed and the raise was overwhelmingly voted for. If democrats were smart them would put it on referendum in every state and get the republicans to campaign against it./ If an outsized personality like Christie couldn’t stop this how can anybody else

  • Bodine666

    Just curious. Do these repubs believe only Democrats apply for unemployment? Most of these claims come from repub states. It is absolutely incredulous that the folks in these states will support these repubs. Are these folks unable to make the connection? Do they think only Democratic and Independent supporters will have their unemployment cut off? Do they not realize there are not two different unemployment bills? Yet, in spite of this these same people will go to the polls and once again vote for the repubs.

    Can anyone explain this to me in a way it makes sense?

  • daniel bostdorf

    We need to eliminate the minimum wage altogether and replace it, using the trillions of dollars spent in other social programs to create a guaranteed yearly income. This was prosed by both GOP and Democrats back in 1967…

    Let me outline before you have a heart attack…

    Lets take a $15/hour livable wage scenario:
    $15/hour is $420 a week 28 hours part time. $21840 yearly . Still poverty level.
    $15/hour full time is $600 a week/ $31200 yearly. Still near or at poverty if you consider family size.

    Federal poverty guidelines here:

    Therefore….the “minimum wage or livable wage” should be replaced with a guaranteed yearly income based upon Federal poverty statistics by state.

    Back in 1967 Dr. Martin Luther King and highly respected economists both Democrat and Repiublican proposed this a s a way to eliminate poverty once and for all.

    Concept is outlined here:

    From the article:
    “Rev. Dr. King viewed the guaranteed income as the way to abolish poverty. It does have that effect, but when prRev. Dr. King viewed the guaranteed income as the way to abolish poverty. It does have that effect, but when properly funded (not touching earned income) and properly distributed (to all people), it becomes more than that — it can be a fundamental instrument of economic justice.operly funded (not touching earned income) and properly distributed (to all people), it becomes more than that — it can be a fundamental instrument of economic justice.”

    A guaranteed annual out of poverty level annual income would eliminate all antiquated social programs and nearly all entitlements. It would make this country the leader in eliminating poverty once and for all. In addition, We need livable affordable housing, and a justice system free from big money.

    The article link contains a dollar figure in 1967 as needing 20 billion to do this. In 1967 1 million dollars is now $6,978,113.77.
    7 times factoring inflation:…
    A 1000 million is a billion.
    Therefore—we would need only 140 billion. Easily obtainable by transfering that out of existing trillion dollar social programs.
    The poor are not poor. They pay taxes. have housing and the middle class is resurgent again.

    “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” ……Nelson Mandela

    • Independent1

      What I don’t think a lot of folks may think about when reading your post, is that, not only would such a plan benefit America’s citizens by lifting millions out of poverty, the government would also get a great deal of the money it would distribute as guaranteed income, back as increased tax revenues. Thereby reducing the impact to the treasury of the guaranteed income distributions.
      With the millions that are now living below the poverty level having much more money to spend, the economy would improve dramatically increasing the profits of businesses across the nation; resulting in increased tax revenues at all levels – state, local, and obviously federal in the form of 1) sales taxes, 2) most likely property taxes as more could afford their own homes and 3) more in the form of income taxes. Sure sounds like a win win situation (even the rich would get richer). Starts looking to me like the rich are really not doing themselves any favors by surpressing the poor.

      • daniel bostdorf

        We have to think a bit more realistically as it relates to HOW we lift people up and out of poverty.

        Keeping people at a “minimum no lveable wage” breeds social unrest, more and more poverty, while the multinational corporations ship jobs overseas.

        Lets levy a 10% tax…BEFORE tax loopholes…on these unAmerican business practices that are causing the 47 million Americans to live in poverty.

        35 million children don’t get enough to eat..

        Guarantee income along with performing some public service for this income is the way to go….goodness knows this country needs infrastructure repairs, our streets and cities cleaned up, expand home ownership that leads to middle class behavior not poverty behavior….

        This is a no brainer…put people in poverty to work and guarantee them an income and get them off other antiquated and not working social assistance programs..

        Common sense…

        • Independent1

          No corporation should get away with paying zero taxes. On average today, 200 of the Fortune 500 companies pay zero taxes in any given year. Corporations should have an Alternative Minimum Tax they should have to pay, on top of the 10% you’re suggesting for companies who pay below living wages and foist a lot of their employees living costs on the taxpayers. Your Guaranteed Income recomendation is very similar to FDR’s WPA with a twist, which resulted in a lot of great things being done for the country.

          See this from wikipedia:

          Almost every community in the United States had a new park, bridge or school constructed by the agency. The WPA’s initial appropriation in 1935 was for $4.9 billion (about 6.7 percent of the 1935 GDP), and in total it spent $13.4 billion.[2]

          At its peak in 1938, it provided paid jobs for three million unemployed men and women, as well as youth in a separate division, the National Youth Administration. Headed by Harry Hopkins, the WPA provided jobs and income to the unemployed during the Great Depression in the United States. Between 1935 and 1943, the WPA provided almost eight million jobs.[3] Full employment, which emerged as a national goal around 1944, was not the WPA goal. It tried to provide one paid job for all families in which the breadwinner suffered long-term unemployment.[4]

  • On Guard!

    Unlike the totalitarian states that naturally emerge from collectivist systems of thought, those republics that arise from the individualist conception of civilization rely upon the proven principles of morality, liberty, and prosperity.