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Saturday, January 19, 2019

When President Barack Obama reiterates his request that Congress raise the minimum wage during his fifth State of the Union address on Tuesday night, he will have a group of over 600 economists in his corner.

The 602 economists — including seven Nobel laureates and eight former presidents of the American Economic Association — have signed an open letter calling on President Obama, House leaders John Boehner (R-OH), Eric Cantor (R-VA), and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Senate leaders Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2016, and index it to protect against inflation thereafter.

“Senator Tom Harkin and Representative George Miller have introduced legislation to accomplish this,” reads the letter written by Economic Policy Institute president Lawrence Mishel and Harvard University professor Lawrence Katz. “The increase to $10.10 would mean that minimum-wage workers who work full time, full year would see a raise from their current salary of roughly $15,000 to roughly $21,000.”

President Obama has already signaled his support for the Harkin-Miller bill, as have Minority Leader Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid. Republican leaders have consistently opposed such a move, however; when President Obama proposed raising the minimum wage to just $9 per hour in his 2013 address, Speaker Boehner scoffed, “When you raise the price of employment, guess what happens? You get less of it,” and rhetorically asked, “Why would we make it harder for small employers to hire people?”

According to the PhDs who signed the EPI letter, however, Boehner is flatly wrong.

“In recent years there have been important developments in the academic literature on the effect of increases in the minimum wage on employment, with the weight of evidence now showing that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market,” the letter reads. “Research suggests that a minimum-wage increase could have a small stimulative effect on the economy as low-wage workers spend their additional earnings, raising demand and job growth, and providing some help on the jobs front.”

Economics experts are not the only Americans who believe that the minimum wage should be increased; poll after poll find that raising the minimum wage has broad bipartisan support, and could be a key issue in the 2014 midterm elections.

The full EPI letter and list of signatories can be read here.

Photo: Jeffrey Simms Photography via Flickr

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5 responses to “Over 600 Economists Agree: It’s Time To Raise The Minimum Wage”

  1. daniel bostdorf says:

    According to the PHD’s:

    “In recent years there have been important developments in the academic literature on the effect of increases in the minimum wage on employment, with the weight of evidence now showing that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market,” the letter reads. “Research suggests that a minimum-wage increase could have a small stimulative effect on the economy as low-wage workers spend their additional earnings, raising demand and job growth, and providing some help on the jobs front.”

    All well and good….but it does not solve the fundemental immorality of poverty….A “guarantteed income” and job is what is needed not a minimum wage…

    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:

    http://www.familiesusa.org/resources/tools-for-advocates/guides/federal-poverty-guidelines.html

    As I have stated before this past January 20th…The concept is outlined here:

    http://www.progress.org/tpr/martin-luther-king-on-guaranteed-income-social-dividend/

    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. 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.”

    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.

    We need a real “war on poverty” not those in poverty…

  2. Mr. Sequel says:

    If free markets are to work well, civilized moral standards and proven legal principles must be in place to guide separate competitors working independently in the marketplace.

  3. Robert Roberto says:

    All those that want to raise the minimum wage should donate their money together and make it become a reality.

    • daniel bostdorf says:

      ….—

      • MerlinYoda says:

        Um.. that wasn’t trolling. That’s just calling for people to put their money where their mouth is. As, one way or another, everyone will have to pay in some way in order for this wage increase to happen. It’s not like money grows on trees or just floats down from the sky like manna from Heaven (although it’s almost like the latter when they continue to print more as they see fit).

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