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Friday, September 30, 2016

WATCH: Elizabeth Warren Says Minimum Wage Would Be $22 If Adjusted For Productivity Gains

In a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Elizabeth Warren cited a report that argues that if the minimum wage had kept up with productivity gains since 1960, it would now be $22.

Addressing Dr. Arindrajit Dube, a University of Massachusetts/Amherst professor who has studied the economic impacts of minimum wage, the senior senator from Massachusetts asked, “So my question is, Mr. Dube, with a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, what happened to the other $14.75? It sure didn’t go to the worker.”

Dr. Dube noted that if workers’ wages had risen at the same rate as the richest Americans’, the minimum wage would be $33.

When David Rutigliano, a restaurant owner testifying against raising the wage, argued that it would have an inflationary effect, Warren redirected that question to Dube, who noted that no study has found that to be true.

President Obama called for increasing the federal minimum wage to $9 in his State of the Union address. Last Friday, House Republicans voted unanimously against a bill that would have set the lowest wage adult workers can receive at $10.10 by 2015.

A majority of ethnic, demographic and political groups support the president’s minimum wage hike, according to recent poll from Gallup.

  • Her point is valid insofar as the unequal and unfair distribution of wealth in the USA. Companies, from large corporations, to retailers, and fast food restaurants are, indeed, making huge profits while paying their employees as little as they can get away and denying them benefits by hiring part timers to do the work full time employees used to do. Our entire system is designed to influence the bottom line, not to help the workforce, but to meet or exceed shareholder expectations.

    Obviously, a $22 an hour minimum wage would have a negative impact on our economy, if for no other reason than employers will not absorb the added labor costs at their expense and, instead, will pass it on to consumer with devastating consequences caused by out of control inflation. The minimum wage should be close to $10, and the practice of hiring part timers to reduce operating costs and increase profits must come to an end. Things like these are the reason for the constant attacks against organized labor, and the slightest suggestion of abuse by corporate America.

    • Mark Forsyth

      I can remember back in the late 80’s when corporate America broke faith with American workers by eliminating good paying full time jobs.This was done to avoid paying federally mandated benefits.Weekly wages took a double hit.Not only was the hourly wage reduced with the argument that “you’re only part time” but most of these jobs were limited to thirty six hours per week or less.Imagine what it would cost you to have to miss a days work with a job like that.I have often felt for many reasons how very fortunate I was to be a self employed commercial fisherman and to have avoided the nonsense.

      • You are one of the lucky ones. One of my grandsons is exactly in the position you described. He graduated from culinary school and is only scheduled to work about 36 hours a week, no benefits whatsoever. If he is sick he doesn’t get paid. Since the premium for the healthcare insurance offered by the company he works for almost matches his salary he does not have coverage and keeps his fingers crossed hoping he doesn’t get sick. What is happening to the workforce in the USA is horrible. Investment abroad is part of the problem, but the real problem is the fact that American employers figured out a way to exploit their employees and increase the bottom line with total impunity. The country does not need deregulation, what we need is regulation designed to protect consumers and the workforce from corporate predators.

        • sigrid28

          Maybe a long-term legislative solution would fit well here, gradually increasing the minimum wage and gradually forcing businesses to reduce part-time employment, while the Affordable Care Act picks up steam, providing insurance for legitimate part-timers through statewide Medicaid expansion and requiring affordable health insurance options for full-time employees. It would take a kind of a wonky balancing act to put together. But Congress loves that sort of thing, because many goodies can be layered in to please each of the many constituencies affected by it. Probably nothing would do more to address the affect of income inequality in the United States, by improving morale for employees–and employers–alike.

        • Mark Forsyth

          I couldn’t agree with you more Dom.Those who refuse to admit that our Democracy is and has been under threat since the 1930’s are either ignorant of facts or suspect.A long time friend of mine started out years ago as the consumer protection advocate for the Western Mass. D.A’s. Office.When that position was eliminated he became the Senior Investigator for the Massachusetts Attorney General.He has often told me how frequently,depending on whoever is governor,he is often the sole inhabitant of his office in Springfield and is handicapped in his efforts to prosecute those whom you mention. At sixty three years old he is rapidly reaching the point of exhaustion and in need of his well deserved retirement.I think it is his pure enjoyment of his work that keeps him going. The level of graft and greed and corruption he has revealed is astounding.It may be small comfort,but I do take some knowing that there is a growing number of Americans becomming aware of the inequities we face and of those responsible.

  • charleo1

    Since Obama, in his State of the Union, speech, mentioned increasing the
    minimum wage. That was all the prodding necessary for John Boehner to
    put it on the docket, and bring it up for a vote. Speaker Boehner had noticed
    since the election, his Republicans had been in a funk. Almost immediately,
    he turned to his Ayn Rand disciple, Paul Ryan, and said, “Are you thinking
    what I’m thinking?” This is just what the doctor ordered to lift their spirits!

    As John, and Paul’s eyes met, the Speaker quickly turned away, as he
    realized his eyes had begun to water. Suddenly he was very emotional.
    Remember those heady days after the 2010 election? The economy was a lot
    worse then. And I used to get in front of every camera I could find, and say,
    “Where are jobs, Mr, President?” It’s was great. I called him up one day,
    and said, “Guess what I’m going to do with your jobs bill, Mr. President?”
    “I’ll give you a hint.” “I’m in the men’s room!” But, this will be great. Obama
    calls for it, and we unanimously vote it down. Just like old times.

    • plc97477

      You could of been in the room.

  • David Turrentine

    Republicans think that a poor boy can take care of his financial obligations working a Burger King. I suggest that John Boehner, Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor all forego their Congressional salaries , lock their savings and checking accounts and try it.

  • Kevin Smith

    What a monster that fat ugly turd is. 8 cents he won’t give…

  • The whole point of the conservative movement is to “conserve” what rich people take home and “conserve” poverty, since Jesus said the poor will always be with us, and we wouldn’t want to contradict him! Actually, the Republican economic goal is a Biblical economy: the kind of economy Jesus lived in, with a few Herods and Caiaphas families rich and powerful, controlling both the economy and the government, and the mass of people dirt poor with no voice.

    So why would the CEO admit that the extra productivity was due to the WORKER? In his eyes, he BUILT IT HIMSELF with no help from workers, government or the customers, so he wants to keep ALL the extra profit.

  • Anyone who thinks there is no present day “CLASS WAR” need to look no further. This report spells it all out in no uncertain terms.

    THERE HAS BEEN A WAR AGAINST THE WORKING CLASS FOR MORE THAN 30 YEARS.

    And, the working class is loosing badly.

  • lana ward

    Employers can’t afford to pay a higher minimum wage. If it’s raised they will cut back on employees. So what good can come of it???

    • metrognome3830

      This doesn’t apply to you lana. Whatever you get paid, even if it is 0, you are getting overpaid.

  • charleo1

    I must add. If the economy, jobs, public debt, and annual governmental deficits
    are going to be the prevailing conversation. Then wages, both here, and abroad,
    as they relate to healthcare, secure retirements, and an economy that is generating enough demand to accommodate new workers, starting out in the workforce.
    Must be then, a big part of the discussion, to get things back to balance.
    Then, put simply, and bluntly, a retirement plan generous enough, so older workers
    can afford to leave the workforce, and get out of the next generation’s way.
    How many Seniors do we see today working entry level jobs? And, what is the
    unemployment rate of those ages 16 to 20? The correlation is not coincidence.
    So, because it was here, with flat wages, and dwindling benefits, the downward slide of Middle America began, some 30+ years ago. And, it is here, we will need to start the repairing process. But we need to be real honest, it’s not going to be an easy fix.
    First, without the labor unions, that covered some 37% of us 45 years ago. Giving
    labor the leverage to push back aganist the ever present tendencies of businesses
    to increase their bottom line by cutting salaries, and benefits. Today, with union
    membership in the private sector at only 7%, they are too weak to fulfill that vital
    role, of equalizing the natural tensions between labor, and management. It is well
    known, Conservatives view unions as pure poison, and go after them relentlessly.
    So, if it cannot be unions that serve as a ballast. It must be regulation. Livable

    wage laws. Or, encouragement thru the tax code to businesses who’s wages, and
    benefit programs do not shift the burdens of providing healthcare, or other types
    of support, on the government. As we know, the majority receiving public
    assistance right now, have full time jobs. But they simply do not pay enough
    for a single parent, with only one child, to make it thru the month without help.
    And that reality needs to be made clear, and pointed out, every bit as often as the
    Right characterizes the working poor, as leeches, waiting for their government
    handout. If we could do just that, over the next one, or two years. Bat down that
    harmful lie, once and for all. That would be a good start.

  • MC_VMI_95

    “When David Rutigliano, a restaurant owner testifying against raising the wage, argued that it would have an inflationary effect, Warren redirected that question to Dube, who noted that no study has found that to be true.”

    There lies the problem…everything needs a study, even econ 101.

  • Pamby50

    I love that Elizabeth Warren doesn’t let them get away with their nonsense. When she told the restaurant guy to raise the price of a dish by 8 cents, he went on to tell her that 8 cents wouldn’t be enough. It would have to be at least 3 times that becuase of all the other factors. She dismissed him because he didn’t answer the question.

  • I f you do the math from her starting point then the real number is $10.35. She is just making this stuff up the same as making up that she is part Indian. Two boobs from South Boston pulled this same fake heritage lie when applying for a job with the fire dept. and went to jail for 6 months.

  • onedonewong

    What a RUBE. Folks making minimum wage haven’t been part of the productivity gains thru automation. This is what happens when a quota admission to college who has never held a job tries to talk economics. Sit down lizy in your wig wam