Left-wing progressives are now attempting to argue that setting the minimum wage at a mere $15 dollars is just far too low and instead are now calling for a spike up to $26 for the new minimum wage.
As stated originally by Brad Polumbo, a Foundation for Economic Education correspondent, the debate online concerning the new policy began back in August with an article from the heavily progressive Center for Economic and Policy Research. Dean Baker, an economist, argued in the article that the minimum wage should maintain pace with overall economic productivity.
Having the minimum wage track productivity growth is not a crazy idea. The national minimum wage did in fact keep pace with productivity growth for the first 30 years after a national minimum wage first came into existence in 1938…
Think of what the country would look like if the lowest paying jobs, think of dishwashers or custodians, paid $26 an hour. That would mean someone who worked a 2000 hour year would have an annual income of $52,000. This income would put a single mother with two kids at well over twice the poverty level.
And, this is just for starting wages. Presumably workers would see their pay increase above the minimum as they stayed at their job for a number of years and ideally were promoted to better paying positions. If we assume that after 10 or 15 years their pay had risen by 20 percent, then these workers at the bottom of the pay ladder would be getting more than $60,000 a year.
Baker then went on to note that the policy would lead to a large spike in unemployment if actually implemented in the current economic order, but he then went on to recommend the fundamental restructuring of the economy such that wealthy Americans earn far less income.
We can start with my favorites, government-granted patent and copyright monopolies. Items like drugs, medical equipment, and computer software, which would all be relatively cheap in a free market, instead cost us huge amounts of money because of these monopolies…
The beneficiaries from patent and copyright monopolies are overwhelming those at the top end of the income distribution. Many workers in the tech sector make high six or even seven figure salaries. Lucky winners can walk away with tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars because of these government-granted monopolies. Bill Gates would probably still be working for a living if the government was not prepared to arrest anyone who made copies of Microsoft software without his permission.
Multiple left-wing pundits and news outlets seemed to agree with the assessment.
“Today seems like a good time to remind you that if wages had kept pace with productivity gains over the last 50 years, the minimum wage would be $24 an hour,” stated Robert Reich in a tweet.
Today seems like a good time to remind you that if wages had kept pace with productivity gains over the last 50 years, the minimum wage would be $24 an hour.
$15 is the floor, not the ceiling, of what working people deserve.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) September 6, 2021
The popularity of proposals seeking to hike the federal minimum wage has spiked during these attempts to stimulate the economy in the wake of COVID-19 and the lockdown-induced recession.