The Lobbying Behind the Minimum Wage

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

President Obama delivers the 2014 State of the Union speech. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI AFP/Getty)

In his State of the Union speech, President Obama called for a hike in the minimum wage. Now the lobbying efforts - for and against - are underway. Eric Lipton, Washington correspondent for The New York Times, discusses his reporting on a few key groups trying to win the public relations battle.



Eric Lipton

Comments [13]

If more jobs are offering less than 30 hours per week, how can a "minimum", "living" wage of $10.10 per hour be a meaningful effort to increase weekly "living" income? (or did its proponents demand the increase to make up for a surreptitiously planned decrease in the amount of weekly hours of employment?)

7.25 x 40 hrs/wk = $300.00
10.10 x 30 hrs/wk = $303.00

(Caution: While the preceding calculation was the product of some thought, it was not produced by any authorized "think tank", whether that tank be thinly and efficiently staffed to minimize payroll costs or "feather-bedded" to the maximum to "spread-the-wealth".)
[ Just askin' ;-) ]

Feb. 11 2014 05:05 PM

Highly irresponsible and incomplete, though increasingly typical, "journalism" by Mr. Lipton, and emblematic of the insidious attempt by most reporters to paint with a broad brush and portray 2 equivalent sides of any situation, regardless of the facts. Here, Mr. Lipton even admits that he did not pursue the facts! He claims, with some justification, that think tanks often have biases, often related to their funders. But to claim that an entirely fake right-wing "think tank" with no staff located in and funded by a corporate PR firm is as dubious as another think tank that happens to get union funding, but more clearly documents its research and funding and has an actual professional staff, is lazy and unfair reporting...and then to not even bother to check further as to which positions, if any, most economists and other experts support, and just say "I didn't really look at that, I'm not an expert, so won't state an opinion," is lame and irreponsible. Just because there is an underlying perspective to an organzation and its research, and just because llobbyists on both sides use that research, does not mean that both sides' research is equally valid or suspect, and does not absolve you from checking the facts and reporting them. Shame on the NYTimes, and shame on WNYC for promoting this unquestioningly.

Feb. 11 2014 01:15 PM
Sarah, sustaining member from CT

David Obey was talking about this 20 years ago. Lipton should read this,
No Mercy
How Conservative Think Tanks and Foundations Changed America's Social Agenda
Jean Stefancic and Richard Delgado, foreword by Mark Tushnet

Feb. 11 2014 12:02 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

The loss of US purchasing power is primarily due to the fall of communism and the rise of Asia as economic competitors. The rise after WWII was due to coming out of WWII as the victor and only fully standing economy. It was a historical fluke. The equilibrium of nature moved us back down and the only thing that can move us back up is becoming more competitive which means better training and education, and a more efficient economy.

Feb. 11 2014 11:55 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

Implementing a non-indexed minimum wage increase is supplying a temporary fix to the loss of buying power that has occurred over the last two generations. And much of that loss has been caused by changes in tax policy, btw. It is also a path to general cost inflation as more people (temporarily) have more money to demand the same amount of goods. It would be more rational for minimum wage to grow (and shrink) along with the economy...My suggestion would be pegging the min wage to one half the GDP divided by the population converted to an hourly basis. This is the per capita amount of GDP that is income. It represents a promise that if you work, you will earn no less than a per capita share of the national income. For 2013, min wage would be $8 trillion divided by 320 million - about $12.50 per hour.

Though you watch, we'll get an unindexed, static amount that the sides can kick back and forth and argue over generation after generation. Can we have some real solutions rather than the promise of more fights, please.

Feb. 11 2014 11:48 AM
J from NJ

This is hopeless. How can we, the populous, ever discover who is funding all this BS masking as "reports" and "news" ? No tools to "look more closely" are available to us; it's curtain in front of curtain in front of curtain...
Bottom line, on this one, Common Sense tells you that raising the wage puts more money in the pockets of the spenders. Plain and simple. We are tools of the corporations, and only valuable as "workers" and "consumers". Our sheepy heads are fed constant nonsense. I'm pretty close to turning off the radio (& other media) for good, so I can try to shake myself awake...

Feb. 11 2014 11:44 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Nancy

The rich can move themselves or their businesses to any place on earth with ease. Workers cannot do so very easily. Japan and many other wealthy countries are not so welcoming of economic migrants as the US has been. So squeezing the rich is like squeezing eels or octupi. THey can easily slip away.

Feb. 11 2014 11:40 AM
Nancy from NYC

How come no one's talking about the income redistribution from the bottom to the ultra-wealthy corporate top, i.e. corporate welfare, tax-breaks and give-aways to big business? These are the same crybabies shouting about "class warfare".

Feb. 11 2014 11:35 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Minimum wage laws are just another form of income redistribution, just like welfare, and there are times when the nation can afford to do so, and other times when it cannot. It depends on the deficit and debt ratios. Naturally, businesses will most likely pass higher costs along to the consumer, and in the poorest neighborhoods, where most working people work at minimum wages, raising it means raising prices and losing marginal jobs, with resulting higher unemployment and increasing welfare rolls.

Feb. 11 2014 11:30 AM
Saskia from NYC

I wish we had the system that made sure people in the food industry made a decent wage and were not dependent on tips. So raise the prices for the meals and truly pay people a salary they can depend on. Lets get rid of this backwards system of dependency on tips.

Feb. 11 2014 11:29 AM

Shades of the debate over "minimum MPG for autos", but with one key difference.

With mileage, it is completely unknown as to what level can the burning of gas be considered "safe" and "sustainable."

But the "Cost of Living" couldn't be more quantified. If there is any discrepancy between that amount and the minimum wage, however minute, then this is the central issue under any Democrat, however "moderate."

Feb. 11 2014 11:24 AM

Isn't it only right that anyone who works full-time should earn enough to live decently?

Not just morally but societally, on so many levels, in /everyone's/ ultimate best interest?

No man is an island.

"All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it."
- Benjamin Franklin to Robert Morris, 25 Dec. 1783 Writings 9:138
The Writings of Benjamin Franklin. Edited by Albert Henry Smyth. 10 vols. New York: Macmillan Co., 1905--7.

Feb. 11 2014 11:17 AM

Cost of living varies wildly across this vast land. How can a uniform national minimum wage be defended?

Same question for the salaries of postal workers and other federal employees.

How far out of New York City does one have to go before it is even possible to get-by on minimum wage? (without working at least three jobs)

Feb. 11 2014 10:56 AM

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