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Sunday, October 23, 2016

POLL: Large Majorities Support Raising The Minimum Wage, Tying It To Inflation

A new Gallup poll shows large majorities of Americans are in favor of both raising the minimum wage and tying it to inflation, with support rising since President Obama first proposed an increase earlier this year.

minimum wage gallup


Tying the nation’s minimum wage to inflation is slightly less popular than increasing the base wage, but is still embraced by an overwhelming majority of Americans.

minimum wage inflation

The internals of the poll verify what our Henry Decker wrote last week, “For Democrats, Raising The Minimum Wage Is Good Policy, Better Politics,” even if the specifics don’t quite match the bill from Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA) that’s moving forward in the Senate. The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 would immediately raise the minimum wage to $8.20 an hour from $7.25, then to $9.15 an hour after one year and $10.10 an hour after two years. It would be tied it to the Consumer Price Index thereafter.

Even Republicans support the president’s proposed increase, but 56 percent oppose tying it to inflation. Independents, however, are in favor of both proposals.

internals minimum wage

With Harkin and Miller’s bill likely to pass the Senate, the minimum wage increase will join immigration reform and background checks as bills receiving a majority of support in the upper house of Congress that may well never even be voted on by the House of Representatives.

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • John Pigg

    I oppose raising the Min Wage.

    I think the Democratic Party should take another look at protectionist trade policies instead of opening the door to subsidized cheap foreign labor.

    That being said, I see no problem with modest incremental increases in Min Wage to keep pace with inflation. The current Min Wage should be tied to inflation.

    • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

      John, it’s not just the subsidized cheap foreign labor – and it amazes me that the IRS allows US based corporations a special tax write-off for foreign based labor – but that so many of these companies no longer have a US based manufacturing presence. What we need congress to do is to require a special tariff on products made by US corporations in foreign facilities just to take advantage of labor costs. Once we eliminate the cost provision, then maybe we can put Americans back to real work, instead of having to practice saying, “Does that complete your order, today?”

      • ram1020

        I agree with you two. We should not give incentives for jobs to go overseas, and we should index the minimum wage to inflation. The problem with a large increase in the minimum wage is that it will not be coming from corporate profits and CEO salaries. McDonalds makes money by selling trademark items to franchise holders. It is those small businessmen that will be squeezed, not the CEO or the shareholders. Wal Mart makes money on small margins and high volume. To keep the margins from shrinking, they would raise prices. Again, the Wal Mart consumer, not the CEO or shareholder, would take the brunt of the cost increase. We should also look at our corporate tax structure. There are too many loopholes for some companies, and a high tax rate on what is left. It is a sad commentary on the corporate tax system when a company like Apple finds it beneficial to borrow money to pay a dividend because it is cheaper than bringing money back to the US and have it taxed. When people talk about this (like Romney) nobody trusts them.

        • John Pigg

          Agreed, Apple could be doing more things to employ more people in the US. In the past successful companies used to do this.

          Without manufacturing, our Min Wage jobs will be what they are currently. A career path for low income individuals.

          We need to offer them employment alternatives, and protect American industry and labor from unfair overseas competition. Once that is done, I think we will see a rise in a lot of peoples income, and far more employment.

        • ralphkr

          Hey, ram1020, now how about explaining how Costco has gone bankrupt because it pays workers approximately twice as much as Walmart? Oh, wait, Costco is not going bankrupt and is one of the most profitable retail companies in the US.

          • ram1020

            Ralph, If you ever shopped at a Costco, you can see that they have a different business model, cost structure, and different skill sets for their employees. Be careful about listening to superficial analyses from the media, because you look foolish getting all high and mighty when you don’t understand what you are talking about.

          • ralphkr

            It is very true, ram1020, that Walmart and Costco have different business models. Costco pays their employees more and has good benefits, gives them a chance for advancement, and therefore has career enthusiastic employees with little turnover of personnel. Walmart pays as little as possible, has sullen employees, and has rapid turnover whenever a decent job opens up in their area.

          • ram1020

            I guess you are comfortable with your misconception. Business model might have more to do with number of SKUs and merchandising, and the number and types of people required to meet that model. On the other hand, you have your right to follow memes blindly.

          • ralphkr

            And you, ram1020, seem to have forgotten how much the Walmart business model has changed for the worse for employees and better for the owners. Walmart used to carry US made product (in fact, Sam Walton used to help start-up companies get financing), paid their employees market wages, and still made good profit. Now Walmart sells far cheaper products from China, pays their employees under market wages, and makes huge amounts of money for Sam’s heirs.

          • ram1020

            You might also recall that Walton was criticized for squeezing the margins of the American companies that supplied him.
            Walmart has always offered low cost items. I raised a boy and a girl so hand-me-downs weren’t an option. They would outgrow clothes before they had a chance to wear them out, so Walmart inexpensive clothing was a great option for us, and whoever bought them again at Goodwill. If they need to go overseas to continue to offer this to their customers, is it their fault? How much more should customers pay more for similar items?
            I know you don’t like Walmart, and this latest complaint does not change the fact that their business is much different than Costco in the expectations for merchandizing and selection.

        • Lisztman

          The “large increase” doesn’t need to be done all at once. See my separate post, above.
          One of its main points: If McD’s has to raise its prices 15% to cover the wage increase, so does the BK across the street.

          The Wal-Mart consumer? If it’s plain old middle-class such as I, the prices go up. Oh, well. If it’s lower-income classes — guess what? They will now have more discretionary income (from the min-wage increase) to cover those extra costs.

          • ram1020

            So, if McDonalds pays the equivalent of a double quarter pounder meal upsized per hour (before taxes) now, and they pay the increased cost of the same meal (before taxes) after the wage increase, people will be better off?

          • Lisztman

            If the min-wage goes up, the people making min wage, for example, are more likely to not require public assistance. The monies they receive in increased income will likely be spent in the community.
            Meantime, the customer base of McD is not just those min-wage workers. Or have you never purchased fast food? (I don’t think you’re a min-wage worker or you wouldn’t be complaining about any proposal to increase it.)

          • ram1020

            I have no problem with raising it with inflation. Until recently I lived in Washington (state) where they did that. My problem is with the logic that somehow the resulting price increases would really do anything for the overall purchasing power of minimum wage workers. The other argument is that these people receive government assistance. Would you take away their assistance if they earned more? Then they would have no gain in purchasing power, maybe even a loss. The real answer is to have policies that would not force people to take minimum wage jobs as a career.

            I worked in fast food back when they were allowed to pay sub-minimum wage, even though there weren’t any tips, especially when you cleaned parking lots and garbage cans. Back in those days, I was able to move up to a minimum wage job doing stock work for a wholesaler, and later move to higher paying jobs by the time I needed to support myself. I don’t see that those opportunities exist in the quantity that they are needed these days.

            Even though you may think my disagreement makes me the issue, if the goal is to improve people’s purchasing power, creating opportunity is the issue. Increasing the minimum wage, with the resulting low end market price increases and possible loss of government benefits, doesn’t accomplish that.

          • Lisztman

            “Creating opportunity” is the issue. But I don’t see us creating sufficient opportunities in the near future.

            One of the mantras of the right wing is “Get a GED; go to college; improve yourself.” There are many min wage workers with substantially sub-average IQ who are incapable of doing much more than your typical min-wage jobs, and for them the “get educated” thing is not an option. For them, I’m sorry, but “taking minimum wage jobs as a career” is, sadly, pretty much all they’re going to manage. I take my hat off to them for trying.

            My first job was watering roses in a greenhouse. “Agricultural minimum” (which was $1.00 vs. std minwage of $1.60; yes, I’m kind of old). And, BTW, that $1.60 from 1967 is the equiv, after inflation, of $11.22 today.

            The ag minimum didn’t go very far…

            By the time I retired (or older-age unemployed, depending on your POV), my income, combined with my wife’s, put us in the top couple of percent. It’s fallen off, now that I’m not getting that professional income now. But I had the abilities and education to get that far (and so has she).

            While I agree with “creating opportunity” — if those “opportunities” are all just more shelf stockers at Wal-Mart, it isn’t going to move us very far. My take — bring the manufacturing back from the Far East. (You know, of course, that prices would go up accordingly.) Design policy to discourage sending jobs offshore. I think we’d agree on that one.

            Yes, those whose minwage goes up might lose some government benefits. But the government benefits are pretty much subsistence-level. Any minwage increase should be more than sufficient to offset those lost benefits. And we all gain by having the government sending out smaller checks (or none at all in some cases).

          • ram1020

            We do have to bring manufacturing back to the US, and it doesn’t always mean costs have to increase. We bailed out GM, and GM is growing … in China. Why can’t the Chinese drive American made Buicks? TRADE POLICY!! There are companies such as Eaton Corp. and Ingersall Rand that have re-domiciled to Ireland for tax savings. No, a couple more CEO’s living in the US isn’t going to make a difference, but the support staff positions are not minimum wage either. What can change that? CORPORATE TAX POLICY!! We can get into Energy policy, Infrastructure policy, policy on how we can streamline and combine assistance benefits, etc.
            I disagree that people are trapped in low paying jobs because of low IQ’s. There are a lot of underemployed college graduates, so any talk about GED’s is missing the point. I will grant you that some low wage employees seem to show a lack of motivation for their work, and I can hardly blame them, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable.
            I would think that an increase in minimum wages would be to increase the purchasing power (improve the way of life) for the low wage earners. If the low wage earners just offset the benefits losses, they aren’t really better off. I think that is what we should be concerned about. We may need a policy that weans people off programs, not just have the programs stop at certain wage levels.
            We must be close to the same age. My sub-minimum wage job at a Dairy Queen paid 75 cents an hour when I was 14. When I was 16, I got a stockroom job with a wholesaler at the minimum wage of $1.45. That increase made me feel like a Rockefeller!

          • Lisztman

            Perhaps you understood one point, sir.
            I’m certainly aware of “underemployed college graduates.” My son-in-law is one (although he starts his new job (hallelujah!) in 3 weeks).
            The point I was answering was the one where some people always say “Well, if you’re stuck in a min-wage job then go improve yourself.” My answer was that a fair (if not substantial) number of min-wage workers are exactly that because they are incapable of “improving themselves.” They’ve already made it to the top rung by gaining a job, doing it, and holding on to it. Showing up for work every day and doing quality work for what they’re paid — quality on the same level as that of the CEO. (No. I didn’t say that they should be paid the same. The work isn’t the same. The quality of job done is the same.)

            I believe we agreed on one point there. If the only effect of an increase in minwage is to replace government benefits with employer costs — no increase in the worker’s take-home — then it’s not worth the effort. When all is said and done there has to be a net increase in the take-home to make “whatever” effective.
            Yes. We need policy that “weans” (I’ll use your word) people off programs. My (admittedly liberal-view) take on the reason for the programs is that the work they’re doing (under current law) doesn’t pay enough to allow them to live.

      • John Pigg

        I am in complete agreement.

        • ralphkr

          OH, yeah, John, high tariffs are are definitely the way to go to boost the US economy and raise incomes….NOT. Every time someone talks about the joys of tariffs I am reminded of when Brazil was busy protecting their nearly non-existent auto industry and a Chevy that cost under $3,000 in the US cost over $30,000 in Brazil. Yep, that really does help the local economy.

          • John Pigg

            How did Korea go from a backwater backwards nation to an industrialized powerhouse? Tariffs….

            Conservative, and Nationalist elements have long supported tariffs as a method of protecting industry and benefiting the US.

            We had some form of this policy for most of our existence, which allowed us to become the leading economic power on the planet. We have only recently abandoned its use, and as a result we are losing out to cheap subsidized labor.

            Name one industrialized power that did not use a tariff to encourage domestic industrialization?

    • tax payer

      I oppose Welfare, but that’s never going to come to an end as long as there are poor people living in this country. They will never come to an end either as long as there is money to give to them in the form of Benefits.

      • John Pigg

        There will always be poor people in a capitalist society.

        But without available manufacturing, and low skilled labor. We keep the poor, poor and don’t offer them the historical opportunities they had to work hard and achieve a better standard of living.

        I’m not talking about ending welfare. But if there were more jobs available in this country, there would be far fewer people on public assistance.

        And I think everyone is on the same page as far as that goal is concerned.

        • tax payer

          Anyone that has to work for a living I consider them poor, so that included myself too, while I was employed. If you are born into a rich family you are poor until that Wealth becomes yours. Some decide we don’t want Benefits, but more think the opposite.

  • Budjob

    The minimum wage should have been $10.00 an hour 10 years ago.An increase in the minimum wage means an increase in disposal income and could be very beneficial stimulating the economy.When the additional money is spent,it will have an impact by virtue of helping to create more jobs!

    • stcroixcarp

      The same goes for raising social security earned benefits.

  • Dominick Vila

    I support raising the minimum wage to a level consistent with our cost of living and inflation. The current minimum wage is, clearly, inadequate and an embarrassment in a country where under performing CEOs earn over $20 million a year, and enjoy lavish benefits including expensive golden parachutes.
    If the concerns expressed by some deals with our ability to compete on the world stage, why don’t we take a closer look at our international agreements, protectionist laws, and pay more attention to quality? Countries like Germany, France, and Sweden, to name a few, are able to compete by selling quality products that people want, why don’t we do the same? Why do we always write and sign International Trade Agreements that benefit only our corporations and ignore the needs of the American people?

    • tax payer

      People work in those type of jobs because they chose to not try to further their education. If you have ( even ) a Two Year Certificate it can mean earning maybe twice the minimum wage. I earned twice the minimum most of my Life with just a High School Education, but I was lucky to apply at Companies that paid a good wage. The jobs are there, but people have to look for them and not expect the employers to come to their door, and sign them up. A High School Education can get you a good paying job, if you don’t intend to go to College, but to feel sorry for yourself is not what people should do. Get out there and find those jobs.

      • disqus_fsqeoY3FsG

        Your making an assumption when you say: “People work in those type of jobs because they chose to not try to further their education.” You do not know their situation or what efforts they made. What years were you lucky to apply at companies that paid a good wage? You say the jobs are there that pay good wages, than list them so people can pass it along. When people are unqualified for jobs, how do they get the money to get the training? If they are a single parent who is going to parent their children if they work 10 hours a day and than go to a school for a couple of hours.

        • tax payer

          Their situation is that most of these people dropped out of High School and decided having babies or making babies was better than going to school, so now they suffer because of their own wrong decisions. The only way to get that good wage is to stay with a Company for many years and get a raise yearly. I was given a $.70 raise almost every year until I retired, but working with the Public takes certain people that have to take the verbal abuse by them in order to keep their jobs. There are jobs with the City, State, Companies that are wiling to train their employees, Federal Government and so on. I found my jobs on my own because the City Employment Office would sent me on Wild Goose Chases.

          • John Pigg


            I just complete University a few years ago. And it would surprise you that a lot of recent graduates were stuck in menial low wage, low skilled labor even though they went to college.

            The paradigm you are using is that people who make bad decisions are stuck in Min Wage jobs. This is no longer the case. Reason being because we have no manufacturing. At least in your generation if one was willing to work they could find a fair wage in an industry.

            With all our work overseas, people have either two choices, get an expensive masters, or get an underemployed job. (Or have someone hire you due to being a relative or friend etc.)

          • tax payer

            So, what are are saying no one is trying to look for a good job since they think none are out there for them. I Congratulate you for your Accomplishment and, if you can do it so can others, but they have to dedicate themselves to making an effort, and not to wait for someone to serve it to them in a Silver Platter. I was a candy maker right after High School and left that job to seek something better, but did give a two week noticed before leaving. I knew how to run all the manufacturing machines and the people working there weren’t ready to retire, so I could take over their skilled positions that paid more, so I left for something better. If you are willing to learn you can do it, but you have to be aggressive and let them know you want to advance to earn much more. That was in 1967 to 1970 and I am glad I left because that Company went out of Business.

          • John Pigg

            I’m saying the job market is far different then during your years.

            I see graduates, friends, and colleagues going out and taking jobs they are over qualified for not because they are lazy. But because they realize that its either that or be unemployed.

            I laud your handwork and determination to find better employment. For a lot of my hardworking buddies, there really is no alternative than their current choice of employment.

          • disqus_fsqeoY3FsG

            Again you are making assumptions about people you do not know. When you were working your way through various companies the attitudes were different. What was done in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s doesn’t happen any more. Companies use to give their sales and engineering staff company cars, they stopped that because it was not cost effective for them. More companies offered health care but a lot cut back on what they offered or cut it out all together. During that time companies would hire people who did not have the exact skill needed, but knew they could train them. So you are comparing a life style gone by to today’s economic truths. Companies want people who will do the most amount of work for the least amount of money because of the bottom line, however, their management team has to be highly qualified and get paid more than they are worth in a lot of cases.

  • nana4gj

    The argument that increasing minimum wage will hurt business owners and “job creators”. The minimum wage is $7.35 and we have no jobs. The business owners have been paying that for a number of years now and are making good profits. Surely, they can afford to pay $10 to $15 an hour and still be able to provide a good living for themselves.
    As for the “job creators”, when they start creating jobs, we can begin being concerned about their welfare.

    • ralphkr

      Oh, nana4gj, the job creators are definitely creating new jobs with their wonderful US subsidies…of course, you do have to go to Ireland, China, S.E.Asia, S. America to get one of those new jobs.

      • nana4gj

        Oh, you’re correct, of course……

  • brickman

    Raising the minimum wage will add to the economy in a way I never hear mentioned in the media. Employers will have to upgrade their workforce. Instead of some $7.25 employee who doesn’t care about his job and knows his employer can’t replace him with a good worker, raising to $9 or $10 will bring the employer a better worker. This means better service to customers and more business. Supply and demand. If you pay more, more people will apply for the jobs you offer. You’ll get to pick the better of them.

  • howa4x

    A lower minimum wage leaves worker to request subsidies from the government in terms of housing assistance and SNAP. We in the middle class are forced to pay this. We allow the owners of McDonalds and Wal mart to use this labor and walk away from any social responsibility. The republican philosophy is to create a work for less culture that will rob the middle class. This is why when people get laid off the only jobs available are ones with a much lower wage and no benefits. When people earn subsistence wages they don’t stimulate the economy and studies actually show that when a Wal mart opens wages in the entire area around it go down. Costco is paying $21/hr and they are not going broke. Work for less only benefits those at the top and hurts everyone else. IN NJ because Christie doesn’t want to offend the republican base vetoed a hike in the minimum wage but democrats placed it on the ballot and it won overwhelmingly. This is why we had health care reform. It wasn’t for the bottom of our society, they have Medicaid. It was for the working poor. We need to stop letting the truly wealthy get off or we as a society will sink under the weight of having he middle class pay for both the top and the bottom.

    • tax payer

      Is the $21.00 an hour for Employees in Management or is it for Associates working the floor?

      • disqus_fsqeoY3FsG
        Cashier 8.34 – 21.78/hour.
        Forklift 14.09- 22.06/hour.
        Certified Pharmacy Technician – 10.01 – 19.85/hour
        Stocker 10.45/hour.

        • tax payer

          So, the pay is good, so why aren’t people applying for those jobs?

          • disqus_fsqeoY3FsG

            Perhaps Costco is not hiring, but frankly tax payer I am not going to make assumptions.

          • tax payer

            You got me on that one since I do make many assumptions. Good-Night!

  • Lisztman

    @Rick Bristol. $15 might be an excessive jump, but there is no doubt that even $9 or $10 is not a lot of a jump, and still kind of low. At the time I started my first full-time job in 1973, the min wage was $2.00 ($10.55 today, per the CPI). The guy who hired me at the time gave me $3.00 ($15.82) because, he specifically said, “I don’t see how anyone can live on $2/hr.” To his credit.

    In the meantime — yes, all those places with reduced (or nonexistent) income taxes have started raising all kinds of fees (e.g., “license re-instatement”, “court cost”); they treat traffic enforcement as revenue enhancement; the taxes on tobacco go up and up (and the 20% paying it don’t have the voting clout to do anything about it); big increases in tolls; big increases in public-transit fares; etc. etc.

    No, they’re not quite “taxes” — but they’re distinctly regressive. They fly in the face of a stepped (progressive-rate) income tax; they hit the lower-income groups proportionately harder. (You have my sympathies regarding the DMV problem.)

    So, yes. Raise the minimum wage immediately to at least $10. And make it go up at least to the family-of-four poverty level within, say 2-5 years. And additionally tie it to inflation thereafter.

    (PS to those who will jump all over me for that. If McD’s has to raise its burger price from $3 to $3.50 to pay for it, so does BK across the street. You don’t have to start complaining about all those businesses who will go out of business.)