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.